BEST LAPTOPS FOR COLLEGE STUDENTS in 2020

BEST PRICE/VALUE

BEST PORTABILITY

BEST PREMIUM

Every college student needs a laptop that suits both their personality and the course they are taking. However, these days, there are so many options to choose from, it doesn’t take long for things to get more than a little confusing whenever you go laptop shopping. If you are currently facing this predicament, you are in luck.


This guide will outline all the best laptops for college that you can buy today and help you arrive at a decision that works for you. 

Before we begin, it is important to keep in mind the fact that you need to know exactly what to look for and the things to consider when purchasing a laptop for college.


You have to look at the general design and whether it feels comfortable when using it. Look at its performance; what advantage does it have over other machines of the same price? There are many more things to keep in mind, but in the end they usually all boil down to personal preference.


Here are our picks on the best laptops for students:

macbook air 2018 review
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Apple MacBook Air (13-inch, 8GB RAM, 128GB SSD Storage) - Silver
The MacBook Air 2018 was released with many new changes. It got a high-res Retina screen, a touch ID Sensor (for biometric security), fantastic sound, dual Thunderbolt 3 ports and superfast SSD storage. This new version is also made from 100% recycled aluminum.

MacBook Air was immediately deemed a promising laptop when it was first launched by Steve Jobs in 2008, and since then it has inspired over 10 years of laptop imitations like the Macbook Pro. This revolutionary laptop has kept evolving within the past decade and in recent years it finally blossomed into the amazing computer it currently is and still is in the list of best laptops.


Spec Overview

CPU: Dual-core 8th-Gen Intel Core i5 Processor
RAM: 8 GB
Graphics: ​Intel UHD Graphics 617
Display: ​13. 3-Inch Retina Display
Storage: ​256 GB SSD



Design

The new version of MacBook air is ultra-slim and light, so it is good for those on the go since it is highly portable, like a student. Apart from its sleek appearance it is made of purely recycled aluminum and is durable.


The keys on the MacBook Air are well spaced for a great typing experience. They are backlit so it’s easy to type in dark areas. This laptop also has a touchpad that compliments its screen really well.


The 13.3-inch Retina display on this laptop is stunning, it brings out a great contrast between the blacks, golds and whites on the screen.


Performance


The Apple MacBook Air has an amazing SSD performance, on its 256GB SSD it has 2.1 gigs per second write speed, it gives a lot of storage space to keep documents and movies on. It takes 37:24 to transcode a 4K video to 1080p, which is 50% longer than a premium laptop average of 21:08.


MacBook Air’s graphics performance features the Intel UHD Graphics 617 integrated chip and the Intel Core i5 processor that is built into it.


The battery life on MacBook Air is around 9 hours 32 minutes which is somewhat fair performance.​


Its 0.7-megapixel webcam gives grainy images that are functionally acceptable. It is placed at the middle of the top bezel.


During intense performance, the MacBook Air’s aluminum chassis warms up but does not get too hot. Although, It could reach 93 degrees Fahrenheit when performing very heavy tasks. 


Although if you are looking for a better performance, we recommend going for the Macbook Pro.

Pros

  • It has a thin, light design.
  • Eco-friendly aluminum body
  • Sharp Retina display
  • Booming audio
  • Build Quality

Cons

  • It has a premium price
  • The display could be brighter

Conclusion:

This 2018 version is a nicer MacBook with sharper display in a lighter design. It is a thin but powerful laptop (given the core i5), perfect for college students. It is easy to carry with yourself to school.

Dell XPS 13 review

Dell XPS 13’s version for 2019 is not radically different when compared to the earlier versions. It has been made to continue a generation of Dell’s best laptops, and it does not disappoint. Here is a quick overview of what you can expect from it:


Spec Overview

CPU: 1.8GHz Intel Core i7-8565U (quad-core, 8MB cache, up to 4.6GHz)
RAM: ​16GB DDR3 (2,133MHz)
Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics 620
Display: ​13.3-inch, (3,840 x 2,160) Ultra HD, UltraSharp, InfinityEdge touch display
Storage: ​1TB PCIe SSD



Design

One of our favourite laptop, the Dell XPS 13 now has Arctic White and Frost Silver colors on top of the Rose Gold that was released in 2018. The inside and the sides are Arctic White with its inside having the same glass-fiber weave that its predecessors had. The white goes around its screen outlining the Infinity Edge bezel’s scant boarders.

The camera on this version has been placed at the center top of the bezel, where it’s supposed to be. If you don’t like Frost, the new version of XPS 13 comes in Ross Gold and its anodized aluminum version has a radiant gray finish. 

The Dell XPS 13 measures 11.9 x 7.8 x 0.3~0.5-inches and weighs 2.7 pounds, so it’s a really slim laptop. Its webcam is the smallest among Dell designs, it is 0.08-inches and takes pretty neat pictures for its size. 

This laptop has few ports with lots of power, it comes with two Thunderbolt 3 ports on the left and a UBC Type-C port on its right. The Dell XPS 13 has a microSD port on its right hand side for memory expansion. There’s also a wedge lock slot and a headset jack for securing your laptop and listening to music.

Dell XPS 13 has really slim bezels because of its InfinityEdge design. Its top bezel is however a little bit thicker because of its webcam, but it is not that noticeable. The colors on the screen are sumptuous, especially its rich golds, vibrant reds and deep blacks. This one also produces crisp details and dramatic pops thanks to the screen’s ability to give 119% of RGB gamut.

Its keyboard has a striking white figure when backlit and the typing experience is impressive. It has 1mm of key travel and 63g actuation force so it produces a nice little pop when typing.  Dell XPS 13 has a 4.1 x 2.3-inch touchpad that’s accurate and quick. It allows two finger scrolling, three finger swipes and pinch-zoom.


Performance


This latest version has been fitted with an 8th-Gen Intel Core i7-8565U processor (which is the big brother of the Intel Core i5 series) with a 1.8GHz processor and 4.6GHz maximum clocking speed. It has 8GB of RAM, which is enough for multitasking.

Dell XPS 13 performs really well when pushed to the limit, it is impressively quiet and cool when doing heavy tasks and its gaming performance is acceptable.

This laptop’s battery life is way better compared to its previous version. It can last up to 10hrs 35mins before powering down, which is the most important aspect for a student.

When it comes to storage performance, this machine has a 256GB NVMe SSD which has file read speeds of 1,937.5MB/s and write speeds of 396.8MB/s and has plenty of space for a college student.

The sound from this laptop is clean, it is loud and sometimes crowded. This of course depends on which type of music you play and where you play the music.  It's definately a good choice for a student.

Pros

  • It is slim and lightweight.
  • Strong performance
  • Long battery life
  • Gorgeous 4K display
  • Properly placed camera with InfinityEdge bezels

Cons

  • For a 4K model, its battery life is below average.

Conclusion:

The Dell XPS 13 now has new colors, serves up a powerful Intel Whiskey processor and a 4K display, ditching the ridiculous nosecam that was in its previous versions. It is lightweight and has longer battery life. This laptop is among the best laptops in the market for college students.

ASUS ZenBook UX333FA-DH51 Laptop (Windows 10, Intel Core i5-8265u 1.6GHz, 13.3" LCD Screen, Storage: 256 GB, RAM: 8 GB) Dark Royal Blue
The Asus ZenBook UX333FA is a neat example of how a premium laptop doesn’t have to break the bank. Its simplicity is one of its most impressive features. It comes with a powerful 8th generation core i5 processor and an impressive battery life.

The Asus ZenBook UX333FA comes with a beautiful chassis and even more beautiful performance capabilities. However, nothing in the world is perfect, and the Asus ZenBook UX333FA is no different. It’s most glaring flaw is its display, where users have to cope with a dim 13-inch display. It has less than perfect speakers and a short keyboard deck. Other than that, this laptop is absolutely one of a kind for a student. 

Asus ZenBook UX333FA is a solid premium laptop that’s affordable which makes it is among the best laptops for college students.


Spec Overview

CPU: ​Intel Core i5-8265u 1.6GHz (Turbo up to 3.9GHz)
RAM: ​8GB LPDDR3 (On Board)
Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics 620
Display: ​13.3" FHD (1920x1080)
Storage: ​​256GB PCIe G3x2 SSD + TPM/no Optical Drive/Micro SD



Design

Zenbook’s Asus logo at the center of its hood is like a drop of rain falling on a calm royal blue ocean with a ripple effect across its entire lid. Its lid extends past its hinges and when lifted, the keyboard rises up as if to welcome its user. The laptop is nearly bezel free, so it’s really refreshing using it. 

This laptop weighs 2.7 pounds and its measurements are 11.7 by 7.4 by 0.7 inches. 

The Asus Zenbook has room for a HDMI port and a USB Type A port. Its left edge has a power jack, a USB 3.1 port, USB Type C port and a HDMI 1.4 port while the right side has a headphone jack, a microSD slot and one USB 2.0 port. Sadly, this laptop has no Thunderbolt 3 port.

This laptop has a 13.3 inch display, 1920 by 1080 glossy panel. The panel is wonderfully highlighted and is covers 115% of the sRGB spectrum. If is however disappointingly dim since it can only do 225 nits while the average is 321 nits.

Zenbook’s keyboard and touchpad are not that badly made. The keyboard feels active but its short length and the tight key spacing make it uncomfortable to type. Its spacing is roughly 1.9mm which is quite little. This keyboard has white backlighting with a 3.9 x 2.1-inch digital number pad which is activated by touching the top right of the pad.


Performance


The Zenbook is equipped with an Intel Core i5-8265U processor and 8GB of RAM, it can shred through 40 Google Chrome tabs or three 1080p YouTube videos with no stutter. On top of this, it is equipped with nice speakers for adequate sound.

It comes with an Intel UHD 620 GPU for great graphics and it performs quite well in real-world gaming.  The laptop does 59 frames per second which is quite fair compared to the average of 74-fps. It actually performs better than its competitors in terms of gaming.

The battery life on this one stretches to about 11hrs 28mins which is above average for laptops of its standards.

It has a 720p camera which produces remarkably accurate images.

The Intel Core i5 gets a little warm when performing heavy tasks, but this isn’t a deal breaker. It could reach 96 degrees Fahrenheit after continuous running and heavy work.

Asus gives its users access to customer support via MyAsus, here you can find system diagnosis, fan modes, battery modes, display modes and cloud storage.

Pros

  • Fast
  • Sleek Design
  • Long lasting battery
  • Buiild Quality

Cons

  • Uncomfortable keyboard

Conclusion:

This piece of machinery shines thanks to its speedy performance and very long battery life. It is beautiful and affordable. However, the dim display and the short key spacing are a turn off. Generally, though, because it performs well, this laptop is good for college students.

Newest Lenovo Yoga C630 2-in-1 15.6" FHD IPS Multitouch Screen Chromebook with 128GB MicroSD Card | Intel Quad Core i5-8250U (Beat i7-7500U) | 8GB DDR4 RAM | 128GB eMMC | WiFi | Chrome OS
The Lenovo Yoga Chromebook C630 took things to a whole other level with its 4K display and gorgeous 15.6-inch panel encased in an aluminum chassis.

The battery life on the 4K version OS Lenovo Yoga is a bit disappointing so this Chromebook has a lower-res 1080p version instead. This 1080p version has an Intel Core i3-8130U CPU, 64GB flash storage and 8GB of RAM. The alternative version has Core i5-8250U CPU and 128GB of eMMC storage, but is much more expensive.


Spec Overview

CPU: ​Intel Core i5-8250U
RAM: ​8GB
Display: ​13.3" FHD (1920x1080)
Storage: ​​​128GB



Design

Its design is understated like all Lenovo’s new consumer laptops. It has a black Lenovo emblem on its hinge while its deck lacks unique design elements. This lack of design can be seen on its lid which has a midnight-blue finish interrupted by it’s a Chrome branding and its Yoga logo.

Lenovo’s Chromebook is not a visually striking laptop but it’s definitely a premium laptop. Its top and side bezels are adequately thin but the one at the bottom is thick and poorly groomed.

The Chromebook is a 2-in-1; it can be a laptop as well as a tablet. This has been made possible by its flexible hinges.

It weighs 4.1 pounds and measures 14.2 x 9.8 x 0.7 inches so it’s quite large for a Chromebook, but it is a bit portable given its large 15-inch display. 

On the right side of this laptop, you’ll find a Kensington lock, a USB Type-C port and a microSD card slot together with its power button and a volume rocker. When you look on its left side, there’s another USB Type-C port, a headphone/mic jack and a USB 3.0 port. Sadly, there’s no Thunderbolt 3 USB on this laptop.

The laptop has a Chrome OS that is given to you in luscious 4K resolution. Its display covers 107% sRGB color gamut and it tops the Chromebook category.

It has island style keyboard which offers an ‘okay’ typing experience. The key spacing is about 1.4mm and a bit stiff during handling.


Performance


The laptop has Googles notoriously lightweight OS combined with its C630's Intel Core i5-8250U CPU and 8GB of RAM which makes it an outstanding performer. Therese absolutely no lag when using it to browse the net or watch videos on YouTube. 4K videos also play quite well even with many tabs open in the background.

The UHD Intel graphics on this piece of machinery are mediocre and the battery life does not impress. These are the two disadvantages that come with this otherwise great laptop.  Its battery would run for only 6hre 53mins at most. 

You could download your favorite mobile apps on this laptop. The apps, having been made for android mobile phones, don’t perform really well on this Chrome OS.

Its webcam produces grainy images that are dark in artificial lighting, the same camera does really well in natural lighting.

The audio on this laptop is great, it’s solid and of good quality. This laptop would do really well in a college student’s room.

Like its counterparts, the Lenovo Chromebook heads up when performing heavy tasks for any student. It becomes as hot as 98 degrees Fahrenheit on tasks like playing HD videos.

Pros

  • Detailed 4K touch screen
  • Flexible aluminum chassis
  • Speedy performance

Cons

  • Subpar battery life built on a 4K model
  • Its display could be made brighter and more colorful

Conclusion:

This laptop is the first of its kind. On top of its 4K display, the laptop is blazing fast and durable because of its aluminum chassis. If you want to make everyone around you jealous, this is the laptop to get.

HP Envy 13T review
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HP ENVY 13 Inch Thin Laptop w/ Fingerprint Reader, 4K Touchscreen, Intel Core i7-8565U, NVIDIA GeForce MX250 Graphics, 16GB SDRAM, 512GB SSD, Windows 10 Home (13-aq0044nr, Natural Silver)
This laptop is skinnier than a smartphone but comes packed full of very impressive features. With its high end design and functionality, it is definitely a premium laptop for students.

The HP Envy 13 is super portable and is the type of machine that you’d make a few sacrifices to get. However, when you have it in your hands, there is nothing that you can throw at it that it will fail to handle like a breeze. This is the laptop that will run all your programs for years without losing its impressive capabilities. Here are some of its specs. 


Spec Overview

CPU: Intel Core i7-8550U (Intel Core i7)
RAM: 16 GB, DDR4-2400
Display: 13.3 inch 16:9
Storage: 512 GB



Design

All lines on this laptop are geometric and its aluminum chassis is finished with sharp angles. It has triangle speaker grills and a stylish fingerprint pattern on its rear edge that make it blend in offices, class and many other places. 

The HP Envy is a light, glossy machine that can be carried around in a bag all day long, so it is ideal for students. 

Its ultra-slim nature brought the need to install collapsible USB3 ports to each side of the computer. There’s one USB-C port a card reader and a 3.5 millimeter headphone jack on the laptop. It also comes with a USB-C dongle to enable you connect the laptop to an external display. HP Envy has a fingerprint reader at its side for quick log-in without having to key in your password.

Its keyboard is one of those soft ones that feel spongey when typing on. The keys on this machine are backlit so you can see them in the dark. It has a sensitive touchpad that feels wider than the screen it sits on. This touchpad could be recalibrated to give you the best feel, of course that will depend on you.


Performance


HP Envy has a 13.3-inch LCD display, which is not bad to match other features, but it is not all that good for its class.  The color produced by the screen is average, but this could also be recalibrated to suit your needs. Its brightness is somewhat disappointing too, it is hard to use the laptop in bright light, especially when you are outdoors. The speakers on this machine are decent, but do not bring out that ‘bang’.

They are only good for listening to music when the laptop is on your lap.HP Envy comes with Intel's dual-core i5-8250 CPU which is good for solo jobs at 1.6GHz clock speed, but could go up to give you 3.4GHz when things get tough. It has a DDR3 memory that is not super speedy as the DDR4 but still gets the work done well. 


Windows 10 runs smoothly on HP Envy and its good for web browsing, photo editing and video playback. It also has a GeForce MX150 graphics chip with a 2GB memory dedicated to video memory. The laptop can manage up to 50fps at 1080p, which is adequate performance. The laptop can manage 7hrs 30min of continuous video playback before it powers down. 

Pros

  • Sleek design
  • Ultra-light
  • Speedy performance

Cons

  • Battery does not last long

Conclusion:

If you are looking for a stylish, portable laptop that will never disappoint you no matter what you throw at it, this is it. The HP Envy 13T is built to impress.  

Final Thoughts

As a student, you have so many great laptop options to choose from. This is why before you commit to one, it is a good idea to get to know what options you have first.


Take your course into consideration, and the kind of tasks you will have to run on your laptop on a regular basis. Once you settle on a few criteria that will advise the kind of laptop you should get, read through this list again and pick one that suits you. Good luck!

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About the Author Arpad Balogh

I'm a tech geek from Hungary. Latest laptops? I got em. I love testing and breaking things, although most of the time I fail putting them together, but that's another story...

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