Which Laptops to Choose for Software Development?

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In the world of software development, the laptop you choose is much more than just a device; it’s your workshop, your creative platform, and your tool for success. A high-performing laptop is indispensable, impacting everything from the speed at which you can code to the types of applications you can develop.

This article offers a comprehensive look at the best laptops for software development, providing you with the essential insights to make an informed decision.

Whether you’re an experienced developer seeking a power-packed machine or a budding programmer looking for an affordable yet effective option, our guide will help you find the perfect laptop for your software development needs.

QUICK OVERVIEW: Best Laptops for Software Development

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MacBook Pro 14-inch
  • M1 Chip
  • 16GB RAM
Lenovo ThinkPad X1
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme
  • 1TB SSD Storage
  • 32GB RAM
Microsoft Surface Book 2
Microsoft Surface Book 2
  • Intel i7 CPU
  • 15-inch Touchscreen

Here are some of the best software development laptops that you should consider buying in 2024:

1. MacBook Pro 14-inch

Best for Power-Hungry Developers

MacBook Pro 14-inch

Stefan’s Take:

As an experienced user, I found the MacBook Pro 14-inch to be a powerhouse. The M1 Pro chip handled every task I threw at it with grace, and the thermal management kept the machine cool even under a heavy load.

The 16GB RAM and 512GB SSD storage allowed me to run multiple resource-heavy applications simultaneously without any lag.

The preinstalled MacOS is a delight to work with, especially for developers due to its UNIX-based structure and a broad range of dev tools available.

Processor Performance 10
Memory 10
Storage 9
Screen Quality 10

This is one of the leading laptops for programmers. It features a new M1 chip that delivers nearly 2.8 times more performance and 5 times faster graphics compared to the previous generation.

It also features a built-in webcam with high-quality mics, a bright Retina display, and an advanced thermal design for more power, 16GB RAM, and a storage space of 512 GB.

It also comes with the latest MacOS version preinstalled to ensure that you access your favorite features and apps.

2. Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme

Best for Business & Software Development

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme

Stefan’s Take:

From a user perspective, the X1 Extreme was impressively capable. The 1TB SSD storage was more than enough to accommodate all my files and applications.

The laptop’s carbon fiber and aluminum construction not only provides durability but also keeps the weight down, making it great for working on the move.

Furthermore, the X1 Extreme’s seamless Bluetooth connectivity and user-friendly Windows operating system make it ideal for both programmers and business users.

Processor Performance 10
Memory 10
Storage 10
Screen Quality 9

Lenovo’s ThinkPad X1 Extreme is a leading business notebook in the market that is capable of handling many demanding tasks. It has 32 GB of RAM and is powered by an 8th Gen 6-core Intel processor.

It comes with a 1TB SSD that provides enough storage space to suit your needs. You can install graphics-intensive applications and use them easily thanks to its NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti Max-Q dedicated graphics card.

Bluetooth connectivity is seamless and the operating system is ideal for programmers and business users. It is perfect for users who enjoy working on the go because its chassis is made of aluminum and carbon fiber.

3. Microsoft Surface Book 2

Best for Versatile Windows Development

Microsoft Surface Book 2

Stefan’s Take:

I found the Surface Book 2 to be a very capable device. Its touchscreen display was a joy to use, and its powerful processor ensured all my applications ran smoothly.

The massive 16 GB memory allowed me to multitask efficiently, and the fanless design ensured silent operation, perfect for working in quiet environments.

Processor Performance 9
Memory 9
Storage 9
Screen Quality 10

This is the latest model of the Surface Book series and an affordable laptop for programmers. It has a 15-inch touchscreen display, a Core i7 Intel processor, 256 GB SSD, and 16 GB memory.

Its operating system is Windows 10 Home. It is an amazing laptop that is ideal for gaming, business, and regular use. The touch screen makes it easy for users to access their files and apps.

The processor provides ample power to run a wide range of games and apps. With the huge memory, you can store different types of files easily.

If you enjoy working or studying in a quiet environment, Microsoft Surface Book 2 is the ideal solution for you thanks to its fanless design.

4. LG Gram 17

Best for AI-Enhanced Privacy & Productivity

LG Gram 17

Stefan’s Take:

In my experience, the LG Gram 17 delivered top-notch performance, easily handling resource-intensive tasks. Despite its large 17-inch screen, the laptop weighed just 1.35 kg, making it surprisingly portable.

Its built-in AI-powered privacy and productivity tools provided added security, ensuring my data remained safe while boosting my productivity.

Processor Performance 9
Memory 9
Storage 9
Screen Quality 10

This is another amazing device that is ideal for computer programmers. Users get a wide range of features to enhance their privacy and boost their productivity.

It comes with 16GB RAM and a Core i7 processor. This makes it one of the best laptops for programmers on the market. It has Privacy and Productivity tools that are powered by AI to ensure that user data is safe.

It weighs 1.35kg, making it easy to carry around. This laptop offers a wide range of features that help users maintain their privacy and boost their productivity.

5. MacBook Pro 13-inch

Best for On-the-Go MacOS Developers

MacBook Pro 13-inch

Stefan’s Take:

In my personal experience with this device, I found it to be an excellent performer. It managed to handle a variety of tasks with ease, and its compact form factor made it easy to carry around.

The build quality and sleek design are synonymous with Apple’s high standards, adding to the overall appeal. The latest MacOS is a bonus for developers, providing a robust and reliable operating system with an array of developer-friendly features.

Processor Performance 9
Memory 8
Storage 8
Screen Quality 9

If you have been looking for a powerful laptop that you can carry around easily, the MacBook Pro 13-inch is perfect for you. The device has lots of amazing features that make it ideal for daily use.

You can work on the go or in the comfort of your home. It has a fast processor, plenty of storage and memory, and comes with the latest MacOS version.

It is ideal for anyone who wants a reliable device that can easily handle any task. The impressive build quality and sleek design will ensure that you enjoy using this device. It is perfect for software developers thanks to its M2 chip.

6. HP Spectre x360

Best for Multi-Tasking and Portability

HP Spectre x360

Stefan’s Take:

I found the HP Spectre x360 to be well-suited for a blend of work and play. The laptop’s Intel Iris Xe Graphics card provided excellent performance, ensuring the smooth rendering of graphics-intensive applications and gaming.

Its 8GB RAM was sufficient for handling multiple tasks simultaneously, while the sleek and lightweight design made it easy to carry around.

The Spectre x360’s versatility makes it an excellent choice for students and developers alike.

Processor Performance 8
Memory 8
Storage 8
Screen Quality 9

This is a powerful laptop that is not only ideal for programmers but also for college students. It is powered by a Core i5 Intel Processor which is quite responsive. Its operating system is easy to navigate thanks to the user-friendly interface.

The diagonal 3K2K touch display allows you to use the device naturally. It has an Intel Iris Xe Graphics card that enables you to see smooth and real graphics.

With the 8GB RAM, you can be sure that this device can handle any task. It is incredibly light thus making it suitable for individuals who enjoy working on the go.

7. Microsoft Surface Pro 8

Best for Large-Scale Windows Development

Microsoft Surface Pro 8

Stefan’s Take:

As a user, I found the Surface Pro 8 to be an exceptional device for both programming and business tasks.

The large screen allowed me to easily navigate through my code, and the large storage space ensured I never ran out of room for my files and programs.

Its portability and sleek design added to the overall user experience.

Processor Performance 8
Memory 8
Storage 8
Screen Quality 9

Microsoft’s Surface Pro 8 is a leading laptop best suited for business people and programmers. Most of the features that it has are ideal for programmers – large screen and huge memory storage.

With the large screen, you’ll get to see more lines of code. Its 8GB RAM allows you to run multiple programs at any one time without lag.

8. MacBook Pro 13-inch 2020

Best for Budget MacOS Development

MacBook Pro 13-inch 2020

Stefan’s Take:

During my usage, I found it to be extremely light, making it easy to carry around and work on the go.

It handled all tasks smoothly, and the sleek design is a bonus.

It’s perfect for professionals and college students who need a reliable laptop for both work and study.

Processor Performance 8
Memory 7
Storage 7
Screen Quality 9

If you’ve been looking for a suitable upgrade to your current laptop, The MacBook Pro 13-inch 2020 model is the perfect solution for you.

It is very light thus making it easy to carry around and work on the go. It has enough power to handle any task that you throw at it. Like other Apple products, its design is sleek.

It is powered by an Intel Core i5 processor and comes with a storage space of 8GB. In general, the MacBook Pro 13-inch is the ideal computer for both professionals and college students.

9. Google Pixelbook Go

Best for Lightweight ChromeOS Development

Google Pixelbook Go

Stefan’s Take:

As a user, I found the Pixelbook Go to be exceptionally light and fast. Weighing just around 1kg, it was easy to carry around.

The Chrome OS is lightweight, secure, and perfect for web-based tasks and development.

The added security of the fingerprint scanning feature gave me peace of mind, knowing that my data was safe.

Processor Performance 7
Memory 6
Storage 7
Screen Quality 8

This is a powerful and sleek Chromebook that gives users a balance of portability and performance. It has 128GB of storage and it’s powered by a Core i5 processor by Intel. It comes with a 13.3 – inch display that is a touch screen.

The graphics are more than enough for performing everyday tasks. You don’t have to worry about unauthorized users accessing your files thanks to the fingerprint scanning feature.

The main advantage of Pixelbook Go is how light it is. It weighs around 1kg, making it one of the easiest laptops to carry around.

It is ideal for software developers, business travelers, and college students who need to carry their devices around most of the time. Google Pixelbook Go is the ideal solution for anyone who is looking for a light and fast Chromebook.

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Laptop for Programming

Before we start discussing the best laptops that you should consider buying as a software developer, here are some of the key factors that you should consider when choosing your device:

1. Operating system

One of the most important things to consider when choosing a laptop for software development is the operating system. In the tech market today, the most popular operating systems for developers are MacOS, Windows, and Linux.

All of them have their pros and cons. For instance, Windows has a wide selection of applications and software since it’s the most widely used operating system.

However, it is the most expensive. MacOS is easy to use thanks to its user-friendly interface. However, it is limited to Apple devices only.

Linux is not only free to download and install but also compatible with a wide range of devices. However, it doesn’t have a wide range of applications like MacOS or Windows. The operating system that you choose will depend on your preferences.

2. Processing power

This is another important factor to consider when choosing a laptop for software development. After all, you want to have a gadget that can handle the demands of compiling long lines of code and running several programs simultaneously.

You’ll be pleased to know that most laptops have sufficient power to suit your programming needs. However, if you’ll be working on projects that demand a lot of power such as 3D rendering or video editing, ensure that you invest in a gadget with a powerful processor.

If you have a slow-running Mac, you should consider cleaning it and increasing its processing power. A slow-running device is not good for software developers.

3. RAM

Another important laptop spec for software development that shouldn’t be taken for granted is RAM. A laptop with more RAM means that it can run several programs simultaneously without hanging.

Your programs will operate quickly and smoothly. Generally, 8GB of RAM is sufficient enough to handle several programming tasks.

If you’ll be working on big projects or running several programs at a go, you should consider going for 16 or 32GB.

4. Storage

You should ensure that your computer has ample space to handle all the projects that you’ll be working on.  Most experts in the programming field recommend a minimum storage space of 128GB.

However, if you’ll need to operate multiple programs simultaneously or work with huge files, you should consider choosing a laptop with a bigger storage capacity such as 250GB.

5. Battery life

Battery life is a critical element that you should consider when choosing a laptop for programming or coding. A long battery life will allow you to work for a long time without worrying about recharging.

If you prefer working on the go, a laptop with long battery life will be convenient for you since you won’t have to carry your charger around.

6. Display

The last factor that you should consider is display. A device with a higher resolution is usually better for programmers because it allows them to see more lines of code at any one time.

If you’ll be working on multiple projects simultaneously or reviewing multiple lines of code, higher resolution is a factor that you cannot ignore.

You also need to keep in mind that some coding languages are more demanding visually than others. If you’ll be writing with CSS or HTML, you’ll have to prioritize color accuracy. You won’t require high resolution if you’ll be working with Python or Java.


There are a lot of laptops that are ideal for programmers on the market. Conducting extensive research on the laptops that we have covered in this article will help you make an informed decision.

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author on the blog

Stefan Mitrovic

Stefan is a long-time content creator and one of the Stream Mentor's co-founders. He's a tech geek and a Dota 2 player (not even a good one) who wanted to help others become professional streamers and earn from the comfort of their home.

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