20 Best Laptops for College Students 2020
Perfect For Every Major and Courses
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).
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
- How to Choose the Best Laptop for College
- Quick Checklist for the Ideal College Laptop
- Our Picks: Best Laptops for College Students
- 1. Dell XPS 15 7590/XPS 13 7390 – Best Dell Laptop for Students
- 2. Apple MacBook Pro 16 Inch – Best Apple Laptop for Students
- 3. New Apple MacBook Air – Best Lightweight Laptop for Students
- 4. Surface Laptop 3 – Best Surface Laptop for Students
- 5. Lenovo Flex 14 – Best Lenovo Laptop for Students
- 6. Acer Aspire 5 A515-54-51DJ – Best Laptop for College Students Under $500
- 7. ASUS VivoBook 15 F512DA-EB51 – Best Budget Laptop for College Under $500
- 8. Acer Aspire 5 A515-54G-53H6 – Best Laptop for Students Under $700
- 9. Acer Aspire 5 A515-43-R19L – Best Cheap Laptop for College Under $400
- 10. Acer Aspire 1 A114-32-C1YA – Best Laptop for Students Under $300
- 11. Acer Predator Helios 300 – Best Laptop for Students and Gaming
- 12. ASUS ZenBook 13 UX334FLC – Best ASUS Laptop for Students
- 13. Razer Blade Stealth 13 Ultrabook – Best Laptop for Engineering Students
- 14. Acer ConceptD 3 – Best Laptop for Animation, Video, Photo Editing Students
- 15. Microsoft Surface Pro 7 – Best 2-in-1 Laptop for College Students
- 16. Acer Swift 5 – Best Laptop for Students Under $1000
- 17. Lenovo Chromebook C330 – Best Laptop for Online Students
- 18. HP Envy 13-aq1010nr – Best Laptop for Business Students
- 19. HP Spectre x360 – Best HP Laptop for College
- 20. ASUS Chromebook Flip C434TA – Best Chromebook for Students
- Major-Wise Laptop Selection Guide
- 1. Engineering Students
- 2. High School Students
- 3. Nursing Students
- 4. Business Students
- 5. Graduate Students
- 6. Computer Science Students
- 7. Medical Students
- 8. Architecture Students
- 9. Graphic Design Students
- 10. Elementary Students
- 11. Online College Students
- 12. Art Students
- 13. MBA Students
- 14. Information Technology Students
- 15. Animation Students
- 16. Biology Students
- 17. Geology Students
- 18. Data Science Students
- 19. Psychology Students
- 20. Stem Students
- Time to Head to College
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
Our Picks: Best Laptops for College Students
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.
In this comprehensive article, we have consolidated the very best laptops for college students 2020 that have it in them to serve your academic pursuits without breaking into a sweat.
1. Dell XPS 15 7590/XPS 13 7390 – Best Dell Laptop for Students
Dell has always had a way with the college crowd, expertly creating laptops that are trendy yet resilient and capable of handling everyday tasks smoothly.
The XPS 13 7390 laptop is worth your consideration if you need an all-rounder with decent processing power (up to 10th gen Intel Core i7-10710U, 16GB RAM and a 2TB SSD), a pleasant display (InfinityEdge, screen-to-body ratio of 80.7%), and good battery backup (up to 21 hours!).
If you’re afraid this won’t be adequate for creative majors, you can opt for the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 GPU that provides a fillip for tasks like video editing, graphic design, etc.
Interestingly, Dell has infused this laptop with some stand-out features that the college-going audience should find useful. For instance, the HD webcam located at the top of the display has a 4-element lens and temporal noise reduction for a crystal-clear video-calling experience.
You can also benefit from Dell Cinema and cherish the studio-grade picture and sound for both working in the classroom and entertainment after a long day.
The new Dell XPS is also one of the most mobile laptops on this list with a weight of only 2.7lbs, a thickness of 0.3–0.46”, and Corning Gorilla Glass 4 protection. Suffice it to say you can comfortably carry it with you and tune in wherever you fancy.
2. Apple MacBook Pro 16 Inch – Best Apple Laptop for Students
It combines efficient Intel Core i7 processing and up to 64GB RAM with 512GB of storage and AMD Radeon Pro 5300M graphics.
The Retina display comes with True Tone for enhanced accuracy and detail. The highlight of this 4.3lbs laptop is its use of Touch Bar and Touch ID to up your productivity while doing assignments, taking notes, etc.
This MacBook can double up as a competent study companion as well as an entertainment partner. It has a six-speaker audio system for smooth sound output. Force-cancelling woofers ensure that your movies, games, etc., play without auditory distortion.
On the mobility front, this computer is well-prepared to take on a hectic day on campus. As many as four Thunderbolt 3 ports lend you speedy connectivity and quick data transfer. On a single charge, this computer lasts for up to 11 hours.
3. New Apple MacBook Air – Best Lightweight Laptop for Students
For a whirlwind college day that involves considerable moving about, a light yet robust laptop is a must.
This is where the new Apple MacBook Air comes in—a gorgeous 13.3” machine with a Retina display and 12-hour battery life that weighs all of 2.75lbs.
Notably, this laptop has a chassis built of 100% recycled aluminum that leads to significantly lower carbon emissions. Talk about a contemporary machine attuned to ecological responsibility!
Fueling this machine is an Intel i5 CPU, 16GB RAM, and a 1TB SSD—quite adequate for most day-to-day endeavors as well as more processor-draining activities like streaming and multitasking.
True to its Apple soul, this laptop looks exemplary with the high-res display (2560 x 1600) that offers topnotch color and text clarity. This makes it one of the finest picks for design and art students.
College students can also benefit from the all-new keyboard with per-key backlighting, a 20% larger touchpad, and support for multi-touch gestures. You will find it much smoother to use for those frantic, last-minute submissions.
Bonus: A highly secure Touch ID for working in collaborative environments. It is a fingerprint-led approach that guarantees your data is safe even when you are working amid a large group.
4. Surface Laptop 3 – Best Surface Laptop for Students
Fueled by an Intel Core i5 processor, 8GB RAM, and a 256GB SSD, this laptop is adept at daily computing pursuits like taking notes, checking e-mail, and streaming multimedia content. The quick-charging battery powers up to 80% in one hour, upping the portability quotient of this 3.4lbs laptop.
The elegant look and feel is a particularly appealing triumph for this computer, due in part to the premium Alcantara material. A host of color options—sandstone, matte-black, cobalt-blue, platinum—add further customization to the mix.
5. Lenovo Flex 14 – Best Lenovo Laptop for Students
It is an AMD Ryzen laptop, equipped with an AMD Ryzen 5 3500U CPU, 12GB RAM, and a 256GB SSD.
Windows 10, the operating system, also contributes toward creating a secure, productive user experience. The privacy shutter for the webcam deserves accolades for bringing reassuring privacy amid chaotic campus life.
The FHD display is touch-enabled, and the included active pen makes it simple to take notes, make diagrams, etc.
Also, since this computer is highly portable at only 3.52lbs and 0.7”, you can use it on the go. The battery can last for up to 10 hours, also powering up to 80% in only one hour, further upping your flexibility of use.
6. Acer Aspire 5 A515-54-51DJ – Best Laptop for College Students Under $500
Trust Acer to combine pocket-friendliness and college-readiness in one fine laptop.
The 15.6” Acer Aspire 5 A515-54-51DJ is infused with a powerful Intel Core i5-8265U CPU, 8GB RAM, a 256GB SSD, and an FHD display with an IPS panel.
It can run unplugged for up to 9.5 hours. Add to this mix a backlit keyboard (to complete eleventh-hour assignments in godforsaken lighting) and a fingerprint reader (for security when working out of cafeterias). There, you have a computer that understands college life to a T.
If your college major involves some amount of visual work (say, architecture), you will delight in the true-to-life colors delivered by the Acer Color Intelligence technology.
The finesse is well complemented by the blue light filter that protects your eyes during those interminably long college days (and nights).
The best part? Acer manages to pack all of this in a machine that weighs less than 4lbs (3.97lbs) and is only 0.7” thick. This translates into some incredible portability.
You can simply slide the laptop into a backpack and be good for a field-day interviewing people for your psychology project or clicking pictures for your photography course. At its under-$500 price, we daresay this computer is a bargain.
Related Post: 10 Best Budget Laptops Under $500 for 2020
7. ASUS VivoBook 15 F512DA-EB51 – Best Budget Laptop for College Under $500
Put your hands up if you are scouting for a budget laptop that is also highly portable and offers a compelling A/V experience.
The 15.6” ASUS VivoBook 15 F512DA-EB51 has its eye on flexibility and user-friendliness which it ups with an ErgoLift hinge, a lightweight body of 3.5lbs, and an ergonomic backlit keyboard.
An integrated fingerprint sensor frees your mind of data-theft or impersonation scares. (The hinge helps position the display at an angle that suits you best; it also makes note-taking easier.)
This computer is driven by an AMD R5-3500U CPU, 8GB RAM, a 256GB SSD, and AMD Radeon Vega 8 Graphics. The FHD display benefits majorly from the nano-edge bezel that creates a screen-to-body ratio of 88%.
Bonus: This VivoBook might be an immensely portable computer, but don’t let that mislead you into believing it is ill-connected. A full assortment of ports makes connectivity a breeze.
You can avail of USB 3.1 and 2.0 ports, a reversible USB Type C port, an HDMI, and even a microSD card reader. Result? No hassle at all with sharing those photos and videos or projecting your work on a big screen.
8. Acer Aspire 5 A515-54G-53H6 – Best Laptop for Students Under $700
Priced at under $700, the 15.6” Acer Aspire 5 A515-54G-53H6 is a powerful laptop well-suited to the rigors of college life.
An Intel Core i5-10210U processor drives the performance of this laptop, supported by 8GB RAM, a 512GB SSD, and NVIDIA GeForce MX250 graphics.
The battery lasts for a good 9.5 hours, enabling you to work freely away from charging stations. Thanks to the compatibility with Intel Wi-Fi 6 AX201 802.11ax, connecting to the internet from anywhere is straightforward.
On the display front, the FHD monitor, with its IPS panel and Acer Color Intelligence technology, satisfactorily renders different kinds of content like presentations, pictures, videos, etc.
The blue-light filter is a thoughtful bonus, minimizing eye strain after long hours of study. This 5.95lbs laptop measures 0.7” and also offers a backlit keyboard.
9. Acer Aspire 5 A515-43-R19L – Best Cheap Laptop for College Under $400
Let’s face it: when it comes to receiving a good college education, budgets need to be carefully constructed.
The 15.6” Acer Aspire 5 A515-43-R19L is a sensible investment for college students, offering efficient AMD Ryzen processing, an FHD display and 7.5-hour battery life at a sub-$400 price.
It has a basic processing configuration that provides 4GB of RAM and a 128GB SSD. This should, however, be adequate unless your major is graphic design or animation (read: involves heavy-duty software).
This laptop offers a screen resolution of 1920 x 1080 as well as an IPS panel to ensure comfortable viewing for you and your peers, professors, etc.
On the connectivity front, this machine does fairly well. It is fitted with a USB 3.1 port, two USB 2.0 ports and an HDMI that lets you plug into external displays.
The overall portability quotient is quite high, with a chassis that weighs 3.97lbs and a profile that has a thickness of 0.7”. The Wi-Fi standard—802.11ac with 2×2 MIMO technology—is effective at providing consistent connectivity depending on the strength of the network.
Bonus: A backlit keyboard! This is a surprise for a laptop in this price range, but comes in super handy when college takes you on outdoor trips or requires you to work into the wee hours of the night.
10. Acer Aspire 1 A114-32-C1YA – Best Laptop for 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.
11. Acer Predator Helios 300 – Best Laptop for Students and Gaming
How is college life without a laptop that lets you dive into the world of virtual reality? Ask a passionate gamer, and your answer will be: pretty bland.
The 15.6” Acer Predator Helios 300 PH315-52-78VL is an excellent choice if you are looking to combine college-worthy features with game-readiness.
This laptop comes with an FHD screen that has a refresh rate of 144Hz and a response time of 3ms. Fired by an Intel i7-9750H processor (ninth-gen), 16GB RAM, a 256GB SSD, and an NVIDIA GTX 1660 Ti GPU, it is adept at delivering a smooth gaming experience.
The custom-engineered heat dissipation mechanism (AeroBlade 3D Fan) lends sustainability to the proceedings, keeping you going for long hours without running the risk of a breakdown.
We especially love the two additional pro-gaming features in this laptop: the Waves MAXXAudio for divine sound and the backlit keyboard with concave-shaped keycaps and custom keys for ease of use.
The only flipside is that this is a rather heavy laptop at 5.07lbs. Consider picking this up if mobility is not high up on your priority list.
12. ASUS ZenBook 13 UX334FLC – Best ASUS Laptop for Students
The 13.3” ASUS ZenBook 13 UX334FLC embraces all of that, making it the perfect choice for on-the-go college students.
A very handy laptop, this ZenBook comes with a narrow-bezel design and a “Screenpad” that lets you work with multiple tabs, dock windows, and get access to frequently used tools—all extremely simple!
Performance-wise, this laptop runs on an Intel Core i7-10510U CPU, 16GB RAM, and a 512GB SSD. This is quite capable of handling everyday activities such as running software applications for your college major, wireless streaming or video calling.
The ergonomic design is a standout feature of this device. It employs a hinge that lends to this laptop a smoother typing experience as well as better audio and cooling. Plus, since the chassis weighs only 2.8lbs and is 0.7” thin, you can easily slide it into backpacks and get along your day.
Bonus: This laptop also offers an IR camera for facial recognition.
13. Razer Blade Stealth 13 Ultrabook – Best Laptop for Engineering Students
The 13.3″ Razer Blade Stealth 13 Ultrabook is an intelligent choice that combines performance with audio-visual expertise.
This laptop is fueled by an Intel Core i7-1065G7 processor, 16GB RAM, a 512GB SSD and NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 graphics. (You can easily use the external GPU enclosures to upgrade the specs if required.)
Balancing the superior performance with multimedia finesse is the FHD monitor with a color gamut of 100% SRGB. An RGB-backlit keyboard with customization and 16.8 million colors makes working a glamorous experience. Note that the display offers a refresh rate of 60Hz.
This is a sturdily built device with an anodized aluminum frame. However, it retains a good degree of portability with its 3.2lbs chassis and thin profile of only 0.6”.
It also supports facial unlock with Windows Hello, so that you can use it in shared working environments like hostels and college cafeterias without the fear of unauthorized access.
14. Acer ConceptD 3 – Best Laptop for Animation, Video, Photo Editing Students
This laptop is fueled by an Intel Core i7-9750H processor, 16GB RAM, a 512GB SSD, and NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 graphics—a configuration that proves adept at performing creative pursuits. Keeping the operations sustainable is an optimized thermal system that is both effective and silent (runs at under 40dBA).
The biggest draw is the Pantone Validated display with calibration of Delta E<2 and color gamut of 100% DCI-P3. If you are looking for color accuracy and attention to detail, this is the device for you. It blends portability into the package too, with its weight of 5.18lbs and battery life of up to nine hours.
Note: This device comes with a lovely amber-colored backlit keyboard. It lets you work easily in lowly lit environs.
15. Microsoft Surface Pro 7 – Best 2-in-1 Laptop for College Students
It is powered by an Intel Core i5 processor, 8GB RAM, and 128GB of storage. The user experience it provides is uber-comfortable, thanks to its adaptability to both studio and tablet mode. It becomes a great deal easier to doodle, take notes, play games, etc. when you have a responsive touchscreen and a flexible design.
Microsoft is committed to providing college students with a connected and comfortable experience. Further to this, it has given this laptop a lightweight build of 1.7lbs and a long battery life of 10.5 hours.
What is more, the battery can also power up quickly—up to 80% in only about an hour. So, if your typical day involves travel and working without being tethered to a power station, this can be the ideal laptop for you.
16. Acer Swift 5 – Best Laptop for Students Under $1000
This laptop comes with a narrow-bezel FHD monitor that is equipped with an IPS panel and offers a terrific screen-to-body ratio of 86.4%. You get a color gamut of 72% NTSC along with a brightness of 300 nits to ensure that your imagery renders well.
The processing chamber consists of an Intel Core i7-1065G7 CPU, 8GB RAM, and a 512GB SSD. On a single charge, this device can run up to 11 hours, which is great for contemporary campus lifestyles. Build-wise too, you have a compact and sleek chassis that weighs only 4.48lbs.
A particularly useful feature of this laptop is its support for Wake On Voice (WoV). You can use Windows 10 speech recognition to interact with your computer and get your queries resolved in a blink. Add to that a fingerprint reader and a backlit keyboard, and you have a device that is both secure and travel-friendly.
17. Lenovo Chromebook C330 – Best Laptop for Online Students
This is a 2-in-1 convertible laptop that can be used in multiple modes, such as tent, tablet, laptop and stand.
The configuration is simple: a MediaTek MT8173C processor, 4GB RAM, and 64GB of storage.
The HD screen includes an IPS panel and offers a screen resolution of 1366 x 768. While rather basic, these specifications should be ample for online students whose primary usage centers on taking notes, perusing documents and submitting assignments.
The Chrome OS, with its anti-virus protection and quick response, is also helpful in this regard. You can get up to 10 hours of battery life with this 2.64lbs Chromebook—a huge facilitator of studying wherever you want.
18. HP Envy 13-aq1010nr – Best Laptop for Business Students
The HP Envy 13-aq1010nr comes with an Intel Core i7-10510U CPU, 8GB RAM, and a 256GB SSD—a configuration that ably supports pursuits like taking notes in meetings or video calling.
The FHD touch display is fitted with an IPS panel and protected against damage by Corning Gorilla Glass. Bang & Olufsen audio guarantees exemplary sound.
HP has ensured topnotch security for this laptop to let you work peacefully in collaborative settings. You can find a fingerprint reader, a webcam kill switch, and the classic Bios recovery and protection module to prevent against unauthorized access.
Since this laptop is incredibly light at 3.53lbs, you can work from anywhere, such as public transport. A durably built computer, the HP Envy also offers a backlit keyboard and over 16 hours of battery backup, depending on your usage.
19. HP Spectre x360 – Best HP Laptop for College
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.
20. ASUS Chromebook Flip C434TA – Best Chromebook for Students
The Chromebook is a popular choice with college students primarily for its lightweight build, responsive OS, and a neat blend of smartphone-ish features with the sturdiness of a laptop.
If you are looking to buy a Chromebook to be your college companion, we would recommend the 14” ASUS Chromebook Flip C434TA-DSM4T. It is driven by an Intel Core M3-8100Y processor, 4GB RAM, 64GB storage (eMMC), and the quintessential Chrome OS.
Although this is a highly mobile laptop, it has a decent display: an FHD screen with ultra-thin bezel (only 5mm or 0.19”). It is this sleek bordering that lets this 14” Chromebook fit into the footprint of a 13” machine—an absolute win for all college students looking to maximize the space vs. features tradeoff.
In fact, this laptop scores major points in the mobility department because of its light but strong aluminum body (3lbs). The profile is also astonishingly thin at only 0.6”, which makes it a laptop that travels exceptionally well.
Bonus: This ASUS Chromebook offers a 360-degree hinge that enables you to switch across multiple modes, namely tent, stand, and tablet. Say hello to flexibility of use in various settings, such as classroom, public transport, and group-work environments.
- Best Laptops 2020 (Our Top 10 Picks)
- 10 Best 2-in-1 Laptops 2020
- Top 10 Best Laptops Under $500 in 2020
- Top 10 Best Laptops for Video Editing 2020
- 10 Best 15 Inch Laptops 2020
Major-Wise Laptop Selection Guide
1. Engineering Students
Engineering can be a particularly draining major—for your laptop too! You need a CPU that can handle complicated software, a display and graphics package that renders detail well, and the sustainability to deal with long hours at work.
We recommend the latest Razer Blade Stealth 13 Ultrabook with its super-powerful processor and graphics card, refresh rate of 60Hz, and a fantastic display that does justice to your engineering drawings and simulations. Psst, it also serves well as a gaming laptop for those after-school hours when all you want is to escape into a virtual world.
2. High School Students
If you are in high school, your standard day will involve quite a bit of multitasking: browsing the internet, watching A/V content, taking notes. However, you are unlikely to need a heavy-duty machine that drills a hole in the pocket.
Check out the Acer Aspire 5 A515-43-R19L laptop that is amazingly pocket-friendly yet perfectly capable of managing day-to-day operations without breaking into a sweat. It is an AMD Ryzen laptop with a decent display, good connectivity options to keep you attuned with your peers, and long battery life.
It even has a backlit keyboard because hey, who said this must be restricted to a premium purchase? You can also look for Acer Swift 5 – an under $1000 Core-i7 machine or ASUS ChromeBook Flip C434TA-DSM4T, if you are looking for a Chrome OS laptop.
3. Nursing Students
In a nursing major, you will want to learn to be constantly available and tuned in. Nursing can be extremely demanding. Even as a student, your course will take you through long (and odd hours), sharing important information with peers, and multitasking on assignments.
Consider buying the ASUS Chromebook Flip C434TA-DSM4T or an ASUS VivoBook 15 F512DA-EB51. Both of these are immensely portable yet pack in all the vitals for your typical day, including adequate specs and good battery backup.
The best part? They are both budget-friendly options that leave you with extra cash for other college essentials.
4. Business Students
Business majors typically get you prepared for the grind early: frequent travel for assignments, working out of strange locations, becoming an expert at multitasking. The ideal laptop for business students should understand these needs and combine portability with functionality.
You could pick up the HP Envy 13-aq1010nr for its “Power Bridge” technology and lightweight build that make it extremely easy to carry around. The responsive Windows 10 OS also proves handy when you are in a rush and need swift answers during meetings.
Or, if you have a bigger budget, why not invest in the Surface Laptop 3 or Apple MacBook Air? MacBook Air is also high on mobility, as the name suggests, but packs in incredible power alongside so you can be in business mode in a blink.
5. Graduate Students
Pursuing specialized studies in your field of choice? As a graduate student, your choice of laptop will be most aligned to the demands of your course. A multimedia specialist for graphic designing and film-making, an ultra-portable traveler for business studies, you get the gist.
The Apple MacBook Pro 16-inch, for instance, is an excellent choice for most creative courses. It has specialized features such as a Retina display and an efficient Intel i9 processor that graduate students will find very helpful as they go along.
Other great picks are ASUS ZenBook 13 UX334FLC and Lenovo Chromebook C330, particularly if you are pursuing your studies online. It neatly combines functionality with the flexibility to adapt to variable schedules and requirements.
6. Computer Science Students
Hello there, lines of code, uncanny bugs that keep people up at night, and inventive ideas that can make brilliant things happen! Computer science students are well-advised to invest in a powerful laptop with a speedy CPU and ample memory to run the applications that the course demands.
Good battery life is a bonus, since many of these applications can be severely CPU-draining. Acer has a head start on laptops for this audience.
The Acer Predator Helios 300 PH315-52-78VL, for example, offers a mighty processing unit, an efficient heat dissipation system, and a user-friendly keyboard to support your pursuits.
7. Medical Students
For medical students, becoming night owls is almost second nature. You can look forward to reading lengthy documents and e-books, doodling diagrams alongside notes to get an in-depth understanding, and scanning case studies for symptomatic analysis.
Simply put, you need a machine that lets you do your reading on the go, has sufficient battery life, and boasts of an ergonomic construction.
A laptop that does a mean job of combining these requirements is the ASUS VivoBook 15 F512DA-EB51 with its hinge-based design, lightweight build, and compelling screen-to-body ratio to keep your eye on what matters most.
8. Architecture Students
If you are studying to become an architect, it is likely that you have a flair for visualization, spatial patterns, and modeling. Architecture is a highly visual course with overlapping subject areas from majors such as engineering and art.
Pick up a laptop that is capable of running elaborate simulation software and has the display configuration to match your original thought. The Acer ConceptD 3 with its wide color gamut and high-end processing is a smart choice.
You can also consider the Apple MacBook Pro 16-inch. Besides being adept at all things creative, it comes with extensive storage space to host your projects.
9. Graphic Design Students
A popular choice of major with many students, graphics design is a course that mandates a pro-multimedia laptop. Your choice of computer should be able to process graphics efficiently without loss of detail, deliver good turnaround times, and boast of a display that renders your work well.
Most graphic design courses require students to work on heavy software and applications. This means you also need a reliable heat dissipation mechanism for sustainability.
Our top pick is the Acer Predator Helios 300 PH315-52-78VL laptop for its neat blend of form and function, great audio-video experience, and user-friendly features such as a specially designed backlit keyboard.
10. Elementary Students
As more classrooms get virtual, the need to stay connected and quickly learn the ropes of the digital world intensifies. Elementary school students can benefit from a laptop that supports them for everyday tasks such as conducting secondary research for assignments, checking e-mail for homework, and video-calling with friends.
However, there is little need to splurge here as brands like Acer and ASUS offer plenty of budget-friendly options befitting elementary school.
You can choose the Acer Aspire 5 A515-54-51DJ for its high portability, long battery life, and excellent display for the price.
VivoBooks such as the ASUS VivoBook 15 F512DA-EB51 can also be good picks for this audience.
11. Online College Students
The number of students pursuing their major online is perpetually on the upswing, thanks to the wide gamut of courses available on the internet and the flexibility they offer. The perfect laptop for you should combine processing power with a good display (your eyes will need it!). It should also supply unplugged usage and the mobility to work undisturbed from anywhere.
A smart pick for you would be the Lenovo Chromebook C330. It is a functional blend of processing finesse, high-quality display and sustainability, utilizing an Intel processor, a IPS display, and a battery that lasts unplugged for more than 10 hours.
12. Art Students
Time to embrace all things aesthetic! Yes, many modern-day laptops are built with a keen sense of all things creative, and these can become ideal partners for students of arts courses.
The Apple MacBook Pro, for example, offers a gorgeous Retina display with a brilliantly wide color gamut that goes in tandem with your creativity. When purchasing a laptop, also ensure it has up-to-date specs that can smoothly run any software you might need.
The ConceptD 3 with its NVIDIA graphics, immersive display, and powerful processing configuration is another excellent choice. Other alternatives are Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 and Razer Blade Stealth 13 Ultrabook.
13. MBA Students
A key tenet of an MBA major is always being up and about—for projects, research, meetings and field studies. The perfect laptop for this course must be not only super responsive but also resilient and long-lasting. It needs to understand, shall we say, the grind of the business world.
The Dell XPS 15 7590/XPS 13 7390 laptop with its incredibly long battery life and high portability can be a useful companion for MBA students. It is even equipped with a specially designed webcam with superior sound and picture quality. All those calls with peers and business-clients-to-be just got so much easier!
14. Information Technology Students
Pursuing information technology as a major? You will need to get used to major multitasking, working odd and super-long hours, running heavy-duty programs and mystifying that gnawing fault in the systems until the wee hours of the morning.
An ideal computing companion must, of course, have the processing wherewithal to withstand this. But it must also offer features like an anti-glare screen and an ergonomic keyboard to keep you going day after day.
A worthy choice is the Razer Blade Stealth 13 that comes with high-end specs to fuel your IT endeavors (and can also double up as your gaming mate by night).
15. Animation Students
Pursuing an animation major requires a great eye for detail, a distinct creative streak, and a laptop that helps further both of these. Your ideal digital buddy should have a stellar display, terrific processing power for all that intensive software, and the ability to render multimedia content meticulously.
Consider opting for the Acer ConceptD 3 laptop as your college companion. It has a fantastic screen-to-body ratio for maximum real estate, a refresh rate of 144Hz, and GTX graphics. The latter lets you experience real-time ray tracing and images enhanced by artificial intelligence; both serve you splendidly while working on animation projects.
16. Biology Students
A substantial chunk of a biology major involves diagrammatic representation, heavy documents to peruse for your chosen area of specialization, and tons of reading material. It makes sense to opt for a laptop that offers textual and image clarity to make pursuing these tasks easier.
The marketplace now has several options like the Acer Aspire 5 A515-54-51DJ that offers a decent display and adequate specs at pocket-friendly prices. The former utilizes the Acer Color Intelligence technology to render colors accurately on screen.
This is a nifty feature for when you are studying minute anatomical parts with variable color gradation. Alternatively, you can go with HP Spectre x360 if you have higher budget.
17. Geology Students
This is one major that needs an especially sturdy and resilient laptop. As a geology student, your studies will take you to varied natural surroundings and places with limited charging stations.
Also, you will need a device with a pretty good display so that you can view captured footage, photographs, etc., in their true form.
Consider picking up an ASUS VivoBook 15 F512DA-EB51—it is high on portability but also packs in good graphics.
The Apple MacBook Air is a splendid option too if you want to go the extra mile; the gloriousness doesn’t come at the cost of portability in this light machine.
18. Data Science Students
Guess what some must-haves for students of data science are? An ability to perform number crunching at breakneck speeds, the kind of endurance that can withstand long-drawn hours of analysis, and the knowledge that the devil lies in the details.
Along the same lines, the best laptop for this major must also be contemporary and powerful, with an efficient cooling mechanism that lends it the durability for several hours of operation.
The processing specs, too, must be on the higher end of the spectrum as this course requires intensive software and mathematical computation.
Our pick for this major is the Razer Blade Stealth 13 which satisfactorily meets all the required criteria (besides offering the bonus of being a game-friendly device!).
19. Psychology Students
Psychology is a particularly riveting major for the fascinating manner in which it combines behavioral studies with science, anthropology and even mathematics. If you are pursuing psychology as your major, you need a laptop that balances form and function. The processing chamber must pull its weight, so that you can research-related software, statistical analyses, etc.
One sensible option is the ASUS Zenbook 13 UX334FLC laptop with its integrated fingerprint reader and powerful configuration. The high portability quotient of this computer proves useful when you need to venture out for on-ground group discussions or focus groups.
20. Stem Students
STEM (or Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) is an interdisciplinary major that now finds favor with many students. Since this course involves several functional areas, the ideal laptop that supports it should also be an all-rounder.
Think a fast processor, good display specs, plentiful connectivity options, and a portable build that can withstand travel.
The Dell XPS 15 7590/XPS 13 7390 laptop combines all these criteria and also throws in exceptionally long battery life and good-quality sound. (Plus, the addition of Dell Cinema ensures you have a reliable fall-back entertainment option for after-school hours.)
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.