Best laptop for programming

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Endi Sukaj
Laura Kyle
Francis Brunelle
Oscar Goldman
Andris Pelcbergs
301 contributors
Up to date as of
After considering 27 dev laptops, the Slant community recommends the Dell XPS 13 for best Linux compatibility out of the box, the Macbook Pro 13 for best Mac choice and the Acer Aspire E5-575G-53VG for best budget laptop. These recommendations are the result of thousands of contributions from the Slant community.
93
Slant Score

Best laptop for Linux or Windows

Dell XPS 13

If you want to spend around $1000+ the XPS 13 is the best laptop for Linux on the market. It comes with Linux pre-installed and has recently updated best in class hardware.

Available on Amazon
Available on Amazon
Release date
October 15, 2016
Are all components the latest generation?
Yes
Screen Size
13 inch
Screen Resolution
1920x1080+
Screen coating
Matte+
Linux compatibility
Display
Keyboard
Trackpad
Performance

Fantastic Linux Support

You can configure the XPS 13 to come with Linux out of the box. Even if you pick the Windows version, the XPS 13 has Linux drivers for all of it’s features and many users report simple Linux installation.

Best Windows ultrabook for the money

The XPS 13 is the best Windows/Linux ultraportable in it's class and it was recently updated with the latest generation hardware so it's not going to be made redundant any time soon. It has best in class battery life of 12 hours, fantastic display that rivals the Macbooks and a solid keyboard/trackpad in a very thin and light formfactor.

Awful camera placement

Due to the design of the display bevels, Dell was forced to place the camera under the screen on the left side. This means you better be comfortable with showing of the view of your chin and nostril if you want to do video calls without an external camera.

Endi
November 30, 2016

The first thing I noticed when I received my XPS 13 was the build quality. This laptop is truly beautiful. I got the Windows version but then decided to dual-boot Windows and Ubuntu. They both work perfectly. The keyboard is good but could be better. The only thing I dislike is how I can’t play any last-gen games. The integrated GPU offers very poor performance and graphic-intensive games are impossible to play.

86
Slant Score

Best Mac choice

Macbook Pro 13

If you want to run OSX, the Macbook Pro 13 is the best programming laptop. Linux support for the 2016 model is currently non-existent, but you can setup a fantastic dev environment in OSX.

Available on Amazon
Available on Amazon
Release date
November 24, 2016
Are all components the latest generation?
No
Screen Size
13 inch
Screen Resolution
2560x1600
Screen coating
Glossy
Linux compatibility
Display
Keyboard
Trackpad
Performance

Best build quality

Although the competition is slowly catching up, the Macbooks still have best in class overall build quality. The all aluminum construction makes the laptop very solid without being overly heavy.

OSX is a great dev environment

If you like OSX in general, it's very popular to develop on and required if you ever want to code iOS apps. There's also a large selection of great development tools available for OSX, such as a powerful terminal emulator called Terminal, a fantastic package manager called Homebrew and many more.

Terrible Linux support

The 2016 hardware has zero Linux compatibility due to new standards used by Apple. Until drivers are released for Linux, which there has been no news of, the 2016 Macbooks cannot be used for Linux at all.

Polarizing design decisions

Apple "courageously" have made some design decisions that might frustrate some users. There are no USB-A ports, so you'll need a dongle or a dock to use things like webcams. There is no physical function or escape keys as they have been replaced by a touch screen, so if you're a big Vim user and don't want to change your habits, the Macbook might be a poor choice.

Ryan
November 26, 2016

I’ve been a Mac user since forever and for good reason. Macbooks have always been amazing pieces of technology and the newest Mac (mostly) does not disappoint IMO. I would have prefered a touch-screen but the touch-bar thing is nice too I guess. I am not a vim user so the missing ESC key does not bother me. The only thing that’s really annoying is the missing USB-A port(s). Other than that I really like most of this Mac. The keyboard is a joy to use and the larger trackpad is a nice addition (quite controversial, I know, but I like it).

84
Slant Score

Best $500 dev laptop

Acer Aspire E5-575G-53VG

If you only want to spend around $500, the Acer Aspire E5 is the best budget laptop for programming. It's running slightly older hardware than the XPS 13 and isn't as sexy, but you're still getting a 1080p screen, dedicated video card, SSD and a good keyboard/trackpad.

Available on Amazon
Available on Amazon
Release date
May 3, 2016
Are all components the latest generation?
No
Screen Size
15.6 inch
Screen Resolution
1920x1080
Screen coating
Matte
Linux compatibility
Display
Keyboard
Trackpad
Performance

Great value for money

The E5-575G-53VG has a speedy processor, plenty of memory, a solid-state drive, and a dedicated graphics card, all of which add up to much better performance than you'll get from just about any other laptop in this price range. It also has a 1080p screen, a tolerable keyboard, a good trackpad, current-generation Wi-Fi, and a healthy array of ports.

Good Linux support

There is a little bit of work to do to get the Wi-Fi working properly and update the BiOS, but other than that the Acer E5 works perfectly well in Linux.

Decent for gaming

The E5 has an nVidia 940 MX dedicated graphics card so you'll be able to play modern games on low/medium settings. This is a pretty big advantage over both the Dell and the Macbook that only come with intergrated graphics with awful gaming performance.

Outdated hardware

The E5 was first available May 2016, so you can expect the new versions to be announced at CES in January 2017 and available around April/May 2017.

Mushy keyboard

The keyboard in general feels cheap and mushy during use. It's not by any means unusable, but it's not in the same class as the Macbook or Dell's keyboard.

Heavy and bulky

The E5 weighs a couple pounds more than the all-alluminium laptops and is a bit thicker too.

Bryan
Invalid date

I got the Aspire E5 solely because I was looking for a budget laptop. It’s not the shiniest or the fastest but it gets the job done. I can dual-boot Windows and Linux and even play some of my video-games on this. The battery life is decent and the screen is surprisingly good for the price.

What others are saying

Here are some of the best reviews from around the web on dev laptops.

How they compare

When picking the best dev laptop for you, the Slant community thinks you should consider the following criteria: Linux compatibility, Display, and Keyboard.
Linux compatibility
How easy it is to get Linux up and running with everything working.
Dell XPS 13
    • You can configure the XPS 13 to come with Linux out of the box. Even if you pick the Windows version, the XPS 13 has perfect Linux support so getting it setup to program on Linux will be easy.
    Acer Aspire E5-575G-53VG
      • As long as you're running or have updated the BIOS to version 1.31, everything works fine in Linux apart from the Bluetooth driver.
      Macbook Pro 13
          • Apple made a bunch of internal hardware changes that breaks the historically decent Linux compatibility of the Macbooks. It's currently totally not feasible to get Linux running and it's unclear how long you would have to wait for support.
        Display
        Screen quality is dependant on resolution, how vibrant the colors are, brightness and how accurately it represents color.
        Macbook Pro 13
          • The Macbook Pro 13 has the best screen on the market. It's the brightest, has the best color reproduction and has an ideal resolution.
          • Only comes in glossy which is harder to use outdoors due to the glare.
        Dell XPS 13
          • Lets you choose between the 1080p display and a ultra HD touch screen. Linux compatibility for super high resolution displays can be spotty at times, so you might be better off sticking with the 1080p if you plan on running Linux.

          • Display quality is very good with viewing angles, brightness and color reproduction close to that of the Macbooks. It also has a very small bevel so the screen goes more or less edge-to-edge.

          • Slightly less bright than the Macbook Pro's screen.
        Acer Aspire E5-575G-53VG
          • Most laptops in this price range come with a 1366×768 screen, but the E5 has a 1920x1080 screen.
          • Although decent for the price and not a dealbreaker, the display on the E5 is dim compared to the more expensive options and does not have comparable color reproduction and accuracy to the more expensive options.
        Display Specs
        Dell XPS 13
        Macbook Pro 13
        Acer Aspire E5-575G-53VG
        Screen Size
        How big the screen is diagonally.
        13 inch
        13 inch
        15.6 inch
        Dell XPS 13
        13 inch
        Macbook Pro 13
        13 inch
        Acer Aspire E5-575G-53VG
        15.6 inch
        Screen Resolution
        The resolution of the screen.
        1920x1080+
        2560x1600
        1920x1080
        Dell XPS 13
        1920x1080+
        Macbook Pro 13
        2560x1600
        Acer Aspire E5-575G-53VG
        1920x1080
        Screen coating
        Matte screens don't reflect as much light as glossy screens do at the cost of some vibrancy and contrast.
        Matte+
        Glossy
        Matte
        Dell XPS 13
        Matte+
        Macbook Pro 13
        Glossy
        Acer Aspire E5-575G-53VG
        Matte
        Screen NiT
        How bright the display is.
        400+
        500
        200
        Dell XPS 13
        400+
        Macbook Pro 13
        500
        Acer Aspire E5-575G-53VG
        200
        Touch support
        Does the screen have touch input
        No+
        Yes
        No
        Dell XPS 13
        No+
        Macbook Pro 13
        Yes
        Acer Aspire E5-575G-53VG
        No
        Screen panel
        The type of screen tech used.
        IPS
        IPS
        TN
        Dell XPS 13
        IPS
        Macbook Pro 13
        IPS
        Acer Aspire E5-575G-53VG
        TN
        Keyboard
        The best keyboards, whether mechanical, dome or scissor, have a crisp feeling to them when pressed and activated to let you get direct feedback when they were activated and to make the keyboard feel high quality/solid. Mushy keys feel bad to press and cause you to type slower.
        Dell XPS 13
          • The keyboard is high quality, feels great to type on and isn't too mushy or too shallow. Nothing special about the keyboard but it's as good of a keyboard as you could want.
          Macbook Pro 13
            • The 2016 Macbook uses the second generation of the "butterfly" keyboards first introduced in 2015. They feel different to use than most laptop keyboards as they are very shallow, but most people report really enjoying the keyboard after getting used to it.

            • The 2016 Macbook replaced the top row of the typical keyboard with the escape and function keys with a touchscreen that can dynamically display buttons and UI for the apps you're currently using. Very useful for quickly accessing things that usually require learning keyboard shortcuts like text formatting.

            • The keyboard on the Macbook is unique and some people may not like the way the keys feel to press or not having physical function keys.
          Acer Aspire E5-575G-53VG
              • The keyboard on the E5 feels mushy to type on and is nowhere near as comfortable to use as either the Macbooks or the Dells.
            Keyboard Specs
            Dell XPS 13
            Macbook Pro 13
            Acer Aspire E5-575G-53VG
            Backlit Keyboard?
            Backlit keyboards are nice for when it's suddenly 2 in the morning, you're still programming yet it's dark out.
            Yes
            Yes
            No
            Dell XPS 13
            Yes
            Macbook Pro 13
            Yes
            Acer Aspire E5-575G-53VG
            No
            Key Travel
            How far you can press the key before it bottoms out.
            1.2mm
            .55 mm
            1.65mm
            Dell XPS 13
            1.2mm
            Macbook Pro 13
            .55 mm
            Acer Aspire E5-575G-53VG
            1.65mm
            Trackpad
            How good is trackpad support.
            Dell XPS 13
              • The Dell's trackpad is one of the best Windows trackpads available. It has smooth and precise tracking and even supports three-finger gestures similar to the Macbooks.
              Macbook Pro 13
                • The Macbooks are renowned for having the best trackpad out of any laptop. It has full gesture support, you can configure in the software how much pressure you want before it physically clicks and the finger tracking is perfect.
                • The trackpad is comparatively giant compared to most ultrabooks and some users have expressed frustration from accidentally touching it while trying to rest their hands.
              Acer Aspire E5-575G-53VG
                  • The trackpad is good for the price and feels responsive and solid during use.
                Trackpad Specs
                Dell XPS 13
                Macbook Pro 13
                Acer Aspire E5-575G-53VG
                Trackpad Size
                The size of the touchpad.
                4.1 x 2.3 inches
                5.3 x 3.3 inches
                4.1 x 3.0-inch
                Dell XPS 13
                4.1 x 2.3 inches
                Macbook Pro 13
                5.3 x 3.3 inches
                Acer Aspire E5-575G-53VG
                4.1 x 3.0-inch
                Performance
                How good the laptop performs for general stuff like web browsing and playing video etc.
                Macbook Pro 13
                  • The read and write speeds of the SSD used in the Macbook Pro are the best in the market by far. This doesn't just mean opening/saving files is quicker, but this has a pretty huge impact on general application performance.

                  • Iris integrated graphics are roughly 20% more performant than the one used in the Dell XPS 13

                  Dell XPS 13
                    • Non-touch models ship with Intel i5 CPUs and touch models ship with Intel's i7. The solid state drives have also been updated from last year's version, making an even better machine for day-to-day use. It can run multiple "heavy" applications such as Slack, Chrome, Office applications and Windows 10 apps at once with no problems with performance whatsoever.
                    • If you get the smaller, 128 GB SSD, it won't be on the PCI-e connection and thus is slower than if you got the 256 GB+ version.
                  Acer Aspire E5-575G-53VG
                    • The E5 has fantastic performance for the price. For $500 you get only a slightly worse CPU (around 20% performance loss) than the $1400 Macbook Pro, a dedicated GPU that's better than either of the graphics of the Macbook/Dell and 8 GB of RAM.
                    • While it is one of the best performing laptops at $500, it's not in the same league as the more expensive options. The RAM, CPU and SSD are all lower in performance than the top-of-the-line options available and while not a deal breaker, would be noticable in side-by-side use.
                  Performance Specs
                  Dell XPS 13
                  Macbook Pro 13
                  Acer Aspire E5-575G-53VG
                  Are all components the latest generation?
                  Are the key components: CPU, GPU, RAM all the latest available versions.
                  Yes
                  No
                  No
                  Dell XPS 13
                  Yes
                  Macbook Pro 13
                  No
                  Acer Aspire E5-575G-53VG
                  No
                  Storage
                  How much room there is on the hard drive for storage
                  128 GB SSD+
                  256 GB SSD+
                  256 GB SSD
                  Dell XPS 13
                  128 GB SSD+
                  Macbook Pro 13
                  256 GB SSD+
                  Acer Aspire E5-575G-53VG
                  256 GB SSD
                  Disk Read Speed
                  How quickly you can read data from the disk, this basically means how quickly files will open and also affects general application performance.
                  1600 MB/s
                  2500 MB/s
                  -
                  Dell XPS 13
                  1600 MB/s
                  Macbook Pro 13
                  2500 MB/s
                  Acer Aspire E5-575G-53VG
                  -
                  Disk Write Speed
                  How quickly you can write data to the disk, this basically means how quickly files will save and also affects general application performance.
                  300 MB/s
                  1400 MB/s
                  -
                  Dell XPS 13
                  300 MB/s
                  Macbook Pro 13
                  1400 MB/s
                  Acer Aspire E5-575G-53VG
                  -
                  Ram
                  RAM is very important for programming as because the use of Virtual Machines, IDEs and servers require a lot of RAM. Look for a minimum of at least 8 GB.
                  8GB LPDDR3 1866MHz
                  8GB LPDDR3 1866MHz
                  8 GB of DDR4 memory
                  Dell XPS 13
                  8GB LPDDR3 1866MHz
                  Macbook Pro 13
                  8GB LPDDR3 1866MHz
                  Acer Aspire E5-575G-53VG
                  8 GB of DDR4 memory
                  CPU
                  What type of processor the laptop has. The 7th generation is the very latest and was released late 2016. The 6th generation was released late 2015.
                  7th Generation Intel i5 7200U+
                  6th Generation Intel i5 6360U+
                  6th Generation Intel i5-6200U
                  Dell XPS 13
                  7th Generation Intel i5 7200U+
                  Macbook Pro 13
                  6th Generation Intel i5 6360U+
                  Acer Aspire E5-575G-53VG
                  6th Generation Intel i5-6200U
                  GPU Type
                  Integrated graphics will do day-to-day tasks just fine, but perform poorly at graphics intensive tasks like video games or running a ML cluster.
                  Integrated
                  Integrated
                  Dedicated
                  Dell XPS 13
                  Integrated
                  Macbook Pro 13
                  Integrated
                  Acer Aspire E5-575G-53VG
                  Dedicated
                  GPU
                  The model and brand of the GPU.
                  Intel HD Graphics 520
                  Intel Iris Graphics 540+
                  Nvidia GeForce 940 MX
                  Dell XPS 13
                  Intel HD Graphics 520
                  Macbook Pro 13
                  Intel Iris Graphics 540+
                  Acer Aspire E5-575G-53VG
                  Nvidia GeForce 940 MX
                  GeekBench 4 Score
                  Geekbench is a 3rd party tool that tests a computer's performance over a variety of tests and comes up with an overall score. Higher is better.
                  7053
                  7287
                  5664
                  Dell XPS 13
                  7053
                  Macbook Pro 13
                  7287
                  Acer Aspire E5-575G-53VG
                  5664
                  Build quality & design
                  How well made the laptop is and it's overall appearance.
                  Macbook Pro 13
                    • The chassis is exceptionally sturdy, the aluminum unibody has a premium feel, and the elegant exterior provides plenty of class.
                    Dell XPS 13
                      • The body has a slick and elegant design. It's a mix of aluminum, carbon fiber and magnesium which hardly ever flexes even when held with one hand.
                      Acer Aspire E5-575G-53VG
                          • It's all plastic, so isn't as sturdy or aesthetically pleasing as laptops with metal or carbon fiber finishes.
                        Build quality & design Specs
                        Dell XPS 13
                        Macbook Pro 13
                        Acer Aspire E5-575G-53VG
                        USB Type C?
                        USB-C is the latest and greatest port standard.
                        Yes
                        Yes
                        Yes
                        Dell XPS 13
                        Yes
                        Macbook Pro 13
                        Yes
                        Acer Aspire E5-575G-53VG
                        Yes
                        USB Type C with Thunderbolt?
                        Same port as USB-C but 4x faster, allows you to charge your laptop and can power two 4K monitors at once.
                        Yes
                        Yes
                        No
                        Dell XPS 13
                        Yes
                        Macbook Pro 13
                        Yes
                        Acer Aspire E5-575G-53VG
                        No
                        Ports
                        The types of ports supported by the laptop.
                        2 USB 3.0 ports, SD card reader, headphone jack, USB Type-C port with Thunderbolt 3 support.
                        Two Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) ports with support for:
                        Gigabit Ethernet, one USB 3.1 Type-C, two USB 3.0, one USB 2.0, HDMI, VGA, and an SD slot
                        Dell XPS 13
                        2 USB 3.0 ports, SD card reader, headphone jack, USB Type-C port with Thunderbolt 3 support.
                        Macbook Pro 13
                        Two Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) ports with support for:
                        Acer Aspire E5-575G-53VG
                        Gigabit Ethernet, one USB 3.1 Type-C, two USB 3.0, one USB 2.0, HDMI, VGA, and an SD slot
                        Weight
                        Heavier laptops are cumbersome and limit its overall portability.
                        2.93 lbs
                        3.02 lbs
                        5.27 lbs
                        Dell XPS 13
                        2.93 lbs
                        Macbook Pro 13
                        3.02 lbs
                        Acer Aspire E5-575G-53VG
                        5.27 lbs
                        Gaming performance
                        How good the laptop performs for gaming.
                        Acer Aspire E5-575G-53VG
                          • The E5 offers surprisingly good gaming performance given it's a $500 laptop. It's good enough to run Overwatch and similar games on medium settings.
                          Macbook Pro 13
                              • The Macbook lacks a dedicated GPU, so gaming performance will be limited. That said it comes with the best integrated graphics on the market and will be able to play modern games on low settings well.
                            Dell XPS 13
                                • The Dell's integrated graphics are very poor for gaming and you won't be able to play graphics intensive games on it at all.
                              Gaming performance Specs
                              Dell XPS 13
                              Macbook Pro 13
                              Acer Aspire E5-575G-53VG
                              CPU
                              What type of processor the laptop has. The 7th generation is the very latest and was released late 2016. The 6th generation was released late 2015.
                              7th Generation Intel i5 7200U+
                              6th Generation Intel i5 6360U+
                              6th Generation Intel i5-6200U
                              Dell XPS 13
                              7th Generation Intel i5 7200U+
                              Macbook Pro 13
                              6th Generation Intel i5 6360U+
                              Acer Aspire E5-575G-53VG
                              6th Generation Intel i5-6200U
                              GPU Type
                              Integrated graphics will do day-to-day tasks just fine, but perform poorly at graphics intensive tasks like video games or running a ML cluster.
                              Integrated
                              Integrated
                              Dedicated
                              Dell XPS 13
                              Integrated
                              Macbook Pro 13
                              Integrated
                              Acer Aspire E5-575G-53VG
                              Dedicated
                              GPU
                              The model and brand of the GPU.
                              Intel HD Graphics 520
                              Intel Iris Graphics 540+
                              Nvidia GeForce 940 MX
                              Dell XPS 13
                              Intel HD Graphics 520
                              Macbook Pro 13
                              Intel Iris Graphics 540+
                              Acer Aspire E5-575G-53VG
                              Nvidia GeForce 940 MX
                              CPU
                              What type of processor the laptop has. The 7th generation is the very latest and was released late 2016. The 6th generation was released late 2015.
                              7th Generation Intel i5+
                              6th Generation Intel i5+
                              6th Generation Intel i5+
                              Dell XPS 13
                              7th Generation Intel i5+
                              Macbook Pro 13
                              6th Generation Intel i5+
                              Acer Aspire E5-575G-53VG
                              6th Generation Intel i5+
                              GPU Type
                              Integrated graphics will do day-to-day tasks just fine, but perform poorly at graphics intensive tasks like video games or running an ML cluster.
                              Integrated
                              Integrated
                              Dedicated
                              Dell XPS 13
                              Integrated
                              Macbook Pro 13
                              Integrated
                              Acer Aspire E5-575G-53VG
                              Dedicated
                              GPU
                              The model and brand of the GPU.
                              Intel HD Graphics 520
                              Intel Iris Graphics 540
                              Nvidia GeForce 940 MX
                              Dell XPS 13
                              Intel HD Graphics 520
                              Macbook Pro 13
                              Intel Iris Graphics 540
                              Acer Aspire E5-575G-53VG
                              Nvidia GeForce 940 MX
                              Speakers
                              How good the speakers are for playing music or watching movies.
                              Macbook Pro 13
                                • Best laptop speakers on the market. They are loud and sound fantastic for laptop speakers.
                                Dell XPS 13
                                  • Above average speakers for a laptop, they get very loud but at max volume tend to distort the music a little too much.
                                  Acer Aspire E5-575G-53VG
                                    • The audio for the E5 is passable. It's loud enough and sound can be heard clearly even from relatively far away.
                                    • When the volume is cranked up the sound gets distorted a lot.
                                    • E5's speakers have a distinct lack of bass and a piercing focus on treble. This causes lower tones to get muddled while still allowing clear lyrics and high voices.
                                  Customer service
                                  Accessibility and rating of customer service.
                                  Macbook Pro 13
                                    • Apple has the absolute best customer service out of any hardware company on the planet, as long as you're dealing directly with them and not with a reseller.
                                    Dell XPS 13
                                      • Dell's customer support website is very easy to navigate. The customer service website itself and the online live chat are great tools for getting issues regarding your laptop fixed.
                                      • Phone support is very slow. Customers have reported waiting for up to 15 minutes to get connected to someone who will be able to help solve their issue.
                                    Acer Aspire E5-575G-53VG
                                      • Acer's website and online chat provide a very useful resource on solving issues related to Acer products.
                                      • The technical support provided over the phone is lacking. There have been numerous reports of phone representatives not being knowledgeable enough of Acer products to be able to solve issues customers may face.
                                    Other Specs
                                    Specs
                                    Dell XPS 13
                                    Macbook Pro 13
                                    Acer Aspire E5-575G-53VG
                                    Release date
                                    Laptops are generally updated every year. When the number of days since latest release gets past to 300 you might want to wait before buying one.
                                    October 15, 2016
                                    November 24, 2016
                                    May 3, 2016
                                    Dell XPS 13
                                    October 15, 2016
                                    Macbook Pro 13
                                    November 24, 2016
                                    Acer Aspire E5-575G-53VG
                                    May 3, 2016
                                    93
                                    Slant Score
                                    93
                                    Slant Score
                                    Best laptop for Linux or Windows
                                    Dell XPS 13
                                    Available on Amazon
                                    86
                                    Slant Score
                                    86
                                    Slant Score
                                    Best Mac choice
                                    Macbook Pro 13
                                    Available on Amazon
                                    84
                                    Slant Score
                                    84
                                    Slant Score
                                    Best $500 dev laptop
                                    Acer Aspire E5-575G-53VG
                                    Available on Amazon
                                    Other products we considered
                                    Check some of the 27 other products our community recommends.
                                    Community Discussion
                                    Have a question about picking the the best dev laptop? Ask Cassidy James Blaede, Oscar Goldman and the 299 other Slant community enthusiasts that contributed to this guide.
                                    Can you buy the Windows version of the Dell XPS 13 and still get Linux working perfectly?

                                    Yep! All the drivers you need to get the Dell working under Linux are available online. The only real advantage of getting the Developer edition of the XPS 13 is getting ~$50 off the price and getting Ubuntu already installed for you.

                                    Stuart's avatar
                                    Stuart
                                    Will most modern laptops run Linux well?

                                    It really comes down to the specific drivers available and specifc components used within the laptop. It's some laptops will be a absolute pain to get going and some will be painless except for things like the bluetooth not working. Search "modelnumber + Linux" or "modelnumber + ubuntu" to look up threads of how other people have got Linux up and running or check the arch wiki.

                                    Stuart's avatar
                                    Stuart
                                    Is it important to use either OSX or Linux for programming? What's wrong with Windows?

                                    Developers usually prefer to use Linux or OSX because they are both UNIX-based. UNIX systems provide a lot of useful command-line tools that developers need for their day-to-day tasks. Also considering how 90% of the servers which power the internet run some form of Linux, it's easier for developers to develop their applications in the same environment (or at least very similar to) what their application will be deployed. There's also more tools available for Linux and Mac that developers find useful simply for the fact that developers are already on those platforms and will write tools for the platform they are using. Windows on the other hand, is great for developing Windows applications (as it should be). The tools provided by Microsoft for developing Windows applications on Windows are second to none. However, for everything else, it's probably easier to use Linux or Mac.

                                    Stuart's avatar
                                    Stuart
                                    When is the next generation of laptops supposed to be coming out?

                                    New laptops will be announced at CES (Jan 2017) and you can expect them to be available around April. That said, there are already laptops available using the recently released mobile graphics technology from nVidia (Pascal) and the 7th generation Intel cpus.

                                    Stuart's avatar
                                    Stuart
                                    Is OSX really that good for programming? What are the downsides?

                                    It is more developer friendly than Windows, but only because Apple hasn't actively worked to create non-standard garbage like MS has. However, when compared against an actual competitor like Linux or BSD, OSX falls short.
                                    Apple doesn't provide the full source code for their OS - making debugging, extending, and customization both a legal and technical pain. Also, since running OSX on a server is virtually unheard of, needing to account for the differences between an OSX development environment and the Linux box that you deploy your code to is a major disadvantage. And finally, OSX lacks a "native" package management system - the closest it has is homebrew, but that doesn't even interact with the App Store system and certainly doesn't let you modify more advanced parts of the OS, like the window manager.

                                    Stuart's avatar
                                    Stuart
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