Best Laptops for Programming Students (Reviews 2018)

If you’re starting off with programming as a student, then a good laptop is what you need to run all the necessary programs for coding. But buying the best laptop in the market that fills all your requirements can be a hassle. You need to do some research before buying pretty much any electronic product these days. And as for programming, you need to search for the best laptops for programming students and check many different things based on what kind of programming you do and which programming language you use. So what are the necessary things to check before getting a good laptop for programming?

In this article, we’re going to explain everything you need to know about buying a laptop and getting the best laptop for your programming study. So don’t worry about a thing, we got your back on this one!

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Things You Should Know Before Getting a Programmer’s Laptop

Computer programming is the process of building and designing an executable program for performing a specific task on a computer. There are many programming languages you can use for coding.  So a programmer should have a laptop that can both build and run programs on the device efficiently, but what is an ideal configuration for a programmer’s laptop and what are the important things that all programmers should know before buying a laptop for coding?

Our experts have come up with five essential steps for you to follow so that you can choose your laptop from some of the best laptops for programming students available in the market.

1. Operating System:

Microsoft Windows and Apple macOS are two of the most popular operating systems for coding and development. A vast majority of programmers choose Windows over macOS because it supports most of the programming languages and some of the best Windows laptops are cheaper than MacBooks. But if you’re a student who’s learning iOS development or any other Apple’s ecosystem development, then Mac is your only option here. Objective C and Swift are Xcode required, which is only available for Mac and knowing Apple; they aren’t going to make it available on any other operating systems. Linux is good for Python, Ruby on Rails and PHP developers but Windows also supports all of them. So, we highly recommend Windows laptops for all programming students, but for Apple developers, a MacBook is the only option available.

2. Processor:

Also known as CPU, is the brain of every computer. So you are bound to have a processor that is strong enough to handle all your programming applications efficiently. Whether you’re building a website or a mobile app, you will need a powerful processor to run all those powerful programs you use to code and to run that code. Our experts believe that laptops with Intel i5 processor will be sufficient enough to run such demanding programs, and if you’re a student who’s learning game developing or graphics programming, then laptops with Intel i7 processor is recommended.

3. Ram:

The more ram you have on your computer, the faster it will be, and you can switch between all the running applications simultaneously. But that doesn’t mean you’re going to have to spend all your money on just getting the most RAM on your laptop. Our PC experts recommend at least 8GB of RAM for a programming laptop, but then again, if you’re learning game development or graphics programming, then you’re required to have more RAM on your laptop, e.g., 16GB. It’s always nice to have more RAM so you can run local servers, code editors, compilers, and web browsers smoothly.

4. HDD/SSD:

Your hard-drive is as important as the other components on your laptop. HDDs are slower than SSDs, and they come with cheaper laptops. But if programming is the main reason behind getting a laptop, then SSDs are really important and beneficial for programming students. They help a laptop boot up faster than anything and also help in loading your previously saved project quickly so you can continue work from where you left off. SSDs are a bit costly. You can get a laptop with a 1TB HDD with the price of a laptop with 128GB/256GB SSD. The blazing fast speed of SSD makes it our top pick for programmers, so we leave this one on to you. If storage is an issue then you can go with HDD, you’re not only getting more storage but also a reasonable speed with an HDD. But if performance is your number one priority, then you can get a 512GB SSD which should do the work for you.

5. Graphics:

It’s always good to have a dedicated graphics card on your laptop because they are far better than integrated graphics. Although, Intel’s new Coffee Lake and Kaby Lake CPUs have more than enough power to run most of your programming applications. It’s still better to get a laptop that comes with a dedicated graphics card because more power you have, the easier it will be for you to code and do other things on your laptop, such as gaming, video rendering, editing, etc. 2GB graphics is enough for coders but if you can go for more then it’s great! If your laptop comes with a higher resolution, then the experience you will have with a dedicated GPU is incomparable to an IGPU.

Apart from all the things we’ve mentioned, a laptop for programming students should also have a few other things you need to check before getting the best one for your regular use. These are –

  • A keyboard which is comfortable to type on, because you will be typing a lot on your laptop while coding.
  • A good display is also suggested to reduce eyestrain while staring at the screen for hours long; an IPS display is a great choice.
  • A lightweight design.
  • Good battery life also matters so you can travel anywhere with your laptop and have good backup power for emergency needs.

Getting the Best Laptop for You

We have got you covered on what type of laptop you might want to use for coding. Let’s introduce you now to some of the best laptops for programming students available in the market right now!

Laptop

Type

Warranty

Price

Rating

Availability

Acer Aspire E15xNotebook1 Year$4.0 Check
ASUS VivoBook F510UANotebook1 Year$4.0 Check
Dell XPS 15Ultrabook1 Year$$$4.0 Check
Apple MacBook Pro 15Notebook1 Year$$$3.5 Check
Lenovo ThinkPad E580 NotebookNotebook3 Years$$4.0 Check

We have provided an in-depth review of each of the laptops mentioned in the chart. Read on!

Acer Aspire E15

Acer Aspire E 15

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Acer Aspire E15 is rated as number 1 laptop for coding at Amazon. Whether it’s for gaming or programming, this one is a beast and can handle almost every task on a laptop. The Aspire E15 provides enough power to run everything smoothly. It’s rocking the latest 8th gen. Intel Core i5 processor, combined with 8GB of RAM and dedicated video memory. The NVidia GeForce MX150 2GBb DDR5 is best for both coding and video gaming. It also comes with a 256GB of SSD storage, making it a performance beast at a decent price point.

Acer Aspire E15 also has a very good keyboard with tactile backlit keys, making it easier for you to type even in the dark. It has a battery backup of 12 hours, which is great for students that study late at night and don’t want to be bothered by the charger and cables. They have added an extra RAM slot for you to upgrade in future and an empty disk bay for a storage upgrade. We would highly recommend you to get this one if programming is your number 1 value.

Pros:

  • Long battery life
  • Lots of ports plus DVD drive
  • Expandable storage and memory
  • Comparably affordable price

Cons:

  • Somewhat heavy
  • Boring design

Specs at a glance:

Acer Aspire E15
 Processor Intel Core i5-8250U 1.6GHz Quad-Core Processor With Turbo boost up to 3.4 GHz
 RAM 8 GB DDR4 RAM
 Storage 256GB SSD
 Graphics NVIDIA GeForce MX150 2GB DDR5 VRAM
 Display (Resolution) 15.6-inch FHD ComfyView LED-Backlit IPS Screen (1920 x 1080)
 Operating System Windows 10 Home 64-bit
 Battery Life Up to 15 hours
 Weight 5.27 lbs

Comparison table

ASUS VivoBook F510UA

Best laptop for programming student

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The ASUS VivoBook F510UA is one the best laptops for programming students according to our experts’ opinion. It’s also the cheapest in the market, but not at the cost of its performance. The laptop is rocking the latest 8th gen. Intel Core i5-8250U processor, paired with 8 GB of RAM for all your multitasking. The VivoBook F510UA doesn’t have a dedicated GPU, but as we’ve mentioned before in the article, the IGPU UHD 620 has enough power to ensure good performance and run all your programs just fine.

The bright and crispy 15.6-inch display of the laptop is anti-glare, which makes everything look crystal clear on the screen and also generates enough bright or dark to code comfortably in any lighting conditions. The touchpad has one of the best Clickpad designs for the price range. It has a decent gliding surface, and the gestures work pretty well. It has a very comfortable keyboard for coders and also comes with a Numpad if that matters to you. With all the required ports and slots in each side of the laptop, it is undoubtedly a complete all-around package for programming students.

Pros:

  • Low price, great build quality
  • Nice touchpad and a fairly decent keyboard
  • Features both USB Type-A and Type-C ports
  • Great IPS panel with High Contrast and no PWM

Cons:

  • The keyboard isn’t backlit
  • The cooling system doesn’t perform well under load

Specs at a glance:

ASUS VivoBook F510UA
 Processor Intel Core i5-8250U 1.6GHz Quad-Core Processor With Turbo boost up to 3.4 GHz
 RAM 8 GB DDR4 RAM (Expandable)
 Storage 1TB HDD
 Graphics Intel UHD 620 IGPU
 Display (Resolution) 15.6-inch FHD anti-glare display, (1920 x 1080)
 Operating System Windows 10 Home 64-bit
 Battery Life Up to 5 hours
 Weight 3.7 lbs

Comparison table

Dell XPS 15

Dell XPS Thin Light Laptop

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Dell XPS 15 is the best laptop when it comes to performance and portability. It looks and feels smaller and lighter than most other laptops, props to its bezel-less 15” infinity touchscreen display and that cool carbon-fiber design. It has quad HD resolution that generates sharp, well saturated, and beautiful colors. The laptop comes in two variants. The default one is a touchscreen laptop, but if you don’t want a touchscreen, then you can also go with the non-touch version of Dell XPS 15.

The laptop is rocking the Intel Core i7 Kaby Lake CPU and NVidia GeForce GTX 1050 GPU, making it a perfect laptop for power users and programmers. The keyboard on this laptop is also good for programming students. It’s backlit and has 1.5mm traveling keys that give a satisfying experience in typing code. It also has a built-in memory card reader with 2 USB 3.0 ports, 1 USB Type-C port, and a 3.5mm headphone jack. Weighing only 3.9 pounds, this is hands down one of the perfect choices for students of CSE or IT.

Pros:

  • InfinityEdge Display
  • More power, better graphics
  • Long battery life that will last you all day
  • Lighter than most laptops with a soft-touch finish

Cons:

  • Poorly places Webcam, produces unflattering images
  • The base version of this laptop has a relatively poor configuration

Specs at a glance:

Dell XPS 15
 Processor Intel Core i7-7700HQ 2.8 GHz, Quad-Core Processor With Turbo boost up to 3.8 GHz
 RAM 16GB DDR4 RAM
 Storage 1TB SSD
 Graphics NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 4GB DDR5 VRAM
 Display (Resolution) 15.6-inch 4K UHD InfinityEdge Touchscreen display, (3840 x 2160)
 Operating System Windows 10
 Battery Life Up to 10 hours
 Weight 3.9 lbs

Comparison table

Apple MacBook Pro 15

best laptop for programming 2018

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MacBook Pro 15 is the best laptop for all the Swift lovers and Objective C coders. This laptop is for programmers that are making apps and games for iOS and macOS. It comes with a touch bar and a 15-inch Retina display with very high-end specs inside. The MacBook Pro 15 is rocking Kaby Lake i7 quad-core processor with 16GB of RAM and a dedicated AMD Radeon Pro 555 GPU. With all its power the output is beyond compare with the previous MacBook lineups. It can easily fire up all your local servers, code editors, Apple’s very own Safari browser with 15+ tabs open and you will still have enough room left for more programs to run simultaneously!

The tuning of macOS Sierra with the hardware in MacBook Pro 15 is done perfectly, which helps the laptop produce an overall smooth performance. The laptop also has an attractive look and weighs only 4.2 pounds. For storage options, this laptop comes with a 256GB SSD which should handle most of your programming applications like a boss and give you a much better experience in coding. We highly recommend this laptop to all the programming students out there who are learning iOS or any other Apple’s Ecosystem development.

Pros:

  • High-quality design with Ultra high-resolution display
  • Quite fast performance due to flash storage
  • Excellent battery life
  • SDXC Card reader, Thunderbolt 2 ports, and one HDMI port (alternately supports a single massive 5120×2160 display)

Cons:

  • No internal optical drive
  • Expensive than most Windows laptops

Specs at a glance:

Apple MacBook Pro 15
 Processor Intel Core i7 2.8 GHz Quad-Core Processor (Turbo boost up to 3.8 GHz)
 RAM 16GB 2133MHz RAM
 Storage 256GB SSD
 Graphics AMD Radeon Pro 555 2GB VRAM
 Display (Resolution) 15.4-inch Retina Display, (2880 x 1800)
 Operating System macOS Sierra
 Battery Life Up to 10 hours
 Weight 4 lbs

Comparison table

Lenovo ThinkPad E580 Notebook

CUK ThinkPad E580 Notebook

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ThinkPad E580 is the best budget laptop that is known for its super performance and speed. Lenovo’s ThinkPad series has produced some of the best laptops for professionals. This particular model has all the ingredients in it which make it a perfect choice for programming students. The Lenovo ThinkPad E580 is rocking the Intel Core i5 7th gen. processor with 12GB of DDR4 RAM. This laptop can easily handle all your code editors and software development tools. All the laptops from the ThinkPad series go through many test-runs to ensure the stringent quality, vibration and dustproof. You can code for hours without feeling any heat on the body of ThinkPad. The full-size ergonomic keyboard has optimum key travel that gives you the best feeling while coding.

The laptop comes with a hybrid storage solution with the combination of 128GB SSD and 1TB SATA HDD. You can keep OS in SSD for faster booting and install demanding programs and save your data in HDD. The other cool feature on this laptop is its anti-glare matte screen. Lenovo E580 is undoubtedly one of the best laptops for programming students with its great all-around performance and a pre-installed Windows 10 professional 64-bit.

Pros:

  • Satisfactory matte screen with world-class keyboard
  • Great battery life
  • Low temperature, always runs quietly
  • Hybrid storage solution (SSD+HDD)

Cons:

  • PWM is used to regulate screen brightness
  • Poor color reproduction, Viewing angle dependent screen

Specs at a glance:

Lenovo ThinkPad E580 Notebook
 Processor Intel Core i5-7200U 2.5 GHz, Quad-Core Processor (Turbo boost up to 3.1GHz)
 RAM 12GB 2400MHz DDR4 RAM
 Storage 128GB SSD + 1TB HDD
 Graphics Intel HD 620 IGPU
 Display (Resolution) 15.6-inch HD Display, (1366 x 768)
 Operating System Windows 10 Pro
 Battery Life Up to 8 hours
 Weight 4.7 lbs

Comparison table

Final Words

Thus you can see there are a lot of factors to consider to find the best laptop for yourself. We, with expert guidance from our programmers, have tried to ease down your research process and have come up with the list of our top picks. We hope our efforts prove beneficial for you and you find your ideal programming laptop among the ones mentioned here.

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