10 Best Laptops for Programming

Wally Nowinski
editor

Our experts used the PerfectRec decision engine to comb through our laptop database and find the best laptops for programming available in 2024. Here are our top picks.

Our criteria for the best laptops for programming:

  • Usage: We focused on laptops with the speed and power required for engineering and coding.
  • Preformance: We prioritized the laptops with the best preformance.
To consider others factors, try the PerfectRec decision engine to get your personalized laptop recommendation
Get your personalized recommendations

10 Best Laptops for Programming

1
BEST RATING
Build Quality:
5.0
Eng/Design: A+
Size: 14.2"
Overall Performance: Excellent
Portability: Thin, light
Battery: Excellent




Pros
  • Exceptional keyboard quality
  • Premium build quality
  • High screen brightness
  • Excellent color accuracy
  • Powerful Apple M3 Max processor
Cons
  • No touchscreen available
  • Limited port options
  • No available RAM slots
  • No available storage slots
2
BEST RATING
Build Quality:
5.0
Eng/Design: A+
Size: 16.2"
Overall Performance: Excellent
Portability: Thin, med. heavy
Battery: Best




Expert Summary
The Apple MacBook Pro 16 (Late 2023) is a high-end laptop with a large 1024 GB of storage and 36 GB of RAM, powered by Apple's M3 Max processor with integrated GPU. It has an impressive battery capacity, offering long hours of typical use. The 16.2-inch mini LED display ensures a crisp viewing experience but lacks touchscreen functionality. The device is not the lightest, weighing 4.8 pounds, which impacts its portability but includes a backlit keyboard, fingerprint reader, and Thunderbolt ports. It offers strong performance for general use, engineering tasks, and 3D/machine learning tasks, owing largely to its combination of CPU and RAM, but it isn't designed for intensive gaming. As for connections, it's equipped with several USB-C/Thunderbolt ports and USB-C charging capability, emphasizing a modern connection standard. The laptop is designed with high quality materials and build, alongside factors that optimize heat and fan noise management. This MacBook is pre-installed with MacOS, appealing to users who prefer the Apple ecosystem.
Pros
  • Excellent build quality
  • Best keyboard and trackpad
  • High-resolution, color-accurate display
  • Powerful Apple M3 Max processor
  • Long battery life
Cons
  • Premium price point
  • Heavier than some competitors
  • No USB-C ports without Thunderbolt
  • Less versatile for gaming
3
Lenovo 16”

Legion Pro 7i

BEST RATING
Gaming, 3D & AI:
4.8
Eng/Design: A
Size: 16"
Overall Performance: Best
Portability: Thick, very heavy
Battery: Fair




Expert Summary
The Lenovo Legion 7i Pro is a premium laptop with a strong focus on gaming and high-performance tasks. It comes with a powerful Intel i9 processor and a top-tier Nvidia RTX 4080 graphics card, making it suitable for intensive 3D rendering, machine learning, and gaming. It has a large amount of storage and memory, enhancing its multitasking capabilities. The battery capacity is ample, but battery life is average, which is common in high-performance gaming laptops. The screen is sizeable and has a high refresh rate, ideal for fast-paced games, and the laptop is also equipped with a variety of ports, including USB-C and Thunderbolt, for easy connectivity. While the keyboard and speakers are of high quality, the laptop is relatively heavy, impacting its portability. If you require a machine for engineering, gaming, or other demanding tasks and can manage a less portable device with average battery life, the Legion 7i Pro would be an excellent choice.
Pros
  • High RAM and storage capacity
  • Powerful Intel i9 CPU and Nvidia GPU
  • High refresh rate and brightness display
  • Good color accuracy and coverage
  • Qualifies as a premium business laptop
Cons
  • Short battery life
  • Moderate portability due to weight
  • Lacks touchscreen capability
  • Less suited for on-the-go use
4
BEST RATING
General Use:
5.0
Eng/Design: A+
Size: 16.2"
Overall Performance: Excellent
Portability: Thin, med. heavy
Battery: Best




Expert Summary
The Apple MacBook Pro 16 (Late 2023) is a premium laptop that offers high-end performance suitable for demanding tasks such as 3D rendering, engineering software, and machine learning, owed in large part to its powerful Apple M3 Max processor and ample RAM. Known for its stunning Mini LED display, the resolution provides sharp visuals and supports a wide range of colors, making it ideal for creatives and professionals who require accurate color representation, though it is not touchscreen. The large screen and processor do mean it weighs more, so it's less portable than lighter models. It features a long battery life for extensive use between charges, a quality build, a quiet and effective cooling system, a highly-rated keyboard, and excellent speakers. This model is optimal for those needing high performance and a superior display, who do not prioritize gaming as it isn't designed for that purpose. The MacBook Pro 16 also comes with multiple USB-C ports including Thunderbolt 4 support for connectivity, though it lacks an HDMI port and an Ethernet port. If you need a laptop primarily for general use and portability with modest performance needs, there may be more cost-effective options available.
Pros
  • Exceptional build quality
  • Outstanding speaker and webcam
  • High-resolution, bright screen
  • Powerful Apple M3 Max chip
  • Long battery life
Cons
  • High price point
  • No USB-A or Ethernet ports
  • No touchscreen
  • Heavy, less portable
5
Lenovo 16”

Legion 9i

BEST RATING
General Use Screen Quality:
5.0
Eng/Design: A
Size: 16"
Overall Performance: Best
Portability: Very thick, heavy
Battery: Poor




Pros
  • High-resolution screen
  • Great heat management
  • Powerful main processor
  • Superior GPU performance
  • Full sRGB color coverage
Cons
  • Heavier than average
  • Average battery life
  • Loud fan noise under load
  • Not the most portable
6
Lenovo 14.5”

Slim Pro 9i

BEST RATING
General Use Screen Quality:
5.0
Eng/Design: A
Size: 14.5"
Overall Performance: Very Good
Portability: Thick, light
Battery: Good




Expert Summary
The Lenovo Slim Pro 9i is priced in the upper midrange segment and offers a premium combination of storage and RAM. It is equipped with an Intel i7 processor and Nvidia RTX 4050 GPU, making it a strong performer for engineering, 3D rendering, and machine learning tasks. The laptop has a high-resolution Mini LED touch display, which should offer vibrant colors and high brightness, favoring professionals who need accurate color reproduction. It is relatively lightweight and compact but has a comparatively short battery life. The Slim Pro 9i comes with Windows 11 Home, has a good selection of ports including Thunderbolt, and features like a backlit keyboard, fingerprint reader, and facial recognition, aligning it well for business and premium personal use.
Pros
  • High-resolution touchscreen display
  • Powerful Intel i7 processor
  • Nvidia RTX 4050 graphics
  • Sturdy build quality
  • Backlit keyboard
Cons
  • Relatively heavy at 3.7 pounds
  • Moderate battery life of 6 hours
  • Heat management is fair
  • Fan noise can be noticeable
7
ASUS 18”

ROG Strix G18

BEST RATING
Gaming, 3D & AI:
4.8
Eng/Design: A
Size: 18"
Overall Performance: Best
Portability: Very thick, very heavy
Battery: Good




Expert Summary
The ASUS ROG Strix G18 is a powerful laptop designed for intensive tasks such as gaming, 3D rendering, and machine learning with its top-tier Intel i9 processor and Nvidia RTX 4090 graphics. It offers a very large amount of storage and a considerable amount of RAM, ensuring smooth multitasking and performance. With an 18-inch screen, high resolution, and extremely fast refresh rate, the display is well-suited for immersive visual experiences, but its larger size and heavier weight reduce portability. The battery life is moderate, making it less ideal for long durations away from power sources. This laptop has a high-quality build, efficient heat management, and a comfortable backlit keyboard with a number pad. It's a premium device with a corresponding high price, fitting for users who prioritize performance and display quality over portability and battery life.
Pros
  • High-performance CPU and GPU
  • Large, high-refresh-rate screen
  • Very high screen brightness
  • Excellent color space coverage
  • Good port selection with Thunderbolt
Cons
  • Short battery life
  • Poor portability, quite heavy
  • No touchscreen capability
  • Not designed as business laptop
8
BEST RATING
Gaming, 3D & AI:
4.7
Eng/Design: A
Size: 16"
Overall Performance: Very Good
Portability: Med. thick, med. heavy
Battery: Fair




Expert Summary
The ASUS ROG Zephyrus M16 is a laptop with an upper midrange price that offers a combination of high performance and portability. It has a large storage capacity and sufficient RAM to handle most tasks, a powerful Intel i9 processor, and the Nvidia RTX 4070 graphics card, which supports ray tracing and DLSS, making it well-suited for gaming, 3D rendering, and machine learning applications. Its high-resolution, high-refresh-rate IPS display will provide excellent visuals, especially considering its high color accuracy and brightness. Despite these features, the laptop remains relatively portable and has a good battery life for typical usage. It has a premium build quality, good heat management, and a range of ports, including Thunderbolt 4 and USB-C charging. If you need a laptop that is versatile for gaming, engineering, and general use, and is also easy to carry around, the Zephyrus M16 is a solid choice. However, for extended use away from power sources, there are other options with longer battery life.
Pros
  • High-resolution, fast refresh rate screen
  • Strong performance for gaming and engineering
  • Comprehensive color coverage for creative work
  • Good port selection including Thunderbolt 4
  • Backlit keyboard with fingerprint reader
Cons
  • Heavier than ultraportable laptops
  • Average battery life for typical usage
  • Lack of Ethernet port for wired networking
  • No facial recognition feature
9
BEST RATING
General Use Screen Quality:
4.9
Eng/Design: A
Size: 14"
Overall Performance: Very Good
Portability: Med. thick, light
Battery: Good




Expert Summary
The ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14 is a premium, high-performance laptop with a focus on gaming and intensive tasks. It boasts a powerful AMD Ryzen 9 processor and Nvidia RTX 4090 graphics, making it well-suited for 3D rendering, machine learning, and engineering software. The 14-inch Mini LED display provides excellent visual clarity and color accuracy, though it lacks touch capabilities. Despite its robust capabilities, the Zephyrus G14 is relatively portable with a weight under 4 pounds. It also offers a good battery life for typical usage. This laptop may command a higher price, but it offers advanced features like hardware ray tracing, DLSS, and a backlit keyboard. The cooling system effectively manages heat but can result in noticeable fan noise during heavy use. Consider this laptop if you need a potent, portable machine for demanding applications and are willing to invest in high-end hardware.
Pros
  • Excellent general performance
  • High-quality build and keyboard
  • Good for 3D and machine learning
  • Long battery life for typical use
  • Portable for power offered
Cons
  • Can get loud under heavy load
  • Not the lightest at 3.79 pounds
  • No touchscreen available
  • Might be pricey for budget users
10
MSI 17.3”

Raider GE78

BEST RATING
Gaming, 3D & AI:
4.9
Eng/Design: A
Size: 17.3"
Overall Performance: Best
Portability: Very thick, very heavy
Battery: Good




Expert Summary
The MSI Raider GE78 is a high-end laptop with substantial storage and a powerful combination of an Intel i9 processor and Nvidia RTX graphics, well-suited for gaming and intensive engineering or 3D/machine learning tasks. It features a large and high-refresh-rate display but is heavy, which affects its portability. The battery life is on the lower side. It is priced at the higher end of the spectrum, reflecting its premium components and performance capabilities.
Pros
  • Powerful Main Processor
  • High-end GPU
  • Large, High-refresh-rate Screen
  • Ample Storage and RAM
  • Numerous Ports, USB-C Charging
Cons
  • Short Battery Life
  • Heavy and Thick
  • Poor Portability