HP TECH TAKES /...
Exploring today's technology for tomorrow's possibilities
Best HP Laptops for Programming
August 26, 2018
A faster and more coding-oriented computer can make it easier for you to get projects done and help you actually enjoy the process of doing it more.
You also need to consider what type of programming you are doing. A laptop that can perform basic coding functions may not be able to handle the load of programming games and certain websites.
What should I look for in a laptop for programming?
Before looking at specific models, you should know some basic specifications so you can narrow down your options. Without a bit of research, the search can become overwhelming.
For programming, an SSD drive is essential. Many new laptops already have this included, but double check just to make sure you are purchasing a laptop that offers you plenty of speed. Programmers should consider a 256GB SSD, which is fairly standard for most coding computers. This drive is much faster than other options, and it allows you to load files faster and more effectively.
RAM is also incredibly important for having your laptop perform properly. In order for your computer to run the programs you’ve created and to have several applications going at once, it’s a good idea to have memory available.
Without enough RAM, it can be difficult for your computer to perform the directions you are giving it, and it’s possible for your computer to crash and for you to lose all of your work. At the minimum, you will need 8GB of RAM, but more than that never hurts. You should also consider RAM that operates at a higher frequency, such as DDR4 RAM, and pay attention to RAM speed.
The CPU can be a determining factor in whether or not your code will operate on your laptop correctly. If the processor can’t work fast enough and manage multiple applications, then it’s unlikely the applications will run. For a CPU, a newer processor tends to be better than an older processor, even one with higher power. And don't ignore the benefits of processor overclocking.
Display size and related must-haves
Programming often requires that you spend long hours at a desk staring at your computer screen. The laptop you choose should include features that make the time you spend working more comfortable.
A larger screen or curved monitor can take the strain off your eyes and offer space for the applications and windows you’re using. A comfortable keyboard can also be helpful when you’re planning to spend hours using your hands and want to avoid muscle aches and pains.
Additionally, a laptop with long battery life is essential, so you can take your work with you and not have to worry about being tethered to a power source. Also, if you need to meet with clients outside your workspace or you prefer to work in locations outside an office, longer battery life can help you stay focused on your work rather than whether you have enough power to finish.
HP laptops perfect for programming
HP® has created several series of laptops built for high-performance tasks like programming. Here are some to consider when you are looking to purchase the best laptop for computer programming purposes.
1. HP ZBook x2 detachable laptop
In the world of 2-in-1 detachable laptops, it can be difficult to strike a balance between performance and design. The HP ZBook x2 laptop straddles that line and works well for creativity tasks and programming.
Along with access to the Adobe suite of applications, it also has a powerful Intel® Core™ i7 processor and a unique cooling design to help your laptop perform longer and faster.
It may feel strange to consider a laptop that detaches from its keyboard as ideal for coding, but the HP ZBook x2 combines the best of both worlds by allowing design to be a part of the coding process. It also has a surprising amount of memory at 32GB of RAM.
- HP Z Turbo Drive for faster storage
- NVIDIA® Quadro® graphics card for gaming programmers
- Fast charging time
- Variety of ports for additional monitors or storage
2. HP OMEN 15-inch gaming laptop
Originally designed as a gaming computer, there’s a lot more to the HP OMEN laptop family than simply play. As a high-performance laptop, the HP OMEN 15-inch laptop is a coder’s dream, especially if there are high-end graphics involved.
The 8th Generation Intel Core i7 processor is the best you can have for completing projects quickly and efficiently. The HP OMEN 15 handles multi-tasking several applications well thanks to its 32GB of DDR4 memory.
As gaming laptops become better equipped to handle a variety of tasks once relegated to desktops, they serve as a bridge between the performance you want and the portability that makes working with a laptop rewarding.
- High-functioning cooling design
- Several display options with fast refresh rates
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 graphics for smooth gaming and programming
3. HP Pavilion x360 convertible laptop
This laptop is built for multi-taskers who may want to use their code for a variety of creative projects. It’s also meant to perform at a high standard while including the newest processors from Intel. You can choose which option works best for your budget, but the recommended i7 gets the job done right.
The HP Pavilion x360 laptop is also highly portable, making it easy to take your work with you. The high-quality graphics are another reason to consider this model, as well as the advanced 512GB SSD storage option. The HP Pavilion x360 is extremely customizable, which can be helpful when you are programming for a certain industry.
- Customizable graphics card depending on your needs
- 360-degree hinge for various uses
- Long battery life
4. HP Pavilion 15-inch laptop
The HP Pavilion 15-inch laptop has taken RAM and processing to a new level by including performance features that you usually find in a desktop. It also boasts a 15.6-inch screen to provide plenty of display real estate.
And with 8GB of DDR4 RAM, the HP Pavilion 15 offers high speed and enough power to create more complicated code. For those who like to deal with the graphics side of programming, you’ll see it in clear detail with the Intel HD Graphics 620 card.
It also comes at a reasonable starting price for a computer with such a strong processor and it’s easy to upgrade if you want to take full advantage of the speed built into the machine. Options for higher performance are available depending on how much you would like to spend and the type of programming you plan to do.
- Very portable at 4.27 lbs
- Large screen to help avoid eye strain
- High memory speed for fast loading times
5. HP ENVY 17-inch laptop
The HP ENVY line is a quality standard in programming and gaming. One big reason for that is its advanced storage acceleration, which increases overall performance and recall. For those who need to run numerous applications at once, the HP ENVY 17-inch laptop offers a smooth experience that lets you quickly jump from one program to the next on its stunning 17.3-inch display.
With the Intel i7 processor and 12 hours of battery life, you’re able to work faster and for longer than ever. The full-size keyboard makes long programming hours easier, too, while the large screen makes switching from work to play a joy.
For gamers in particular, the HP ENVY offers a system that combines the best features of a desktop with the portability of a laptop.
- NVIDIA GeForce MX150 graphics card
- Windows 10 Home 64
- HP Fast Charge for charging while traveling
6. HP Spectre x360 convertible laptop
Made with a sleek design and specially created for work with graphics, the HP Spectre x360 laptop is perfect for the creative who needs a machine that can carry out a vision.
With 512GB of SSD storage, you’ll have no problem running and storing your program of choice. It also includes the NVIDIA GeForce MX150 graphics card for higher performance.
Speed is the main reason to consider purchasing this laptop, and you get it thanks to the 8th Generation Intel Core i7 processor. The 4K display doesn’t hurt either, especially if you’re creating something with a visual element.
- Corning® Gorilla® Glass 4 for the protection of the touch screen
- 12 hours of battery life
- 4 cores of processing power from Intel
7. HP Pavilion 15-inch gaming laptop
Coding and gaming are intertwined, and it’s likely that if you are programming for that industry, you will want to see the results of your hard work in real time. While made especially for gamers who like to take their passion with them, the HP Pavilion gaming laptop includes features that will make programmers happy, such as Intel Optane™ memory storage acceleration.
The 15.6-inch screen means less eye strain, and you’ll be able to see it more easily in any setting thanks to the anti-glare technology. This HP Pavilion also has a healthy battery life and a backlit keyboard, so you won’t have to worry about losing power or working in low-light settings when you’re taking on your latest assignment.
- HP Fast Charge
- Windows 10 Home 64
- HP Audio Boost
- 2x2 WiFi
8. HP ProBook 430 G5 laptop
For beginning programmers and programming students, having more features available isn’t always ideal. Thankfully, the HP ProBook 430 G5 laptop manages to give new coders the basic tools they need without feeling overwhelmed. It’s also an overall versatile device, which means programmers of all kinds can benefit from its features.
The HP ProBook 430 is equipped with an Intel Core i5-8250U processor that can handle large amounts of work but keeps the cost of the laptop reasonable. It has a long battery life, too, which makes it an ideal computer to take on trips, different offices, and anywhere in between.
And if you want to set up shop at a desk, you can do that with ease by connecting to a compatible docking station for additional display real estate to complement the laptop’s 13.3-inch screen.
- 256GB SSD
- High-quality graphics
- Designed for multitasking
9. HP ProBook 440 G5 laptop
Another laptop in the HP ProBook line, the HP ProBook 440 G5 laptop features a slightly larger screen at 14.4 inches and more advanced memory technology with the Intel Turbo Boost.
Like other models in the series, it also has a long battery life and Windows 10 Pro, making it one of the best laptops for programming students for its weight and price.
A major reason to consider this laptop for programming is the included graphics card, the Intel UHD Graphics 620. Combined with a 14-inch screen, you have a computer that not only performs well, but also looks good while doing it. For more advanced programming, you may want to think about upgrading to the Intel i7 processor for the additional power. However, for most tasks, the HP ProBook 440 is more than capable.
- FHD UWVA anti-glare screen
- 256GB PCIe NVMe SSD memory
- Long battery life
As a programmer, your needs will no doubt change based on which specific field you choose. However, there are plenty of suitable HP laptop options that can give you the specs you need while meeting your budget and what you’d like to achieve.
About the Author: Daniel Horowitz is a contributing writer for HP® Tech Takes. Daniel is a New York-based author and has written for publications such as USA Today, Digital Trends, Unwinnable Magazine, and many other media outlets.