Best programming and coding laptops for 2016

Laptops these days can be super powerful machines and they don’t need to cost the earth, so many developers might argue that desktop models and workstations are pretty much redundant for the majority of professions. If you’re a programmer or coder, for example, there isn’t much reason for you to need a bulky desktop computer that stays in one place.

Even heavy duty programming tasks can be accomplished by most mid-range laptops, although if your specifications are too low for the programs you’re running, it’s likely that your work will be hindered. Here is a list of specifications to aim for that should cover pretty much any coding task:

  • Intel i5, AMD A10 or an equivalent processor
  • 8GB RAM at a minimum, although it’s easy to find 12GB or 16GB
  • Dedicated 2GB graphics card for anything to do with game development
  • Minimum 500 GB hard drive, preferably with the option to boot from SSD

These specifications are not excessive with today’s standards and prices, but should see you through the majority of programming work without your laptop getting sluggish. If you’re wondering about examples of laptops that fit the bill, here are a few of our ideas.

Toshiba Tecra Z40

Here’s a great example to start with, and one that you can have entirely customised to your specifications. The options available are planned with developers in mind, so you can avoid the potential disappointment of realising the specifications you went for originally are too low for the workload you end up taking on later. Toshiba let you select a processor from Intel i5 upwards, 8GB or 12GB of RAM, and various hard drive and screen options, which means you can make your Tecra Z40 perfect for your exact needs.

Dell i7559-763

This powerful Dell laptop benefits from a 4GB dedicated NVIDIA graphics card, allowing it to comfortably deal with tougher tasks. It features a mid-sized 15.6-inch screen, and for the mid-range price tag it covers all the essentials and more. The 256GB SSD for lightning-fast boot and storage is another highlight of this Dell model.

Lenovo Z70

A 17.3-inch laptop might be a little on the bulky side, but if that’s not a problem then you get to enjoy the benefits of a huge high resolution display. This Lenovo model features a hybrid HDD and SSD for fast start-up and plenty of storage space, plus an Intel i7 processor which keeps performance ultra smooth under strain.

MacBook Pro

If you’re not as thrilled by the prospect of a Windows laptop as you are by the idea of a fun and stylish Apple machine, you might be in luck. The new MacBook Pro is certainly one of the most capable and attractive choices available for developers and programmers in 2016. You’re almost guaranteed to have enough processing power for your work with one of these, although we do think the higher specification versions are better value than the options with bigger screens.