Here you can find very best budget laptops for programming as well as for playing games in 2021.
Our top picks laptops at a glance-
- HP Envy X360– overall best performer
- Google Pixelbook Go– Best for work space, battery last longer.
- Lenovo Flex 5– Smart Choice for students
- Acer Swift 3– Budget friendly
- Apple MacBook Pro 15in– High-tech modern specs.
When it comes to programming, the scenario is quite different. The main reason behind that is the fact that, unlike other workflows, you don’t require a specific set of specs to operate.
In fact, programming was easily being done on a 10-year-old device without any issue whatsoever. But the same could not be said for the modern era, in which a variety of programming languages and their dedicated tools are readily optimized.
That’s why you need a machine that can stand the test of time in terms of reliability and won’t break the bank in terms of price point.
Lucky for you, below is the list of the five best budget laptops for programming in 2021. So, let’s get into it!
Table of Contents
1) HP Envy x360
- Operates on AMD Ryzen 5 4500U powerful processor
- Full HD 15.6″ anti-glare panel for optimal visuals
- Wide camera angle with integrated microphone
- 256GB NVMe M.2 SSD for high response
- It is equipped with multi-touch interference
At number one, we have Envy x360 by HP. It is also our pick for the overall best budget laptop for programming in 2021.
It is both an inexpensive and power-driven gadget that can get the job done within no time. Its top-rated among tech enthusiasts is that it is a reliable model with quality hardware that can stand the test of time.
The HP Envy x360 is equipped with a powerful Hexa-Core Ryzen 5 4500U processor running at 2.30GHz. Besides that, it holds 256GB PCIe NVMe storage space under the hood.
This means it is more than capable of handling mediocre coding tasks with ease. You can avail of it at just under $650 price point, which is excellent if you are currently on a tighter budget.
Moving on to the display, you will be getting 15.6″ Full HD IPS WLED under 1920 x 1080p.
On top of that, it covers the anti-glare touchscreen capability, which is nice to have if you are using it as a multitasking tool.
Even the color and contrast ratio is standardized using HP’s bright view technology, giving you optimal results. The same could be said for the keyboard, which has backlit capability under large island-style keys.
Thus, using the keystrokes for even hours of usage is as comfortable as it gets. If you’re a programmer, it seriously doesn’t get better than this.
Unfortunately, the trackpad of HP Envy x360 is of essential quality, but you can’t complain much under this price point.
In terms of graphical horsepower, it boasts AMD Radeon Graphics with Shared Graphics Memory that is more than capable of compiling the extra load.
While the processing memory resides at 8GB, that is just enough to get the system stability while running memory-hungry applications.
|It features multitasking capabilities||There are several audio related issues|
|Ergonomically stable design and hardware||Inconvenient placement of the USB port|
|Great value for the buck|
- Up to 12 hours of non-stop battery timing
- It weighs just under 2pounds for added portability
- Full 1080p webcam with dual stereo speakers
- Rapid boot time with SD ram
- Easy to use the touchpad
If you are a fan of the notebook but don’t have the proper budget for premium models, then the Pixelbook Go from Google won’t let you down.
It comes with all the bells and whistles you need in a proper coding machine but in highly portable dimensions.
Besides being lightweight, it runs under a considerable amount of battery timing, meaning you can now work for hours on enhancing your coding skills without any complication.
This is the best laptop for programming that you should definitely possess, from the high-end functionalities to stunning design.
Right off the bat, Google Pixelbook Go is available for just under $650, which is quite decent for a powerful chrome book in 2021. Its color resolution is straight accurate with the added 13.3″ LCD touchscreen display.
Besides having touch screen capabilities, a 360-degree adjustable hinge is right around its corner, which can quickly transform it into a tablet.
So, whenever you are tired after a long programming session, enjoy Netflix on the go.
The keyboard is also of decent quality with 0.8mm of travel spacing that is quite fun to use. On top of that, it eliminates any forceful feedback or any subtle clicking sounds.
Unlike the HP Envy x360, it shares a high-end keypad that is super responsive and needs a light touch to activate. As Google itself brands it, you will also get a dedicated key to access the voice assistant instantly.
The Google Pixelbook Go is powered by Intel[R] Core [TM] m3 that is more than capable of handling basic coding applications.
But if you want additional horsepower, this variant is also available in i5 and i7 processors. While for memory, it features 8 GB RAM that is great as long as you don’t overload the system.
Another great thing about this particular model is that it shares Chrome OS, meaning you will get automatic system updates and stay up to date with the rest of the programming community.
|Highly-efficient battery timing||Limitation of Chrome OS|
|Whisper quiet keyboard with decent travel space||Some models show screen flickering|
|Extremely lightweight & portable|
- 2-in-1 laptop with stylish outlook
- 14-inch-wide full HD display @ 1920 x 1080p
- Incorporated with 360⁰ hinge for multiple display modes
- Responsive built-in hardware
- Up to 10 hours of battery life
The reality is that not every kind of laptop is made equal. Some are best suited for entertainment purposes, while others tend to rely on their raw computational power.
So, if you are searching for an all-in-one unit, you can’t go wrong picking the Lenovo Flex 5. As the name implies, it’s both a detachable tablet and a laptop, which further saves you bucks down the road.
On top of that, it shares powerful hardware that is highly regulative for any kind of programming task.
The Lenovo Flex 5 is available in the market for just under $700, so you can agree that it’s an affordable model. Design-wise, there is nothing fancy within its construction, giving you a minimalist outlook.
Like any other Lenovo product, you won’t have to worry about its longevity, no matter how harsh you use it. The clear back chassis makes it an attractive model and provides the strength that it needs.
It’s also an ultra-portable & lightweight option, measuring 0.82″ thick and weighing just under 4 pounds.
For any programmer, I think this is its main selling point. Besides that, the 14-inch IPS touchscreen is quite comfortable to use and gives the end-user super-sharp picture quality.
When it comes to compiling, debugging, and testing, this best budget laptop for programming stands out from the rest.
It packs a new-gen AMD Ryzen 5 4500U mobile processor that is more than capable of tackling intense load.
Even with this kind of power, there are no issues with battery timing whatsoever. You can enjoy a non-stop workflow for 10hours straight without the need for a charge.
Besides that, it operates on AMD Integrated Graphics, which means you can defiantly use it for light gaming. The keyboard is also backlit with decent spacing and quality ergonomics that will just do the job for most writers and programmers.
|Best laptop for programming and gaming||It comes in a much simplistic design|
|Equipped with Dual channel 16GB DDR4 Ram||Nothing fancy about its display|
|Comfortable & easy to adjust touchscreen|
4) Acer Swift 3
- Incorporated with a top-of-the-line Ryzen 7 4700U processor
- Sufficient memory (8GB) for any mid-level programming task
- 512GB PCIe SSD for high-tier responsiveness
- Wide range of outputs on the backend
- Quality 14″ Full HD Widescreen display
At number 4th spot, we have the Acer Swift 3, which is another budget laptop for programming in 2021 with high-performance hardware and decent visuals.
It comes equipped with Ryzen 7 4700U processor, 512GB PCIe NVMe SSD, and 8GB LPDDR4 Memory, which is extremely hard to find in an under $700 laptop on the market.
On top of that, it weighs approximately 2.6lbs and is 0.6inches thin, so you can efficiently utilize it as a travel companion.
With this particular model, you will get a vivid 14″ FHD screen that operates under a 16:9 aspect ratio and is complemented by 0.21″ narrow bezels.
This means it won’t let you down in terms of luminance and bit-depth so that you can work on your development skills with extra precision.
Conversely, the keyboard is ergonomically stable with fast-paced strokes and optimally sized keycaps. Below the keyboard section, you will also avail a Fingerprint Reader for more secure identification.
According to Acer, the battery timing is approximately 11.5hours, but most users report that it is inefficient. Nonetheless, if you utilize this laptop for less intense applications, then the battery limit will be more than enough to suffice.
Similarly, its speakers tend to create quite some distortion; that’s why I advise you to rely on personal headphones. These drawbacks aside, the Acer Swift 3 features an Octa-Core Ryzen 7 4700U processor running at 4.1 GHz on max load.
Thus, you will be able to avail the best programming experience possible in 2021. In terms of connectivity, Acer Swift 3 is packed with two USB 3.1 slots, one USB 2.0 port, and a single HDMI connection.
Besides that, a 3mm headphone jack is configured against an Intel wireless Wi-Fi 6 and a 1280 x 720p HD webcam at the top.
|Superb built-quality with a metallic finish||Lack of software compatibility from Acer|
|Great for productivity usages like coding||Non-upgradable Ram|
|512GB SSD storage is highly effective|
- Top-rated core_i7_4980HQ processor @ 2.8 GHz
- Advanced port selection including 2x Thunderbolt 2
- Dedicated Nvidia card with 2GB VRAM
- Fully Functional with 16GB DDR3L SDRAM
- 15 Inches widescreen Retina display
Sometimes you need a bit of quality in your products. If you agree with me, you will definitely love the MacBook Pro 15 from none-other than Apple.
With high-end accessories, it’s a powerful model that comes in a simplistic design, quality battery life, and a wide plethora of outputs.
If you have some extra bucks to spare, then you can’t go wrong picking this MacBook pro, as it has all the perks you need to kickstart your programming venture.
Like, the 14inch variant features a high-definition Retina display that has an optimal contrast ratio and decent brightness out of the box.
This means that the images through it will be just astonishing. Besides that, you will also get several thin bezels around the screen, which provide added strength to the construction while still adding aesthetics to the design.
Speaking of durability, the whole body is metallic, so you should be good to go in the long run.
It runs on Mac OS X, making it perfect for programmers and developers who can take advantage of the Unix-like architecture and strong command line in their professional routines.
The Apple MacBook Pro 15 inch is presently priced under $800; therefore, it’s nowhere cheap, but this laptop is absolutely worth investing in.
One of the things to like about this product is its multi-touch trackpad, which is highly intuitive and responsive.
On top of that, as expected from Apple, the keyboard is also one of the best you will see on premium laptops in the market. The buttons are large enough to be utilized for convenient coding,
while the integrated rubber dome will minimize fatigue during long programming sessions. When it comes to performance, this laptop is an absolute unit.
You will avail a core i7 mobile processor running at 2.8 GHz. At the same time, the graphical fidelity is maintained by Nvidia’s GT 750M card with 2GB onboard dedicated DDR5 memory.
|Quality UI & ergonomically stable design||The fans get loud after heavy usage|
|15.4″ widescreen Retina display 2880×1800 resolution||Being Apple’s product, it’s a bit expensive|
|Delivers high-end connectivity|
Things To Consider Before Buying a Programming Laptop In 2021
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 ram or 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.
This might be the most crucial aspect of buying any programming laptop, so hear me out on this. As you know, back in the days, 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 for 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.
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 where 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.
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 2021 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.
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.
All in all, these were our top 5 picks for best budget laptops for programming this year. If you’re still unsure, then let me give a quick summary.
So, HP Envy x360 is the go-to model for those who want to code on a budget. It got all the bells and whistles to kick start your programming venture while still maintaining decent aesthetics.
On the other hand, if you got some extra bucks to spare, then models like Lenovo Flex 5 or Acer Swift 3 are also entirely worth it. From 2 in 1 functionality to powerful hardware, they got you covered.
Now, if you’re someone who has a lower-end machine and lacks the budget to avail of any of these laptops, then it’s worth considering several cloud-based coding sites.
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!