Finding the Best Laptops for Developers

Last Edited: December 3, 2017 by

Welcome to our guide to the best laptops for developers. These laptops have everything both new and experienced developers need to design the perfect apps, create the best websites, or even design the next mega hit video game.

We have searched high and low for the very best laptops that will meet the needs of all users, regardless of their budget. As such, you will find a wide variety of laptops to choose from including premium laptops that come with high price tags, to more budget friendly options that will let you get your coding done at a fraction of the cost.

Top Pick

Dell Precision 15 5510 WorkstationDell Precision 15 5510 Workstation 15.6-inch

While the Dell Precision 15 5510 may have been originally designed for video and image editors, that doesn’t mean it isn’t the perfect machine for any developer. With its large, 15.6-inch screen, you will have more than enough screen real estate to see what’s going on with your code. It’s backed by an Intel Core i5-6300HQ with 8GB of RAM that provide more than enough power to run your code at lightning speeds. It comes with a 500GB hard drive, which is more than enough space, but it would be nice if the laptop included an SSD for speedy file access. It comes with an NVIDIA Quadro M1000M made for designers, but can work for gaming or game development as well. If you need a good desktop replacement that will work well for your coding needs, look no further than the Dell Precision 15 5510.

  • 15.6 inch, 1920 x 1080 pixels (IPS)
  • 16 hours battery life
  • 3.93 lbs

Pros

  • Sharp display
  • NVIDIA Quadro card
  • USB 3.1 Type-C
  • Designed for rendering

Cons

  • Battery life
  • Only 500GB of storage
  • Only 8GB of RAM
  • Intel i5 processor
  • Price

Summary

The Dell Precision 15 5510 Workstation offers users a Quadro M1000M rendering card, but the RAM and storage space are below average for its price

Dell Precision 15 5510 Workstation 15.6-inch
$1998.57$1259.98
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from Amazon.com
(as of 15-12-2017 15:55 UTC) Details

Premium Laptops

Dell XPS9360-7336SLV

Flat out this laptop is one of the most powerful on the market today, and it’s this reason why this laptop make the perfect development computer. Powered by a seventh generation Intel Core i7U 2.7Ghz processor and 16GB of RAM, you will have more power than you ever need for developing even high end applications. It’s 13.3-inch QHD+ Infinityedge touch Display running a resolution of 3200×1800 will give you more than enough space to see what you are doing while you’re writing your code. However, the screen is only 13 inches, meaning it will be a touch smaller than some of the larger screen laptops and that could cause problems if you have vision issues as the text will be smaller. Still, you will be hard pressed to find a more impressive laptop with the power to be the perfect coding machine.

  • 13.3 inch, 3200 x 1800 pixels (IPS)
  • Windows 10 Home
  • 11 hours battery life
  • 2.7 lbs

Pros

  • Solid Build
  • Lightning Fast
  • Beautiful Design
  • Impressive Touchscreen

Cons

  • Webcam placement awkward
  • Difficult to open
  • Premium Price

Summary

The Dell XPS9360-7336SLV 13.3-inch is one of the most beautiful and powerful laptops you can find today, but be ready to pay for it.

Dell XPS9360-7336SLV 13.3-inch
$1449.00
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from Amazon.com
(as of 15-12-2017 16:36 UTC) Details

Razer Blade RZ09-01953E72-R3U1 14-inchRazer Blade RZ09-01953E72-R3U1 14-inch

Gaming laptops don’t always make the best coding machines, but if you are trying to create a new game, then it may be useful to create your new game on an actual gaming machine. It’s powered by an Intel i7-7700HQ running at 2.8Ghz with 16GB of RAM. This will give you more than enough power to run any coding application and multitask with ease. For storage, you get an M.2 SSD with 512GB of storage. While not the largest storage option, it’s still more than enough space for all your files. One downside is the battery life. Because of the high end specs, the battery life will only last a few hours. So make sure you don’t start a big coding project when you don’t have an AC outlet close by. Also, the laptop does tend to get a bit hot when running high end apps, this may or may not impact your usage depending on the types of development you plan on doing.

  • 14 inch, 1920 x 1080 pixels (IPS)
  • Windows 10 Home
  • 4.5 hours battery life
  • 4.10 lbs

Pros

  • Kaby Lake i7 processor
  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060
  • Thin and light
  • USB Type-C
  • 512GB M.2 SSD

Cons

  • Heats up under load
  • Expensive
  • No Ethernet
  • No optical drive

Summary

The Razer Blade RZ09-01953E72-R3U1 is a new an improved version of the Razer Blade which offers a powerful NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 graphics card and a 512GB SSD.

Razer Blade RZ09-01953E72-R3U1 14-inch
$2099.99$1899.99
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from Amazon.com
(as of 15-12-2017 15:48 UTC) Details

Microsoft Surface Book SX3-00001 13.5-inchMicrosoft Surface Book SX3-00001 13.5-inch

When the Microsoft Surface Book was first released, critics everywhere were impressed. This 2 in 1 device is truly a sight to behold. It’s sleek and stylish, and the detachable screen makes it perfect for use in all situations, from coding to watching movies. Under the hood you will find an Intel Core i5-6300U running at 2.4Ghz, which is more than enough power for even the most complex coding projects. If you need to multitask, no problem, as the Surface Book comes with 8GB of RAM so you can run whatever you need to run with ease. One thing that this device doesn’t have is USB-C and HDMI, meaning that newer monitors or devices won’t be compatible with this device, at least not at their native speeds and without the use of an adapter. Still, if you need a device for development that can be useful both at home and on the road, this is one of the best choices available to you.

  • Windows 10 Pro
  • 12 hours battery life
  • 3.34 lbs

Pros

  • Exceptional battery life
  • Powerful hardware
  • Thin and light
  • Pin point accurate touchscreen
  • Windows 10 Pro
  • NVIDIA graphics

Cons

  • No Ethernet
  • No USB Type-C
  • 3:2 aspect ratio
  • No HDMI
  • Price

Summary

The Surface Book SX3-00001 is a purpose built business laptop that offers great performance, an NVIDIA GPU and excellent battery life that will get you through the day.

Microsoft Surface Book SX3-00001 13.5-inch
$1899.00$980.00
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from Amazon.com
(as of 15-12-2017 15:57 UTC) Details

Microsoft Surface Pro 4 CR5-00001 12.3-inchMicrosoft Surface Pro 4 CR5-00001 12.3-inch

The perfect machine for coding on the go, the Microsoft Surface Pro 4 is the one of the best 2 in 1 devices available today. It’s thin and light and the keyboard, though extra, feels great and is easy to type on for those coding projects. It’s backed by an Intel Core i5-6300U processor. While not the fastest, it’s more than enough for programming. It only has 4GB of RAM, which will suffice in most circumstances, but if you are running a lot of apps at once or you are processing heavy coding projects, you may have to wait a bit. The display is also small, at only 12.3 inches, but that’s to be expected in a portable tablet/laptop hybrid. If you need to code while you are on the road and don’t want to lug around a big, bulky laptop, then look no further than the Microsoft Surface Pro. It’s the perfect tool for the job.

  • 12.3 inch, 2736 x 1824 pixels (IPS)
  • Windows 10 Pro
  • 9 hours battery life
  • 1.73 lbs

Pros

  • Intel Skylake processor
  • Good battery life
  • Crisp and responsive touchscreen
  • Windows 10 Pro

Cons

  • Only 4GB of RAM
  • No physical keyboard included
  • Only one USB 3.0 port
  • Underpowered for designers

Summary

The Microsoft Surface Pro 4 CR5-00001 offers a great performance for its compact size, but you will have to purchase the keyboard separately and the 4GB of RAM hurt its overall performance with heavy multitasking.

Microsoft Surface Pro 4 CR5-00001 12.3-inch
$999.00$779.00
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from Amazon.com
(as of 15-12-2017 15:55 UTC) Details

Apple Macbook Pro MPTT2LL/AApple Macbook Pro MPTT2LL/A 15.4-inch

You may not think coding machine when you think Apple, but since macOS is based on UNIX, you really can’t go wrong. The Apple Macbook Pro MPTT2LL/A is no different. It’s 15.4-inch Retina display is a true thing of beauty, and images and text have never appeared clearer than they will on the Apple display. It comes with a 2.9Ghz Intel Quad Core i7 and 16GB of RAM which provide more than enough speed to execute even the most complex coding projects. It’s unibody aluminum design is sleek and stylish so you will look great while you write your next programming project. If there is one downside to this machine, it’s the lack of ports. It comes with multiple USB type C ports, but Apple has failed to include anything else. If you need classic USB, you will need an adapter, and the same goes for everything else including ethernet. This makes it less than ideal for the office. Still, you will be hard pressed to find a more powerful machine and with it’s open source roots it’s a great choice for any programmer.

  • Intel Core i7 2.9GHz
  • Radeon Pro 560 4GB GDDR5 [View Framerates]
  • 16GB DDR3 RAM
  • 512GB SSD
  • 15.4 inch, 2880 x 1800 pixels
  • Mac OS X 10.12 Sierra
  • 10 hours battery life
  • 2.9 lbs

Pros

  • Touch Bar with Touch ID
  • Powerful CPU
  • Dedicated AMD graphics
  • Large SSD
  • Brilliant Retina display
  • Great battery life

Cons

  • No standard ports
  • No MagSafe port
  • Non-upgradable RAM
  • Price
  • No SD card slot

Summary

The Apple MacBook Pro with Touch Bar MPTT2LL/A is a powerful MacBook Pro for the power user, however the price is steep and the lack of legacy ports will inconvenience even some of the most diehard Apple fans.

Apple Macbook Pro MPTT2LL/A 15.4-inch
$2799.00$2599.00
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from BHPhotoVideo
(as of 08-12-2017 05:41 UTC) Details

Mid-Range Laptops

HP ENVY 13-ab016nr 13.3-inch laptopHP ENVY 13-ab016nr 13.3-inch

The HP ENVY 13-ab016nr is an amazingly designed laptop that is thin, light and stylish. It features a high quality aluminum design that is very thin and highly portable. It is backed by an Intel i5-7200U clocking in at 2.5Ghz and 8GB of RAM. This is more than enough power for all your coding projects. However, the memory is soldered to the board and isn’t upgradable. It also comes with a lot of bloatware, meaning you will have to spend some time removing the software or reformatting your hard drive just to get rid of it. Still, the HP ENVY is a great mid-range laptop that provides you with a good balance of features and price so you can finish all those coding projects with ease.

  • 13.3 inch, 1920 x 1080 pixels (IPS)
  • Windows 10 Home
  • 14 hours battery life
  • 3.3 lbs

Pros

  • Excellent battery life
  • Thin and light
  • Bang and Olufsen audio
  • USB 3.1 and USB Type-C ports
  • Fast Charge technology

Cons

  • RAM soldered to the board
  • Possible hinge issues in the future
  • Lots of bloatware
  • Glossy display is reflective

Summary

The HP ENVY 13-ab016nr offers great hardware in a tiny package and if you are after a good MacBook alternative then this laptop is well worth considering.

HP ENVY 13-ab016nr 13.3-inch
$799.99
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from Amazon.com
(as of 15-12-2017 16:27 UTC) Details

ASUS ZenBook Flip UX360CA-UBM1T 13.3-inchASUS ZenBook Flip UX360CA-UBM1T 13.3-inch

The ASUS Zenbook Flip is another great budget laptop perfect for coding. It’s built using a thin metal design that is both sturdy and stylish. It is backed by an Intel Core m3, which isn’t as fast as the i series processors, but you still still be able to code and process your projects relatively quickly. But, don’t expect it to perform as quickly as some of the other laptops on this list. Still, it does come with an SSD, so processing and loading times will still be fast. There were some reports that the trackpad is rather poor, and the lack of an HDMI port will limit what types of monitors you can connect, but overall it’s a solid budget option that will work for any coder shopping on a budget.

  • 13.3 inch, 1920 x 1080 pixels
  • Windows 10 Home
  • 10 hours battery life
  • 2.9 lbs

Pros

  • Thin and light
  • Fast SSD
  • Good amount of memory
  • USB 3.1 Type-C port
  • Battery life
  • Compact design

Cons

  • Micro HDMI port
  • Buggy trackpad
  • Slight keyboard flex
  • Average audio

Summary

The ASUS ZenBook Flip UX360CA-UBM1T is a compact and light Ultrabook that is great for the user who is constantly on the go. However, the trackpad has much to be desired and might annoy some users.

ASUS ZenBook Flip UX360CA-UBM1T 13.3-inch
$543.00
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from Amazon.com
(as of 15-12-2017 15:48 UTC) Details

Budget Laptops

Acer Aspire E 15 E5-575-33BM 15.6-inchAcer Aspire E 15 E5-575-33BM 15.6-inch

The Acer Aspire E 15 E5-575-33BM is a newer budget friendly laptop that comes with everything you need for your programming tasks. While it’s not the most powerful on this list, it’s seventh generation Intel i3 processor will provide you more than enough power for your coding projects. It comes with a 1TB hard drive that will give you more than enough storage for all your coding projects, although a faster SSD would be a better option. However, because of its budget price tag, some sacrifices must be made. The features a Full-HD display, a rarity at this price point, and it even includes a USB Type-C port and AC Wi-Fi for faster networking. If you are shopping on a budget, you will be hard pressed to find a laptop that packs as many features into an attractive price.

  • 15.6 inch, 1920 x 1080 pixels
  • Windows 10 Home
  • 12 hours battery life
  • 5.27 lbs

Pros

  • Full-HD display
  • 7th Gen Intel processor
  • USB 3.1 Type-C
  • Battery life
  • Price to performance ratio

Cons

  • Only 4GB of RAM
  • Slower 5400rpm HDD

Summary

The Acer Aspire E 15 E5-575-33BM offers a lot of great hardware for its sub $400 price tag. But you only get 4GB of RAM and we recommend upgrading to increase the laptop’s day-to-day performance.

Acer Aspire E 15 E5-575-33BM 15.6-inch
$349.99
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from Amazon.com
(as of 15-12-2017 15:51 UTC) Details

ASUS Chromebook C202SA-YS02 11.6-inchASUS Chromebook C202SA-YS02 11.6-inch

When you think development, you may not consider a Chromebook, and while it’s not suited for heavy development because of the limits of Chrome OS, it’s still a great budget option for any web developer out there. With its 4GB of RAM and amazing battery life, you will have more than enough power and juice to code all day on your battery alone. It features a 180-degree hinge on its display so it will convert to a tablet, if needed, so you can sit and write your favorite web application from the comfort of your couch. Unfortunately, it only comes with 16GB of storage, like many Chromebooks, so you will have to rely on the cloud for your storage or add more with a microSD card if you need to store a lot of information to create your favorite web applications. If you specialize in web development and are on a tight budget, give the ASUS Chromebook a closer look, I think you will find it will be a perfect match for your needs.

  • 11.6 inch, 1366 x 768 pixels (TN)
  • Chrome OS
  • 10 hours battery life
  • 2.2 lbs

Pros

  • Rugged design
  • MicroSD slot
  • Spill-resistant keyboard
  • Price
  • 4GB of RAM

Cons

  • Limited storage space
  • No optical drive
  • Non-upgradable
  • Limited amount of apps
  • Linux not supported

Summary

The ASUS Chromebook C202SA-YS02 is a rugged Chromebook that has been designed for the classroom and features double the RAM as many of its competitors.

ASUS Chromebook C202SA-YS02 11.6-inch
$229.00$209.00
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from Amazon.com
(as of 15-12-2017 15:48 UTC) Details

Conclusion

There you have it. These laptops represent some of the best we can find that will be perfect for your coding needs. Now, the fact is that almost any laptop can be used for development. All you need is the right tools installed and you are ready to go. However, in our opinion, these laptops will give you all the features you need along with the power and performance required to develop your next great app with ease.

If you are looking for a laptop for other uses, we recommend you check out our Best Laptops of 2016/2017 or, if you are on a budget, our Best Cheap Laptops of 2016/2017. We are confident you will find the perfect laptop for your needs. Until then, happy coding and we hope one of these laptops becomes your ideal coding machine while you are developing your next app.

About the author

Matt

Matt is an IT professional with over fifteen years experience supporting network infrastructure and computers. An avid gamer, Matt enjoys his time playing and writing about his experiences both in the IT world and in the gaming communities. You can find more of his writing for LaptopNinja where he enjoys talking about everything tech.


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