11 Best Budget Laptops for Programming
Programming is currently one of the fastest-growing fields currently. Most universities have also started taking it seriously. It is an excellent habit to pursue additional programming courses aside from your university curriculum. Well, for that, you’ll need a laptop. On a Budget as well?
Worry not, we’ve got the best budget laptop for programming in this informative article starting from the cheaper ones and going the way up. All the laptops are still below the $800 mark to ensure the relevance of the term “budget“.
Best Budget Laptop for Programming, Coding & Gaming in 2023
HP 15.6 15-dy2024nr Laptop
HP’s 15-dy2024nr Laptop is our best pick for the Best Budget Programming Laptops in 2023. It is perfect for users running tight on budget. This notebook is the lowest priced on the record but still does not compromise functionality, fitting in most pockets at just under $500.
This HP laptop uses the latest and greatest Generation 12th Gen Intel Core i5-1235G7 quad-core processor. It’s 8 GB RAM will also help your multitasking and is good enough to run any medium-heavy programs.
I really appreciate HP’s effort to add WiFi 6 support on a budget laptop. This means you will have better networking capabilities and better speeds even where the range of your router is poor.
For Faster Bootups, the 256GB SSD feels more than enough to do a great job. The downside is that it does not include a dedicated graphics card, although Intel Iris Xe Graphics performs exceptionally well with programming and casual gaming.
It comes with Windows 11 Home out of the box and has a full-sized keyboard. The 15.6-inch Full HD (1080p) display screen with little bezels feels bliss with crisp, stunning visuals, plus the convenience of a thin and light laptop. It has an anti-glare coating as well.
Additionally, it becomes enough bright and dim to code quickly from any place and in almost any light conditions.
Another downside of the laptop is that the computer keyboard on this isn’t backlit and somewhat wobbly, but it’s nonetheless comfortable to type, and also, it has Numpad (only in case that matters for you).
All of the essential slots and ports are lined on each side of the notebook, making the HP 15 laptop the complete all-around bundle for programmers.
|Operating System||Windows 11 Home|
|Screen Size||15.6 Inches|
|Computer Memory Size||8 GB|
- Premium quality build and design
- Best performance in the budget
- All basic ports available
- Can run heavy programs with ease
- RAM is not expandable
- The keyboard is not backlit
Acer Aspire 5: Best Cheap Laptop for Programming
Whether it is programming or gaming, Acer Aspire 5 is an affordable all-purpose acting notebook that can handle nearly everything you throw at it.
For about $600, this notebook provides enough speed and power for game development and graphics programming.
It’s powered with the most recent 12th Gen Intel Core i5-1235U quad-core processor, coupled with 8GB of RAM and an integrated Intel Iris Xe Graphics GPU, which is decent for some medium graphics-intensive gaming titles.
Enough said? Additionally, it has 512GB SSD storage, making it the best high-performance notebook for programming and gaming in its price range.
Being a working programmer means you need a good keyboard. The Acer Aspire 5 also includes an awesome keyboard with tactile backlit keys. If you want to work without wires on the go, the battery backup of 9 hours is something you would really admire!
Additionally, it has an additional RAM slot and a DVD reader to help you with storage in the long run, which can be a huge plus if you game on the notebook or intend to use this system to get a few massive developments. You can always replace the DVD slot to get more storage space, which opens room for future-proofing.
The Tactile Keyboard and the durable, future-proof build rightly make the Acer Aspire 5 among the best affordable laptop for programming of 2023.
- Value for money
- Can be upgraded
- Sound quality is top-notch
- Port selection is solid
- Runs cool even with a heavy load
- Average performance
- Keyboard feels mushy
Dell Inspiron 15 5000
Often people get confused between the two brands, Dell and HP. The reason is that they both are equally good. This one from Dell is a competitor to HP’s and Acer’s budget lineup.
The Dell Inspiron 5000 series also does a great job of balancing both features and affordability making it the right choice for programmers looking forward to laptops with a backlit keyboard and a lightweight design.
Just because it is affordable does not mean it compromises performance. It can easily handle programs like Android Studio, Flutter, etc. Working on languages such as Java, C++, C, and Python is also a charm on this one.
The Chassis feels durable and is made to last. The screen also is bright enough and comes with an anti-glare finish, so you won’t have to be worried about glare.
The 11th Gen Intel Core i5-1135G7 processor and 6MB cache support turbo boost technology up to 3.6Ghz. We feel that 8GB of DDR4 Ram is sufficient, but you get an extra slot if you plan to add more later.
The graphic card is a decent powered Intel Iris Xe Graphics, easily playing light casual to medium games.
For storage, you get a 512GB SSD, which is fast and can boot the machine in less than 4 seconds. It is more than enough if you plan only to do programming. We suggest you pick an external hard disk for added storage if you plan to game.
Just like the HP 15, this one also has a full-sized keyboard. However, the edge here is that it is backlit, making it better for coding in darker places where keys can be difficult to find.
You get all the basic ports at decent pricing, making it a must-check-out!
|Operating System||Windows 10 Home|
|Screen Size||15.6 Inches|
|Computer Memory Size||8 GB|
- Durable build and attractive design
- Backlit Keyboard
- All basic ports available
- Can run mid-heavy programs
- Support is not the best
- Speakers feel average
ASUS VivoBook 15
ASUS VivoBook 15 is a fantastic option if you are looking for the best budget programming laptops under $500. It’s powered with the most recent 10th Gen Intel Core i3-1005G1 (Ice Lake) processor with 8GB RAM and 128GB SSD for storage.
The notebook’s storage is low, but it’s SSD, so the functionality is blazing fast. If you run out of storage or you want more storage space, you always have the option of using an external hard disk drive or swapping out its SSD, which is also readily doable.
In general, it is the best bang for your buck laptop using the most recent specs. Aside from that, it includes a 15.6-inch complete HD screen, a backlit keyboard, and a fingerprint scanner, so it is a full value for money, the ideal choice, and one of the best cheap laptops for programming.
|Operating System||Windows 10 Home|
|Screen Size||15.6 Inches|
|Computer Memory Size||12 GB|
- Great value for money
- Premium finish design
- Built-in Fingerprint reader
- Backlit Keyboard
- Solid Port selection
- Battery life is not up to the mark
- The Core i3 processor cannot put up with heavy software
Dell Inspiron 14 5482: The Best Budget Laptop for Programming and Coding
An excellent all-purpose notebook for programming the Inspiron 14 5482 from Dell provides you with all the things which everybody should search for in a fantastic notebook: A screen that projects in Full-HD, a quad-core processor, plus also a great size of SSD storage.
Placing all these items in 1, at the same time making it affordable to people who might be budget-conscious.
This is exactly what the notebook does for the masses. It has a 2GB graphic card by Nvidia, the GeForce MX150 which can easily play light-medium titles as well.
The laptop is lightweight and weighs 3.26 pounds, and features a quad-core Intel Core i5 8th gen processor(quad-core, 3.9GHz Max Turbo Boost), 8GB of RAM, and 256GB of storage in an SSD is a superb mix to have right from the box.
Though you can upgrade the processor to an i7, the SSD will still be only 128GB, so you might want to have an external hard drive for backup.
- Affordable pricing
- Good build quality
- Great Battery life
- High end fingerprint sensor
- Processor cannot be used at full power because of thermal limitations
Lenovo Legion 5
The Lenovo Legion 5, using its blend of a Core-i5-10300H processor with a GeForce-RTX-2060 graphics card, and a gorgeous screen, is an all-ready laptop for current computer games and programs.
You can watch the tiniest details fill up quickly onto its 120Hz screen. Most games can be played at Full-HD high and resolution to maximum quality settings. The CPU and GPU also figure out how to maintain their high clock speeds for quite a while. It is the best laptop on our list in terms of gaming and performance.
One of the coolest things about the Legion 5 is that it lets the users activate and deactivate the integrated GPU.
Thus, the integrated UHD Graphics 630 can be activated and deactivated using the click of a button.
I also agree with the fact that Battery life is quite useful for a programmer. Once the iGPU is triggered battery does not last quite long when the rough and tough GeForce RTX 2060 is put into use.
So yes, this is the reason why I am recommending this laptop. At any point in time, you have the power to decide over Performance VS Battery, which is helpful.
If you happen to run out of 512GB SSD storage, you can also add onto the device a 2.5-inch drive or another NVMe SSD (M.2 2280). Inserting the storage drive requires opening the unit, which is also quite simple and does not need a maintenance hatch.
The Full-HD IPS screen provides stable viewing angles, a matte coating, good response times, an excellent contrast ratio, and adequate colors. It has one of the highest brightness in the market. The color space policies are low, nevertheless.
The overall port selection for the Legion 5 is fantastic for the most part, but we do miss a Thunderbolt 3 port for USB. This would allow users to join external GPUs, for instance. The Legion just has one USB 3.2 C Gen 1 port that supports DisplayPort through USB C.
- RTX 2060 GPU provides enough power for graphics-oriented programs
- Compact and feels well built
- Amazing battery life
- Design feels plain
- Lack of thunderbolt 3 in USB
Apple MacBook Pro: Best MacBook for programming
The MacBook Pro 13 is the most recommended MacBook for programming at the moment. The newest versions pack the most recent 10th Gen Intel processors within a hot appearing all-metal unibody chassis, which we all love, and it weighs less than 4 lbs.
It’s a 13.3-inch True Tone Retina screen with excellent viewing angles, and also it has an improved backlit keyboard using scissor switches the same as the elderly MacBook Pro.
This notebook is powered with a 10th Gen quad-core Intel Core i5 processor, 16GB of RAM, and 512GB of all SSD storage on the hardware front.
It outputs enough power to smoothly run all of your programming programs, compilers, emulators, etc.
I sometimes get surprised by the fact that even though it has such robust hardware at a light and thin form factor, this notebook can easily maintain comfortable temperatures throughout.
Well, in case you feel the specs mentioned previously will not be sufficient for your job, then it’s also configurable up to the brand new 10th Gen Intel Core i7 processor, 32GB RAM, and 4TB SSD.
But if you’re considering configuring it is using the i7 processor, then it is far better to go with the MacBook Pro 16 instead. You will get more performance at the cost of it.
Overall, we believe the MacBook Pro 13 (powered by the intel chip) is currently the best programmer compatible MacBook.
It’s ultra-portable with extended battery life to take it everywhere and operate on-board, and it packs enough power to produce programs and games for Apple apparatus or perform coding generally.
You can also go with the Apple MacBook Air with the M1 chip, but I won’t recommend it over this one simply because a lot of compilers and programs are still not fully compatible with it.
- Long lasting battery life
- Blazing Fast Performance
- Can run iOS apps and programs
- Magic Keyboard feels great
- No Design Upgrade over existing generations
- Lack of ports
Microsoft Surface Pro 6
Looking for an amazing laptop/notebook that is lightweight and easy to carry?
Carrying around a notebook, regardless of its weight can continue to be bothersome. That’s why I added the Microsoft Surface Pro to this list.
This notebook is also for people who are searching to have a laptop directly from the manufacturers of Windows.
As a programmer, you will love how it can double as a tablet computer and notebook. This helps when you are a freelancer and you just want to discuss details with the client.
What makes it a hot pick is the quad-core processor, considerable amounts of RAM that will allow you to code everywhere you get a fantastic table to sit.
Just keep in mind, this one does not arrive with the cover, and that means you’ll need to pay a bit extra for that.
So, if you are looking for something to browse a few websites and basic programming, I would say it’s a perfect choice.
Plus it’s a whole lot simpler to do programming using a computer keyboard than a touch display. But it’s sometimes better with a stylus😉.
- Fast quad-core performance
- Excellent battery life
- Crisp and bright colors
- Keyboard is a joy to use
- Silky-smooth pen input
- Lack of thunderbolt port
- SSD is not the fastest
Lenovo ThinkPad E14
Lenovo’s ThinkPad line of notebooks is a well-renowned laptop for business people due to its business design and useful functionality.
It is also liked because of its safety attributes that you may rely upon. The newly upgraded ThinkPad E14 appears like its predecessors.
Many people love this as it has tiny bezels, and it’s ThinkShutter over the webcam. The benefit of the ThinkShutter is that it can be utilized for webcam privacy. Thus, you can simply close the shutter when the camera is not being used.
So, if you are a programmer working on a TOP secret project, this might be something that you should seriously consider.
It is a modified windows laptop of the older Thinkpads. The modifications are primarily on the interior, so the ThinkPad E14 includes the trendy Comet Lake 10th Gen Intel processors.
I also love the fact that there are a lot of choices to pick for RAM and storage. You get combinations up to 16GB, and 1TB PCIe-based SSD, respectively.
Therefore, it’s reasonably capable of the hardware front, making it excellent enough for computer programming and development. Plus, it is something most users will be able to afford. So, it is also a Plus to consider.
It includes all of the interfaces and slots, such as conventional USB 3.1 interfaces, HDMI, Ethernet, and an SD card reader.
However, it is surprising that its battery lasts up to 14 hours on a single charge!
Thus, it’s easily among the best laptops for programming you can purchase at this time.
It’s powerful innards, a unique 1080p screen, and not overlooking a class-leading ThinkPad keyboard that’s difficult to locate a replacement at the moment.
- Feels more compact over the previous-gen
- Fan is quiet even at heavy load
- Battery life is really good
- A lot of connectivity options available
- Design feels very business type
- Chassis is a bit difficult to open
- Screen quality could have been better
Lenovo Flex 5
The Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5 is a fast laptop for $600, with a build quality that gets the cost. The setup is impressive too: you do not often receive a 256GB PCIe SSD and 16GB of RAM for anywhere close to this price.
If good laptops for programming are what you are searching for, then this might be your choice.
After all, however, Lenovo has this priced at the budget scope, and there this beast excels.
Typing is comfortable; battery life has doubled than the previous production (a mixture of Ryzen plus a bigger 52.5Wh battery).
An active pencil stylus is included to highlight the touch screen and convertible layout.
In the end, if you are searching for an affordable semi-automatic laptop, but you can bear with an underwhelming screen, the Flex 5 14 is for programmers who need entertainment and coding.
- Superior price to performance
- Excellent value for money
- Well built and durable
- Screen supports touch input
- Webcam privacy shutter
- Some people may find the design weird
- Average Screen
HP Envy x360
The Envy x360 13 provides everything we expect from HP’s Envy brand, such as a healthy mix of standard attributes, above-average calculating functionality, and a more affordable price.
This 2-in-1 convertible is one of the vanguard versions equipped with AMD’s most up-to-date 4th-generation Ryzen U-series processors.
These Ryzen processors promise enhanced computing muscle for CPU-intensive jobs than their Intel counterparts, without needing significant adverse modifications to a laptop’s physical design, or an excessive effect on battery life.
Though the Envy x360 13 is an excellent alternative in the mid-sized 2-in-1 convertible ultraportable class, the Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5 will tempt value seekers, offering slightly faster performance for a few hundred bucks less.
The so-so screen is low to the Envy’s brilliant display, however, For the time being, the HP Envy x360 13 is the best midrange 2-in-1 notebook you can purchase.
- Above-average performance
- Very comfortable typing experience
- Aggressive pricing
- Screen has room for improvements
Things to look for when purchasing a laptop on a budget
There are plenty of factors to consider when choosing a laptop for programming. The most important thing is to pick one that fits your needs and budget. This segment will help you make the right choice, based on the best cheap laptops for programming.
Before we get going on the notebooks, we ought to investigate which kind of requirements are required to program. There are two significant elements to take into account while purchasing a budget programming laptop.
While executing your code, then you’ll require a quick and effective processor to manage them at the least time possible. The acceptable range to be on the lookout for would be the AMD Ryzen 4th generation or equivalent CPU with four cores.
The newest Ryzen processors from AMD are before some other CPUs in the present sector. They’re quicker, efficient, and more economical than some of the opponents. We advise you to get laptops using Ryzen 4000 series CPUs if you are trying to purchase a notebook at this time.
A quick processor isn’t sufficient because hefty and more resource-consuming programs and apps will need more memory: that means more RAM is required.
The acceptable range to be on the lookout for a laptop these days is 8GB to 16GB, which should be more than sufficient to deal with your processes.
Other items such as battery life and weight are always handy to have, but there’s still a catch to them.
Most programmers mainly use Windows or Mac OS.
The Plus for Windows devs is that they get to have a lot of choices. In contrast, the Mac devs are limited to the MacBooks that run in the market from time to time.
However, there are still a lot of developers and programmers who like to use Linux. They often search for laptops that have Linux pre-installed. But in most cases, devs generally do a side load of Linux installations on their PCs as it is free.
So, if the term Linux is brand new to you, it is mainly useful for mainframes, servers, and mobile devices.
I have not recommended any Linux laptops on the list because a Linux distribution can be installed in just about any laptop you find above.
I have also not recommended ChromeOS laptops over Microsoft Windows laptops because, most Chromebooks still use eMMC storage, which frankly is quite slow and nowhere near the SSDs we see on the windows and mac laptops we find in the market.
So, overall, to program and code your data, I suggest you pick either a MacBook or Windows Laptop, depending on your needs.
This wraps up our list of the best budget laptops for programming (All of these are good enough for casual to light gaming as well)
Common Questions that People Ask – FAQ
What is the best budget laptop for programming?
HP 15-dy1036nr 15-inch Notebook is an excellent choice for people looking out for a laptop on a budget that’s perfect for programming, coding, and basic decent gaming as well.
Are 13-inch laptops suitable for programming?
If you are a developer who loves a bigger display and screen size, then definitely, a 13-inch laptop is not the best programming laptop for you.
Personally speaking, I give more importance to display quality over display size. So, as long as you consider a laptop for programming, even a 13-inch laptop is sufficient as well. Thus, a good Full HD screen or a high-resolution screen is more than enough to do programming without second thoughts.
Does one need expensive laptops for programming?
The honest answer to this question is, it depends. The need for an expensive laptop would arise when you are doing using programs that need a lot of resources in terms of CPU as well as GPU.
For Beginners and Standard coders and developers even budget to mid-range laptops are more than sufficient to provide standard specs. If you also like to game together with programming, go for mid to high-tier laptops.
What kind of processor is best for programming laptops on a budget?
If you are on a budget, it’s recommended to go with an AMD CPU over Intel. Generally speaking, the best laptops for programming generally use Intel i5 or i7 processors as they have more cores or better processing power.
Also, the higher the number of cores, the faster the laptop in terms of performance. Even the newer generation AMD processors are very competitive in terms of performance for programming.
I hope you liked this list of some of the best budget programming laptops. All the laptops mentioned here are suitable for coding, and some can play decent gaming titles at the same time. If you have got some better contenders that you feel should be added to this list, comment on them below, and we’ll get someone to look into it.