Hwaht Ist Hte Best Mac Laptop For A College Student

Posted By admin On 15.02.22

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Whether you're a rising college freshman or a fourth-year grad student, there are a few factors to consider when purchasing a computer for school work.

The Rundown

  • Best Overall:Acer Aspire E 15 at Amazon, “The ideal mix of value and performance that's built to last.”
  • Best Rugged:ASUS Chromebook at Amazon, “A rugged computer that’s capable of being repeatedly thrown in your backpack.”
  • Best 2-in-1:Acer Chromebook R 11 at Amazon, “A laptop that can handle both homework and extra-curricular internet use.”
  • Best Lightweight:ASUS ZenBook S at Amazon, “A 2.2-pound, 0.5-inch thick design made from aerospace-grade aluminum.”
  • Best Apple: MacBook Air at Amazon, 'It's portable, offers great battery life, boasts a gorgeous display, and packs more than enough power to spare.'
  • Best Value:Dell XPS 13 at Dell.com, 'Has the performance and memory to handle a last-minute essay and a stream of your favorite Netflix series at the same time.'
  • Best Budget:HP 15 at Amazon, “The trade-off in power and ability is well worth the extra heft.”

Our Top Picks

Best Overall: Acer Aspire E 15 E5-576-392H


The latest Acer Aspire model is the ideal mix of value and performance that's built to last through all your college years. It’s also significantly cheaper than most high-end laptops, which college students can truly appreciate. First off, it contains an 8th-Generation Intel Core i3 processor, 6GB dual-channel memory, and a 1TB hard drive. It also features Intel Turbo Boost Technology for smooth video streaming and high-speed performance, along with a long-lasting 13.5-hour battery. The hardware should satisfy the needs of most college students, but if your workload is particularly demanding, then upgrading the memory or hard drive is a simple process — just open the easy-access compartment in the bottom of the laptop to replace the parts.

The Acer Aspire is built for both work and entertainment. The 15.6-inch screen features full HD resolution, although the color isn't as vibrant as some of its competitors. This model is also on the heavier side at 5.27 pounds. However, it comes with a DVD drive, SD slot, and has port space for USB 3.0, 2.0, Type-C, as well as Ethernet and HDMI inputs. As an added bonus, you can even charge your USB-connected devices when the laptop is powered down.

Want to take a look at some other options? See our guide to the best Acer laptops.

Best for Durability: ASUS Chromebook C202SA-YS02


The ASUS Chromebook C202 is a rugged computer that’s capable of being repeatedly thrown in your backpack. It has a spill-resistant keyboard, a reinforced rubber bumper to protect it from minor drops and scratches, and nano-molding technology on its edges and corners to reduce the impact of falls. In a drop test, the Chromebook C202 was capable of withstanding a fall from as high as 3.9 feet — and that's particularly impressive given it only weighs 2.65 pounds.

The C202’s 11.6-inch 1366 x 768 display even comes equipped with anti-glare technology, so you can work while you catch some rays on the quad. With a 180-degree hinge, you can also manipulate the laptop into whatever angle you like. On the inside, it packs an Intel Celeron N3060 Processor ( 2M cache up to 2.48 GHz) and 16GB of flash storage. The Chromebook runs on, you guessed it, Chrome OS, so you can download and edit files via Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides. Like other Chromebook models, the C202 also employs automatically-updating anti-virus protection so you don't have to worry about accidentally downloading any malicious software when you're surfing the web.

Interested in reading more reviews? Take a look at our selection of the best ASUS laptops.

Best 2-in-1: Acer Chromebook R 11


Every college student needs a laptop that can handle both homework and extra-curricular internet use — like those early morning hours when you’re five hours deep into a Netflix original series. The Acer Chromebook R 11 gets an A+ for both. The convertible, 360-degree laptop/tablet runs on Chrome OS, so you can download apps — both productive and just for fun — from the Google Play Store and use Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides to complete your classwork.

With an Intel Celeron N3150 Quad-Core Processor 1.6GHz with Intel Burst Technology up to 2.08GHz combined with 4GB of onboard memory and 32GB of internal storage, the Chromebook R 11 multitasks with ease. Built-in virus protection — which updates itself automatically — also safeguards your files, so you don't have to worry about crashes or data loss. And once you’ve submitted your report or finished your online quiz, you can flip the screen all the way back to enjoy your favorite games and shows in tablet mode on its 11.6-inch HD IPS touch display with 1366 x 768 resolution. The battery life is rated at about 10 hours, so it’ll last you a full day of classes and then some. You also get 100GB of free storage on Google Drive for two years, so you won't have to worry about storing important documents or photos.

Want to take a look at some other options? See our guide to the best 2-in-1 laptops.

Best Lightweight: ASUS ZenBook S


The ASUS ZenBook S is one of the most rugged and portable laptops out there, with a 2.2-pound, 0.5-inch thick design made from aerospace-grade aluminum. It’s got a neat backlit, tilting keyboard, too, that can angle your typing surface by 5.5 inches. This function also allows for additional airflow which helps keep the machine cool — in tandem with a copper-alloy heat pipe and liquid-crystal-polymer fan — so it won't sound like a rocket ship when it's working hard. Add in a headphone jack and three USB-C ports (with two that can handle Thunderbolt 3 cables) and you’ve got some serious connectivity in this highly portable device.

The ZenBook S also comes with Alexa integration for voice commands and a lithium polymer battery that can last up to 9 hours without a charge. You can gear it up with either an i5 or i7 Intel CPU for some serious power in exceptionally small form, and you can outfit your ZenBook S with either 8GB or 16GB of RAM for a smooth, multi-app running experience. If you’re looking for something a little different, you can opt for the laptop in Deep Dive Blue or Burgundy Red. Media-types will dig being able to add a 4K glossy touchscreen as an option, with HD glossy non-touch or HD anti-glare screens as the other two.

Best Apple: MacBook Air

Since their conception, MacBooks have been extremely popular laptops among college students and, for most, Apple’s MacBook Air is the one to buy. It’s slim, it’s portable, offers great battery life, boasts a gorgeous display, and packs more than enough power to spare for the needs of most college programs. In short, Apple has taken a formidable MacBook for college students and made it even better, with a screen that is, rest assured, easy on the eyes.

Under the hood, you’re still getting a 1.6GHz 8th-generation Intel Core i5 CPU that can burst up to 3.6GHz when you need it, plus 8 GB of RAM and a 128 GB SSD. If all you’re doing is writing essays, this base model will likely be more than enough, but you can bump both the RAM and the SSD up to 16GB or 1TB, respectively, if you have a few extra bucks to spend. Of course, it goes without saying that your course load will help determine this as well, but remember that there are also a pair of Thunderbolt 3 USB-C ports, so keeping some high-speed external storage on hand back in your dorm room is always an option, too.

At only 2.75 pounds and 0.61 inches thick, it’s portable enough that it won’t weigh you down, and its 12- to 13-hour battery life means it will easily keep you going all day long without needing to worry about toting a charger around. Apple has also built-in its T2 security chip, along with Touch ID, which will keep your work encrypted and also help protect your MacBook should it ever get lost.

Or you could step up the processing power with one of the best MacBook Pro models of 2019. Your choice.

Best Value: Dell XPS 13

Packed with power, the Dell XPS 13 is a lightweight, portable laptop with the performance and memory to handle a last-minute essay and a stream of your favorite Netflix series — at the same time. Weighing just 2.7 pounds, the laptop can be outfitted with the new 8th Gen Intel Quad Core processors, meaning performance isn’t impacted when multiple applications are running. The screen has a 4K Ultra HD resolution with 8 million pixels and 1500:1 contrast ratio for a stunning visual experience. The 400-nit brightness and anti-reflective screen let students use it either inside or out, while the 21-hour battery life allows it to last between long days of classes and late-night study sessions.

A new HD webcam located at the front and center of the top of the frame delivers crystal-clear images, temporal noise reduction, and better video quality for calls back home or with friends across the country. Sleek and sophisticated, the laptop is available in frost, rose gold, or platinum silver colors.

Best Budget: HP 15-BS013DX


If you have a $500 budget to play with, you'll have no trouble finding a value laptop suitable for college students. Right now, our favorite is the HP 15-BS013DX which delivers a 15.6-inch touchscreen, an Intel i3-7100U processor, a 1 TB hard drive (AKA tons of storage), and a full 8 G of RAM to keep things responsive and smooth. The Intel HD Graphics 620 card will run some decent games when you need to take a break from your studies, too. Add Bluetooth, two USB 3.1 plugs, and an HDMI port, and you’ve got a killer machine that will feel equally at home in the coffee shop as in the class (or dorm) room.

While it might be a bit unwieldy at 15' x 10' x 0.9' and 4.5 pounds, the trade-off in power and ability is well worth the extra heft. Reviewers on Best Buy really like the features included (touch screen, more RAM, etc.) for the price — especially if you'll be doing little more than surfing the web, streaming videos, and typing up Word documents.

Tested by

How We Tested

We bought five top-rated laptops for college students that our reviewers tested for more than 100 hours. We asked our testers to consider the most important features when using these laptops, from their operating system to their durability. We’ve outlined the key takeaways here so that you, too, know what to look for when shopping.

What to Look for in a College Laptop

Operating system -Apple’s Macs are known for having an intuitive interface that’s sleek and ideal for designers, while Windows PCs are capable of more customization and are often better suited for productivity.

Portability -If you need something that’s easy to toss into your backpack, you might prefer a smaller and lighter model like a two-in-one. However, if you’re mostly working in your dorm, a larger laptop might not be so cumbersome. For creative or design students, a larger screen is likely necessary.

Budget -Between buying textbooks and planning spring break, college doesn’t come cheap. If you’re looking to save a few dollars on a laptop, you can still get plenty of premium features, like a cutting-edge processor or advanced security features. If you’ve got some cash to spare, you might be more comfortable splurging on a MacBook, which has unrivaled displays.

Test Results: Acer Aspire E 15 E5-576-392H (Best Overall)


What We Like

  • High-quality display

  • Extensive battery life

  • Good speed

What We Don't Like

  • Heavy

  • Internet connectivity issues

  • Lots of pre-installed software

This laptop came highly recommended by our testers as an overall good value. “It offers a great-quality display, relatively high speeds, an easy setup, and a great operating system (Windows 10),” remarked one of our reviewers. Our testers also enjoyed the long battery life. In terms of negatives, one of our reviewers reported “frequent issues with internet connectivity,” which didn’t happen with another laptop, and also didn’t like all of the pre-installed software. But while one of our testers wished the laptop were more lightweight, she declared, “For an everyday budget laptop, this is a great choice.”

Test Results: ASUS Chromebook C202SA-YS02 11.6-Inch (Best for Durability)


What We Like

  • Very portable

  • Great value

  • Impressive battery life

What We Don't Like

  • Limited features

  • Screen on the smaller side

One of our testers liked the “no frills” approach this Chromebook takes to give students exactly what they need for class. She said, “For the price, this has everything you need for school or home — docs and sheets, a camera, Internet access, and durability.” This laptop’s battery life also gets an A+ from our testers: “For school, I'm positive this computer would last a full day,” said one, “and likely have time for homework back at home.”

Test Results: Acer Chromebook R 11 Convertible, 11.6-Inch HD Touch Screen (Best 2-in-1)


What We Like

  • Stylish design

  • Intuitive touchscreen

  • Google integration

Our testers loved the fact that this laptop was integrated with Google, reporting that it made it easier for them to power through daily tasks. One of our reviewers also raved about its speed and responsiveness, saying it was “intuitive” and a “joy” to use. However, one of our testers did experience some ghost clicking, which caused the cursor to click on things when the user didn’t mean to. (This can usually be remedied by restarting the computer.)

Test Results: ASUS ZenBook S (Best Lightweight)


What We Like

Best Mac Laptop For Graphic Design

  • Very portable

  • Crisp screen display

  • Comes with case

Our testers loved that the ZenBook S was slim and portable: “You can easily hold it in one hand or carry in a small bag. I liked how it felt compact,” one wrote. Our reviewers also reported that the laptop has a crisp screen display, great-quality sound, and impressive battery life. One of our testers summed it up: “I felt the computer met and exceeded expectations for working quickly and being easy to use.”

Test Results: HP 15-BS013DX (Best Under $500)


What We Like

  • Attractive design with some premium touches

  • Includes a touchscreen

  • Good battery life

  • Big hard drive

What We Don't Like

  • Bloatware

  • Touchscreen could be easier to use

  • Display resolution is only 1366 x 768

Our tester felt that this laptop’s battery life was good compared to similar models. He also liked its design but wished that its touchscreen was more pleasant to use: “Something about the glossy screen causes the finger to stick and skid across instead of sliding smoothly,” he said. Other negatives were that it comes with too much bloatware and that it doesn’t have a full HD display. Overall, he thought that “you can get better overall specifications and performance for less money, but this is a budget-priced laptop that performs well enough.”

Best for a Computer Science DegreeDell XPS 13
  • 13.3-inch display
  • 1920x1080
  • Intel Core i5
  • 8GB RAM
  • 256GB
Best for a Creative Arts DegreeApple Macbook
  • 12-inch display
  • 2304x1440
  • Intel Core M3
  • 8GB RAM
  • 256GB SSD
Best Durable College LaptopHP Stream 13
  • 13.3-inch display
  • 1366x768
  • Intel Celeron N3050
  • 2GB RAM
  • 32GB SSD
Best for Design/PhotoshopSurface Book
  • 13.5-inch display
  • 3000x2000
  • Intel Core i5
  • 8GB RAM
  • 128GB
Best Midrange College LaptopASUS X551MA
  • 15.6-inch display
  • 1366x768
  • Intel Celeron N2815
  • 4GB RAM
  • 500GB

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.

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 it, and is truly one of the best college laptops for students in price and tech specs.

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

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 MacBook Pro in both 13″ and 15″ flavors, but unless you know you’ll be doing a lot of heavy rendering or running intensive applications, the Air model should handle nearly any job you can throw at it with ease. As cool as the MacBook Pro 15inch is, it is overkill.

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.

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.

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 in Google Drive, the Chromebook 15 will perform without a problem. And, just like any Chromebook, it comes with a free 100GB of Google Drive storage to give you plenty of room to store documents and other files while on the go.

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.

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.

Mac Laptop For College Students

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 Web based.

Which Macbook Is Best For College Students

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 be on the look for those student discounts, even if something already seems cheap!

What Is The Best Mac Laptop For A College Student

Most Important Features

Hard Drive

  • 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.

Operating System

  • 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 attention engineering 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.

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, Macbook Air, Asus Zenbook, the Huawei Matebook, Envy 13t, the Macbook Pro 15inch, Lenovo ThinkPad, HP Chromebook x2, Lenovo Yoga, and the X1 Carbon just to name a few. These are some of the best laptops you can buy. Also some of the most powerful laptops.

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.