Top 4 Best Laptops for Web Development and Programming

There is a lot of competition out there for developer laptops. So let’s break down our needs then we can analyze why I have chosen each laptop.

Power – Web developers and web designers tend not to need a super powerful computer. A couple of exceptions to this is for the developers who rely on virtual machines where you will need more ram or people dealing with video, where the extra threads of an i7 would be required. These developers are the minority though. Typically we are only using a browser and a text editor, so based on this we will prioritize things like battery life and portability over raw power.

Some web designers could also benefit from a laptop with up to 16gb of ram, however generally a laptop with 8gb of ram will be enough for most.

Keyboard – Possibly the most important thing for programming on this list will be the keyboard. The laptops in this list will all have to have best in class keyboards.

Screen – This will matter more to some web developers and will depend on your needs. Typically though web developers and web designers require accurate colors so we will be looking for laptops with decent IPS displays. Another thing that may matter to some will be viewing angles. The reason why this may be important is if you are doing any pair programming or if you are showing off your work to potential clients/bosses.

Battery life – Battery life is another important factor for anyone looking for portability. Most modern laptops have enough battery life to last you a whole day. Gone are the days of 2-4 hour batteries.

Best 13 inch Laptop – Dell XPS 13

If portability is important then the 13 inch laptop is going to be the best for usability and portability. There are a few contenders in here but the XPS 13 commonly comes up as the best and for good reason.

Visually the XPS 13 is a stunning laptop with the best in class screen and keyboard is great for programming and typing in general.

The screen on this laptop is vibrant and the colors are accurate, this will be great for web designers and anyone doing graphical work.


Laptop Key Strengths

  • 1080p – QHD Bezel-less IPS Touchscreen.
  • Sleek Design
  • 13 Hour battery life (video playback)
  • 15mm at thickest point.
  • 1.2kg total weight

Which one?

The non touch version is slightly cheaper. However, for just a little bit more money you can get the touch version. Both of these laptops have an i5 and 8gb of ram which is plenty for 90% of developers. The choice here is between the 1080p screen and the QHD display. If you have the money then the QHD display is the best and well worth the extra $.

Best 15 inch Laptop – Dell XPS 15

Dell takes the crown again here with the XPS 15. Again the beautiful bezel-less, best in class screen and responsive keyboard make this ideal for developers.

This laptop obviously isn’t quite as portable as the 13 inch model but at only 2kg and 17mm at its thickest point, it is certainly portable enough for most.

Again the screen on this laptop is vibrant and the colors are accurate and will be great for web designers and anyone doing graphical work.

Laptop Key Strengths

  • 4k Bezel-less IPS touchscreen.
  • Sleek design
  • 13 Hour battery life  (video playback)
  • 17mm at thickest point.
  • 2kg total weight

Which One

Best Convertible Laptop- Microsoft Surface Book 2

If you need something that can double up as a tablet then the Surface Book 2 is a fantastic option. the detachable screen puts it ahead of other laptops that only have 360 degree hinges.

The keyboard section adds to the battery life, so with both the screen and keyboard, you can expect to get a solid 11 hours of battery life.

The screen is an odd size at 3000×2000 pixel resolution. But the display on this laptop is absolutely beautiful in the flesh and has a responsive touchscreen with accurate colors, which is important for any web designers and anyone dealing with graphics.

Laptop Key Strengths

  • Detachable screen
  • 3000×2000 pixel resolution
  • Fantastic track pad
  • Responsive touch screen

Which One

Best Budget Laptop – HP 15-ay013nr 15.6″

Best bang for buck HP 15-ay013nr 15.6″ takes the crown. This laptop is just as powerful as some of the other laptops on this list, the only difference really is the build quality and a step down to 1080p resolution. The screen though is still a great screen, although perhaps not quite as vibrant. The keyboard however is just as strong as the other laptops.

Laptop Key Strengths

  • $599 price tag is fantastic for the specs
  • Fantastic keyboard
  • 11 hour battery life
  • Just as powerful as the other more expensive laptops

Which One

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6 Responses

  1. Josh says:

    very nice knee computers

  2. Josh says:

    what you suggest for man with no knees?

  3. Kriegar says:

    Awesome list. Just received my XPS 13 and it is gorgeous.

  4. Jonathan Duncan says:

    Check out the Acer Aspire R7, I have bought 2 of them. perfect transition from work, play and study.

    • Jack says:

      The R7 is a bit dated now. They are also a tad on the bulky side. Thanks for the suggestion though! 🙂

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