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As a web developer you will need a laptop that has a little bit of power. The real pain point will be if you are working on very large projects that can take a long time to compile. Examples include big asp.net projects with tens of projects under the solution. If you are working on smaller things such as simple php applications then you are good with a middle of the road laptop. Below is a guide for what you should be looking for and it is what we have based our best laptop for web development on.
- Best Laptops for Web Development
- 1. Best Laptop for Web Development – Dell Inspiron 15 7000
- 2. Most stylish option – Dell XPS 15
- 3. Most Powerful Laptop – MSI GS65 Stealth-430
- 4. Good value for your money – Acer Predator Helios 300
- 5. Best budget laptop – Acer Aspire 5
- 6. Great option for many – MacBook Pro
- What to look for in a laptop for web development
- Final comments
Best Laptops for Web Development
Based on our research, our pick as the best laptop for web development is the Dell Inspiron 15 7000 (#ad).
1. Best Laptop for Web Development – Dell Inspiron 15 7000
The Dell Inspiron is a great combination of power and price. One of the main reasons for getting this laptop is the good parts that you get for the price. Starting with the CPU that it has. It comes with the Intel Core i7-9750H. This is one of the best laptop CPUs out there and you will find that a lot of high end gaming laptops use this very same CPU. For web development you do need a good CPU as you will be doing a lot of compiling (depending on your projects), and probably be running a lot of programs at once. It is not uncommon to have multiple instances of an IDE open at the same time as a few chrome windows to look things up.
The computer also comes with a GPU which is good for this price class. It has the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050. It is not the most powerful option out there, but it does make the laptop suitable for some light gaming as well if you are interested in that. You don’t really need a GPU for web development, but most mid-range laptops come with them these days and it certainly does not hurt.
As far as RAM goes there is only 8 GB in this laptop. For web development you might want to go as high as 16 GB. Multitasking requires a lot of RAM, but you can always upgrade to more yourself later if you feel like you need to. This laptop has been tested with up to 32 GB of DDR4 RAM so you should be able to get more than enough for web development.
See the Dell Inspiron (#ad) on Amazon.
2. Most stylish option – Dell XPS 15
The Dell XPS 15 is a more premium option than the Dell Inspiron. Despite costing quite a bit more it comes with the same Intel Core i7-9750H CPU. Because most of the high end laptops come with this CPU it is hard for any laptop to really differentiate itself in that area. Because this CPU is so common you should really make sure you get this one or a better one if it is available.
One reason for getting this laptop over the Dell Inspiron is if you want a little more power and a more premium looking laptop. The GPU in this laptop is the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650. This is more powerful that what you get in the Inspiron, but there are more powerful options in for example the MSI laptop below. This laptop is a premium laptop, but it is not the most powerful.
The main reason for getting this laptop for web development is the great screen. It has a 4K Ultra HD screen with incredible small bezels. As you will be dealing with a lot of details if you do front-end development you need a good screen, and this laptop has one of the best laptop screens available.
See the Dell XPS 15 (#ad) on Amazon.
3. Most Powerful Laptop – MSI GS65 Stealth-430
The MSI GS65 Stealth-430 is one of the best high end laptops out there. It provides raw power like few others, but it does cost a bit more too. You should get this laptop if you are looking for something that enables you to do whatever you could possibly need to do as a web developer. This is also a great choice if you have hobbies such as gaming, or you like to dabble in machine learning in your off time.
As with most other options on this list, the laptop comes with the Intel Core i7-9750H CPU. There is really no reason not to get this CPU unless you are going with a low end laptop. That being said, you will be able to get by with a worse CPU, you just won’t have as good of a time and might have to wait quite a bit longer if you are using a lot of programs or work on large projects.
The GPU on this laptop is the Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Max-q. This is a great option for power but also having a thin laptop. Despite this laptop being very powerful, it is surprisingly good looking. The logo on the back of the screen is the main thing giving this away as a so called gaming laptop.
The laptop also has other features you should check out such as a whopping 32 GB of RAM.
See the MSI GS65 Stealth-430 (#ad) on Amazon.
4. Good value for your money – Acer Predator Helios 300
The Acer Predator Helios 300 is a mid-level gaming laptop. Gaming laptops tend to have parts that correlate to what we want in a laptop for web development. To start with it has the Intel Core i7-9750H CPU. This is the same as most other options.
The main reason for getting this laptop is if you want something a little cheaper but still has quite a bit of power. As this is a gaming laptop it is suited for gaming. One drawback is that it does kind of look like a gaming laptop, so if clean aesthetics is a big thing for you then this might not be the best option.
The laptop comes with the GeForce GTX 1660 TI GPU. This GPU is better than the one in the Dell Inspiron and one of the main reasons why you would choose this one over that. If this laptop is within your budget then it really is a good bang for your buck in terms of what parts you get.
There is 16 GB of RAM and a 256 GB SSD on board. These are pretty standard, but 16 GB of RAM out of the box is another reason why you would get this over the Dell Inspiron.
There are a lot of other features that you should check out on the product page.
See the Acer Predator Helios 300 (#ad) on Amazon.
5. Best budget laptop – Acer Aspire 5
The Acer Aspire is the budget option on this list, although the model we have selected is not the cheapest one. On the product page you will have the option to select multiple versions of this laptop if you want to spend less money.
One of the reasons for getting this laptop is that it comes with a brand new Intel Core i5-1021U. Not many laptops come with a 10th generation CPU yet. For web development this will be a good option.
This model of the Aspire comes with the Nvidia GeForce MX250 GPU. This is an entry level GPU, but having a GPU is better than not. And this makes the laptop suitable for light game play, making the laptop a more attractive option for many.
Overall the Aspire is a great laptop. It has other things you should have a look at such as a 9.5 hour battery life, and 8 GB of DDR4 RAM. The main reason why you would get this laptop is because of the price. If you have more of a budget then there are better options on this list with more power.
See the Acer Aspire (#ad) on Amazon.
6. Great option for many – MacBook Pro
There is no denying that the MacBook Pro is an excellent computer. It also happens to be very popular among developers, and web developers in particular. It is good looking, portable, and has amazing build quality. It also has parts that are really good.
One of the main reasons for getting a MacBook is that it is unix based. This makes the laptop more compatible with anything that runs in the terminal, which a lot of web development things do. Any package manager for example is going to work out of the box on a Mac. On Windows you currently have to do some configurations, but it is getting better there.
The MacBook pro has an Intel Core i9 CPU. This is a really good CPU with 8 cores, which is actually more than the 6 you find in the i7-9750H version.
The GPU in the MacBook is the Amd Radeon Pro 5500M. MacBooks have never been touted as a champion of gaming, and their GPU is not as good as in some of the windows options from this list.
If you are looking for a premium laptop with good parts then this is a great option.
See the MacBook Pro (#ad) on Amazon.
What to look for in a laptop for web development
Every great web developer requires a solid laptop to get their work done properly. Since the whole business involves using a computer, it is vital to acquire the best machine possible. A web developer needs to connect to the internet from anywhere in the world at a moment’s notice. The best laptops for web development have features and specs that assist you in doing just that. Here are some of the most crucial factors to consider when purchasing a laptop suitable for professional web development.
You might also be interested in our guide on best programming laptops.
It is important to choose an operating system that is compatible with every development tool and app you plan to use for projects. Many programs only work on either a Windows or Mac pc. There are four major operating systems that are worth taking a look at.
Windows is by far the most common OS in the world. You will have plenty of options to choose from when selecting which programs you will use. You also get a great deal of freedom with a Windows machine. However, it does require some knowledge in order to be mastered completely.
Apple computers are some of the easiest to work on. The streamlined experience makes it great for beginners who don’t know much about computers just yet. That being said, Mac has far fewer programs and apps to choose from. Apple keeps a closed ecosystem, so many common Windows applications never make the jump
Linux is great for building custom software and websites. However, it requires the most knowledge to use effectively. If you take the time to learn this complicated OS, there will be no limit to what you can accomplish for your clients.
Many Chromebooks come with this operating system pre-installed. While these devices are excellent for light computer use, a web developer will get the most benefit from something a bit more powerful. You’re much better off getting a Windows or Mac machine if you are serious about professional web development.
Once you have an OS picked out, you can then focus on a machine that will deliver the performance you need. Luckily, web development doesn’t require a high-end graphics card to run each program. A mid-range GPU is all you will need to get the most out of your demanding apps. This will no doubt help you stay within your budget range. If you want to do things such as machine learning then you might want to invest in a laptop with a powerful GPU.
As a web developer, you should be far more focused on getting the best CPU you can find. The central processing unit will let you run many different applications simultaneously. Programs such as GIMP or photoshop can be very taxing on weaker hardware. A quick CPU will improve your workflow dramatically. If you want to work efficiently, spring for an immaculate CPU.
The ideal laptop for web development needs to be highly portable. Developers are often on the road and need convenient access to all of their files. Clients will routinely ask for time-sensitive fixes that demand your immediate attention. Make sure the laptop is light and has long battery life. This will allow you to turn it on anywhere and get the job done quickly. Since you won’t always have access to a power outlet, you want to be confident that your laptop’s charge will make it through each day.
Web development also requires a fair bit of typing. You want a sturdy keyboard that will remain comfortable during long coding sessions. You also want a reliable trackpad so you can edit each page effectively. If you are going to be working from home often, then you may even consider getting a USB mouse and keyboard. These devices plug right into your laptop and are often of a much higher standard than the laptop’s stock setup.
You also want to pick out a laptop with a sizable screen. You will be able to see everything much easier with a screen that is at least 13 inches diagonally. While you can go way bigger than that, it is important to maintain a balance of usability and portability. If the screen is too big, the laptop will be far less portable overall. Staying within the range of 13 to 17 inches is your best bet.
Purchasing a new laptop can be both exciting and daunting at the same time. A web developer needs a great laptop to get their work done efficiently no matter where they are. The machine you use will be one of the largest factors that determine your success in the field. Be sure to do ample research on every laptop you consider purchasing. With a bit of determination, you should be able to find one of the best laptops for web development. The list above is a great place to start as we think they are some of the best buys out there right now.
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