14 or 15-Inch Laptop For Programming? Which Is Better?

So, you’re looking to buy a new coding laptop but you’re not sure what size screen to get? Well, whether you decide on a 14 or 15-inch laptop for programming, there are going to be pros and cons to each.

In this article, I am going to break down the top reasons you should use a 14-inch laptop and a 15-inch laptop for programming. Hopefully, by the end of this article, you will know which one is better for your needs.

Advantages of A Smaller Laptop Screen Size For Programming [14 Inches]

If you decide to go with a 14-inch laptop for programming, you are going to find a few key benefits to the smaller screen size. Here are the most important benefits.

1. Cheaper

Whether it makes sense to you or not, choosing a laptop with a smaller screen size is likely to cost you less than one with a larger screen size.

If you take a quick look at the new 2021 Macbook Pros, you will see an insane price difference between screen sizes. Sometimes this change in price can be drastic. The cheapest 14-inch MacBook pro right now is $1,999, while the cheapest 16-inch Macbook pro right now is $2,499!

While this difference may seem insane to you, also keep in mind that you are more likely to get higher specs on a wider screen than on a smaller screen (don’t ask me why). However, you will still be looking at, a minimum, of $100 difference between the two screen sizes.

So for those of you on a budget, it might make sense to spring for the smaller screens. It also may mean you can allocate your budget to something a little more important for programmings, such as your RAM storage or CPU cores.

2. Better Portability

Another thing that I miss about my old, 14-inch laptop is that it was a lot easier to carry around. Having a laptop that is an inch or two wider might not seem too bad for portability. However, you’d be surprised by the number of times I had trouble fitting my laptop into a bag. Whether it’s to go to work, school, or traveling around the world, those few inches do make your life easier.

When the main feature of a laptop is its portability, it’s easy to see this as a huge benefit to having a smaller laptop.

Advantages of A Larger Laptop For Programming [15 Inches]

1. More Screen Real Estate

One of the main advantages of having a larger screen size for programming is the fact that you will have more screen real estate. This is really important as a programmer. When you are coding in your text editor of choice, whether it’s Visual Studio Code, Sublime, Atom, or a full-blown IDE like Visual Studio, you are likely to have many panels in use at once.

You probably have multiple files that you are writing code in, a panel integrated with Git, a changeset panel, file explorer, command line, etc. This is what my IDE looks like at work.

Work IDE

When you have all of these windows open at once, ample screen space becomes more of a necessity than a luxury.

While it is always possible to collapse screens or toggle between views, I personally find this very annoying. Switching between views usually makes me lose track of what was happening in previous views. Especially if I am sifting through different, interconnected code files. Having more screen space means you can keep multiple files on the screen and solve this problem. Not to mention the fact that in Web Development, you are pretty much always looking at both a web browser and your codebase.

Additional Laptop Screens

Do you want to know what will boost your productivity more than having a bigger screen? Having an attachable laptop screen!

In fact, I actually bought a second and third portable monitor by Mobile Pixel. I use it every day on the road while working as a web developer. It has really saved my life as I travel and work abroad.

I know, technology is wild in 2023!

If you want to learn more about Mobile Pixels, you can check out my full review here.

There are plenty of other options out there. So feel free to shop around. However, I personally use Mobile Pixels because I know and trust the brand, and the monitor is attached directly to my laptop. Making it feel like an extension of my computer, not a stand-alone product.

The important thing to note is that an additional laptop screen will provide way more benefit than that extra inch of space while programming. You can look at your work in the browser while coding, research issues you’re having, watch tutorials, etc. without ever leaving your IDE. It has really been a game changer for me and I never code without a second monitor now.

Summary: Should You Choose A 14 or 15 Inch Laptop For Programming?

Hopefully, this article has shed some light on whether you should buy a 14 or 15-inch laptop for programming. The benefit of buying a smaller screen size is that it is more economical and more portable. So if you are on a tight budget or travel a lot, a smaller screen size might be better for programming.

However, you can’t deny that a laptop with more screen real estate is incredibly important while programming. Especially since most programmers code with more than one screen. If you want a coding laptop, the more screen space you have, the better your programming experience will be.

You can also make up for a lack of screen space with a second or even third monitor.

So that’s pretty much it! If you have any other questions, feel free to leave them in the comment section below. If you are new to programming, you can also check out these courses.

Happy coding!

Grant Darling

Grant is a full-stack / frontend software developer passionate about writing & coding. He has many years experience working in the tech industry both as a freelancer and as an employee.

The Code Bytes is all about providing people with honest information about programming. To learn more about Grant, read his about page!

If you’re interested in freelance coding / writing services or want to partner with The Code Bytes, you can get in touch with me here!