If you’re looking for the best laptop for programming and coding on, then you’ll be looking for laptops that meet a certain criteria.
First of all, you’re going to need plenty of processing power in a laptop for programming, so that it can compile and run your code as fast as possible. The good news is that modern laptop processors come with plenty of cores and high clock speeds, which certainly makes looking for the best laptop for programming easier.
You’ll also want plenty of RAM – 8GB at the minimum – if you’re running complex code, and you’ll need a large hard drive. If a laptop also comes with a solid state drive (SSD), that’s even better, as it will help with the overall speed of your programming and coding – especially if you regularly rebuild the code you write with minor changes.
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 2017.
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
Up to 11 hours battery life
Doesn’t have the best input peripherals
Not much else wrong here
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!
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
Outstanding value for money
Discrete graphics card
No high capacity battery option
Lenovo took an existing form factor and refined it to deliver the new 2016-2017 ThinkPad E470. Powered by the 7th generation Intel Core processors, this particular SKU has a 14-inch FHD anti-glare display, powered by a discrete Nvidia Geforce 940MX 2GB GPU.
Equipped with a spill resistant keyboard, a TrackPoint and a 3+2 buttons click pad, the E470 has more than 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
3 year Next business day onsite warranty
Very affordable price
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.
4. Apple Macbook Pro with touchbar
The best Macbook Pro ever, now with touchbar
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
The best Macbook Pro ever
Super fast performance
Disappointing battery life
Apple’s range of MacBooks are excellent laptops for programming on, thanks to excellent build quality, fast components, great battery life and powerful software. The 13-inch Macbook Pro with touchbar is the best laptop Apple has ever made, and builds new features into the classic design. Of course the headline feature is the touchbar – it’s 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 just your fingerprint. It’s 13-inch screen keeps the laptop thin and light enough to carry around with you if you travel a lot.
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)
Hugely improved battery life
Much better Surface Pen
Surface Pen pulled from package
Only Core i7 can challenge A10X
Despite the subdued naming convention, this is actually the fifth iteration of the Surface Pro. As a follow-up to the winning , it would have been every bit deserving of a number attached to it, too. That’s because the latest Surface Pro sees not only the battery life improve by as much as 32%, but, of course, the processor has been updated to as well. Plus, although it’s now sold separately, the Surface Pen has 4,096 levels of pressure sensitivity. It can switch between tablet and laptop modes, which makes it easy to carry around with you, and it runs Windows 10, so you can access your favourite apps.
Read the full review: Microsoft Surface Pro
6. 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
Elegant tablet mode
ChromeOS isn’t as developed as Windows or macOS
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.
7. 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
Updated design is jaw-dropping
Great battery life
Limited appeal of Touch Bar
No SD card slot
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.
8. Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga 260
For those looking for a convertible for programming
CPU: 2.5GHz Intel Core i7-6500U | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 520 | RAM: 8GB | Screen: 12.5-inch, 1920 x 1080 pixels | Storage: 512GB SSD
Tried and trusted form factor
Could be a tad lighter
If you are willing to sacrifice portability for sheer power, then this laptop is worth considering. Oddly enough, although it is part of Lenovo’s B-series (essentially aiming for the SMB market), it comes with Windows Home rather than Professional. Other than this, the B51 is a very decent all-rounder that hits almost all the right notes: from the powerful CPU to the full HD display and the discrete GPU. It’s a great choice if you’re looking for an easily-portable laptop for programming and coding on.
9. 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
Impressive performance levels
Strong on connectivity
Not cheap for higher-end configurations
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.
10. Lenovo ThinkPad T560
Powerful yet still nicely slim and portable
CPU: 2.6GHz Intel Core i7-6600U | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 520 | RAM: 8GB | Screen: 15.6-inch, 2880 x 1620 pixels | Storage: 256GB SSD
Three-year onsite warranty as standard
Top spec models aren’t cheap
Keyboard could use some improvement
Lenovo calls the newest member of the ThinkPad T-series family the ‘new standard for highly mobile laptops’. What makes it so special is the fact that it blurs the line between traditional business devices and more powerful mobile workstations. The top-end spec highlighted here boasts some of the highest configuration levels we’ve seen on any laptop and yet manages to pack everything into a very portable and elegant Ultrabook-esque form factor.
- Here’s our list of the best laptop 2017: Our pick of the 15 best laptops you can buy this year