We live in a modern era wherein almost all our tasks are handled and assisted by a computer. The same applies to students as well, as they have to carry a portable computer, a.k.a. laptop to the college for their assistance. However, the requirements of all students are not similar as it depends upon the college major and classes they take. Also, everyone is bound to budget, which is often limited in this case, as most of it gets occupied by tuition, accommodation, and other college expenses (that never ends). So, picking the best laptop for college, the one that lasts for atleast 4-5 years is not an easy task, and students often make the wrong decision to buy a laptop, which is not the best available for their money. We have simplified the process and have brought you the best college laptops of 2020 in various segments of price with compatible hardware and features for students studying in different college majors.
We have set up this guide budget-wise by picking up the best laptops for college students across all the price ranges. So, you’ll find a laptop that costs under $200 in this guide and even the one that costs over $2000. However, we would like to give you guys a little disclaimer. If you are taking a major that requires powerful specs to run the demanding programs, then don’t look at the budget laptops, especially those priced under $400, as they are only suitable for basic productivity tasks. Of course, there are few exclusions such as Acer Aspire 5 and ASUS VivoBook 15, which are excellent value machines for less than $400. Other than that, most of them are Chromebooks and Windows netbooks, which are only good for surfing the web and working with Office apps. While these budget laptops might not be a great option for demanding jobs, they are an excellent option for elementary and middle school students. These inexpensive notebooks have just the right amount of power to suffice the school students’ requirements. They are also great inexpensive machines to take online classes on zoom, or in case if you already have a PC, then this could be a great secondary device to take to the classroom (*when the college opens) for taking notes.
We recommend you to spend at least $700 on your new laptop. With that budget, you can get “our pick of best all-around performing budget laptop” – Acer Swift 3. It offers powerful hardware that beats even the expensive ultrabooks in performance, and all the premium features that you would expect in your new laptop with full-day battery life. If you can spend up to $1000, then the new Dell XPS 13 is truly a statement maker with its InfinityEdge display and HP ENVY 13t probably offers the best value in terms of overall specs and build quality in premium ultrabooks segment. The MacBook Air with the new magic keyboard is also an excellent pick for students who prefer macOS. These pricey premium ultrabooks might not provide significant gains in terms of performance when compared to the budget ultrabooks, but their build quality is undoubtedly much better, and that helps in the overall longevity of the device.
So, check out our top picks of laptops for college students below and pick the right one in accordance with your college major and budget.
If you’re looking for the best tablet to take to the classroom, you can check out our buying guide for tablets for college students on our sister site Tablet Under Budget.
NOTE – Due to the pandemic, prices of many laptops have increased, and many are out of stock. We are trying hard to keep this page updated. Please bear with us.
Best Laptops For College Students – Top Picks
Best Inexpensive Notebooks and Chromebooks For College (Under $200)
– light on pockets, but essential on works!
1. Acer Aspire 1 Best Inexpensive Laptop for College
Acer is a widely renowned international brand and is very well reputed in the field of laptops. The company understands the needs of every user covering every niche and accordingly releases various laptops with good specifications at the asking price. And when it comes to a laptop for college, whatever may be the need, budget is a strict constraint. A student’s laptop has to be reliable and must satisfy the budget constraint.
To satisfy the above maxim, Acer introduced its Aspire 1, a 15-inch lightweight notebook, which is not hard on the pocket but is packed with features, every student would love to have. It offers a 15.6-inch Full HD display, which is a rarity in the laptops at this price range. It is powered by a dual-core Intel Celeron N4020 processor paired with 4GB of RAM and 64GB eMMC storage, which is on the lower side but can be expanded easily via provided SD card slot. On the software front, it runs on the latest Windows 10 S operating system, which is great when it comes to supporting and application compatibility. Moreover, it comes with all the necessary ports and slots. Sure, it’s not the most powerful laptop, but it performs all the basic functions you’d expect. The low-demanding specs mean a longer battery life with a ten-hour backup on a single charge and that makes it one of the best inexpensive laptops for students.
2. Lenovo Chromebook S340
If one is ready to let go of the flexibility of Windows 10, then the Lenovo Chromebook S340 is another excellent inexpensive laptop for students. Under the hood, it has Intel Celeron N4000 processor paired with 4GB of RAM and 32GB of internal memory, which can be easily upgraded with the help of an external micro SD card. The Chrome OS is way less demanding than the full-blown Windows 10, so it runs just as well with low configurations. For a college laptop, it’s equipped with all the necessary programs that one would need, such as the Google docs, slides and an array of other Google Apps. With a 14” Full HD IPS panel, a long-lasting battery (up to 10 hours) and all the ports you’d need, Lenovo Chromebook S340 is the best Chromebook for college students under $200.
Samsung Chromebook 4 is another excellent option for college students with a little bit better build quality and hardware. It has 4GB RAM and Intel Celeron N4000 processor, which runs Chrome OS buttery smooth. Moreover, Samsung also boasts a better battery life than Lenovo, benchmarked at 12.5 hours. The 11-inch form factor makes it extremely portable and easy to carry around the campus.
With a great keyboard and anti-reflective HD display, the Samsung Chromebook 4 is also one of the best laptops for college students who are on a strict budget. | Check out its price on Amazon
RELATED: Top 10 Best Laptops Under $200
Top Budget Laptops For Students (Under $300)
– It’s surely worth spending a little extra for major works!
3. Dell Inspiron 15 3593
The Dell Inspiron 15 3593 offers the best specs on a laptop under $300. For the price, you get the latest 10th Gen Intel Core i3 processor, paired with 4GB of RAM and 128GB SSD for quick boot-ups. An SSD at this price is commendable. You’ll never have to worry about lags and slow loading times while accessing important notes and folders.
The powerful specs are packed in a pretty standard looking, yet sturdy plastic body. The 15.6-inch screen is bright and capable of extended periods of content consumption. You’ll also find every port imaginable on a laptop.
It doesn’t really stand out as a laptop, but what Dell has packed under a price tag of $300 is what every college student will need.
If you don’t mind spending a bit extra, then Acer Aspire 5 is a much better choice. Under the hood, it packs the new AMD Ryzen 3 processor with Vega 3 graphics which can handle light games at the weekly CS: GO LAN parties in the dorms. The AMD chips are much more powerful, power-efficient and cheaper than their Intel counterparts. Apart from the specs, you also get a 15.6 inch Full HD display and a backlit keyboard that’ll help gush out that long essay at three in the morning before it’s 9 AM deadline. | Check Price on Amazon
4. Acer Chromebook 314 Best Chromebook for College
Acer Chromebook is an eye-catcher when it comes to looks, styled in a durable plastic chassis with a metallic finish, it is probably the best looking notebook for the asking price. For all the students out there who need extra attention, Acer Chromebook 314 should be your bet. Sporting a 14-inch full HD IPS display and stereo speakers, it is an excellent laptop for media consumption. It has a quad-core Intel Celeron N4000 processor inside paired with 4GB of RAM, which outputs enough power to handle everyday productivity tasks. The storage department consists of a small 64GB of flash memory, but it comes with an SD card slot to expand the memory, and you can always use Google Drive or Dropbox to store your data. Battery backup of this Chromebook is exceptionally good and can last for about 12 hours of continuous usage, making it a great package overall for students.
The Lenovo Chromebook Duet is also an excellent option for college students who prefer a 2-in-1 laptop over the regular clamshell design. Powered by the MediaTek Helio processor with 4GB RAM and 64GB storage, the Chromebook Duet is the perfect on-the-go companion. It boasts a detachable 10″ full HD touchscreen display, which is great for work, and playing touch-based games or watching Netflix in your free time. For $50 extra, you can get the Lenovo Active Pen to take digital notes in class. Moreover, its keyboard is very comfortable to type, and its trackpad is also smooth to operate. The ultra-slim profile and the light weight of just 2.65 lbs make it extremely convenient to carry around, so overall, it is currently the best convertible Chromebook for college students on a budget. | Check Price on Lenovo
If you want a convertible Windows laptop under $300, then Lenovo Flex 11 is an excellent alternative to the Chromebooks mentioned above. It is powered by an Intel Pentium N5030 processor with 4GB of RAM and 128 GB PCIe SSD. It weighs just 2.6 pounds and has a battery backup of up to 10 hours with a Rapid charge, which gives you 2 hours of battery life with only 15 minutes of charging. Its beautiful 11-inch full HD screen is touch-compatible and supports Lenovo Active Pen, making it the perfect windows convertible laptop for taking notes for college students. | Check Price on Lenovo
RELATED: Top 10 Best Laptops Under $300
More Budget Laptops (Under $400)
– You earn what you spend, in the form of performance.
5. ASUS VivoBook 15 Laptop Best Value For Money
When it comes to buying a new laptop for the students, it is undoubtedly no less than an arduous task. That said, every student has their requirement depending on their area of interest and studies.
There are very few budget laptops out on the market, which can satisfy the requirements of a wide array of users. ASUS VivoBook 15 is one such laptop, which fares well in almost all the segments. Sporting a 15.6-inch full HD display with tiny bezels, this ASUS notebook provides a great viewing experience. Although we found the display’s peak brightness on dimmer-side during our review, it’s fine as long as your are indoors. Apart from that, it is backed by the latest 10th Gen Intel Core i3 paired with 8GB of RAM.
It is a very lightweight laptop considering its form-factor and is one of the most ergonomic laptops in this price range. The storage department comes with a speedy 128GB of SSD storage, which is less but decent enough to store your essential files. This laptop can handle most of the apps you throw at it, and it can also run some great old games. Moreover, it is among the very few laptops that offer a backlit keyboard at this price range. So, if your budget is around $400, then ASUS VivoBook 15 is one of the best affordable laptops for college you can buy right now.
6. Acer Aspire 5
Acer Aspire 5 is another excellent choice on the spectrum of affordable laptops for college. It is also an equally able laptop as the aforementioned ASUS VivoBook 15 and comes with all the newest specs within a slightly bigger form-factor. The Aspire 5 also boasts a brighter screen than the Vivobook. So if you are ready to overlook the looks and light weighing factor of the ASUS VivoBook, then Acer Aspire 5 is also an excellent option. Although it comes with slightly less amount of RAM, it costs less than the VivoBook 15. However, the RAM is easily upgradable on both the Acer and ASUS models, so both are excellent value machines for their respective prices.
If you are looking for a convertible laptop under $400, then our pick for students is the Lenovo Chromebook Flex 5 13″. It offers the best bang for the buck with a premium all-metal construction similar to high-end ultrabooks and respectable specs for the price. It is powered by the newest 10th Gen Intel Core i3 processor, 4GB RAM, and 64GB eMMC storage. The onboard storage leans on the lower side, but the addition of an SD card slot and inclusion of USB Type-C port makes up for it. Its 13.3-inch full HD display is bright and colorful, and its minimal bezels lend a modern look to the Chromebook. You can buy a Lenovo Active Pen with it to take digital notes, which, however, takes the total cost slightly upwards of $400. All in all, it is one of the best budget chromebook for college with premium construction. | See it on Amazon
If you’re a Windows fanboy or the Chrome OS is simply not cutting for you, then the HP Pavilion x360 is an excellent convertible laptop running Windows 10. It also offers premium form-factor and similar hardware specifications as the Lenovo Chromebook, but its slightly better in terms of performance. It is powered by the 10th Gen Intel Core i3 Processor with 8GB of RAM and has speedy 128GB SSD for storage. The display, however, is not as sharp, and colors also look vanished. It’s good enough for everyday work, but for media consumption, it’s not as good as the Lenovo Chromebook Flex 5. Despite being a budget offering, it’s sturdily built and also weighs less than 4 pounds, making it an excellent budget convertible laptop overall. | Check Price on Best Buy
Best Laptops For College Students Under $500
– For a power-packed long-term stable performance, $500 isn’t a bad bet.
As the budget keeps increasing, more and more options, with a specified feature arises putting us in a confusion to choose from the lot. We understand this concern of students and have finalized the best all-around performing laptops for college students under 500 dollars. During our research and polls with the students, we have come across few very important features, which a student wishes to see on their next laptop. They are Portability, Gaming, Efficient day-to-day performance, and storage capacity. We have therefore shortlisted best laptops with all the aforementioned features for your budget of $500.
7. ASUS Chromebook Flip C434
ASUS Chromebook Flip is a stunningly pretty and eye-catching notebook with sturdy, premium aluminum body. Powered by the Intel Core M3 processor, with 4GB of RAM and 64GB eMMC flash memory, it’s certainly not the most powerful laptop that you can buy for under $500. But what it lacks in the performance sector, it makes up with other things. It has a beautiful 14” full HD touchscreen display with narrow bezels, and that paired with the excellent stereo speakers set-up, it’s a top-notch system to pull an all-nighter and binge on Netflix. It also features a comfortable backlit keyboard and all the required ports and slots, making it the best budget chromebook for students under $500 right now.
If you are looking for a Windows alternative to the above mentioned Asus Chromebook, then again, HP Pavilion X360 is at your aid. For $500, the Pavilion x360 packs quad-core 10th Gen Intel Core i5 Processor, 8GB RAM, and 256GB SSD, which help speed up the booting process and app launches. The exterior design and construction are the same as the lower specced model, so it also has a 14” full HD touchscreen, Bang and Olufsen front-firing speakers and a backlit keyboard. | Check Price on HP
8. Microsoft Surface Go 2 The Most Versatile of ’em All
The Microsoft Surface Go 2 is a Surface product developed with Students in mind. The Surface Go 2 is technically a tablet with full-fledged Windows OS, but slap on a $100 type cover, and you get an excellent $500 laptop for students. With a beautiful 10.5-inch touchscreen PixelSense display and astonishingly low 1.2 lbs weight, the Microsoft Surface Go 2 wins the crown for the most portable student’s laptop. There were complaints against thick bezels on the previous iteration of the Surface Go. Thankfully, Microsoft took the feedback and fixed that on the new Surface Go 2. For under $500, you can get the base model with an Intel Pentium Gold processor paired with 4GB of RAM and a 64GB eMMC drive. If you can extend your budget, we recommend its variant with SSD, which will be a lot better in terms of performance. The build quality is incomparable to any $500 laptop, making it the best Windows tablet and a pretty darn good Windows Laptop at the $500 price tag.
9. Acer Aspire 5 Best Budget Laptop For College
Yes, we know we’ve already recommended this laptop, but it’s so good, especially for students, that we can’t get enough of it. Thus, a newer and higher specced version of the Acer Aspire 5 has made its way yet again to this list. Just a bit more than $500 gives you access to the latest AMD Ryzen 5 4500U six-core processor, 8GB of RAM, and 256GB SSD storage. The storage and RAM can be easily upgraded in the aftermarket. Along with the specs, you get all the other good stuff that comes with the Aspire 5; a full HD IPS panel, a Wi-Fi 6 card onboard, a backlit keyboard, a fingerprint scanner, all the ports and slots and a battery that lasts 9 hours on a single charge. The build quality, keeping the price and specs in mind, is pretty good and subject to no significant complaints. So, if you prefer the standard clamshell design over convertible or 2-in-1, then Acer Aspire 5 is our another pick of the budget laptop for students at the $500 price tag.
The Acer Aspire 5 is also available with the latest 10th Gen Intel Core i5 processor, so if you prefer Intel hardware over AMD for some reason, you can get it. However, we recommend the AMD variant because the AMD Ryzen 5 processor is way more powerful than the Intel Core i5 processor.
Best All-Purpose Laptop For School/College (Under $600)
– Spending few extra bucks can return a lot for of power-packed performance.
10. Acer Swift 3 Our Top Pick
If you are looking for a super-fast performer with premium aesthetics and newest and powerful specs, then the Acer Swift 3 should be your pick. It sports a 14-inch full HD IPS display that’s fairly color accurate unless you’re editing. On the inside, you’ll get an AMD Ryzen 7 4700U Octa-Core processor with Radeon graphics, 8GB RAM, and 512GB SSD. The Ryzen 7 processor is an extremely powerful processor that beats it’s Intel counterpart, the Core i7, by fair margins, and it costs less than the i7. Despite the lack of dedicated graphics, the integrated Radeon Graphics can play modern games like Red Dead Redemption 2 and edit videos without breaking a sweat.
The build is equally commendable as well. The Swift 3 is a thin and light, aluminum constructed laptop that weighs just 2.65 pounds. The design cues are borrowed from the likes of the MacBook Air, and that’s a great thing on a laptop that costs half as much. Opening the lid, you’ll find a backlit keyboard, a fingerprint sensor, and a screen with thin bezels. Moreover, it has a battery backup of up to 11.5 hours, thanks to a 7 nm AMD chip that consumes less power, the Swift 3 can go on for the whole day without a fill-up.
The specs, the features, the build, and, most importantly, the price make it one of the most well-rounded laptops. Productivity, gaming, content consumption, video editing, and more, Swift 3 can take it all.
Read our Acer Swift 3 Review
If you’re a Student of Computer Science Major, then your college laptop requirements will include running a code editor, local servers, etc. which requires the laptop with a decent amount of RAM. The sweet spot would be at least 8GB of RAM, but higher is always appreciable. You can refer to this guide on laptops for programming to get an in-depth insight on what to look for while buying a laptop for programming.
Also, if you prefer Ubuntu or any other Linux OS for programming, then you can check out our guide on Linux laptops, which includes best laptops with pre-installed Linux operating systems and also our top choices of laptops to dual boot Linux and Windows operating system.
11. Lenovo Flex 5 14-inch Convertible Laptop
The Lenovo Flex 5 is an excellent choice for a powerful, convertible Windows laptop at the $600 asking price. It’s powered by AMD Ryzen 5 4500U processor, a part of AMD’s new 7 Nm processor line whose performance is at par with Intel Core i7. The processor is paired with colossal 16GB of RAM and 256GB SSD. Its 14” touchscreen display is vibrant and it can be rotated 360° to be used as a tablet. Lenovo is kind enough to provide a digital pen in the box, so you don’t need to spend extra in order to take digital notes. The construction is sturdy yet lightweight. There is minimal flex on the screen and the keyboard deck that’s expected at the price point. On the deck, you’ll also find dual-channel front-firing speakers with Dolby Audio, a Windows Hello enabled fingerprint sensor, and a backlit keyboard.
The included digital pen steals the spotlight of this laptop, but don’t let that overshadow the fact that this is an extremely powerful and capable machine. Plus, it lasts up to 10-hours on a single charge, so overall, the Lenovo Flex 5 is a complete package for students, and one of the best convertible laptops you can buy under $600.
RELATED: Top 10 Best Laptops Under $600
Top Choice of Laptop (Under $700) for Students
– Yet again, the more you spend the better you get.
12. Dell Inspiron 13 5391
The Inspiron 13 5000 presents a perfect harmony of healthy specs and top-notch construction under $700. The base model packs a 10th Gen Intel Core i5 processor, 8GB RAM, and 256GB SSD. While the specs are mediocre at best for the price, the built is certainly commendable.
With just 0.5-inch thin, 2.74 pounds weight, and narrow bezels around the screen, the Inspiron 13 is one of the most portable 13-inch laptops you can buy right now. The laptop features a metallic finish with a platinum silver color that extends to the keyboard. The ergo lift hinge kicks off beyond 135 degrees and slightly lifts your keyboard, providing a better typing experience. If you’re willing to spend a bit more, you can also configure the Inspiron 13 with a Windows Hello enabled fingerprint sensor integrated into the power button itself.
Overall, the Inspiron 13 takes our pick for the best construction under the $700 price tag. So if you’re a rough user or prefer the sleek and modern design, Inspiron 13 is perfect for you.
If you’re willing to spend a little extra, we will urge you to go for HP Envy x360 15. For starters, you’re getting much more powerful specs that will blow the Inspiron 13 right out of the park. The Envy x360 is powered by an six-core AMD Ryzen 5 processor with AMD Radeon Graphics, 8GB RAM, and 256GB SSD. Those specs make it more than capable of pushing out decent framerates on modern AAA titles. The 15.6-inch touch screen can be rotated all the way around to be used as a tablet. The design is bold, yet sleek and modern.
All things said, there are no complaints against the HP Envy x360. If you can shell out a few extra bucks, we’d recommend this over the Inspiron 13 any day. | Check Price on Amazon
If you’re a student majoring in Music, then you will need a laptop with a powerful processor and a lot of RAM to run the DAW softwares smoothly. You don’t need a GPU for making music, but having an entry level one from Nvidia or AMD will aid if you like to play games alongside. What’s more important for you is the fan’s noise. The laptop should stay quite as whisper even while doing the most demanding tasks otherwise, it can hinder while recording audio. Here’s our guide on laptops for music production, which includes all the important things to check in a laptop to make it ideal for making music, and it also has our top 10 current laptop recommendations in different price ranges. It will help you to buy the best laptop to learn music production.
Best College Ultrabooks & Gaming Laptops (Between $800 – $1000)
– It’s quite natural that we expect quite a lot for what we invest in. Spending hard-earned $1000 can get you a future-proof, performance guaranteed work machine.
Considering, you have a budget varying from $800-$1000, there are tons of options available in the market to go for. There are varied specification to look out for which could be quite subjective to the user. Some students might opt for a better daily performer, whereas some might need a powerful graphic performer. There are few students who prefer portability over everything and there are few who need a really long-lasting battery backup.
13. HP Spectre x360 13 Capable Yet Light
If premium aesthetics is what you dig for in your devices, then you’ll love the HP Spectre x360 13. It is HP’s one of the most elite offerings, and hence nothing but the best materials are used to build this laptop. The quality is top-notch, and it’s hard to find any shortcomings. The design is undoubtedly eye-catching yet light and easy to carry around.
Although it can be configured with up to Intel Core i7, 16GB RAM, and 2TB SSD, we think its base model will suffice most students’ requirements. You get the 10th Gen Intel Core i5 quad-core processor, 8GB RAM, and 256GB SSD. The 13.3″ full HD touch display is sharp and color-accurate, and it can be rotated 360 degrees to be used as a tablet.
If you’re in the market for a premium convertible Windows laptop with $1000 in your pocket, the Spectre x360 should be your pick.
Alternately, for the more budget-conscious consumer, we’d recommend the Lenovo Yoga C640 (13”) Laptop. The base variant has the same specs as the Spectre x360, but the Yoga C640 costs just $800. Sure, the aesthetics aren’t as eye-catching, but the Yoga C640 certainly is a well built convertible laptop.
For students of Arts and Designing major, it’s better to buy a laptop, which is backed by a powerful dedicated GPU. The GPU will help the software such as Adobe Photoshop and Adobe After Effects, which you will be using on a daily basis to run efficiently. So to ensure that you always stay ahead in class, buy the laptop with dedicated graphics for your college requirements. Here’s our guide on laptops for photo editing and laptops for artists, which will be useful for such students in purchasing laptop for themselves.
14. Apple MacBook Air Best MacBook for College
The Apple MacBook Air is the go-to choice for college students who need macOS.
Styled in an all-new anodized aluminum chassis, the MacBook Air is a powerful machine known for its long-lasting battery backup of up to 10 hours. It comes with the latest 10th Gen Intel Core i3 Y-series dual-core processor paired with an 8GB of RAM. Its lightweight ultra-sleek ergonomics gains it an upper hand over other traditional Windows laptops in the segment. The display is razor-sharp and highly color accurate.
Apple also fixed the treacherously unreliable butterfly keyboard with the trusty old scissor switches in the 2020 model to use your MacBook without fear of keyboard failures. The only downside to the MacBook Air, or any MacBook for that matter, is the limited choice of ports. The MacBook Air, in particular, has only two USB-C ports. If one of them is engaged in charging, then you’re left with just one spare port.
Despite that, overall, we think that it is the best MacBook for college you can buy right now. Its design, performance, and battery life is just perfect for student life.
However, if you want a more powerful, 13” Apple laptop, then the recently-refreshed entry-level MacBook Pro 13 is also an excellent option for students. Although it costs more than $1000, it comes with a lot more powerful quad-core Intel Core i5 processor paired with 8GB of RAM and 256GB SSD. It is also an excellent MacBook for students with better specs and full-day battery life. | See it on Amazon
15. HP ENVY 13t Best Ultrabook for College
If you want a powerful ultrabook with a rich multimedia experience for a reasonably affordable price, take a look at the HP ENVY 13. Starting at $900, it costs significantly less than MacBook Air and features better specs. It has a 10th Gen Intel Core i7 processor inside with 16GB RAM and 256GB storage. Moreover, it also has a dedicated Nvidia GeForce MX250 GPU, which differentiates HP ENVY 13 from other ultrabooks in this price segment and makes it capable enough for video editing and even moderate gaming.
The build quality is top-notch with aluminum all around. There is a good selection of ports as well including a Thunderbolt port and an SD card reader in addition to the usual display port and USB Type-A ports. The 13.3″ inch display is sharp, stunning and color accurate to its core.
Overall, it is a great value for money package when compared to the MacBook Air or other Windows ultrabooks under $1000 price range, and that makes HP ENVY 13 the best ultrabook for students right now.
16. Dell XPS 13 Our All-time Favorite
If you’re looking for a MacBook level build quality on a Windows machine, check out the Dell XPS 13. It is a perfect all-around performing laptop for college. It’s one of our all time favorite laptops which not only excels in terms of productivity but also efficiently delivers when it comes to entertainment. It comes with a beautiful 13.3-inch InfinityEdge display with extremely narrow bezels and a screen to body ratio of staggering 91.5%. The humongous screen to body ratio translates into a small form factor compared to other 13 inch laptops. If you’re sitting in the library or a cafe, the XPS 13 is bound to catch the excited glimpses of the passersby.
It is a flagship laptop from the company so it is available with varied configurations where you can choose between Intel’s newest 10th Gen CPUs, up to 16GB RAM and 512GB of SSD. If your college major demands more powerful machine, then you can consider the Dell XPS 15, which can be configured with a six-core Intel Core i7 processor and a dedicated Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 Ti GPU.
The Dell XPS lineup is an epitome of premium ultrabooks, and the XPS 13 is the most premium Windows ultrabook you can buy right now. It is also a very capable machine, so it is also an excellent option for students to buy right now under $1000.
Recommended Read – Top 10 Best All-Purpose Laptops Under $1000
17. Dell G5 15 Laptop Best for College & Gaming
If your budget is around $800, then Dell’s new Dell G5 15″ gaming laptop is a healthy blend of portability and performance at a competitive price point. Under the hood, Dell offers a 10th Generation Intel Core i5 processor, 8GB RAM, 256GB Storage, and Nvidia GTX 1650 Ti with 4GB video memory to handle the graphic-intensive tasks. The RAM and SSD can be easily upgraded, and there is an empty slot for an HDD as well.
The laptop is built from plastic, and it has an aluminum lid. It is a well-built machine indeed, and the black finish with blue hues all around add to the gaming aesthetic. It also features a light bar in the bottom, which can be customized, or turned off according to your preference. Its 15.6-inch full HD screen is decently bright, but it’s not a high refresh-rate panel, and that’s kind of expected at this price point. Nonetheless, it’s a good screen overall for gaming and general productivity. The specs inside can easily push out over 60FPS, with most modern titles turned down to 1080p. On the contrary, being a beefy and powerful laptop, it’s quite big and bulky for students, weighing 5.18 lbs. The laptop favors performance over portability.
At the retail price tag of $820, the Dell G5 is a great bargain for college students who need heavy graphical power or simply like to game after a long lecture.
If your pocket allows you to spare up to $1000, ASUS TUF Gaming A15 is an excellent gaming laptop. The specs are significantly better than the Dell G5 for a couple of hundred dollars more. You get an eight-core AMD Ryzen 7 4800H processor, 16GB DDR4 RAM, 512GB SSD, and Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 Ti dedicated graphics with 6GB GDDR6 memory.
The 15-inch display supports a refresh rate of 144Hz, and specs can easily attain that, especially on games like CS: GO and Valorant. The construction is sturdier and robust with military-grade drop protection.
The Asus TUF A15 is the best AMD gaming laptop under $1000 to buy in 2020. | Check price on Amazon
If you prefer an Intel-powered gaming laptop at the price of $1000, then the Acer Predator Helios 300 is an excellent alternative to the Asus TUF A15. Inside, you’ll find a 9th Gen six-core Intel Core i7 processor paired with 16GB dual-channel RAM and 512GB SSD, and the graphics is managed by the same Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 Ti GPU.
In terms of design, it’s stuck with a more traditional gaming laptop aesthetic that can also be found on Acer’s other gaming laptops. On the back, there are two stripes and a Predator logo that lights up. On the front, there is 4 zone RGB lighting on the keyboard deck. The 15.6″ display supports a Full HD resolution with a 144Hz refresh rate and 3ms response time.
In terms of sheer performance, the TUF A15 is undoubtedly more powerful with eight-core Ryzen CPU, but that doesn’t mean that the Acer Predator Helios 300 has poor performance. It can also run all the newest AAA games in 1080p at respectable framerates. So, all in all, if you prefer an Intel-powered gaming laptop under $1000, this is the one to consider. | Check price on Amazon
Recommended Read – Top 10 Best Gaming Laptops Under $1000
Best High Performance Laptops For College (Above $1000)
– Laptops ready to take whatever task you throw at it.
18. Apple MacBook Pro 16
MacBook Pro is Apple’s flagship laptop and is very powerful and, at the same time, a very costly machine for the students. It is our top pick for video editing professionals, and we think it will be a perfect option for students of film and animation major. Sporting a 16-inch Retina display with a wide coverage of P3 color-gamut and touch bar above the keyboard, it is evidently the best laptop you can buy for film making or video editing in general. The touch bar is a massive boon when browsing through the video timelines while editing.
Under the hood, it is powered by an Intel Core i7 six-core processor paired with a 16GB of RAM and 512GB of solid-state drive for efficient data processing. It also features a dedicated AMD GPU for better performance with graphics-intensive tasks. Despite such powerful hardware, the MacBook Pro 16 can last up to 10 hours on a single charge, and that’s all due thanks to the macOS Mojave, which is perfectly optimized for the hardware inside. Apart from that, MacBook Pro 16 also comes with a new magic keyboard that replaces notorious butterfly keys with the trusty old scissor keys.
All in all, MacBook Pro 16 is an excellent laptop for students. It packs powerful hardware inside a thin and light chassis and offers a battery backup of a full day. It is the laptop of choice of most content creators and is revered as the best laptop for professionals, but its steep price tag might be out of reach for many students. That said, if you have a budget to splurge, then MacBook Pro 16 is undoubtedly the best laptop for college and even for years after that.
If you are a Windows user and want to buy the laptop in similar lines as the MacBook Pro 16, then Dell XPS 15 is the one we recommend. It is one of the smallest and lightest 15-inch laptop you can buy right now which can be configured with pretty powerful specs. The excellent InfinityEdge display, lightweight carbon-fiber chassis, and 10-hour battery life make it a good overall package for students whose workload demands a lot of horsepowers. | Check Price on Dell
The students of Film and Animation Major will be working on software like Adobe Premiere, Maya, and Final Cut Pro. To run those softwares efficiently, students will require a laptop with powerful processor, lots of RAM, and fast SSD storage. Here’s a guide on best video editing laptops for film and animation students, which will come in handy to select the right laptop for video editing for college students.
19. ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14 Best Gaming Laptop for College
Finally, if you are not bound by a budget and expect to buy an all-new standard benchmark laptop for gaming, then the ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14 is the ultimate choice to go for. It is a 14-inch laptop with absolutely bonkers specs inside. For under $1500, you’ll get an AMD Ryzen 9 processor, 16GB of RAM, 1TB SSD, and the latest Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 Max-Q Graphics. Gaming, writing, productivity, this beast can do it all. Astonishingly, Asus has managed to fit such beefy specs in quite a compact package that weighs just 3.64 lbs and measures 0.7″ thin, and that might make you a little bit concerned about its thermal performance. Well, that’s not a problem either. The laptop always stays at comfortable temperatures even when you push it hard. Plus, it features an ErgoLift hinge, which lifts off the laptop’s base by a few millimeters to improve the airflow and the typing experience.
However, its long battery life is what makes it perfectly suitable for students. On regular use, including web browsing, productivity apps, and content consumption, the battery lasts beyond 11 hours. For a fair comparison, a similarly specced gaming laptop lasts about 4.5 hours on the same usage. So Zephyrus G14’s battery lasts almost three times longer than the competition!
So, the ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14 checks all the right boxes, and hence it is our top pick for a gaming laptop for college students right now.
You may like to check out: The Best Gaming Laptops Under $1500
20. Lenovo Thinkpad P15s For Engineering Students
Lenovo Thinkpad P15s is our recommendation for the engineering students because of the two main reasons. It is lightweight, and its hardware is certified for CAD work. Meaning, its hardware is optimized to work efficiently with all the major CAD and 3D Modeling softwares such as AutoCAD, SOLIDWORKS, and more.
The Thinkpad P15s’ base model houses an Intel Core i5 Processor, 8GB of RAM, 256GB storage, and Nvidia Quadro P520 2GB GDDR5 graphics, an extremely powerful mobile GPU that’s excellent for students. If your budget allows, we’d recommend you to bump up to an Intel Core i7 processor with 16GB RAM and 512GB SSD.
Of-course the laptop with such features and powerful hardware will not come with a cheap price tag. The Lenovo ThinkPad P15s starts from $1,200 for the base model and costs $1,600 for an i7 version we recommend. Consider this as a one-time investment because it will be perfect even after college for work.
If you are a student of Engineering and Architecture major (or if you’re going to be), you’ll need a workstation laptop for your college requirements. You’ll be running computer softwares such as AutoCAD and SOLIDWORKS, which requires a lot of power to run smoothly and picking the right hardware to run those softwares is very important. Here’s our complete guide on buying the best laptop for CAD, which will help you to make an informed purchase of your next workstation laptop for college.
THIS IS IT! We hope that by now, you have found what your next college laptop is going to be. The list mentioned above covers all the best laptops in various budgets and are specially picked by keeping the students’ requirements in mind.
We hope this laptop buying guide help you in buying the best laptop for your college. We have done a lot of research and put hours of work to create this ultimate laptop buying guide for students. Please consider sharing it on social media, if you want to thank us for this guide.