If you’re a college student that is looking for a new laptop, in this guide, we’ve listed seven of the best laptops for students at a variety of price points and feature sets to help you find the best option for your needs and budget.
For those of you college students that are in the market for a new laptop for schoolwork and study, the good news is that there are a ton of different options out there for you. If you’re looking for a budget-friendly laptop for taking notes, writing papers, and/or browsing the web (for research), there are plenty of cheap options out there.
If you’re a gamer-student that wants to get a gaming laptop that will work both for doing schoolwork on and for running today’s top games at higher settings, there are options for you as well. Or, if you’re a fan of Apple products and you prefer Macs over PCs, you’re in luck as well.
In this guide, we’ve listed seven of the best laptops for college students across a range of price points and with a variety of feature sets. So, regardless of what you need your laptop to do, any of the options listed below will work well for you during your time as a student.
A Quick Look at the Top Laptops for Students
To see a quick rundown of our top picks for the best laptops for college students, check out the table below for our top four choices (across a handful of different categories).
*To read more about the laptops listed above, click on the “Read Review »” link to skip down to our overview on that laptop. You can also keep scrolling to check out our two Honorable Mention picks.
Best Apple Laptop for College:
Apple MacBook Pro 15″
One of the first options on this list, and widely considered to be the best laptop for college (as well as the best laptop for writers) is the Apple MacBook Pro, a laptop that has consistantly managed to perform through its many iterations. This light and efficient laptop is multi-functional and is a good investment for those who are using their laptop for a number of standard purposes.
One of the first reasons why this laptop stands at the top of this list is its interiors. The laptop is equipped with an 8th gen Intel i7 processor. This means that the computer will function incredibly smoothly, and will be able to perform all its processes with ease.
For those who love watching movies in high definition, the display is worth noting in this laptop. The true tone technology ensures that the user is able to receive the most crips and precise picture quality every time. The Touch Bar and Touch ID of the product are some of the most notable of its range, and the high reactiveness of this makes it incredibly smooth to use.
The laptop is also equipped with an SSD that makes the bootup times for the computer and its programs a lot faster.
Best Gaming Laptop for Students:
ASUS ROG Strix Scar II 15.6″
For those who want the best laptop for college that can deliver both high performance and incredible quality, the ASUS ROG Strix Scar II is one laptop that surely delivers. The 15-inch gaming laptop is designed to handle high-end gaming, but it’s powerful hardware will also make it a good option for college students as well.
So, if you’re a gamer who needs a laptop that can function as well as a high-end desktop, this is the option to go for. One of the biggest reasons to go in for this laptop is the graphics card. The laptop is equipped with a new RTX 2070 GPU (check out this list for more RTX 2070 laptops), which means it will handle any game you throw at in on max settings with ease.
The computer comes equipped with an 8th Gen i7 Processor and has 16GB of DDR4 RAM equipped in it. Its 1080P resolution screen isn’t super impressive, but the 144Hz refresh rate will make games feel incredibly smooth. The Scar II also comes with a 512GB SSD.
Ultimately, if you’re a student that needs a laptop upgrade both for your schoolwork and to handle your favorite games, the ASUS ROG Strix Scar II is the perfect option.
Top Value Option for College:
Surface Laptop 13.5″
If you are on the lookout for an ultra sleek and uber stylish laptop, the Microsoft Surface Laptop is currently one of the best choices on the market. The laptop is one that falls within the lower price range but still performs well as compared to other laptops within its limit. The laptop is designed for ultra portability, and all of its enhanced functions are designed to ensure that it performs well, even when being used for a longer period.
The laptop has a 13.5-inch touchscreen display that allows the user to navigate through their laptop at a quicker pace. To ensure that you can use the touchscreen in a much more efficient manner, the laptop comes with a surface pen, allowing you to edit, draw and click on the go.
The laptop has excellent battery life and is designed to last for an incredibly long period. The total number of hours that this laptop can stay on for with moderate use is around fourteen hours.
Budget College Laptop:
ASUS VivoBook 15.6″
The Asus VivoBook Thin is another budget option for those who don’t want to skip out on quality but want a good laptop in the lower price range. The laptop has all that one would need for it to perform well and has the efficient technology to be able to perform all of the basic tasks that this computer could be used for.
The laptop has a 15.6-inch screen, which is also incredibly sleek and lightweight. The laptop is designed to be ultra-portable and has a decent battery life that can last a while before wearing out.
The laptop is equipped with a comfortable keyboard with rested palm positioning for superior comfort. In addition, the laptop also has a fingerprint sensor to ensure that your laptop is well safeguarded during your time at college.
The laptop is equipped with Intel Core i5, which is not the best processor you can get, but still good enough for those who aren’t using their laptop for heavy duty purposes.
Honorable Mention #1:
Macbook Air 13.3″
For those who want to stay true to their love for Apple products but don’t want to go in for the MacBook Pro, the MacBook Air is the more viable alternative for those entering into college. The product has a number of top of the line specifications that can deliver superior performance at the very best quality.
To start, the MacBook Air is equipped with i5 8th generation processors and Intel HD Graphics. The screen of the MacBook Air is 13.3 inches and has high definition display for superior quality pictures and videos.
One of the most striking aspects of the MacBook Air is the brilliant portability that it offers. The MacBook Air, as the name would suggest is incredibly light and portable, and has a long battery life to ensure that you can use for longer periods of time.
While this might not be the ideal laptop for those who want to game or use high tech softwares, it is still a laptop that can perform incredibly well for those with limited laptop needs.
Honorable Mention #2:
Acer Predator Helios 300 15.6″
Acer is known for having a wide range of excellent and efficient laptops that are able to perform well for a variety of uses, and the same applies to their range of gaming laptops. For those who want an affordable laptop that they can use for both school and gaming, the Acer Predator Helios 300 is a solid option. This laptop is designed to enable high-performance gaming, but it will work well for schoolwork as well.
The Helios 300 is equipped with an 8th generation Intel Core i7 processor and a GTX 1060 6GB GPU as well. The Helios 300 also comes with a 256GB SSD. Overall, the laptop offers solid hardware for the price it comes in at and it will serve well for both college students who need something for schoolwork and for serious gamers who want to max-out their favorite games.
The laptop has a 15.6″ 1080P display and it has a 144Hz refresh rate. While the GTX 1060 in the system isn’t enough to push today’s top titles at a 100 FPS+ framerate, the 144Hz refresh rate display will still make AAA titles a bit more smooth. But for non-demanding esports titles, this laptop has enough power to run them at a high enough frame rate to where you can take full advantage of the Helios 300’s 144Hz refresh rate.
The bottom line is that, if you’re looking for the best gaming laptop under $1,000, and an option that will serve you well for college as well, the Acer Predator Helios 300 is an option you’ll want to consider.
(Check out our guide on the Best GTX 1060 Laptops for more semi-affordable gaming laptop options.)
Honorable Mention #3:
Acer Chromebook 14″
If you need a laptop under $300 that will work well for college, the Acer Chromebook 14 might be the best option for your needs. At just under $300, the Acer Chromebook doesn’t exactly have high-end hardware. However, that’s par-for-the-course for Chromebooks. That doesn’t mean it won’t do what you need it to, though.
Chromebooks are designed solely to use Google services (Chrome, Gmail, Google Docs, etc.) and utilize a lightweight operating system in order to lessen the need for more expensive hardware. The result is a incredibly affordable laptop that can handle basic tasks (web-browsing for research, word processing through Google Docs, sending emails, etc.) with no problems.
So, while the Acer Chromebook only comes with an Intel Celeron N3160 processor, 4GB of RAM, and 32GB of internal storage, it should still work just fine for taking notes, writing reports, doing homework, and emailing your professors.
In the end, the Acer Chromebook 14 isn’t the best laptop for college, but if you don’t have a ton of money to spend and you need an affordable laptop for school work, it should work just fine.
Headed to College? One of These Laptops Will Work for You
If you’re headed off to college, or you’re just looking for a new laptop for schoolwork, one of the laptops on this list would likely make a good option for you. Whether you’re a gamer, a fan of Apple products, or just someone that is looking for an affordable laptop for college, there is an option above that will suit your needs.