College life is full of fun and learning. You get together with friends, learn how to socialize, and plan group studies to prepare for your tests and exams. Since it is the 21st century and technology has taken over almost everything in this world the study systems have also changed. Now more and more education systems rely on computer systems and even some studies are entirely based on learning and designing computers. Therefore, as college students, you need one of the best laptops for college that will never fail you.
Students of all fields need a competent computer or laptop these days. Laptops are more preferable as they are easier to carry around. The best laptops for college are workstation laptops that have top-grade specifications and hardware making them an ideal choice. Students now learn many different things like game development, 3D modeling, video editing, or programming languages. All of these studies require a powerful computer system that can run programs smoothly and let students work on them without any worry of the program crashing or misbehaving. The best laptops for college students for sure need to run the designated programs smoothly.
Furthermore, many schools are now incorporating education through digital notes and computerized test systems to make education more accessible for students even if they can’t physically attend the class. Note-taking has also changed as students now prefer to take notes on their laptops during lectures, this helps them to stay focused and get work done more efficiently. Moreover, students love to use their laptops for other multimedia entertainment like playing games or stream their favorite TV shows too. The market is loaded with many models and variations, and to get the right laptop one has to study and analyze all the options which is a headache itself. So, for you to get the best we have curated a list of the best laptops for students that can tackle all tasks of a college-goer.
What is best for students? Computer vs Laptop:
Being a college student, one always needs a personal computer on which they can do their work. That work might be any assignment or project but it will surely allow them to work according to their schedule and not depend on college computer labs. Essentially both desktop computers and laptops are the same and provide the same functions to their users, however, the difference is the ease of access and portability between them. Desktop computers are not moveable, they stay in your house or dorm room because of bulky separate hardware like the Monitor, Keyboard, and most importantly the heavy computer case which houses all the internal hardware like the RAM, GPU, CPU, and hard drives. Laptops on the other side are compact pieces of machinery that house all these components in a single and small form factor that is easy to carry around.
Students of today are relying on computer systems for their learning and having the freedom to have a laptop with them all the time can greatly benefit them. They can take their laptop to college classrooms while lectures to take notes, they can research on a topic anytime and can even take their laptops to their class fellow’s dorm room and group study there. The easy clamshell design of the laptop gives students the ease of getting word done anywhere anytime during their hectic college years.
Laptops also come with a built-in webcam and microphone that allow students to video chat with their peers and family. As most students go to colleges in different cities, having a laptop is the best solution. You can save all your work and data on a laptop and can easily move with it from one city to another. Through this, you wouldn’t need to worry if any urgent work pops up.
Desktop computers are never a bad choice but they can limit a student’s reach to the power of a computer. For a college student, who always needs to be ready to effectively work on their projects and put out their best foot forward, having a laptop is the best way to move forward.
We will start with our list with some of the best laptops that every college student must know:
Best Laptops for College
- Dell XPS 13 – best overall
- HP Envy 13 – best 13 inch laptop
- HP Envy x360 – best 2-in-1 laptop
- Acer Swift 3 – best Thin & Light Laptop
- MacBook Air – best Macbook for students
- Dell XPS 15 – Best 15 inch laptop
- Acer Swift 5 – Best for portability
- Lenovo Legion Y545 – Best business laptop
- Apple MacBook Pro (13-inch) – Best for business students
- Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon (8th Gen) – Best professional laptop
- Apple MacBook Pro (16-inch) – Best Macbook for creative students
- Google Pixelbook Go – Best chromebook laptop
- Acer Chromebook Spin 713 – Best chromebook for college
- 2020 Newest HP Spectre x360 – Best budget laptop
Best Laptops for college 2021
Product Reviews, FAQs & Buyer’s Guide
1. Dell XPS 13
Being one of the most expensive laptops on our list, the Dell XPS 13 sure does provide great overall performance for a college laptop. Powered by Intel’s 11th gen i-series processors and Intel’s integrated Intel Iris Xe GPU, this laptop is a beast! As a student, all your programming and thick lines of code will be compiled in seconds. Graphic intensive tasks will also be easily done on this. Paired with up to 16GBs of RAM and 512GB of SSD storage capacity your applications will run smoothly and you can save up tons of your data on it without any worry.
It is a compact laptop with a 13.4-inch Full HD+ screen size. It weighs just 2.8 pounds making it perfect to carry around a college campus or to a friend’s party to watch movies. This laptop is overall a great buy for any college student who doesn’t care about the budget.
- Amazing battery performance.
- Premium design and build.
- Beautiful screen.
- Excellent keyboard and touchpad performance.
- Expensive cost.
- Gets hot during system load.
2. HP Envy 13
The HP envy 3 for its price is our top pick for the best college laptops. It will cost you under $1000 while providing you some pretty great top-class specifications like Intel’s 8th Gen i-series processors and up to 16GBs of RAM for fast and smooth work performance. HP Envy 13 is extremely portable at weighing just around 2.8 pounds. It comes in either 4K, or 1080p screen options and they both provide great display quality. The 1080p model even provides a battery timing of more than 11 hours which is great for students and can last them a whole workday.
It has Intel’s UHD Graphics 620 integrated GPU which can handle most of the graphic designing and light gaming. This laptop provides great value for students who want a great laptop for college while still not spending above 1000 dollars.
- Great display.
- Excellent computer performance.
- Impressive battery timing.
- Good security features.
- Lacks Thunderbolt 3 port.
- Noisy fans.
3. HP Envy x360
2-in-1 laptops are loved by students especially and the HP Envy x360 is a great 2-in-1 for college students who do not want to spend more than $1000. Powered by AMD’s Ryzen 5 processor, this provides a great computer powerful enough to handle tasks of programming learners, fast word processing, and slight graphical work thanks to AMD’s integrated GPU. Featuring 8GB of DDR4 RAM and 256GB of SSD it is ready for some system load and heavy files storing and accessing.
This laptop is lightweight at 2.9 pounds. It features a stunning 13.3 Full HD touchscreen that can turn at 360 to make this laptop into a tablet. This laptop is perfect for students who want a great workstation with touchscreen capabilities.
- Excellent 2-in-1 laptop for the price.
- Satisfying typing experience.
- Great computer performance.
- Lacks Thunderbolt 3 port.
- Small touchpad.
4. Acer Swift 3
The Acer Swift 3 is a great laptop for college students. It is made with an all-aluminum chassis giving it very a modern and sleek look. This laptop is powered by AMD’s Ryzen 7 processor which is comparable to Intel’s i7 processor but performs even better than it. It has a display of 14 inches with a resolution of 1080p. Although the screen has a good enough resolution it is still a little dim which can be a problem for outdoor use. This laptop can efficiently handle most of the college work a student can think of.
Acer laptops are also known for their aggressive pricing for laptops with great performance and this laptop is no less. This laptop will cost you around $650 making it the perfect buy for students who want a laptop at a competent price that is powered by an AMD processor.
- Strong computing power.
- Impressive battery timing.
- Great price.
- The display could be brighter.
5. MacBook Air
The latest MacBook Air by Apple is the best MacBook you can buy for a college student. It is a slim and stylish laptop for people who like the macOS experience or want to stay in the Apple ecosystem. MacBook Air is powered by Apple’s first in-house-built SoC the M1 chip. This chip provides unmatched performance that is even comparable to the performance of the MacBook Pro. It also has the fastest and powerful Integrated GPU ever on a laptop, this will handle all your graphic-intensive tasks with ease.
The MacBook Air has a fanless thin design made up of aluminum chassis which gives it a very modern look. You can get this laptop with up to 16GBs of RAM and different SSD storage configuration is going up as much as 2TB. This laptop is good for students who want to have a very slim but still very powerful work machine.
- The Magic keyboard is great.
- Beautiful and lightweight design.
- Best battery life in the market
- Very limited ports.
6. Dell XPS 15
Dell knows how to make a good competent laptop and the XPS 15 is one of the finest out of their laptop range. This clamshell laptop has a very attractive design and built quality, thanks to its ultra-premium lightweight and thin yet strong metal chassis. It has a stunning 15-inch Full HD or 4K display which is great for viewing multimedia or editing your project videos.
The Dell XPS 15 is a strong machine that also can handle gaming pretty well. Although it costs a lot it will still provide you great unmatched performance at its price. It is powered by Intel’s 10Th gen i7 processors which are paired with Nvidia’s discreet GPU GeForce GTX 1650 Ti GPU. This set of CPU and GPU backed with RAM up to 32GB provides great computing performance for students who want to push their computer skills to the extreme. Any coding, web development, or 3D modeling will be a smooth ride on this laptop.
- Comfortable keyboard experience.
- Great CPU and GPU performance.
- Good battery timing.
- Very costly.
- Becomes hot during system-intensive tasks.
7. Acer Swift 5
Being a Windows laptop the Acer Swift 5 is an ultra-light, easy-to-carry laptop. Weighing just 2.3 pounds it lighter than the competition while also providing a beautiful 14-inch Full HD screen to its users. Powered by Intel’s latest Evo Platform it features the Intel 11th Gen i7 processor combines with the Intel Iris Xe Integrated GPU. This processing package might not be strong enough to handle gaming pretty well, however computer performance is still pretty great. As a student, you will not find the system sluggish can execute several tasks on it.
This laptop can last you more than 12+ hours on a single charge which makes it great for college students to use. The keyboard outlay is not very good but they still provide pretty great tactile feedback that makes the typing experience bearable.
- Supreme battery performance.
- Ultra-light and thin design.
- Computing performance is great.
- The speakers are subpar.
- The keyboard outlay is not good.
8. Lenovo Legion Y545
The Lenovo Legion Y545 is essentially a gaming laptop with a good amount of juice that can provide great productivity tools with some good amount of gaming too. It features an Intel 9th, Gen i7 processor which provides great computer performance.
Backed with 16GB of RAM you won’t need to worry about the slow loading of programs. It also has a dedicated Nvidia Gefore GTX 1660 Ti GPU that will provide great graphics processing. Running games on this machine is not a problem. Doing other graphic-intensive work like web development or 3D modeling is also no issue on this. It is the best cheap gaming laptop you can buy that will also be great for your college work.
- Interesting design.
- Super comfortable and satisfying keyboard.
- Commendable gaming and computing performance for the price.
- A bit bulky.
- Gets hot during system-intensive tasks.
9. New Apple MacBook Pro (13-inch)
The Apple MacBook Pro 13-inch model is a great option if you want to make your laptop experience more professional. Coming with an M1 chip, Apple’s first SoC for computers, it provides unmatched computing performance with fast application booting and smooth processing. M1 chip’s integrated GPU also provides great graphics performance which helps run graphic-intensive tasks with ease. Gaming and other graphic-intensive tasks are a breeze on this 13 inch MacBook Pro.
It has a beautiful and crisp screen. It is built entirely of aluminum chassis giving it a premium feel. Weighing around 3.1 pounds makes it a bit heavy but still pretty manageable. Its Magic keyboard is also great with good travel and satisfying clicks.
- Amazing battery performance.
- Stunning bright display.
- Unmatched CPU and graphics performance.
- Limited ports selection.
- Outdate 720p webcam.
10. Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon (8th Gen)
The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon is the best college laptop for business students who want a durable yet fast laptop that can handle all the data entries and computer processing with ease. Being powered by Intel’s 10th Gen core i-series processors this laptop provides world-class computing speeds. Backed by up to 16GBs of RAM loading times on this laptop are fast and do not make the user wait.
However, this laptop has good computing power but it lacks graphical performance. It has an Intel UHD Graphics Integrated GPU which can handle basic graphics but not very graphics-intensive tasks. If you want a good workstation as a business student this laptop is a great option for you. Coding and programming are also possible to be done on this laptop.
- Commendable keyboard performance.
- Bold and bright display.
- Very lightweight design language.
- Subpar graphics.
- Battery timing on the 4K model is not great.
11. Apple MacBook Pro (16-inch)
Apple MacBook Pro 16-inch is the true professional laptop made for professionals. It provides great performance speeds thanks to its 10th Gen Intel Core i-series processors which give it enough power to run software without being sluggish. It also provides robust graphical performance too. The AMD Ryzen Pro 5300M GPU is the dedicated GPU running graphics in the MacBook Pro 16-inch. It comes in a beautiful metal design, but it weighs a bit heavy at around 4.3 pounds. Battery timings are pretty great too lasting you 10+ hours on a single charge.
Storage and RAM options on this laptop are wild, you can get it for as high as 64GB of RAM and 8TB of SSD storage. Getting a MacBook Pro 16-inch with at least 8GB of RAM and 512GB of SSD is a good option for college students.
- Impressive CPU and GPU Performance.
- Magic Keyboard makes typing satisfying.
- Beautiful, color-rich, and crisp screen.
- Very expensive.
- Missing a few ports.
12. Google Pixelbook Go
No one does Chromebooks better than Google itself. The Google Chromebook Go is a stunning machine that provides great performance both software and hardware-wise. Being a Chromebook people underestimate how good they have become. This laptop is great for students who want to study business and want to do extensive research and writing on their laptops. It has a very comfortable keyboard and a beautiful screen that does not stress your eyes.
Powered by Intel’s Core i5 processor, it provides great computing power. Backed with 8GBs of RAM and SSD storage options for more than 256GB this is a great option for college students. It is also very portable, weighing around just 2.3 pounds.
- Solid Battery Life.
- Impressive lightweight build.
- Comfortable keyboard for typing.
- Expensive for a Chromebook.
13. Acer Chromebook Spin 713
If you are simultaneously into Chromebooks and 2-in-1 laptops then the Acer Chromebook Spin 713 is the best option for your college laptop. It is one of the powerful 2-in-1 Chromebooks in the market. The Intel 10th Gen i5 processor in this laptop delivers outstanding performance that excludes lags and slow processing speeds.
It is great for college you can use it as a laptop and at times as a tablet according to your needs. It weighs 3.0 pounds which makes it slightly heavier than the competition, however, for a 2-in-1 it is still pretty good. Got Intel’s integrated GPU that can handle some graphics.
- Great 2-in-1 Chromebook for students.
- Beautiful and bright touchscreen.
- Superb Battery performance.
- The keyboard is subpar.
- Not attractive.
14. Newest HP Spectre x360
HP sure knows how to make an impressive laptop and the HP Spectre x360 impresses through all angles. It can be your best 2-in-1 tablet or a laptop that is being powered by Intel’s 11th gen i7 process that is based on the new Intel Evo platform. This laptop provides top-grade computing speeds that can run almost any application with ease. For college students learning on this laptop will be fast and productive.
Available with up to 16GBs of RAM, software loading is not a problem on this machine. Moreover, this laptop’s design is extremely beautiful with sturdy metal chassis. It has a 13.5-inch stunning 4K screen, you can get it in the Full HD option too. Overall, for a window 2-in-1 laptop, you can call it the best of the options, but it also comes at a big chunky price.
- Best Windows Overall 2-in-1 laptop.
- Extensive battery life.
- The keyboard is comfortable to type on.
- Filled with bloatware.
Let’s go through some of the most frequently asked questions that might help you in finding the best laptop for college or school:
1. What is the Best Student Laptop?
To crown a laptop the best student laptop we must need to know that what components are essential while choosing the best laptop for students. There are many different types of laptops present in the market. The market is full of a large number of manufacturers who are all trying to the best among the consumers. Some offer great build-quality while some offer fabulous battery times. For a student, a laptop needs to have the best of all things.
What makes the best student laptop is having top-class computer performance which never betrays the user, it needs to have an amazing battery life that can last a whole day at school, a good amount of storage capacity to store all important notes and data, a good screen that does not put stress on the eyes and provides good viewing experience when viewing any multimedia, what OS it runs, and the most important of all: is it easy to carry around?
All these questions and their answers while reviewing any laptop determines whether that laptop is best for a student or not. Being a reviewer, we have gone through many laptops over the years and every year companies put out their best effort at improving their existing technologies and some of the recent offerings excel in answering all our above-mentioned questions. According to us, the HP Envy 13 is the best laptop for students you can buy right now. It can be bought for just under $1000 and provide great specs to last you through your college years.
Speaking about performance, the HP Envy 13 is powered by either Intel’s 8th gen i5 or i7 processor which provides great processing power. Its option to buy it in either 8GB or 16GB of RAM and several storage capacity options make it a great choice for students. It is compact enough coming at a size of 13.3 inches and having both Full HD and 4K screen options so you can have an amazing viewing experience on this laptop. It also provides great battery timing. This laptop can last you for more than 11 hours of on-screen time which is enough to last you through a whole school day. The Hp Envy 13 is the best laptop for college students through and through.
2. How to choose a budget laptop? Buying guide for students.
Buying a laptop as a student can be pretty confusing. The laptop market is extremely oversaturated you can buy a laptop with different specs, running a different OS, and having different price tags. Moreover, not everyone has an unlimited budget while buying a laptop. Good laptops often cost a fortune these days but there are some very good budget options too. As a student, you must have a budget while on a laptop. To make matters easy you can follow the following buying guide that will help you buy the best laptop for college on a budget:
Decide your Budget:First and foremost decide on a budget that how much are you willing to pay to buy a laptop for your college years. Remember that not always a lot of money can buy the best thing. Spending on a laptop according to your requirements can help you fund your other needs too. So, decide on a budget that suits you and your needs and move forward with it. This will help you in buying the best laptop for you.
Choose an OS:The 3 most popular OS among laptop users are Windows OS, macOS, and ChromeOS. While buying a laptop on a budget you must always determine that what OS do you prefer to use and whether the programs you are going to run on this laptop are supported by the preferred OS or not. Windows and macOS are the most versatile OS out there if you want to do game development, 3D modeling on your laptop. Otherwise, ChromeOS can handle most of the word processing and note-taking for you.
What Processor do you want?:There many processor options for you to choose from. Intel is best known for its i-series processors like the i3, i5, and i7 which are good for programming and graphical software processes. However, Intel has other options like Celeron and m-series processors too that can work great too. AMD also makes processors for computers and are best known for their A-series and Ryzen processors.
What GPU do you want?:You can either get an integrated or discreet GPU with your laptop. You will need a GPU in case if you want to do gaming on your laptop or do graphic-intensive tasks. Nvidia and AMD are two of the most popular discreet GPU manufacturers in the market. Intel also makes some of the integrated GPUs best suited with their processors. Always decide on a GPU beforehand as laptops with strong GPUs can go out of your budget.
Choose RAM and Storage:Laptops usually start with a 4GB RAM configuration. You can choose more RAM like 8GB or 16GB according to your work needs. The more RAM your system has the more fluidly it will run. For storage, you can go for either HDD storage or SSD storage. HDD will cost you less as it is a little outdated technology. Buying an SSD storage will cost you more. You will also determine how much storage space do you need. As a student, it is preferred to have at least 500GB of storage that can store all your assignments, notes, projects, and presentations.
How much battery time do you need?:Even on a budget you can buy a laptop with a great battery time. Always go for a laptop that has at least more than 9 hours of on-screen battery timing. If you buy a laptop that has a low battery timing then you will always have to carry a laptop charger with you. Having a battery charger with you is good but always having to charge your laptop can become difficult as a wall socket is not easily available everywhere.
By following these guidelines you can buy the best laptop for college students who are on a budget but still want great value for their money spent.
3. Why Online Classes are Effective?
Online classes are becoming a norm with every passing day in our global village. Many institutions provide online learning programs. Moreover, since the arrival of the Covid-19 pandemic majority of the institutions have switched to learning through online classes. A lot of people question whether online classes are effective? Well, according to recent researches online classes are effective. What makes them effective is computers. More younger generations are attracted to learning and using computers. Since online classes are taken on laptops and computers, students take more interest in learning through their digital devices. Furthermore, studies also show that students are much more interactive in online classes than in physical classes which makes learning more easy and interactive for all students. This shows that online classes are effective and are making students of today learn more effectively than ever before.
4. How Students Turn In Work on Google Classroom?
Google Classroom is Google’s proprietary education system where schools can use the platform to establish a direct relationship between teachers and students. Teachers can assign assignments and quizzes to their students and then students can submit the solved quizzes and assignment within the given time and upload it online. Google Classrooms is completely synced with Google’s other products like Google Docs, Gmail, and Google Calendar.
Now being a whole computerized system of turning in assignments and projects online on Google Classroom, this can become confusing for some students. The process is simple and easy, we will guide you through it:
Step 1: Open the classroom of the desired subject and click on Classwork.
Step 2: Here click on View Assignments, all your due assignments will open up here.
Step 3: Here you will the Your Work tab click on it, a dialogue box will open.
Step 4: Click on Add or Create option, here you can add the document of your completed assignment or create a new one Google Docs.
Step 5: After adding in the work, the option Turn-In will appear, click on it. The option will turn to Turned In. Your assignment has now been submitted to the teacher for grading.
Trying to find the best laptop for college can become pretty tiring and confusing. Understanding that what are your needs and what type of specification do you require to last you your college is necessary while looking to buy a laptop for college. Determine a budget on how much you can spend and deduce all the things you can live without on a laptop.
The market is oversaturated with laptops of all kinds but choosing the best is never easy. Our list is curated to cater to all people having different needs and budgets. Our top picks have several different laptops at different price points but they all are pretty great pieces of machinery that will not disappoint in your college life. So, sort your preferences and choose the best possible college laptop for you.