For some of you, starting college is one of the most daunting moments of your life. The last thing you need is the additional headache of trying to select a laptop whilst trying to fill out forms, complete subject enrolments and send application letters off.
We were in your shoes once and that’s why we’ve come up with a mega guide to the best laptops for college students.
It’s so big in fact, that we need to put in a table of contents so you aren’t scrolling for hours.
Without any further ado, we present the Top 20 Best Laptops for College Students: Ultimate Guide.
Table of Contents
- 1 Quick Summary:
- 2 Top 20 Best Laptops for College Students: Ultimate Guide
- 2.1 Best laptop for College Students under $1000 – Dell XPS 13
- 2.2 Best laptop for College Students under $500 – Dell Chromebook 13 7310
- 2.3 Best laptop for College Students under $400 – Acer Chromebook 14
- 2.4 Best laptop for Business Students – Lenovo ThinkPad T460
- 2.5 Best laptop for College Engineering Students – Dell Precision M5510
- 2.6 Best laptop for College and Gaming – HP Pavilion 15 Gaming Notebook
- 2.7 Best laptop for Computer Science Students – Dell XPS 13
- 2.8 Best laptop for Online College Students – Acer Chromebook 15 CB5-571-C1DZ
- 2.9 Best laptop for Art & Design Students – Apple MacBook Pro 13-inch
- 2.10 Best laptop for Science Students – Microsoft Surface Book
- 2.11 Best laptop for Law Students – HP Spectre x360 2-in-1
- 2.12 Best laptop for Film and Animation Students – ASUS G751JY
- 2.13 Best laptop for Medical Students – Lenovo ThinkPad X260
- 2.14 Best laptop for Architecture Students – Lenovo ThinkPad P50
- 2.15 Best laptop for Nursing Students – Microsoft Surface Pro 4
- 2.16 Best laptop for Accounting Students – Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon
- 2.17 Best portable laptop for College Students – Apple MacBook Air 11.6″
- 2.18 Best Apple Mac laptop for College – Apple MacBook Air 13.3″
- 2.19 Best small laptop for College Students – Lenovo Ideapad 100s
- 2.20 Best basic laptop for College Students – Acer Aspire One Cloudbook
- 3 What to consider when choosing the Best Laptop for College
Here is a quick summary of our top picks for those that want to go ahead and check out the top rated laptops.
Best Overall Laptop For Students Under $1000: Apple Macbook Air 13inch 8GB
You can check out the Apple Macbook Air on amazon by clicking here.
Best Bang For Your Buck: Acer Spin 3 Full HD Touch
You can check out the Acer Spin 3 out on amazon by clicking here.
Best Cheap Laptop For Students: Acer Aspire 5 Slim
You can check out the AcerAspire 5 Slim on amazon by clicking here.
Top 20 Best Laptops for College Students: Ultimate Guide
Here’s a list of the best laptops for college students:
|Dell XPS 9350-1340SLV 13.3 Inch...||142 Reviews||$989.00||Read Amazon Reviews »|
|Acer Chromebook 14, Aluminum,...||1,949 Reviews||$399.99||Read Amazon Reviews »|
|OEM Lenovo ThinkPad T480s Laptop...||2 Reviews||Read Amazon Reviews »|
|Apple MacBook Pro MF840LL/A...||22 Reviews||Read Amazon Reviews »|
|Microsoft Surface Book CR9-00001...||1,071 Reviews||Read Amazon Reviews »|
|HP - Spectre x360 2-in-1 13.3"...||129 Reviews||$1,249.00||Read Amazon Reviews »|
|ASUS G751JY 17-Inch Gaming Laptop...||129 Reviews||Read Amazon Reviews »|
|Lenovo ThinkPad X260 20F6005HUS...||6 Reviews||$599.98||Read Amazon Reviews »|
|Lenovo ThinkPad P50 20EN0013US 15.6"...||32 Reviews||Read Amazon Reviews »|
|Microsoft Surface Pro 4 (128 GB, 4...||894 Reviews||Read Amazon Reviews »|
|Apple MacBook Air MJVM2LL/A...||536 Reviews||$560.99||Read Amazon Reviews »|
|Lenovo - IdeaPad 100s 11.6" Laptop /...||257 Reviews||$470.00||Read Amazon Reviews »|
|Acer Aspire One Cloudbook, 14-Inch...||127 Reviews||Read Amazon Reviews »|
Best laptop for College Students under $1000 – Dell XPS 13
The Dell XPS 13 9350-1340SLV is able to last an incredible 11 hours and 54 minutes without a charger, meaning you can make it through a full day of classes, and more, without the need to carry a charger around with you.
As a former college student myself, I’m acutely aware just how much typing gets done each semester and that’s why I’ve considered the keyboard to be a priority.
The XPS 13 has a backlit keyboard with two different lighting settings. It feels super responsive and is good to type on for extended periods. Also responsive is the touchpad which has a lovely clicky feel when you hit the buttons.
No one wants to carry around a heavy laptop between classes, so it’s great that the XPS weighs just 2.8 lbs which is super light.
The Dell has a 13.3” screen which is suitable for working on notes and assignment tasks, whilst the 1920 x 1080 screen resolution gives you plenty of room to space windows side-by-side for multitasking.
Intel’s speedy Core i5-6200U 2.5GHz processor easily keeps up anything you will throw at it and 8GB of RAM gives you the flexibility to multi-task applications if need be. A small, but quick 128GB SSD means very fast boot speeds and general responsiveness of applications.
Anyone who buys the XPS 13 might just own the most stylish laptop on campus. With a silver aluminum brushed lid and base that contrasts with the carbon fiber keyboard and surrounds, the XPS is sexy.
The screen features an almost nonexistent “infinity edge” bezel, meaning the screen is really almost all screen! Whilst it looks fantastic, something you may find odd is that the webcam, instead of being at the top of the screen is now on the bottom, just above the keyboard.
But what if you go home for spring break? Well, you’ll be glad to know that we think the Dell XPS 13 is also the best laptop for home use.
- Intel Core i5-6200u 2.5 GHz Processor, Intel HD Graphics 520
- 8 GB LPDDR3 RAM
- 128 GB SSD Storage; Optical Drive Not included
- 13.3 Inch Full HD Screen (1920x1080 pixels)
- Windows 10 Home 64-Bit, Machined Aluminum Display Back and Base in Silver
Best laptop for College Students under $500 – Dell Chromebook 13 7310
As well as taking the crown in the $1000 category, Dell has also taken out the best laptop for college students under $500 category with the Dell Chromebook 13 7310.
The Chromebook 13 7310 has a massive 13 hour and 25 minute battery life, making it the perfect laptop for college. With such a huge battery life, you won’t even need to leave your dorm with your charger, leaving you with one less thing to worry about.
One of the downsides of Chromebooks is the lack of storage. The Dell 7310 has a 16GB SSD which combined with Chrome OS, can achieve boot speeds of less than 6 seconds.
The downfall is that you only have 16GB of storage. Therefore, the most ideal way to use a Chromebook is if you primarily use cloud storage applications such as Google Drive or Microsoft OneNote to store all your notes and files.
Included is a full-size backlit keyboard which is amazing to type on. This is especially important if you do college work at night, as without a backlit keyboard you wouldn’t be able to see what you’re typing!
A definite drawcard for this laptop is the 13.3” Full HD IPS display. It’s often the case that the expensive laptops have good screens and budget ones don’t, so it’s impressive that Dell managed to squeeze one into the Chromebook.
The screens 1920 x 1080 resolution means you can fit documents side-by-side which is handy for typing notes up and the IPS panel means you have a wide range of viewing angles so you can even see the screen clearly from side angles.
Weighing in at just 2.4 lbs, the Dell 13 7310 Chromebook is one of the lightest college laptops we’ve seen. This makes it lighter than even the Macbook Air and makes it super easy to carry around campus with you. In fact, you’ll probably forget it’s in your bag.
The Chromebook has an Intel Celeron 3215U Dual-Core processor and 4GB of RAM which is adequate for note taking. If you are using cloud-based applications then your laptop’s specs hold less importance.
Chromebooks are also some of the best laptops for kids.
Best laptop for College Students under $400 – Acer Chromebook 14
The Acer Chromebook 14 is the best laptop for college students under $400. For those on a tight budget for college, there’s no need to panic as there are still good laptops available in this price range.
Lasting an impressive 10 hours, the Chromebook has enough juice to keep you going through a whole day of classes and more.
The Acer has a 14” Full HD display with incredibly high levels of brightness, higher in fact, than most Chromebooks on the market. Very impressive for a budget friendly beginner laptop.
The display has an IPS panel which has wider viewing angles than traditional panels and fantastic color reproduction for vivid images.
Again, like most Chromebooks on the market, there is a lack of storage with only a 16GB SSD harddrive being included.
The reason behind this is that these Chromebooks are designed for students and to be used with cloud-based applications such as Google Drive where most of your files will be stored online to conserve space.
Despite the lack of hard drive space, the included SSD is still mighty quick and the lightweight Chrome OS ensures quick boot speeds.
A key feature is the backlit keyboard, meaning you are sorted for those late night study sessions in the library before exams.
Under the hood is an Intel Celeron N3160 1.6GHz processor and 4GB of RAM, which will be more than adequate for note taking and writing.
The Acer Chromebook 14 has an all-silver look, which is reminiscent of a MacBook. It’s also very thin and weighs just 2.9 lbs, meaning you can carry it around from class to class without hassle.
With the quality screen, great battery life and speedy SSD, the Acer Chromebook 14 is the best college computer for under $400.
- Chromebook runs on Chrome OS - an operating system by Google that is built for...
- All the Google apps you know and love come standard on every Chromebook, which...
- With the Google Play Store, you can access a rich library of apps, games, music,...
- Chromebooks come with built-in storage for offline access to your most important...
- 100% Aluminum Chassis, Intel Celeron N3160, 14” Full HD, 4GB Memory, 32GB...
Best laptop for Business Students – Lenovo ThinkPad T460
When trying to determine the top laptops for college students, you need to consider a number of factors such as battery life, portability, durability etc.
With these factors in mind, we’ve determined the Lenovo Thinkpad T460 to be the Best laptop for Business Students.
The Thinkpad T460 boasts one of the longest battery lives currently on the market, managing to squeeze out 17 hours and 4 minutes.
This was possible with Lenovo’s Power Bridge Technology which allows you to hot-swap batteries without turning the laptop off, giving you a huge battery life boost.
With its Intel Core i5-6200U 2.3GHz processor and 8GB of RAM, the T460 will handle any business software you throw at it, and even massive spreadsheets.
A decently sized 240GB SSD will help you achieve quick load times and increase the overall responsiveness of the laptop.
The Lenovo T460 has a 14” HD screen with a 1366×768 resolution. Whilst I would’ve liked to have seen a screen with a higher resolution, the T460 should still get the job done nicely.
Durability is a key factor in a college laptop, and the T460 has been built according to military specifications and can take a beating.
At just 3.8 lbs and just .83” thick, the T460 is ultraportable and will be a breeze to cart around to your classes for the day.
- Processor - Intel Core i5-6200U (2.30GHz-2.80GHz 1600MHz 3MB)
- Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7 Pro x64 preinstalled with free upgrade to...
- Display: 14" HD, 1366 x 768 LED Display ; Graphics Card: Intel HD Graphics 520
- Features: 8GB RAM, 250GB Solid State Drive, Fingerprint Reader
- RAM and Hard Drive Upgrade* - View Product Description for complete details and...
Best laptop for College Engineering Students – Dell Precision M5510
If you are regularly using CAD or modeling software which is hardware intensive, you want something which is going to be up to the task and that’s why we’ve chosen the Dell Precision M5510 as the best laptop for college engineering students.
The M5510 has a quick Intel Core i5 6300HQ 2.3GHz processor, 8GB of RAM and sports a Nvidia Quadro M1000M graphics card which is specifically made for intensive design applications.
The advantages of these components are that you won’t have to sit staring at your laptop for hours waiting for the modeling to finish and you can move on with your work quicker.
Dell indicates this laptop can last up to a great 10 hours without charging, more than enough for you to take notes in all your classes.
For the best possible viewing, Dell has opted for a 15.6” Full HD 1920 x 1080 display with an IPS panel for better color representation and wider viewing angles.
The screen comes with Dell’s “Infinity Edge” Bezel which basically means the screen goes all the way to the edge of the laptop, which looks fantastic. The only downside of this is that the webcam is now above the keyboard instead of above the screen which takes a bit of getting used to.
Just because you’re using a business-class laptop for college doesn’t mean it needs to look bad and the M5510 has a fantastic matte black base with a silver lid and at just .44”, this laptop is seriously thin.
Weighing just 3.93lbs mean you will be able to drag the laptop around with you all day without any discomfort.
Best laptop for College and Gaming – HP Pavilion 15 Gaming Notebook
It can be hard deciding on the best laptop to get for college, especially if you are also a gamer at heart. We understand that some people might want to use their laptops for gaming, especially if you live on campus, which is why we’ve also chosen a laptop which can handle the latest games.
The HP Pavilion 15 is the best laptop for college and gaming because it has fantastic specifications and also comes with an SSD hard drive.
Beneath the surface, you’ll find an Intel Core i7-6700HQ 2.6GHz processor paired with 16GB of 2133MHz DDR4 RAM, more than adequate for any new game currently out there.
Distinguishing it from normal college laptops, the HP Pavilion 15 has a dedicated graphics card, the Nvidia GeForce GTX 960M which means it can play the latest games on high/ultra settings with good FPS.
HP has chosen a 15.6” Full HD display with IPS panel for this college laptop. The inclusion of an IPS panel is a solid choice for enhanced viewing angles.
I’m excited about the addition of a 128GB SSD drive to pair the 1TB 7200RPM storage hard drive. With the SSD drive, you can put your operating system and most commonly played games on there to speed up load times.
For a gaming laptop, the Pavilion 15 manages to stay thin at just 0.94” and the silver case contrasts well with the black deck with the design on it. A backlit keyboard ensures you can keep up the study until the early hours of the morning with no issue.
The HP Pavilion 15 manages a 5-hour battery life, which is quite good for a gaming laptop. And at 4.8 lbs you won’t have any issues carrying it around with you daily.
Best laptop for Computer Science Students – Dell XPS 13
We can’t go past the Dell XPS 13 as the best laptop for Computer Science students. Different college laptop reviews will have different opinions but we chose the XPS 13 for a few reasons.
- The long battery life is able to cope with a full day of classes and late night coding sessions
- The keyboard is backlit and nice to type on
- At just 2.8lbs, the XPS is incredibly light and easy to carry around
- Full HD Display with great resolution for having multiple windows open side-by-side
The XPS was also selected as the best college laptop under $1000, so rather than re-writing that review I’ll just link you back up the page to that review.
- Intel Core i5-6200u 2.5 GHz Processor, Intel HD Graphics 520
- 8 GB LPDDR3 RAM
- 128 GB SSD Storage; Optical Drive Not included
- 13.3 Inch Full HD Screen (1920x1080 pixels)
- Windows 10 Home 64-Bit, Machined Aluminum Display Back and Base in Silver
Best laptop for Online College Students – Acer Chromebook 15 CB5-571-C1DZ
It’s easy to think “what’s the best laptop for college?” when you have classes on campus, but when you’re doing an online course, you have a different set of needs and wants in a laptop.
When you’re doing an online course, I believe a larger screen is more beneficial as your primary education is going to be recorded lectures and notes from online.
With this is mind, I’ve chosen the Acer Chromebook 15 as the best laptop for online college students.
The Acer Chromebook 15 has a 15.6” Full HD IPS screen so you can easily view and work on your documents. With the bigger screen, you can also have two windows side-by-side, which makes typing up notes much easier.
A speedy 32GB SSD, combined with the minimal Chrome OS leads to super fast boot times. Despite the lack of hard drive space, Chromebooks come with free Google Drive access to take advantage of cloud storage.
An Intel Celeron Dual Core 3205U 1.5GHz processor and 4GB of RAM are the brawn of the laptop and are sufficient for note taking and basic applications.
Weighing in at 4.8 lbs the Acer is easy enough to take places with relative ease, so whether you want to study at home, at the library or on the bus, you won’t have an issue.
9-hours of battery life means you can get away without taking a charger with you everywhere you go.
The Chromebook 15 comes in Linen White color with a faint checkered pattern on the lid. The black keyboard is unfortunately not backlit which could be an issue if you often study in the dark at night. You could also consider Toshiba in this category.
- Intel Celeron 1.6 GHz
- 4 GB DDR3L SDRAM
- 16 GB Solid-State Drive
- 15.6-Inch Screen, Intel HD Graphics
- Chrome, 9-hour battery life
Best laptop for Art & Design Students – Apple MacBook Pro 13-inch
Are you really an arts student if you don’t have a mac? (kidding). Other than the fact the this is one of the most reliable laptops and has been for a quite some time there is another main reason that the Macbook Pro is the best laptop for Art & Design students and that is the Retina display.
When your education and job depends on quality images and intricate detail, it’s important that you have a screen to match.
At 2560 x 1600 resolution, the Macbook Pro is able to squeeze over 4 million pixels into its display, giving images a whole new level of realism. Exactly what you want as an art/design student.
With an Intel i5 2.7GHZ CPU, modestly sized 256GB SSD providing quick boot speeds and application loading times and 8GB of RAM ensuring you can have multiple applications running at once, the Macbook Pro has got you covered in the power department.
A 10-hour battery life means you will be able to get through your classes without any trouble, although I’d suggest bringing your charger just in case, as Photoshop has been known to run the battery down quite quickly.
You won’t have a problem carrying around the Macbook though, with the 3.5 lbs weight tag.
Design wise, the Macbook Pro has remained the same since it’s inception, with the familiar silver aluminum look and thin design. Over the years, however, the Macbook Pro has become increasingly lighter with each revision.
The addition of the Force Touch trackpad is a welcome one, giving you access to different menus and options just by pressing down the touchpad harder than you normally would. Talk about productivity!
- 2.7 GHz Dual-Core Intel Core i5 Processor (Turbo Boost up to 3.1 GHz, 3 MB...
- 8GB 1866MHz DDR3L RAM; 256GB PCIe-based Flash Storage; Facetime HD Camera
- 13.3-inch IPS Retina Display, 2560-by-1600 resolution; Intel Iris Graphics
- Force Touch Trackpad; Two Thunderbolt 2 ports, Two USB 3 ports; HDMI port
- OS X El Capitan, Up to 9 Hours of Battery Life
Best laptop for Science Students – Microsoft Surface Book
When studying Science degrees, there is a bunch of formulas and diagrams you need to draw which makes the Microsoft Surface Book with detachable screen the best laptop for science students.
With the included surface pen and detachable display, the Surface Book can be used as a normal laptop or used like a tablet making it easy to draw up formulas and diagrams.
Impressive is the 13.5” touchscreen display which has a 3000 x 2000 resolution, providing incredible pixel clarity and making images ‘pop’.
The speedy 128GB SSD means you can expect quick boot times, whilst the Intel i5 2.1GHz CPU and 8GB of RAM allows you to multi-task efficiently without worrying about the computer locking up on you!
Being a Microsoft laptop, the Surface Book comes with Windows 10 Pro pre-installed.
Microsoft has done well to make the Surface Book as thin as they could whilst still allowing the detachable screen. In conjunction, the laptop only weighs 3.5 lbs so it’s easy to transport.
The backlit keyboard ensures you won’t have any issue using the laptop in the dark.
What is impressive is the 12-hour battery life that Microsoft claims the Surface Book can get. To have such a good battery life despite having a detachable screen is a fantastic feat!
The ‘surface’ and the ‘book’ actually both have their own separate batteries, with the detachable screen getting roughly 3 hours of battery life.
- 13.5-inch PixelSense touchscreen display (3000 x 2000) resolution
- Windows 10 Pro operating system
- Incredibly mobile at 3.48 pounds (1576 grams)
- Surface Pen included.
- Ships in Consumer packaging.
Best laptop for Law Students – HP Spectre x360 2-in-1
Being a law student that has an incredible amount of typing to do and long hours once you get into the courtroom, there are two criteria that are critical when buying a laptop that will last you throughout your years at the university.
- A fantastic Keyboard
- An extended battery life
The HP Spectre x360 fits both of this criteria very well, and that’s why we’ve crowned it the best laptop for Law students.
The x360 is a 2-in-1 touchscreen laptop that can be flipped upside down like a stand to display content if needed. This is incredibly useful if you’re in a courtroom and need to quickly show a document or photo to someone.
An impressive 12-hour battery life means the HP Spectre is going to be able to withstand those long nights studying, in court or even studying for the bar exam.
Additionally, the backlit, chiclet keyboard is fantastic to type on so you’ll be able to type at speed without any discomfort.
Intel’s powerful i7 2.4GHz processor and 8GB of RAM is enough to power the most demanding applications whilst a 256GB SSD adds some nice responsiveness to the system.
The screen is 13.3” big, but is Full HD with a 1920 x 1080 resolution. If you’re someone who likes to have windows side by side, then you’ll welcome the larger resolution.
At just 3.3lbs and 0.6” thick, the Spectre is super lightweight and thin.
If you’re someone who’s looking for a laptop that runs well as well as looks good then you’re in luck with the Spectre.
The silver aluminum case is gorgeous and the x360 keeps the silver look throughout. It has sleek lines and with its slim design is very attractive.
- Stunning style from any angle: Amazingly thin and light in a visually stunning...
- Processor: Intel Core i7-7500U with Intel HD Graphics 520 (2.7 GHz, up to 3.1...
- Impressive performance. All day portability. Enjoy lightning-fast performance...
- 13.3" diagonal FHD IPS Radiance Infinity LED-backlit touch screen (1920 x 1080)...
- 256 GB M.2 SSD storage, 8 GB DDR3L-1600 SDRAM, 802.11ac (2x2) and Bluetooth 4.0...
Best laptop for Film and Animation Students – ASUS G751JY
This might be an unpopular opinion, but I’ve always liked choosing gaming laptops for when I need to do video editing and encoding.
In general, a dedicated graphics card and fast CPU are going to speed up the time it takes for rendering and video editing and that’s why I’ve decided to choose a gaming laptop as the best laptop for film and animation students.
The Asus G751JY is a gaming powerhouse and the complete package. Behind the scenes, you will find an Intel Core i7-4720HQ 2.6GHz processor that is paired with 16GB of RAM for maximum processing power.
Choosing an i7 processor over an i5 one gives you the advantage of hyper threading which will help to significantly reduce rendering times.
The addition of a Nvidia GeForce GTX 980M, one of the fastest available laptop graphics cards on the market, will also aid in reducing rendering times.
With a 1TB 7200RPM hard drive, you have plenty of storage space for those big videos, whilst the 128GB SSD is used as a secondary hard drive to hold the operating system and your most frequently used programs (such as Adobe Premiere).
Doing a degree in film or animation means constantly using your laptop for editing and watching clips. Therefore it’s imperative that a large screen with a good resolution is considered.
The G751JY has a 17.3” Full HD display with 1920 x 1080 resolution, giving you plenty of screen room to do your editing. It also has an IPS panel for improved color reproduction and wider viewing angles.
From the looks perspective, the Asus G751JY has a stealthy, matte black look and metallic red accented vents, whilst the lid has a brushed aluminum plate which looks great.
A negative of having a laptop with such great specs is the battery life and weight trade off. The G751JY manages a measly 3.5-hour battery life and weighs 8.4 lbs.
Make sure you keep this in mind when considering this laptop and always carry around a charger with you!
- Intel Core i7-4720HQ 2.6GHz (turbo up to 3.6 GHz). 16 GB RAM.
- 1 TB 7200RPM Hard Drive. Plus 128GB SSD
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980M with 4GB DDR5 VRAM (G-Sync)
- 17.3" IPS 16:9 FHD matte display (1920x1080) with built in G-Sync hardware.
- Gigabit dual-band 802.11AC ultra-fast Wi-Fi. 10/100/10000 Gigabit Ethernet
Best laptop for Medical Students – Lenovo ThinkPad X260
With the average medical degree + placement taking 7 years, you are going to want a laptop that is durable and can last such a long span of time.
Based on this criteria, we have determined that the Lenovo Thinkpad X260 is the best laptop for medical students.
When it comes to durability, Lenovo is the first name people think of. Lenovo laptops are tested to military specifications using 11 different parameters to validate ruggedness, durability, quality and more.
Buying a laptop with a reputation for good quality and durability is a good way to ensure it sees out the entirety of your study years.
One of the main features of the Thinkpad X260 is the claim that it can get 25 hours of continuous battery life by hot swapping batteries using Lenovo’s Power Bridge Technology.
With the impressive battery life, you will never need to worry about carrying a charger around with you and weighing just 5.1 lbs means you don’t need to worry about the laptop being too heavy to carry around.
A speedy Intel Core i5-6200U 2.3GHz dual-core processor is more than capable of handling any application and the 8GB of RAM is more than sufficient for running multiple applications at once.
The lack of an SSD is unfortunate but you still get 500GB of hard drive space for all your files and you can always buy an external hard drive or use a cloud-based app if you need more.
The display is a 12.5” screen with 1366 x 768 resolution. Whilst it would’ve been nice to have a bigger resolution, it probably would’ve looked silly on a screen of this size.
Lenovo’s sturdy, well-built keyboard is backlit and also spill-resistant, lending credibility to Lenovo’s durability claims.
Overall, the X260 is a solid laptop and worthy of a purchase. If there is any brand that’s going to last the entirety of your degree, it’s Lenovo.
- ThinkPad x260
- Design that delivers high availability, scalability, and for maximum flexibility...
- Made in China
Best laptop for Architecture Students – Lenovo ThinkPad P50
When considering a laptop for an Architecture course, you need to get one that can cope with the intense CAD and modeling programs that you may use during your study.
I believe that the best laptop for architecture students is the Lenovo Thinkpad P50 because:
- It’s got a fast CPU
- Graphics card which is built for design applications
- Full HD display for precision modeling
- Great battery life and portability
The Thinkpad P50 is a classic Lenovo laptop, built to their military tested specifications and passing multiple ruggedness, durability, and quality tests.
Most importantly is the Nvidia Quadro M1000M graphics card, specifically designed for intense modeling applications.
Together with the graphics card, the speedy Intel Core i5 6700HQ CPU and 8GB of RAM ensure you aren’t twiddling your thumbs whilst the CAD program does its job.
A full HD 15.6” screen ensures that you can accurately view your modeling designs in a 1920 x 1080 resolution with good clarity.
Being a college laptop, battery life, and weight are important factors and the Thinkpad P50 manages a very impressive 13-hour battery life and weighs just 4.1 lbs.
Lenovo’s backlit, spill-resistant keyboard is very well made and is a delight to type on, you can also feel how sturdy and well-built it is whilst using it.
The P50 looks just like most other Lenovo laptops, with the distinct black Lenovo look the main feature of the design.
- Intel Core i7-6700HQ (Quad-core 2.60GHz) Processor
- 8GB RAM, 500GB 7200rpm Hard Drive
- NVIDIA Quadro M1000M 2GB Dedicated
- Windows 7 Professional 64 preinstalled through downgrade rights in Windows 10...
- 1920 x 1080 16:9 Display, Bluetooth, Finger Print Reader, Backlit Keyboard,...
Best laptop for Nursing Students – Microsoft Surface Pro 4
It’s not uncommon in Nursing degrees to be called to the front of the class to look at and take notes on something that the teacher has to show you.
But how can you take notes with a normal laptop? That’s where the Microsoft Surface Pro 4 comes in.
The ability to detach the screen from the keyboard and take notes whilst walking around is incredibly useful and that’s why I believe this is the best laptop for nursing students.
The Surface Pro 4 has an incredible 12.3” screen with a 2736 x 1824 resolution, that is some serious pixel density. The increased pixel density leads to a clearer and sharper image.
To ensure your applications are quick and responsive, the Surface has a 128GB SSD hard drive which also speeds up your boot times.
If you need to run any CPU intense applications, the Intel Core i5 processor is more than powerful enough to do so. You’ll find i5’s and i7’s in all of the best computers for college.
Battery life is good with the Surface Pro 4 getting around 9-hours of juice before it needs to be charged.
For those that carry their laptops around everywhere, you’ll be glad to hear that the Surface only weighs 3.5 lbs.
The Surface Pro 4 has a unique design, with the detachable keyboard and multi-position kickstand turning your tablet into a laptop in seconds.
Despite this the Surface being more a tablet-laptop than a laptop-tablet I’m still including it on this list because of its usefulness.
- Surface Pro 4 powers through everything you need to do, while being lighter than...
- The 12.3 PixelSense screen has extremely high contrast and low glare so you can...
- keyboard is not included and needed to be purchased separately
- Ships in Consumer packaging
- Maximum Memory Capacity : 4
Best laptop for Accounting Students – Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon
Accounting students have to regularly deal with both typing and dealing with numbers. To get you prepared, how about I throw you a number now. 3. Why did I choose 3? Because 3 lbs is how much the Lenovo Thinkpad X1 Carbon weighs!
This ultra-thin and lightweight laptop is the best laptop for accounting students because of its mix of portability, great keyboard, and fast specs.
Despite being so thin and lightweight, the Thinkpad X1 Carbon benefits from Lenovo’s military spec testing and it shows with the sturdy design and great to type on backlit keyboard.
Boasting an 11-hour battery life, the Thinkpad X1 Carbon has enough juice to get you through a full day of classes.
The X1 Carbon is no slouch in the power department either with an Intel Core i5-6200U CPU and 8GB of RAM ready to run anything you throw at it.
Add in a modestly sized 256GB SSD which aids in quick read/write times as well as boot speeds due to the SSD’s design and you’ve got a quick laptop.
Also nice is the 14” Full HD screen with 1920 x 1080 resolution, meaning you can efficiently multi task with multiple windows open.
The X1 Carbon has Lenovo’s signature black looking design, with the exception that it’s ultra-thin and light.
Best portable laptop for College Students – Apple MacBook Air 11.6″
To be the best portable laptop for college students, the selected laptop needed to both have a very long battery life and also need to be light for carrying around between classes.
With that criterion in mind, I’ve chosen the Macbook Air 11.6” as the best portable laptop.
At just 2.4 lbs, you will not find a lighter laptop on the market. The Macbook Air is incredibly lightweight and you will forget you’ve even packed it in your bag.
Throw in a 9-hour battery life and you can be certain you’ll make it through a day of classes without needing to search for a charger.
The speedy little 128GB SSD makes the laptop feel quick and responsive and applications open fast, though this might be helped along by the Intel i5 processor.
The 11.6” display might be a tad small for some but as a laptop used solely for college work, it is more than adequate.
Not much needs to be said about the design as I’m sure everyone is familiar with the iconic Apple design. What I will say is that the backlit laptop is fantastic to type on and that you can really notice just how light this laptop really is.
If you’re looking for a light laptop then you cannot go past the Macbook Air 11”.
- 1.6 GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 (Turbo Boost up to 2.7 GHz) with 3 MB shared L3...
- 4 GB of 1600 MHz LPDDR3 RAM; 128 GB PCIe-based flash storage
- 11.6-Inch (diagonal) LED-backlit Glossy Widescreen Display, 1366 x 768...
- Intel HD Graphics 6000
- Up to 9 Hours of Battery Life
Best Apple Mac laptop for College – Apple MacBook Air 13.3″
There isn’t much to dislike about the range of Macbook Airs. They have a very impressive battery life, weigh less than a feather and are snippy and responsive.
In my opinion, the best apple mac laptop for college is the Macbook Air 13.3”. The reason the 13.3” was chosen over the 11.6” is because I believe the extra screen real estate is really useful when taking notes.
I also personally own a 13” Macbook Air and it used to get me through a full day of classes without needing a recharge, I wouldn’t even take my charger with me!
Another great thing about the Macbook Air is that it’s lighter than some of your books, meaning you can carry it around all day without a hassle.
The inclusion of a 128GB SSD is fantastic because it makes the laptop feel very responsive and applications are quick to start up.
OS X El Capitan has some great new features which can aid in productivity. My favorite is split view which allows you put two applications side by side by holding down the green fullscreen button, which you haven’t been able to do before.
The design of the Macbook Air 13.3” has been the same since the inception of the Macbook Air with the traditional silver look. The keyboard is fantastic to type on and has an adjustable backlight.
- 1.6 GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 (Turbo Boost up to 2.7 GHz) with 3 MB shared L3...
- 8 GB of 1600 MHz LPDDR3 RAM; 128 GB PCIe-based flash storage
- 13.3-Inch (diagonal) LED-backlit Glossy Widescreen Display, 1440 x 900...
- Intel HD Graphics 6000
- OS X El Capitan, Up to 12 Hours of Battery Life
Best small laptop for College Students – Lenovo Ideapad 100s
The Lenovo Ideapad 100S is by all definitions a small laptop. It weighs only 2.6 lbs and is only 0.8” thick. This, combined with an impressive battery life is why the Lenovo Ideapad 100S is the best small laptop for college students.
With an 8-hour battery life, the Ideapad 100S has enough battery life to last through both your morning and afternoon classes.
A small, but adequately sized 11.6” display is suitable for doing college work and research.
Chrome OS comes pre-installed on the laptop, which, when paired with the 32GB SSD leads to super-fast boot speeds.
The lack of hard drive space is offset by the free 100GB of Google Drive storage that comes with the laptop.
From a design standpoint, the Ideapad 100S has a sleek matte black design and is thin and light, measuring just .78 inches. Unfortunately, the keyboard isn’t backlit which is a drawback if you often work at night.
The 100s includes both 802.11a/c Wifi and Bluetooth so you can connect from a variety of locations.
- Intel Atom processor Z3735F
- 2GB DDR3L / 32GB eMMC flash memory
- 11.6" LED backlight / Intel HD Graphics
- Built-in Webcam / WLAN 802.11n / HDMI /USB 2.0 / Headphone / Microphone
- Windows 10 / Optical drive not included
Best basic laptop for College Students – Acer Aspire One Cloudbook
Some people are just interested in something basic that is going to get from A to B so to speak, without breaking the bank.
Despite being basic, the 2020 Acer Aspire One 15 Cloudbook has a great battery life and doesn’t weigh much, making it the best basic laptop for college students.
The Aspire One Chromebook manages a massive 14 hour and 40 minutes battery life, getting you through class and a full night’s study without needing to be charged.
Additionally, with the laptop weighing only 3.5 lbs, you can easily carry the laptop from class to class without breaking a sweat.
The 14” HD screen is well sized for positioning multiple windows on the screen which is especially useful when you’re trying to read notes and write some at the same time.
As with most Chromebooks, the specs of the laptop itself aren’t impressive but where their strength lies is in using cloud-based applications such as Google Drive to save all of your files.
The Aspire One has an attractive gunmetal gray color with a patterned lid. It doesn’t look like the keyboard is backlit, so that might be a consideration if you often work at night.
- Intel Celeron N3050 1.6 GHz
- Windows 10, Microsoft Office 365 Personal 1-Year Subscription
- 2GB of DDR3L Onboard Memory
- 64 GB Internal Storage
- 14-Inch HD Screen, Intel HD Graphics, 12-hour battery life
What to consider when choosing the Best Laptop for College
There is definitely a few things you need to think of when you are trying to select the best computer for college. Some are obvious whilst others you might not think of, which is why we’ve written up some considerations for you.
College Laptop Specifications
Intel Core i5 processors are fantastic choices for college laptops due to their value-for-money performance.
If you regularly multi-task CPU intensive programs (such as Photoshop, Premiere, CAD software) etc. then you’re probably better off with an i7 processor that has hyper-threading and can handle multi-tasking better.
Getting a dedicated graphics card isn’t necessary for most people, if you primarily use your laptop for note-taking and watching lectures, but for some students in classes that require higher intensive task this becomes increasingly important.
If you are a gamer then you should consider a laptop with a dedicated graphics card, otherwise, you will struggle to run games at a decent FPS.
8GB of RAM is the sweet spot and most commonly found amount of RAM in college laptops these days.
Having at least 8GB will allow you to multi-task without your laptop seizing up on you.
Whether you choose a traditional hard drive (HDD) or a solid-state hard drive (SSD) is up to you and depends on what you need to get out of your laptop.
Traditional hard drives are often larger and slower (better for storage), whereas SSD’s are small and faster (fast boot times, quick applications).
For most college students, 11.6” or 13.6” will be the sweet spot as it’s portable, often has a decent battery life and is big enough to take notes on.
The difference between HD and Full HD displays is the resolution. A larger resolution means you can fit more windows on the screen. If you’re someone who often has windows side by side then you should consider a Full HD resolution.
For most people, you will be at college for anywhere between 2-8 hours a day. Therefore, it’s beneficial if your laptop has at least an 8-hour battery life to cope throughout the day.
The good news is that most laptops these days, especially around the 11.6-13.3” mark have battery lives that are usually 8hr+.
If you need to carry around a laptop between classes all day, you want to make sure that it’s lightweight.
There is nothing worse than getting sore arms trying to carry your huge laptop from one college class to the next.
Aim for laptops that weigh 5 lbs and less.
One of the most important features of a laptop during your college years is the Keyboard.
Having a keyboard that is easy to type on is important for both efficiency and to stop any wrist injuries.
If you often work at night, or in the darkness then you will need a backlit keyboard so that you can see what you’re doing.
If you are in a degree where you need to often draw diagrams or formulas then you might want to consider a touchscreen/tablet display.
Detachable tablet like laptops are becoming increasingly popular with college students in these types of courses.
At the end of the day, no matter which laptop you buy, you are the one who needs to look at it and use it day in, day out.
Ensuring you purchase a the best computer for college, that is also attractive is a good way to stop you from getting bored of it.
You made it to the end! Congratulations.
We hope this guide was helpful for you in some way, shape or form.
Feel free to drop a line in the comments if you have any questions, queries or just want to give me some feedback on the guide.
Top 20 Best Laptops for College Students: Ultimate Guide - 2020
We’ve reviewed the Best Laptops for College Students by Course so you can focus on more important things, like studying hard and attending frat parties.
Last update on 2020-12-01 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API