Best Laptops for College Students

Review & Comparison, Last Update November 26, 2018
Laptops for college students are those affordable models that despite the price offer high portability and usability with more than decent performance. Chosen well, laptops for students can boost your productivity to the levels you didn't know you could reach. ...Read more ...Read less
BEST 2018
PROS
CONS
OUR VERDICT
DISPLAY
PERFORMANCE AND GRAPHICS
OPERATING SYSTEM
INTERFACES
BATTERY LIFE
DIMENSIONS
WARRANTY
 
PROS

One of the USB ports is the USB 3.1 with a PowerCharge feature where you can charge your gadgets if they support it as well. The backlit keyboard allows comfortable work in a dark room.

CONS

Heats up quite a bit under heavy load.

OUR VERDICT

The Intel Core i7 processor makes this a good laptop for engineering students and any others dealing with demanding software, be it graphic design apps, photo/video editing, etc. The display is a middle ground between portability and distinct picture.

detailed parameters
DISPLAY

13.3", Full HD (1920 x 1080), Touchscreen

PERFORMANCE AND GRAPHICS

CPU: Intel® Core™ i7-8550U (Turbo up to 4 GHz)

RAM: 8 GB DDR4

Storage: 256 GB SSD

GPU: Intel® UHD Graphics 620

OPERATING SYSTEM

Windows 10 (64-bit)

INTERFACES

2 x USB 3.1, 1 x USB 2.0, 1 x HDMI, 1 x HP-out and Audio-in Combo Jack, SD Card Reader

BATTERY LIFE

Up to 8 hours

DIMENSIONS

12.76" x 8.85" x 0.77"

3.72 lbs

WARRANTY

1 year

PROS

If you tend to work on your assignments in the library or in a cafe instead of at home, you will appreciate a fingerprint reader as the means of locking your computer. Good built-in speakers.

CONS

The keys might seem too stiff at first.

OUR VERDICT

For a 15.6" laptop, this model is very compact and lightweight, highly convenient when you need to carry it around all day. At the same time, the display is big enough to watch movies at home when you have time for some relaxation.

detailed parameters
DISPLAY

15.6", Full HD (1920 x 1080)

PERFORMANCE AND GRAPHICS

CPU: Intel® Core™ i5-8250U (Turbo up to 3.4 GHz)

RAM: 8 GB DDR4

Storage: 128 GB SSD + 1 TB HDD

GPU: Intel® UHD Graphics 620

OPERATING SYSTEM

Windows 10 (64-bit)

INTERFACES

1 x USB3.1 Type C, 1 x USB 3.0, 2 x USB 2.0, 1 x HDMI, 1 x HP-out and Audio-in Combo Jack, SD Card Reader

BATTERY LIFE

Up to 7 hours

DIMENSIONS

14.2" x 9.6" x 0.8"

3.7 lbs

WARRANTY

1 year

PROS

The Intel Core M3-6Y30 CPU uses the 14-nm technology and is preset to only go into overclocking when it is required by the app you are launching. Thanks to this, this Chromebook for students is exceptionally energy-efficient.

CONS

Has microSD card reader instead of a standard one.

OUR VERDICT

If you know your way around Google Drive and often use it to store your class notes and study materials, this Chromebook will be a good option as it offers easy access to the Drive from anywhere with Internet. Constant users will appreciate 10 hours of battery life.

detailed parameters
DISPLAY

12.5", Full HD (1920 x 1080), Touchscreen

PERFORMANCE AND GRAPHICS

CPU: Intel® Core™ m3-6Y30 (Up to 2.2 GHz)

RAM: 4 GB DDR4

Storage: 64 GB eMMC

GPU: Intel® HD Graphics 515

OPERATING SYSTEM

Chrome OS

INTERFACES

2 x USB3.1 Type C, 1 x HP-out and Audio-in Combo Jack, microSD Card Reader

BATTERY LIFE

Up to 10 hours

DIMENSIONS

11.9” x 8.3”x 0.59”

2.65 lbs

WARRANTY

1 year

PROS

The 2TB HDD will allow you to store a lot of files on the laptop itself without needing an external drive. There is also a DVD-drive included for those who use them still.

CONS

The resolution is only HD.

OUR VERDICT

Powerful 15.6" model, one of the best laptops for college students who want a machine to both study and play: with an 8th Gen processor and a good graphics card, it can handle most not too demanding games.

detailed parameters
DISPLAY

15.6", HD (1366 x 768), Touchscreen

PERFORMANCE AND GRAPHICS

CPU: Intel® Core™ i5-8250U (Turbo up to 3.4 GHz)

RAM: 8 GB DDR4

Storage: 2 TB HDD

GPU: Intel® UHD Graphics 620

OPERATING SYSTEM

Windows 10 (64-bit)

INTERFACES

2 x USB 3.1, 1 x USB 2.0, 1 x HDMI, 1 x HP-out and Audio-in Combo Jack, SD Card Reader

BATTERY LIFE

Up to 6 hours

DIMENSIONS

14.96" x 9.99" x 0.94" 

4.52 lbs

WARRANTY

1 year

PROS

The use of BluelightShield™ Technology enables you to work with the laptop for prolonged periods of time without tiring your eyes as it lowers the blue light and flickering.

CONS

You'll need to visit the Windows Store to switch from the S Mode to Home or Pro.

OUR VERDICT

Budget notebooks for students by Acer based on Intel Celeron CPU provide flawless work with all kinds of documents as well as fast Internet surfing. The touchpad is very ergonomic, you might not need a mouse.

detailed parameters
DISPLAY

14", Full HD (1920 x 1080)

PERFORMANCE AND GRAPHICS

CPU: Intel® Celeron™ N4000 (Up to 2.6 GHz)

RAM: 4 GB DDR4

Storage: 64 GB eMMC

GPU: Intel® UHD Graphics 600

OPERATING SYSTEM

Windows 10 in S mode (64-bit)

INTERFACES

1 x USB 3.0, 2 x USB 2.0, 1 x HDMI, 1 x HP-out and Audio-in Combo Jack, 1 x RJ45 LAN, SD Card Reader

BATTERY LIFE

Up to 6.5 hours

DIMENSIONS

13.5" x 9.6" x 0.7"

3.64 lbs

WARRANTY

1 year

Dell Inspiron 5000 (T8TJG)

New From Dell

This Dell Inspiron is a 2018 model, it includes everything laptops for students have to offer today. Let's start with the processor. The CPU here is the 8th Gen Intel Quad-Core i7-8550U that can offer you up to 4GHz clocking speed in Turbo mode (the speed in the standard mode is 1.8GHz). A laptop computer with a speed like this is generally considered enough to run video editing software so rest assured, it will most definitely be able to offer you top performance whatever you do, be it apps designed by and for information technology or for engineering students. The 8GB RAM is more than just decent when it comes to educational programs.

The GPU this model has is the Intel UHD Graphics 620, not really a gaming one so if you are thinking about the latest Tomb Raider or the Witcher 3, for example, it is not the best option and you should probably look for a proper gaming laptop. However, more casual games can be played on this laptop. Though since you are looking up laptops for college students we assume gaming is not your top priority. We can safely recommend this model for programming student use, for graphic design, and for information technology, it will handle demanding apps just fine.

Review of Dell Inspiron 5000 (T8TJG) 2-in-1 13.3" Full HD Touchscreen Laptop (i7-8550U, 8GB DDR4, 256GB SSD)

High-end Convertible

These laptops for college students are 2-in-1 convertible computers, you can either use them as a laptop or switch to the tablet mode, touchscreen and all. The display is Full HD 1920x1080 with an IPS panel, you will easily use the gadget outdoors in the sun or in a well-lit room while the backlit keyboard makes it comfortable to work in the dark without issues. The diagonal of the screen is 13.3 inches, the laptop is quite small. It is fairly light, too, only 3.72 lbs.

The model has a standard selection of interfaces: a card reader, a combo audio-in jack, an HDMI, a USB 2.0, and two USB 3.1 ports, one of which supports the PowerCharge feature. The latter means you can charge your gadgets way faster than with the usual USB, however, for the port to work at full potential, the devices you are charging need to support this feature as well.

As for the storage, you can choose between 256GB and 512GB options depending on what it is you are actually studying and how much space your files typically require.

All in all, the Dell Inspiron can be considered the best laptops for college students who need a hi-end portable computer that does not break the bank.

Dell Inspiron 5000 (T8TJG) 2-in-1 13.3" Full HD Touchscreen Laptop (i7-8550U, 8GB DDR4, 256GB SSD) in the use

Additional Info

    Manufacturer


 

ASUS VivoBook (F510UA-AH55)

Top-level Visuals

The ASUS VivoBook family is well-known among notebooks for students, primarily thanks to them combining high portability with good performance and a totally nice price tag. At slightly more than $600, you will get a Full HD 15.6-inch laptop that weighs only 3.7 lbs; for the size, it is a very good weight, you won't have any troubles carrying it in your backpack all day long. The display has a thin 0.3-inch bezel (called the ASUS NanoEdge) that allows for the overall screen-to-body ratio approximately 80% and the said body quite compact at 14.2 inches on the largest side so the dimensions will not make carrying around challenging either. The thickness of mere 0.8 inches makes it look extremely slim and stylish, too.

This is all well and good but, obviously, the sole fact that this model is highly portable couldn't get it into our list. There is more the ASUS VivoBook laptops for students have to offer. One of the selling points of these machines is the ASUS Splendid technology. This feature is, in a nutshell, a set of several display modes, four in this case. Three of the modes are pre-programmed: the Normal mode, EyeCare (lowered blue light), and Vivid (enhanced brightness and contrast useful for graphic design). The fourth is the mode for manual adjustment according to your needs.

Review of ASUS VivoBook (F510UA-AH55) 15.6" Full HD Laptop (i5-8250U, 8GB DDR4, 128GB SSD, 1TB HDD, Fingerprint Reader)

All Your Data, Safe

The second important feature you will find in these laptops for high school and college students will be an invaluable addition for anyone who prefers working on assignments anywhere but at home. There might be tons of reasons, from loud family members to long-ish breaks between classes to the lack of space in a room, and whatever yours is, if you'd rather sit down at a library or in a campus cafe to get some work done instead of going home, you will most probably be glad to know that the VivoBook has a fingerprint sensor to lock your computer when you need to divert your attention somewhere else. A fingerprint is a more secure method of locking than any password or passkey, no one will get their hands on your documents.

Back to the more casual features. The storage space these laptops for college students offer can be either 1TB HDD or 1TB HDD + 128GB SSD. There is a $110 difference in price between them, obviously, but the fact that you can choose how much you need and if you are willing to pay for it is a nice touch. The selection of interfaces is fairly standard, there is an HDMI port, a collection of USB ports, both 3.0 and 2.0 ones, a USB 3.1 Type-C, a card reader, and, of course, a combo jack.

The VivoBook is the choice if you need portability, good display, and you value privacy.

ASUS VivoBook (F510UA-AH55) 15.6" Full HD Laptop (i5-8250U, 8GB DDR4, 128GB SSD, 1TB HDD, Fingerprint Reader) in the use

Additional Info

User Manual     Manufacturer


 

ASUS Chromebook Flip (C302CA-DHM4)

The Company's Flagship Chrome Laptop

Chromebooks are an offshoot of conventional laptops that are operated by Google's Chrome OS. At first glance, you might not even be able to tell a Chromebook from a real laptop. Yet, can a Chromebook for students be used as a primary computer? The answer is yes if it comes to the ASUS C302CA as this device is compact and offers a really high performance. First and foremost, all your data will be securely stored in a cloud storage and you will be able to access them from anywhere in the world. Buying the C302CA, you will get free access to 100 GB of Google Drive storage and you will be able to do it not just from the ASUS Chromebook but from any other computer as well, just log in to your Google account. As for the hardware, this Chrome laptop is fitted with the Intel Core m3-6Y30 CPU clocked at 2.2 GHz, which is enough to ensure a smooth operation of the apps you need for everyday use. If you travel a lot, you will like a long battery life, up to 10 hours. Finally, we would like to highlight the all-metal chassis of this ASUS Chromebook for students: it is durable, scratch-resistant, and looks posh.

Review of ASUS Chromebook Flip (C302CA-DHM4) 2-in-1 Laptop, 12.5-Inch Touchscreen, Intel Core m3, 4GB RAM, 64GB Flash Storage

Fast and Convenient

If you wish to copy some data from the Chromebook to a flash drive or another storage device, the top speed is guaranteed since the C302CA has two USB 3.1 Type-C ports. This is the latest USB version and it ensures an incredibly high data transfer speed. Also, one of the ports is used for charging the Chrome laptop, so you don't need to carry a long and messy charging cable. This is a truly space-saving solution, particularly if you carry the device a lot. Also, we'd like to mention the unique design of this Chromebook: it has 360° hinges, so the screen rotates, turning the device from a conventional laptop to a large tablet. Any tablet requires a touchscreen display and the ASUS Chromebook is not an exception. It has a multi-touch IPS-based LED-backlit screen that provides a top-class image quality. In all, this Chromebook for students is the perfect pick for people who need to work with securely protected documents every day.

ASUS Chromebook Flip (C302CA-DHM4) 2-in-1 Laptop, 12.5-Inch Touchscreen, Intel Core m3, 4GB RAM, 64GB Flash Storage in the use

Tip

If you aren't sure that you will be able to recharge your Chromebook on time, consider using a power bank. This simple device will help you recharge not only your Chrome laptop but other gadgets as well (smartphone, tablet, etc.).

Detailed review of ASUS Chromebook Flip (C302CA-DHM4) 2-in-1 Laptop, 12.5-Inch Touchscreen, Intel Core m3, 4GB RAM, 64GB Flash Storage

Additional Info

User Manual     Manufacturer


What customers say about this product

Processor

This model comes with a peppy Intel Core m3 processor, 64GB of storage, and 4GB of RAM. The keyboard and touch interface seemed responsive and the apps I used were very responsive, so these technical specifications seem more than adequate for many office or home use cases

Features

Battery life is pretty amazing at 10-11hrs

Connectivity

Another feature that I really love are the two USB-C ports. Some have complained about the absence of USB-A ports, but I think the C ports really future-proof this machine. The addition of the micro sd card slot covers the rest of the bases.

Memory

I love how speedy my chromebook is. From off to on takes all of three seconds (if that). The 4gb of ram that ships with this machine is put to good use.
 

HP Pavilion

The Largest Built-in Storage in this Price Range

The biggest benefit the HP Pavilion laptops for college students can offer said students is the storage space. With most models in the same price range, if you tend to store every piece of data and all your files on a laptop for immediate access, you will need an external drive. Not with this one as it has a 2TB drive for storage. It is much more than most students need unless they like to keep dozens of HD movies at hand (which they can do with this much space here). A drive this big is a perfect choice for architecture students, for example, since they use demanding software and architecture projects usually take up enormous numbers of Megabytes and sometimes Gigabytes.

Another good side of this model is that the seller has it with either an i5 or i7 Intel processor, both of which are 8th Gen CPUs. Depending on your major and, consequently, the software you use, you can choose to have a newer and more performing i7 or an i5 that offers a tad less than the i7 but is still better than any processor from a previous generation. If you opt for an i7, you will also have 24GB RAM, which is a major plus for graphic design; it will also be a huge gain for engineering students, for computer science students, and basically for any for programming student.

Review of HP Pavilion 15.6" Touchscreen HD Laptop (i5-8250U, 8GB DDR4, 2TB HDD)

There is a Touchscreen and an Optical Drive

The large storage and big RAM will come in handy if you like to play video games when the time allows it. However, this is no gaming laptop, it has a decent but not top-shelf graphics card and its 15-inch display only offers HD resolution of 1366x768. Clearly, no Grand Theft Auto V gaming will be done with it. But that's not this laptop's intended use anyway and besides, it can still handle most modern games that require something more average in terms of hardware.

The screen, as we've already mentioned, is 15-inch (15.6, to be precise). Though it is only HD and not Full HD, it has a different good side to it, which is that it is a touchscreen. It is not a convertible and won't fully turn into a tablet but some tasks might benefit from you controlling the goings-on directly with your fingertips on the display instead of with the mouse.

The selection of interfaces in the HP Pavilion notebooks for students is the same as in most models but with a single notable exception: this model has an optical drive. It adds very little to the laptop's thickness but not a lot and if your teachers demand your assignments delivered on a CD or a DVD, you will have a chance to become the most irreplaceable person in your class, burning everyone's discs.

HP Pavilion 15.6" Touchscreen HD Laptop (i5-8250U, 8GB DDR4, 2TB HDD) in the use

Additional Info

    Manufacturer


 

Acer A114-32-C1YA

Best Laptop Under $300

The Acer Aspire 1 are best laptops for college students who are severely budget-strapped. Naturally, it will not be some over-the-top model with a plethora of bells and whistles. However, at a price of just above $200 ($249.99 as of the time we are writing our review), it is, in fact, a huge bargain for what this laptop offers.

First of all, it is a 14-inch model, which is neither here nor there, meaning it is not bulky but not exactly small either. Something in between. However, on this 14-inch display, you will have a Full HD resolution of 1920x1080. Be it working on your assignments or watching some Netflix, a Full HD is ultimately better than HD when the screen is larger than 11 inches. The LED-backlit display also features a BlueLightShield technology that lowers both the blue light (obviously) and the flickering, keeping your eyes healthy and your mind away from wandering when you need to sleep.

The Aspire laptops for students are compact and lightweight, lighter than some more expensive 13.3-inch models, even. This machine weighs only 3.64 lbs, it is easy to fit in a backpack and you can carry it with you from one class to another for the whole day without getting any fatigue.

Review of Acer A114-32-C1YA 14" Full HD Laptop (Celeron N4000, 4GB DDR4, 64GB eMMC)

Necessary Features: No Less, No More

When it comes to the performance, these notebooks for students are pretty average. Well, when the price is this low, it's hard to expect anything at all impressive. At the same time, it is by no means a poorly performing unit if your intended use of it is only to study for classes. That is if your classes do not require some top-shelf software. It is a good model for business students and it will be a decent budget choice for high school or for online college, too, where the assignments are generally less tech-heavy and demanding compared to full-time on-campus colleges.

So what's there to expect? The central processing unit is the Intel Celeron N4000 and it can provide up to 2.4GHz clocking speed in Turbo mode. This performance is lower than that of an i5 CPU, for example, but is higher than that of a Chromebook for students. Like we've said, a solid middle ground at an attractive price. The RAM is 4GB DDR, quite basic but it allows you to install almost any software that dates a couple years back. It will definitely handle something like Microsoft Office 365, which is the main family of apps for most students getting degrees that do not lean heavily on computers. By the way, if you pay an additional $79, you will get the said Microsoft Office 365 Home edition pre-installed. It is $20 cheaper than purchasing this software separately, so once again—the bargain is good.

Acer A114-32-C1YA 14" Full HD Laptop (Celeron N4000, 4GB DDR4, 64GB eMMC) in the use

Additional Info

    Manufacturer


 

What Is a Laptop for College Students?

College is the best time. Friends for a lifetime, sororities, sports teams, parties, romance, all kinds of first times, loads of good memories to cherish and experiences to learn. It is also the time for tons of classwork, homework, assignments, labs, end-of-term exams, communication with teachers and tutors, etc. Sometimes, it all piles up so much that the only thing you want is to crawl up under a blanket with a Stephen King book. Instead, it's morning coffee and a textbook on something that looks like rocket science but is clearly not because you're a language student. Or a designer. Well, maybe it is rocket science, who knows! The thing is, whatever it is, it's hard. But one of these best laptops for college students can make it just a tiny bit easier to handle.

Laptops targeted at students are usually cheaper than, say, gaming laptops. However, they still need to offer performance for you to not fall behind on assignments. It is not rare to encounter Chromebooks in recommendations, but you'll need to consider your major for specifics—laptops for computer science students and those for nursing students, for example, will most likely differ quite a bit.

What Features to Compare

Size and Weight

These days, many people carry tablets around since they are lighter and offer high portability with decent performance. The laptops stay at home, most of the time. However, being a college student, chances are you can't really afford both a laptop and a tablet. Hell, it would be nice to have a smartphone that is not older than a couple years. So, you need a lightweight laptop that won't take too much space and which it will be okay to carry around to class and library, and to that small cafe that makes the best coffee on campus and where you like to sit and do your assignments. Consider how much you walk around throughout the day and how many textbooks you have with you, and then calculate how much weight you can add and how much space sacrifice. If it has a touchscreen, it can double as a tablet, too.

Performance

The kind of performance you need from your laptop will heavily depend on your major. For computer science students, a good processor is a huge deal, much more than for business students, for example, or any other major that does not deal with the latest software all the time. For graphic design, animation, filmmaking, architecture, you'll need a good CPU and a very good GPU. It is a common knowledge that for anything graphics-related Mac laptops are the best but they are also quite expensive. Today, you can find affordable Windows laptops that can handle heavy graphics.

Storage and Interfaces

Depending on what kind of assignments you have—are they just papers or maybe whole projects completed in professional programs?—you might need a lot of space to save them or you might need only a little. Text documents take up mere kilobytes even if they are a couple dozen pages long while a graphics file or a mobile app you've designed as your college project are a different matter altogether. At the same time, you can always increase your storage with an external HDD or SSD.

You will need a number of USB ports for sure—to connect peripherals and those external storage disks, at least. A card reader is a good addition. Some group projects and class assignments require a presentation upon completion so an HDMI is never useless.

Battery Life

If you are going to carry your laptop with you for whole days and use it in every class, you will want a good battery. Laptops for college students who use complex software taxing on the energy source will also need a powerful battery. At the same time, with the growing reliance on computers among teachers and administration, it is not rare today to find an outlet or five in classrooms, lunch halls, and campus cafes so that students don't find themselves out of means to study. Or you could get a power bank, there are models that can charge a laptop several times over.

Laptops Can and Will Make You a More Successful Student if You Use Them Right

Computer is the ultimate distraction of the modern world, every parent knows that. The selection of games and entertainment options is so huge everyone will find something to busy themselves when what they need to do is study. However, computers also offer loads of helping materials for studying and you just need to balance work with fun to make the most of both. How do you do it? Here's the guide.

  • Get a laptop instead of (or in addition to) a desktop. Laptops are portable and lightweight, with a laptop you will be able to get some work done basically on-the-go: as you wait for your friends in a cafe, when you have a free period between classes, during the long commute, etc. etc.
  • Laptops for college students specifically can be a huge help by just being what they are, actually. As these gadgets mostly come from an "affordable" shelf in shops, they have lower specifications that hi-end laptops, let alone desktop computers. Having lower specs means you can install fewer highly demanding and even more addictive games.
  • If you already have a desktop you can leave gaming to it and get a laptop for studying only. Install only the necessary apps like Microsoft Office, a browser of your choice, a PDF reader. Do not forget the antivirus software—you won't believe how many threats there can be on the most innocent-looking websites.
  • Install your degree-specific software if there is any (make sure your chosen laptop has enough resources for it before you buy). We live in a computerized time, there are apps for medical students, for graphic design, for electrical engineering, and more. Some of them require considerable RAM, a stronger processor, a better GPU. Very few, though, need specs only found in excessively expensive models.
  • Try to avoid installing anything that might distract you, not only games but social network apps and browser extensions as well. If it can't be done (for example, this laptop is your only PC) mute everything you can and remove from immediate sight everything you can't mute. This means no desktop shortcuts for Overwatch or even Solitaire.
  • Find a place where it is easy to focus. Notebooks for students allow high mobility so if there is a quiet park where you can sit or a cafe, go there to get your homework done. A library is a popular studying place since it's mostly quiet.
  • Set reminders. When you take a break to watch a new episode of your favorite show, only watch that single episode. If you'd rather play a bit or read a book (some laptops from students offer a tablet mode with decent reading apps), set alarms to a specific time. There are apps that will close or collapse apps after some time to remind you that you need to switch back to studying.
  • Set reminders, part 2. While too much playing is definitely bad for your studying, too much work can be harmful, too. Remember to take a break and unwind, grab a snack, make some coffee, take a stroll outside if you've been holed up at home cramming.
  • Try instrumental music. For many people, it has been proven that instrumental music improves attention and helps to focus. If you do that with noise-canceling headphones, they will remove the distractions you can't control, like street noise, family ruckus, or a TV your father watches.

These are the basic advice on how to use laptops for college students. If you do everything right, your school marks will take a leap, studying will become easier and assignments will take less time.

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Publish Date: 2018-11-26 20:13:22