The best laptop for college should enable students to perform their regular tasks in class and their leisure activities afterward. Here are the specifications that matter when looking for a laptop for college.
How to Choose The Best Laptop for College
The size of the laptops usually hinges on two factors, screen size and graphics card type. Integrated graphics card means a slimmer laptop, lower power consumption and of course, lower graphics performance.
Discrete graphics cards usually lead to bulkier and consequently heavier laptops. But laptops with dedicated graphics cards perform better when playing games.
Screen size affects the quality of viewing experience. When streaming movies or working on projects a 15-inch (or even a 17-inch) screen might be the best.
But a large screen makes the laptop bigger. This means the laptop weighs more and does not fit into a backpack. So if you really need to carry the laptop to every class, consider screen sizes between 11 and 13 inches. Such laptops might also come weighing 4 pounds or less.
Coursework and intended uses
If working with video editing software and engineering programs like CAD, consider laptops that come with Core i5 and Core i7 processors.
If the academic work revolves around word documents and the leisure activity is just browsing and watching movies, lower-performance computers like those with Core i3 processors might suffice.
Considering the build of the exterior, metallic bodies are stronger than plastic ones but there is a tradeoff between weight and sturdiness. We also recommend choosing a laptop with a spill-resistant keyboard.
As you’ll be using the laptop on the go, battery life is essential. Look for laptops that provide at least 6-8 hours of performance without charging. Note that high-performance laptops with discrete graphics cards will drain batteries faster while devices that come with integrated graphics support longer battery lives.
Display resolution is another factor that affects battery life. If a laptop has a display offering a 2560×1440 pixels HD quality it will drain its battery faster than the one with a lower resolution.
If you want the laptop to have a lot of storage, you will need to choose the one with an HDD. HDD is slower and heavier than SSD so the laptop with an HDD won’t be as portable. SSDs are faster and they have no moving parts, so they consume less power.
Computers using SSDs can boot in less than a second. Buying a laptop with SSD then adding external storage or using the cloud can be a smart way to enjoy high speeds without giving up storage capacity.
11 Best Laptops for College in 2019
Dell Inspiron 15 7000
The Best Gaming Laptop For College
If looking to play games on a budget, this is a laptop that can run most games thanks to the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 graphics card, i5 processor and a decent amount of RAM. The LCD has a matte finish that prevents reflection.
This Dell is relatively heavy and its battery life is rated at 6-7 hours but it will drain faster with heavy use.
- Impressive gaming capabilities
- Good battery life (as for gaming laptop)
- A bit Heavy
Dell XPS 13 9360
The Best Compact Laptop For College
This compact laptop is a great all-rounder that catches the eye with its sleek design. It boots fast thanks to the SSD and its 1080p 13.3-inch touchscreen shows a sharp and clear picture. The matte finish on the panel absorbs light so that the viewing angles are impressive and the color remains strong even at the 90-degree viewing.
- Wide viewing angles
- Limited storage
Microsoft Surface Book 2
Powerful 2-in-1 Laptop For College
Microsoft Surface Book’s design is in a class of its own. This laptop packs some impressive features like the 512 GB SSD. It comes with the Core i7 processor with 16 GB of RAM and the Nvidia GTX 1050 GPU which delivers a decent entry-level gaming experience.
This laptop offers a balance between performance, versatility, and portability. Of course, there is one stick to beat any Microsoft Surface Book; the price. Even so, this is one of the best gaming laptops for college students.
- 2 in 1 laptop
- Slightly above average audio performance
ASUS ZenBook Flip 14 UX461UN-DS74T
Very Slim 2-in-1 Laptop For Students
Asus is already known for impressively packing discrete graphics cards into their ultra slim Zenbook 13. The Zenbook Flip 14 offers a 2 in 1 experience and uses discrete graphics as well.
This versatile laptop features a 1920 x 1080p resolution. At just 13.9 mm thick, this is the slimmest 2-in-1 laptop that has discrete graphics; the Nvidia GeForce MX150. This is a versatile laptop that will handle gaming and intensive classwork without letting you down.
- Stylus pen is convenient
- Very powerful
- Not as portable as you might want a 2-in-1 because of the 14-inch screen
Samsung Notebook 9 Pro
Great College Laptop With A Touchscreen
This is good enough for light games thanks to its Intel UHD Graphics 620. This laptop comes with a metallic chassis which gives it a sturdy yet elegant feel. Samsung Notebook 9 Pro has 360-degree hinge that means you can use the device in tablet, tent or clamshell mode.
This laptop combines speed, adequate size, good graphics display, portability and screen versatility making it the best laptop for engineering students.
- Illuminated keyboard with backlight with a flip and rotating display
- Quite delicate because of flip and rotating functionalities
Apple 13″ MacBook Pro
Best Apple Laptop For College Students
This is another laptop with a sleek design. It weighs just 4.9 pounds and comes in silver and space gray. You get to choose between the version with a touch bar and the one without.
The battery is quite impressive, going for at least 10 hours.
- 2560x1600p display
- Average of 10-hour battery life
- Кelatively bulky at 4 Pounds
- Type A USB ports unavailable
HP Envy x360
Reliable College Laptop With High Resolution
This laptop packs some punch thanks to the Core i5 processor. With a 256GB SSD and 8 GB of RAM, it can perform most tasks. It comes with an integrated graphics so it’s not ideal for gaming but Intel HD Graphics 620 GPU will comfortably handle light games.
If you are shopping for real portability, flexibility, durability and great processing power, then this is it. This laptop is easily and quickly convertible from tablet mode to notebook and vice versa thanks to a 360-degree hinge. Its B&O speakers are positioned for good sound in any position of use.
- Average battery life
ASUS Chromebook Flip C302CA-DHM4
Very Durable And Lightweight Option
This is a pocket-friendly priced Chromebook featuring a compact design. It’s one of the best 2-in-1 laptops with a 12.5-inch full HD 1,920×1,080-pixel resolution touchscreen.
Its 360-degree hinge lets you prop it like a tent or use it as a tablet. Its extreme light weight and illuminated keyboard offer the best combination for a college student who is always on the go. It also has a sleek and appealing design.
- Long battery life of more than 10 hours
- Sturdy as it has an all-aluminum body
- Limited storage
Acer Chromebook 15 CB515-1HT-P39B
The Best Budget Laptop for College
Acer Chromebook 15 CB5-571-C09S is designed for simple tasks in college that revolve around browsing, word processing and maybe watching movies. Its CPU is relatively weak but enough for simple tasks. This laptop comes with a full HD 15.6-inch screen with 1920x1080p, wide viewing angle display.
The aluminum construction gives it a sturdy feel and it weighs only 3.97 lbs which is lighter than you would expect given its size. This is probably the best cheap laptop for college students.
- Limited storage
Microsoft Surface Pro
Great 2-in-1 Laptop With an Immense Battery Life
Microsoft took time on their battery because this model supports about 13 hours of video playback. This futuristic gadget gives users the option of keyboard, touchscreen and pen input.
Its build means it can be a little clumsy, for instance, when you lift it while open as a laptop with one hand, the keyboard will awkwardly flip. Even so, it’s among the best windows laptop for college students.
- 2-in-1 laptop
- High screen resolution (2736x1824p)
- Small screen size
Acer Aspire E 15
Great Value for Money Laptop For College
This laptop comes with a good-looking plastic body. Its keyboard and touchpad are comfortable to use and the keyboard comes with the dedicated numeric keypad.
This is an all-around laptop for light tasks and a medium budget.
- 15 hours battery life
- Good connectivity: 1 USB2.0 and 3 USB3.0 ports
- Relatively low storage capacity
Listed laptops come with various performance credentials so here are top picks for certain needs:
- If you’re going to need a powerful laptop with discrete graphics on a budget, the Dell Inspiron 15 7000 should be your pick.
- For a sleek design for gaming and 2 in 1 capabilities consider the Samsung Notebook 9 Pro
- The Acer Chromebook is a low-cost option with reasonably fast processing
- The Asus Chromebook is the best all-rounder with high performance and slim design