Best Laptops for Developers of 2018 & Buying Guide

 

If you enjoy designing and developing video games, code, 3D and 2D modeling, graphics and video, or building websites, you’re in the right place. You will find a list of the best laptops for developers that can help you store large file programs and projects, as well as running multiple programs simultaneously with less threat of slowing and crashing.

Ranking

Image

Product

Our Score

Price

Top Pick

Acer Predator 17

99/100

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#2

ASUS ROG GX800VH

98/100

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#3

ASUS ROG G701VI-XS78K

97/100

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#4

ASUS ROG Strix GL502VS-WS71

96/100

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Why is a hybrid HDD and SSD drive a good specification for developers?

There’s a saying that having two heads is better than one. In this case, having two hard drives is way better than solely having one to do the job. Having a hard disk drive or HDD, means you can store large files and projects, which by itself would lead to slower loading times.

However, when paired with a solid state hard disk drive SSD, you’ll have faster startup times for the laptop and its programs. Basically, you have one drive that’s dedicated to saving everything and another one that makes everything run efficiently. Hybrid drives are especially beneficial to developers in case the HDD crashes.

Hopefully, this never happens, but if it does you’ll be able to switch over to the SSD to run your operating system for the short term until the other one is fixed. A great choice for developers with a backup plan.

Why is a good graphics card important?

A good graphics card depends on your needs as a developer. Graphics cards are very important to developers who create web pages, design products, or create video games.

To summarize Alex Jenkins on TopTenReviews.com, An integrated graphics card has less heat created, less power usage, and can handle multiple windows and programs open at the same time.

A dedicated graphics card heats up and uses battery life more, but is great for developers because it provides better graphics and visual displays because it only has one job that won’t interfere with the RAM.

Also remember that a good graphics card will be worth it, as you’ll see more vibrant and clear images. This could benefit you in improved work and impressive project presentation, which could also benefit your standing as a developer.

How can a backlit keyboard be a benefit to a developer?

Developers need to see what keys they are typing and what directions they are giving to their laptop or program. Without an illuminated keyboard, developers with eyesight issues in low light or darkened environments may suffer from eyestrain or headaches.

Developers also rely on command keys and shortcut keys to get work done. Without these being highlighted it may take a longer time to complete tasks or projects. Backlit keyboards also have an aesthetic benefit – they look very cool and high tech in the dark.

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Are there any accessories that are useful to a developer?

Yes, an electronic drawing pad and a stylus can be useful to a developer or designer of apps and games. The laptops that are listed in this buyer’s guide would be optimized with a drawing pad and stylus to help with drawing and designing 2D and 3D models, or creating graphics and websites that have unique styling and detail.

Please research the type of drawing pad your laptop can support. You’ll also need to see if the drawing pad you’ve purchased also comes with a stylus, or if you’ll need to buy that separately.

If you are a developer who is also into creating or just enjoying games, you’ll want to consider purchasing a VR headset and a VR kit. You’ll want to check your laptop specs for the VR compatibility before purchasing anything.

Once you’ve done that, you’ll want to research what kind of VR headset you like, how they work, and what you can play with. Having a VR headset can be fun to use for a game night with friends and family, can be connected to new games on your gaming hub, can be used as an immersive experience that allows you to transport your mind to a new and interesting place, or can help you design the newest VR game.


1. ASUS ROG GX800VH

Description: This is a multi-use laptop that is best for developers working on designing games, 2D and 3D modeling, code, and anything else you can challenge it with. Very costly price but well worth it if you are a professional developer looking for a laptop that can handle a heavy workload.

Pros:

  • 64 gigabytes of RAM, which is more than optimal for running complicated programs and high quality settings on PC games
  • 5 terabytes of SSD for more project storage and quicker loading times between program usage
  • Customizable backlit keyboard lets you tailor single keys to be varied colors so command keys are easier to find
  • The screen is a whopping 18.4 inches and has a high definition screen with 1920×1080 screen resolution that will let you see your full desktop easier than lower quality screens that will make you scroll all over the page
  • The dedicated NVIDIA GeForce GTX graphics processor and card is better for developers who are focused on graphics quality
  • You’ll be able to create and play VR games but you’ll also be able to use the VR capabilities with the purchase of a VR kit
  • Is sold with an ROG carrying case that can help prevent scratches during transport

Cons:

  • Weighs a hefty 12.6 pounds, so it may do it’s best being propped up on a desk instead of your lap
  • Research VR kit prices if you are looking for a laptop with VR qualities
  • Doesn’t come with an optical drive or CD/DVD drive if you’re looking for those specifications
  • Battery life is depicted as having 74WHrs (watt hours); however, because it is a dedicated graphics card that probably means it uses up battery life quicker
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2. ASUS ROG G701VI-XS78K

Description: A great laptop for experienced developers looking to have a lot of hard drive space and quick loading and information access for multiple programs running at the same time. It can be used as a work, gaming, and creating laptop all in one.

Pros:

  • Has a 17.3 inch full high definition 1920×1080 anti-reflective screen, which is an adequate screen for anyone who uses more than a couple of programs at the same time
  • Has a 64 gigabytes of RAM and a 1 terabyte of SSD to run programs without a reduction of speed in accessing memory and plenty of storage
  • Has a dedicated NVIDIA GeForce GTX processor and graphics card that increases the visual quality of what you’re developing so that you won’t miss fine details
  • If you like to see what you are typing then this laptop has a good backlit keyboard that will help you with that and customizing your command keys
  • Weighs less than half of laptop #1 at 7.9 pounds, for easier pick up and go
  • Has a promotional gaming bundle that includes a mouse, mouse pad, backpack, and a game code

Cons:

  • The anti-glare finish on the screen is good for reducing light blemishes that can affect the quality of your work but can also dampen color quality
  • Does not come with an optical DVD/CD drive, so you’ll have to download programs from their company websites
  • If you’re a developer looking for VR capabilities then this is not your laptop
  • Battery is listed as having 93WHrs (watt hours), but because it has a dedicated graphics card the laptop may reduce in power quicker

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3. Acer Predator 17

Description: This is a laptop that can function quicker for multiple program usage and has a monster sized hybrid hard drive. Has a great amount of RAM to run high quality programs and a graphics card that will show better graphics quality. An overall great laptop for developers of games, apps, and much more.

Pros:

  • The 32 gigabyte RAM is an optimal amount to run design, drafting, and coding programs at their best
  • The dedicated NVIDIA GTX 1070 are a great processor and graphics card that will boost the graphics and visual performance of games and projects
  • Zoom in on the important details of a game or app you’re developing with a 17.3 inch ultra high definition screen that goes to 3840×2160 resolution
  • The customizable backlit keyboard will come in handy for command keys and shortcut keys
  • If you’re a developer who is looking for a lot of hard drive space and quick loading and processing times, this laptop has a hybrid drive that has 2 terabytes of HDD storage and 256 gigabytes of SSD space
  • Is VR ready if you like to design and develop VR experiences for others
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Cons:

  • Weighs a significant 9.3 pounds, which isn’t very light for transitioning locations for work and presentations
  • If you are working off site it may be useful to know that you only 3 hours of battery life, which may be inconvenient if you need to find a charging outlet in an unfamiliar place
  • Consider the price of VR headsets and kits before purchasing

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4. ASUS ROG Strix GL502VS-WS71

Description: A great hybrid hard drive for developers who need various programs running together to build your next great app, website, or product. Is a great gaming laptop and VR platform for when you’re in your down time.

Pros:

  • Has 32 gigabytes of RAM to process the creative systems you use on a daily basis
  • Has a hybrid 256 gigabyte SSD and a big terabyte of HDD file storage that will be quick when switching between programs and projects you’re spearheading
  • Great red backlit keyboard with prominent WASD keys for easier game play and advanced key settings during development
  • The large 15.6 inch full high definition 1920×1080 display is reflection-resistant with a matte finish that will protect eyes that spend long hours in front of a screen
  • If you’re looking for a more vibrant and clear visual experience you’ve found it, with the dedicated NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 graphics card and Intel Core i7-7700HQ Quad Core processor
  • Weighs 4.9 pounds, the least out of all the laptops in this list
  • Play or develop VR games and experiences, but make sure you can afford the VR kits that are sold separately
  • Is being sold with a bundle that consists of: a mouse, mousepad, gaming messenger bag, and a gaming code
  • Has a year warranty from ASUS USA and lifetime tech support

Cons:

  • The dedicated graphics card is beneficial for graphics quality, but it may head up the laptop quicker and drain the battery life if on high quality settings
  • Has 62WHrs, or watt hours; you may want to know that a dedicated graphics card may make the laptop decrease in battery life more quickly than an integrated card

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Conclusion:

The ASUS ROG Strix GL502VS-WS71 is bar far the most impressive for the price. You get a huge benefit over the other laptops with the hybrid SSD and HDD drives. This can help developing with programs become a more streamlined experience for the long term.

If you are professional app and game developer, or a designer looking for a great laptop that runs varied programs and has gaming capabilities, this is a great pick. The laptop’s dedicated graphics card and size of RAM is a lot less than laptop #1, but it is powerful enough to play and design VR games.

Bonus features include its lightweight design, the gaming bundle, the warranty and lifetime tech support. These features could make any developer’s life a little easier by not having to upgrade this laptop in the near future.