The Best Laptops for Programming in 2021
Laptops are of such importance that companies offer “laptop selection of your choice” as a selling point on their job postings. And when someone else is paying, we want the best of the best. Though sometimes we work with limited budgets, that doesn’t mean we want a terrible laptop.
This article will talk about the best laptops for coding, analyzing a combination of the proper OS, resources, and comfort. Without any further ado, let’s review the best developer laptops for 2022.
This machine is one of my favorite laptops ever. I own a Dell XPS 15 from a few years ago, and it is still running strong. The newer models include a 13.4 and 17 inches display, fantastic performance, tons of configuration options, and look amazing.
To be honest, the only laptop I’d leave the Dell XPS line behind is the MackBook Pro, which we will talk about later in the post.
If there’s anything we can accredit to Dell, are configuration options, each of these laptops can be configured in multiple sets for the processor, all of them which are latest gen processors from Intel, graphics card, memory ranging from 16 to 32gb of ram.
The dedicated graphics performance allows you to handle high graphical works, like video editing or rendering. Another great thing about it is its battery. It has an excellent battery life, which means you need not be hitched to a desk any time you want to program with this powerful device.
The laptops officially don’t support Linux, and even if you ask dell operators, they would say it doesn’t work. However, most Linux distributions would run without any issues on these devices. I run anything on my laptop from Arch, Manjaro, Linux Mint, and Ubuntu.
Get the Dell XPS 13 on Amazon
Get the Dell XPS 17 on Amazon
Apple MacBook Pro with M1 Chip
The MacBook Pro is a premium laptop with a sleek design, powerful performance, and a developer-friendly OS, but with a relatively high price tag.
- High-quality build
- Great display
- Unparallel performance
- Long battery life
- Undeniably pricey
- Limited upgrade options
- Limited gaming capabilities
We can’t talk about the best laptops for programming without talking about the MacBook Pro. Even since 2015, when Apple was doing everything wrong about these devices, they were still a solid option. But with the introduction of the new generation of MacBook Pro, powered by the M1 chips, the MacBook Pro went back to being, without doubt, the best laptop right now.
The laptop comes in 14 and 16 inches displays, both stunning, with stunning performance and the high quality you expect from Apple products. I can’t even begin to describe how ridiculously fast these things are.
I won’t get into too many details about these devices. You can find tons of reviews on YouTube, and here is one:
On top of such a beast of a device, MacOS is perfect for developers as it combines a brilliant and smooth interface with a powerful command-line and UNIX-like architecture, giving the best of both worlds. If budget is not an issue, it’s worth getting a MacBook Pro.
And if you are a mobile dev, check out this Twitter thread:
We recently found that the new 2021 M1 MacBooks cut our Android build times in half.— Jameson (@softwarejameson) November 3, 2021
So for a team of 9, $32k of laptops will actually save $100k in productivity over 2022. The break-even point happens at 3 months.
TL;DR Engineering hours are much more expensive than laptops!
Get the Apple MacBook Pro 14 on Amazon
Get the Apple MacBook Pro 16 on Amazon
Apple MacBook Air with M2 Chip
Apple MacBook Air is a vital refreshed and has ushered in a few significant updates, a high-speed & responsive interface, noiseless use, a similar design as the last model, and fanless, making it one of the best laptops for web development.
Though it is not a powerhouse like the MacBook Pro (or other high-tech Windows laptops), it comes with the new M1-chip, specifically designed for Mac, and offers unparalleled performance.
This laptop will not let you down, and it will handle all daily tasks with no issues, making it a perfect budget laptop for those who want MacOS.Get the Apple MacBook Air on Amazon
The Dell Inspiron is a budget laptop that suits many developers’ needs, with multiple configurations allowing it to expand its available memory makes it a strong candidate for web developers.
This laptop earned many developers’ hearts by being an affordable solution to run Linux and Windows with good performance.
Get the Dell Inspiron 13 on Amazon
Get the Dell Inspiron 16 on Amazon
Microsoft Surface Laptop
The Microsoft Surface Laptop is one of the best laptops you can get to run Windows. I’ve never tried any Microsoft laptop ever, but I have friends that do, and they are pleased with them.
I’m not a Windows guy, and even if these devices can run Linux, it kind of feels like wrongdoing, so I stay away from them.
But make no mistake, these are powerful laptops with the latest processors from Intel, graphics cards, and much more.
So if you are a Windows user, this is a no-brainer.
Get the Microsoft Surface Laptop 13 on Amazon
Get the Microsoft Surface Laptop 15 on Amazon
Oryx Pro by System76
System76 is a company that builds computers and laptops for Linux. They even have their own Linux distribution called PopOS, which builds on top of Ubuntu.
Though I have never owned one myself, it’s on my wishlist as the company claims that their hardware runs perfectly on Linux, making it a great experience.
All laptops come with either PopOS or Ubuntu installed, and the configurations are endless. Select the one that better fits your needs and budget, and enjoy!Check out the Oryx Pro on the System76 website
There is no such thing as one laptop to rule them all. It all goes on personal preference, OS, budget, etc.
I’m a hardcore Linux user, at least on my personal device, but I run MacOS on the work laptop. I have an appreciation for both, though Linux is still my preferred OS.
However, now that I’m trying to get back to YouTube and live streaming, Linux sometimes can be a headache. Thus I’m contemplating moving away from my Dell XPS into one of the MacBook Pro.
Nothing decided yet, but perhaps you’ll see me soon enough on Twitter screaming about my new laptop :)
Please let us know if you have any other personal favorites in the comments.
Thanks for reading!
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Juan Cruz Martinez
Juan has made it his mission to help aspiring developers unlock their full potential. With over two decades of hands-on programming experience, he understands the challenges and rewards of learning to code. By providing accessible and engaging educational content, Juan has cultivated a community of learners who share their passion for coding. Leveraging his expertise and empathetic teaching approach, Juan has successfully guided countless students on their journey to becoming skilled developers, transforming lives through the power of technology.