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James Hickey
James Hickey

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What's Your Fav. Dev Laptop? Why?

As the title suggests: What's your favourite laptop for coding and development? Why?

Mine? I really like the Dell XPS series. But I know there are probably some better ones out there 😉

Top comments (50)

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jmfayard profile image
Jean-Michel (jmfayard.dev) • Edited

I'm not sure if my question is stupid but...

Why are we all on a laptop?

It's strange to me that we all felt the trade-off MacBook pro vs iMac was obvious

  • A lot of laptops used for programming rarely move anyway.
  • Why should I care the MacBook are even thinner now? It was not really a bottleneck for doing my work...
  • Working on a laptop ensure you have a crappy posture
  • Sreens are larger
  • You good good specs for a lower price.
  • the extra money saved can be used for buying a Chromebook it an iPad when you do need a computer on the go
  • You get ports, no need for lots of adapters
  • Keyboard is broken? No big deal

it's easier to go with a MacBook to the Meetup.
Ok, but going there without a computer and talking to people is better in my experience.

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strzibny profile image
Josef Strzibny

I personally really move my laptop - working from the office, working from home, working from a coffee shop. I have external monitors at work and home and a laptop stand for working on the road for posture. If you are in one location I agree that you don't need a laptop.

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erikthered profile image
Erik Nelson

I think if you're in an on-call rotation you're stuck using a laptop, I don't see another option short of some kind of VM/remote access. I'm working remote of out of my home now and I'm basically docked all the time unless I want to work from a coffee shop or brewery for the afternoon. Honestly I'd prefer a beefy desktop running Linux but I've yet to work anywhere that has even considered a setup like that as an option.

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rossdrew profile image
Ross

Use a laptop like a desktop (mouse, monitor, keyboard) and you lose most of the drawbacks. The benefit is sacrificing a little power for portability. Ability to take laptops to meetings, to move demos around, to be able to hot desk, to work from home, to be able to work during travel. The price saving and the extra power aren't worth those benefits.

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johannesjo profile image
Johannes Millan

For most people it's probably the meetings. You sometimes want to show things to other people. For me working as a freelancer for different clients and often on site there is no other option.

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perigk profile image
Periklis Gkolias

Exactly my view. Especially the posture thing. So many people do it wrong, unfortunately.

With the extra money, you can also buy a previous generation laptop (maybe refurbished) and use an online IDE to do your heavy coding.

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gyurisc profile image
gyurisc

For me, laptop is ideal because I can work somewhere else and even when on the train.

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jmfayard profile image
Jean-Michel (jmfayard.dev)

I prefer to read books in the train :)

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eavichay profile image
Avichay Eyal • Edited

Macbook pro 15" 2015.
Why not buy newer? The crappy keyboard.

The 2015 macbooks have awesome keyboard, years of great battery life, 16gb RAM and (surprisingly) 256Gb disk is fair enough for dev.

I'm mostly frontend dev but also running local environments with virtual machines and i feel near-zero lags.

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nikoheikkila profile image
Niko Heikkilä

Macbook Pro (even with the butterfly keyboard) has been my go-to choice for dev laptop. I'm getting the 16-inch version with a new keyboard soon so I'm fascinated to test it.

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gyurisc profile image
gyurisc

Niko, It would be nice to hear about your experience.

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nikoheikkila profile image
Niko Heikkilä

The new keyboard is a very good reason to upgrade. My only complaint so far with the new keyboard is its Touch Bar occasionally going blank. A reboot fixes it though, so probably not a hardware fault.

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thecodingalpaca profile image
Carlos Trapet

I don't know, I kinda like the butterfly keyboard and the laptop in general.
I used to hate Mac until I bought the 2017 MacBook Pro and I fell in love with it.

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Dominik Mack

The new MacBook Pro 16" fixes the crappy Keyboard Problems. So if you want to update, now you're free to go. :)

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zuhraemon profile image
zuhraemon

You are free to go? It's $2400.😅...

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pavloskl profile image
pavloskl

Great laptop to begin with. However Apple just revealed the new 16' macbook pro with a scissors style keyboard and as they say is just perfect. I am thinking to replace my 2016 13' macbook Pro.

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redoxeon profile image
Michael Harding

I recently just switched from a Dell XPS to a Surface Pro 7, and the Surface has been the best laptop experience I've had let alone dev experience! That last statement is really subjective, I know. Before my XPS I was using thick gaming laptops, which was not fun to carry around, and wouldn't last very long at all on battery.

I really like how integrated the touch experience is on the surface pro, and I ended up getting a pen to go with it, so it makes it super easy to sketch out code designs and write out notes (I tend to be able to remember and think better when I can scrawl my notes down rather than typing). It's been great not having to carry around a paper notebook.

I should also note that I'm in school right now, so some of the benefits I've been seeing might be overblown for someone not in school who doesn't need to be taking notes all the time, but for me, it's been great. I've also noticed the battery life is a bit better than my previous XPS 13 was even when it was new.

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Björn Grunde

I think you are on to something, I have an HP Spectre 360, and what baffled me was just how useful a touch screen and a pen could be at work. Being able to sketch out ideas on the go turned out to be incredibly valuable.

And the 4k monitor is not bad at all for programming (or any work) :P

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Robert Sigler

XPS 13 9380 running Ubuntu 19.10. It's a great platform for desktop and laptop dev and ops. Light, fast, and functional. I use the Dell Thunderbolt dock- which was a bit flaky up until the latest FW upgrade. As of now, it drives a 4k monitor, charges the laptop, and provides full USB connectvity. I've been very happy with the platform.

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jackdcasey

Macbook Pro :)

The main reason is honestly the trackpad. When working outside the office I prefer not not carry a mouse, so a good trackpad is a must. I haven't found any other laptop that even comes close.

My main comparison is a Windows laptop from my work (Lenovo Carbon X1) so this may not apply to all other laptops.

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Gabriel Castiglioni

The trackpad is amazing!

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Juan Cruz Tubio

I was surprised nobody mentioned it before, but I love coding on the Razer Blade 15. It's portable as a macbook pro, blazing fast, it has a great (and cool as f) keyboard and you can also game on it when work's done. I have been travelling and working on the go for the past few months so I had to leave my desktop behind, but I don't feel any compromises with the blade. The only thing I miss is the dual monitors, but I just found out there are some good portable screens for cheap on amazon so I'll grab one soon and check it out.

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Yan Naing (ရန်နိင်)

Macbook Pro
As a web developer, windows is not my suitable os for development. Although I use ubuntu, I still need to use Adobe Products. So, the best choice for me is macbook pro.

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Evaldas Buinauskas

How is Windows not suitable for web development? I know it's subjective, but I'd like to know arguments 🙂

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mrzer0 profile image
Yan Naing (ရန်နိင်)

The main reason is SSH connection. I don't wanna use putty or wsl. And I have faced troubles in various project concerning directory separator "/" and "\". I don't feel good using default cmd or console2 and even new terminal.
But it is just my personal feeling. I love windows, not for development.

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Nicola Erario

Now on windows ssh is native ( on home edition is a single checkbox ) ; powershell not so bad ( lack a little for themes). I use both Linux and windows, so I’m not a fanboy

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moopet profile image
Ben Sinclair

ssh on WSL is fine. WSL itself is pointless in my opinion, but ssh is fine.

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nicolaerario profile image
Nicola Erario

Never used WSL infact. I’m saying natively, not with WSL

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chachan profile image
Cherny • Edited

I use three (Windows, Mac and Linux) and Windows require way more setup like avoid CRLF end of line char, swapping between consoles. i.e. I use Git Bash for git operations, PowerShell to run docker commands and WSL for kubernetes commands (I tried to use only one but seems like it requires more tricks). This means different ways to copy and paste, different scripts for automation of tasks and different profile directories. I use Windows because I have to. I wouldn't say "is not suitable for web development" but definitely Mac and Linux and more developer friendly.

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marks7e profile image
Marcos Barrera

Thinkpad T&X Series.

I love theirs keyboards and touchpad. I'm not a big fan of trackpoint but you can use it for navigate a file easily with it. Thinkpad have a great battery life. Also, their are robust as tanks! I bought a x230T years ago and i think i'll use it for a couple of years more.

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Phil Tietjen

Mine so far has been a MacBook Pro, however, my variety only ranges from my windows 10 desktop PC to a MacBook Pro. Nothing substantial really pulling me in my direction other than I feel like I need less faffing around and config for setting up web dev stuff on a new Mac.

I've always wanted to give the XPS series or any other affordable powerful windows machines a try since windows has been moving in a good direction for development.

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Vincent Grovestine

Thinkpad T-Series: Trackpoint mouse, matte screen, and upgradable.

That said, I'll be honest and say that the surprisingly nice, cheap and cheerful 11" Acer Spin 1 that my wife picked up a couple months ago has me questioning my long-held Thinkpad obsession. As opposed to compromising with the laptop form factor, one day I may switch to an inexpensive ultra-portable (Pentium Silver processor, FHD screen, half-day battery), plus a formidable desktop configured for power and ergonomics.

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Daniel Martínez Sarta

I'm working with a Dell G7 7588 running Pop_OS! right now with really great performance. I work mainly with ruby, python, netcore and js with some VMs for windows-only projects and this laptop either with windows or linux has excelent performance.

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andersonid profile image
andersonid

Theres any special thing to consider when installing this OS on dell g7?

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Daniel Martínez Sarta

Not really, it's the first time a Linux distro worked clean with no issues or steps to fix some things.

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Erik Nelson

For work I have a 15" 2018 MacBook Pro which is okay I guess. I work remotely from my home office and am docked almost all the time. I haven't had any keyboard issues but I guess I'm just underwhelmed with the OS for development. I'd much prefer a pure Linux environment since that more closely mirrors our deployment targets.

For personal stuff I recently got a Dell XPS 13 9380 from their outlet store and it's been wonderful. I had to jump through a few hurdles to get Linux on it but I've been running ArchLinux on it now for a month or two and it's been terrific.

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Jean-Luc Mounsamy

I'm using a Dell XPS 13 Developer Edition (Ubuntu 18.04) since March 2017 and I'm globally satisfied. But, I'm disappointed by the lack of compatibility for Linux and Dell Accessories.

I switched to Ubuntu in 2015 when my last MacBook Pro died. I was totally satisfied with my MacBook Pro but I had just quit my job and I didn't want to spent all my savings on a new MacBook Pro so I took an old laptop from my sister, put my MacBook RAM and SSD on it and install Ubuntu. I used it for about 6 months and then I bought a Desktop and install Ubuntu on it.

I'm currently thinking of switching back to Apple. Linux is great for Developers but lacks of compatible accessories and I want a more polyvalent Laptop.

By the way, I hate Windows for Development. The only reason why I could use Windows to Develop is if I'm working with dotNET.

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Ben Sinclair

I would recommend the MacBook Pro I use for work, because it's pretty good for the most part - the keyboard's not as bad as people make out - but I can't in all honesty say it's a reliable machine or as good for development as a Linux box. MacOS is, shall we say... "whimsical" at best.

The new Thinkpad "carbon" laptops are pretty nice from what I've seen.

My favourite is what I use most, which is a 2011 Thinkpad brick. I don't need to take it anywhere and it keeps my knees warm on the sofa.

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Josef Strzibny

ThinkPad X1 Carbon with Fedora on it. ThinkPads were in my mind the only laptops comparable or even better than Macbooks. They have decent touchbar (Macbook is better here), trackpoint (unique feature helping you avoid mouse and carpal tunnel syndrome), specs (they fixed the sound now, but still lacking in graphic cards), and probably the best build (better alloy than just aluminum in Macbooks + you can fully open your lid). On top of this it's important that most things works in Linux and since most of Red Hat runs on ThinkPads the corner cases get usually polished over time.