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10 Great Laptops for Software Developers in 2021

Thomas De Moor
Content Marketer
Originally published at x-team.com on ・7 min read

Every software developer needs a good laptop. Particularly when you're a remote developer, having a laptop that you can use for programming and productivity tasks is essential to take full advantage of the freedom that remote work brings.

But which laptop to choose? Every year, hundreds of laptops flood the market. It's easy to get lost between all the choices. That's why we've compiled a list of the 10 best laptops for developers in 2021.

Dell XPS 15

10 Great Laptops for Software Developers in 2021

The Dell XPS lineup has been an amazing, great-looking laptop lineup for many years. We prefer the XPS 15 over the XPS 13 because you can pack more code on a 15" display and because it remains a relatively light laptop at 1.91 kg (4.22 lbs) with a 86 Whr battery that should last you all day. As with most Dell laptops, the XPS lineup is highly customizable.

Specs Base Model Most Expensive Model
Display 15.6" FHD+ non-touch (1920x1200) 15.6" UHD touch (3840x2400)
CPU 11th Gen Intel Core i5-11400H 11th Gen Intel Core i9-11900H
GPU Intel UHD Graphics Nvidia Geforce RTX 3050 Ti
RAM 8 GB DDR4 3200 MHz 16GB DDR4 3200 Mhz
Storage 256 GB SSD 512 GB SSD
Price $1,249.99 $2,349.99

MacBook Air (M1)

10 Great Laptops for Software Developers in 2021

The 2021 MacBook Air is arguably the best value-for-money laptop Apple has come out with in years. This is in large part because they're now using their new M1 chips instead of Intel chips, which offer better performance on virtually every level, including battery life. The MacBook Air can last up to 30 hours (!). On top of that, it's light too, coming in at 1.29 kg (2.8 lbs). If you're a fan of the iOS ecosystem, this laptop is your best bet in 2021.

Specs Base Model Most Expensive Model
Display 13" Retina (2560x1600) 13" Retina (2560x1600)
CPU Apple M1 8-core Apple M1 8-core
GPU Apple M1 7-core Apple M1 8-core
RAM 8 GB 8 GB
Storage 256 GB SSD 512 GB SSD
Price $999 $1,249

ROG Zephyrus G15

10 Great Laptops for Software Developers in 2021

The ROG Zephyrus G15 is not only one of the best gaming laptops, but it's one of the best laptops of 2021 all round. Despite being a gaming laptop, the Zephyrus G15 doesn't get too hot nor too loud. It's a performance beast, its audio is fantastic, and its battery life isn't too bad either, going up to 8 hours with a 90 Whr battery. Just be aware that some models don't have a webcam. If the G15 is too expensive, you can opt for the smaller, but equally impressive Zephyrus G14.

Specs Base Model
Display 15.6" WQHD (2560x1440)
CPU AMD Ryzen 9 5900HS
GPU Nvidia Geforce RTX 3050 Ti
RAM 16 GB DDR4 (up to 48 GB)
Storage 1 TB SSD
Price $2,400+

MacBook Pro 16"

10 Great Laptops for Software Developers in 2021

You want to keep an eye on the MacBook Pro 16". The laptop is due a refresh that will come out later this year and will quite likely include Apple's M1 chip. If the performance of the M1 in the MacBook Air is anything to go by, this could make the MacBook Pro the best high-end laptop on the market. Regardless, today's model of the MacBook Pro still packs a considerable punch and comes with excellent audio and great battery life.

Specs Base Model Most Expensive Model
Display 16" Retina (3072x1920) 16" Retina (3072x1920)
CPU 9th Gen Intel Core i7 9th Gen Intel Core i9
GPU AMD Radeon Pro 5300M AMD Radeon Pro 5500M
RAM 16 GB DDR4 2666 MHz 16 GB DDR4 2666 MHz
Storage 512 GB SSD 1 TB SSD
Price $2,399 $2,799

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Nano

10 Great Laptops for Software Developers in 2021

The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Nano is yet another excellent iteration of Lenovo's ThinkPad lineup. The Nano is the lightest laptop we're recommending in this list, coming in at a featherweight 0.9 kg (2 lbs). It's extremely portable and has a battery that only the MacBook Air can beat. It's also still quite a powerful laptop for productivity and programming tasks. One of the best business laptops all round.

Specs Base Model Most Expensive Model
Display 13" IPS (2160x1350) 13" IPS (2160x1350)
CPU 11th Gen Intel Core i5-1130G7 11th Gen Intel Core i7-1180G7
GPU Intel Iris Xe Graphics Intel Iris Xe Graphics
RAM 8 GB LPDDR4X 4266 MHz 16 GB LPDDR4X 4266 MHz
Storage 256 GB SSD 1 TB SSD
Price $1,229.50 $1,486.20

Surface Laptop 4

10 Great Laptops for Software Developers in 2021

Microsoft's Surface Laptop 4 is yet another example that the Surface lineup has really come into its own. The Surface Laptop 4 has the distinct Surface look and feel, and can compete with the best laptops in all categories. It has an amazing keyboard and enough battery life to last you through the day. At 1.55 kg (3.4 lbs), it's also lighter than its direct competitors, the MacBook Pro 16" and Dell XPS 15.

Specs Base Model Most Expensive Model
Display 15" PixelSense (2496x1664) 15" PixelSense (2496x1664)
CPU AMD Ryzen 7 4980U 11th Gen Intel Core i7-1185G7
GPU AMD Radeon Graphics Intel Iris Xe Graphics
RAM 8 GB LPDDR4x 32 GB LPDDR4x
Storage 256 GB SSD 1 TB SSD
Price $1,299.99 $2,399.99

LG Gram 17

10 Great Laptops for Software Developers in 2021

The LG Gram 17 is the only laptop on this list with a 17" screen. Who doesn't love extra screen space? Despite the large screen, the LG Gram 17 is remarkably quiet and relatively light too, at a respectable 1.950 kg (4.3 lbs). Its battery life can easily last you through the day. This laptop is great for productivity, programming, and even some light gaming.

Specs Base Model
Display 17" WQXGA (2560x1600)
CPU 11th Gen Intel Core i7-1165G7
GPU Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 Ti
RAM 16 GB DDR4 3200 MHz
Storage 512 GGB SSD
Price $1,499.99

HP Spectre x360 14

10 Great Laptops for Software Developers in 2021

The HP Spectre x360 14 is the improved version of the x360 13 (which HP also still sells on its website, so be careful which model you select). The hinges underneath the screen allow you to tilt the screen fully backward until it becomes a (somewhat bulky) tablet with a pen that's included in the price (takes notes, Microsoft). It's one of the best convertibles on the market today with a beautiful touch display and well over a day of battery life.

Specs Base Model Most Expensive Model
Display 13.5" WUXGA+ touch (1920x1280) 13.5" WUXGA+ touch (1920x1280)
CPU Intel Core i5-1135G7 Intel Core i7-1165G7
GPU Intel Iris Xe Graphics Intel Iris Xe Graphics
Memory 8 GB DDR4 16 GB DDR4
Storage 256 GB SSD 2 TB SSD
Price $1,169.99 $1,719.99

HP Envy 14

10 Great Laptops for Software Developers in 2021

If you're not in the market for a convertible or want something a little cheaper, the HP Envy 14 is a great choice. It's a little heavy for a 14" screen at 1.5 kg (3.3 lbs), but it delivers good performance for productivity, programming, and gaming on medium settings. The Envy 14 has a long battery life of close to twenty hours.

Specs Base Model Most Expensive Model
Display 14" WUXGA IPS (1920x1200) 14" WUXGA IPS (1920x1200)
CPU Intel Core i5-1135G7 Intel Core i7-1165G7
GPU Intel Iris Xe Graphics Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 Ti
RAM 8 GB DDR4 16 GB DDR4
Storage 256 GB SSD 2 TB SSD
Price $849.99 $1,659.99

Huawei MateBook 13

10 Great Laptops for Software Developers in 2021

Because of geopolitical tensions between the US and China, the MateBook 13 isn't available in the US. But for everyone else, this is a powerful and relatively cheap laptop with very little bloatware. At 1.3 kg (2.87 lbs), it's one of the lighter laptops on this list too. The MateBook 13 is great for travelers who want a relatively powerful laptop.

Specs Base Model Most Expensive Model
Display 13" IPS (2160x1440) 13" IPS (2160x1440)
CPU 10th Gen Intel Core i5-10210U 10th Gen Intel Core i7-10510U
GPU Nvidia GeForce MX250 Nvidia GeForce MX250
RAM 8 GB LPDDR3 2133 MHz 16 GB LPDDR3 2133 MHz
Storage 512 GB SSD 512 GB SSD
Price ± $955 ± $1,550

Discussion (1)

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mdl

Just no. You want a latitude
dell.com/learn/us/en/70/campaigns/...