best laptop for robotics programming

Best Computer for Robotics Engineering - Learn Robotics
  • Few home users utilize robotic programming software, but many manufacturing industries need to program robots.
  • This PC guide tells you about some of the best laptops for robot programmers and general productivity users.
  • Our Buying Guides section includes many informative guides about the best PCs, software, and peripheral devices.
  • Don’t hesitate to explore more laptop-related articles on our thorough Laptops page.

Robots are deployed in a wide variety of manufacturing industries. Industries that utilize robots need robotic programmers to program their robots. Those are programmers who generate code for robot controllers with various scripting languages.

Robot programmers utilize offline programming and 2D and 3D simulator software. They need laptops with good processors and at least eight GB RAM that can handle the most complex robotic programming software.

Laptops with bigger displays and full-size keyboards are also more preferable for programming.

What are the best laptops for programming and robotics?

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Dell XPS 15 (Ninth Gen)

  • Super quick processing
  • Plenty of RAM
  • Premium aluminum design
  • It’s a pretty pricey laptop

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The Dell XPS 15 is a great laptop for all programming fields. Its ninth-generation i9 processor boasts a super quick 4.5 GHz clock speed.

This laptop provides up to 32 GB RAM and one TB storage, which is more than sufficient for robotic programming. It also has a crisp and vibrant 15.6-inch 4K resolution display.

The Dell XPS 15 has some nice features too. Its integrated fingerprint reader on the power button enables users to log in quicker.

The Dell XPS 15’s backlit keyboard is ideal for low lighting conditions, and its Dell Mobile Connect software also enables users to integrate their mobiles with this laptop.


Asus ZenBook Pro Duo UX581

  • Good build quality
  • Its secondary SidePad Plus display is a handy productivity tool
  • Excellent 15.6-inch display
  • Top-notch system performance
  • Audio quality isn’t great

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With a ninth-generation Intel 8-core processor and up to 32 GB RAM, the ZenBook Pro Duo UX581 provides top-notch multitasking performance.

Its NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 is a beast of a GPU for 3D robotic simulator software. This laptop also boasts a luxurious 4K resolution display.

The ZenBook Pro Duo UX581 also features a unique dual-screen design. Its secondary touchscreen Sidepad Plus display can provide an expanded visual workspace for programming code and content.

So, that’s a feature of robotic programmers and other productivity users will appreciate.


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Razer Blade 15

  • Its best model has an excellent 4K OLED display
  • Advanced Razer Chroma RGB keyboard lighting effects
  • Excellent monitor refresh rate (120Hz-300Hz depending on model)
  • Plenty of storage space
  • Minimal display bezels
  • It can get quite hot at times

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This is a 15.6-inch gaming laptop with a powerful configuration that ensures it can handle the most system resource-intensive software for robotics programming.

It incorporates a 10-gen i7-108750H processor, 16 GB RAM, one TB SSD storage, and an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 GPU.

The Razer Blade 15 also has a great keyboard backlighting. The Razer Blade 15 Advanced Model features per-key Razer Chroma lighting effects that users can customization.

Although not really useful for programming purposes, that’s still a nice feature nonetheless.


LG gram 17

  • Excellent 17-hour battery
  • Lightweight design
  • Expansive 2,560 x 1,600 VDU displays more code
  • Plenty of ports
  • Decent backlit keyboard
  • Poor audio

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The LG gram 17 is an expansive, yet lightweight, 17-inch laptop that doesn’t sacrifice portability for size. Its 10th generation Intel i7-1065G7 CPU, combined with 16 GB RAM, makes it a powerful workstation for the most system resource heavy robotic programming.

Furthermore, LG gram 17 also has a decent keyboard that’s spacious and responsive.

The inclusion of a Numpad on its right side is a welcome addition for programming. Its keyboard also features two backlighting levels, which is handy for finding keys in low light conditions.


VivoBook Pro

  • Lots of ports
  • Plenty of storage space
  • Full-size backlit keyboard
  • Its best model has a 4K UHD display
  • Reasonably priced
  • Quite heavy

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The VivoBook Pro is a good value laptop with a seventh-gen Intel i7-7700HQ CPU, 16 GB RAM, one TB HDD +256 GB SSD storage, and GTX 1050 GPU.

Although its processor isn’t the latest generation, this laptop still delivers decent performance for heavy-duty productivity software and multitasking.

This 15.6-inch laptop also has a nice design and a full-size keyboard. The VivoBook Pro incorporates a smooth aluminum chassis with light gold color. Its ergonomic backlit keyboard has responsive 1.4 mm keys and a Numpad robotic programmers can utilize.


Those are five of the best laptops to program robots with. Their strong processing and RAM quantities make them more than sufficient for the most heavy-duty programming and multitasking.

Overall, they’re great laptops for all productivity users and aren’t bad for gaming either.

Computers for two areas in Robotics Engineering

Before we dive into specific model numbers and brands, I want to preface this article with some context. The best computer for robotics engineering is directly related to what you’re doing.Update 2020: Best Laptops for Engineering Guide

Furthermore, robotics is split into two different branches: research robotics or industrial robotics. Both fields are equally interesting but require different tools.

Best Computer for Robotics Engineering

Research Robotics

Research robotics is focused on sophisticated systems using AIhardcore algorithms and programming in Python, C++, or ROS. Engineers working on research robots typically work on the Unix platform (aka Mac OS or Linux).

Therefore, you’ll have many options when it comes to picking out a computer. You can choose to go Mac, Windows, or Linux (or some combination of them all). Your only limitations will be either price, company standards, or personal preference.

Best Computer for Robotics Engineering

Industrial Robotics

If you’re in the manufacturing world, you’ll be focused on industrial robotics. The technology is significantly simplistic in terms of algorithms and programming.

Automated systems will be built using PLC’sLadder Logic, and industrial robots. Controls, Automation, or Robotics Engineers in this field will be limited to Windows-running computers. (Sorry all you unix fans).

Unless you’re part of some unicorn startup using Linux, you’ll most likely be running some version of Windows. Popular controls software such as Studio5000 (Rockwell Automation & Allen Bradley PLC’s), STEP 7 (Siemens controllers), and HMI’s run on Windows. There’s no way around this unless you want to create a virtual machine on a Mac computer.

With that said, here are my recommendations for the best computer for robotics engineering.

Best Computer for Robotics Engineering

The following recommendations will be sorted by price (highest to lowest). While you can buy laptops for under $500, I’ve always had bad luck when buying cheap. Buying a new computer is an investment in your productivity. Therefore, I recommend buying the best computer that you can afford.

The computers on this list are ones I’ve personally wanted to buy for one project or the next. Pricing starts around $1000.

In a future article, I will outline some options under $1000, but for now, this is what I’d buy if I was starting a new job, buying a laptop for college, or just wanted an upgrade.

Related Article: Should I use Mac or Windows PC for Robotics?

General Engineering Computer Specs

In terms of raw specs, I recommend at least 8GB RAM (16GB if you’re doing graphics), 256GB SSD, and an Intel 8th Gen i5 or i7 processor. Screen size, weight, color, etc. doesn’t really matter, so pick whatever you like! Also, if you’re trying to decide between the i5 or i7, here is some insight from laptopmag.com:“While the Core i7-7500U-powered laptop showed stronger performance on just about every test, it wasn’t all that much better than what the Core i5-7200U model had to offer. …Rather than paying $100 or $200 more for a Core i7 on your laptop, you’d be better off spending your money on moving from a hard drive to an SSD, getting a larger SSD or making sure you have at least a 1080p screen. Read the full article, here.”

2018 MacBook Pro

FacebookTwitterPinterestBufferredditLinkedInApple 15.4in MacBook Pro Laptop (Retina, Touch…$1,609.99Buy on Amazon

Highlights

  • macOS High Sierra
  • 2.6Ghz up to 4.3GHz 8th-gen i7
  • up to 16GB RAM
  • configurable up to 4TB SSD
  • Intel UHD Graphics / Configurable to Radeon Pro 560X with 4GB of GDDR5 Memory
  • Four Thunderbolt 3 ports
  • Retina Display & Touch Bar w/ Touch ID

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon

FacebookTwitterPinterestBufferredditLinkedInLenovo 20KH002RUS ThinkPad X1 Carbon Laptop, 14″$1,563.20Buy on Amazon

Highlights

  • Windows 10 Pro 64-bit
  • 1.9GHz up to 4.20GHz 8th-gen Intel i7-8650U
  • up to 16GB RAM
  • up to 1TB PCle SSD
  • Intel Iris Graphics
  • 4X USB 3.1 (2 are Thunderbolt 3)
  • HDMI, 4-in-1 MicroSD card reader

ASUS VivoBook Pro

SALEFacebookTwitterPinterestBufferredditLinkedIn2020 Newest ASUS VivoBook 15.6″ FHD Laptop…$749.00 −$49.01 $699.99Buy on Amazon

Highlights

  • Windows 10 Home
  • 7th-gen Intel i7-770HQ turbo up to 3.8Ghz
  • 16GB RAM
  • 256GB SSD + 1TB HDD
  • NVIDIA GTX 1050 4GB discrete graphics
  • USB 3.1 Type-C, USB 3.1 Type-A, USB 2.0
  • HDMI, & headphone/mic ports
  • HDMI, 4-in-1 MicroSD card reader
  • 15.6” 4K Ultra HD (3840 x 2160) WideView Touch Panel

Dell XPS 15

FacebookTwitterPinterestBufferredditLinkedInDell XPS 15 7590 15.6″ Core I7-9750H 32GB RAM 1TB…$1,790.00Buy on Amazon

Highlights

  • Windows 10 64-bit
  • Intel i7-8750H 2.2 GHz turbo up to 4.1 GHz
  • 16GB RAM
  • 256 SSD to 2TB PCle SSD
  • Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 Ti 4GB DDR5 Graphics
  • HDMI, 4-in-1 MicroSD card reader
  • 15.6″ UltraSharp 4K Ultra HD display (3840 x 2160)

What computer do you use for robotics?

Buying a new computer can be tricky. It all comes down to personal preference, budget, and of course the tasks you’re trying to accomplish. If you’re primarily programming or using Unix-based systems, I recommend picking up a MacBook.

On the other hand, if you’re working with PLC’s or industrial equipment, you’re probably going to want a laptop with Windows.

If I had to pick a Windows computer, I’d probably go for the ASUS VivoBook or Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon. Ultimately, the decision is yours! I hope these recommendations help you with your next computer purchase.

FAQ: Learn more about the bests laptops for robotic programming

  • Do I need a powerful laptop for programming?

You don’t need an especially high-spec laptop for basic software programming. However, powerful laptops are more preferable for system resource-intensive robotic programming projects.

  • Is 16 GB enough for programming in 2020?

Yes, 16 GB RAM is more than sufficient for most programming fields. Our Best laptops with 16 GB RAM post provides further details for some of the best 16 GB laptops.

  • What PC system requirements do I need for programming?

For robotic programming, get a laptop with at least an Intel i5 processor, eight GB RAM, and 256 GB storage space. Laptops with i7 processors and 16 GB RAM are more highly recommended.

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