Are you gearing up to start college this year? Or looking to gift a cool, hyper-functional laptop to someone who is? In either case, you need a device that has its finger on the pulse of the contemporary college crowd. College students are among the most ardent users of laptops, for they need their computers for everything, right from taking notes in the classroom to working on assignments and projects, from watching movies with friends to creating path-breaking multimedia content. But this audience does not only demand a laptop that caters to these requirements; the need of the hour is for a machine that does it all in style.
When you’re out hunting for a laptop for college, you need to consider the overall package. So, while the specifications and the features offered will be important, so will the build and design. Typically, you need a laptop you can lug around with you comfortably, without feeling burdened; it also needs to be resilient enough to sustain shocks and frantic use (read public transport and last-minute submissions).
In this comprehensive article, we have consolidated the very best laptops for college students 2019 that have it in them to serve your academic pursuits without breaking into a sweat. These laptops are also versatile enough to suit a variety of majors and courses, but we have made your job easier by identifying their core purpose. So, let us get started with finding you the perfect college buddy, shall we?
Best Laptop Screen Size for College Students
In the present laptop marketplace, you will find several form factors, starting at 11 inches and going up to 17. Which screen size would be ideally suited to college life? To answer this question, you need to ask yourself another: how do you imagine you will use your laptop? What computing requirements will your major and course have?
- 11-inch model: This is THE best option if portability is your top priority. Most 11-inch laptops are super light, mobile, and inexpensive. You can use them from most outdoor settings and pick them up with zero effort. Remember: these laptops are suitable mainly for standard requirements like working on documents and browsing the internet.
- 13-inch model: These are super-light too and incredibly portable. But they offer a little more real estate than their 11-inch counterparts.
- 14-inch model: You will be hard-pressed to find too many 14-inch laptops in the market. They offer an in-between package, the best offering of which is a large screen and long battery life. But they can be expensive–even more so than 15” laptops—and have not yet become incredibly popular.
- 15-inch model: This is a balanced choice that offers high performance as well as portability. Many 15” devices weigh in the range of 4–5lbs and are equipped with useful features for students, such as numerous USB drives, consistent internet connectivity, and decent battery life.
- 17-inch model: If your college major needs you to work extensively on multimedia content, heavy-duty programming, or 3D modeling, you should get a 17-inch laptop. It might be heavy, but it packs the performance and screen size you will require for majors such as architecture, graphic design or art. These laptops make ideal desktop replacements.
How to Choose the Best Laptop for College
We recommend a straightforward action plan for this potentially life-altering decision—it has only four question-oriented steps.
- Step 1: How will you use your laptop in college?
If you need to use CPU-intensive applications like Adobe Premiere Pro, run complicated programming interfaces or play video games, get a laptop with a top-of-the-line CPU, i.e., Intel Core i5 or above. You’ll also require 8–16GB RAM and high-speed SSD memory (128GB and above).
Else, you can get by with a cheaper CPU with a lower RAM and memory provision.
- Step 2: How important is portability to you?
If your college days are sure to involve considerable travel, get a laptop that:
- Is lightweight with a reliable build: Look for a 2-in-1. You can get a convertible that adapts to various modes like tablet and tent or a detachable with an un-pluggable keyboard.
- Has a long battery life: Scout for ultra-portable laptops that offer 10+ unplugged hours.
- Has adequate connectivity: Hunt for laptops with USB Type-C ports, HDMI, SD card readers, webcams, and Ethernet ports.
However, if you foresee college life to be stationary, you can choose the standard clamshell design (laptops with open-and-close lids). Many conventional, mid-sized laptops offer between 4–6 hours of battery backup.
- Step 3: What kind of a keyboard and touchpad will you need?
Is your college major related to creative writing, graphic design or computer programming? Choose a machine that has an ergonomic, precise, and backlit keyboard. The touchpad should be large, comfortable and support multi-touch gestures.
- Step 4: Do you need your laptop to deliver stutter-free graphics in absolute detail?
This will be crucial if your major involves multimedia content production, engineering, graphic design, architecture, or computer programming. While you can get a laptop with integrated graphics, opt for one that has a dedicated graphics processor (GPU) if your budget allows it.
Quick Checklist for the Ideal College Laptop
Well, so you have now established the various parameters to consider while selecting a laptop for your college major and course. However, when you go out to pick your dream-machine, be prepared to be overwhelmed by a market that is bursting at the seams. Choices abound aplenty, with every brand vying with the other for market-share.
Keep this checklist with you to zero down on the perfect match and stop this important purchase decision from becoming as arduous as the final exam.
|Criteria||What to Look For|
|Screen Size||11- or 13-inch for ultra portability but regular performance|
15-inch for balance between high performance and portability
17-inch for desktop-replacement laptop with excellent performance but low portability
|Processor||Intel Core i5 or above for CPU-intensive majors (multimedia, graphic design, programming, etc.)|
Intel Core i3 for laptops that will perform routine tasks
|RAM||8GB and above|
|Memory Space||128GB and above SSD memory for CPU-intensive majors|
1TB HDD (hard disk drive) for laptops intended to perform routine tasks
|GPU||Integrated graphics for regular-use laptops|
Dedicated GPU (e.g., NVIDIA GTX) for college majors involving intensive multimedia needs
|Battery Life||8–10 hours for ultra-portable laptops|
4–6 hours for standard, mid-sized laptops
|Connectivity||USB ports (Type-C included) to connect to devices and peripherals like mice and USB-drives|
HDMI port (and other display ports like VGA and DVI) to connect to external displays – This will be important for most college majors as students frequently need to showcase presentations
SD card reader – You will need this to transfer photos and other files, irrespective of your college course
Ethernet port – Don’t assess this as a dispensable criterion if your laptop has Wi-Fi. You will need it to get onto the internet at a campus spot without Wi-Fi
|Keyboard and Touchpad||Ergonomic, tactile and backlit keyboard|
Large and precise touchpad, preferably with gesture support
Top 20: The Best Laptops for College Students in 2019
1. Dell XPS 15 inch/13 inch – Best Dell Laptop for College Students (All College Majors)
This is how an all-rounder looks
Not surprisingly, this eternally reliable computer brand leads the list of the best laptops for college students. The Dell XPS 15 inch is fueled by an Intel i7 CPU, 16GB RAM, 512GB of storage, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050Ti graphics, and over 20 hours of battery backup. This makes it competent at (almost) anything—from research for your Biology major to simulation for your architecture course. The 13-inch model is also powerful (and available in gorgeous rose gold), but it supports integrated Intel UHD Graphics 620.
On the display front, you get an FHD (Full High Definition) screen with anti-glare, 400 nits brightness, a thin-bezel design (5.7mm or 0.22”), and a 100% sRGB color gamut. The IPS (In-Plane Switching) panel enables you to share content with your classmates/professors from various viewing angles. Note: The touch display comes separately.
Many students seek exemplary A/V support even if their major does not require it (think Netflix binge-watching sessions with your roomies). This laptop offers Dell Cinema—with CinemaStream and CinemaSound—for high-quality audio-video output.
This machine’s build is ideal for a travel-intensive college day: 4.41lbs and 0.43–0.66” (15-inch), 2.7lbs and 0.3″–0.46” (13-inch). Further enhancing the transferability are a backlit keyboard, a precise touchpad, and fingerprint-led sign-in via Windows Hello. The connectivity options include USB 3.1 ports, HDMI, Thunderbolt 3 ports, Killer 1535 Wireless-AC, and Ethernet. Bonus: Dell Mobile Connect lets you integrate your laptop and smartphone for added convenience on campus.
|Dell XPS 9570 Laptop Specs|
|Processor||8th Gen Intel Core i7-8750H, up to 4.1 GHz|
|Graphics||4GB NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti graphics|
|Display||15.6-inch FHD 1920x1080 Display|
|Memory||16GB 2666MHz DDR4 RAM|
|Storage||512GB PCIe Solid-State Drive|
|Battery Life||Up to 20 Hours|
|Weight||4.41 lbs (2kg)|
|Dimensions||Height: 0.45-0.66" (11-17mm) |
Width: 14.06" (357mm)
Depth: 9.27 in (235mm)
|New Dell XPS 13 9380 13-inch Specs|
|Display||13.3" FHD (1920x1080)|
13.3" 4K Ultra HD (3840x2160)
InfinityEdge Touch or Non-Touch
|Weight||2.7 lbs (1.23 kg)|
|Processor||Up to 8th Generation Intel Core i7-8565U|
|Graphics||Intel UHD Graphics 620|
|RAM||Up to 16GB|
|Storage||Up to 512GB SSD|
2. Apple MacBook Pro 15 inch/13 inch – Best Apple Laptop for College Students (All College Majors)
Soft spot for design grads, delightful features for all
You have to grant it to the MacBook; it has stood the test of time as a laptop that students not only love to flaunt but also find supremely functional. The Apple MacBook Pro 15 inch is perfect for all college majors as it delivers at not only day-to-day computing but also intensive tasks like engineering drawing and 3D design work in Final Cut Pro X. It is driven by an Intel i7 CPU, 16GB RAM (up to 32GB), 256GB of SSD memory (up to 2TB and 4TB in the 13-inch and 15-inch models respectively), Radeon Pro 555X/560X graphics (Intel Iris Plus Graphics 655 in the 13-inch model), and 10-hours battery life.
The Retina display with True Tone is the highlight of this MacBook and translates into rich dividends for students of art, design and film-making. You also get 500 nits brightness and 25% more colors than sRGB.
The MacBook endeavors to delight the college-goer with a thoughtful Touch Bar that replaces the function keys. This dynamic addition brings your frequently used tools closer and lets you maneuver using taps, flicks and the like. Overall too, the keyboard is topnotch, with a new butterfly mechanism for extra stability.
Build-wise, both the 13-inch and 15-inch versions fit college life to a T. While the former weighs 3lbs and measures 14.9mm (0.58”), the latter is only a tad heavier at 4lbs and 15.5mm (0.61”). A USB Type C port lets you connect to devices, including two external 5K displays for showing off your pet college project on a giant screen.
|Apple MacBook Pro 15 Inch Specs|
|Processor||2.6GHz 6-core Intel Core i7|
|Graphics||AMD Radeon Pro 555X/560X 4GB|
|Storage||Up to 512GB SSD|
|Display||15.4-inch (diagonal) LED-backlit Retina display|
|Apple MacBook Pro 13-inch Specs|
|Display||13.3-inch (diagonal) LED-backlit Retina|
2560-by-1600 native resolution
|Weight||3.02 pounds (1.37 kg)|
|Processor||Intel Core i5 quad-core 2.3GHz|
|Graphics||Intel Iris Plus Graphics 655|
3. Apple MacBook Air – Best Lightweight Laptop for Students
The brilliance of Mac in a lightweight package
All those who want their college laptop to be super-functional yet super-light, say aye! Much like its name, the 13” Apple MacBook Air combines the performance and design commitment of the Apple stables with the immensely lightweight build that college students demand. Equipped with an Intel Core i5 CPU, 8GB (up to 16GB) RAM, 256GB of memory (up to 1.5TB), and 12-hours battery life, this computer is capable and more for both regular and CPU-intensive tasks. In light of this processing configuration, the mobility shines even brighter—2.75lbs and a profile measuring 15.6mm (0.61”).
Like its pricier sibling in #2, this laptop also offers a vivid Retina display with four million pixels, 48% more colors than the older generation, and unparalleled text clarity. You’ll be able to see this in action when you read and prepare research reports for STEM or work on drawings for your medical major.
Here too, the keyboard and touchpad are in top form. The butterfly mechanism improves the stability and convenience of typing significantly, while the touchpad (20% larger) adds to the flexibility of use. The Thunderbolt 3 port is readily available to serve multifarious purposes, from high-speed data transfer to connecting to an external display for a surprise movie marathon in the common room. The feather in the cap is the top-grade security—a combination of fingerprint-based login and the Apple T2 security chip. In a collaborative environment like college, this helps to keep your work and data secure.
|Apple MacBook Air 13-inch Specs|
|Display||13.3-inch (diagonal) LED-backlit Retina display with|
2560-by-1600 native resolution
|Weight||2.75 pounds (1.25 kg)|
|Processor||1.6GHz dual-core Intel Core i5|
|Graphics||Intel UHD Graphics 617|
4. Huawei MateBook 13 – Best Portable Laptop for College Students with Microsoft Office
Easy-to-carry 13-inch laptop with a 2K touchscreen
The 13” Huawei MateBook 13 weighs all of 2.86lbs and has a profile as lean as 0.59”. Despite its compact construction, this laptop is equipped with an Intel i7 CPU, 8GB RAM, NVIDIA GeForce MX150, Dolby Atmos sound, and 512GB of SSD storage space—a configuration ideal for (almost) all computing tasks, including programming and data science modeling. It keeps cool during all its activities, thanks to the improved cooling mechanism (Huawei Shark fin design) that increases the airflow by 25% over standard laptop fans. Suffice it to say, it is a supremely travel-ready yet competent laptop suitable for students from all majors—those that demand only everyday computing to those who require CPU-draining software.
This laptop’s display is impressive. To cater to students who need an immersive, accurate display for their course—such as computer science folks—it offers a 2K touchscreen with a thin bezel (4.4mm or 0.17”) that realizes a screen-to-body ratio of 88%. The contrast ratio is as high as 1000:1. We also love the anti-fingerprint coating; God knows screens get dirty during long, strenuous and occasionally boring lectures in college.
Bonus: With this computer, you get a powerful and quick-charge battery that offers you 2.5 hours of use from only 15 minutes of charging. You can potentially fire up your laptop during a quick catch-up with friends in the college cafeteria.
|Huawei Matebook 13 Specs|
|Processor||Intel Core i7 8565U quad-core|
|Graphics||NVIDIA GeForce MX150|
|Display||13-inch 2K (2160x1440) touchscreen display|
5. ASUS VivoBook F510UA – Best Laptop for College Students Under $500
Affordability meets functionality and terrific display
With college education getting pricier by the minute, cutting costs wherever you can becomes imperative. The ASUS VivoBook F510UA is a persevering but inexpensive laptop that comes in at a (close to) sub-$500 price. It is a 15.6” model which means you get a large, FHD screen with a nano-edge bezel (0.3”). You also experience the power of an Intel Core i5 processor. The RAM support is for 8GB, while the storage space offered is 1TB (HDD). While this will be suitable primarily for regular computing tasks like checking your e-mail and polishing PowerPoint presentations, it is a lucrative deal for the price.
Matching up to the tempting price point is the travel-friendliness of this device—it weighs only 3.7lbs and measures 0.8”. This makes it easy to move around between classes. The battery life, however, is just average at about five hours.
ASUS has used two technologies to enhance your viewing experience: ASUS Splendid and ASUS Tru2Life Video. The former offers four viewing modes—normal, vivid, eye-care, and manual—to give you the liberty to pick exactly what you need, based on the kind of content and ambient lighting. The latter improves the sharpness and contrast of each pixel by up to 150%, delivering jaw-dropping video clarity. Plus, the anti-glare screen has a remarkable 80% screen-to-body ratio, which makes it easy to concentrate on any pictures or videos you need for assignments or entertainment.
This laptop is well-connected too, with USB 3.1 Type-C ports, USB 3.0 ports, HDMI, and 802.11ac Wi-Fi.
|ASUS VivoBook F510UA-AH51 Specs|
|Processor||Intel Core i5-8250U (up to 3.4GHz)|
|Graphics||Intel UHD Graphics 620|
|Memory||8GB DDR4 RAM|
|Storage||1TB Hard Drive|
|Display||15.6-inch Anti-glare FHD display|
|Operating System||Windows 10 Home|
6. Acer Aspire 1 A114-32-C1YA – Best Laptop for College Students Under $300
Cheapest college laptop that loves all things portable
It doesn’t get better than this deal when you are looking to buy a college laptop but want to keep your wallet stuffed. The Acer Aspire 1 A114-32-C1YA is the cheapest laptop on our list but is ample for standard computing tasks like working on documents or surfing the internet for project research. It has a basic processing configuration—an Intel Celeron N4000 processor, 4GB RAM, and 64GB of memory (eMMC). The display is fair for the price—an FHD screen with a wide-screen view and BlueLightShield (to filter out blue light and protect your eyes from strain). It also offers an average battery life of 6.5 hours.
Acer has ensured that this budget laptop is high on freedom of movement. Everything about its build speaks mobile—from the responsive, precise touchpad and the easy access to apps on the Microsoft Store to the provision to save your work on the cloud (OneDrive or DropBox). It is also lightweight and lean at 3.64lbs and 0.7”.
You can use this laptop for everyday endeavors in school if your college major does not require you to use your computer for heavy-duty tasks like 3D rendering or complicated programming. It is quite adept at note-taking, partnering for assignments (thanks to Office 365 support), and doubling up as an entertainment platform when you need a break. The operating system (Windows 10 in S mode) also helps in making this a campus-friendly computer, with its security features and productivity-rich Microsoft Edge browser.
|Acer Aspire 1 A114-32-C1YA Specs|
|Processor||Intel Celeron N4000 (Up to 2.6GHz)|
|Memory||4GB DDR4 SDRAM|
|Display||14-inch FHD (1920 x 1080) display|
|Battery Life||Up to 6.5 Hours|
|Operating System||Windows 10 Home S Mode|
7. Acer Aspire E 15 E5-576G-5762 – Best Budget Laptop for Students Under $600
Proving the possibility of low-cost excellence
Acer deserves a big pat on the back for creating an offering that manages to be budget but also supremely effective for its price. The 15.6” Acer Aspire E 15 E5-576G-5762 costs less than $600 but is fitted with an Intel i5 CPU, 8GB RAM, 256GB of SSD memory, and NVIDIA GeForce MX150 graphics for superior display. Not only that, but it also offers as much as 15 hours of battery backup—enough to fuel even the lengthiest of days at college and outside it. On the whole, it turns out to a capable college mate for most majors and courses, even those that require a certain amount of CPU-intensive labor, like engineering or data science. (To squeeze the most out of this device, you can upgrade the RAM and storage via a handy compartment door.)
Aesthetically, the Acer Aspire E 15 is quite eye-catching, even in a college campus replete with stylish laptops. Its build is sleek yet sturdy, and the FHD screen with a wide-angle view ensures that your A/V content gets rendered clearly. There are no out-of-place lines in the construction, giving you a laptop that looks neat, tidy and no-nonsense.
A special word for the auditory support: it is above-par, especially for a budget laptop. Acer TrueHarmony meets a unique speaker-design to deliver audio with richer bass and increased volume.
One downside: This is a rather heavy computer, weighing 5.27lbs and measuring 1.2” in thickness. So, you will be making a trade-off between cost and move-ability.
|Acer Aspire E 15 E5-576G-5762 Specs|
|Processor||Intel Core i5-8250U (Up to 3.4GHz)|
|Graphics||NVIDIA GeForce MX150|
|Display||15.6-inch FHD (1920 x 1080)|
|Battery Life||Up to 15-hours|
8. Acer Aspire E 15 E5-576-392H – Best Cheap Laptop for Students Under $400
Inexpensive laptop with good performance and superb battery life
Let us review the specs that the Acer Aspire E 15 E5-576-392H has over its slightly cheaper sibling at #6. It is powered by an Intel Core i3 processor—quite competent at handling conventional student tasks. The RAM support is 6GB and the storage provided is 1TB HDD (both are easily upgraded using the compartment door). Add to that 13.5 hours of battery life, and you have a machine that far exceeds expectations even at a super-alluring price. This is a wise option for anyone who needs a standard college laptop for regular activities like penning down notes and watching videos. It also serves anyone who intends to travel extensively, like students pursuing an MBA who spend a chunk of their time conducting field studies and market assessments.
Display-wise too, this laptop doesn’t belie its cheap status. You get an FHD display with a wide-screen view. Complementing this is the beautiful audio enhanced by Acer TrueHarmony. Acer has also fitted several USB ports in this device, including a Type-C port and an HDMI to allow you to plug into an external display. The 802.11ac Wi-Fi with MU-MIMO technology helps ensure consistent internet connectivity.
The only downside, yet again, is the portability. It is a somewhat heavy laptop at 5.27lbs. With a profile thickness of 1.2”, it isn’t as sleek as some others on this list either. It is up to you to decide if mobility matters more to you or affordable performance.
|Acer Aspire E 15 E5-576-392H Specs|
|Processor||Intel Core i3-8130U (Up to 3.4GHz)|
|Graphics||Intel UHD Graphics 620|
|Display||15.6 Inch Full HD (1920 x 1080)|
|Storage||1TB Hard Drive|
|Battery Life||Up to 13.5-hours|
9. Razer Blade 15 RTX – Best Laptop for Engineering Students
Blending the incredible power of RTX and Intel Core i7
Are you pursuing engineering as your college major? Well, besides looking forward to some grueling classes, you should also purchase a laptop that facilitates all the modeling, programming and simulation work you will need to do. The Razer Blade 15 RTX is a 15.6” laptop that is definitely pricey but a perfect fit for engineering students.
Fueled by a powerful Intel Core i7 CPU, 16GB RAM, 512GB of SSD memory, and NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 graphics, it has mettle enough to complete the most strenuous of computing tasks—yes, including gaming. The FHD screen with a refresh rate of 144Hz, a thin bezel (4.9mm or 0.19”), and full Adobe RGB color support enhance this laptop’s charm further, by giving you a display that is as good-looking as it is immersive. Note that the GPU offered is an NVIDIA RTX, which opens up the realm of real-time ray tracing and graphics enhanced by artificial intelligence. This comes in useful not only during after-classes gaming marathons but also when you render complex simulations on the screen, especially for aerospace, mechanical and biomedical studies.
Interestingly, this powerful laptop does not compromise on movement. Its chassis weighs only 4.56lbs and has a thickness of 0.70”. This makes it easy to slip into backpacks as you get on with life, moving from the classroom to the labs. An efficient vapor chamber cooling system keeps the machine cool throughout the day.
|Razer Blade 15 RTX 2060 Specs|
|Graphics||NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060|
|Processor||8th Gen Intel Core i7-8750H|
|Display||15.6” Full HD|
10. Surface Book 2 – Best 2 in 1 Laptop for College Students
Experience creativity like never before
When you behold the Surface Book 2, one thing becomes apparent: its artistic temperament. This 15” laptop is a slender, reliable but definitely creative machine perfect for college students majoring in the arts. Equipped with an Intel i7 CPU, 16GB RAM, 512GB of SSD memory, and NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 graphics, it offers you the might needed to work on activities like graphic design, animation, and multimedia content generation. Implication: You’ll be able to run software like Dassault SOLIDWORKS, Adobe Premiere Pro, and Autodesk Revit without a glitch. You can also have a satisfying gaming experience with titles like Cuphead and Forza 7.
The display is, not surprisingly, spectacular. You get a vivid PixelSense screen that enlivens your content in rich, accurate colors. You can also opt for a touchscreen if you plan to use the laptop to create content on the go; the Surface Pen is precise and comfortable to use.
The best part is that although this machine is so powerful, it remains mobile at only 4.2lbs and 0.9”. The laptop provides 17 hours of battery backup—wonderful for all the free souls who need to work unfettered when creativity strikes. The Surface Book 2 also offers four modes of usage. While the laptop and tablet modes are ideal for the classroom and commute respectively, the studio mode is excellent for drawing/sketching. The view mode is handy to showcase your work to professors or peers.
|Microsoft Surface Book 2 Specs|
|Processor||8th generation Intel Core i7 processor|
|Graphics||NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 GPU|
|Storage||512GB SSD Storage|
|Display||15-inch Vibrant PixelSense display|
|Battery Life||Up to 17 hours|
11. Surface Laptop 2 – Best Surface Laptop for College Students
Aesthetics and operations in a winsome package
The second Surface laptop you can consider is not tailor-made for design students like #10. However, the Surface Laptop 2 is a worthy machine in its own right, amicably supporting students who are looking for performance, portability, and long battery life. Here you will find an Intel Core i5 CPU powering things up, supported by 8GB RAM and 256GB of SSD memory. The battery backup is a remarkably long 14.5 hours. Combined with the laptop’s super-light weight of 2.76lbs and thickness of 0.96”, this makes it one of the most reassuringly movable gadgets on the list. It fits every college major that demands some amount of shuffling about, from trips to the medical laboratories to ground surveys for psychology.
How is the display? The Surface Laptop 2 also offers a PixelSense display with touch. The resolution is impressively sharp, simplifying your creative endeavors and minimizing eye-strain as you delve into lengthy whitepapers. Note that the graphics support is for integrated Intel UHD Graphics 620. This means you will forego the extra dazzle that comes with a dedicated GPU like in #10.
Facilitating device support and internet connectivity are USB ports (one USB 3.0 port) and 802.11ac Wi-Fi.
Highlight: If you are hunting for a colorful college laptop, this one is after your own heart. You can choose among platinum, burgundy, cobalt blue, and classic black. A signature Alcantara material covers the keyboard and the palm rest, accentuating the aesthetic and luxurious appeal of this laptop.
|Microsoft Surface Laptop 2 Specs|
|Display||13.5” PixelSense 2256x1504 pixels|
|Processor||8th Gen Intel Core i7|
|Graphics||Intel UHD Graphics 620|
12. MSI GS65 Stealth THIN-051 – Best Laptop for Engineering and Animation Students
Gaming-grade specs in a portable college laptop
In college, you frequently have to look the part, and the 15.6” MSI GS65 Stealth THIN-051 sure does. Its metallic body with gold and diamond cuts reflects the power it holds within to run applications that engineering and animation students need. For majors like these, you need a machine that has a powerful processor (Intel Core i7), plentiful RAM and memory (up to 32GB and 256GB SSD respectively), a dedicated GPU (NVIDIA GTX 1060), and a captivating screen with an optimal refresh rate (thin-bezel design of 0.19”, 72% NTSC, 144Hz). This laptop delivers on all these counts, additionally bringing you anti-glare viewing, a wide-view angle, and an aspect ratio of 16:9. With specs like these, you should face no hassle in running elaborate simulation and modeling software for your course.
In portability, this powerhouse packs a pleasant surprise. It weighs 4.14lbs and has a thickness of 0.69”. You can carry it quite conveniently, juggling commitments like attending lectures and commuting to studios and construction sites. All this while, the computer will remain sustainable, thanks to the Cooler Boost Trinity mechanism. With the help of three fans and four heat pipes, this heat dissipation technology prevents your gadget from losing its cool.
In additional features, this laptop lights up the world of gaming for you. A compelling package of Nahimic 3 audio, Killer DoubleShot Pro for optimized connectivity, and an RGB keyboard with per-key backlighting lets you truly unwind after classes.
|MSI GS65 Stealth THIN-051 Specs|
|Processor||Intel Core i7-8750H up to 4.1GHz|
|Graphics||6GB NVIDIA GeForce GTX1060 GDDR5|
|RAM||16GB DDR4 2400MHz|
|Storage||256GB Solid-State Drive|
|Display||15.6-inch FHD Anti-Glare display|
13. ASUS ROG Zephyrus S GX531GW-AS76 – Best Laptop for Students and Gaming
Killing two birds with one stone
There may be not one but two pivotal goals you have from college: 1, to make the most of all that your major/course offers, and 2, to utilize the time to become a gaming champ. If that sounds like you, then the 15.6” ASUS ROG Zephyrus S GX531GW-AS76 is a brilliant pick. Powerful in essence with an Intel i7 CPU, 16GB RAM, 512GB of memory, and NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 graphics, this laptop is perfect not only for all computing tasks you have in college but also for scintillating gaming experiences. Complementing this brute force is a fantastic FHD display with a refresh rate of 144Hz, a speedy response time of 3ms, a 100% sRGB color gamut, and an IPS panel for ultimate viewing comfort.
This machine loves to move—it weighs only 4.6lbs and is 0.62” thick. The magnesium-alloy body adheres to military-grade standards of construction, while the premium metal cover is sure to capture eyeballs on campus. Fortunately, you needn’t be anxious about your machine breaking down under all that responsibility since its aerodynamic cooling system with 12V fans and anti-dust tunnels keeps things going smoothly.
With this laptop, you also get the benefit of an interesting speaker-design with direct sound output, a plethora of USB ports, and a customizable Aura Sync keyboard with torture testing for 20 million key presses. Rest assured, your keyboard is going to (out) last your college days.
|ASUS ROG Zephyrus S GX531GW-AS76 Specs|
|Graphics||NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 8GB|
|Processor||Intel Core i7-8750H Hexa-Core|
|Memory||16GB 2666Hz DDR4|
|Storage||512GB PCIe NVMe SSD|
|Display||15.6” 144Hz 3ms Full HD (1920x1080)|
|Operating System||Windows 10 Home|
14. ASUS ZenBook S UX391FA-XH74T – Best High Performance and Lightweight Laptop for Students (All College Majors)
Superb performance in the most portable 13-inch laptop
Welcome to the surprise package on this list—a 13.3” laptop that succeeds in delivering the kind of performance, style and dependability that typically comes only with larger form factors. The ASUS ZenBook S UX391FA-XH74T is fitted with an Intel i7 CPU, 16GB RAM, 512GB of SSD memory, and a UHD 4K touch screen. But all this comes in an aerospace-grade aluminum chassis that weighs only 2.2lbs—the lightest on the list—and is 0.5” thick. It is your best bet if portability occupies the top spot on your list of considerations. The battery lasts fairly long too—almost nine hours—and charges up to 60% in 49 minutes.
If you thought ZenBooks excel mainly at mobility but cut corners in visual excellence, this laptop will shatter your presumptions. The screen here uses a nano-edge bezel design and provides 350 nits brightness, a screen-to-body ratio of 85%, and a wide viewing angle of 178-degrees. This is sufficient to work on your multimedia projects or sit back and watch Netflix. During the latter, you can also witness first-hand the first-rate audio (a charming blend of ASUS Golden Ear, Harman Kardon and ASUS SonicMaster Premium).
We particularly love this laptop’s ErgoLift hinge—it helps to adjust the keyboard to a comfortable typing position while also improving cooling and auditory output. In fact, the overall aesthetics are very impressive; the blue and rose gold trimmings make your device stand out.
|ASUS ZenBook S UX391FA-XH74T Specs|
|Processor||Intel Core i7-8565U up to 4.60 GHz|
|Graphics||Intel HD Graphics 620|
|Memory||16GB LPDDR3 RAM|
|Display||13.3-inch UHD 4K touch display|
|Battery Life||Up to 9 Hours|
15. ASUS ZenBook 14 UX431FA – Best Laptop for College Students Under $1000
A 14-inch ZenBook totally worth its salt
We had to include the ASUS ZenBook 14 UX431FA for the smart way in which it rivals its pricier sibling at #14 and manages to deliver on several fronts cost-effectively. A 14-inch laptop, it has the strength to fulfill almost all your computing requirements, including the big-ticket ones. Inside the chassis is an Intel Core i7 CPU, supported by 8GB RAM and 512GB of storage space. The battery life is a handy ten hours which should typically last through a standard school day. The display is satisfactory—an FHD screen with a thin bezel (0.25”) and a screen-to-body ratio of 86%. We daresay, this 14-inch laptop is a wise choice if you want a high-performance but affordable computer that is also very agile (3.2lbs, 0.65”).
Like its sibling, this ZenBook also uses an ErgoLift-based design; the hinge adds both to your typing ease and the performance of the laptop (especially the efficiency of the cooling and the quality of the Harman Kardon audio output). This design element enhances the mobility of this 14-inch laptop, which, in any case, is remarkably tight-packed and almost at par with some 13-inch models. It is sturdy too, with military-grade durability (MIL-STD-810G).
It is worth noting how hard this machine works to offer you immense flexibility of use. You get all the ports you need to connect to peripherals/devices (including Type-C ports and HDMI for external displays). Plus, you can avail of the fingerprint-led sign in via Windows Hello for additional security.
|ASUS ZenBook 14 UX431FA-ES74 Specs|
|Processor||Intel Core i7-8565U up to 4.6GHz|
|Graphics||Intel HD Graphics 620|
|Memory||8GB LPDDR3 RAM|
|Storage||512GB NVMe PCIe SSD|
|Display||14-inch FHD Nano Edge display|
|Battery Life||Up to 10 hours|
16. Lenovo ThinkPad T480 – Best Budget Laptop for Business Students
A juggernaut for business majors
If you’re pursuing an MBA or taking courses like business studies, you need a laptop that gets the corporate world. The 14” Lenovo ThinkPad T480 understands the nuances of business, and its capable Intel Core i7 processor, up to 32GB RAM, up to 1TB SSD memory, long-lasting battery life, and security features help you get a head-start on the edgy business dominion. The hallmark of this ThinkPad is its “Power Bridge” technology that lets you replace your laptop’s drained battery with a fully charged one, minus the need to switch off your computer. The result is over 30 hours between charges—a veritable blessing for college students who haven’t the time to unwind before the next mock business conference.
This laptop offers convenient mechanical docking, giving you a USB-C side docking connector as well as other ports like Ethernet, and accessibility options like a backlit keyboard. It is highly portable at 3.6lbs and 0.78”.
There are numerous security features thrown into this laptop; most of them come in handy to prepare you for the challenges of after-college life. For instance, the fingerprint-led login (with Windows Hello and IR camera) lends you the security you will need in collaborative environments. The ThinkShutter lets you get control of your webcam, preventing anyone from catching you off-guard.
While this is a performance-oriented laptop, it also understands the need for a compelling display. You can opt to get a touch screen, up to WQHD resolution, and up to NVIDIA GeForce MX150 graphics.
|Lenovo ThinkPad T480 Specs|
|Processor||Up to 8th Generation Intel Core i7-8650U|
|Graphics||NVIDIA GeForce MX150|
|Memory||Up to 32GB DDR4 2400MHz|
|Storage||Up to 1TB PCIe SSD|
|Weight||3.6 lbs (1.63 kg)|
17. Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon – Best Workstation Laptop for Business and Engineering Students
Early prep for business and engineering grads
Are you willing to expend a little extra for a Lenovo ThinkPad that pushes the envelope? The ThinkPad X1 Carbon is dearer than its sibling in #16 but offers several remarkable merits: LTE-A connectivity, RapidCharge battery (80% in one hour), ThinkPad Pro Dock for USB-C side mechanical docking, and a body that weighs only 2.5lbs (and is 0.62” thick). Additionally, it provides a match-on-chip fingerprint reader with anti-spoofing technology—a potent tool to protect your data from campus competitors. Now, if that isn’t preparation for the dog eat dog world of business, what is? Performance-wise, the Intel Core i7 CPU, up to 16GB RAM, up to 1TB SSD storage, and 15-hours battery life ensure that this device suits the needs of students across majors, especially those in engineering and managerial studies.
In the look-and-feel department, you have a winner. The laptop’s dark black build with a soft-touch cover and color-coded hinge adapts well to the trend-oriented college life. For the display, you can choose between standard FHD and Dolby Vision (with high-dynamic-range). Dolby Atmos and Dolby Audio Premium uplift the sound frontier with terrific volume and bass.
This laptop comes with the useful ThinkShutter for the webcam, so you can catch up with your group-assignment partners from your dorm, without fretting that they will see you in your PJs. The optional IR camera also offers Glance by Mirametrix; it lets you combine a spectrum of face- and eye-movements to make things happen on the screen!
|Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon (6th Gen) Specs|
|Processor||Up to 8th Generation Intel Core i7-8650U|
|Graphics||Intel UHD Graphics 620|
|Memory||Up to 16GB LPDDR3|
|Storage||Up to 1TB SSD|
|Battery Life||Up to 15 Hours|
|Weight||2.49 lbs (1.13 kg)|
18. Lenovo Yoga C930 (14″) Laptop – Best Lenovo Laptop for College Students
Performance-oriented 14-inch laptop with exceptional A/V
A relatively fresh entry to the world of compact laptops, the 14” Lenovo Yoga C930 does a great job of combining performance with superior features for mobility and charisma. Although its Intel i7 processor, 16GB RAM, and 2TB of SSD storage space a make it suitable for all college students, it harbors a special corner in its innards for lovers of multimedia. If you are pursuing music, art or graphic design, you will love the path-breaking soundbar (with Dolby Atmos) that encompasses the speakers and rotates to produce immersive sound. The display is crystal-clear too, with 4K resolution, Dolby Vision, and a narrow bezel design (4.5mm or 0.19”).
Lenovo has employed an improved hinge technology for this laptop’s design, and the result is increased stability. This is palpable irrespective of the mode you operate your device in—tent, stand, tablet, or laptop. The premium aluminum body boasts of a stunning polish; the color scheme (especially the mica) is attention-grabbing without being loud. Notably, the design includes a garage to store the stylus; the pen also charges automatically when it’s in the compartment, which boosts your overall mobility in and around the campus. This plethora of offerings fits snugly in a chassis that weighs 3lbs and measures 0.57”—quite a feat!
In additional features, we like the TrueBlock Privacy Shutter and the fingerprint reader—there’s something to be said, after all, for watching your back in a competitive academic environment.
|Lenovo Yoga C930 Specs|
|Processor||8th Generation Intel Core i7-8550U Up to 4.0GHz|
|Graphics||Intel UHD Graphics 620|
|Memory||Up to 16 GB DDR4|
|Storage||Up to 2 TB PCIe SSD|
|Battery Life||Up to 14.5 hours|
|Weight||3.0 lbs (1.36 kg)|
19. HP SPECTRE x360 – Best HP Laptop for College Students (All Majors)
Create without limitations
HP has always been a name to reckon with in the world of laptops, and in the college-laptop market too, it manages to make a mark for itself. The HP SPECTRE x360—available in a 13-inch as well as a 15-inch screen size—turns out to be a dependable laptop for students pursuing different college majors. It is fired by an Intel i7 (or i5) processor, up to 16GB RAM, up to 2TB of SSD memory, and NVIDIA GeForce MX150 graphics/ Radeon RX Vega M Graphics in the 15-inch models. Note that the 13-inch models support Intel UHD Graphics 620. The battery backup is indeed the cat’s whiskers—17.5 hours (15.6” model) or 22.5 hours (13” model).
Creating content is a cakewalk on this machine. The 4K display with its micro-edge design and Corning Gorilla Glass protection is worth diving into, and the HP Tilt Pen is comfortable to use. You can conveniently perform 3D rendering and 4K video editing; you can also connect to external displays (up to two 5K screens) to showcase your creations.
For its many offerings, this machine succeeds in retaining a slim profile—2.92lbs and 14.5mm or 0.57” (13-inch); 4.79lbs and 19.3mm or 0.75” (15-inch).
The HP Spectre values security a great deal. Facilitating this are provisions like a fingerprint reader, a privacy camera kill switch, and an IR camera. There is also an innovative privacy screen to guarantee that lurkers in the college library don’t pry into your assignment.
|HP SPECTRE x360 Specs|
|Processor||Up to 8th Gen Intel Core i7 Hexa-Core Processor|
|Graphics||NVIDIA GTX Graphics|
|Memory||Up to 16GB RAM|
|Storage||Up to 2TB SSD|
20. MSI PS42 8RB-060 – Best Laptop for College Students
Multipurpose college laptop, high on performance and panache
The second MSI laptop on the list—the MSI PS42 8RB-060—is a 14-inch machine with a professional caliber to cater to the requirements of students across majors. On the processing front, it delivers and how, with an Intel Core i5 processor, 8GB RAM, 512GB of storage, NVIDIA GeForce MX150 graphics, and Cooler Boost 3 cooling. This is adequate for anything you might need, including software for courses like information technology and geology. Moreover, since the thin-bezel FHD screen delivers a rich color gamut of 72% NTSC and an IPS panel for viewing convenience, this laptop also becomes suitable for students of the arts.
This MSI laptop is true to the spirit of college computers, weighing a bare 2.62lbs. This is ultra-light to carry with you both on campus and for outdoor events. The thickness is somewhat high at 1.6”; it should, however, still be fairly smooth to transport it in backpacks. The 10-hours battery life keeps the machine up and going throughout your day on campus, if not more.
Special note for students of creative majors like animation and graphic design: this machine offers the True Color technology for meticulous A/V rendering and Nahimic 3 7.1 Audio for tremendous sound. Especially useful is its provision of multiple viewing modes: game, design, movie and office. All the viewing modes are tailored to your content, which means you can customize the view to get the best.
|MSI PS42 8RB-060 Specs|
|Processor||Intel Core i5-8250U Up to 3.4GHz|
|Graphics||2GB NVIDIA GeForce MX150 GDDR5|
|Memory||8GB DDR4 2400MHz|
|Storage||512GB M.2 SATA Solid-State Drive|
|Display||14 Inch FHD display|
21. Bonus: ASUS C302CA-DHM4 Chromebook Flip – Best Laptop for Online College Students
12.5” convertible ideal for students pursuing online courses
Ah, a bonus laptop! While the others on this list cater to regular college students, the ASUS C302CA-DHM4 Chromebook Flip is a 12.5-inch wonder fitted to anyone pursuing their major online. It is a touch-based, lightweight (2.65lbs) and sleek (0.53”) convertible equipped with an Intel Core m3 processor, 4GB RAM, and 64GB of memory. This should be sufficient to help you pursue your virtual classes, take notes, and make presentations in time. If the scanty memory configuration nettles you, consider two things: 1, the super-low price point, and 2, the facility of free 100GB storage on Google Drive.
Since it is a Chromebook, you are assured of smooth access to millions of apps on the Google Play Store. For instance, Google Docs will help you organize your projects by subject, in case you are pursuing a mixed major with a variety of courses. The laptop boots instantly, offering you a mobile-like experience for almost 10 hours on a single charge.
How is the design? Super handy! A hinge lets you switch between laptop, tablet, stand and tent mode, which is just what you need when you move from attending digital classes to venturing out for an on-ground experience. Even though it is a small, budget device, the display isn’t half-bad—an FHD eDP (Embedded DisplayPort) with an anti-glare panel and wide view.
One word on the device and connectivity support: you get a USB 3.1 Type-C port as well as 802.11ac Wi-Fi to ensure that connecting to peripherals or the internet is straightforward.
|ASUS C302CA-DHM4 Chromebook Flip Specs|
|Keyboard||Backlit Illuminated Keyboard|
|Processor||Intel Core m3|
|Battery Life||Up to 10 hours|
|Processor||64GB Flash Storage|
Time to Head to College
At the risk of echoing a cliché, we will say this: your college days are going to be life-changing. To accompany you on this momentous journey, you need a computer that can fit into several shoes: understand the requirements of your major and course, follow you around as you trudge along the day, and become your friend and accomplice for allied as well as unrelated campus pursuits. It can be daunting to acquire a laptop that has to meet such a tall order, but the options on this list are good places to start.
While laptop-shopping for college, keep in mind the considerations for your major first, ensuring that the gadget can run any applications, programs and software you may need. Also, double-check that the battery life, screen size, processing configuration, storage space, and graphics offered are in tandem with your requirements. Once you have zeroed down on laptops that are attuned to your college course, you can employ lookouts like aesthetics, budget and brand to seal the deal.
One final rule of thumb: seek to purchase a college laptop that employs future-compatible, advanced technology in both design and functionality. You are going to be in college for a while, and the tech world changes gears sooner than you can say Jack Robinson. You would want a machine that can adapt to the changes and serve you well throughout your time on campus.