What is the best laptop for a programmer?
If you ever wanted to know which laptop is best laptop for a programmer, here’s the answer, straight from a programmer.
If you ever wanted to know which laptop is best for a programmer, here’s the answer, straight from the source.
If you’re a developer looking to get a new rig, which one do you go with? Do you go with Apple, Microsoft or any of the numerous manufactures out there available on the market. Honestly, there’s so many to choose from, nailing down the right one can be challenge. Luckily, Tim Groeneveld, a senior software engineer has the answer:
Many people will say “go with Apple, because it is a UNIX-based operating system”, and that is a very valid point. Having access to a Terminal that “just works” with minimal configuration is a massive win.
If you had asked me this question a couple of months ago, hands down I would have toed the traditional party line and recommended the Apple MacBook Pro 13″.
I would still recommend this laptop if you need to develop iPhone or iPad apps.
Let me change the party line a little and recommend another device, the Microsoft Surface Pro 4.
This laptop is the same price as a MacBook Pro, but ends up being better with nearly every spec that you compare with the MacBook Pro, except for the fact it has no Thunderbolt connectors and the lack of USB C connectors (it does have USB 3, though, so you can get 10GB/s throughput on devices).
People shudder that I recommend a Surface over the traditional OS X Unix-based OS. Here’s why they should reconsider:
- The keyboard detaches from the screen.
- You can plug up to three screens into the Surface Pro 4.
- The SSDs are larger than MacBook Pro’s at the same price range.
- : forget using an older version of Bash and then needing to install Homebrew just to get the wget command on OS X, Windows has the option of running Ubuntu binaries natively on new versions of Windows 10.
- . It gets extremely slow the moment you put many small files on your filesystem. Even Linus (the guy who invented Linux!) says that he would use NTFS over HFS+ any day.
- Visual Studio is an amazing IDE,
(Microsoft Visual Studio supports , while Apple XCode supports ).
. Visual Studio also . Visual Studio supports a more diverse language ecosystem then XCode
- You can stream your desktop to
Apple TV‘s with , which clones the AirPlay functionality on OS X, so sharing your desktop in meetings is easy!
Surface Pro 4: 2736 x 1824 resolution, 267ppi, 12.3″ ‘PixelTouch’ display
MacBook Pro: 2560 x 1600 resolution, 227ppi, 13.3 inch ‘Retina’ IPS LCD
- HyperV comes free with the Windows 10 Pro that ships with the Surface Pro. . This gives you access to Linux VM’s for free ( ) without needing to pay for VMWare Fusion or Parallels Desktop.
- , and we as developers should support that.
- The Surface Pro 4 integrated graphics ( ) is much better then the integrated graphics inside the MacBook Pro 13″ [2015 model] ( )
However, according to Harry Glaser, he bets his money on something different, here’s what he has to say:
The laptop you’re looking for is the MacBook Air.
- OSX is the OS of choice for programmers, because it is (a) Unix-based with a real Unix shell and all the utilities that come with that, combined with (b) a gorgeous, modern UI for day-to-day use.
- Very thin and very light make it super easy to carry around with you.
- The SSD means it boots up and wakes from sleep very quickly. You don’t realize what an improvement this is until you use a computer whose primary drive is an SSD. My desktop with a traditional drive “feels” much slower despite having more advanced hardware in every other department.
- The Air is now powerful enough for pretty much any kind of development. It used to be the case that you needed a MacBook Pro for serious programming, but no longer. I’ve had the experience of coding productively in XCode while having forgotten to close Eclipse, to say nothing of the web server, database server, web browser and text editors that were also open.
I code on my MacBook Air every day and love it.