6 Best Laptops for Programming and Design

Last Updated on 27 June 2022 by Outmane

If you’re looking for the best laptop for programming and design, you’re in the right place. I’ve found the best laptops for intensive tasks like programming and web development. So, you can feel confident that the laptops in this guide will meet your needs.

Whether you’re a programming student or a pro, the right laptop is essential. Using a laptop for programming allows you to work anywhere. It’s a lot more portable and convenient than a workstation computer.

A laptop for programming should have a large memory and a robust processor. Other factors like clock speed, RAM, and the graphics card are also crucial. I’ll share a detailed buying guide below to walk you through how to buy the best laptop for coding.

But let’s jump straight in with my top 3 recommendations for the best laptop for programming.

Top 3 Laptops for Programming: Quick Comparison

In my opinion, the best laptop for coding and programming is the Asus ZenBook Pro Duo. This laptop will improve your workflow with its dual screens and incredible specs. It’s a beast of a laptop but also sleek and powerful. This laptop is an excellent investment if you’re an experienced programmer and can afford it.

For MacBook users, I recommend the Apple MacBook Pro. The latest edition is the best MacBook for programming, with outstanding specs. It’s robust, powerful, and insanely fast.

And if you’re on a more modest budget, the Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 is your best bet. It’s affordable and provides all you need to get started with programming. But you may want to upgrade once you take on more advanced projects.

asus zenbookapple macbook promicrosoft surface
ProductBest Laptop for Coding & Programming: Asus ZenBook Pro DuoBest MacBook for Programmers: Apple MacBook ProBest Budget Laptop for Programming: Microsoft Surface Laptop 3
Operating SystemWindows 10 ProMac OSWindows 10 Home
ProcessorIntel Core i7-10750HApple M1 Pro ChipIntel Core i5
RAM16 GB 16 GB 8 GB
Internal Storage1 TB SSD512 GB SSD128 GB SSD
Screen Size15.6 inches16 inches13.5 inches
Display Resolution3840 x 2160 pixels3456 x 2234 pixels2256 x 1504 pixels

Buying Guide to the Best Laptop for Web Development and Coding

Here’s what you need to know when buying a laptop for programming and coding:

Processor & RAM

The processor powers your laptop, so you’ll need something sturdy and robust. The more cores, the better when it comes to programming. If your budget allows it, I would recommend going for at least an Intel Core i7 processor. 

The RAM is another essential factor for coding laptops. You’ll need at least 8 GB, but 16 GB is even better. 

Plenty of Memory

No matter what you’re developing, you’re sure to have a lot of large files on your laptop. So, you’ll need a decent memory to store them. Otherwise, you’ll have to keep moving files to the Cloud, and that’s inconvenient and annoying. 

I wouldn’t go for less than 256 GB of memory unless you’re on a very tight budget. Premium laptops tend to have at least 512 GB, and some go up to 1 TB (and beyond). 

Screen Size

The screen size is a personal factor. It depends on where you’ll use your laptop – from home, the office, or on the go? Do you need a portable laptop you can take with you? In that case, it’s better to go for a 15-inch laptop or smaller. 

But if the size isn’t an issue, you can go for a bigger laptop and have a larger screen to work on. That’s beneficial as it can feel more natural and reduce eye strain. 

Display Resolution

We measure display resolution in pixels – the higher, the better. Visuals will appear crisper on your screen and are less likely to look pixellated. 1920 x 1080 pixels is pretty standard, but some offer even better, right up to a 4K resolution. 

Price

Finally, you’ll need to find a laptop that suits your budget. That’s why it’s a good idea to get clear on how much you can spend before you start shopping. You’ll find it easier to stick to your budget and narrow down your options.

Best Laptop for Programming and Design: Reviews

ASUS ZenBook Pro Duo

Best Laptop for Programming Overall

best laptop for programming and design

(Images credit: Asus)

This exceptional laptop is unlike any other. Its outstanding features make it perfectly suited to web development and programming. 

The first thing you’ll notice is that the ZenBook Pro Duo has not one but two screens. You get the 15.6-inch touchscreen display with an incredible 4K Nano Edge design. But you also get an extra 14-inch matte ScreenPad Plus touchscreen.

Having two screens is a huge advantage when programming. You can open up different windows and work on them simultaneously. It can streamline your workflow and boost your productivity, so you can get more done. So, if your budget can stretch to this laptop, it’s a no-brainer.

But that’s not all the ZenBook Pro Duo has going for it. This laptop packs one of the most powerful processors, a 10th Gen Intel Core i7. Factor in the 16 of RAM, and this laptop can handle anything you throw at it. You’ll have no trouble working on demanding and intensive projects without any lags.

And the memory is also impressive. You get 1 TB of fast, responsive SSD storage, making it quick and easy to access your files.

Another bonus is that it comes with an Asus stylus for drawing directly on the screen. That’s handy if you need to do some creative work on your laptop. You’ll have more options for the way you work. Plus, they’ve thrown in a detachable palm rest to ensure your comfort while you work.

You’ll find this laptop perfect for programming, design, and creative work. Its spectacular 4K screen makes graphics look incredible, with crisp, sharp details.

While this laptop is one of the most expensive, it’s undoubtedly one of the best laptops for programming. There’s very little not to like and a lot to tempt you into buying the ZenBook Pro Duo. And if you go for it, I don’t think you’ll have any regrets! 

  • Operating System: Windows 10 Pro
  • Processor: Intel Core i7-10750H
  • RAM: 16 GB
  • Internal Storage: 1TB GB SSD
  • Screen Size: 15.6 inches
  • Display Resolution: 3840 x 2160 pixels

Pros:

  •  You get two touchscreen displays to work on 
  • The 4K screen is gorgeous, with amazing visuals
  • It has a huge memory of 1TB SSD storage space
  • The processor and RAM are robust – perfect for programming

Cons:

  • It’s very expensive

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Apple MacBook Pro

Best MacBook for Coding and Development

best laptop for programming

(Images credit: Apple)

Apple has been well-known for producing some of the best laptops out there. But the latest 2021 MacBook Pro with the M1 chip blows the others out of the water.


This MacBook Pro is a strong choice for programmers, from beginners to pros. It has a raft of impressive updates to make it faster, more responsive, and more robust than before. 

For example, you get the new M1 chip processor, which can easily rival the best laptops. This new model also has a 10-core CPU and a 16-core GPU suitable for graphics-intensive work. 

Plus, the battery life has been extended to up to 21 hours. So, you can work all day, no matter where you are, without needing to charge it. 

The MacBook Pro has a generous SSD storage of 512 GB. Combined with a responsive 16 GB of RAM, this laptop is as fast as you can imagine. 

It also has a stunning 16-inch screen, which is perfect for detailed work. The larger screen size is gentler on your eyes, allowing you to focus without squinting. But it’s just as good for streaming videos or working on graphics-intensive projects.

Now, of course, the MacBook Pro doesn’t come cheap. It’s the best Apple has to offer, so it has a hefty price tag. The exact cost will depend on the specs you go for. So, you can opt for one of the cheaper models, and I doubt you’d be disappointed. 

If you’re looking for a portable MacBook for programming, this one ticks all the right boxes.

  • Operating System: Mac OS
  • Processor: Apple M1 Pro Chip
  • RAM: 16 GB 
  • Internal Storage: 512 GB SSD
  • Screen Size: 16 inches
  • Display Resolution: 3456 x 2234 pixels

Pros:

  • The best Macbook for programming
  • The new M1 chip is more powerful than before 
  • It has a gorgeous, large 16-inch display
  • You get plenty of storage with 512 GB of SSD memory

Cons:

  • It’s pretty expensive, especially for the best specs

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Microsoft Surface Laptop 3

Best Laptop for Programming Students

best laptop for designers

(Images credit: Microsoft)

If you’re newer to programming, you’ll likely want something more affordable. This laptop fits the bill, providing everything you need at a reasonable price. 

The Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 is a great choice for programming students or anyone on a budget. It’s not as powerful as the premium laptops, but it gets the job done. 

With this laptop, you get a decent Intel Core i5 processor and 8GB of RAM, suitable for most programming. It may run a little slower than the most robust processors. But you can definitely get started with this laptop.  

Where this laptop is lacking is in the storage space. This model comes with 128 GB of SSD memory, which doesn’t sound bad but can fill up quickly. 

But if you have more to spend, you could upgrade to the model with 16 GB of RAM. You’ll get more speed and responsivity, plus a larger memory. 

The Surface Laptop 3 has a nice 13.5-inch screen with a high resolution. While some people prefer a larger screen, this one is very compact and portable. 

Overall, the Surface Laptop 3 is ideal for anyone new to programming or coding. It provides the power and performance you’ll need as a beginner without breaking the bank. But you might find that you’ll need to upgrade as you get more experienced and take on more complex projects.

  • Operating System: Windows 10 Home
  • Processor: Intel Core i5
  • RAM: 8 GB 
  • Internal Storage: 128 GB SSD
  • Screen Size: 13.5 inches
  • Display Resolution: 2256 x 1504 pixels

Pros:

  • An affordable laptop for programmers on a budget
  • It’s portable, lightweight, and sleek
  • It’s suitable for most programming and coding projects

Cons:

  • The storage space is a bit limited
  • It’s not as powerful as premium laptops

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Acer Predator Helios 300 Gaming Laptop

Best Laptop for Coding

best laptop for programming and design

(Images credit: Acer)

If you’re looking for a coding laptop, the Predator Helios 300 could be just what you need. While it’s designed as a gaming laptop, it’s also suitable for coding and programming.

With a powerful processor, it can handle even the most advanced tasks. The Helios has a robust Intel Core i7 processor that can provide all the power you need. 

Plus, it has 16 GB of dual-channel RAM to ensure it functions quickly and smoothly. And with 512 GB of SSD memory, you’ll have plenty of space for all your files. 

The Helios 300’s graphics are excellent. And the super-fast 144-Hz refresh rate also comes in handy if you’re coding games.

The 15.6-inch HD screen is pretty standard for laptops nowadays. It’s not quite as impressive as the MacBook Pro or the ZenBook Pro Duo. But it’s more than enough for programming, and the large size is ideal even for long workdays.

Admittedly, the Helios 300 is a little flashy, which isn’t for everyone. This laptop has that gaming-style look, with RGB keys and a bulky design. But if the aesthetics don’t bother you, the Helios 300 is a superb laptop for coding and programming.

  • Operating System: Windows 10 Home
  • Processor: Intel Core i7
  • RAM: 16 GB RAM
  • Internal Storage: 512 GB SSD
  • Screen Size: 15.6 inches
  • Display Resolution: 1920 x 1080 pixels

Pros:

  • A powerful gaming laptop
  • Suitable for programming, coding, and development
  • It’s fast and robust, with great specs

Cons:

  • The screen doesn’t have such a high resolution as the others on this list

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MSI GP65 Leopard 10SDK-433 15.6

Best 17-inch Laptop for Programming

best laptop for programming and design

(Images credit: MSI)

When you’re working on a laptop for programming, the bigger, the better. And in that case, the MSI GP65 Leopard is an excellent choice. This 17-inch laptop could be just what you need for web development and programming. 

A larger laptop is ideal if you don’t need a compact and portable model to use on the go. The big display lets you get an overview of your project and see it clearly. It’s handy because you can run different windows next to each other instead of flicking back and forth. 

And there’s a lot more to say for the GP65 Leopard. This chunky laptop looks cool with its unique angular design and an RGB keyboard. 

But it also has 16 GB of RAM, loads of storage, and a powerful Intel Core i7 CPU. So, it ticks all the right boxes for demanding programming projects. 

Not to mention the super-fast 240 Hz refresh rate and dedicated GPU. That’s especially useful if you’re working in game development. This laptop does not disappoint with its outstanding graphics. It goes without saying that it’s suitable for some serious gaming in your downtime, too. 

  • Operating System: Windows 10 Home
  • Processor: Intel Core i7
  • RAM: 16 GB 
  • Internal Storage: 512 GB SSD
  • Screen Size: 17.3 inches
  • Display Resolution: 1920 x 1080 pixels

Pros:

  • Another excellent gaming laptop for programmers
  • It’s powerful and robust for even the most demanding tasks
  • The large screen is great for preventing eye strain
  • It has generous storage and RAM

Cons:

  • The resolution may seem a bit low for the size of the screen

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Razer Blade 15 Advanced Gaming Laptop

Best Laptop for Designers and Programmers

best laptop for programming and design

(Images credit: Razer)

The Razor Blade 15 is a fantastic option for programmers from beginners to pros.

And the best part is that it doesn’t look like your regular gaming laptop. Instead, it has a sleek, minimalist design with thin bezels. So, this laptop won’t look out of place in the office. But it’s also very durable, despite being just 0.7mm thick. 

At 15 inches, this laptop gets the balance just right between too big and too small. It’s portable enough for travel, but you get a large display for working. 

As for the specs, they’re excellent – suitable for programming, coding, and creative design work. It has a powerful Intel Core i7 CPU, loads of RAM, and a decent storage size. So, you’ll know you’re getting a laptop worth investing in. 

The Razer Blade 15 would make an excellent laptop for coders or programmers. It’s built to last and can take you from beginner to advanced programmer without any trouble. Basically, this laptop is robust enough to handle even the most demanding projects. 

  • Operating System: Windows 10 Home
  • Processor: Intel Core i7
  • RAM: 16 GM of RAM
  • Internal storage: 512 GB SSD
  • Screen size: 15.6 inches
  • Display Resolution: 1920 x 1080 pixels

Pros:

  • A stylish and sleek laptop
  • It’s super thin and compact – great for portability
  • It has a powerful CPU
  • 16 GB of RAM makes it fast and responsive

Cons:

  • The screen resolution is pretty standard at 1920 x 1080 pixels

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Laptop for Coding FAQ

Does coding require a good laptop?

It depends on the type of coding and programming you want to do. Generally, you’ll need a laptop with a decent CPU, RAM, and memory for programming. And if you want to work in-game or app development, you’ll also need excellent graphics and a fast refresh rate.

How much RAM do I need for coding?

I’d recommend going for a laptop with at least 8 GB of RAM for coding. That’s the bare minimum to stop your laptop from slowing down and getting overloaded. But it’s even better if you can opt for a laptop with 16 GB to ensure a fast and responsive experience.

best laptop for programming and design

The Wrap Up

Programming requires a special type of laptop for this intensive and intricate work. 

The best laptop for programming will be robust, powerful, and responsive. It should have all the specs you need (especially when it comes to RAM and storage). You’ll probably want to look out for a laptop with a high screen resolution for crisp and vivid visuals. 

All these laptops have the requirements necessary for programming and coding. So, you can browse through and find one that suits your budget. 

Let me know which one you choose in the comments below! Make sure to follow Proactive Creative on Pinterest for all the best content for creative professionals! 

This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase, Proactive Creative may receive a small commission at no additional cost to you.

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My name is Outmane, I am a designer and artist.

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