If you’re an IT professional that’s looking for the best laptop for programming, you’re on the right page. With this list we’ve gathered together the best laptops for programming and coding on.
When looking for the best laptop for programming, you should keep an eye out for the features you actually need. For instance, the best laptops for programming will boast the latest and best processors – you’ll need them to quickly and efficiently compile your code. Fortunately, most modern laptop processors feature plenty of threads and high clock speeds, which will make looking for the best laptop as simple as saying ‘hello world’.
You’ll also need a good amount of RAM – at least 8GB. And, if you’re running complex code, you’ll need a lots of storage space too. If a laptop features one of the best SSDs, that’s even better – it’ll save you time when coding, and time is money.
Having a dedicated graphics card isn't essential for a laptop for programming, unless you are coding graphically-intensive games that you then want to test out. Modern Intel processors come with integrated graphics capabilities that are powerful enough for pretty much all programming tasks.
So, without further ado, here's our list of the best laptops for programming in 2018.
1. Toshiba Portege Z30-C-138
The best laptop for programming
CPU: 2.5GHz Intel Core i7-6500U | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 520 | RAM: 16GB | Screen: 13.3-inch, 1920 x 1080 pixels | Storage: 512GB SSD
In our view, the Toshiba Portege Z30-C-138 is the best laptop for programming, as it features a fast processor, a large SSD and hefty 16GB of RAM. Best of all, it also manages 11 hours of battery life, which is ideal if you're looking for a laptop for programming and coding on the go. Toshiba has also managed to squeeze an extraordinary amount of components in this device including a VGA port, a fingerprint reader and even a 4G/LTE modem and A-GPS!
- This product is only available in the US at the time of this writing. UK and Australian readers: check out a fine alternative in the Surface Book 2
2. Lenovo ThinkPad E470
A brilliant portable laptop for programming
CPU: 2.7GHz Intel Core i7-7500U | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 620 | RAM: 16GB | Screen: 14-inch, 1920 x 1080 pixels | Storage: 256GB SSD
Lenovo took an existing form factor and refined it to deliver the new ThinkPad E470. Powered by 7th-generation Intel Kaby Lake processors, this great laptop for programming has a 14-inch anti-glare display, powered by a discrete Nvidia GeForce 940MX 2GB GPU. It’s also equipped with a spill-resistant keyboard, a TrackPoint and 3+2 buttons click pad. The Lenovo E470 then tops all of this off with enough ports and expansion capabilities to keep the average user happy.
3. HP 255 G5
A great mid-range laptop for programming
CPU: AMD A6-7310 | Graphics: AMD Radeon R4 | RAM: 4GB | Screen: 15.6-inch, 1366 x 768 pixels | Storage: 1TB HDD
The 255 G5 is HP's entry-level business laptop and is a solid candidate should you be looking for a straightforward, reliable, laptop for programming at a bargain price. The RAM is a little on the low side, but that can be upgraded later on, and there's no denying that this is an excellent laptop for coding on. If you want a similar programming laptop with an Intel processor, rather than AMD, then the HP 250 G5 is worth looking into. There are various configurations of both the HP 255 G5 and the HP 250 G5, so it's worth shopping around and finding one with the right components for your needs.
- This product is only available in the US and UK at the time of this writing. Australian readers: check out a fine alternative in the Lenovo ThinkPad E470
4. Apple Macbook Pro with Touch Bar
The best Macbook Pro ever, now with Touch Bar
CPU: Dual-core Intel Core i5 – i7 | Graphics: Intel Iris Plus Graphics 640 – 650 | RAM: 8GB – 16GB | Screen: 13.3-inch, (2,560 x 1,600) IPS | Storage: 256GB – 1TB PCIe 3.0 SSD
Apple’s range of MacBooks are some of the best laptops for programming you’ll find today. This is thanks to excellent build quality, fast components, stellar battery life and powerful software. The 13-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar is the best laptop Apple has ever made, and incorporates new features into the classic design. Of course, the marquee feature here is the Touch Bar – a thin OLED display at the top of the keyboard which can be used for any number of things, whether that be auto-suggesting words as you type or offering Touch ID so you can log in with a fingerprint. And, now that the MacBook Pro 2018 is here, Apple’s best laptop is even better.
5. Microsoft Surface Pro
A great hybrid for programming
CPU: 2.5GHz Intel Core i7-7660U | Graphics: Intel Iris Plus Graphics 640 | RAM: 16GB | Screen: 12.3-inch, 2,736 x 1,824 PixelSense display | Storage: 512GB SSD | Connectivity: 802.11ac Wi-Fi; Bluetooth 4.1 | Camera: 8MP rear-facing, 5MP front-facing | Weight: 1.73 pounds | Size: 11.5 x 7.93 x 0.33 inches (W x D x H)
If you need to do some programming on the go, you can’t do much better than the Surface Pro. As a follow-up to the fantastic Surface Pro 4, it’s a fantastic device – it sees battery life improvements by as much as 32% and the processor has been updated to 7th-generation Kaby Lake. What makes this a great addition to a programmers arsenal is the fact that it can seamlessly switch between tablet and laptop modes, which makes it easy to carry around, while still being powerful enough to get some work done.
Read the full review: Microsoft Surface Pro
6. Google Pixelbook
The best Chromebook for Programming
CPU: 7th-generation Intel Core i5-i7 | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 615 | RAM: 8-16GB | Screen: 12.3" LCD 2400x1600 (235 ppi) | Storage: 128GB, 256GB, or 512GB SSD
Sure, it’s a Chromebook, and while that may put some people off, the Google Pixelbook is powerful (and beautiful) enough to hang with the Surfaces and MacBooks of the world. Now, while ChromeOS is admittedly not as good a place to program as Windows or macOS, the Pixelbook’s support of Android makes it a must-own laptop for any Android developer. The fact that this laptop succeeds the now discontinued Google Chromebook Pixel, which was designed by and for Google’s own developers, should give it some street cred in the eyes of coders.
Read the full review: Google Pixelbook
- This product is only available in the US and UK at the time of this writing. Australian readers: check out a fine alternative in the Surface Pro.
7. Asus Chromebook Flip
A premium but affordable Chromebook
CPU: Intel Pentium 4405Y – Intel Core m3-6Y30 | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 515 | RAM: 4GB | Screen: 12.5-inch, FHD (1,920 x 1,080) LED backlit anti-glare | Storage: 32GB – 64GB eMMC
A Chromebook doesn't run Windows, Android or Apple's macOS. Instead it's powered by Google's Chrome OS - a super lightweight operating system based on the Chrome web browser. It's a great way to save money on a laptop (no Windows license to pay for and no need for top-end Intel chips etc) while still retaining all of the productivity options you'd get on a full-blown windows or Mac OS laptop. The Chromebook Flip is the best Chromebook out there at the moment, offering truly premium build quality, a fabulous touchscreen and keyboard and excellent performance. All while offering great value for money too. While Chrome OS doesn't have the range of programming tools available for Windows and macOS, it has a growing library, and Chromebooks such as the Asus Chromebook Flip are excellent for building websites on.
8. Microsoft Surface Book 2 (13.5-inch)
The most powerful 2-in-1 laptop in the world
CPU: Intel Core i5-7300U - Intel Core i7-8650U 1.9GHz | Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics 620; Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 (2GB GDDR5 VRAM) | RAM: 8GB – 16GB | Screen: 3,000 x 2,000 (267 ppi) PixelSense display, 3:2 aspect ratio | Storage: 256GB – 1TB SSD
The Surface Book 2 is a fantastic addition to the best laptops for programmers list, as Microsoft has created one of the most powerful 2-in-1 laptops ever to have existed. The Surface Book 2 has components powerful enough to handle pretty much everything you could throw at it, even some light gaming and video editing. If you want a bigger screen, there is also a 15-inch model, which comes with more powerful components – and a much higher price tag.
Read the full review: Microsoft Surface Book 2 (13.5-inch)
9. Apple MacBook Pro 15-inch 2016
A great performer with an excellent screen
CPU: 2.6GHz Intel Core i7 quad-core | Graphics: Radeon Pro 450 with 2GB RAM | RAM: 16GB | Screen: 15.4-inch, 2880 x 1800 pixels | Storage: 256GB SSD
If you like the sound of an Apple MacBook as a laptop for programming, then you can save a bit of money by getting a slightly older model. The MacBook Pro from 2016 doesn't come with cutting-edge features such as the touchbar or USB-C ports, but it is still a fantastic laptop that offers plenty of power for all your programming needs. Plus, Apple's top of the range models are certainly not overly expensive compared to their Windows-based counterparts, especially if you buy them from trusted third-party websites.
10. Dell Latitude E5480
A solid performer backed by Dell's quality aftersales
CPU: 2.8GHz Intel Core i5-7440H | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 630 | RAM: 8GB | Screen: 14-inch, 1920 x 1080 | Storage: 256GB SSD
Dell managed to deliver a magnificent piece of kit which it says is the most secure, most reliable and most manageable business-class laptop. That Latitude 5480 does come at a hefty price though and compared to the competition, this notebook may feel underwhelming. However, Dell's forte lies in its services and aftersales. That particular model comes with a 7th generation Intel CPU, one that is an actual four-core CPU. While it has a far higher TDP than most of its peers (45W vs 15W), it is likely to be more powerful than even a top of the range Core i7-7600U.
- Here's our list of the best laptop 2017: Our pick of the 15 best laptops you can buy this year