Having one of the best laptops for programming can be of major benefit if you're looking to add some extra power to your current set-up, and we're here to give you a hand with your search.
We've found a number of standout laptops that we think tick all the right boxes when it comes to the more heavy lifting tasks programming and coding can present, based on reviews, specs, and features they offer.
Let's get to it!
Best Laptop For Programming
- Apple MacBook Air M1
- LG Gram 17 (2021)
- Razer Blade 15 (2021)
- Google Pixelbook Go
- HP Spectre x360 (2021)
- ASUS ZenBook Pro Duo (2021)
Best Laptop For Programming - Apple MacBook Air M1
Manufacturer: Apple | Operating System: macOS Big Sur | Processor: Apple M1 | Storage: 256GB/512GB/1TB/2TB SSD | Screen Size: 13 inches | Memory: 8GB – 16GB RAM
With the launch of the M1 chip, Apple brought both the Air and the Pro lines together to be on a level playing field, arguably with the only real difference between the two being a Touch Bar.
The chip itself, with eight cores of CPU and GPU power packed inside looks to be perfect for even the most demanding of tasks, and an LED-backlit panel with 400 nits of brightness ensures colours will be vibrant and pop nicely.
For those who value design too, given that it's a fanless laptop, the Apple MacBook Air M1 appears remarkably thin and also comes in a choice of three colours - Gold, Silver and Space Grey.
As a MacBook, it also runs Apple's macOS which we think is a great OS for programming quite simply because of its intuitive interface that also packs a lot of power and functionality.
Battery life of 11 hours should also give it enough juice to last between one and two working days, allowing you to work without having to charge up for some time.
Best Large Screen Laptop For Programming - LG Gram 17 (2021)
Manufacturer: LG | Operating System: Windows 10 | Processor: Intel i7-1165G7 | Storage: 512GB/1TB/2TB/4TB SSD | Screen Size: 17 inches | Memory: 8GB – 16GB RAM
Sometimes having a large amount of screen real estate can be important, and the LG Gram 17 (2021) certainly delivers on that front.
Whilst the Gram line is available in smaller screen sizes, having a 17 inch IPS panel with a 16:10 aspect ratio looks to be great not only for programming but also for general day-to-day tasks, too.
A dual SSD setup with user-expandable storage of up to 4TB total should be plenty for even the most space-hogging of apps and also provide loads of room for any documents and files you need to have to hand.
We also think that having an 11th Gen Intel Core i7 chip will provide a lot of power for day-to-day working and an 80Wh battery again makes a great option for taking on the go.
Best Laptop For Programming And Gaming - Razer Blade 15 (2020)
Manufacturer: Razer | Operating System: Windows 10 | Processor: Intel i7-10750H | Storage: 512GB SSD | Screen Size: 15 inches | Memory: 16GB RAM
For those wanting to engage in some gaming as well as programming, the Razer Blade 15 (2021) looks to be an incredible choice.
It features a powerful combo of a QHD display with its 165Hz refresh rate and an Nvidia RTX 3070 discrete GPU that can handle some of the most demanding apps and AAA titles.
With a top-of-the-line 10th Gen i7-10-750H under the hood too, we also think the Blade 15 is a good choice for intensive, multi-threaded tasks such as video editing.
16GB of high-speed DDR4 RAM should also mean you don't have to feel guilty about having a million tabs open either.
Best Budget Laptop For Programming - Google Pixelbook Go
Manufacturer: Google | Operating System: ChromeOS | Processor: Intel Core M3 8100Y/Intel Core i5-8220Y/Intel Core i7-8500Y | Storage: 64GB/128GB/256GB | Screen Size: 13.3inch FHD/13.3inch 4K panel | Memory: 8GB/16GB RAM |
Alright, a £600 or so laptop may not be considered budget by some, but in contrast to the four-figure sums on offer elsewhere on this list, the Google Pixelbook Go seems like a stellar all-rounder.
For storage, you've got a choice of 64GB, 128GB and 256GB at the top end which should be plenty for storing files and apps, and RAM options of either 8GB or 16GB should also be good for multi-tasking.
There's also a choice of 8th-gen Intel Core processors which should provide plenty of power for day-to-day working, especially the i7-8500Y at the top end.
You're not being short-changed on the display that the Pixelbook Go utilises either, with a Full HD 13.3" panel offering what looks to be decent brightness and colours. Do note, the top-end model utilises a 4K display though, which may just be worth the extra.
Best 2-In-1 Laptop For Programming - HP Spectre x360 (2021)
Manufacturer: HP | Operating System: Windows 10 | Processor: Intel i7-1165G7 | Storage: 256/512GB/1TB/2TB SSD | Screen Size: 15.6 inches | Memory: 16GB RAM
If you're a fan of versatility then the HP Spectre x360 (2021) may be a great investment.
As a 2-in-1 capable machine, it represents a good choice for both programming and also design work. Being a 2-in-1 means the screen can be folded over and used as a tablet with the additional stylus, but a quick flip back means you don't lose out on its traditional laptop status.
Moreover, with an i7-1165G7, the HP Spectre x360 (2021) it's also rather powerful, and with the option of getting upwards of 2TB of SSD storage with additional Intel Optane Memory means that it should be plenty fast enough to read and write those important files.
The 15.6-inch screen also presents a happy medium of size and portability as you still get a lot to work with, but it's also enough to fold down and sling in a bag when you're finished.
We think the Spectre x360 also delivers on looks too, thanks to a two-tone black and gold accented design.
Best Dual Screen Laptop For Programming - Asus Zenbook Pro Duo (2021)
Manufacturer: Asus | Operating System: Windows 10 | Processor: Intel i7-10750H | Storage: 256/512GB/1TB SSD | Screen Size: 15.6 inches | Memory: 16GB-32GB RAM
Why have one screen when you can have two? That's certainly the logic behind the ASUS ZenBook Pro Duo (2021), and we think it's a prime candidate for being the best laptop for programming.
Whilst a 2-in-1 offers tablet-like functionality, having two screens to work from should help with workflow greatly, especially given both are touchscreens and can also be used for lengthy design work.
However, this particular laptop isn't all about the dual-screen set-up. With a 4K UHD display with oodles of brightness, we think the ZenBook Pro Duo (2021) is also ideal for relaxing and watching movies, too.
It packs an RTX 2060 GPU from Nvidia under the hood too, so if you wanted to use this creative behemoth for gaming, then you absolutely could. Combine this with an Intel Core i7-10750H and you've got one of the more capable ultrabooks for gaming on the market today.
We also think that its Celestial Blue-coloured and fully aluminium shell also makes it look the part and stand out from the crowd of grey available today.
Frequently Asked Questions About Best Laptops For Programming
How much RAM does a laptop for programming need?
In most cases, this depends on what you're doing with coding. For the less intense tasks, laptops with 8GB of RAM will definitely suffice.
However, if you're delving into the world of virtual machines, you'll of course need to allocate resources from your main clump that the VM can use, so investing in a machine with 16GB and upwards should allow things to be split nicely.
Do I need a discrete graphics card in a laptop for programming?
A lot of the laptops on this list such as the LG Gram 17 (2021) run integrated graphics that come bundled with the processor and these have become a lot more capable over the years.
Having a discrete graphics card though like in the Razer Blade 15 (2021) can provide some extra oomph when needed and give you that little bit more capacity if you do run a virtual machine, for instance.
Do I need a touchscreen in a laptop for programming?
Touchscreen compatible laptops can add some flexibility to your workflow, either when a trackpad isn't as accurate or you just want a change.
You don't strictly need one, but with machines such as the HP Spectre x360 (2021), it just adds another dimension to the way you work, or you could go for two separate screens with the ASUS ZenBook Pro Duo (2021) which can provide even more options.