From affordable laptops to desktops, here are the finest college laptops for students.
Check my top picks for 5 Best Laptops for college students in 2022.
If you’re a student, one of the top college laptops can assist you in acing your tests while also allowing you to relax by watching TV or playing games. However, with so many options at such a wide range of pricing, selecting the best laptops for students can seem like extra work.
When purchasing a laptop for education, look for one with long battery life and a fast CPU. Many of these laptops may also be found on our main best laptops page, which has a large range of the best notebooks to choose from.
If you wish to take notes by hand, consider one of the best 2-in-1 computers, which combines the benefits of a laptop and a tablet. We’ve also listed the best gaming laptops for individuals who enjoy unwinding after a long day of studying. If you’re just getting started, come back often to see the most recent and best laptops for students, as we’re always writing fresh reviews.
Whatever laptop you choose, you’ll also need a few accessories, such as a comfy mouse, a well-equipped backpack, and even a printer. Here are the finest college laptops, including some affordable alternatives for those dreading tuition payments, without further ado.
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What’s the greatest laptop for college?
Our selections for the best laptops for college students are the HP Envy x360 and the MacBook Air (M1, 2020). Although not everyone is on a budget, most people will want to save as much money as they can to pay down their student loans. If you fall into this category, the HP Envy x360 and MacBook Airstrike are a fantastic blend of high specs and features at a low, sub-$1,000 price.
Although the Envy x360 is a mid-range laptop, it has the appearance and feel of a higher-end machine. The Envy also boasts rapid performance thanks to Intel’s 11th Generation CPUs, a stunning screen, and is small enough to carry around campus. The MacBook Air, on the other hand, is equipped with Apple’s M1 CPU for reliable performance.
If you’re on a tight budget, the Microsoft Surface Pro 8, Dell XPS 13 Plus, or 14-inch MacBook Pro are all viable options.
1. HP ENVY X360 15(2021)
In your hands, you have a powerful performance that is perfectly balanced
In terms of pricing, performance, and specs, the HP Envy x360 15 (2021) falls between the lower-end HP Pavilion x360 and the higher-end HP Spectre x360 2-in-1 laptops, but it isn’t a slacker. The HP Envy x360 15 (2021) is well-built, although the design isn’t very eye-catching.
It is, after all, an HP laptop, but it appears to be in good condition. The touchscreen, on the other hand, is excellent, even if it isn’t a fancy 4K OLED. The HP Envy x360 15 (2021) looks amazing indoors and out, with up to 400 nits of brightness, in a coffee shop or – we assume – on a job site.
As previously stated, the HP Envy x360 15 (2021) is an HP laptop aimed at the more professional, enterprise market, so its design doesn’t take many risks. Still, the design is well-made, with an aluminum alloy chassis that makes it seem strong, if weighty, and a darker metal tone than the Intel models on the HP Envy x360 15.
Read our full review on HP Evy x360 15 (2021).
2. DELL XPS 13 PLUS
The Dell XPS 13 Plus has a more streamlined look and more power, but it comes with certain compromises
The Dell XPS 13 Plus is both a technological leap forward and a daring attempt at minimalist design. I mean, the touchpad is hidden beneath the keyboard. It’s only a matter of trusting that it’s there. The capacitive touch function row, on the other hand, does not excite us at first glance. Although it saves space, the implementation does not feel as high-end as the rest of the design.
The XPS 13 Plus has a 4-sided InfinityEdge display, which gives it a practically borderless appearance. However, in order to cram such a powerful CPU into its slim 2.7-pound design, Dell had to make certain compromises.
Based on our initial impressions, our Dell XPS 13 hands-on review will show you all the benefits and cons thus far. The Dell XPS 13 Plus looks and feels like a Windows-based MacBook Pro. While the standard XPS 13 provides sufficient speed and battery life, some customers simply require more power.
Read our full review on Dell XPS 13 Plus.
3. ACER SWIFT 3 (2021)
The Acer Swift 3 (2021) is a top-notch selection for your college-sure student, with all-day battery life, brief performance, and more.
The Acer Swift 3 (2021) is a more cheap Ultrabook that has been modified to work with the Intel Evo platform. This entails some significant under-the-hood improvements, particularly in terms of battery life. The Acer Swift 3 (2021) contains all of the ports that most college students and others who work with them would need to connect to their peripherals. On the right, there’s a 3.5 blend audio part, a USB-Type A port, and a Kensington lock slot.
The Acer Swift 3 (2021)’s performance may be able to compensate for its aesthetics. That unattractive upward-facing exhaust vent could be the same factor that propels it ahead of comparably equipped Ultrabooks with more beautiful construction, such as the Dell XPS 13. (Late 2020). In fact, despite both laptops being powered by the same processor, the Acer Swift 3 (2021) outperformed it in every single one of our performance tests.
You can acquire a decent, budget-friendly ultra-thin laptop and travel companion that won’t slow you down for just $729.99. However, if you go all out, you’ll be looking at around $1,000, which is reasonable given the features and performance you get.
Read our full review on Acer Swift 3 (2021).
4. APPLE MACBOOK AIR (M1, 2020)
The Best Apple MacBook for Students
With the Apple MacBook Air (M1, 2020), Apple has given its thinnest and slimmest a massive jump ahead in performance. The 2020 Air comes with the Apple M1 processor, the manufacturer’s highly-acclaimed, impressively effective ARM-primarily based totally chip, below its hood, giving it simply the proper raise it’s lengthy deserved.
Alongside the macOS eleven Big Sur, it comes pre-loaded in the course of its release – any MacBook Air M1 you buy now needs to both include the brand new macOS Monterey or have a loose improvement to it, it has grown to be the various maximum effective skinny and mild laptops. It boasts upgrades in performance, in addition to higher electricity performance and longer battery existence.
The MacBook Air (M1, 2020), therefore, gives upgraded internals at no extra cost. So, in case you weren’t swayed through the Intel-primarily based total model, then perhaps this one will extrude your mind.
Read our full review on Apple MacBook Air (M1, 2020).
5. HP SPECTRE X360(2021)
This HP 2-in-1 combines beauty and power in a sleek form that’s ideal for both work and pleasure
It’s tough to improve on a winning formula, but HP has done just that with the Spectre x360 (2021). Now that it has Intel’s Evo certification, it increases the bar for what to anticipate from these laptops. To meet Intel’s requirements, HP had to increase not only the laptop’s performance but also its design and battery life. Our PCMark 10 battery life test, lasted nearly 13 hours. This makes the HP Spectre x360 (2021) one of the best laptops on the market right now, improving on the HP Spectre x360 model from last year.
With premium, pricing comes a premium design, and the HP Spectre x360 does not disappoint (2021). To be honest, we never doubted it; the previous model was one of the most attractive laptops we’ve ever seen. The keyboard is spacious and comfortable to operate, with good travel between the keys. They’re also illuminated, so you can use them in the dark with ease.
For anyone seeking to improve their mobile workstation, the HP Spectre x360 14 is a great long-term investment. On the HP official store site, you may configure the laptop’s configuration for the best balance of power, performance, and design.
Read our full review on HP Spectre x360(2021).
These are the Best Picks for College students in 2022.
How do you pick the best laptop for college?
Before purchasing a laptop for college, students should examine a number of aspects.
The first is portability, which is linked to the size of the screen. College students choose 13-inch laptops because they provide a decent blend of screen real estate and portability. A good example is the Dell XPS 13. Even though it is only 0.5 inches thick and weighs roughly 2 pounds, it has a 13.3-inch edge-to-edge display.
Another important feature of any decent college laptop is its battery life. If you’re attending class or the library with a notebook, don’t expect to find an outlet! Consider a laptop with a battery life of at least 9 hours, which should be enough to get you through a number of classes while still allowing you to study.
We recommend laptops with an Intel U-series or H-series Core i5 processor, at least 8GB of RAM (16GB is ideal), and a minimum of 256GB of storage. AMD’s CPUs are also excellent contenders in this category; anything from the 4000-series or newer processors would work well.
Apple’s M1, M1 Pro, and M1 Max, as well as the newer M1 Pro and M1 Max, naturally meet the criteria, but the latter raises the price somewhat. For college students on a budget, Chromebooks like the Pixelbook Go are a great option.
A comfortable keyboard and sensitive touchpad are also helpful for punching up a successful report or researching hard issues. When it’s time to unwind, invest in a laptop with a vibrant and colorful display (like any of those listed here).
How do we evaluate laptops?
Before our reviewers get their hands on a laptop, we put it through comprehensive benchmark testing, both virtual and real-world. We look at the laptop’s performance, battery life, display, speakers, and heat management, among other things.
In our benchmarking, we utilize a Klein K10 colorimeter to determine the brightness of the laptop’s display as well as its sRGB and DCI-P3 color gamut. We put the laptop through a slew of benchmarks, including Geekbench 5.4 and 3DMark professional graphics tests, to see how well it performs.
We put the laptop through its paces by converting a 4K film to 1080p resolution and duplicating a 4.97GB multimedia file to see how it performs in real-world situations. The benchmark Sid Meier’s Civilization VI: Gathering Storm with medium settings at 1080p and 4K resolution is our real-world graphics test.
We also conduct heat testing on the laptop by playing a 25-minute full-screen video and taking temperature readings in several regions. Finally, our battery test involves prolonged web browsing via Wi-Fi at 150 nits of brightness. A runtime of more than 9 hours is regarded as a good result for MacBooks and premium Windows 10 laptops, although gaming laptops and workstations that can stay powered for more than 5 hours are commended.
Our reviewers also put the laptop through comprehensive hands-on tests, critiquing everything from the components to the feel of the trackpad.