Whether you want to learn programming or you already are a pro, at some point, you will need a laptop/notebook so that you can code on the go! However, choosing the right laptop for programming is very difficult and use-case-specific. Therefore, this article will provide you with the 10 most important things to consider when choosing the right laptop for programming
10 Things to Consider When Buying a Laptop for Programming
The Right Processor for Programming
The processor is one of the most important components of a computer as it handles all the applications and the OS. Especially if you are a programmer, your processor shouldn’t be too underpowered as you will have applications, and multiple instances of them, running simultaneously. However, I do know that processors can be very expensive, and you do not necessarily need a high-end one. Just make sure that you get a decent processor for an affordable price.
I recommend something that is above an intel i3 and a Ryzen 3, has at least 2 cores, and 2.4 GHz single core performance.
How Much RAM do I Need for Programming?
The RAM (Random Access Memory) is, especially for programming, very important as we as programmers use a lot of applications that consume a lot of RAM. Therefore, you should make sure that you have enough RAM for the future, even though you don’t seem to need that much at the first moment.
Also, you should make sure that your RAM is upgradable if it hasn’t got a whole lot from the beginning on.
For the average programmer, I recommend everything from at least 8GB and above.
What Storage do I Need for Programming?
Every programmer has got a ton of different files and applications like code editors, browsers, their own applications, etc. That’s why your laptop should have enough storage space.
Additionally, you should make sure that your storage is fast enough. Never buy a laptop that still uses an HDD, they are just way too slow. SSDs are always the way to go.
Also, having the ability to upgrade your storage is always good!
I recommend a laptop that has at least an upgradable 512GB SSD.
Which GPU Should I Choose?
Usually, the GPU that is integrated into the CPU is enough for programming. However, if you also want to deal with graphic design, making & playing games, or machine learning, you should look for a dedicated GPU from Nvidia or AMD.
For the mentioned use cases, I’d recommend an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 and everything above.
How Important is the Keyboard for Programming?
The whole sense of programming lies in typing something into the computer. Therefore, having a decent keyboard is absolutely necessary. Imagine typing for hours on a cheap and low-quality feeling keyboard. That is the last thing you want as a programmer.
To get a feeling for what keyboard type you like, you should try different ones either in stores or try at your friend’s laptop.
How Important is the Touchpad?
Even though it is theoretically possible to use a computer without any kind of mouse input, most of us will use the touchpad a lot of the time.
That’s why you should have a high-quality touchpad or at least a separate mouse that you plug into your laptop.
How Much Battery Life for a Programming Laptop?
Every programmer knows the moment when a bug occurs and you have been trying to fix it for several hours. In such moments you don’t want the battery of your laptop to die, especially when you cannot charge it anywhere. Even worse does it get when your laptop suddenly turns itself off and you didn’t save your work.
Therefore, you should look for a laptop that has got at least 4 hours of realistic battery life.
The Right Display for Programming
A good display is also very important for programming because it is what you look at all the time you are coding. You never want a screen with a bad resolution or poor colors because you need to be able to see a lot of text on a pretty small screen as a programmer. Therefore, you should make sure that the screen has a high resolution and good colors.
Also, you should go for the biggest possible screen with the thinnest frame. If the size is not relevant to you, you should go for a bigger laptop with a bigger screen.
In addition, having a touch display may be useful for some use cases.
I recommend a 15 inch 16:10 FHD+ display.
Ports Needed for Programming
Nowadays, having a lot of ports on a laptop is very rare. But as a programmer, you probably would appreciate multiple USB ports, a LAN port, an HDMI port for connecting additional displays, as well as some other ones like a headphone jack. Therefore, you should get a laptop with as many ports as possible.
The right OS for Programming
The OS doesn’t really matter in the first place unless you want to code for apple products. If you do want to code for Apple products, you should also buy one because you’ll need XCode which is currently only available for Apple products. But if that is not what you want to do, you have free choice of what your operating system should be. However, you should choose the one that you are making the most applications for as you want to test them. I wouldn’t choose Linux if I’m mainly programming applications for Windows for example.
Laptops aren’t cheap devices in any way. However, they can boost the work experience and productivity quite a lot. That’s why you would want to go for a laptop that has got at least the minimum requirements for a coding laptop but still has a fair price.
Here are some laptops that I recommend for programming:
Thanks for reading!