Web developing as a job has evolved to cover a wide range of tasks. There is front-end web development that involves the part of the internet that is most visible, such as web design.
Back-end web developers take care of the “behind the scenes” part of the web. Servers and databases are usually hidden behind well-designed webpages, yet are crucial to many websites.
Both ends work together to bring the final product to the public.
A laptop is, without a doubt, the most important tool a web developer has. When your entire day is spent developing websites and applications for your clients, an unreliable or under-performing laptop will frustrate a developer very quickly.
We have checked out this year’s latest laptops and found the #1 Pick when it comes to the best web developing laptop out there.
Table of Contents
- 1 How we chose the best laptop for web developers
- 2 The most important consideration when choosing the best laptop for web developers
- 3 Other considerations when choosing the best laptop for web developers
- 4 The best laptop for web developers
- 5 The four other laptops for web developers we tested
- 6 The bottom line
How we chose the best laptop for web developers
Because of the nature of the job, web developers must have a laptop with the specifications that can keep up with their demands. Performance is the most important factor for web developing laptops.
Our final list of features boiled down to these five considerations:
The five laptops we have chosen all run either Windows 10 or Mac OS Sierra; however, we also found that many web developers also enjoy working on Linux laptops.
The most important consideration when choosing the best laptop for web developers
Memory came out as our top consideration when looking for a web developing laptop.
Many web developers spend a lot of time checking their work on a variety of web browsers since this is the interface most of their users end up using when connecting to the web.
Many of these web developers also tend to have a ton of tabs open in these browsers while simultaneously working on other programs, such as the Sublime Text code editor.
Opening all these tabs and programs at the same time will eat up your laptop’s memory like a starving man at a buffet.
We recommend a minimum of 8 GB RAM for the best performance. 16 GB RAM would be ideal.
Other considerations when choosing the best laptop for web developers
Owning a laptop with lots of RAM but a terrible CPU would be like driving a Lamborghini that runs at a max speed of 15 miles per hour.
If you are going to get a laptop with plenty of RAM, the least you can do is give it a great CPU for it to really reach its potential.
Intel Core i5 is sufficient for a good web developing laptop. But, we’re not here to talk about a good laptop for web development. We’re here to find the best laptop for web development. We narrowed our search down to laptops running on Intel Core i7.
There are two general types of hard drives in the market today: Hard Disk Drive (HDD) and Solid State Drive (SSD).
Hard Disk Drives are the hard drives that have been used and developed for the past few decades.
Your information is stored on a metal disk and the hard drive spins the disk round at thousands of revolutions per minute (RPM) to access your information byte-by-byte.
Solid State Drives (SSD) are a newer development. In SSDs, your information is stored on interconnected microchips. No spinning metal disks here.
An SSD does not need to run through an entire metal disk just to retrieve a bit of stored information. It can head straight to the data directly.
Because of this, laptops installed with SSDs have significantly faster load times and are much more responsive.
Because it is a newer piece of technology, SSDs are much more expensive compared to HDDs. On the other hand, HDD hard drives usually come with much more storage capacity compared to SSDs thanks to its better affordability.
We found that web developers tend to lean more towards laptops with SSD hard drives. Web developers work on smaller files, but in greater numbers.
Fast application loading and smoothly running applications are definite benefits for web developers.
The fourth consideration is the laptop’s screen. We’re not just talking about the size but the display as well.
In terms of size, we found that 15 to 17 inch laptops are the go-to sizes for the best web developer laptops. With the hours spent working on the laptop, a small screen can easily lead to fatigued eyes.
In addition to that, some web developers also work with images quite a bit, especially those dealing with front-end web development. Larger screens allow for better views of images.
Sharpness, contrast, and color are also an important factor for web developer laptops.
Color is an obvious benefit for developers that work with images; however, sharpness and contract can also play a huge role for developers that primarily handle code.
It doesn’t take a brain surgeon to figure out that sharper text that clearly stand out from the background can go a long way in keeping focused on those lines of codes.
We filtered our search for the best laptop for web developing down to laptops with at least Full High Definition (FHD) resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels.
In addition, we kept our eye out for displays with In-Plane Switching (IPS) which allow for wider viewing angles as well as better colors.
Wifi connectivity is pretty much a given with laptops nowadays. However, we also looked for laptops with at least one USB port (preferably more).
To compensate for the lowered capacity of SSD drives, many web developers make use of external hard drives.
It would be great if the external hard drive were also an SSD drive; but another way to boost the speed that a laptop can read-write data from an external hard drive is to plug it in via a USB 3.0 or USB 3.1 port.
The best laptop for web developers
The #1 pick for best laptop for web developers is the HP Envy 17t Touch. This 17.3-inch touchscreen laptop met all our requirements and then some.
The FHD screen with a resolution of 1920 x 1080 comes with IPS for those wider viewing angles and better color quality on a WLED-backlit screen.
Inside, the HP Envy houses a 2.7 GHz 7th-generation Intel Core i7-7500U chip and 16 GB DDR4 SD RAM.
This processor/memory combination comes with 1TB SSD. Anything done on this laptop will be done at lightning speeds. The laptop also comes with an NVIDIA GeForce 940MX graphics card.
The keyboard is backlit. A backlit keyboard did not make our list of considerations, but it is a nice feature to have that allows a web developer to keep working even as daylight fades.
The keyboard also has a numeric pad for those developers that can’t live without one.
The Envy 17t comes has a HD IR webcam with dual digital microphones. When you make a video call from this laptop, the other end will get a sharp video and clear audio from you.
Besides the expected wifi and Bluetooth connection, the Envy also comes with a USB 3.1 (Type C) port, three USB 3.1 (Type A) ports, a HDMI port and a RJ-45 port.
The Envy 17t Touch also comes with a DVD burner, a rarity in most laptops nowadays.
The HP Envy 17t is no lightweight, coming in at 7 pounds.
The four other laptops for web developers we tested
ASUS’s 15.6-inch ZenBook Pro UX501VW is another great laptop for web developers.
The touchscreen display has an amazing 4K Ultra High Definition resolution of 3840 x 2160. It also has IPS for those wide viewing angles and is reported to have a color gamut of up to 100% of the sRGB spectrum and 74% Adobe RGB.
The laptop also comes with an NVIDIA GTX 960M graphics card.
Within, the ZenBook Pro has a 2.6 GHz 6th-generation Intel Skylake Core i7-6700HQ processor with 16 GB DDR4 RAM. For its hard drive, the ASUS ZenBook has 512 GB PCIe SSD.
In terms of connectivity, the UX501VW ZenBook has wifi and Bluetooth 4.0. It also has a Thunderbolt 3 (via USB Type-C) port, three USB 3.0 ports, and a HDMI port. The ZenBook also has an SDXC card reader.
This 15-incher comes in at 5 pounds. The keyboard is not backlit; however, it does have a numeric pad.
The Apple MacBook Pro is a pretty popular laptop amongst developers thanks to its sleek design, great display, and stable operating system.
Apple’s latest 15.4-inch MacBook Pro comes with a Touch Bar. This new feature has become a hit with many web developers thanks to its customization and adaptivity depending on what window or program you are working on.
The screen is 2880 x 1800 LED-backlit with Retina Display. As with most of Apple’s latest products, the display screen is sharp with great contrast and vivid colors.
The 2016 MacBook Pro has a 2.7 GHz Intel Core i7 processor, 16 GB LPDDR3 memory, and 512 GB SSD hard drive. It also comes with Intel HD Graphics 530 for its graphics card.
The 2016 Apple MacBook Pro has four Thunderbolt 3 (USB Type-C) ports along its edge.
The keyboard is nicely backlit and the MacBook Pro weighs just 4 pounds, making it the lightest laptop of the Top 5 Picks we have chosen.
The only con we have for the MacBook Pro is the fact that all its ports are Thunderbolt 3 (USB Type-C), which can be quite inconvenient for those who still have many peripherals that use USB 2.0 or USB 3.0 adapters.
If you are looking for a fantastic laptop for web development at an affordable price, we would like to turn your attention to the HP 15-ay018nr.
This 15.6-inch laptop features an IPS WLED-backlit display with FHD resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels.
This particular HP 15 comes with 2.5 GHz Intel Core i7-6500U and 8 GB DDR3L SD RAM. For its hard drive, the HP 15-ay018nr features a 256 GB M.2 SSD hard drive. It has an Intel HD Graphics 520 graphics card with up to 4 GB dedicated memory.
This HP laptop has been outfitted with two USB 2.0 port, a USB 3.0 port, a HDMI port, and an RJ-45 port. On top of that, HP even managed to throw in an SD card reader and a DVD burner.
It is quite surprising how much they managed to fit into this 4.75 pound laptop, and at such affordable pricing. On top of everything, the HP 15-ay018nr is reputed to have up to 6 hours of battery life.
The ASUS K501UW came in as our fifth pick for the best web developer laptop.
This 15.6-inch screen features a matte FHD resolution. Matt displays are a great way of reducing eye-strain by cutting out the need to look through reflected images.
The K501UW ASUS comes with 2.5 GHz Intel Skylake Core i7-6500U processor and 8 GB DDR4 RAM. It also has an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M graphics card with 2 GB GDDR5 dedicated memory.
As far as connections go, the ASUS laptop comes with two USB 2.0 ports, 2 USB 3.0 ports, a RJ-45 port, a HDMI port, and a card reader.
The ASUS K501UW features a sleek aluminum design and weighs just 4.4 pounds.
When it comes to laptops, web developers appreciate ones that will give smooth and speedy performance.
Any of our Top Five Picks will certainly be able to meet this requirement of a web developer laptop.
Our Top Five Picks also all have a fantastic display, offering developers sharp views of their screen’s content.
In addition to that, our Top Five Picks can also meet a range of other considerations a web developer might have.
The HP 15-ay018nr and ASUS K501UW both have excellent specs when it comes to processor, memory, and hard drive. And they manage to do it at great affordable prices.
Some back-end developers find themselves working with clients that bring about the occasional need to read DVDs. The HP 15-ay018nr or the HP Envy 17t Touch are great laptops for web developers that have this occasional need.
Some developers, especially ones that work with databases, find numerical keypads to be hugely beneficial. Almost all our selected laptops (with the single exception of Apple’s MacBook Pro) come with a numerical keypad.
Those who like playing with new technologies will certainly enjoy Apple’s 2016 MacBook Pro’s Touch Bar.