10 best budget laptops for programming students

These best budget programming laptops for students let you create projects, execute thousands of code lines, and interpret big data without problems.

When you have a limited budget for your new laptop, spending your money wisely is important to get the best bang for the buck. A good way to save money on a budget programming laptop is to know which features you need and which you can skip.

  • Handy, if you favor a good-quality keyboard and a long battery life above other flimsy stuff. A touch screen is also an optional feature (for most people), followed by a powerful GPU (if you are not gaming).
  • OLED, 4k, and displays with fast refresh rates also come costly, so laptops with LED panels and FHD resolution would be the best bet for a budget programming laptop. 
  • Sadly, you may have to sacrifice those bass-heavy speakers rather than look for a powerful processor and more RAM options. 

Best budget laptops for programming for everyone

1. HP ENVY x360 

best budget 2-in1- laptop for programming students.

  • Display: 15.6″ Full HD Touchscreen
  • Processor:  AMD Ryzen 5 4500U Processor up to 4.0GHz
  • RAM/ROM: 8GB Memory, 256GB PCIe SSD
  • Weight: ‎4.41 pounds

Check the price on Amazon

For under $700, the HP Envy x360 brings a good package to the table. Its 2-in-1 design is particularly good for students who are involved in skills that demand massive writing such as learning to code.

We like its thin and compact design, weighing only 4.41 pounds, which makes it very comfortable to hold. Also, the keyboard has a backlit which is an important feature.

Taking a closer look, it is powered by an AMD Ryzen 5 4500U processor. That’s not something jaw-dropping but fortunately, the RAM is expandable up to 16 GB, so you don’t have to worry about running out of RAM when 8 GB feels inadequate.

What we like

  • +Affordable 2-in-1 laptop.
  • +Compact, portable design.
  • +Backlit keyboard with comfortable keys.

What we don’t like

-Mediocre performance

2. Newest 2022 HP

A Powerful budget laptop for programmers under $600

Specs: 

  • Display: 15.6” FHD
  • Processor:  AMD Ryzen 5 5500U 6 core CPU (Beat i7-1160G7, up to 4GHz
  • RAM/ROM: 16GB RAM, 512GB PCIe NVMe SSD
  • Keyboard: Full-sized, No backlit keyboard
  • Weight: 3.70 lbs

Check the price on Amazon

the Newest 2022 HP offers great value compared to other laptops. This slim, stylish, lightweight laptop offers all the necessities for programming for only $500.

We believe the 512 SSD memory inside is more than what you would need, but that’s okay as it gives you more onboard storage to store plenty of important files, also photos, and videos.

Packed inside, a mid-power AMD ryzen 5 5500 processor with 16 GB of DDR4 RAM guarantees you a faster compiling rate. 

As much as we enjoyed the processing power, the 15.6 FHD display also caught our attention.

While the keyboard quality is comparable to any premium laptop, a backlit keyboard would have a bonus here. The same goes for the battery timing, we’ve only enjoyed 4-5 hours till it shuts off.

What we like

  • +Boast enormous power.
  • +Stylish and compact design.
  • +Good display quality.

What we don’t like

  • -Lacks backlit keyboard.
  • -No backlit keyboard

3. Acer Aspire 5 

A laptop for basic work under $500

  • Display: 15.6″ IPS FHD
  • Processor:  AMD Ryzen 5 5500U 6 core
  • RAM/ROM: 8GB RAM, 256GB PCIe NVMe SSD
  • Weight: 3.88 lbs

Check the price on Amazon

Don’t miss out on the Acer Aspire 5 which is also suitable for work like writing and programming. It has a backlit keyboard, a missing feature in the HP newest 2022.

You will be delighted by its dazzling LED display that turns tasks like reading and writing into a more pleasurable experience. Though it lacks a discrete GPU from Nvidia. Nevertheless, your main concern should be CPU power: if you don’t mind playing games in low settings using its AMD GPU. 

So In terms of processing power, you’ll get the AMD Ryzen 5 5500 6-core CPU, the same as the one in the newest HP 2022. 

While 16GB RAM would have been a better upgrade, nonetheless the 8GB RAM model (upgradeable) will still let you run multiple apps, open various browsing tabs, and run IDEs without any problems.

Its long battery life is what impressed us the most in our testing. Continuous use can last the battery for more than 7 hours, that’s 40% more running time than the HP newest 2022 on our list but that model has the advantage of having more RAM on the board.

Storage capacity is more than enough, and 256 GB SSD is acceptable, considering a tight budget. Besides that, it has everything you need: multiple ports, including a USB-C charging port, fast charging, a nice wide touchpad, and also a fingerprint scanner, all these remarkable features are integrated.

What we like

  • +Good battery life.
  • +The backlit keyboard is nice.
  • +Compact and portable design, thin bezels.

What we don’t like

  • -Lack of SD card reader.
  • -The speakers are not very loud.

4. HP Pavilion 17

A big-sized, budget laptop for programmers under $500.

  • Display: 17.3″ FHD IPS
  • Processor:   11th Gen Intel Core i5-1135G7(up to 4.2 GHz)
  • RAM/ROM: 16GB DDR4 RAM, 1TB PCIe SSD
  • Weight: 5.20 lbs

Check the price on Amazon

If a large display is what your eyes find comfortable when coding, then the HP Pavilion is the best laptop for you. Not only does its 17.3 display will allow you to scroll through more lines of code but also the keyboard is comfortable for all kinds of typing work, with a numeric keypad. Additionally, the processing power is exceptional with the 11th gen Core i5, combined with 16GB DDR 4 RAM and 1TB SSD further boosting the performance. Expect no lags and other performance issues even if you simultaneously run and work on multiple programs on this laptop.

Just a few issues to deal with. First, you will be limited on the battery life which lasts around 3 hours only. Secondly, the 17.3-inch display makes this laptop too big for portable use, as it adds to the laptop’s weight and size is also a bit larger to fit in your school bag.

What we like

  • +Large IPS display.
  • +Comfortable keyboard with Numpad
  • +Powerful 11th gen processor.
  • +Attractive and slim design.

What we don’t like

  • -Keyboard lacks backlighting
  • -This screen isn’t very crisp

5. Lenovo Ideapad 3 Laptop

Best budget Lenovo laptop for programming students.

  • Display: Laptop, 15.6″ HD Touchscreen/FHD non-touch 
  • Processor:  11th Gen Intel Core i3-1115G4
  • RAM/ROM: 12GB/8GB DDR4 RAM, 256GB PCIe NVMe SSD
  • Weight: 4.07 lbs

Check price on Amazon

You’ll hardly find a better deal on laptops than Lenovo Ideapad 3 for under $500 of price point. Choose between two variants, touch screen or non-touch, both with the same processing power from 11th gen Core i3. In general, we consider these two to be good budget laptops for programmers.

With the same display size, a nice keyboard ( unfortunately no backlit), and a touchpad that makes typing more comfortable. Along with the good design, the quality of the material is premium and well-built and looks stunning.

The non-touch variant costs you around $470 bucks, which is $100 more than the touchscreen edition. Ah, don’t let your mind wander, as the higher price comes with benefits, including better display quality, longer battery life, and a memory upgrade of 4GB.

The touchscreen version comes with these configurations. RAM of 8 GB, and a panel with HD resolution that isn’t very impressive. Also, the touch screen consumes battery power, so you will get 3-4 hours of run time in this configuration.

Advice on two:

Get the touch screen variant if you are a programming student since playing with the screen becomes practical. And with affordability in mind, you get the best deal under $400.

The Non-touch Ideapad 3 is the best bet for professional programmers. Hitting every right spot with long battery life, an impressive screen, and a 50% Ram upgrade.

What we like

  • -Slim and stylish look.
  • -Fast charging support.
  • -Good quality speakers.

What we don’t like

  • +The screen looks dull.
  • +The keyboard lacks backlighting.
  • +Average battery life.

6. Microsoft Surface Laptop Go

Ultra-portable budget laptop for programming

  • Display: 12.4″ Touchscreen
  • Processor: 3.6 GHz core_i5_1035g1
  • RAM/ROM: 8GB DDR4 RAM, 256GB SSD
  • Weight: 2.45 pounds

Check price on Amazon

Portable laptops can be good for IT students, but only if they are powerful. As someone who hates Chromebooks for IT but rather wants an ultra-portable windows laptop for programming, and of course, within budget, I highly recommend this laptop.

The Microsoft Surface Laptop Go satisfy all your student needs, this ultra-thin stylish laptop weighs only 2.4 pounds yet is packed with Intel 10th gen, Core i5. Plus, an Integrated GPU of 620 UHD that can run many games on low settings. You will also like its vibrant touch display, though many of you may think 12.4 is smaller. But once you get used to it, there’s no going back.

What I did not really enjoy was the keyboard, which was too small for my big hands. As a person who prefers a numeric keypad, this was so obvious to me. This laptop does not have a backlit keyboard, which I prefer. Overall, I had a good experience, and frankly, it surprised me with its processing power, which had me go all out.

Conclusively, the low price values the overall specs, available for under $600 on Amazon with the configuration of 8GB RAM, and 256 GB of SSD, and yes the Display supports touch input. A finger scanner is also available if that’s vital to you.

What we like

  • +Ultra portable.
  • +Boast enough Power

What we don’t like

  • -Keyboard has no backlights.
  • -The screen size is a bit small for some people.

7. ASUS VivoBook 15 R565 

Cheapest budget laptop for programming with a backlit keyboard.

  • Display: 15.6″ FHD Display (Touch screen also available)
  • Processor: Intel i3/i5-1115G4 CPU
  • RAM/ROM:  8GB DDR4 RAM, 128GB/256 SSD
  • Weight: 4 pounds

Check price on Amazon

It is crucial for programmers to have a backlit keyboard. Most programmers see it as a deal breaker! We have found the perfect match. With Asus VivoBook 15, you get a full-size backlit keyboard in a thin body that is unlike many budget laptops. And It’s overall a good laptop too, well-built and with stylish looks and feel that compares to premium laptops. 

You have two options to choose from. The choice depends on the type of display, I5 chip, more SSD, and of course, it’s also a matter of budget, if you can throw more than $450 then a touchscreen is good for you. Nonetheless, the non-touch VIvoBook 15 offers everything you need to get the job done for less than $400.

The touchscreen version costs $100 bucks more, with more 256SSD while the non-touch comes under the price of $350. Also, the expensive model has a core-i5 chip on board but with the same 11th generation and the same amount of RAM.

What we like

  • +Full-sized backlit keyboard.
  • +Professional look, and durable design.
  • +IPS Display panel
  • +Good value for money

What we don’t like

  • -Short battery life.
  • -The screen is not very sharp.

8. Lenovo Ideapad 3i Gaming

Budget laptop for hardcore gamers and programmers.

  • Display: 15.6″ FHD Display
  • Processor: Intel Core i5-12500H (RTX 3050 Graphics)
  • RAM/ROM: 8GB DDR4 RAM – 512GB M.2 TLC SSD
  • Weight: ‎7.7 pounds

Check price on Amazon

If gaming is something you do to relax your mind after hours of coding. You should opt for a laptop like the Lenovo Ideapad 3i. In spite of being a budget laptop, it has an impressive dedicated GPU from Nvidia, the RTX 3050, at a price of less than $800. Aside from its gaming performance, it also hits all the right notes, thanks to its excellent display, nice keyboard, and CPU from the 12th gen.

The keyboard is what we liked the most, it’s properly designed for typing work and has backlighting in case you work in dim light environments. That’s for you. Not to mention the processing performance is also higher, sporting intel’s 12th gen i5 chip. 

We believe that the 8GB RAM is a bit less, particularly for this laptop where the 2GB RAM is shared with the GPU. But the good thing is, you can upgrade it anytime soon you want (which would add extra bucks).

Conclusively, we really enjoyed this device but our two major concerns were: a short battery life and a bulky design. We understand, the bulky design helps cool the laptop’s internals and of course, the high-power GPU is the reason it quickly drains the battery. But, for someone who wants a working laptop, this two add up to the discomfort.

What we like

  • +An extremely powerful laptop.
  • +Stunning FHD displays.
  • +Upgradeable RAM.

What we don’t like

  • -Short battery life.
  • -Bulky device
  • -RAM should be 16GB.
  • -Expensive

9. ASUS TUF F15 

Budget laptop for casual gamers and professional programmers.

  • Display: 15.6″ 144Hz FHD IPS-Type Display
  • Processor: Intel Core i5-10300H Processor (GeForce GTX 1650)
  • RAM/ROM:8GB DDR4 RAM, 512GB PCIe SSD
  • Weight: 7.72 pounds

Check the price on Amazon

In the event that the Lenovo Ideapad 3i is a little out of your budget, but you are still interested in playing games in your spare time. Then, Asus TUF F15 is an alternative cheaper option. This is a very heavy device, which is to be expected from a gaming laptop. You also shouldn’t count on the battery to last long.

Other than these, ASUS TUF F15 is the best budget laptop for programming and gaming. It’s sufficient to use a daily driver, stream movies, do coding, and run multiple IDEs is just a breeze for this laptop thanks to its 10th-gen core i5 processor.

Again, the 8GB RAM is a bit less as we always recommend going for 16GB for enhanced multitasking. But that’s not a point here since you can easily upgrade later on. Besides that, the screen is good for outdoor environments, has a backlit keyboard, runs entry-level games well, capable of doing GPU-intensive work.

A laptop is an excellent option for programmers looking for a budget-friendly gaming laptop but does not mind sacrificing portability or long battery life.

What we like

  • +Perfect match for casual gamers and programmers.
  • +Super vibrant anti-glare screen.

What we don’t like

  • -Not a portable laptop.
  • -Battery life isn’t great.

10. VivoBook 15

Think budget laptop for students.

  • Display: 15.6” FHD Display
  • Processor: Intel i3-1005G1 CPU, 8GB RAM
  • RAM/ROM:8GB RAM, 128GB SSD,
  • Weight: 3.75  pounds

Check the price on Amazon

It is impossible to ignore the value the VIvoBook 15 offers. People in the office, programmers working from home, and students in college, will find this laptop to meet their needs.

Thanks to the features such as a backlight keyboard that also include a Numpad for numeric work, and to top it all, the keys provide an unmatched level of comfort for the price.

At $250, you can get a 10th-generation core i3 processor with 8GB of RAM to handle any workload you need. Plus, you can use an Extended storage device in case you don’t want to rely on the 128GB SSDs for storing important files, such as movies and photos.

What we like

  • +A budget laptop for programming students.
  • +A very portable device.
  • +Keyboard with backlit, and enough battery life.

What we don’t like

  • -Except for the mediocre speakers’ quality, there isn’t much to complain about for the price.

Things To Consider Before Buying a Programming Laptop In 2022

Finding the best budget laptop for programming can be a bit harder sometimes as you don’t know what kind of specs to consider for each variant.

Whether it’s a ram or a hard drive, coders often get confused in choosing a model that suits their particular work style.

So, to save you time from this hustle, we’ve put up the following buying guide that you should definitely read if you want to get the ideal laptop without spending a fortune.

RAM

This might be the most crucial aspect of buying any programming laptop, so hear me out on this. As you know, back in the day, 4GB of system ram was more than enough to handle any compiling or software-related tasks.

This was because the programs were not system heavy and could efficiently function under this configuration. But that’s not the case in the modern world.

Nowadays, the golden number is around 8GB, as anything lower than that will drastically affect your system, and you won’t be able to run multiple tasks at once.

You really don’t need more than this unless you’re machine learning or adjusting a large number of data sets.

CPU

If you’re a beginner at learning programming languages, then the ideal CPU for your laptop should be quad-core. So, in a nutshell, gone are the days when Pentium and Celeron processors were considered optimal for a decent experience.

In addition to that, if you want to make your purchase a bit further proof, then I would highly recommend that you opt for an i3 or an i5 (AMD alternate would be Ryzen).

These CPUs will be faster than their quad-core variants and will provide you with the added speed in processing information.

Storage

The bare minimum requirement in terms of storage is around 128GB of hard drive space. So, anything lower than that is not worth it in 2022 as there are quite large applications and related programming packages that simply won’t operate.

Besides that, operating systems like Windows or Linux further complicate things so that you will be running out of space quite soon.

If you have the budget, it’s ideal for getting 250GB of SSD or more. Getting an SSD will increase the price a little, but it will drastically improve your load time; therefore, it’s a good idea to get one.

Operating System for programming

Some of you might be confused to see this aspect on the list but believe me, finding a nice operating system for programming is just as important as any hardware feature.

When talking about operating systems, the best possible contenders are possibly Windows, Linux, and macOS. Anything other than them will limit your functionalities down the road.

You won’t be able to properly download, compile or run programs if you go for any other alternatives.

Windows is quite popular for any tech user these days, which means most programming applications will be quite functional. As compared to macOS, it’s inexpensive as well, which means it’s perfect for coding enthusiasts on a budget.

In contrast to that, Linux is for working on Python or using PHP. Also, if you’re learning app development for OS, then you definitely want to get MacOS.

FAQ’s

Q1, Is 4GB ram enough for programming?

For basic coding tasks, 4GB of ram might still be relevant but don’t expect much, especially if you’re a software developer working on virtual machines.

Q2, Do programmers require a dedicated GPU?

Typically speaking, no, you won’t require a dedicated card for programming tasks. But if you’re into graphic editing or gaming, then sure, avail this accessory!

About Moiz Rajput

Moiz here, he is a Blogger, a Creative Content Writer, and an SEO intern at the same time. He is passionate about what he does, energetic, incentive, with a positive attitude towards sociology.