Gaming on a Mac may be more restrictive than with a desktop PC running Windows, but if you choose the right Mac hardware, and are willing to pay for it, you’ll be able to play most games without. The best TV for use as a PC monitor in the 40-43 inch size is the Sony KD43X720E. The Sony X720E supports most common resolutions and 4:4:4 chroma. It has an IPS panel with good viewing angles that will not cause any uniformity issues if you sit close to the TV, unlike the similarly priced Samsung UN40NU7100.
The nano USB wireless adapter for Windows 10 from Edimax is a solution for many needs. It is ideal for Raspberry Pi 2 devices too with the support to multi operating systems like Windows, Linux, and Mac OS. Desktop & All-in-One Computers. Black Friday deals. Don't miss out on the deals you've been waiting for. A desktop or all-in-one computer might be the best computer type to meet your needs. Pictures, and all your digital media. If you are planning to use your computer for gaming, a desktop option will let you swap out components. In the past, it was easy to pick a Mac or PC based on the type of software you needed. Business productivity tools were domain of the Windows operating system, while editing, photo and other creativity apps were clearly a Mac world.
Are you looking for the best desktop for photography? The criterions for buying a desktop to edit your photos and videos involve more than just a high display resolution. It requires the ability to multi-task handling several editing applications at the same time without any visible lag time. Finally, it also requires a large display with a high resolution.
We jump right into the top 8 desktops for photographers in 2018, if you want to read more about the minimum specs your new desktop should have, scroll down to the Minimum Specs a Photo Editing Desktop should have (in terms of RAM, CPU, Storage, Graphics Cards).
|Apple iMac Pro MQ2Y2LL/A|
|Apple iMac MNED2LL/A 27-inch|
|Dell XPS 7760 27'|
|Dell XPS 8930 Tower Desktop|
|Dell 3668 Inspiron|
|Lenovo ThinkCentre M710 Tower|
|Intel NUC8 VR Machine Mini PC|
|Microsoft Surface Studio|
1. Apple iMac Pro MQ2Y2LL/A
The new Apple iMac Pro is powered by the Intel Xeon W 8-Core processor. The base clock speed of the processor is 3.2 GHz, while the maximum speed is 4.2 GHz. The processor comes paired with 32 GB of internal DDR4 SD RAM. The memory has a speed of 2666 MHz.
Graphics are powered by an AMD Radeon Pro Vega 56 processor with 8 GB of GDDR5 VRAM integrated.
The display is a large 27″ one with an aspect ratio of 16:9. The native resolution of the IPS display is 5120 x 2880. The 5K Retina Display is more than enough for any and all photography and video editing work.
The 500 nits brightness ensures a bright realistic display of the images/videos while editing. The display supports up to a billion colors.
Internal storage of the computer is a healthy 1 TB which is entirely composed of an SSD PCIe unit. There are no optical drives on the device.
The computer has an array of input and output connectors. This includes 4 thunderbolt ports, 4 USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type A ports and 4 Mini Display Port via Type C. Apart from these you have a 3.5mm headphone output as well as integrated speakers and headphones.
- 3.2 GHz Intel Xeon W 8-Core
- 32GB of DDR4 RAM - 1TB SSD
- AMD Radeon Pro Vega 56 (8GB HBM2)
- 27' 5120 x 2880 IPS Retina 5K Display
- UHS-II SDXC Card Reader
- Thunderbolt 3 - USB 3.0
- 802.11ac Wi-Fi - Bluetooth 4.2
- 10Gb Gigabit Ethernet
- Magic Keyboard & Magic Mouse 2 Included
2. Apple MNED2LL/A 27-inch iMac
This is a slightly less powerful Apple 27″ iMac from mid-2017. This iMac is powered by a 3.8 GHz Intel Core i5 Quad-Core processor (7th generation Kaby Lake). The processor can fire at a base speed of 3.8 GHz, which when boosted can be overclocked to 4.2 GHz.
It is paired with an 8 GB DDR4 RAM (2400 MHz). Internal memory is powered by a 2 TB of Fusion Drive. The device’s graphics are powered by an AMD Radeon Pro 580 graphics processor unit.
Related Post: Best Computers for Video Editing (Top 7 Picks in 2019)
The 27″ iMac boasts a 5120 x 2880 Retina display. The display’s aspect ratio is 16:9. This is an IPS display which normally gives a much wider viewing angle than traditional TN panels. It has a maximum screen brightness of 500 nits and it supports up to a billion colors. Thanks to the P3-based color gamut it is able to display much better color rendition compared to standard sRGB displays. Same as Adobe RGB, though you get slightly different color space than Adobe RGB.
Connectivity slots on the iMac include UHS-II SDXC card slots, plus two thunderbolts 3 ports. It also has four 5 Gb/s USB 3.0 Type A ports and Ethernet port. It also has 2 DisplayPort via thunderbolt port. Additionally, there are 2 integrated speaker, plus integrated microphones and a headphone (3.5mm) output port. There are no optical drives on the iMac.
For security purposes, a Kensington Lock slot is also provided.
- 3.8 GHz Intel Core i5 Quad-Core
- 8GB of DDR4 RAM - 2TB Fusion Drive
- 27' 5120 x 2880 IPS Retina 5K Display
- AMD Radeon Pro 580 Graphics Card (8GB)
- UHS-II SDXC Card Reader
- Thunderbolt 3 - USB 3.0 Type-A
- 802.11ac Wi-Fi - Bluetooth 4.2
- 1 x Gigabit Ethernet Port
- Magic Keyboard & Magic Mouse 2 Included
3. Dell XPS 7760 27″
2019 Update: No Longer Available
The Dell XPS 27 7760 is a multi-touch all-in-one desktop that has a display of 27″. The display resolution of the computer is 4K / UHD (3840 x 2160). Not a big fan of touch displays on the primary photo editing device. They tend to be fingerprint magnets and then you have to clean them up regularly.
The display on the computer is a stunning 27″ which offers UHD resolution. The display covers 100% of the Adobe RGB color gamut. The computer comes with the Dell PremierColor software that will adapt content to display them correctly within the Adobe RGB color gamut.
The Dell XPS is powered by a 3.4 GHz Intel Core i7-6700 Quad-Core processor (6th Generation). The processor clocks 3.4 GHz when running at normal load. However, it can be overclocked to 4.0 GHz when you need to handle heavier processing loads.
It comes with a built-in memory of 32 GB DDR4 RAM (2133 MHz). There is a provision to expand the memory and you can add up to an additional 64 GB of memory.
The system is not labeled as an “all-in-one” for nothing. The audio quality is exceptional. The display comes with an integrated sound bar that incorporates ten well-concealed speakers and amplifiers. Additionally, there are two tweeters as well as four full range drivers that give a fantastic sound effect for watching movies or playing games.
Graphics processor on the Dell is an AMD Radeon R9 M485X graphics card with 4 GB of integrated GDDR5 memory.
Internal storage of the computers is a hefty 2 TB hard drive plus a 32 GB SSD used as cache for faster loading of applications and operating system.
4. Dell XPS 8930 Tower Desktop
The Dell XPS 8930 is a tower desktop (no display included). The desktop is powered by an 8th generation Core i7-8700 6-core processor. The maximum clock speed of the processor is 3.20 GHz and when overclocked the processor can clock a maximum of 4.60 GHz.
The processor is paired with a 16 GB DDR4 RAM (2666 MHz). Internal storage on the desktop is a 2 TB HDD (7200 RPM SATA). There is an optical drive as well on the desktop.
Graphics on the system is powered by an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 processor with 4 GB GDDR5 integrated memory. The desktop comes with Intel UHD Graphics 630.
The desktop has a series of connectivity options. These include 1 display port, 1 HDMI port and 1 DVI port. The device is powered by Windows 10 preloaded which should take care of all your photo editing and video editing tasks.Dell XPS 8930-7814BLK-PUS Tower Desktop - 8th Gen Intel Core i7-8700 Processor, 32GB...
- 8th Generation Intel i7-8700 6-Core 3.20 GHz Processor (12M Cache, up to 4.60 GHz), Windows 10 Pro (64-bit)
- 32GB DDR4 2666MHz Memory, 1TB SATA Hard Drive + 16GB Intel Optane Memory Accelerated, DVD-RW Drive
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 6GB GDDR5 Graphics (3x Display Port, 1x HDMI, 1x DVI), Intel UHD Graphics 630
- Dell Wireless 802.11a/c + Bluetooth v4.1, Integrated 5.1 Channel Audio with Waves MaxxAudio Pro
- 1 Year Limited Warranty, Dell USB Laser Mouse - Black, Dell Wired Keyboard - Black, No Monitor Included
5. Dell 3668 Inspiron
August 2019 Update: No Longer Available
The Dell 3668 Inspiron is a mid-range tower desktop PC (no display provided). The desktop is powered by a 7th Generation Intel Quad Core i7 processor with an integrated memory of 16 GB DDR4. The processor clocks 3.6 GHz. It can be overclocked to a maximum of 4.2 GHz. Internal storage on the desktop is a 2 TB HDD.
The processor is paired by an internal memory of 16 GB DDR4 2400 MHz RAM. Internal storage is 2 TB.
Graphics processor on the desktop is powered by NVIDIA GeForce GT 730 GPU with an integrated memory of 2 GB.
The device comes with a series of connectivity options including two USB 3.0, 4 x USB 2.0, a HDMI port and an audio jack output. The desktop comes with an optical drive (DVD-RW) and an Ethernet port. Windows 10 come preloaded into the system.2017 Newest Dell 3668 Inspiron 7th Generation Mid Size Tower Computer PC (Intel Quad...
- 1- Year Limited Hardware Warranty and 90 days Limited Technical Support for Software and Initial Setup (From Date Of...
- Intel Quad Core i7-7700, 7th Generation High Performance 3.6GHz Processor.
- 16GB DDR4 2400MHz RAM / 2 TB Hard Drive. ( McAfee LiveSafe ) Free Internet Security For 1 Year.
- 2GB NVIDIA GeForce GT 730 Graphics, 802.11 Wireless-N + Bluetooth 4.0, 2 x USB 3.0, 4 x USB 2.0, 1 x HDMI, 1 x...
- Microsoft Windows 10 Professional (64-bit). Comes With 1 Year Brand New Limited Warranty. Comes In Original Brand New...
6. Lenovo ThinkCentre M710 Tower
This is yet another desktop computer ideally suitable for the purpose of photography (and videography). The Lenovo ThinkCentre M710 is a Tower PC (no display included). It is powered by an Intel Quad Core i5-7400 (7th Generation) processor. The base clock speed of the desktop is 3 GHz but it can be overclocked to a maximum of 3.5 GHz when you need to run resource hogging applications.
The system has an integrated memory of 16 GB DDR4 (2400 MHz), with a 500 GB SSD unit making up for the internal storage. Window 10 comes preloaded into the system.
The desktop comes with a series of connectivity options including two USB 3.1 Gen 1 ports, two USN 2.0 ports and an Ethernet port. There is also a VGA port and two DisplayPorts along with PS/2 ports for keyboard and mouse.
- 3.0 GHz Intel Core i5-7400 Quad-Core
- 8GB of 2400 MHz DDR4 RAM
- Integrated Intel HD Graphics 630
- 1TB 7200 rpm SATA 3.5' Hard Drive
- SuperMulti DVD Burner
- 1 x Gigabit Ethernet Port
- USB 3.0 Type-A - USB 2.0 Type-A - PS/2
- DisplayPort - VGA
- USB Wired Keyboard & Mouse Included
- Windows 10 Pro (64-bit)
7. Intel NUC8 VR Machine Mini PC Kit
August 2019 Update: No Longer Available
Barebones systems are not a new concept in desktop computing. We have been using it for some time now. These systems give the ultimate in terms of freedom to configure your desktop computer. Under the right circumstances, that is. For someone who wants an up and ready system that s/he can use straight out of the box, barebones systems are not for them.
Barebones systems, as the name suggests, are mini-PCs which don’t have an operating system, RAM, and hard drive installed. So, you will have to get all of these, install and load them before you can start using it. Works for some advanced users, definitely not suitable for someone who needs to get up and running in the minimum possible time.
The Intel NUC8 VR, by definition, is a barebones system. This system can be upgraded (or brought to working condition) by adding RAM, operating system, and a hard drive. The processor inside the NUC8 VR is a 3.1 GHz Intel Core i7-8809G (eight generation) quad-core system.
Related Post: Best External Hard Drives for Photographers (10 Top Picks)
There are slots for 2×2400 MHz DDR4 SO-DIMM RAM. You can add up to 32 GB of memory on to the device. Additionally, there are slots for 2 x PCIe 3.0 x 4M.22242/2280. You can attach up to two SSD units in different RAID combinations. Paired with the processor is a Radeon RX Vega M GH graphics processor unit with 4 GB of integrated memory on board.
Integrated into the system are media card readers capable of reading all types of SD cards (SD, SDHC, and SDXC. The system comes with 2 Thunderbolt 3 ports, HDMI and Mini-DisplayPort. Additionally, there are a total of 7 USB ports. It is compatible with Bluetooth devices and is VR ready.
The NUC8 VR supports a maximum of 6 displays. Scalable and fast this is the ideal solution when you are working on a budget.
8. Microsoft Surface Studio
We finally come to the Microsoft Surface Studio. The Surface Studio is powered by an Intel Core i7 processor. The processor is capable of clocking 2.7 GHz. Integrated memory on the computer is 32 GB of GDDR5. Graphics is powered by a NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980M GPU with 4 GB integrated memory. Internal storage on the computer is 2 TB of hybrid drive.
Additionally, there is a secondary 128 GB SSD installed which should result in faster booting time and better performance when loading applications. As a result, making the Microsoft Surface Studio one of the best desktops for photography.
The salient feature of the computer is the fact that it can transform from a desktop computer to a studio laptop device in no time. The 28″ screen size gives a display resolution of 4500 x 3000 pixels. It supports multi-touch with your fingers as well as the Surface Pen.
Integrated connectivity ports include 4 x USB 3.0 Type-A, 1 x Mini DisplayPort, a 3.5mm Aux out for headphone/sound bar and mic in jack. Apart from these, there is also an integrated microphone and a speaker for crisp sound when watching videos or mixing sound.
There is also a flash media slot that allows all types of SD cards to be accepted including SD, SDHC, and SDXC.Microsoft Surface Studio (1st Gen) (Intel Core i7, 32GB RAM, 2TB)
- Includes Surface Pen, Surface Keyboard, Surface Mouse and a Zero Gravity Hinge that moves the display weightlessly from...
- Enjoy a 28-inch adjustable PixelSense Display with touchscreen and 13.5 million pixels of color and clarity
- With Intel Core processors accelerated by a discrete NVIDIA GeForce dGPU, Surface Studio is up for anything
- Reinvent the way you create with a unique set of tools like Surface Pen, Surface Dial*, and Windows Ink
- Microsoft Surface Studio: Touch it. Draw on it. Visualize and develop your ideas like you would on a sheet of paper
Minimum Specs for a Photo Editing Desktop
(RAM, CPU, Storage, Graphics Cards)
Looking for the best desktop for photography? The criterions for buying a desktop to edit your photos and videos involve more than just a high display resolution. It requires the ability to multi-task handling several editing applications at the same time without any visible lag time. Finally, it also requires a large display with a high resolution.
High resolution is imperative both from the point of view of image editing as well as video editing. A higher resolution ensures that you can view an image in a large format without the image getting pixilated. When editing video you can get a larger view of the timeline.
Intel’s Core i7 is a good place to start. With the latest 8th Generation processor now available, it would be a nice way to future-proof your investment; at least for the next few years. Technically, you can still run Photoshop and Lightroom on an older Core i5 processor, but you wouldn’t like the experience nor have the patience to edit a large number of RAW files after a while.
Speed is the operative word here. And for that, you need the latest processors with a high number of cores. You don’t have to go crazy and buy the latest 12-core Intel Core i9 processor, as the processor alone will set you back by a thousand bucks. A six to eight core is sufficient for photo and video editing.
Still on the subject of speed, ideally, the best desktop for photography is the one that comes with a high-speed RAM, preferably 32 gigs of it.
Graphics Processor & Connectivity
You also need a decent graphics processor unit. Plus, the ability mount several connectivity ports such as HDMI, USB 3.1 and the ability to mount SD cards. You need the ability to mount both SD, SDHC and SDXC cards.
Related Post: Best Laptops for Photo Editing (12 Laptops Compared)
Storage is a highly debated topic. There is a clear line of demarcation between users who prefer to have a high storage. They would want to store as many of their RAW images right on the computer itself. Then there are the other types of users who prefer to store as much as possible to an external (offline) storage unit. Storing a huge number of RAW files to a cloud storage can be quite expensive. It is better to store them to two or more external storages in a RAID 1 architecture. That way all the drives would be available for accessing of data at any time.
Going by this logic, even a small 256 GB SSD drive would be enough as the primary storage unit on a computer. You can always back up your RAW and JPEG files to the external storage unit as and when necessary.
So, without further ado, let’s take a look at the best desktop for photography.
|Best for a Computer Science Degree||Dell XPS 13|
|Best for a Creative Arts Degree||Apple Macbook|
|Best Durable College Laptop||HP Stream 13|
|Best for Design/Photoshop||Surface Book|
|Best Midrange College Laptop||ASUS X551MA|
If there’s anything a college student needs the most in today’s world of constantly-connected campuses, it’s a solid and reliable laptop. But with so many choices on the market, it can be almost impossible to do the research yourself, especially if you’re busy getting ready for classes. So, we took the research into our hands, looking at over 50 different laptops online, ranging from Chromebooks to ultrabooks and everything in between. As we were doing our preliminary research online, we took into account customer sentiment, price and availability. Finally, we determined which of these 50 machines would make it into our top 10 and bought those ones to test them in real time.
During our testing, we focused on key features and performance metrics like processor speed, display quality and overall durability. We even put the computers through different tasks like gaming, streaming media and creative software to see which one performed the best. After all this rigorous testing, we are proud to announce that the Dell XPS 13 9370 is the cream of the crop laptop for college students. Although it’s a little on the pricey side, the XPS offers eye-watering performance and an incredibly crisp, clear display. These features make it the perfect computer for students who want something to last past graduation. Keep reading to learn more about the Dell XPS 13 and the other 4 laptops we picked as the best laptops for college students in 2019.
Table of Content:
- 1 Our Top Laptops for College Picks
- 2 How We Chose the Best College Laptops
Our Top Laptops for College Picks
Best for a Computer Science Degree Dell XPS 13 9370
The Dell XPS 13 laptop might be on the pricier side, but with that you get ultrabook performance.
Price: View Price Features: InfinityEdge display, touchscreen, Intel Core i7-8500U 4.0 GHz Processor
WHY IT’S A TOP PICK: The Dell XPS 13 puts portability and power in a punchy, flexible package.
A little on the pricier side – though cheaper than the Surface Book – Dell’s XPS13 is entirely worth
With a 13.3-inch, 4K Ultra HD InfinityEdge Touch display, 8GB of RAM, 256GB SSD, the XPS 13 is the perfect mix of power and flexibility that college students need from their daily driver. The Dell XPS 13 will be able to keep up with even the most demanding tasks, whether that’s using tools like Photoshop and AutoDesk 3DS Max, or programming software like Android Studio and Eclipse.
The Dell XPS 13 is also the perfect entertainment machine. With its 13.3-inch 4K InfinityEdge display, it has one of the sharpest images you’ll see on a portable machine. It’s perfect for the media professional, but also great for watching movies, TV shows, and even doubles as a halfway decent gaming laptop.
Best Creative Arts College Laptop Apple MacBook Air
The MacBook Air first got cool on college campuses, and the new version still hasn’t lost its edge
Price: View Price Features: Force Touch trackpad, Retina display with True Tone technology, 12hr battery life
WHY IT’S A TOP PICK: No other laptop has the same “cool” factor as a new MacBook.
After years of waiting for a refresh, Apple has finally released a new MacBook Air model, this time with an upgraded processor and a Retina display, all while managing to make the machine thinner than it’s ever been. The old MacBook Air used to be a dominant force among college student, but since Apple took forever to update it, you’re less likely to see it on campus. Until now.
Apple still makes the
The inclusion of the Force Touch mousepad is perfect for students who need to navigate through a lot of content quickly and easily, while macOS continues to be the operating system of choice among departments dedicated to the creative arts.
If you have to run macOS for your particular program, or just want a dependable all-around best college laptop that’s perfect for any kind of project, Apple’s MacBook Pro is still king with college students everywhere and of course it works with Apples TV.
Best Durable College Laptop ASUS ZenBook 13
With its aluminum body and free year of accidental damage protection, the ZenBook 13 is the most durable option on our list.
Price:View Price Features: Durable aluminum shell, 512GB of SSD storage, Windows 10 Home pre-installed
WHY IT’S A TOP PICK: The ASUS ZenBook 13 wins on its raw ability to take a punch while still maintaining a slim and portable profile.
If there’s one thing parents know about their kids, it’s how clumsy they can be when it comes to keeping their technology in one piece. The ASUS ZenBook is definitely the most durable laptop on this list, with its tough aluminum body that can take a hit or two.
With a 13.3-inch Full HD display, an Intel Core i5-8265u processor, 8GB of RAM, and 512GB of SSD storage, the ZenBook 13 is powerful and zippy, coming in at an attractive price tag under $1,000.
But what makes the ASUS ZenBook 13 one of the best college laptops for students? Its ultra portability, the fact that it comes with Windows 10 Home pre-installed and a year of free accidental damage protection from ASUS ADP, a perfect fit for busy college students..
Best for Design/Photoshop Microsoft Surface Pro 6
The Surface Pro 6 is flexible, versatile and ultra portable.
Price:Check on Amazon Features: Convertible design, touchscreen, 12.3″ display
WHY IT’S A TOP PICK: If you’re in creative design, the Surface Book Pro loves to get drawn on.
With Microsoft’s Surface Pro, you’re in for a treat. Fast, portable, and easy to set up. The Surface Pro 6 also offers two different uses – laptop, and tablet (or “clipboard” mode). This adds to the portability, making it fantastic for the on-the-go student and one of our top picks for one of the best college laptops.
With the base unit starting with a 12.3-inch display, an Intel Core i5 processor, 8GB of RAM, and 128GB of SSD storage, the Surface Pro 6 is perfect for the student that can handle the demands of Graphic Design and/or demanding software tools like CAD and Photoshop.
And the ability to transform the Surface Pro into a tablet is another great feature because it removes the need for another device. It’s truly one of the best laptops for college students.
Best Chromebook for College Acer Chromebook 15
The Acer Chromebook 15 is one of Acer’s most powerful Chromebooks yet.
Price:View Price Features: Intel Celeron N3350 processor, 15.6″ FHD touchscreen
WHY IT’S A TOP PICK: The Acer Chromebook 15 is perfect for work or play on campus.
Acer’s Chromebook 15 is lightweight for perfect portability, has a 2.4GHz processor, and falls just under $300. Add that to the sleek, modern design and you have a solid all-around machine for any member of the family.
Although the Toshiba Chromebook 2 beat the Acer 15 in screen quality, the Acer is still great for college students because it packs in just a few more of the features that kids want like big speakers to share media with their friends, and a slightly roomier display if they need to multitask on multiple projects at once.
Whether you need to write a paper or collaborate
Jump Back Up: Compare the top college laptops and their features.
How We Chose the Best College Laptops
When looking for the best laptops for college students, we pulled from a wide range of options both in price and features to give you the broadest spectrum of options available.
How To Make Computer Type For You On Nitrotype
Just like every college student is different, so is the laptop choice that’s right for them. Some don’t need a lot of power and prefer portability over everything else, while others might require a machine that can render 3D models and watch lectures streaming online at the same time. Because laptops go everywhere with their corresponding college student, every choice we’ve made here is durable enough to stand up to punishment for all four years they’re earning their degree, but also light enough to slide into a backpack quickly and easily without any hassle.
A laptop for college needs to boot quickly, run smoothly, and be able to run almost any program you can think of (in case next semester you decide you want to pursue VFX design instead of biochemistry). Ultimately the laptop that’s right for you or your kids will combine all the best aspects of a laptop into one complete package at a cost that’s manageable for your expectations.
Key Factors to a Top Laptop For College
Performance: There’s no need to overbuy in power. Find the right power for your needs. For instance, if you’re just picking up a laptop for writing papers, you might not need something with a large capacity SSD, a hefty processor, and 8GB of RAM..and with it a hefty price tag. Likewise, if you’re buying something for a Graphic Design or CAD class, you’ll likely need something much heftier than just 4GB of RAM and a dual-core processor even if that processor is an intel core i7. Find a laptop that meets your needs and sets you up for success.
Portability: Make sure to purchase a thin and lightweight laptop. There’s nothing worse than carrying around a chunky laptop that’s awkward and heavy to lug around campus or to the library. It’s also good practice to make sure your laptop has a small footprint, allowing you to easily put it in most backpacks or carrying bags alongside textbooks and other study materials.
Battery: Find a laptop with a good battery, preferably one that’ll last you all day and then some. For instance, the ASUS C201 has a battery that lasts up to 13-hours, giving you plenty of study time during the day and then some. While you might not need that much, it’s good to search for the best college laptops that will last a little over three hours.
Who Should Buy a Laptop for College
Of course, you don’t have to be straight out of high school to be in the market for a new college laptop. Whether you’re unpacking your bags in a dorm away from home for the first time or returning after a long hiatus to finish up your master’s degree, buying a fresh laptop before classes start in the fall is always a solid investment.
What classes you plan on taking, as well as the degree you’re pursuing should have an impact on the best college laptop you eventually choose to go with. If you need something sleek and powerful that can turn on instantly for rapid-fire notetaking, the Dell XPS 13 or Zenbook UX360AC should suit the job just fine. But, if you’re worried about spending a ton of cash on the best college laptop that not might last more than a few months without getting beer spilled in the keyboard, the HP Stream 13 and Acer C201 are cheaper, durable options that can weather any alcohol-related storm.
Mistakes to Avoid When Buying a Laptop for College
Don’t make the mistake of buying the wrong operating system. Some school programs will specifically require either a Windows or OSX-based laptop (be sure to check your syllabus) for programs like Photoshop and Gimp. If your learning is strictly reading books, writing papers, and taking quizzes, then you might not need the aforementioned operating systems. In that case opt for a Chromebook, especially if all your activities will be
Another thing to avoid is having too little RAM or hard drive space. A solid laptop for students will have just enough storage capacity and RAM for studying, completing assignments, and play. If your degree program requires a lot of heavy-duty software, find a laptop that has 4GB of RAM or more and a hard drive with 500GB of storage space or more. This will be enough to ensure that any software you throw on your computer runs smoothly without any hiccups. And keep in mind that an SSD hard drive will increase speeds as well, especially start up time.
And never buy at full retails. As a student always
Most Important Features
- As far as Windows laptops go, and you don’t use many programs, look for a hard drive with a capacity of 256GB or higher. It’ll meet your needs and then some.
- If you’re a power user, look for 500GB or higher so there’s more than enough space for other content.
- If most of your activity takes place on the Web, then you might not need a hard drive larger than 32GB, which is just enough space for the operating system and storing a handful of documents offline.
- If possible, find a solid-state drive over a traditional hard drive. Performance and speeds will increase astronomically. A 256gb SSD should be plenty.
- Make sure you choose enough hard drive space. Otherwise, you may need to invest in external hard drives later, rather than by another laptop. Or have to buy an extra SD card.
- If you need to do anything more demanding than just using a web browser, to find the best college laptop, look for one that has at least 4GB of RAM or more, ideally 8GB, especially if you plan on using programs like Photoshop.
- If you’re just using a web browser, look for a college laptop with a minimum of 2GB of RAM. Your computer, whether it be Windows or Chrome OS, won’t even use that much, but it still ensures the speed and responsiveness of your machine.
- Alternatively, find a machine that you can upgrade the RAM yourself, which can save you money during the initial investment.
- It’s important to find the right operating system for your College program. If you’re in Computer Science or something that requires you to use Windows or Mac applications, it’s good to shy away from Chromebooks.
- If your studying takes place online and doesn’t require you to use any Windows or Mac applications, jump the gun and get a Chromebook.
- A lower clocked dual-core processor below 2GHz won’t slow down your laptop if you’re using it for minor tasks like writing papers, browsing the web, watching media, and so on.
- If you’re in a degree program that has some demanding programs (e.g. Photoshop, Autodesk 3DS Max, and medical software), make sure you look for a quad-core processor with a clock speed of 2GHz or higher. Not only will it last you longer running these types of programs, but rendering and general speed will be a lot faster and more efficient than a dual-core CPU below 2GHz. Pay
attentionengineering students. This goes for video editing too.
- At the same time, don’t overbuy in processor clock speed. For instance, there aren’t many differences between a quad-core 3.7GHz processor and a quad-core 3.9GHz processor. The only real difference is the much higher price tag. There’s little effect as far as processing power and efficiency goes.
- Finding a good display has much to do with the size that you’re comfortable with and need to work with. Whether it be 11-inch or 17-inch displays, they’re each an HD display as long as they have a resolution of 720p or higher. Anything below that is often blurry and has very little clarity. Keep this in mind when choosing screen sizes. Look for Intel UHD graphics for a top-end experience. Intel UHD is an integrated graphics unit that ups your graphics considerably.
- You’ll want to make sure your display has a refresh rate of at least 60Hz to avoid any screen tearing or altered graphics when playing games and watching movies.
- The display you purchase should have built-in features for reducing eye strain, such as dimming the brightness or even having a feature for night use. This will help a lot as far as eye strain goes.
- A touch screen is nice, but not necessary for every situation. Touchscreen laptops are great for certain things, but what about your needs? The same goes for a convertible laptop like the Microsoft Surface Pro. Some things are just not ideal for every situation. Avoid gimmicks like a backlit keyboard since you are not looking for a laptop to play games.
- Some lectures can last over four hours in a single sitting, which is why you’ll want a laptop that can at least double up on two of those a day without needing a recharge.
- Most good quality laptops will have built-in power saving features that can stretch their life to 10 hours or more.
- You should be able to get a full charge in just two to three hours, allowing you to quickly get back to work whenever needed.
- The best laptops for college students will have more than a single USB port. More manufacturers are headed towards just including one USB port, but it’s truly a hassle to deal with, as you can’t really plug in any extra peripherals or accessories without connecting a USB hub first. So make sure that it also has USBC ports.
- Make sure the laptop you buy has an HDMI, DVI, VGA, or Display Port. You never know when you might need to switch to a bigger screen, and having one of these ports will let you do that, with VGA being the most common for projectors you’d find in the average classroom.
Mac Pro For Gaming
Which Best College Laptop for Students is right for you?
Need something powerful that can handle the demands from Photoshop and/or CAD? Then the Microsoft Surface Book and Dell XPS 13 are laptops that are right up your alley.
Alternatively, if you’re looking for something more humble for doing your everyday tasks at college and maybe a little media consumption when you have some time off, then the ASUS X551MA or HP Stream 13 are both laptops to consider.
Choose a laptop based on what it does, not how it is marketed. For instance, some business laptops are great for school situations, but not all are.
And, then there are Chromebooks, web-based best college laptops. Some are hesitant to jump on the Chromebook bandwagon, and might not consider them the best laptops for college students, simply because you can’t use Windows-based software on it. You might be surprised, but more often than not, we just don’t use the programs on Windows, strictly using web browsers like Chrome and Firefox for all of our computer use.
Some popular laptops that you might want to consider are Lenovos Legion y530, the Legion y530 is solid, Chromebook x2, Zenbook Pro, Acer Nitro, Asus Vivobook, Acer Aspire,
Can My Computer Type For Me
Still not sure if these are the best laptops for college students? Then take a look at our laptops for college reviews and other laptop buying guides, as they might just be able to help you make that final decision to purchase your perfect laptop. Whether a budget laptop or a high-end laptop, you will be armed with an awesome school helper.