Which laptop to learn coding ?

Soldato
Joined
27 Mar 2016
Posts
6,844
Location
Bristolian living in Swindon
Hi all

I'm looking to get a laptop within the £300 Mark so nothing mega fancy, it's just so I can learn abit of coding and browse the Web, watch YouTube etc?

Could anyone recommend anything for me please? I've not got a clue when it comes to laptops

Thank you
 
Associate
Joined
6 Dec 2003
Posts
2,415
You could probably get away with almost anything 2nd hand or refurbished. Not sure what sites i can mention on the forums, but plenty options available.

Have had a quick look and can find refurb 11th gen i3 laptops for under 300, but most seem to come with only 4GB RAM.

A chromebook might be an option as well?
 
Soldato
OP
Joined
27 Mar 2016
Posts
6,844
Location
Bristolian living in Swindon
You could probably get away with almost anything 2nd hand or refurbished. Not sure what sites i can mention on the forums, but plenty options available.

Have had a quick look and can find refurb 11th gen i3 laptops for under 300, but most seem to come with only 4GB RAM.

A chromebook might be an option as well?

Cheers for the reply bud, yeah I was considering second hand, will have a look at some market places...

What about a lenovo thinkpad?
 
Associate
Joined
24 Jun 2021
Posts
1,382
Location
UK
Wouldn't want anything below 16GB RAM for programming tasks. You'll use up 8GB easy. You need to triple your budget to get something suitable. Don't blow your £300 on something trash.
 
Associate
Joined
6 Dec 2003
Posts
2,415
Cheers for the reply bud, yeah I was considering second hand, will have a look at some market places...

What about a lenovo thinkpad?
Not had any recent experience with Thinkpads, at least not since the Lenovo takeover from IBM.

Just had a look and could find a refurb Thinkpad T460 under 300. Only downside could be screen res, the ones i can find are all HD 1366x768 (not 1080p Full HD). Personally i think i would struggle now with anything under Full HD.

External monitor could be an option if you think you'll be at a desk. I got an old netbook out a cupboard during 1st lockdown to play with Linux and try and start learning javascript and python. Is an old 12" Acer machine but had full HD res.
 
Associate
Joined
6 Dec 2003
Posts
2,415
Wouldn't want anything below 16GB RAM for programming tasks. You'll use up 8GB easy. You need to triple your budget to get something suitable. Don't blow your £300 on something trash.
I think if it's just for learning 8GB will be enough to get started, and if the laptop supports replacing the RAM then could do so later on.
 
Associate
Joined
3 Jul 2022
Posts
14
Location
USA
I've been in the coding business long enough to have tried many laptops (I'll say right away that this is not an advertisement, I make my living in a different way). I tried Acer, Asus, Dell, HP, even Macbook, all were good, but for me the Best laptop for working with code was HUAWEI laptos. Yes, I'm not kidding, I really like this company's laptops because they have everything I need for working with code. Maybe for other people another company will do, but for me it's HUAWEI Best laptop. You might like it too. ;)
 
Last edited:
Associate
Joined
24 Feb 2022
Posts
22
Location
cornwall
I've been in the coding business long enough to have tried many laptops (I'll say right away that this is not an advertisement, I make my living in a different way). I tried Acer, Asus, Dell, HP, even Macbook, all were good, but for me the Best laptop for working with code was HUAWEI laptos. Yes, I'm not kidding, I really like this company's laptops because they have everything I need for working with code. Maybe for other people another company will do, but for me it's HUAWEI. You might like it too. ;)
Any particular one?
 
Soldato
Joined
20 Aug 2008
Posts
6,026
If you want to learn then just get a Pi 4 to start off with. That way if you find it isn't for you then you haven't wasted any money as you can just use it for something else
 
Soldato
Joined
6 Sep 2016
Posts
7,875
16gb for programming lol.

I'd suggest external monitor, keyboard and mouse in the budget.

Typing on laptop keyboard, using trackpad rather than mouse and small cramped screen will be horrid
 
Soldato
Joined
20 Dec 2004
Posts
13,379
You don't need a high spec machine at all to just learn how to code, anything from not-coding like html/css/js, to C++, and everything in between, you can learn on any old machine....an i5 with 8gb will be perfectly sufficient.

If you're working with massive projects, that's another matter entirely, but just for learning......a raspberry pi would be sufficient.
 
Man of Honour
Joined
19 Oct 2002
Posts
28,157
Location
Surrey
I recently got a Thinkpad T480 for £230 including a genuine Lenovo USBC dock worth about £50 on its own. The spec was 8350u CPU, 1080p screen, 8gb RAM and 256gb NVME SSD which is perfectly fine to learn programming. It's in near immaculate condition. I added a new second 72wh extended battery (£60) and 32gb of RAM (around £50 from ebay) but it would have been fine without those. So take a look at ex-business machines like this (and similar Dell / HP machines). As businesses dispose of older models they flood the used market and you can get some bargains. Just be aware that you can get a lot of poorly specced machines and machines with damage if you don't review the add carefully (e.g. a lot of T480 laptops came with an awful 768p screen instead).

Thinkpads have some of the best keyboards on laptops but do budget for a mouse and ideally an external screen and keyboard too.
 
Associate
Joined
15 Mar 2017
Posts
23
Location
Cheshunt, Hertfordshire
If you're learning coding and then progress to something like Unity or Unreal Engine 5 that use C# or C++ then 16GB is a minimum, preferably 32GB (if learning to code to make games). The games designed may run on 8GB but actually using the packages on 8GB will be a nightmare. If it's just for learning say Python, Java or C#/C++ then you can get away with 8GB depending on the IDE you use. On a Pi you can learn stuff like Python, C++ and Rust and run it pretty decently. Basically it all depends on what sort of programming you want to learn and how far you want to progress. Speaking as a bit of a Indie games programmer using Unity 16GB is a good starting point. Other IDE's and packages like Godot are quite lightweight and will run in 8GB quite well.
 
Soldato
Joined
6 Sep 2016
Posts
7,875
If you're learning coding and then progress to something like Unity or Unreal Engine 5 that use C# or C++ then 16GB is a minimum, preferably 32GB (if learning to code to make games). The games designed may run on 8GB but actually using the packages on 8GB will be a nightmare. If it's just for learning say Python, Java or C#/C++ then you can get away with 8GB depending on the IDE you use. On a Pi you can learn stuff like Python, C++ and Rust and run it pretty decently. Basically it all depends on what sort of programming you want to learn and how far you want to progress. Speaking as a bit of a Indie games programmer using Unity 16GB is a good starting point. Other IDE's and packages like Godot are quite lightweight and will run in 8GB quite well.

Can you show memory usage whist heaviest usage (converting code to exe?)
 
Soldato
Joined
4 Nov 2006
Posts
2,816
Location
London
I don't say particular because it would looks like advertisment, but I just recomend looking at this brend.
The Matebook (Macbook clone) seemed decent. I think the keyboard would have to be good if you're purchasing it specifically for programming.

If you're doing Python as mentioned in the other thread OP then I would get something that has a decent battery and some oomph for the money. As others have mentioned perhaps a 2nd hand option will yield the most performance for your money.
 
Soldato
Joined
13 Jul 2005
Posts
18,056
Location
Norfolk, South Scotland
If you are learning then you want crappy hardware. Why? Because anyone can make software run fast on a fast computer but tight code will run fast on a slow one.

I learned BASIC on a 6502, then machine code on a Z80. Pascal on an 80386SX and on every one you had to conserve resources. Nowadays I have 64Gb RAM and a Ryzen 7 but if I’m writing code I still use single letter variable names because it’s efficient. If nothing else it’s faster to type A:= than FrontDoorBell:=.

Just get a laptop. Whatever runs your development environment - and get a keyboard, a mouse and a screen. Because wrist and finger pain is horrible. Trust me on that one!
 
Associate
Joined
28 Jan 2013
Posts
149
It depends what language you want to learn. If using a compiled language, like Java or C# you'd want a fast CPU (ideally an Intel 12th gen i5 or i7) - as long compile time will get you out of the zone. If doing interpreted language like JavaScript or Python CPU speed doesn't matter that much.

If you want to go with C# best get a Windows laptop. Otherwise if you can afford it go with a base config M1 MacBook Air. If that's too expensive, get a good ChromeBook - on most recent ones it's super easy to install Linux and VS Code.

Learning to code takes a long time. I'd recommend buying a laptop with a good screen, as you're going to be spending a lot of time staring at it - at least FHD (and even better 4K) with matt coating and no PWM (check the reviews on notebookcheck.net ).
 
Top Bottom