Best Laptop for Programming 2020 – Quick List:

  1. Huawei MateBook 13 – Best Laptop for Programming 2020
  2. LG Gram 17 – Best Laptop for Programming 2020
  3. Dell Inspiron 14 5000 – Best Laptop for Programming 2020
  4. Lenovo ThinkPad P1 – Best Laptop for Programming 2020
  5. Apple MacBook Pro 13-inch – Best Laptop for Programming 2020

Welcome to WTG’s picks for the Best Laptop for Programming 2020. Computer programming (often used interchangeably with ‘coding’) means different things to different people. The heart of programming in any language is not particularly demanding – you’re only writing lines of text, which you may think any computer should be able to manage. However, there are some features that will make a considerable difference to a coder’s productivity and workflow.

Screen Size

The perfect screen size for programming is an interesting debate. With more screen area on a 15-inch laptop, it’s easier to read through code and make GUI adjustments, but you usually lose some of the portability of a smaller computer. We’ve covered screen sizes from 13 inches, and recently we had a chance to test the highly impressive new LG Gram 17-inch laptop. The LG Gram has a massive screen that will accommodate even more code, but without the weight and bulk of a typical 17-inch laptop.

Memory (RAM) & Processor

More memory will mean today’s heavyweight integrated development environments (IDEs) such as Visual Studio will run buttery-smooth, and make it easier to make changes when working with complex website layouts that have huge amounts of background code. Large, complex programs compile faster with a faster processor.

Operating System

Additionally, if you think your new idea is going to be the next big hit on Apple’s App Store, you need a laptop running MacOS to use Xcode, Apple’s IDE that’s used exclusively to develop applications for the iPhone, iPad and Mac. Similarly, if you’re considering working with game development within an environment such as UnrealEd or Unity, as part of your project, you can’t ignore graphics performance either. While you’re in the market for your new laptop, bear in mind that ergonomics make a big difference if you’re going to be coding for long stretches.

Read on for our in-depth list for Best Laptop for Programming 2020.


Huawei MateBook 13

Best Laptop for Programming 2020
Best Laptop for Programming 2020

CPU: 8th generation Intel Core i5 – i7 | Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics 620 , Nvidia GeForce MX150 2GB GDDR5 | RAM: 8GB | Storage: 256GB – 512GB SSD | Size: 21.1×28.6×1.2cm | Weight: 1.3kg | OS: Windows 10

Huawei stormed into the phone market with its excellent, competitively priced range of handsets, and now it’s done it again with laptops: this portable has great specs for coding work.

For a (relatively) modest asking price, you’re getting all the power of a Core i5 or Core i7 chip, a crisp, bright, high-resolution 13-inch display, and loads of SSD storage. It makes Apple (and other high-end manufacturers) look like peers it can compete with. What’s more, it’s super portable too, weighing just 1.3kg and less than 1.5cm thick. This laptop is definitely worth a look.

Take a Look: Huawei MateBook 13


LG Gram 17

Best Laptop for Programming 2020
Best Laptop for Programming 2020

CPU: Intel Core i7-8565U (quad core, 4.6GHz Max Turbo Boost) | Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics 620 | RAM: 16GB | Storage: 512GB SSD | Size: 38.1×21.1×1.7cm | Weight: 1.34kg | OS: Windows 10 Home

Built from a super-light magnesium-carbon alloy, the LG Gram is touted as the lightest 17-inch laptop in the world, measuring just 1.7cm thick. If you like the idea of having a bigger laptop screen for editing code on, then a 17-inch model will be the right choice, but most 17-inch laptops are unfortunately thick, heavy and difficult to carry around. With the LG Gram 17, you don’t have to make that concession – plus it has a specification that will ensure any programming tools run without a hitch. 

LG has equipped the Gram 17 gorgeous IPS WXGA (2560×1600) screen that looks sharp and bright, with high colour accuracy, a quad core Intel Core i7 processor, a 512GB SSD and 16GB of memory. That’s enough performance to chew through any heavyweight IDE out there.

Take a Look: LG Gram 17


Dell Inspiron 14 5000

Best Laptop for Programming 2020
Best Laptop for Programming 2020

CPU: Intel Core i5-8265U (quad core, 3.9GHz Max Turbo Boost) | Graphics: NVIDIA GeForceR MX150 2GB GDDR5 | RAM: 8GB | Storage: 256GB SSD | Size: 32.4×23.2×1.9cm | Weight: 1.48kg | OS: Windows 10

The Dell Inspiron 14 5000 is a great all-round laptop for programming. There are three key things to look for if you want a great modern laptop – a FullHD (1,920×1,080) IPS display, at least a quad-core processor and SSD storage. Aside from that, it’s easy to get fixated on bells and whistles when talking about laptops but many coding tasks don’t require anything particularly exotic.

Dell’s latest Inspiron 14 5000 laptops tick all these boxes, which will guarantee great running performance and an excellent system for all computing tasks, including more taxing processing jobs. The starting specification gets you the aforementioned high resolution display, a quad-core Intel Core i5 processor, 8GB of memory and a 256GB SSD, with a sleek build and a starting price that really isn’t too extortionate. Go up a level and there’s an additional 1TB hard disk and a Core i7 processor.

Take a Look: Dell Inspiron 14 5000


Lenovo ThinkPad P1

Best Laptop for Programming 2020
Best Laptop for Programming 2020

CPU: Six Core Intel Core i7 / Xeon | Graphics: Nvidia Quadro P2000 | RAM: 8-16GB | Storage: 256GB-4TB | Size: 36.2×24.6×1.8cm | Weight: 1.7kg | OS: Windows 10 Home / Pro

Rounding off our pick of the best laptops for programming is the ThinkPad p1. With this model, Lenovo has taken the kind of computing experience most of us assume is only possible with a desktop workstation housed in a large box under a desk, and not only made it portable, but squeezed it into a form that in thickness, is close to an Ultrabook.

It’s the only laptop of this size that offers professional-grade Xeon processors, with up to six cores, an Nvidia Quadro P2000 graphics card and up to 64GB of memory. You can stuff it with up to 4TB of nVME SSD storage, and opt for a 15.6-inch 4K display that’s not only touch-sensitive, but color-accurate too. It’s a great general-purpose workstation, capable of all kinds of visual design work and heavy lifting processor-intensive tasks. 

Of course, it works great for coding as well. That’s partly thanks to Lenovo’s excellent keyboard design, but in general the ThinkPad P1 is superbly built, including a semi-rugged chassis that can survive light knocks, a very healthy selection of ports, retaining two original USB Gen 1 ports, as well as two newer, Thunderbolt capable USB type C ports and HDMI. Make no mistake, if it’s raw performance you want, this is the laptop to go for.

Take a Look: Lenovo ThinkPad P1


Microsoft Surface Laptop 2

Best Laptop for Programming 2020
Best Laptop for Programming 2020

CPU: Intel Core i5 – i7 | Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics 620 | RAM: 8GB – 16GB | Storage: 128GB – 1TB SSD | Size: 30.8x 22.3×1.4cm | Weight: 1.25kg | OS: Windows 10

As it comes from Microsoft, the Surface Laptop 2 effectively offers a pure Windows 10 experience, making it a benchmark for testing and developing Windows software. It has a great design, a solid aluminium shell and a very comfortable keyboard. The new version comes in a variety of colors (including matte black) and offers fairly meaty specifications, with a Core i7, up to 16GB of memory, 1TB SSD storage and a high-resolution 13.5-inch screen that works with Microsoft’s Surface Pen stylus.

Take a Look: Microsoft Surface Laptop 2


Apple MacBook Pro 13-inch

Best Laptop for Programming 2020
Best Laptop for Programming 2020

CPU: 2-4 Cores | Graphics: Intel Iris Plus 640-655 | RAM: 8-16GB | Storage: 128GB-2TB | Size: 30.4cm x 21.2cm x 1.5cm | Weight: 1.37kg | OS: MacOS

While Apple’s MacBook and the newly updated MacBook Air are the most portable Apple laptops in the range, with its recent update, the 13-inch MacBook Pro is currently our first choice for working with Xcode to develop apps for iOS and MacOS when on the go.

Quad-core eight-generation Intel CPUs are now an option, delivering across-the-board performance improvements, making this MacBook both portable and powerful. While it might weigh slightly more than the aforementioned MacBook models, the performance boost will be worth it when running taxing processing tasks, such as heavy-duty coding projects.

And since Macs can run Windows just fine via bootcamp or in a virtual machine such as Parallels, you’ll be able to use your Mac to develop apps for any platform on Earth.

Take a Look: Apple MacBook Pro 13-inch


If you’re on the hunt for a design-specific device, take a look at our roundup of the best laptop for graphic design.


Best Laptop for Programming

Computer programming is the process of designing and building an executable computer program for accomplishing a specific computing task. Programming involves tasks such as: analysis, generating algorithms, profiling algorithms’ accuracy and resource consumption, and the implementation of algorithms in a chosen programming language (commonly referred to as coding).[

Best Laptop for Developers

The source code of a program is written in one or more languages that are intelligible to programmers, rather than machine code, which is directly executed by the central processing unit. The purpose of programming is to find a sequence of instructions that will automate the performance of a task (which can be as complex as an operating system) on a computer, often for solving a given problem. The process of programming thus often requires expertise in several different subjects, including knowledge of the application domain, specialized algorithms, and formal logic.

Best Laptop for Programming

Tasks accompanying and related to programming include: testingdebuggingsource code maintenance, implementation of build systems, and management of derived artifacts, such as the machine code of computer programs. These might be considered part of the programming process, but often the term software development is used for this larger process with the term programmingimplementation, or coding reserved for the actual writing of code. Software engineering combines engineering techniques with software development practices. Reverse engineering is the opposite process. A hacker is any skilled computer expert that uses their technical knowledge to overcome a problem, but it can also mean a security hacker in common language.

laptop (also laptop computer), often called a notebook, is a small, portable personal computer (PC) with a “clamshell” form factor, typically having a thin LCD or LED computer screen mounted on the inside of the upper lid of the clamshell and an alphanumeric keyboard on the inside of the lower lid. The clamshell is opened up to use the computer. Laptops are folded shut for transportation, and thus are suitable for mobile use.[1] Its name comes from lap, as it was deemed to be placed on a person’s lap when being used. Although originally there was a distinction between laptops and notebooks (the former being bigger and heavier than the latter), as of 2014, there is often no longer any difference.[2] Laptops are commonly used in a variety of settings, such as at work, in education, for playing games, Internet surfing, for personal multimedia, and general home computer use.

Best Laptop for Programming

Laptops combine all the input/output components and capabilities of a desktop computer, including the display screen, small speakers, a keyboardhard disk driveoptical disc drive, pointing devices (such as a touchpad or trackpad), a processor, and memory into a single unit. Most modern laptops feature integrated webcams and built-in microphones, while many also have touchscreens. Laptops can be powered either from an internal battery or by an external power supply from an AC adapter. Hardware specifications, such as the processor speed and memory capacity, significantly vary between different types, makes, models and price points.

Best Laptop for Developers

Design elements, form factor and construction can also vary significantly between models depending on intended use. Examples of specialized models of laptops include rugged notebooks for use in construction or military applications, as well as low production cost laptops such as those from the One Laptop per Child (OLPC) organization, which incorporate features like solar charging and semi-flexible components not found on most laptop computers. Portable computers, which later developed into modern laptops, were originally considered to be a small niche market, mostly for specialized field applications, such as in the military, for accountants, or for traveling sales representatives. As the portable computers evolved into the modern laptop, they became widely used for a variety of purposes.[3]

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The terms laptop and notebook are used interchangeably to describe a portable computer in English, although in some parts of the world one or the other may be preferred. There is some question as to the original etymology and specificity of either term—the term laptop appears to have been coined in the early 1980s to describe a mobile computer which could be used on one’s lap, and to distinguish these devices from earlier, much heavier, portable computers (informally called “luggables”). The term “notebook” appears to have gained currency somewhat later as manufacturers started producing even smaller portable devices, further reducing their weight and size and incorporating a display roughly the size of A4 paper; these were marketed as notebooks to distinguish them from bulkier laptops.[4] Regardless of the etymology, by the late 1990s and towards the 2000s, the terms were interchangeable.

Best Laptop for Web Developers

As the personal computer (PC) became feasible in 1971, the idea of a portable personal computer soon followed. A “personal, portable information manipulator” was imagined by Alan Kay at Xerox PARC in 1968,[5] and described in his 1972 paper as the “Dynabook“.[6] The IBM Special Computer APL Machine Portable (SCAMP) was demonstrated in 1973. This prototype was based on the IBM PALM processor.[7] The IBM 5100, the first commercially available portable computer, appeared in September 1975, and was based on the SCAMP prototype.[8]

Best Laptop for Web Developers

As 8-bit CPU machines became widely accepted, the number of portables increased rapidly. The first “laptop-sized notebook computer” was the Epson HX-20,[9][10] invented (patented) by Suwa Seikosha‘s Yukio Yokozawa in July 1980,[11] introduced at the COMDEX computer show in Las Vegas by Japanese company Seiko Epson in 1981,[12][10] and released in July 1982.[10][13] It had an LCD screen, a rechargeable battery, and a calculator-size printer, in a 1.6 kg (3.5 lb) chassis, the size of an A4 notebook.[10] It was described as a “laptop” and “notebook” computer in its patent.[11]

Best Laptop for Programming

The portable micro computer Portal of the French company R2E Micral CCMC officially appeared in September 1980 at the Sicob show in Paris. It was a portable microcomputer designed and marketed by the studies and developments department of R2E Micral at the request of company CCMC specializing in payroll and accounting. It was based on an Intel 8085 processor, 8-bit, clocked at 2 MHz. It was equipped with a central 64 KB RAM, a keyboard with 58 alpha numeric keys and 11 numeric keys ( separate blocks ), a 32-character screen, a floppy disk : capacity = 140 00 characters, of a thermal printer : speed = 28 characters / second, an asynchronous channel, a synchronous channel, a 220 V power supply. It weighed 12 kg and its dimensions were 45 x 45 x 15 cm. It provided total mobility. Its operating system was the aptly named Prologue.

Best Laptop for Programming

The Osborne 1, released in 1981, was a luggable computer that used the Zilog Z80 and weighed 24.5 pounds (11.1 kg).[14] It had no battery, a 5 in (13 cm) cathode ray tube (CRT) screen, and dual 5.25 in (13.3 cm) single-density floppy drives. Both Tandy/RadioShack and Hewlett Packard (HP) also produced portable computers of varying designs during this period.[15][16] The first laptops using the flip form factor appeared in the early 1980s. The Dulmont Magnum was released in Australia in 1981–82, but was not marketed internationally until 1984–85. The US$8,150 (US$21,160 today) GRiD Compass 1101, released in 1982, was used at NASA and by the military, among others. The Sharp PC-5000,[17] Ampere[18] and Gavilan SC released in 1983. The Gavilan SC was described as a “laptop” by its manufacturer,[19] while the Ampere had a modern clamshell design.[18][20] The Toshiba T1100 won acceptance not only among PC experts but the mass market as a way to have PC portability.[21]

Best Laptop for Programming

From 1983 onward, several new input techniques were developed and included in laptops, including the touchpad (Gavilan SC, 1983), the pointing stick (IBM ThinkPad 700, 1992), and handwriting recognition (Linus Write-Top,[22] 1987). Some CPUs, such as the 1990 Intel i386SL, were designed to use minimum power to increase battery life of portable computers and were supported by dynamic power management features such as Intel SpeedStep and AMD PowerNow! in some designs.

Best Laptop for Coding

Displays reached 640×480 (VGA) resolution by 1988 (Compaq SLT/286), and color screens started becoming a common upgrade in 1991, with increases in resolution and screen size occurring frequently until the introduction of 17″ screen laptops in 2003. Hard drives started to be used in portables, encouraged by the introduction of 3.5″ drives in the late 1980s, and became common in laptops starting with the introduction of 2.5″ and smaller drives around 1990; capacities have typically lagged behind physically larger desktop drives. Optical storage, read-only CD-ROM followed by writeable CD and later read-only or writeable DVD and Blu-ray players, became common in laptops early in the 2000s.

Best Laptop for Coding

Since the introduction of portable computers during late 1970s, their form has changed significantly, spawning a variety of visually and technologically differing subclasses. Except where there is a distinct legal trademark around a term (notably Ultrabook), there are rarely hard distinctions between these classes and their usage has varied over time and between different sources.

Which Monitor is Best for Graphic Designers

The form of the traditional laptop computer is a clamshell, with a screen on one of its inner sides and a keyboard on the opposite, facing the screen. It can be easily folded to conserve space while traveling. The screen and keyboard are inaccessible while closed. Devices of this form are commonly called a ‘traditional laptop’ or notebook, particularly if they have a screen size of 11 to 17 inches measured diagonally and run a full-featured operating system like Windows 10macOS, or GNU/Linux. Traditional laptops are the most common form of laptops, although Chromebooks, Ultrabooks, convertibles and 2-in-1s (described below) are becoming more common, with similar performance being achieved in their more portable or affordable forms.

Best Laptop for Programming

subnotebook or an ultraportable, is a laptop designed and marketed with an emphasis on portability (small size, low weight, and often longer battery life). Subnotebooks are usually smaller and lighter than standard laptops, weighing between 0.8 and 2 kg (2-5 lb),[23] with a battery life exceeding 10 hours.[24] Since the introduction of netbooks and ultrabooks, the line between subnotebooks and either category has blurred. Netbooks are a more basic and cheaper type of subnotebook, and while some ultrabooks have a screen size too large to qualify as subnotebooks, certain ultrabooks fit in the subnotebook category. One notable example of a subnotebook is the Apple MacBook Air.

Best Laptop for Coding

The netbook is an inexpensive, light-weight, energy-efficient form of laptop, especially suited for wireless communication and Internet access.[25][26] Netbooks first became commercially available around 2008, weighing under 1 kg, with a display size of under 9″. The name netbook (with net short for Internet) is used as “the device excels in web-based computing performance”.[27] Netbooks were initially sold with light-weight variants of the GNU operating system (with Linux kernel), although later versions often have the Windows XP or Windows 7 operating systems. The term “netbook” is largely obsolete,[28] although machines that would have once been called netbooks—small, inexpensive, and low powered—never ceased being sold, in particular the smaller Chromebook models.

Best Laptop for Coding

The latest trend of technological convergence in the portable computer industry spawned a broad range of devices, which combined features of several previously separate device types. The hybridsconvertibles and 2-in-1s emerged as crossover devices, which share traits of both tablets and laptops. All such devices have a touchscreen display designed to allow users to work in a tablet mode, using either multi-touch gestures or a stylus/digital pen.

Convertibles are devices with the ability to conceal a hardware keyboard. Keyboards on such devices can be flipped, rotated, or slid behind the back of the chassis, thus transforming from a laptop into a tablet. Hybrids have a keyboard detachment mechanism, and due to this feature, all critical components are situated in the part with the display. 2-in-1s can have a hybrid or a convertible form, often dubbed 2-in-1 detachables and 2-in-1 convertibles respectively, but are distinguished by the ability to run a desktop OS, such as Windows 10. 2-in-1s are often marketed as laptop replacement tablets.

Best Laptop for Programming

2-in-1s are often very thin, around 10 millimetres (0.39 in), and light devices with a long battery life. 2-in-1s are distinguished from mainstream tablets as they feature an x86-architecture CPU (typically a low- or ultra-low-voltage model), such as the Intel Core i5, run a full-featured desktop OS like Windows 10, and have a number of typical laptop I/O ports, such as USB 3 and Mini DisplayPort.

Best Laptop for Programming

2-in-1s are designed to be used not only as a media consumption device, but also as valid desktop or laptop replacements, due to their ability to run desktop applications, such as Adobe Photoshop. It is possible to connect multiple peripheral devices, such as a mouse, keyboard and a number of external displays to a modern 2-in-1.

Best Laptop for Programming

Microsoft Surface Pro-series devices and Surface Book are examples of modern 2-in-1 detachables, whereas Lenovo Yoga-series computers are a variant of 2-in-1 convertibles. While the older Surface RT and Surface 2 have the same chassis design as the Surface Pro, their use of ARM processors and Windows RT do not classify them as 2-in-1s, but as hybrid tablets. Similarly, a number of hybrid laptops run a mobile operating system, such as Android. These include Asus’s Transformer Pad devices, examples of hybrids with a detachable keyboard design, which do not fall in the category of 2-in-1s.

Best Laptop for Programming

A desktop-replacement laptop is a class of large device which is not intended primarily for mobile use. These devices are bulkier and not as portable as other laptops, and are intended for use as compact and transportable alternatives to a desktop computer.[29] Desktop replacements are larger and typically heavier than other classes of laptops. They are capable of containing more powerful components and have a 15-inch or larger display.[29] Desktop replacement laptops’ operation time on batteries is typically shorter than other laptops; in rare cases they have no battery at all. In the past, some laptops in this class used a limited range of desktop components to provide better performance for the same price at the expense of battery life, although this practice has largely died out.[30] The names Media Center Laptops and Gaming Laptops are used to describe specialized notebook computers, often overlapping with the desktop replacement form factor.[23]

Best Laptop for Programming

A rugged laptop is designed to reliably operate in harsh usage conditions such as strong vibrations, extreme temperatures, and wet or dusty environments. Rugged laptops are usually designed from scratch, rather than adapted from regular consumer laptop models. Rugged laptops are bulkier, heavier, and much more expensive than regular laptops,[31] and thus are seldom seen in regular consumer use.

Best Laptop for Programming

Programmable devices have existed for centuries. As early as the 9th century, a programmable music sequencer was invented by the Persian Banu Musa brothers, who described an automated mechanical flute player in the Book of Ingenious Devices.[3][4] In 1206, the Arab engineer Al-Jazari invented a programmable drum machine where musical mechanical automata could be made to play different rhythms and drum patterns, via pegs and cams.[5][6] In 1801, the Jacquard loom could produce entirely different weaves by changing the “program” – a series of pasteboard cards with holes punched in them.

Best Laptop for Programming

Code-breaking algorithms have also existed for centuries. In the 9th century, the Arab mathematician Al-Kindi described a cryptographic algorithm for deciphering encrypted code, in A Manuscript On Deciphering Cryptographic Messages. He gave the first description of cryptanalysis by frequency analysis, the earliest code-breaking algorithm.[7]

The first computer program is generally dated to 1843, when mathematician Ada Lovelace published an algorithm to calculate a sequence of Bernoulli numbers, intended to be carried out by Charles Babbage‘s Analytical Engine.[8]

Best Laptop for Programming

In the 1880s Herman Hollerith invented the concept of storing data in machine-readable form.[9] Later a control panel (plugboard) added to his 1906 Type I Tabulator allowed it to be programmed for different jobs, and by the late 1940s, unit record equipment such as the IBM 602 and IBM 604, were programmed by control panels in a similar way; as were the first electronic computers. However, with the concept of the stored-program computers introduced in 1949, both programs and data were stored and manipulated in the same way in computer memory.[citation needed]

Best Laptop for Programming

Machine code was the language of early programs, written in the instruction set of the particular machine, often in binary notation. Assembly languages were soon developed that let the programmer specify instruction in a text format, (e.g., ADD X, TOTAL), with abbreviations for each operation code and meaningful names for specifying addresses. However, because an assembly language is little more than a different notation for a machine language, any two machines with different instruction sets also have different assembly languages.

 

Compaq Armada laptop from the late 1990s

 

Apple MacBook Air, an ultraportable laptop weighing under 3.0 lb (1.36 kg)

 

Lenovo‘s ThinkPad business laptop, originally an IBM product

 

Asus Transformer Pad, a hybrid tablet, powered by Android OS

 

Microsoft Surface Pro 3, 2-in-1 detachable

 

Alienware gaming laptop

 

Panasonic Toughbook CF-M34, a rugged laptop/subnotebook

Since the introduction of portable computers during late 1970s, their form has changed significantly, spawning a variety of visually and technologically differing subclasses. Except where there is a distinct legal trademark around a term (notably Ultrabook), there are rarely hard distinctions between these classes and their usage has varied over time and between different sources.

Best Laptop for Programming

High-level languages made the process of developing a program simpler and more understandable, and less bound to the underlying hardware. FORTRAN, the first widely used high-level language to have a functional implementation, came out in 1957[10] and many other languages were soon developed – in particular, COBOL aimed at commercial data processing, and Lisp for computer research.

Best Laptop for Programming

Programs were mostly still entered using punched cards or paper tape. See computer programming in the punch card era. By the late 1960s, data storage devices and computer terminals became inexpensive enough that programs could be created by typing directly into the computers. Text editors were developed that allowed changes and corrections to be made much more easily than with punched cards.