If you’re an IT professional that’s looking for one fo the best laptops for programming, or even if you’re an aspiring coder looking for the best Back to School 2018 deal, you’re on the right page. With this list, we’ve gathered together the best laptops for programming and coding.
If you’re looking for the best laptop for programming, you should keep in mind the features you’ll actually need while working. For example, the best laptops for programmers will feature the latest and best processors – you’ll need that extra juice to quickly and efficiently compile your code. Fortunately, most modern laptop processors feature plenty of threads and high clock speeds, which will make looking for the best laptop for programming as easy as saying ‘hello world’.
You’ll also need a good amount of RAM – at least 8GB. And, if you’re running complex code, you’ll need a lots of storage space too. If a laptop features one of the best SSDs, that’s even better – it’ll save you time when coding, and time is money.
Having a dedicated GPU isn’t extremely important for programming, unless you’re coding graphically intensive games that you then want to test out. Modern Intel processors come with integrated graphics capabilities that are powerful enough for pretty much all programming tasks.
So, without further ado, here's our list of the best laptops for programming in 2018.
In our view, the Toshiba Portege Z30-C-138 is the best laptop for programming, as it features a fast processor, a large SSD and hefty 16GB of RAM. Best of all, it also manages 11 hours of battery life, which is ideal if you're looking for a laptop for programming and coding on the go. Toshiba has also managed to squeeze an extraordinary amount of components in this device including a VGA port, a fingerprint reader and even a 4G/LTE modem and A-GPS!
- This product is only available in the US at the time of this writing. UK and Australian readers: check out a fine alternative in the Surface Book 2
With the ThinkPad E470, Lenovo took an existing form factor and refined it. Now, powered by 7th-generation Intel Kaby Lake processors, this is one of the best laptops for programming. It also features a lovely 14-inch anti-glare display, powered by a discrete Nvidia GeForce 940MX GPU, a spill resistant keyboard and Lenovo’s signature TrackPoint. The Lenovo E460, then, tops all of this off with enough ports and expansion capabilities to keep the average user happy for years to come.
The 255 G5 is HP's entry-level business laptop and is a solid candidate should you be looking for a straightforward, reliable, laptop for programming at a bargain price.  The RAM is a little on the low side, but that can be upgraded later on, and there's no denying that this is an excellent laptop for coding on. If you want a similar programming laptop with an Intel processor, rather than AMD, then the HP 250 G5 is worth looking into. There are various configurations of both the HP 255 G5 and the HP 250 G5, so it's worth shopping around and finding one with the right components for your needs.
- This product is only available in the US and UK at the time of this writing. Australian readers: check out a fine alternative in the Lenovo ThinkPad E470
When you’re looking for the best laptop for programming, especially if you’re developing software for macOS, you’re eventually going to find yourself looking at the MacBook Pro. And, the new MacBook Pro, with its hexa-core processor and heaps of RAM, is the most powerful MacBook that the Cupertino tech behemoth has ever birthed. No matter how extraneous your workload is, no matter what you’re trying to develop, you’re going to be able to get it done on the new 15-inch MacBook Pro, and we’d recommend it to any software developer – as long as they had the budget for it.
If you need to do some programming on the go, you can’t do much better than the Surface Pro. As a follow-up to the fantastic Surface Pro 4, it’s a fantastic device – it sees battery life improvements by as much as 32% and the processor has been updated to 7th-generation Kaby Lake. What makes this a great addition to a programmers arsenal is the fact that it can seamlessly switch between tablet and laptop modes, which makes it easy to carry around, while still being powerful enough to get some work done.
Read the full review: Microsoft Surface Pro
Sure, it’s a Chromebook, and while that may put some people off, the Google Pixelbook is powerful (and beautiful) enough to hang with the Surfaces and MacBooks of the world. Now, while ChromeOS is admittedly not as good a place to program as Windows or macOS, the Pixelbook’s support of Android makes it a must-own laptop for any Android developer. The fact that this laptop succeeds the now discontinued Google Chromebook Pixel, which was designed by and for Google’s own developers, should give it some street cred in the eyes of coders.
Read the full review: Google Pixelbook
- This product is only available in the US and UK at the time of this writing. Australian readers: check out a fine alternative in the Surface Pro.
While it doesn’t run Windows or macOS, the Asus Chromebook Flip is powered by Chrome OS, a super lightweight operating system based on the Chrome web browser. The Chromebook Flip is one of the best Chromebooks out there, solely because it offers a premium build, a great touchscreen and reasonably powerful components for the price. And, while Chrome OS doesn’t feature many robust programming tools, the Asus Chromebook Flip is one of the best laptops for programming if you’re deep into web development.
Read the full review: Asus Chromebook Flip C302
The Surface Book 2 is a fantastic addition to the best laptops for programmers list, as Microsoft has created one of the most powerful 2-in-1 laptops ever to have existed. The Surface Book 2 has components powerful enough to handle pretty much everything you could throw at it, even some light gaming and video editing. If you want a bigger screen, there is also a 15-inch model, which comes with more powerful components – and a much higher price tag.
Read the full review: Microsoft Surface Book 2 (13.5-inch)
If you like the sound of an Apple MacBook as a laptop for programming, then you can save a bit of money by getting a slightly older model. The MacBook Pro from 2016 doesn't come with cutting-edge features such as the touchbar or USB-C ports, but it is still a fantastic laptop that offers plenty of power for all your programming needs. Plus, Apple's top of the range models are certainly not overly expensive compared to their Windows-based counterparts, especially if you buy them from trusted third-party websites.
Dell managed to deliver a magnificent piece of kit which it says is the most secure, most reliable and most manageable business-class laptop. That Latitude 5480 does come at a hefty price though and compared to the competition, this notebook may feel underwhelming. However, Dell's forte lies in its services and aftersales. That particular model comes with a 7th generation Intel CPU, one that is an actual four-core CPU. While it has a far higher TDP than most of its peers (45W vs 15W), it is likely to be more powerful than even a top of the range Core i7-7600U.
- Here's our list of the best laptop 2017: Our pick of the 15 best laptops you can buy this year