Here are some important points to check before buying any kind of laptop for programming:
A laptop screen is one of the important part of any laptop, especially for programmers. Developing applications, softwares and games involve looking at the screen for long periods, so you need to focus more on screen display for protecting your eyes.
Most inexpensive laptops come with a 1366 x 768 screen, which I consider to be mediocre at best. The display does not have enough screen space for multitasking, and the text is not clear enough for a comfortable reading experience.
Whatever you do, don't buy a laptop with less than one 1920 x 1080 (1080p) Full HD monitor. If you have to pay a little more to get 1080p, do so.
Also make sure the screen has good viewing angles; Your laptop screen should not work like a mirror!
The second point is mobility the most important part. There are laptops in all shapes and sizes, so you need to find out how portable you want your laptop to be.
If you do not need to charge your laptop often. You can opt for a 15 inch laptop. These will usually have better specs and more screen property for multitasking.
They are lighter and provide longer battery life.
Unless you are buying a 2 in 1 laptop. A touch screen does not offer enough benefits to justify the extra cost. I suggest you avoid the touch screen.
Storage and Capacity
Obtaining a solid state drive (SSD) should be near the top of your priorities. This will give you significant performance improvements compared to a standard hard drive.
SSD hard drives are very best if we compare it with HDD. The main difference has to do with maximum capacities and price . Keep in mind that SSDs are much more modern, so it is normal for their price to be significantly higher. Today, a 250 GB SSD can be worth the same as a 3 TB HDD .
Each operation will be much faster with an SSD: including operating system startup, code compilation, application launching, and project loading.
A 256GB SSD must be the baseline. But if you have more money, a 512GB or 1TB SSD is better.
Processing Power (CPU)
Your laptop's CPU has a big influence on performance, so you can't afford to save money. There are bundle of different types of processors with different specifications. Be sure to consider these specifications.
Some of the most important are cache size, number of cores, frequency and power of thermal design.
In general, a good Intel Core i5 or i7 processor with a frequency of 3GHz or higher should be sufficient for most people.
There are 2 basic types of RAM; Dynamic RAM (DRAM) and static RAM (SRAM), both use different technologies to store data. Dynamic RAM (DRAM) needs to be refreshed 100 times per second, while static RAM (SRAM) does not need to be refreshed so frequently which makes it faster but also more expensive than dynamic RAM.
I believe no serious programming can be done on a laptop with less than 4 GB of RAM. My RAM recommendation is at least 8 GB.
However, 8 GB is becoming insufficient with the arrival of Electron applications, which love to consume large amounts of RAM. If you have extra money out there, invest in 16 GB of RAM.
The operating system will be crucial in choosing which laptop to buy. Windows users have many options, but if you prefer macOs , you will be limited to one of the Macbook offerings.
Linux will run on most hardware, but it is best to buy laptops that have official Linux support. Some vendors, such as Dell and System 76, provide high quality machines with Linux preinstalled. You can look through these first.
Otherwise, do your research to ensure that the laptop you intend to buy is compatible with preferred Linux distributions.
You can't afford to compromise the quality of your laptop's keyboard, because that's what you'll use to code all day long. I usually opt for laptops with a more compact keyboard layout.
Most importantly try the laptop keyboard before you buy. A backlit keyboard is useful if you intend to work in low light conditions frequently.
Good battery life may not be as important to you if you spend most of your time near an electrical outlet. However, look for at least 6 hours of battery life.
Do not rely on expected battery life as stated by the manufacturer. Read third-party reviews on trusted sites and see what real users are saying about the product in forums and comments.
Dedicated or integrated graphics?
A dedicated graphics card (also known as discrete) is not very important for coding purposes.
Save money by going with an integrated graphics card. Invest the money that will save you on an SSD or a better processor.
I would love to know which factors you consider most important to a programming machine and how it affects your day to day work. Use comments to share insights, experiences, and to tell if the article was helpful to you.