12 Best Laptops for Programming in 2017

A few decades ago, programming was considered something reserved for geniuses and required a particular school or techie ravenous for knowledge at the least. Well, things have changed, and teenagers can outdo adults thanks to YouTube tutorials and drag-and-drop languages geared to make things simple. No matter how big your brain is, you still need a machine to run your code.

Coders that want to stay portable will want to look for the best laptop for programming. While you won’t find a specific category for that, there is a PC for everyone looking to learn a programming language. Our list consists of 12 amazing options regardless of your skill level or budget, and we’ve included a few hybrids for consumers transitioning from the mobile world.

Top 12 Laptops for Programming Comparison Table

DesignNameStorageMemoryRating (1-5)
  1. Dell Inspiron 17.3″ FHD Touchscreen Signature Laptop 1TB HDD 16GB 4.7
  2. ASUS ZenBook UX330UA-AH54 13.3-inch LCD displayed Ultra-Slim Laptop 256GB SSD 8GB 4.2
  3. Dell Flagship Inspiron 15 5000 15.6″ Full HD Laptop 1TB HDD 8GB 4.2
  4. HP Envy 17t UHD Touchscreen 4K 17.3” High Performance Laptop 512GB SSD 32GB 4.1
  5. ASUS ROG G752VL-UH71T 17.3-Inch FHD Touchscreen Gaming Laptop 256GB SSD 24GB 4.1
6. CUK MSI GT72VR Dominator Gamer 17.3″ Notebook 256GB SSD 32GB 4.1
7. Acer Aspire E 15 E5-575G-57D4 15.6-Inches Full HD Notebook 256GB SSD 8GB 4.1
8. Dell Inspiron 15.6″ Full HD touchscreen 1920×1080 Signature Laptop 1TB HDD 8GB 4.1
  9. Acer Spin 5, 13.3″ Full HD Touch 256GB SSD 8GB 4.1
  10. CUK MSI GE62VR Apache Pro VR Ready Gaming Laptop 1TB HDD 32GB 4.0
  11. HP Business EliteBook 1040 G3 Notebook PC 256GB SSD 8GB 3.9
  12. HP X360 15.6” Full HD Touchscreen 2-in-1 Convertible Laptop 1TB HDD 8GB 3.7

What Type of Programmer Are You?

Program development can take many shapes, and there’s a language for everyone. It doesn’t matter whether you are a child learning the ropes or an adult looking to add another programming language to your repertoire, there is something out there for you. When looking for the best laptop for programming, you don’t necessarily need a lot of power as an entry-level machine may do the trick.

Before we talk about RAM and how much storage you’ll need, you need to consider the type of programming you plan to do. Simple programs and or web games do not need much to get by some you can aim a little lower if you’re just starting out. On the other hand, if you plan on developing things for Virtual Reality or will dabble in high-end or apps or games, you are going to want plenty of RAM and some features you won’t find on cheaper models.

Memory & Processor

For our list, you will want to think of memory first and everything else second unless you have a particular need. That’s because we only listed laptops with an Intel Core i5 processor at a minimum, which is generally considered the lowest you’ll want to go for programming. An i3 chip with a significant amount of RAM will allow you to run some languages with ease, but a Core i7 is the best way to go if you want to make sure you’re future-proof for a few years.

As for the memory, the amount of RAM you’ll need varies although we’ve used 8GB as a baseline. Again, some models may perform fine with 4GB of RAM if they have a speedy processor, but more is better when it comes to memory. This allows you to multitask and ensures you can run those programs you write at lightning speeds. Other standard RAM configurations include 16GB, 32GB or even 64GB as it “doubles” at every tier aside from the occasional oddball laptop.

Storage

Storage is the only area you can modify on any laptop, and it doesn’t require removing any covers or pulling out dozens of screws. Instead, you will just need to slap a USB stick into the side of your machine or hook up an external hard drive. The size of your hard disk should not be a deal breaker for any aspiring programmers, but you will want to think about the speed.

If you need a fast hard drive that can access data in an instant, you will want to opt for a solid state drive. Like flash memory, they allow for speedy boot times and fast access to data. They tend to be more expensive and not as large as hard disk drives. While slower on boot up, HDD’s are still the standard due to their low-cost and the fact you can get them all the way up to 2TB without breaking the bank.

Top 5 Best Laptop for Programming Reviews

1. Dell Inspiron 17.3” FHD Touchscreen Laptop

Programmers that are just getting started or are only looking for a replacement are going to be impressed by this PC. The Dell Inspiron Signature Laptop has all the bells & whistles you could want from a daily driver but is also a fantastic option for coders.

We’re going to start by saying this laptop is large, so it’s not going to be for anyone that needs an extremely portable option due to the 17.3-inch display. That, and the fact it weighs in at over 7 pounds. Aside from the heft, you are getting a powerful machine with an Intel Core i7-6500U, 16GB of DDR4 RAM, and Intel’s Turbo Boos tech which gives the processor a bump. Connectivity options include a SuperMulti DVD drive, Bluetooth 4.0, and SD card reader, two USB 2.0 ports and one USB 3.0 port.

As for that display, it has 10-finger multi-touch capabilities and a resolution of 1,920 x 1,080. From a programming perspective, this PC has more than enough oomph to handle whatever you throw its way. If there’s a weak spot, it’s the battery life which is rated at only 5-6 hours depending on your usage.

2. ASUS ZenBook UX330UA-AH54 Laptop

Our first choice for the best laptop for programming is a bit of a behemoth. If you need something that you can easily toss into a laptop bag or briefcase, you’ve found an option in the ASUS ZenBook. This is the UX330UA model, which sports a 13.3-inch LCD display and has a cool security feature built in.

The ASUS ZenBook UX300UA is a sleek machine with an aluminum shell which makes it both light and durable. That 13.3-inch panel is wide-view and has a resolution of 1,920 x 1,080 with an HD webcam mounted up top. While the laptop is thin, the bezels are average which is a disappointment considering the rest of the build. Power is provided through the popular Core i5-7200U and 8GB of RAM while your files can be accessed in seconds thanks to a 256GB solid-state drive. The laptop weighs in at only 2.6 pounds and will run Windows 10 out of the box.

We saved the best for last with this one as it sports a fingerprint reader to keep prying eyes away from your sensitive information. It works in conjunction with Windows Hello, which is handy to have with that speedy solid-state drive.

3. Dell Flagship Inspiron 15 5000 Full HD Laptop

Our second laptop from the fine folks at Dell is their annual refresh of the Inspiron 5000. It’s their flagship model with a large 15.6-inch display sporting a Full HD resolution of 1,920 x 1,080. It’s not as beefy as some of our other choices under the hood in one area but is a great machine nonetheless.

The Intel Core i7-6500U will help push the pixels to that 15.6-inch display, which is a touchscreen with WLED backlighting. At 1TB, the hard drive offers up plenty of space, and you can expand through one USB Type-C port, a USB 3.0 port or one of the two USB 2.0 ports. Other ports on this model include HDMI out, a memory card reader, and they slapped an optical drive onto the side as well. Despite all those components, Dell kept this one relatively light at a little over 5 pounds, and Intel’s RealSense 3D camera thrown in as a nice bonus.

Whether you want to sling code late into the night on a personal project or need a laptop for work, the Dell Inspiron 5000 has you covered. The downside to this model would be the RAM as you’re only going to get 8GB and the battery life at 5-6 hours. Obviously, the latter depends on your usage, and we’re pleased to say you can expand the former up to 16GB as well.

4. HP Envy 17t UHD Touchscreen 4K Laptop

The HP Envy 17t is another 17.3-inch   that will be a bit hefty in the laptop bag due to its girth. While we can’t change its overall size, you will get plenty of choices when it comes to what lies under the hood and the type of display you’d like.

Options are at the forefront with the HP Envy 17t as about the only things you can’t customize are the ports and the actual size of the machine. Two models have a resolution of 1,920 x 1,080 – one with a 512GB solid-state drive, the other with a 1TB SSD. The same configurations apply for the two UHD models which have an eye-blistering resolution of 3,840 x 1,440. No matter which way you turn, you can choose from either 16 or 32GB of RAM, and all have an i7 processor and a GeForce 940MX graphics card.

You won’t have trouble running code in any language you choose on this machine although it may be considered overkill for users that just need a simple laptop with the basics. If you want something more from your PC, you can’t go wrong with this one, and extras like the B&O Play sound system and Dual Digital microphone are the icing on the cake.

5. ASUS ROG 17.3” Touchscreen Gaming PC

The type of programming laptop you need depends on the language or skills you plan to use on a daily basis. If you plan on attending MIT or another prestigious school, you are going to want a laptop that shines and not just on the outside. The ASUS ROG Gaming PC has plenty of style, but it also has loads of power.

The ASUS ROG is a great looking laptop with clean lines and a contrasting style between the keyboard and chassis. That keyboard is built for speed and backlit to boot. This model is a bit of an oddball with 24GB of RAM under the hood instead of the usual 16 or 32GB configuration, and the memory gets a boost from an Intel Core i7-6700HQ with a clock speed of 2.6GHz. Other features to note include Sonic Studio, an optical drive, the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 965M, and a massive 1TB hard disk drive. It can run any language put in its path and plenty of high-end 3D programs.

This model only comes in one configuration, but it’s a good one that leaves little to be desired. That said, it’s hefty at close to 10 pounds due to the 17.3-inch touchscreen display, and the battery life is not going to be the best at between 3-5 hours unless you dial the settings down.