Best cheap laptops for programming

The Best Budget Laptops for Programming in 2021: Which OS is Better?

A detailed review of each model with a selection guide. In our article, you will find the top 5 cheap laptops for programming and also the segmentation of each of them for your needs.

The most important tools of every programmer are their brain and their laptop. In today’s world programming is one of the most in-demand professions, despite the fact that you can learn it, even having a budget laptop and Internet access. The question is which cheap laptop is more suitable for a beginner programmer.

Acer Swift 3

The Most Powerful Processor

In this article, we will tell you about the best and cheapest laptops for programming.

These laptops will be suitable for you to start studying in this area or to get a job in a large corporation. We will also tell you what to look for when choosing a cheap programming laptop.

Best cheap laptops for programming

Our pick

ModelTechnical DetailsBenefits
The most powerful processor

Acer Swift 3
Processor: AMD Ryzen 7 4700U (up to ‎4.1 GHz.)
Memory (RAM): 8 GB
Display size: ‎14 Inches
Max Screen Resolution: 1920 x 1080
Video Card: AMD Radeon Graphics Vega 7
Storage: 512 GB SSD
• The fastest processor (up to ‎4.1 GHz.);
• Pretty lightweight (‎2.65 pounds);
• Fingerprint reader;
• Excellent display quality;
• Great battery life (11 hours).
The best screen with thin bezels
Asus VivoBook 15 — The Best Screen With Thin Bezels
Asus VivoBook 15
Processor: Intel Core i5-1035G1 (up to 3.6 GHz.)
Memory (RAM): 8 GB
Display size:‎ 15.6 Inches
Max Screen Resolution: ‎1920 x 1080
Video Card: ‎Intel UHD Graphics
Storage: 512 GB SSD
• The best display quality;
• Pretty powerful processor (up to 3.6 GHz.);
• Fingerprint reader;
• It has 4 USB ports.
Model for maximum multitasking
Lenovo Flex 5 — Model For Maximum Multitasking
Lenovo Flex 5
Processor: AMD Ryzen 5 4500U (up to 4.0 GHz.)
Memory (RAM): 16 GB
Display size:‎ 15.6 Inches
Max Screen Resolution: 1920 x 1080
Video Card: AMD Radeon Graphics RX Vega 6
Storage: 256 GB SSD
• The largest amount of RAM (16 GB);
• Fast processor (up to 4.0 GHz.);
• Touch screen with tablet mode;
• Long battery life (10 hours).
The lightest model

Google Pixelbook Go
Processor: Intel Core M3-8100Y (up to 3.4 GHz.)
Memory (RAM): 8 GB
Display size:‎ ‎13.3 Inches
Max Screen Resolution: 1920 x 1080
Video Card:
Intel HD Graphics 615
Storage: 64 GB eMMc
• Surprisingly lightweight (2.33 pounds);
• The longest battery life (12 hours);
• Bright touch screen;
• Convenient Chrome operating system.
The most budget-friendly model

Acer Aspire 5
Processor: AMD Ryzen 3 4300U (up to ‎3.7 GHz.)
Memory (RAM): 4 GB
Display size:‎ ‎ ‎15.6 Inches
Max Screen Resolution: 1920 x 1080
Video Card: AMD Radeon Graphics RX Vega 5
Storage: 128 GB SSD
• The most budget model;
• Powerful processor (up to ‎3.7 GHz.);
• Great battery life (10 hours);
• Fingerprint reader.

Why do people trust us?

We are a team of professionals who make sure that our users get only useful and verified information. Our articles have everything to make it easy to choose the model you need, we study in detail each device, reading dozens of reviews, and also segmenting each laptop for your needs. We speak the same language as our users and give various tips to choose a laptop.

A detailed review of each model

Acer Swift 3 —  The Most Powerful Processor

A detailed review of each model
Acer Swift 3
ProcessorAMD Ryzen 7 4700U (up to ‎4.1 GHz.)
Memory (RAM)8 GB
Video CardAMD Radeon Graphics Vega 7
Storage512 GB SSD
Screen Resolution1920 x 1080
Display size14 Inches
Weight2.65 pounds
Operating SystemWindows 10 Home

The Acer Swift 3 is an amazingly powerful laptop, it has the fastest processor (up to 4.1 GHz.) which will give you great performance and it has 8 GB of RAM, this will provide the necessary multitasking. It’s also quite thin and light (2.65 pounds) which is almost like the lightest model in our article Google Pixelbook Go (👀 read more about this model). It has a flat keypad with a backlight that is very convenient for typing code.

This laptop has a bright display that makes the work process more pleasant. A 512 GB SSD is installed in it, so you can have a lot of programs and projects you need on your laptop. For easy and quick access to the system, it has a fingerprint reader.

Pros:

  1. The fastest processor (up to ‎4.1 GHz.);
  2. Pretty lightweight (‎2.65 pounds);
  3. Great battery life (11 hours);
  4. Fingerprint reader.

Cons:

  1. It may get hot under a heavy load, so we recommend using the cooling pad.

Asus VivoBook 15  — The Best Screen With Thin Bezels

Asus VivoBook 15  — The Best Screen With Thin Bezels
Asus VivoBook 15
ProcessorIntel Core i5-1035G1 (up to 3.6 GHz.)
Memory (RAM)8 GB
Video CardIntel UHD Graphics
Storage512 GB SSD
Screen Resolution‎1920 x 1080
Display size15.6 Inches
Weight3.5 pounds
Operating SystemWindows 10 Home

Asus VivoBook 15 is the perfect combination of performance and amazing display. It has a very thin bezel on a bright screen and a quality webcam. This model has 8 GB of RAM, and a fast processor which runs at a speed of up to 3.6 GHz, this will provide you with excellent performance and a fast system in general. It is very easy to type code on it because it has a handy backlit keyboard. To connect a lot of devices, such as an additional display,  it has 4 USB ports located on different sides.

The laptop has 512 GB of storage, as well as Acer Swift 3 (👉 read more), this amount is enough for comfortable use. Users also like this model for its great design and the ability to quickly access the system thanks to the fingerprint sensor.

Pros:

  1. The best display with thin bezels;
  2. Pretty powerful processor (up to 3.6 GHz.);
  3. Fingerprint reader;
  4. A large number of USB ports.

Cons:

  1. The quality of the touchpad is behind the others, so we recommend using a wireless mouse. 

Lenovo Flex 5  — Model For Maximum Multitasking

Lenovo Flex 5 — Model For Maximum Multitasking
Lenovo Flex 5
ProcessorAMD Ryzen 5 4500U (up to 4.0 GHz.)
Memory (RAM)16 GB
Video CardAMD Radeon Graphics RX Vega 6
Storage256 GB SSD
Screen Resolution1920 x 1080
Display size14 Inches
Weight3.63 pounds
Operating SystemWindows 10

The Lenovo Flex 5 is a laptop with a very powerful processor (up to 4.0 GHz.) and plenty of RAM (16 GB), and the combination of this gives amazing performance and multitasking, which is a necessity for programming. It has a bright touch screen that has tablet mode so you can easily work with video or graphics editing when you’re not coding.

Battery life is long enough (10 hours) which means you don’t have to worry about the charge when you take it with you. But this laptop only has a 256 GB SSD, for example, the Asus VivoBook 15 has twice as much (👉 read more), which might not be enough to work on many projects, so we recommend using an External Solid State Drive or replacing it with an SSD with more memory.

Pros:

  1. The largest amount of RAM (16 GB);
  2. Powerful processor (up to 4.0 GHz.);
  3. Bright touch screen with tablet mode;
  4. Long battery life (10 hours);
  5. Fingerprint reader.

Cons:

  1. Speakers may be quiet.

Google Pixelbook Go  — The Lightest Model

Google Pixelbook Go — The Lightest Model
Google Pixelbook Go
ProcessorIntel Core M3-8100Y (up to 3.4 GHz.)
Memory (RAM)8 GB
Video CardIntel HD Graphics 615
Storage64 GB SSD
Screen Resolution1920 x 1080
Display size‎13.3 Inches
Weight2.33 pounds
Operating System‎Chrome OS

Google Pixelbook Go is a very portable and powerful laptop, it will suit programmers who do not sit still because it weighs only 2.33 pounds. Fast operation of all your programs will provide a processor which is up to 3.4 GHz, and 8 GB of RAM will give a good level of multitasking. This model has a bright touch screen and a backlit keyboard, which in combination positively affects the comfort of work. Battery life is 12 hours, which is even more than the Acer Swift 3 (👀 read more).

The SSD installed in this laptop has only 64 GB, so we recommend using an External Solid State Drive, which will give you the opportunity to increase the storage by 7 times. The installed Chrome OS is very fast and easy to use, but can also get in the way with the installation of some programs.

Pros:

  1. The lightest model (‎‎‎2.33 pounds);
  2. Fast processor (up to 3.4 GHz.);
  3. The longest battery life (12 hours);
  4. A bright touch screen;
  5. Convenient Chrome operating system.

Cons:

  1. 64 GB of memory, so we recommend using the External Solid State Drive.

Acer Aspire 5  — The Most Budget-Friendly Model

Acer Aspire 5 — The Most Budget-Friendly Model
Acer Aspire 5
ProcessorAMD Ryzen 3 4300U (up to ‎3.7 GHz.)
Memory (RAM)4GB
Video CardAMD Radeon Graphics RX Vega 5
Storage126 GB SSD
Screen Resolution‎1920 x 1080
Display size‎‎15.6 Inches
Weight‎‎‎‎3.97 pounds
Operating SystemWindows 10 S

The Acer Aspire 5 is the perfect solution for programmers on a limited budget. This model is as if created for budget programming because the strongest side is the processor which is up to 3.7 GHz, this will give you the high speed of all programs and speed of the system in general. It has 4 GB of RAM, which is enough for the minimum requirements of a programmer, and over time the amount of RAM can be upgraded.

For comfortable usage, it has 4 USB ports, just like the Asus VivoBook 15 (🤓 read more about this model), a backlit keyboard, and a fingerprint reader for quick access to the system. Its SSD has 126 GB,  which probably won’t be enough to work on many projects, so an External Solid State Drive will be a great solution for you.

Pros:

  1. The best budget solution;
  2. Powerful processor (up to ‎3.7 GHz.);
  3. Great battery life (10 hours);
  4. A large number of USB ports;
  5. Fingerprint reader.

Cons:

  1. May be heavy to carry around (3.97 pounds).

When choosing a laptop for programming pay attention to:

Processor

The processor is the most important element in programming because it is responsible for all the tasks and processes on the laptop. The most important things in the processor are the clock speed and the number of cores. For all programmer purposes, you need a fast processor from 3.5 GHz. up to 4.5 GHz.

🏆 The winner in the category “The fastest processor” is the Acer Swift 3 (👀 read more), its processor is up to 4.1 GHz. and has 8 cores.

RAM Size

RAM is what the processor uses for multitasking, the more RAM the better the multitasking level of your laptop becomes. For programming, we recommend choosing laptops with at least 8 GB of RAM, because you need RAM to compile projects quickly.

☝ It is also worth considering that this element can be upgraded more than 4 times. Lenovo Flex 5 (👉 read more about this model) has 16 GB of RAM, which gives it an excellent level of multitasking.

Display quality

A bright and high-quality screen affects the comfort of your work on the laptop. Programmers spend a lot of time sitting at a laptop so we recommend paying attention to the quality of the display.

For comfortable use, you need a laptop with a max screen resolution of 1920 x 1080. Asus VivoBook 15 (👀 read more) has a bright screen with thin bezels.

Storage

To have all the programs you use and to work with different projects you need at least 256 GB of storage, of course, the more memory the better. Basically, there are two types of hard drives in a laptop, SSD, and HDD, we recommend using SSD only as they are faster and lighter than HDD.

💰 You can save on this element when buying a laptop because you can purchase an Internal SSD (480 GB) with more capacity.

Weight

One of the most important advantages of laptops is their weight. We recommend paying attention to this because to carry it around comfortably the laptop must be light enough. The best solution for budget and portable laptops for programmers is the Google Pixelbook Go (👉 read more), which weighs only 2.33 pounds and has a small size.

What is the best OS for programming?

What is the best OS for programming?

So, to choose the most suitable operating system for the work of a programmer should be based on two things, your preferences and needs. The most popular operating systems are Windows, macOS, Linux, and Chrome OS, we will describe in detail the advantages and disadvantages of each of them.

Windows

Windows is the most popular operating system, laptops on this OS are produced by hundreds of companies, which has a positive effect on the possibility of programming on Windows.

Advantages:

  • Almost everyone has used Windows at least once and understands how it works;
  • Most software products are created primarily for Windows;
  • With Windows, you can play games with high-quality graphics in your spare time.

Disadvantages:

  • Windows is a paid operating system;
  • It gets clogged quickly and from time to time you need to reinstall the OS completely.

Linux

Linux was first created as an OS for programming or development. It is fully customizable and, unlike Windows, it is completely free and can be run on absolutely any device. Because it is fast and can be easily customized to suit every purpose, Linux also is ideal for software development.

Advantages:

  • With Linux, everything is completely free and you don’t have to pay anything;
  • It will work very well on all computers, unlike the macOS;
  • Linux cannot be subjected to a virus attack. On the contrary, it is used to attack Windows;
  • Great for software development.

Disadvantages:

  • The Linux interface does not look as good as Windows or macOS;
  • You cannot play games on Linux because it is only for development and programming.

macOS

So, macOS is the hallmark of all Apple products, it is very fast and easy to work on different devices. This OS can not be attacked by hackers, because it is closed and very secure, also if you plan to develop a product Apple this operating system you need.

Advantages:

  • The best operating system for users who are interested in privacy;
  • The operating system comes with many useful tools;
  • Because this operating system is only made for Apple products it will work very fast;
  • The macOS is almost completely safe from viruses.

Disadvantages:

  • You have to pay for most of the programs you need in macOS;
  • You can not play highly demanding games, because the performance of Apple laptops is not too great.

Chrome OS

As we know all Chromebooks have the following characteristics: lightweight, long battery life, cheap relative to their characteristics. Chrome OS is a fast and user-friendly operating system with a great design.

Chromebooks are an excellent solution for programmers working with code, who often carry a laptop with them. Let’s analyze the pros and cons of this OS in more detail.

Advantages:

  • Because the OS is made specifically for Chromebooks, it is very fast to work with.
  • Great for writing code or creating websites, because you can install VSCode on them.
  • Built-in antivirus, which is stably updated and supported by the developers.

Disadvantages:

  • You can’t combine programming with video, photo, or graphics editing, because you need programs that can’t be installed on Chrome OS.
  • There are no game features. The Chromebook is not designed for casual gaming.

Summary

In order to choose a cheap laptop for programming, you need to understand exactly what kind of programming you want, the creation of websites, applications, or software development.

Also, you should pay attention to your needs and expectations, for example, if you like to watch serials in your spare time, you should pay attention to the laptop with the best screen, and if you are always going to carry a laptop with you, then you should take the most portable laptop and so on.

FAQ

💻 What is the best budget laptop for programming?

It depends on what you mean by “the best laptop”, for example, 💪 the most powerful laptop for programming is the Acer Swift 3.

Every budget laptop has its strengths and weaknesses, 👉 read more about all the best budget models.

❓ How much RAM do I need for coding?

RAM is very important in programming and we recommend choosing laptops with at least 8 GB of RAM, but fortunately, it can be upgraded over time. 🏆 For maximum multitasking ASUS VivoBook 15 has 16 GB of RAM.

🍎Are Macs good for coding?

Definitely yes, macOS is a very fast operating system that is almost completely safe from viruses attacks. It is also easy to create a development environment on this operating system. 👀 Learn more about this and other operating systems for programming.

🤓Is Intel or AMD better for programming?

Intel produces a processor with better power per core, which is very useful when programming at an advanced level. While AMD provides more cores, which in turn increases multitasking. But the beginner programmer will be fine with both processors. Check out the laptops with these processors:

👉 Lenovo Flex 5 — AMD processor (up to 4.0 GHz.) 👉 Acer Swift 3 — Intel processor (up to ‎4.1 GHz.)

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