Top 10 Best Laptops for Computer Science Majors

Between the different operating systems, IDEs, and programming languages, you may find yourself at a loss of where to start. It seems like you need to write an algorithm for a robot to pick out the best laptops for computer science majors when you consider all the variables!

Worry no more, this AI has been fed data all about this issue, and it’s all clean and ready for use. You’ll find it all in this article, as I’ll recommend you the top-notch devices that will help you throughout your programming journey and walk you to your junior developer position.

And if you’re only starting out with your computer science journey, make sure to check out the comprehensive guide I’ve cooked up for you at the end of the article to get a better idea of what to look for and why you should look for it.

Top 5 Laptops for Computer Science Majors

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Products

Price

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Apple MacBook Pro MV902LL/A

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Dell Inspiron 15 5000

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Acer Aspire E 15

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Acer Predator Helios 300

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ASUS VivoBook S


10 Best Best Laptops for Computer Science Majors In 2020

1.Apple MacBook Pro MV902LL/A Top Choice

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The 2.6 GHz Intel Core i7 processor combined with 16 GB of RAM and 256 GB of storage space is way more than enough to smoothly run your IDE and let you do all the googling you need on the side. Not to mention, it can be boosted all the way to 4.5 GHz, which is so good it even suits Android development, which is known for being hardware-consuming. That’s why it’s the first on our list.

Having 16 GB of RAM means you can even use third-party software or run multiple VMs on your laptop if you’re a really dedicated computer science student that likes getting ahead of the curve. Not to mention, this laptop comes with an advanced SSD to enable seamless caching to suit many projects. 

In terms of design, the Apple MacBook Pro MV902LL/A is very sleek. It combines being thin and lightweight as it measures 0.61 x 13.75 x 9.48 inches and weighs 4.02 pounds, so no matter what there is in your bag, there’ll always be space for this MacBook Pro.

  • 9th Generation Intel Core i7 processor
  • 16 GB of RAM
  • 256 GB of storage
  • Intel UHD Graphics Card 630
  • 10-hour battery life
  • 15-inch screen
  • macOS
  • 4.02 pounds

What extends its mobility is that it has a 10-hour battery life, which allows you to spend all day outside without having to worry about it running out.

In terms of connectivity, this laptop comes with four Thunderbolt 3 USB-C ports that support charging, DisplayPort, and USB 3.1. It also has WiFi 802.11ac and Bluetooth 5.0 wireless connectivity.

It’s worth mentioning that the MacBook Pro MV902LL/A provides you with extra security through the enclave coprocessor and encrypted storage capability thanks to the T2 chip it’s equipped with.

Perhaps, the only drawback to this laptop is that its keyboard is not very comfortable to write on, especially for extended periods of time unlike a gaming laptop .

Pros
  • Highly portable and easy to vary
  • Powerful computing and processing abilities
  • Advanced SSD
  • Excellent battery life
  • Thunderbolt 3 for better connectivity
Cons
  • Might require dual booting to run some IDEs like Visual Studio
  • Doesn’t have a regular USB port
  • Might be a dead-end for Windows programming assignments and projects

Bottom Line

Though Macbook pro is not the most affordable option, I’d highly recommend going for this beast of a machine if you’ve got the budget for it. It’s not ideal for Windows-based programming, but it’s great for pretty much everything else, no matter how large your workload is.


2. Dell Inspiron 15 5000Budget Pick

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Second on our list is a 15.6-inch Full HD (1920 x 1080) display with anti-glare, the Dell Inspiron 15 5000 is suitable for coding. Though it’s not the best with color reproduction and its brightness stops at 175 nits, it’s still good for those who like coding in dark mode. Also, I would suggest you take a look at these best flicker free monitors if you are constantly looking at screen.

The Inspiron 15 500 comes with a 10th Generation Intel Core i5-1035G1 processor. Intel core i5 is a breeze to multitask with, and you can overclock it with no worries. This is especially true because this laptop comes with one of the most reliable cooling systems and a handy fan that can keep it from overheating, even when you have demanding programs running simultaneously.

What’s more, it comes with 512 GB of storage, intel core i5 and 8 GB of RAM, which you can upgrade all the way to 16 GB, if you decide to continue your serious coding with the same machine.

Writing on the Inspiron 15 5000 is quite enjoyable as it comes with suitable key travel and feedback, so you won’t get tired of coding, even if your code exceeds a thousand lines.

Measuring 15.4 x 10.2 x 0.9 inches and weighing 4 pounds, it’s not the most compact or lightweight, but it’s portable enough for a college computer science student.

In terms of connectivity, it comes with two USB 3.1 Gen 1 ports, a USB2.0, an HDMI, an SD Media Card Reader (SD, SDHC, SDXC), and an RJ45 (10/100Mbps) port with intel core i5.

If you like to watch educational content, or if your classes provide you with videos, you’ll love the built-in speakers on this laptop. They’re so loud they can fill up a room without compromising the quality of vocals. Mix that with the preinstalled Waves MaxxAudio Pro, and you’ll get a high level of control over the sounds, as it comes with many preset dials and equalizers.

Pros
  • Smooth performance
  • Sleek design
  • Highly upgradable
  • Excellent sound production
  • Affordable
Cons
  • Subpar display
  • Not the most portable

Bottom Line

If you’re looking for a coding machine that doesn’t break the bank, the Dell Inspiron 15 5000 would be a great choice for you. It has plenty to offer from its powerful processor to the 8GB of RAM. It only falls short on having a great screen for which you can use these awesome vertical monitors.


3. Acer Aspire E 15– Best Value for the Money

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Third on our list, the Acer Aspire E 15 was made with modern demands in mind, including portability, powerful performance, and extended battery life which is required in the Best Laptops for Online Schooling.

Combining an 8th Generation Intel Core i5-8250U with 8 GB of RAM and 256 GB of storage size, it’s a work beast. Not only that, but it also gives you 10 hours of battery life, which can be extended to 15 hours if you don’t use it too demandingly.

Mix that with the NVIDIA GeForce MX150 with 2 GB of GDDR5 VRAM, you’ll be able to run MATLAB, Kotlin, and Visual Basic simultaneously. And the most impressive part? It does so at a very affordable price.

You can even play a couple of games on medium or low settings without facing any issues, though you shouldn’t expect to play a game that requires heavy-duty performance, which you shouldn’t be doing instead of studying, anyway.

A lot of people -including myself- who grew up in the 90s appreciate the best laptops that come with a number pad, and this laptop gives you the old school experience. To add to the surprisingly great elements of this laptop, its keyboard is quite great. It comes with perfect alignment and key travel, which results in a seamless typing experience and allows you to tackle your longer codes easily like these best laptops for pentesting.

Moreover, the laptop comes with a nice 15.6-inch Full HD LED-lit IPS screen with an sRGB color gamut that stands at 159%.

In terms of connectivity, the Acer Aspire E 15 is rich. It comes with two USB 3.0 ports, a USB 2.0, a USB-C 3.1 port,  a VGA port, LAN, a headphone/microphone combo jack, an SD memory card reader, and most importantly, an HDMI port, which enables you to get a more convenient setup for coding.

In terms of portability, the Aspire E 15 measures 15 x 10.2 x 1.2 inches and weighs 5.25 pounds, compact enough but pretty hefty, so if you move around a lot from class to another, I’d recommend opting for a more portable option.

Pros
  • Affordable
  • Strong construction
  • Superb battery life
Cons
  • Heavy and not very portable
  • Bulky speakers

Bottom Line

If you’re looking for a laptop that gives you plenty of value for the price you pay, you’ll find none better than the Acer Aspire E 5. Although it comes at a relatively affordable price, it boasts specs that are very close to high-end options.


4. Acer Predator Helios 300Best High-End Laptop

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Everyone knows that not all the best gaming laptops under 300 come with high-end specs and undisputed performance, but the Acer Predator Helios 300 is a model that very much suits gaming and comes at a mid-range price.

Well, with a 7th gen Intel Core i7 processor, 16 GB of RAM, and 256 GB of storage space, you can expect quite a lot from this machine. Not only is it capable of running demanding games like Overwatch and Fortnite, but it can also do so while running sophisticated programming tools such as Shogun and TensorFlow without the performance slowing down.

The metal back panel, keyboard, and palm-rest area give it plenty of durability, but the plastic bezels and bottom aren’t the most durable. But all the same, the design keeps your laptop’s bottom from melting from the heat or burning your lap.

This can also be contributed to the robust cooling system that allows you to work for hours on end without the laptop overheating.

It comes with a 15.6″ Full HD, 144 Hz, 3 ms, IPS display, which is pretty neat, especially that it’s rated at around 300 nits of brightness. Combine that with the contrast and wide color gamut, and you’ll get excellent color production and visibility, even if you’re outdoors in the sunlight.

However, there are some drawbacks to this awesome laptop, which include the short-lived battery life. While it’s advertised as a 7-hour battery life, it actually lasts only 5 hours on relatively heavy use. 

Also, at 5.95 pounds, it’s not exactly the lightest or the most portable option you can find on the market, so it may not be the best option for commuting students. It measures 15.4 x 10.5 x 1.1 inches, which is compact enough for easy packing, though.

Pros
  • Top-notch performance
  • Quality metal chassis
  • SSD storage with an extra slot for HDD
  • Smooth graphics card with a powerful GPU
  • Backlit keyboard
Cons
  • Subpar battery life
  • Quite heavy

Bottom Line

If you’re okay compromising some portability and battery life to get a laptop that has some of the highest technical specs, then you might want to try the Predator Helio 300. It falls short of nothing when it comes to performance, but it’s a little heavy with a short-lived battery.


5. ASUS VivoBook SMost Portable

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It’s not often that you find a great laptop with nice looks or appealing colors, but the ASUS VivoBook S does so effortlessly. It comes with a range of colors, all with a sleek design, portability, and suitability for computer science students.

Well, apart from its impressive appearance, its performance is also solid. It’s equipped with an Intel Core i7-8550U processor, 8GB of RAM, 256 GB of SSD storage, and GeForce MX150 graphics card, making it a powerful machine.

The 14-inch FHD NanoEdge display comes with great viewing angles and has ASUS EyeCare technology, which enables programmers to spend hours on end writing their code without causing strain on the eyes or fatigue.

It packs all that in a 12.9 x 8.9 x 0.7-inch chassis that weighs 3.2 pounds, which is super compact and lightweight, making it very portable and easy to carry all day long from one class to another.

Moreover, the VivoBook S boasts an incredibly ergonomic ErgoLift hinge design. First seen on the ZenBook SUX391, this design works on lifting the keyboard by a couple of degrees once you open it, which makes typing a lot more convenient.

Combining attractive looks and performance, the ASUS VivoBook S can run IDEs like NetBeans, Eclipse, and Visual Studio at peak performance without any issues.

Perhaps the only drawback to this laptop is that its battery life is a little short-lived as it lasts only 5 hours and maybe even only 2 if you’re running demanding tasks. 

Pros
  • Appealing looks
  • Sleek and portable
  • Plenty of ergonomic features
Cons
  • Substandard battery life
  • Not the best GPU

Bottom Line

The ASUS VivoBook S comes with both portability and performance but evidently compromises battery life. If the most important thing to you is your mobility with your device and coding on-the-go, this one is ideal for it.


6. Microsoft Surface Pro 6Best Hybrid Laptop

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The Microsoft Surface Pro lineup of laptop/tablet devices is one of the best detachable options you can opt for. Of course, as a tech-savvy person, you’d know that at 11.5 x 7.9 x 0.3 inches and only 1.7 pounds, you’ll get a super portable device, but you’ll probably be sacrificing battery life.

However, that’s not the case with the Microsoft Surface Pro. This portable laptop comes with up to 13.5 hours of runtime on a single charge, which makes coding on-the-go possible. The 12.3-inch screen comes with a 2736 x 1824 resolution, which is pretty amazing for a hybrid option.

Not only that, but the Microsoft Surface Pro 6 comes with an 8th Gen Intel Core i7-3960X processor, 16 GB of RAM, and 1 TB of storage space, enabling it to handle whatever multitasking or software you need, no matter how heavy or demanding.

What’s more, the Surface Pro 6 comes with a Microsoft Surface Pen adds a lot of functionality and fun to the use of this laptop. If you prefer a little old school note-taking, you’ll enjoy doing that with this top-notch stylus.

In terms of connectivity, the Microsoft Surface Pro comes with a single USB 3.0 port, a mini DisplayPort, and a microSD card reader. And while you can add a USB-C adapter, it would be a little costly.

Another issue I have with this laptop is that its cooling system isn’t very efficient compared to bulkier devices. But then again, it’s pretty slim, so it doesn’t heat up as much. You can run NetBeans, Eclipse, and IntelliJ without any trouble, but you should be cautious when it comes to overheating during intensive debugging.

Pros
  • Surface pen is super useful
  • Excellent battery life
  • Lightweight and compact
  • Superb performance
Cons
  • Limited connectivity options
  • Pricey
  • May require a lot of add-on purchases

Bottom Line

Though it isn’t very budget-friendly, especially for a hybrid laptop, the Surface Pro 6 is one of the best portable laptops you can get as a computer science student. Its incredible performance, combined with the portability makes it ideal for coding on-the-go.


7. ASUS TUF FX505 2019Best for Game Developers

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If you’re planning on becoming a game developer, you’ll probably be somewhat of a gamer yourself, if not a hardcore one. For this mix, the ASUS TUF FX505 is an incredible choice. It’s designed with gamers and heavy-duty users on a tight budget in mind, which also means it’s an ideal option for a computer science student!

With an AMD Ryzen 7 3750H processor that runs at 2.3GHz and 16 GB of RAM combined with 256 GB of storage and GeForce GTX 1660 Ti graphics card, this laptop really falls short of nothing in terms of specs needed to make a beast of a coding machine. 

And bear mind that you can expand the RAM up to 32 GB if you wish. But the onboard 16 GB one is more than enough to run the most demanding tools like IntelliJ IDEA and PyCharm, even if you’re using them for high-processing applications.

Perhaps the only drawback to the ASUS TUF is its short-lived battery that only lasts around 5 hours, or maybe even less if you’re doing heavy-duty work.

Still, it’s quite compact as it measures 14.17 x 10.31 x 1.02 inches, but not the most lightweight with a 4.85-pound weight.

It comes with a COMBO audio jack, a Type-A USB 2.0, two Type-A USB 3.2 ports, an RJ45 LAN jack, an HDMI port, and HDMI support 2.0.

Pros
  • Excellent specs
  • Power performance
  • Upgradable
  • Bang for the buck
Cons
  • Substandard battery life
  • Build isn’t the best
  • Not the most portable

Bottom Line

The ASUS TUF FX505 is the perfect choice for computer science majors who want to specialize in game development. Its powerful specs enable it to tackle any heavy-duty task you throw its way, no matter how demanding. However, you need to make sure there’s a power outlet available when you work.


8. Lenovo Yoga C930Best Convertible Laptop

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Looking for a convertible with an advanced hinge, decent battery life, and a quality display? Look no further than the Lenovo Yoga C930. It even comes with a built-in slot for stylus and secured privacy thanks to the webcam cover. This is another good choice for computer science students that still like the old school note-taking.

Measuring 12.7 x 8.9 x 0.6 inches, its gunmetal is quite sleek yet rigid to give it a premium feel. It’s pretty compact, and at 3 pounds, it’s also lightweight, making it a very portable option.

Its cylindrical surface sports plenty of tiny holes that give the dual speakers quality and effectiveness to provide you with excellent listening experience, whether it’s your music or your lectures.

Moreover, the Lenovo Yoga C930 comes with a 13.9-inch 1080p display, which isn’t the largest, but it covers 100% of the sRGB color gamut and provides a decent visual experience. 

It runs on an Intel Core i7-8550U CPU, 12 GB of RAM, and has 256 GB of storage space, making its performance a treat. You can multitask all you want without worrying about it crashing or lagging, even if you’re using MATLAB and have plenty of open tabs on the side.

Its Intel UHD graphics 620 is the only thing stopping it from being a full-on gaming laptop, and you know what that means in terms of qualifying it to be a suitable computer science device!

Pros
  • Portable and lightweight design
  • Excellent speakers and soundbar
  • Premium feel
  • Great battery life
Cons
  • Not the best graphics card
  • SSD is small for the price

Bottom Line

If you’re looking for ultimate mobility, this 2-in-1 laptop is heaven-sent. It comes with 10-hour battery life and weighs only 3 pounds, making it suitable for being out all day without facing any obstacles.


9. Dell XPS 9570Best for Web Designers and Developers

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Coming with a 15.6-inch 4K UHD (3840 x 2160) OLED display with anti-reflective non-touch characteristics, 100% DCI-P3, and 400 nits of brightness, this laptop has one of the best screens on the list. Especially that it has an InfinityEdge design that provides you with a very immersive experience.

All of this makes it an incredible tool for web designers because it gives you more flexibility over the resolutions you can try out and gives you a better feel of the visual aesthetics you’re trying out. It really provides you with deep, rich colors and crisp details.

In terms of performance, it also does a surprisingly incredible job. Equipped with an 8th Generation Intel Core i7-8750H CPU, 16 GB of RAM, 512 GB of storage space, and a GeForce GTX 1050Ti GPU which comes in some of the laptops with desktop gpu as well, it can run the most demanding applications and programs without faltering.

To put it into perspective, the Dell XPS 9570 allows you to run MATLAB, IntelliJ, and Netbeans while watching your favorite series on 1080p.

As for portability, this laptop measures 14.1 x 9.3 x 0.7 inches and weighs 4 pounds, which is quite average. What is far from average is its 20-hour battery life thanks to the 97whr batteries used in it.

Finally, it also has ample connectivity options, including two USB 3.1 Gen 1, USB-C 3.1 Gen 2, Thunderbolt 3, an HDMI port, and a headphone/microphone combo jack.

Pros
  • Incredible battery life
  • Amazing display
  • Strong performance
  • Reliable cooling system
  • Portable
Cons
  • Inconvenient webcam placement

Bottom Line

The specs on the Dell XPS 9570 will really blow any computer science student away. It’s quite powerful and provides you with excellent performance with incredible visuals. If you’re planning on becoming a web developer, the XPS 9570 is the way to go.


10. HP PavilionBest CPU

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The HP Pavilion is advertised as a gaming laptop, and you know what that means in terms of performance. Equipped with an Intel Core i5-8300H processor, 8 GB of RAM, 1 TB of storage space, and NVIDIA GTX 1050Ti GPU, you can definitely count on it to tackle your computer science assignments and projects.

Despite being so performance-packed, it’s still quite affordable. It’s also compact at 14.4 x 10 x 1 inches, but not very lightweight at 5.18 pounds. Still, its battery lasts almost 9 hours on a single charge, which makes it a great option for mobility.

Its 15.6-inch FHD 1920 x 1080 IPS display is anti-glare with a micro-edge design while the keyboard is an island-style backlit one with a numeric keypad, which makes coding on this machine a breeze.

However, it’s worth mentioning that to come at such an affordable price, the Pavilion’s construction is entirely plastic with no metal casing, so it’s bound to heat up if you use Visual Basic Studio or MATLAB on a regular basis.

As for connectivity, the Pavilion comes with a USB 3.1 Type-C Gen 1, two USB 3.1 Gen 1, an HDMI, an RJ-45, and a headphone/microphone combo.

Pros
  • Super powerful processing capability
  • High storage capacity
  • Ample battery life
Cons
  • Heavy
  • Not upgradable

Bottom Line

The HP Pavilion is a great option for those who value processing power over anything else. With turbo boost, you can work it at 4 GHz. However, it would’ve been great if the RAM could be upgraded to 16 GB to match the performance of the CPU.


Understanding the Needs of Computer Science Majors

In this section, I’ll go over the courses and classes you might encounter through your study of computer science in order to make it easier for you to make a decision regarding which laptop would best suit your purpose as well as to give you a better understanding of the reasoning behind the choices I’ve picked out. So, what do you have to check in your specific department? Here it goes:

Operating System

It’s very important that you ask around to know which OS they use and recommend. While computer science schools focus more on Microsoft Windows, others go for the Linux side right from the start. If you get a MacBook pro, however, you wouldn’t have to worry about this, which we’ll get back to later.

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University Labs

If you’re not sure what classes you want to opt for, or what kind of development you want to opt for, you could make huge use of quad core labs, especially if they give you 24/7 access.

Instead of spending money on a laptop and then finding out it doesn’t suit the apps you want to develop, you can use your computer science school’s device for free and explore your options.

However, this can only work in the beginning. Later on, you’d have to buy your own machine to save your work and projects.

Remote Access

Remote access enables you to connect whatever laptop you have to your computer science school lab’s devices to use them from the comfort of your dorm room. This means that you can run demanding software that your device wouldn’t otherwise support.

If you make sure your school provides that, you can opt for a Chromebook, which is good enough for taking notes and doing research and use your school’s lab computers for more demanding and coding-related purposes.

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Classes

It’s worth mentioning that you won’t need to use a laptop in class that much more than you would while studying any other field, especially not during your freshman year, which would be quite conventional.

As you advance, you’ll begin working with different IDEs and programming languages, but the requirements don’t change that much from one to another. Especially if you’re free to choose the IDE you want, as most of them work with multiple languages.

For example, with PyCharm, you can code in Python, JavaScrip, CoffeeScript, HTML, and CSS. On the other hand, Microsoft Visual Studio allows you to code in C, C++, C++/CLI, Visual Basic .NET, C#, F#, JavaScript, TypeScript, XML, XSLT, HTML, and CSS.

And unless you use heavy software like Unity for animation or plenty of data analysis, you won’t need a laptop with crazy powerful specs.


What to Look for in a Laptop for Computer Science Majors

If you haven’t already figured it out, a laptop for computer science doesn’t have to be all that powerful; you might want to focus more on its portability and how comfortable it is to use. Apart from power, here are the things you should pay attention to:

Display

The display is probably one of the most important features to look for when you’re shopping for a computer science laptop. In this aspect, there are two things you have to consider: size and resolution, and both of them overlap.

In this case of laptop for computer science, bigger is not always better; it’s actually about balancing between both to get an ample pixel density count. This refers to the ratio between the pixel per inch and the monitor’s resolution and size.

If you opt for a low pixel density, you’ll get pixelated images, and if you get one that’s too high, you might have to scale up the images to be able to read texts.

Since most of the best laptops you’ll use for programming wouldn’t really come with a huge size, most resolutions would be fine. A 1920 x 1080 resolution paired with a 16 to 25-inch screen would be just fine. The minimum should be around 1440 x 900 in a laptop for computer science, and I wouldn’t recommend going for higher than 16 inches because it’s generally better to focus on portability.

Portability

As I was saying, portability is one of the most important aspects you should consider when you’re shopping for a laptop for computer science. The size of the screen also determines the dimensions of the laptop as a whole, which shouldn’t exceed around 15 inches in width.

Not only that, but you should pay close attention to the laptop’s weight. You shouldn’t opt for more than 4 pounds, and the less it weighs, the better. Of course, high-quality components would probably weigh the device down, so you should work on finding the perfect balance.

I’d highly recommend going the extra mile, whether in effort, compromising performance, or expanding your budget, to buy the lightest yet best laptop you can get and to stick to 3 pounds.

Battery

Since you’ll be in class or in the lab, you’ll probably have an outlet close by. However, it’s always better if you’re prepared and own the best laptop for computer science with a long-lasting battery. Around 6 hours would be pretty great, and 8 would be just perfect.

This would come in handy, especially when it’s time for midterms or finals when libraries and labs would be fully-packed.

CPU and RAM

A combination of an Intel Core i5 or intel core i7 and 8 GB of RAM would be enough to do your computer science major work, which would be limited to mainly Java, Python, and C++. At least if you don’t specialize in areas like 3D modeling, animation, parallel computing, or anything similar.

Honestly, if you get a RAM of 16 GB, you’ll probably use it for gaming more than you would for programming as you probably wouldn’t work on programs that require that much capacity.

You’d only need plenty of RAM if you’re going to work with Android/iOS apps emulation, compiling code of huge sizes, animation, and coding with web servers and databases. You can still do all of these on regular laptops (with an intel core i5 processor and 4 GB of RAM), though you’ll need a lot of patience.

The bottom line is, you should focus on getting as much CPU and RAM power as you can without compromising lightness of weight and battery life. 

Storage

When you’re considering storage, you shouldn’t only consider the size but whether to opt for an SSD or an HDD. The answer is always SSD, as it’s a lot faster than HDD.

These help you look through your files more quickly to reuse a piece of old code as well as load heavy-duty IDEs faster.

Not only are they faster, but they’re also lighter and more reliable. They consume less power, so they don’t eat up your battery life and therefore help you stay connected for a longer period of time without needing outlets.

HDMI Port

This might strike you as a little weird of an aspect to consider, but you should make sure your best laptop comes with an HDMI port. Most best laptops would, with the exception of the new MacBook pro.

The reason it’s important is that it’ll make multitasking a breeze, and you’ll definitely need to code on one screen while having a reference of documentation/APIs/materials on another screen to finish advanced assignments when your classes become demanding, and you start programming more seriously.

Operating System

I’ve already talked about the operating system when I was talking about the things you should ask about in your classes, but in this section, I’ll get into more details.

Windows

There isn’t much to say about Windows; it’s the most popular operating system out there as it’s good for basically everything. Well, everything except open source programs, which you can deal with by dual-booting Linux on Windows.

Linux

As a computer science student, you’ll definitely need to learn Linux/Unix. Open-source programs are available in Linux, and that’s why most programmers familiarize themselves with it. There aren’t any laptops that are manufactured for running Linux, so you’ll have to buy a Windows device or one without an OS installed, and install Linux.

macOS

Both OSX and Linux work well for computer science majors, so it’s all about what you prefer. OSX is pricier, but Linux has a steep learning curve.

OSX can actually be considered Linux in disguise as it’s based on a version of BSD Unix, which you can access under terminal.

Moreover, it’s quite flexible, has no problem running pretty much any software you’d need for a computer science class, and with the OSX interface, you’ll get the ability to drop down the shell.

Tip: At the end of the day, it’s all about what you feel most comfortable with. In the world of CS, it’s not about the tools you use but how well you can use them. Unless you’re going to develop iOS apps, you’re not limited to macOS.

It’s worth mentioning, however, that most work done in the computer science department is carried out using open source tools. That’s why Linux is the best option, but you can still do just as well using macOS or Windows.


Frequently Asked Questions

Can These Laptops be Used for Gaming?

A lot of the laptops I’ve chosen come with amazing performance, which means powerful processors, great graphics card and high-capacity RAMs. With the ones that incorporate a decent graphics card (Intel UHD 620 GPU and better versions), you’ll definitely be able to get some gaming from your laptop. Just make sure that it’s during your breaks! Unless you’re working on becoming a game developer.

Which Features Should Computer Scientists Prioritize?

You’ll probably spend a couple of years as college student using the best laptop you opt for, and that’s why I wouldn’t recommend shopping as a computer scientist or a developer would, in which case they’d prioritize CPU, RAM, graphics card and storage.

Contrarily, I’d recommend going for a portable best laptop with ample performance, and when you get the hang of it and hone your developing skills, you can start looking for more high-end options with top-notch performance.

Are Apple Laptops Good for Programming?

While many people may oppose this opinion, Apple computers-specifically MacBook pro-are actually one of the best for programming. Not only are they all over auditoriums where programmers meet, but many professors also use them, and for a good reason.

A MacBook pro gives you access to three OSs: Windows, Linux, and OSX. Since it’s a Unix-based machine, you can run Linux packages natively instead of having to install Linux on it. Access to OSX and Windows means you can also program for iOS and Android devices if you wish.


Final Thoughts

There are many options that can be considered as the best laptops for computer science majors, which makes the process of choosing daunting. However, if you know exactly what to focus on, you’ll be able to make a decision.

As a computer science student, you’ll need a machine that’s of reliable performance, not necessarily the best, and plenty of portability. In that sense, the Apple MacBook Pro MV902LL/A is an incredible option. At around 4 pounds, it’s easy to carry around. Combine that with the 10-hour battery life and excellent performance, and there isn’t much else you’d ask for.

However, being an Apple product, it’s not the most affordable. So if you’re looking for something more budget-friendly, you can opt for the Acer Aspire E 15 or even Dell Inspiron 15 5000. 

Needless to say, if you’re looking for the most portable option, you should opt for the hybrid Microsoft Surface Pro 6. With a detachable keyboard, you can move with a machine that weighs 1.74 pounds!

Finally, if you’re looking for a device that’s oriented for web-design, opt for the Dell XPS 9570. And if it’s game development in your mind, then there’s no better option than the Acer Predator Helios 300, being a gaming laptop like this, itself.


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