Programmers are the driving force of a digital world. So, they must have a machine that’s genuinely ready for the enormous task of writing code, beta testing, and general development.
You need something fast, secure, and ready to slog it out over some impossibly long hours. In the past, the idea of a programmer using a laptop was hilarious.
But there have been some significant improvements over the last decade. While we won’t claim that a laptop can match a decked-out desktop, there are plenty of options out there that can handle what programmers throw at them and then some.
While you more or less can’t be wrong with any top-of-the-line laptop, no matter who makes it, we are here to give you a little more guidance.
Here are our top recommendations alongside a few tips to make the most out of your investment.
What to Look For in a Programming Laptop
If you spot a sweet deal on Amazon or Costco, we’re not going to stop you and say, “No, you must get a laptop on this list.”
If you do, you need to make sure your laptop checks all of these boxes. The same goes with any of the recommendations on our list, as there is a ton of variation even in the same model.
For example, the highly regarded Acer Swift series comes in different flavors from AMD Ryzen chips to Intel i3, i5, and i7. So, keep a close eye on the specs:
- RAM is king: you need at least 8GB, but 16GB is better
- SSD Hard-drive: we’re not too concerned with size since so much is cloud-based these days. Shoot for at least 256, though. You can always use a traditional external drive for cheaper offline storage as well
- Intel is everything: Intel has lost their edge. But you know that. While you can’t go wrong with a brand-new Intel chip, AMD and even Apple all are showing that the king is weaker than we all realized.
- Display: You’ll spend a lot of money on your laptop, so make sure it’s the right size and quality for you.
1. Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon
While you can’t go wrong with ThinkPad X1 Extreme, we’re trying to save your wallet a few bucks here. It’s got everything you need for a great laptop.
It offers a 512GB SSD, 16GB of RAM, a 11-hour battery, and a cheap set for around $1,000. If you want an all-around stylish and lightweight machine with a great display, then this is it.
2. Dell XPS 17
Dell generally ranks among the top computer brands. They do an excellent job across most of their product line, and the XPS 17 is no exception. It features a 10th gen Intel Core i9-10885H processor for blistering fast speeds and prototyping efficiency. It’s also a strong GPU and comes with 32GB of DD4 Ram.
The only downside is the cost, which can run you over $2,000! Better hope your company is paying for it!
3. Asus ZenBook Pro Duo
Many of us don’t have the best impression of Asus. That’s probably from using their lower-end machines, especially in the past.
In recent years, Asus has made huge strides and has delivered some truly great computers. The ZenBook Pro Duo is the perfect choice for programmers who get pulled into graphic design.
The ScreenPad Plus gives you an extra interactive screen as the mouse. It also has NVIDIA GeForce GTX 2060 for superb rendering, 16GB base RAM, and an Intel 9th Gen Core i7-9750H Quad-Core processor that is super speedy. You can get a fully decked-out model for around $1500.
Tips to Protect Your New Investment
These are just the beginning. We skipped several great computers, including the HP Envy and the highly portable Microsoft Surface Pro 6.
Regardless of what you end up going with, pay attention to the key specs described above.
Once you do settle on a laptop, you need to protect it from the vast array of cyber-threats out there. Programmers are on the digital front line and are so often the target of hackers.
Ensure that as you set everything up, you’re also installing a VPN, antivirus, and other security tools. With a VPN and other cybersecurity tools, you’re ensuring your data always remains private and secure.
Now you have everything you need to select the perfect laptop for your needs. The only question remaining is: which one will you choose?