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General Discussion

Ryan Ariff
Ryan Ariff
1,668 Points

Laptop for Coding.

I am in the market for a new laptop for web development.

I have heard great things about all of the choices available (Linux, Mac, Windows, and Chrome).

I am just in need of some guidance. And something that won't break the bank.


2 Answers

Hopefully nobody will tell you 'Get laptop X made by company Y' as it is all a matter of personal preference.

After a quick search and read through, try out this link here

Since you are talking about Web Development, you have a much greater range of choices (which can be daunting) but you don't need too much power to get anything done. You should probably think about what type of applications you will run, what language(s) you will work in, size of screen you are comfortable with and use those as deciding factors.

Really though, its all preference since you don't need a powerhouse machine and web development can happen on any OS. So which OS are you most familiar and comfortable with? That should start narrowing down your options.

+1 (sorry, I can't seem to actually plus one this your answer... still don't get how that works :-/ )

I would say On the OS front, generally not worth getting a chromebook. For web it's definitely usable, but you're very tied into one vendor's services - tools you may wish to use down the line may not be available. For similar reasons, probably avoid the new Windows 10s laptops - they too are designed to tie you into microsoft services. As Linux can run on any of them, really you'd be looking at windows or macOS.

For web development Windows or MacOS should make no difference. Both can run all the popular editors and technologies or have almost drop in replacements for the few they don't. Only thing to consider is only macs can run mac OS + Wndows, Windows laptops can only run Windows (and both can run linux, etc), so if you think you'd like to do iOS apps or macOS apps one day, that's squarely in the apple hardware camp.

Assuming not and we're just sticking with wed development, a Windows 10 home laptop would give you the best bang for your buck OS wise, and you can choose to install linux later if you like. (I've never encountered buying a PC without Windows preinstalled to be cheaper, due to sales volumes).

As for specific laptops, I'd add that you should really get down to stores and try them out for yourself. People buy laptops entirely wrongly - they look at the hardware specs, and pay extra for 0.2 Ghz, etc. I would advice that things you really want to find out are:

  • Is the Ram/storage expandable/replaceable
  • How good is the screen? If you're doing front end web, you want high color accuracy, not a display made for gaming that's fast, but inaccurate
  • Do you like typing on the keyboard? As a developer You'll be doing this a lot
  • Was this laptop built to be cheap.

That last one's a bit hard to explain - essentially there's different price points for laptops and in each price point you'll usually find one that's designed to have the best possible hardware specs significantly cheaper than all the others. These are quite often best avoided. Ultimately they tend to skimp somewhere else - build quality, support, display, etc. Generally I find it's better to get last year's quality model than this year's budget one to be honest; a cheap laptop that lasts 2.5 years is not better value than one that lasts 4-5 years unless it's half the price.

In terms of what hardware you need, just remember that for front end, I've had no problems at all on a 4 year old 1.6Ghz i5 4200u. Actually it can be a good yardstick - if my browser is getting bit bogged down by something I'm trying to do, it's usually a good sign that it's a bad way to do it lol.. kind of like games developers; if you only test on the most powerful hardware you can get, you'll only know how it runs for 1% of gamers :)

Hope it helps!

Andrew .
Andrew .
1,830 Points

You should build your own! :)