A laptop is a must-have for developers. Although developing software can be done on a desktop, a laptop provides you with the flexibility to work from anywhere in the world. There are pros and cons of both a laptop vs a desktop which you should take into consideration before choosing between them.
Developers need powerful laptops in order to run the software they use in their daily work, but powerful laptops are usually very expensive. The best laptop for programmers should have an i7 processor and 16GB of RAM, but you will find most laptops for around $500 with only 8GB of RAM and a under-powered CPU. You should expect to pay at least $700-$800 when shopping for your laptop; anything cheaper than that is probably not powerful enough.
You also need to decide if you prefer using Mac OSX or Microsoft Windows. Although both come short in different areas, they are both capable operating systems which can meet the demands of every software developer. Most developers use Windows because it’s more customizable and open source; however many programmers swear by Mac OSX, finding it easier and more user-friendly than its Microsoft counterpart.
Whatever choice you make between Mac or Windows, we compiled the following list to help you find the best laptop for software developers.
Acer Aspire E 15
The Acer Aspire E 15 is a great laptop for software developers, especially when you consider its’ price. It offers an i5 processor (i7 is available if you pay more), 8GB of RAM, and a 256GB HDD.
This may not sound like much compared to other laptops on the market, but keep in mind that it’s less than $600; only slightly more expensive than the competition. It also has many good reviews, averaging four stars out of five with over 2,000 reviews.
The Acer Aspire E 15 offers everything you need for developing software at the fraction of the cost. The main downside is that it lacks an SSD drive; although this can be remedied by buying your own cheap SSD drive and installing it alongside the HDD which comes with the laptop. If you want to skip purchasing your own SSD drive, there are other laptops on the list below which include one.
Dell Inspiron i7559-2512BLK
The Dell Inspiron i7559-2512BLK is a great laptop for software developers as it provides an i7 processor, 8GB of RAM, and a 256GB SSD drive. The SSD drive makes starting up your laptop half as long as it would take with a HDD. It also makes the computer feel faster overall by allowing you to open files twice as fast, making a big difference when developing software.
This powerful hardware is packed into a 15.6 inch laptop which doesn’t look too shabby either. With this laptop you get everything most developers need without having to spend thousands of dollars on a Mac computer or another brand new expensive laptop. This may be the best laptop for software developers who want a PC.
Acer Aspire V3-572G-56RG
This laptop offers almost the same specs as other laptops on this list, except it’s more powerful at an i7 processor, 8GB of RAM, 15.6 inch display and 256GB SSD drive. It also includes Windows 10 which is arguably better than Mac OSX. The only thing that separates this laptop from the others is its’ blazing fast processor, making it great for developing software in C++ or Java .
When you consider the hardware alone, this may be one of the best laptops for programming but there are some downsides to buying this laptop. First it doesn’t include Microsoft Office (you’ll have to buy that on your own), which isn’t a huge deal since you can get it cheaper on sale or with discount codes, but still inconvenient.
The second downside is the fact that some people have had problems with Acer customer service in regards to replacing broken parts of their laptop under warranty, so buyer beware. However most customers are very happy with this laptop and feel as though its’ powerful hardware justifies the price.
HP ENVY 15-AS150CL
This laptop is another great option for developers looking for an i7 processor, 8GB of RAM, 256GB SSD drive and Windows 10 operating system at a reasonable price point. It’s not nearly as fast as the two laptops above it on the list because they are more expensive, but it’s still a good laptop for developing software.
The main advantage of the HP ENVY 15-AS150CL is its’ large storage memory, offering up to 16GB of HDD space and 1TB of external storage through an SD card slot. This is great if you want to save lots of files and transfer them from your computer quickly and easily; not to mention USB 3.0 support which can be convenient when transferring large files or working with devices that require high-bandwidth connection via USB ports (e.g., external hard drives).
The main downside is that some users have reported problems with the trackpad (the touchpad on the laptop), while others say this shouldn’t be an issue at all. This is most likely a case by case basis, so you’ll have to keep this in mind if buying it.
Apple MacBook Pro
The Apple MacBook Pro has a lot of features you won’t find on other laptops, such as super thin design and Retina display. It also includes a ton of different ports for connecting your devices and a battery life of up to 10 hours without charging it. This can be useful because you won’t have to carry around the power cord everywhere with you, which is especially good if you’re looking for something lightweight.
When considering all these benefits plus its’ powerful hardware, this may be the best laptop for software developers who want a Mac computer as well as workstation software like Visual Studio or Eclipse. If you’re thinking of getting this laptop, you should purchase the AppleCare warranty with it which will protect your investment in case anything goes wrong.
The biggest downside is its’ price point, since Mac OSX machines are usually expensive and this one is no exception. So if you’re on a tight budget, this may not be for you (don’t worry though because there are plenty of other laptops on this list that may fit your budget better).
As you can see, there are many different types of laptops that are great for developers. It really all depends on your budget and the type of development you’re planning to do (i.e., Android vs iOS). But if you make sure to purchase a laptop with an i7 processor, 8GB of RAM and 256GB SSD drive at minimum, then you’ll be off to a good start in your efforts to begin software development.