The best laptop for college should enable students to perform their regular tasks in class and their leisure activities afterward. Here are the specifications that matter when looking for a laptop for college.
How to Choose The Best Laptop for College
The size of the laptops usually hinges on two factors, screen size and graphics card type. Integrated graphics card means a slimmer laptop, lower power consumption and of course, lower graphics performance.
Discrete graphics cards usually lead to bulkier and consequently heavier laptops. But laptops with dedicated graphics cards perform better when playing games.
Screen size affects the quality of viewing experience. When streaming movies or working on projects a 15-inch (or even a 17-inch) screen might be the best.
But a large screen makes the laptop bigger. This means the laptop weighs more and does not fit into a backpack. So if you really need to carry the laptop to every class, consider screen sizes between 11 and 13 inches. Such laptops might also come weighing 4 pounds or less.
Coursework and intended uses
If working with video editing software and engineering programs like CAD, consider laptops that come with Core i5 and Core i7 processors.
If the academic work revolves around word documents and the leisure activity is just browsing and watching movies, lower-performance computers like those with Core i3 processors might suffice.
Considering the build of the exterior, metallic bodies are stronger than plastic ones but there is a tradeoff between weight and sturdiness. We also recommend choosing a laptop with a spill-resistant keyboard.
As you’ll be using the laptop on the go, battery life is essential. Look for laptops that provide at least 6-8 hours of performance without charging. Note that high-performance laptops with discrete graphics cards will drain batteries faster while devices that come with integrated graphics support longer battery lives.
Display resolution is another factor that affects battery life. If a laptop has a display offering a 2560×1440 pixels HD quality it will drain its battery faster than the one with a lower resolution.
If you want the laptop to have a lot of storage, you will need to choose the one with an HDD. HDD is slower and heavier than SSD so the laptop with an HDD won’t be as portable. SSDs are faster and they have no moving parts, so they consume less power.
Computers using SSDs can boot in less than a second. Buying a laptop with SSD then adding external storage or using the cloud can be a smart way to enjoy high speeds without giving up storage capacity.
1. Lenovo Flex 14
Thanks to cutting-edge technology implemented in the product, you can enjoy a high level of creativity and productivity at the same time. Be it streaming, gaming or business, amazing visuals, and seamless performance are guaranteed. If the machine starts running low on juice, worry not, as rapid charge option allows you to fuel 80% of the battery in a single hour.
Your privacy won’t be compromised, thanks to convenient TrueBlock Privacy Shutter which enables you to physically close your webcam whenever you’re not using it. Flexibility makes a trademark of this product, making it possible for you to conveniently sketch, draw and write directly onto the screen, using the pen. The product has versatile modes (stand, laptop, and tablet) adding more value to practicality.
- AMD Ryzen 5 3500U mobile CPU
- Radeon Vega 8
- Several ports
- Stylus included in the package
- Excellent battery life
- Built-in protection with Windows 10
- Fast charging
- Top-quality audio and video
- Possible to connect with 4K TV or monitor
- Stylus holder uses one USB port and blocks the use of others
2. Acer Aspire 5 A515-43-R19L
Super-charge the device either for work or play and enjoy the best overall experience a laptop can give. Life-like crisp colors and visuals give maximal pleasure while protecting your eyes thanks to Acer BlueLight Shield during long hours of activity.
AcerTune Harmony brings the audio at its finest, covering a vast spectrum of sounds from deep bass to high frequencies. Light and compact design is among the main highlights of this machine, all thanks to materials used in manufacturing.
Wide range of ports and excellent connectivity add more value to overall efficiency while allowing quick browsing through your favorite websites. Microsoft Edge offers a high level of security, and numerous practical apps to enhance the experience. You can even switch it to S mode if that’s what you prefer.
- AMD Ryzen dual-core CPU
- Multiple ports
- Full HD 15.6” screen
- IPS display
- AMD Radeon Vega 3 Mobile Graphics
- Extensive connectivity
- Fine memory capacity
- Backlit keyboard
- Doesn’t allow installing Chrome and Firefox
3. Microsoft Surface Pro 6
Even though the Surface Pro series is a tablet at its core, when you pair it with the Type Cover (sold separately) it becomes a very capable laptop. Actually, the fact that you can use it as a laptop and a tablet is one of its strengths, as it improves portability and reduces the weight you need to carry around (only 1.7 pounds).
Surface Pro 6 is fitted with the new 8th Generation Intel Core processor, and up to 16GB RAM and 1TB SSD storage memory. The 12.3” PixelSense touchscreen Display delivers beautiful images, in razor-sharp quality, and can be used with the Surface Pen for sketches or quick notes.
The device can be used in three modes: laptop (with the Type Cover), tablet, and studio (with the kickstand lowered to a 15-degree position). It also works with Surface Dial and Surface Arc mouse (sold separately) to improve your work experience.
The device comes with Windows 10 Home, Cortana, Windows Hello Sign In, and Office 365. Even more, the battery will last for up to 13.5 hours.
- Lightweight & sleek design
- Easy to use in all types of situations
- Powerful and fast
- Comes with Windows 10 Home & other features
- Gorgeous display
- Extremely versatile
- No USB-C port
- Accessories must be bought separately
- Some software issues
4. Acer Swift 5 SF515-51T-507P
If you are looking for a product that corresponds to modern-day demands, this machine could be the perfect choice for you. Having super-fast connection speed, lengthy battery life and being extremely portable, it can be your faithful companion wherever the life and duties take you.
Packed with 8th gen CPU and rapid-quick wireless connection, it tackles all the duties with maximal efficiency. As an excellent proof of great quality, the product scored two acknowledgments – RedDot award winner and Honoree at CES innovation awards.
The machine hosts a range of practical options for an added level of functionality. Great connectivity ensures a consistent and strong signal, while reliable battery life guarantees the device won’t let you down when you need it the most.
Thanks to Dolby Audio premium, you will enjoy the sound of the unparalleled quality, which can be adjusted for even more superb experience. 15.6” FHD display, 300 nits and 100% sRGB make a perfect match for extraordinary visuals and graphics.
- 8th Gen Intel Core i5-8265U
- FHD IPS Touch display
- Multiple connectivities
- Excellent storage capacity
- Equipped with several ports
- Reliable battery
- Feature-packed device
- Fine audio quality
- Award-winning product
- Frequent overheating issues
5. Asus Chromebook Flip C434
Being of extremely compact size and design (6”, 3lbs, 13-inch), this model gives all the performances found in some bigger models, while being convenient to carry around. Thanks to the all-metal design and diamond-cut edges, it looks elegant and impressive.
Four-sided NanoEdge display is combined with ultra-thin bezels, creating an almost borderless gadget. The touchscreen also delivers deep darks and bright colors accompanied by Full HD res, which altogether ensure a true-to-life unique experience.
Equipped with the versatile 360° ErgoLift hinge, the product promises smooth action while staying secure in any position, at any angle. The dual action which enables KB to be slightly tilted while in the laptop mode ensures great audio while leaving some extra space underneath the device.
- Intel Core M3-8100Y CPU
- 4-Way NanoEdge
- Very narrow bezels
- 360-degree hinge
- Solid battery life
- Fine storage capacity
- 2 USB-C ports
- Lightweight gadget (3lbs)
- Backlit KB
- Touchscreen encounters issues
- Problems with audio clarity
6. HP ENVY 13-aq0044nr
Thanks to a range of cutting-edge security options, your privacy will be safeguarded at the highest level possible. The product is equipped not only with fingerprint reader and BIOS protection but enhanced with Webcam Kill Switch as well, which is a perfect combo for those who put safety if data as primary importance.
Be sure that you will have seamless experience wherever you are, as this light and powerful device offers maximum convenience and efficiency. This is additionally enhanced with Bluetooth connectivity and solid storage capacity of 16GB RAM, enough for long-term digital storage of loads of content.
The combination of Bang & Olufsen audio, along with 4K and 3-way micro-edge display represents a formula for top-quality entertainment. Contemporary design and high-end materials add more value to the product, making it a perfect choice for modern-day demands and needs.
- 4K Touchscreen
- Super-fast processor
- State-of-art security
- Bios recovery and protection
- Fingerprint reader
- Modern design
- Excellent storage capacity
- Fine battery life
- Intel Core i7-8565U
- Issues with keyboard and touchpad
7. Apple 13″ MacBook Pro
The MacBook Pro is well-known among Apple users for its stunning Brilliant Retina display, thin design, and increased portability. The 13-inch display is powered up by one 2.4 GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 processor, 8GB RAM, and 256GB SSD (you can also get it in the 512GB SSD version).
The design is clean with round edges and beautiful colors and finishes, that you can usually find in Apple products. The keyboard is nice to use and feels solid while typing and users will enjoy the Touch Bar feature, which is a touch-sensitive area on top of the keyboard that offers access to a wide array of tools.
The MacBook Pro is not just a thin, good-looking laptop; it’s also a powerful device that can run all sorts of programs. It also comes with fingertip recognition and integrated Apple Pay. Furthermore, it is equipped with two Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) ports and can be connected to 802. 11AC Wi-Fi networks.
Finally, the battery gives you about 10 hours of cord-free work time.
- Impressive Retina display
- Powerful and fast
- Portable, durable, and easy to use
- Turbo Boost up to 3.6 GHz
- Touch Bar for quick access
- Silent keyboard
- Gorgeous design
- No regular USB ports
- Heats up easily
- A bit pricey for the features
8. HP Spectre x360 13T Gemcut
High-efficiency performance is ensured thanks to the wide range of excellent components implemented in the product. Intel Turbo Boost Technology, as well as cutting-edge processor and GEM CUT Design, deliver a smooth and seamless experience and maximal efficiency.
Thanks to QUAD Bang & Olufsen speakers, premium sound quality will no longer be just an imagination, it will be something you can enjoy every day. The product is additionally enhanced with HP Audio Boost, for an even higher level of entertainment and satisfaction.
IPS technology enables wide viewing angles and 13.3″ Full HD touch screen (Res: 1920 x 1080) for hands-on control result in exceptional colors and clarity. Supporting multiple connectivity options, the device is suitable for various assignments and tasks even while on the go.
- GEM CUT Design
- 8TH Gen quad-core CPU
- Unparalleled audio performance
- HP Spectre x360
- Lightning-quick speed and networking
- Intel Turbo Boost technology
- HD Active Stylus Pen and Thunderbolt Support
- 2x USB-C ports
- Portable and lightweight format
- Trackpad occasionally not precise
9. ASUS ZenBook Flip 14
The ZenBook Flip is great for both college students and business people who don’t have a fixed location for work. Due to its 360-degree flippable touchscreen and thin design, the ZenBook is easy to use in a wide array of situations.
Furthermore, the NVIDIA MX150 2 GB discrete graphics is perfect for video playback, multimedia creation, and even gaming! Coupled with the 14-inch WideView FHD NanoEdge bezel touch display, the graphics card produces vivid and gorgeous images.
The laptop features the latest 8th generation Intel Core i7-8565U Quad Core processor, 16GB RAM, and 512GB SSD memory storage unit. All this power is used to run Windows 10 Home with the latest features such as Cortana or Sign in with Windows Hello (working with the built-in fingerprint reader).
Asus ZenBook is equipped with 802.11ac Wi-Fi, so you can be online at all times. Even more, it comes with HDMI, USB Type C, and one SD card reader.
Finally, the battery will last for up to 13 hours of continuous use, and you can use the fast charging function to get it to 60% in 50 minutes.
- Gorgeous design
- Stunning display
- Lightweight & portable
- Fast and reliable
- Runs Windows 10 Home
- Good sound quality
- The trackpad may be glitchy
- The flip-up experience is a bit off
- The finish is slippery
10. Microsoft Surface Laptop 2
When you need access to your projects regardless of location and you must capture every idea before it flies away, the Surface Laptop 2 from Microsoft can be a great choice. Equipped with Windows 10 Home with Windows Hello Sign In, Cortana, and Office 365, the laptop has everything you need to tackle most tasks.
Moreover, the Surface Laptop 2 is equipped with the latest 8th Generation Intel Core processor, comes with 8 or 16 GB RAM memory, and one SSD storage device (128GB, 256GB, 512GB, or 1TB). The battery lasts for about 14 hours and the 13.5” PixelSense touchscreen is bright and vivid.
You can use the keyboard (covered with Alcantara material) and trackpad for standard work, or you can use the Surface pen and the Surface Arc Mouse (both must be purchased separately). Also, under the keyboard, the Surface Laptop 2 has Omnisonic speakers that deliver sound of acceptable quality.
- Thin & sleek design
- Lightweight & portable
- Comfortable keyboard
- Razor sharp screen resolution
- Cool accessories
- Good battery life
- Runs fast and comes equipped with useful tools
- Limited port availability
- No SD card
- Alcantara is sensitive to stains and wears off
- No Thunderbolt 3
11. ASUS ZenBook 13 UX333FA-AB77
Recognized for the exceptional quality of design, the manufacturer is acknowledged with iF Design Award, which represents a strong proof of the excellent performance of this product. Powered by high-capacity battery, you can be sure that the machine will never let you down, be it a prolonged meeting or lengthy journey.
With breath-taking NanoEdge design and exclusive ErgoLift hinge, it tilts the keyboard automatically, ensuring optimal user experience. Thanks to the ultraportable design, this gadget will be your faithful companion whenever and wherever you need it.
Multiple connectivity and various ports allow you to connect more but carry less, guaranteeing the best and the most efficient experience while on the move. Tested in the most demanding conditions, the product can endure during extreme temperatures, humidity, and altitudes.
- Full HD NanoEdge bezel display
- Intel Core i7-8565u Quad-Core Processor
- Excellent storage
- Dual function touchpad
- Exclusive ErgoLift hinge
- Optimized cooling system
- Built-in IR camera
- A fine selection of connectivity options
- Great audio performance
- Bad trackpad
- Screen backlight inconsistencies and defects
12. Huawei MateBook X Pro
The thin and lightweight design makes it portable and easy to carry in a backpack, while the gorgeous 13.9” 3K touchscreen with 3, 000 x 2, 000 resolution is perfect for both work and entertainment. Not to mention, the thin bezel around the display creates a 91% screen-to-body ratio!
The Huawei MateBook X Pro is not just gorgeous! It’s also powerful (8th Gen Intel Core i7 -8550U, 16 GB RAM, 512 GB SSD) and runs Windows 10 Home Edition. It’s also easy to open and login due to the One Touch Power button integrated with Windows Hello.
The laptop is equipped with quad microphones and speakers (2nd Gen Dolby ATMOS for immersive audio) and has a 1MP privacy pop-up webcam that only pops up when you need it. Finally, the MateBook X Pro supports 2xUSB-C ports and 1xUSB-A port, but it also comes with Mate Dock 2.0, which extends the connectivity possibilities to HDMI and VGA.
- Portable design
- Metallic finish & easy-to-use keyboard
- Bright 3k display that can be used outdoors
- Quad speakers
- Video chat accessories
- Windows 10 Home & Office 36
- Powerful processing unit
- The webcam is poorly positioned
- Build quality is not stellar
- Fan makes a lot of noise
- The ports are all on one side