Discussion on: My beginner’s guide to choosing a laptop for programming

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Vincent Grovestine

Processor, RAM and storage demands will vary from developer to developer depending on the software stack their tasks demand.

IMHO, the two most important factors to choosing a laptop aren't mentioned in the article: (1) Keyboard feel and (2) screen.

I always tell folks who ask my advice about purchasing a new laptop to /never/ buy a computer without first getting one's hands physically on the hardware unless they're already familiar with the brand and model. Try out the keyboard and touchpad. Open a few windows, then arrange them in ways that mimic one's own workflow; check the screen's viewing angle; minimum and maximum brightness; etc.

Personally, I swear by Lenovo's T-series Thinkpad because it has a pointing stick and a matte display. Meanwhile, my wife doesn't like my laptop at all, and much prefers her MacBook Pro with its multitouch gestures and glossy screen. I write code and get eyestrain headaches, and she dabbles with digital photography. Different uses. Different priorities.

Choosing a laptop is a very personal decision. Arguably, the only advice that can probably apply to everyone is to spend somewhere between $500 and $2000. ...But, of course, there are always edge cases! ;)