To all the people who use laptops for coding, what are the most important things to look out for when getting one. As a desktop user, all of these machines seem underpowered and overpriced.
Im mostly aware what I need to get regarding hardware inside, but when it comes to displays/keyboards/mousepads(does anyone even use that?)/size/io, I am preety clueless.

  • 1
    Well that is nearly completely up to your preferences.
    I personally like complete keyboards which dictates a size over 13" I think. I currently have 15.6 which works for me, but many like smaller ones to keep it more portable. The display should probably be anti-reflective if you want to work outside or something like this.
    The mousepad is pretty irrelevant because you are probably going to use a normal mouse, except for some quick things.
    You are also probably going to want to have a chance to connect a monitor, so look out for this. Watch for the amount of USB Connections so you don't need to carry a splitter with you.
    This is currently everything that comes to my mind, hope this helps
  • 2
    Get a small Lenovo with that little nibblet on the keyboard. That is so convenient on the train and they usually have docking stations or Usb C for home use. I am using the small X201 which has an awesome battery life and exchangeable batteries.
    Things I look out for are
    - Battery Life (~10 hours advertised)
    - Exchangeable Battery
    - A nice keyboard
    - Fast docking options for the office/at home
    - Not too high resolution, no OS scales good on higher resolutions
  • 2
    Lenovo Thinkpad.
  • 2
    My hard requirements for laptops are monitor related:

    - Anti-glare monitor
    - decent visibility in direct sun lights
    - At least Full HD resolution and not this 1366 x 768 crap (more important the bigger the screen)
    - SSD
    - good Linux support
    - decent multicore CPU
    - at least 16 GB RAM

    The price tag may seem harsh esp. when going down the Ultrabook route, yet you gain portability. Consider that the investment.

    Unless you plan creating / playing games, you can almost ignore the graphics card. Any chip will be able to decode HD videos or run games on low settings today. The "weaker" that one is, the less heat is generated, the less the fan noise will disturb you. (At best check how loud a laptop can get under full load before buying it.)
  • 1
    I prefer 12 to 13 inch laptop's for portability yet currently I have a 15 inch one and true enough, I don't carry it around that often anymore.

    Something to keep in mind:

    - ports, at best look for HDMI / display port to connect beamers to if you do lot of presentations
    - docking station / docking port makes your work set-up feel like a desktop yet still you are able to walk away without much hassle with the laptop
    - trackpoint beats touchpad IMO yet is barely anyone builds them anymore (only ThinkPads some Dell models have them) yet please give them a try
    - battery life, yet this lost its impact for me since even most inter-regio trains offer power supply in Germany

    If the price still scares you too much and need to buy it yourself: buy used instead of new. Decent five years old ThinkPads can be bought at a cheap price while at least performing okayish.
  • 2
    @Kulijana what is your work? Are you a DevOps or a web designer? Do you use photoshop and need it in a laptop? You need to know first the programs that you are going to use so you can know your OS then from there you can canvass for a laptop.
  • 1
    Check the keyboard. When I'm at my desk I use the home and end keys all the time with my laptop on a dock and external keyboard. I get home, I have to push the bastard function key and fucking left and right arrow together for home and end! Ball ache!
  • 2
    Whatever you do. Make sure you check keyboard layout. My \ | and # keys are on different positions on my laptop because I just focused on specs. Nightmare to code on
  • 0
    Im currently a student, and the work I do is mostly java/android stuff, nothing visually heavy.
  • 0
    @woddell thanks for reminding me about the layout, this one skipped my mind!
  • 0
    Refurb Lenovo Thinkpad. Can’t imagine better value and I love working with mine. It’s a stallion!
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