Searching for the perfect laptop can be tiring. In this list we’ve picked 5 (great) laptops from three price categories (below $1000, below $1500 and below $2000). This list is specifically curated for android development and gaming purposes.

MY STORY

In 2016 I began android development on my Lenovo ThinkPad X220 (4gb 1,333MHz DDR3 RAM, 500 GB 5,400 rpm Mechanical Hard drive, 2nd Gen Intel Quad Core i5 , Intel Graphics 3000).

How I ended up with this Laptop is a story for another day.

In 2011 when this machine was released, it was phenomenal in-fact it sold for $1,300.

In 2018? It’s not much of a big deal, infact you can get it for around $70 on ebay!

As a beginner, I didn’t notice the deficiencies of my PC. I ran on Windows. At the time (late 2016) I didn’t build any real apps, I was just learning the basics of programming (such as polymorphism, object oriented programming, arrays, loops etc) My 13 Inch Device was more than enough, oh it was joy!

Problems Encountered

  1. Gradle builds for simple projects took a  lot of time,
  2. Opening more than 4 Projects (simultaneously) was an issue.
  3. The track pad sucked, it sucked real bad.
  4. Using android studio was a pain in the ass, the left part laptop would get really hot (I later fixed this with a tweak), the fans would kick in and it’ll get loud.

In the midst of this trials and tribulation of coding (android Apps) on my X220 I managed to build an App with 100K+ Downloads (as of this writing).

To be fair, X220 has one of the best keyboards you’ll ever find on a laptop, has a slot for SATA SSD (15x faster than the 5,400 rpm HDD), good battery life (if you include the 9 cell battery) and lightweight(1.36 kg or 3lb).

If I had optimized the laptop, such as:

    1. Included an SSD (instead of HDD ); 500gb SATA SSD = $113
    2. Buy Extra Ram (a pair of 8gb); 16gb Crucial DDR3 1866 MHz Ram = $163
    3. Bought a bigger battery; 94Whr 9-Cell Battery = $70
    4. Or probably used a Linux Distro (Android Studio is Faster on Linux)

TOTAL (without shipping fees) = $346

The Laptop would be faster, but considering the following reasons the upgrade wasn’t worth it for me:

  1. Why spend $346 on upgrading an old laptop, that cost as much as one-half of Dell 7559 Gaming Laptop?
  2. The CPU (2nd Gen.) is outdated and irreplaceable
  3. The Ram has a low Clock speed (1,333 MHz) and x220 can take a maximum of 8gb (yes, you read that right!). Tweaking the BIOS can  increase the RAM Clock Speed and make it accept 16gb. This is such a hassle, i want to actually use my laptop instead of going into the specifics!
  4. In the future i’ll be doing more than Android Development and the total cost of upgrade cost would not be commensurate with the value i’ll get compared to a newer Laptop which costs a little more (than the cost of upgrade) but offered insane Improvement over the x220.

Here’s why it was better i bought a newer Laptop instead of upgrading :

  • a dedicated graphics card (for 3d modeling, game & VR programming, playing games etc),
  • a bigger screen 14 – 15.6 inch : You’ll need as much screen real estate as possible for android Studio and gaming
  • a newer, better & faster CPU (Intel 6th Gen, 7th Gen or 8th Gen.)
  • Power and thermal efficiency.
  • 50x improvement (over x220) for 3x (the cost of upgrade). That’s a steal!

Android Studio Requirement

according to developer.android.com,  you should have the following system configuration in order to run android studio

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  • Microsoft® Windows® 7/8/10 (32- or 64-bit)
  • 3 GB RAM minimum, 8 GB RAM recommended; plus 1 GB for the Android Emulator
  • 2 GB of available disk space minimum,
  • 4 GB Recommended (500 MB for IDE + 1.5 GB for Android SDK and emulator system image)
  • 1280 x 800 minimum screen resolution

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  • Mac® OS X® 10.10 (Yosemite) or higher, up to 10.13 (macOS High Sierra)
  • 3 GB RAM minimum, 8 GB RAM recommended; plus 1 GB for the Android Emulator
  • 2 GB of available disk space minimum,
  • 4 GB Recommended (500 MB for IDE + 1.5 GB for Android SDK and emulator system image)
  • 1280 x 800 minimum screen resolution[/tab]

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  • GNOME or KDE desktop
  • Tested on Ubuntu® 14.04 LTS, Trusty Tahr (64-bit distribution capable of running 32-bit applications)
  • 64-bit distribution capable of running 32-bit applications
  • GNU C Library (glibc) 2.19 or later
  • 3 GB RAM minimum, 8 GB RAM recommended; plus 1 GB for the Android Emulator
  • 2 GB of available disk space minimum,
  • 4 GB Recommended (500 MB for IDE + 1.5 GB for Android SDK and emulator system image)
  • 1280 x 800 minimum screen resolution

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The Principle

I’m sure you’ve seen gigantic collection of recommended laptops such as this, and you were probably overwhelmed by the plethora of choice. Keep Calm! i’m here to save you the hassle.

In this list I’ve picked 5 absolutely best laptops from three price range (below $1000, below $1500 & below $2000) with the following criteria/priorities:

  1. Bang for the buck
  2. minimum of 16gb DDR4 RAM
  3. a dedicated Graphics card – minimum of NVidia 1050 or equivalent AMD Chip
  4. minimum of 256gb SSD with atleast 512GB of HDD
  5. minimum of  Intel Core i7 6th Generation (SkyLake) processor
  6. 1080 Full HD Screen
  7. minimum of 4hrs of Battery Life
  8. 14 – 15.6 inch Screen (the bigger, the better)
  9. Backlit Keyboard – very important!
  10. Thermal Efficiency under Load
  11. Mobility

Without any iota of doubt, Android Studio will run like a ‘RockStar’ and play AAA game titles (at ultra settings) with the above config.

As you could see from the Android Studio Hardware Requirements you DO NOT need a graphics card to effectively run android studio but our list will include them, because:

  1. For GAMING : All work no play can make Jack a dull boy.
  2. For VR programming : many skills increase your odds of success.
  3. For 3D rendering such as CAD designs, simulations and other graphic intensive tasks.
  4. For Photo and Video Editing : A good GPU (Graphics Processing Unit) can speed up Photo and Video Editing by upto 56x than standalone CPU.
  5. Crypto-Currency Mining : although it’s not recommended to use your laptop to mine cryptos, but it doesn’t hurt to have a laptop that can, i say “Go for it!”.less

Category 1 (below $1000)

  1. Acer Nitro 5 | $847.00

    • 7th Generation Intel Core i5-7300HQ Processor (Turbo Boost Up to 3.5GHz)
    • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti with 4 GB of dedicated GDDR5 VRAM
    • 15.6″ Full HD (1920 x 1080) widescreen LED-backlit IPS Display
    • 16GB DDR4 Memory clocked at 2400MHz
    • 256GB M.2 SATA SDD ::: It has an extra space to include a 2.5” storage drive. Obviously 256GB won’t be enough for data storage, which is why we recommend you buy a 2TB 5400 RPM HDD ($85)hard drive installation guide
    • Dual-Fan Cooling :::: The cooling system design is reported as not ideal, This video explains why!
    • Acer TrueHarmony Technology & Dolby Audio Premium Sound
    • Iron-Red Backlit Keyboard.
    • Windows 10 Home
    • Average Battery Life – 5Hrs
    • weight –  5.95 lbs
    • Thickness – 1.05 Inches
  2. Lenovo y520 | $1,010.90

    • 7th Generation Intel Core i7-7700HQ Quad-Core Processor (up to 3.80GHz)
    • 15.6″ Anti-glare LED Backlit Full HD (1920 x 1080) Display
    • 16GB DDR4 RAM clocked at 2400MHz
    • 2TB 5200 rpm Hard Drive + 256GB Solid State Drive
    • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti with 4 GB of dedicated GDDR5 VRAM
    • Backlit Keyboard / WiFi AC / Bluetooth / Windows 10
    • Average Battery Life
    • The TrackPad is average
  3. Dell 7567 | $949.99

    • 7th Generation Intel® Core™ i7-7700HQ Quad Core (6MB Cache, up to 3.8 GHz)
    • Windows 10 Home 64-bit English
    • 8GB, 2400MHz, DDR4 RAM; up to 32GB
    • 1TB 5400 rpm Hybrid Hard Drive with 8GB Cache
    • NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 1050Ti with 4GB GDDR5
    • 15.6-inch FHD (1920 x 1080) IPS Anti-Glare LED-Backlit Display
    • 74 Whr, 6-Cell Battery (Integrated)
    • 802.11ac + Bluetooth 4.2, Dual Band 2.4&5 GHz, 1×1
  4. Acer Predator Helios 300 | $1,049

  5. 5. Origin Eon15-S (Good Value for Money)

Category 2 (below $1,500)

  1. Dell 7577 | $1,250

  2. Lenovo y720 | $1,279.00

  3. Xiaomi Mi Notebook Pro | $1,145 – $1,300

  4. ASUS ROG Strix – Hero Edition | $1499

  5. Eluktronics Pro | $1,299.95

  6. BONUS : HP Envy X360 | $1,499.00

Category 3 (below $2,000)

  1. Razer Blade 14″ | $1,899.99

    • Display: 14″ Full HD
    • Processor: Quad-Core 7th Gen Intel® Core™ i7-7700HQ
    • Graphics: NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 1060 (6GB VRAM) – VR Ready!
    • Storage: 512GB SSD
    • Memory: 16GB dual-channel
    • Finish: Black Matte
    • Keyboard: Razer Chroma™ with anti-ghosting
    • OS: Windows 10
  2. Dell XPS 15 (2017) | $1,649.99

    • 7th Generation Intel® Core™ i7-7700HQ Quad Core Processor (6M cache, up to 3.8 GHz)
    • 16GB, 2400MHz, DDR4 RAM; up to 32GB
    • 512GB PCIe Solid State Drive
    • NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 1050 with 4GB GDDR5
    • 15.6″ FHD (1920 x 1080) InfinityEdge, Non-touch (100% RGB Color Accurate)
    • Wireless: Killer 1535 802.11ac 2×2 WiFi and Bluetooth 4.1
    • Backlit Keyboard, English
    • 97WHr Battery : it can last very very long
  3. Gigabyte Aero 15 | $1,849.00

    • 7th Gen. Intel Core i7 Processor
    • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 GDDR5 6GB
    • 512GB M.2 SATA SSD (2 M.2 SSD slot, Type 2280, supports NVMe PCIe X4 & SATA)
    • DDR4 2400 16GBx1 (2 slots, max 32GB)
    • Display: 15.6″ Full HD
    • Thunderbolt 3
    • RGB Fusion Keyboard: Personalize your laptop. Make your AERO 15 completely unique with the RGB Fusion software, allowing you to personalize any key with macro and an RGB lighting from a panel of more than 16.8 million colors and maximize your productivity.
  4. MSI GS63VR Stealth Pro | $1,925.30

    • Windows 10 Home
    • 6th Gen. Intel® Core™ i7 processor
    • Latest GeForce® GTX 1060 6GB GDDR5 with desktop level performance
    • 15.6″ UHD (3840×2160), IPS level panel, 100% Adobe RGB
    • Exclusive Cooler Boost Trinity Technology
    • The X Boost function from MSI technology supports faster storage access speed.
    • Dragon Center provides six functions to get a total control of your personal computer
    • WTFast free premium license for 2-month
    • Thunderbolt™ 3 supporting 40Gbps ultra speed data transfer rate, dual 4K monitor output, and portable charging power up to 5V/3A (optional)
    • USB Type-C reversible plug
    • Exclusive SHIFT technology boosts performance under controlled noise & temperature
    • Nahimic 2 Sound Technology delivering 360⁰ immersive audio experience
    • True Color Technology for increased color contrast and greater image detail
    • Keyboard by Steelseries with full color backlighting
    • SteelSeries Engine 3 with GameSense to personalize your play style
    • Exclusive Silver Lining Printed keys
    • Killer DoubleShot Pro (Killer Gb LAN + Killer 802.11 a/c WiFi) with Smart Teaming
    • Upgraded Killer Gigabit LAN Controller with Advanced Stream Detect 2.0 and Killer Shield
    • Xsplit Gamecaster free premium license for 1 year
    • Matrix Display supporting surround mode and 4K output up to 3 external monitors
    • Elegant brushed Magnesium-Lithium chassis, creating an ideal fusion of aesthetics and performance
    • Weight : 3.96 pounds
    • Thickness : 0.69 inches
  5. Macbook Pro “15 (2017) | $1,999.99

    One cannot deny the awesomeness of Apple Laptops – the smooth track pad, crisp display, great build quality, speakers, keyboard, ease of syncing data, attention to detail and the awesomeness of Mac OS – but they can be quite expensive, and most times it’s hard to justify it’s price with the raw power you’re going to get. A lot of Windows laptops in this price range offer superior specs compared to the MacBook Pro’s. The lack of ports on latest models is another worthy reason to consider windows laptops over Macbook pro.

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Congratulation on reading through this Heap of Data. Stay Awesome!

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