7+ Best Budget Programming Laptops in 2022 – Recommended!

When you search for the best budget programming laptop, you don’t necessarily want an all-in-one machine that could run for years. I place the reasons at the price point (budget laptops at one point can’t cope with the growing technological advances) and the need of the programmer

Still, you wouldn’t want to have a laptop that’s really down the line. After all, doing all those IDEs, running multiple tabs of StackOverFlow, all the while writing code after code requires quite a lot. 

So, you should be looking for anything between Core i5 to i7 or AMD Ryzen 5 to 7, at least 8 GB RAM, and an SSD. Obviously, I’m here to help you choose based on these specs. Since we’re talking about budget laptops, I’ve tried to balance out the list below. 

The List of Best Budget Programming Laptops in 2022

  • Lenovo Flex 5
  • Lenovo Ideapad L340
  • Latest Apple MacBook Air
  • Latest ASUS VivoBook 15
  • Acer Aspire 5
  • Newest HP 15
  • Dell Inspiron 15 5593

Now let’s review them one by one.

1. Lenovo Flex 5 – The Best Budget Programming Laptop

The Lenovo Flex 5 should be the best budget programming laptop because of its superior specs. It is a convertible unit, which means more work on the go without getting tired of the usual laptop interface you work on. 

First thing’s first — the processor. AMD Ryzen 5 4500U thoughtfully sits between the Core i5 and Core i7. It can be clocked up to 4 GHz on Turbo — not bad for a programmer at all. The CPUbenchmark.net gives it an average of 11, 216 CPU Mark. Meaning, it has and will perform better than the 9th and 11th gen Core i5 at 2.9GHz and 2.4GHz, respectively. 

What does that mean? It means that the 6 cores and 6 threads of the CPU can well over process gazillions of different commands you give. You should expect snappy Chrome performance even with 40 to 80 tabs while running an IDE on the sideline. 

Working with the CPU side by side is the RAM. Its 16GB DDR4 RAM makes things work fluid. You’d be able to switch between programs with utmost speed without worrying about losing on your work. That’s blazing fast multi-tasking I’m talking about. 

Then comes the SSD. It has, thankfully, 256GB of SSD, which is more than enough for a faster program compile time. Besides, it will save you at least 613 hours per year because your laptop will boot faster and open IDE or browser quicker. 

The screen is phenomenal with its FHD touch panel and thus, eye-warming colors. However, it’s only 250 nits, so you might have problems outdoors. It has a responsive touch, though. 

I loved its rubberized keyboard. Just like the overall laptop, it has a premium feel. It’s like it’s built for fluid typing. Some might find it a bit small, but honestly, I didn’t. 

I also didn’t find the 10-hour battery life lacking at all. 

Features 

  • AMD Ryzen 5 4500U CPU 
  • AMD Radeon Graphics 
  • FHD Touchscreen with stylus 
  • 16GB DDR4 RAM 
  • 256GB SSD
  • Backlit keyboard
  • 10 hours of battery life 

Pros 

  • 2-in1 convenience 
  • The backlit keyboard helps working even in the dark 
  • Radeon graphics lets you play light games, too
  • Long-lasting battery 

Cons 

  • The screen loses its sharpness outside  

2. Lenovo Ideapad L340 – Cheap Laptop for Coding and Gaming

The Lenovo Ideapad L340 is a programming cum gaming laptop, thanks to its GFX. While most programmers might not prefer a dedicated graphics card because mainly their need is multitasking, this one will prove to be a healthy addition. You could play multiple low- to mid-range games with ease. 

What really doubles it as gaming and a programming laptop is the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650. It’s not the latest, but it can beat the former capable ones such as the 1050i by a mile. Games like CS: Go, Valorant, and other popular online titles run smoothly. However, you shouldn’t expect it to run the likes of GTA V without dropping fps to a laughable level. To sum up, the card at this price is suitable for average games and thus, average gamers. 

For programmers working with graphics-intensive visual software, such as Unity and Unreal Engine, would be a breeze, thanks to the dedicated card. 

The CPU works wonders as well because it’s a Core i5-9300H. It performs low on the benchmark sides and stays below the Ryzen 5 series. However, it does take an edge over the 7th gen Core i7 with its 7,841 CPU Mark. 

In simple terms, multitasking would run seamlessly with certain minute limitations. That’s because the RAM is only 8GB — acceptable but could have been more. You can always increase this storage, thanks to the upgradation ease. The storage is 512 GB SSD, so you don’t need to upgrade it. 

You might have problems working with a bigger screen but its 15.6 FHD panel with sharp colors won’t disappoint you while programming. Of course, its 60Hz refresh rate is low for gaming. Added to the good things are its backlit keyboard, no bloatware, and small screen bezels. 

I’d personally like to mention how much I love the look of the laptop. It’s not showy as a premium gaming laptop but it’s also not drab like a normal one. The build is plastic but it feels premium to the core. 

Features 

  • Intel Core i5-9300U CPU 
  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 
  • FHD 1920 x 1080 screen 
  • 8GB DDR4 RAM 
  • 512GB SSD
  • Backlit keyboard
  • 9 hours of battery life 

Pros 

  • An eye candy  
  • God-sent for programmers cum gamers who want to run visually challenging software also 
  • More storage space 
  • Relatively quiet laptop

Cons 

  • 60Hz screen
  • Mediocre touchpad 

3. Latest Apple MacBook Air – Best Programming Laptop

The Latest Apple MacBook Air has a definitive quality that you won’t find in any Intel-powered laptops. It can last for years, depending on your use, of course. That’s because it transfers certain programs to the SSD temporarily if you use up all of its RAM. Over time, the SSD can take a toll because of a constant disk rewrite. You wouldn’t want that. 

Still, within its limits, the Apple MacBook Air beats Intel to the curb. 

The reason for that lies in its M1 chip. With an average CPU Mark of 15147, it leaves behind 9th gen Core i7, Core i5, and Ryzen 5 3500U. The only Intel chip beating it is Core i9 9th gen, which is more expensive, and Ryzen 5 3600. 

Open as many tabs as you want, run Final Cut and Logic Pro, IDEs, and the chip would still carry on. However, do keep in mind what I said above about the limitation of its memory. Only 8GB of DDR4 RAM with this much power isn’t enough. You can’t even upgrade it because this and the 256GB SSD are slapped into the board.  

The M1 also supports lite gaming and tons of iPhone apps. 

Talking about other things, the screen with its 2560×1600 res looks extremely well and sharp. The keyboard is responsive but not like most Windows laptops. There are still a lot of improvements needed. 

There isn’t any fan in the laptop, so you should be well over the shenanigans of blocking vents and all that. Even if you jack up the performance to optimum, it stays quiet. 

I would love to call it an on-the-go portable laptop because of its 10+ hours of juice. However, it’s not removable so you can’t hope to buy another one to replace your broken battery. One way or another the Apple support would have to be contacted. 

The downsides are only 2 ports, a subpar webcam, and (for some) the Apple ecosystem with its learning curves. 

Features 

  • Apple M1 Chip CPU 
  • No dedicated GFX 
  • FHD 2560×1600 screen 
  • 8GB DDR4 RAM 
  • 256GB SSD
  • 18 hours of battery life (advertised)

Pros 

  • Looks extremely well  
  • The M1 Chip beats Intel in performance 
  • Long-lasting 
  • Quiet laptop 
  • Fast and secure because of Touch ID

Cons 

  • Uninteresting webcam 

4. Latest ASUS VivoBook 15 – Cheapest Laptop for Programming

The latest Asus Vivobook 15 is today’s programmer’s choice, especially for those who are looking for a $500 laptop. It is sleek, lightweight, and powerful in its own right. 

It is powered by the Ryzen 3 3200U CPU, which we shouldn’t compare with Core i7 or Core i5, even Ryzen 5 series because it can’t compete with them. Each of these CPUs has its own regimes and that’s why I said the Ryzen 3 3200U is king in its own right. 

With an average CPU Mark of 3,945, it stays only above the Celeron Dual-Core T3500. The rest of the latest chipsets reign above it. Even Microsoft’s ARM SQ1 has a slightly better score than it. 

So, to sum up, this CPU will cope up with fewer tabs open along with an IDE running. You will notice small jitters here and there when you open one of your visual studios. However, once open, the laptop will keep up with the demand. 

Multitasking as in opening more than one application or software at a time would take some time and effort. The 16GB DDR4 RAM, however, will keep up with your continuous switching from one tab to another and so on. 

The laptop comes with a 256GB SSD, which again saves your time when it comes to compiling data and opening it. However, I’d have loved it if it was 512GB than 256 because there’s AMD Radeon Vega 3 integrated graphics. 

That should let you play low-tier games casually but the small space could pose a problem in storing files along with games. 

I really loved its 15.6-inch FHD screen for what it’s worth. The colors are somewhat muted but the brightness is acceptable. Both of these justify the price point but the thin bezels rival $1000 laptops. 

It has a backlit keyboard. Possibly, that’s one of the reasons why programmers love this laptop. It allows fluid responsive typing for most of the time. I wish though that it wasn’t too toward the screen. 

You do get all of the connectivity options, however. 

Features 

  • AMD Ryzen 3 3200U CPU 
  • Integrated AMD Radeon Vega 3 graphics 
  • FHD 1080p screen 
  • 16GB DDR4 RAM 
  • 256GB SSD
  • 5 hours of battery life

Pros 

  • Lightweight at only 3.5 pounds  
  • Sleek design and small bezels  
  • Responsive keyboard with Numpad  
  • Relatively quiet 
  • Backlit keyboard 

Cons 

  • Sluggish when clocked to max

5. Acer Aspire 5 – Best Laptops for Programming Under 500

The Acer Aspire 5 has been built to give you a stellar entry-level performance — the one that doesn’t disappoint based on its specs. Expecting anything beyond it will be injustice, I think. 

The Intel Core i5 10210U is potent enough to beat Microsoft’s ARM SQ1 and Celeron Dual-Core T3500 with 3GHz and 2.1GHz, respectively. The CPU in question has only 1.6GHz power but it still outperforms the two when it comes to multitasking and software running with a CPU Mark of 6,744. Of course, it’s even better than the Ryzen 3 series at best. 

Its 8 threads and 4 cores have the capacity to smoothly run tens of Chrome tabs because the program mainly works by creating processes on threads. So, you should be able to open many tabs of StackOverFlow all the while writing code in any engine. 

But just like the one I reviewed above, you might face some jitters or an increase in the fan speed. That is pretty normal, however.

The 8GB DDR4 RAM does its job well. Since it is a DDR4, multitasking will always be snappy. This much memory is more than enough for the CPU. But if you still wanna upgrade it, you can. 

The same is the case with a 256GB SSD. It is fast, supports multiple channeling, and at the same time, is sufficient for your day-to-day tasks. 

What I really like about this laptop is its responsive FP scanner. You can keep your files secure and sound without anyone’s interference. 

For a $500 entry laptop, the keyboard holds promise. However, it sure seems quite cheap-built to last only a couple of years. Typing is responsive, though. 

Talking about the screen, it is a 1080p panel. I’d like to compare this to the price point as well because really, getting this much brightness and crispiness is amazing at $500. 

Besides the connectivity options of all sorts, the speakers will impress you to your core. 

Features 

  • Intel Core i5-10210U CPU 
  • Integrated 
  • FHD 1080p screen 
  • 8GB DDR4 RAM 
  • 256GB SSD
  • 9.5 hours of battery life

Pros 

  • Powerful internal speakers   
  • Responsive fingerprint sensor   
  • Plenty of connectivity options   
  • WiFi 6 

Cons 

  • Not for gaming. Not even light. 

6. Newest HP 15

The Newest HP 15 proves to be reliable on many fronts of programming. It checks all the boxes for regular university goers. However, for those who want a two-in-one or all-in-one kind of approach, this laptop isn’t for you. 

The processor Intel Core i5 11th gen slapped onto its board is more than the average one I talked about above. It has a CPU Mark of 10133, which is a welcome addition to the plethora of its mid-range specs. With 4 cores and 8 threads, the performance will certainly impress you as it performs better than the Ryzen 5 3000 series, Core i7 7th gen, and all the low-tier CPU chipsets. 

According to CPUbenchmark.net, it gives you more CPU Mark per price value than Core i7 8th generation, 7th gen, 9th gen, and even Apple M1 8 cores. 

That means the laptop offers more value as compared to the pricey ones with the chips mentioned above. Even its single-thread performance surpasses major CPUs like that of AMD Ryzen 7 4800H. This would ultimately translate into snappy Chrome, faster program loading, and multitasking that would keep up with your demand. 

However, one thing is for sure. The chipset’s performance starts lagging behind when you run 3D or heavy visual studios. Everything has limitations, after all. 

Those limitations would have been tripled were it not for the Intel Iris integrated graphics. Thanks to its presence, you should be able to run a few 3D programs and light games like CS: Go. 

With 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD, a beloved FHD screen with awesome colors, a satisfactory camera, and keyboard, and a longer than expected running battery, the laptop proves to be an entry-level master for programmers (beginners to intermediate). 

As a very much-needed bonus feature, you get fast charging. In just 45 minutes, you’d get a 0 to 50% charge. That kind of makes it super selective for those who can’t wait for the power source to start their coding. 

Features 

  • Intel Core i5-1135G7 CPU 
  • Integrated Intel Iris Xe 
  • FHD 1080p screen 
  • 8GB DDR4 RAM 
  • 256GB SSD
  • 7 hours 15 minutes of battery life

Pros 

  • Best for entry-level seekers  
  • Anti-glare small bezel display   
  • 11th Gen processor    
  • WiFi 6 

Cons 

  • The keyboard isn’t backlit

7. Dell Inspiron 15

The Dell Inspiron 15 5593 is an above-average performer. Actually, it holds the middle ground between a top-notch machine and a mediocre one quite well. 

Starting with its Intel Core i5-1035G1 CPU that has 4 cores and 8 threads, you’d get what I mean. Some versions of this chip come with a clock speed of 1 GHz but this one has 3.6GHz. This means it surpasses the 7841 CPU Mark on average to around 10,000, beating the likes of the AMD Ryzen 5 3000 series. 

For a layman, that means plenty of streaming, browsing, running suits and IDEs, productivity software, and coding applications. However, here too, you might wanna tune down your expectations when it comes to 3D applications. 

They will run but not as smoothly as one would expect. 

This Dell model comes with integrated graphics, which means your potential of playing games of any sort on it reduces drastically. I wouldn’t waste my time doing that at all. 

But again, this machine isn’t cut out for gaming at all. It has its roots in programming and with an 8GB RAM and 512GB SSD, you should be able to do it just fine. 

The screen is phenomenal on this one. I have to agree with some of the users saying that the colors are warm and the blacks are not shallow. The screen is meant to provide you with comfortable viewing all along. 

Couple that to the extended battery life of almost two days when you’re working the sleep-wake cycle and around 6 to 7 hours continuously, you get a very reasonably reliable machine for limitless work. 

On top of that, the keyboard is backlit. So, if your work has extended into the night, you shouldn’t worry about seeing the keys although the light is a little dim.

The trackpad is average. Nothing great or worthy to mention there but I liked how big it was for my hands. 

Connectivity galore is satisfactory with this one with no Thunderbolt.

Features 

  • Intel Core i5-1035G1 CPU 
  • Integrated graphics 
  • FHD 1080p screen 
  • 8GB DDR4 RAM 
  • 512GB SSD
  • 6 to 7 hours of battery life

Pros 

  • Best for mid-level programmers   
  • Backlit keyboard   
  • Good built quality despite being plastic 
  • Good built-in camera and speakers 

Cons 

  • Expensive for its specs

Conclusion 

What do we mean when we say budget laptops? The ones that have entry-level to intermediate specs, decent graphics and screen, a reliable keyboard, and a battery that could at least take you through 5 hours of continuous usage. 

I’ve listed plenty of different such laptops above and each of them shows promise in their own way. Please do not compare them to high-end units or expect from them that kind of performance. You’ll be disappointed. 

Pick any from above for programming and I’m sure it’ll become your best budget programming laptop in the long run.