After spending so much time on researching the colleges you want to attend and these sleepless nights waiting for decisions from schools, student will face another hurdle and it is “which laptop is best for me?” and not just best but also the one that will last you throughout college and not “force close” on you after you spend 5 hours writing a 10 page research, sounds familiar?
Purchasing right laptop can really change your experience in college because these days almost everything done on the computer. One thing I have learned though is you get what you pay for in the end, so in this case choosing the right laptop for you and your intended major is crucial as a college student.
There has also been a lot of talk recently about tablet as an option to replace laptop. I would strongly advise against that, not just because I believe they are incapable of getting you through college but also the tablet makes it impractical to get through many assignments you will encounter throughout college. Meanwhile if you can afford a tablet on top of a laptop, then it won’t hurt either, in fact I have found it very useful instead of taking notes by a hand, I take it on my iPad and refer back whenever I need to, it also makes it easy to print them out to study from for exams.
Let’s dive right in,
Here’s the list of best laptops for college students:
1. Apple MacBook Pro (Starting at $1,099)
(Best for Overall)
You just can’t go wrong with MacBook Pro, it is just the well-known and most reliable machine out there today. The screen at 2,880 x 1,800-pixel, the performance and it’s style stand out the most. Apple’s addition of touch bar is another step into the new technological world.
MacBook comes with a hefty price tag though for over $1,099 for start, but in the end you are guaranteed for it to last throughout your time in college and more. Another bonus? MacBooks tend to keep its resale value! So, when you are ready to sell, you will get way more for this device than any other similar price tag computer. Ready to buy?
- Touch Bar (if you purchase that version)
- Bright and very colorful display
- Fast Processor
- Sleek Design (easy to carry)
- Speakers and quality of music increased dramatically in new generation
- Great resale value
- Stereo Speakers (really great!)
- Fingerprint as an option to unlock the computer
- Almost every other display you see will look lower quality to you
- No more “USB” ports, need to invest into some new dongles
2. Microsoft Surface Book ($1,184+)
(Best for Note-Taking)
If you are a student and prefer to take notes by hand, then this will be a great decision for you. This device easily detaches from the keyboard and makes it very convenient for anybody especially note takers with pen provided with purchase. It also makes a great tablet once detached.
- Running Windows 10
- Over 12hrs battery life
- High resolution display
- Makes a great tablet once detached
- Steep price (starting over $1k)
- Still running Intel 6th generation
3. Acer Predator Helios 300 Gaming Laptop ($1,065+)
(Best for engineering students and gamers on off time)
Great computer for our engineering students. As an engineering student you need a powerful processor because of all of the things you will be running on it, mostly designing. On side, this computer also makes a great gaming computer with its internals that can be swapped with better if needed. Great budget computer for it’s price and a great investment into your engineering degree or any impacted major that requires a lot of design work.
- A nice large screen at 15.6-inches at 1920x1080p
- Was rated as the best value for it’s performance and the price comparison
- 16GB DDR4 Memory, 256GB SSD
- Great battery life for a gaming laptop up to 7hrs
- Latest 7th Generation Intel Core i7-7700HQ Processor
- Not very attractive gap between screen and base
- Speakers on the bottom
- Display is on the dim side
4. Apple MacBook Air ($999+)
(Best for Portability)
If you are a student that’s always active like running around campus and need a light computer that can serve you great in many ways. Just the name “Air” really makes its highlight, because this machine really is great. It is rather remarkable laptop and I used to have one and was very happy with it. It can definitely get you through school, but if you need to do any hardcore editing you might want to look into something else.
- Impressive Retina Display
- Impressive battery life (lasts up to 12 hours)
- .61 inches thin and only 2.75 lb
- New Generation Keyboard
- Stereo Speakers
- Fingerprint as an option to unlock the computer
- New USB-C technology that eliminates extra ports
- No touch screen
- Screen resolution outdated
- Limited internal storage
5. Asus Chromebook Flip C302 ($470+)
(Best for productive students)
Great computer for those students that are productive on day to day basis. It is powerful enough to handle tasks like watching Netflix, surfing the web, writing papers, etc.. This computer is designed to run web-based applications for the most part.
- Lightweight design
- Good performance
- Solid battery life
- 360 degree hinge
- Not a very good feel of keyboard
- Lacking USB Type A ports
6. Microsoft Surface Pro 6 ($737)
Though the Microsoft Surface pro is moire known as a tablet, it also serves as laptop when simply put together. I know a lot of students that are using this every day at school. I found it amazing though how quickly you can put it together and make it a laptop instead of a tablet. Running all the latest softwares, as well as latest windows software.
- New 8th generation Intel processor
- Gorgeous Display
- Good battery life
- Wonderful 2-in-1 convertable
- Running latest Windows software fully
- Keyboard Sold Separately, but its it a great investment (they call it “cover”)
- Not very ideal for using on your lap
- Limited Ports
Other Top Rated Laptops to Consider
2. Samsung Chromebook 3, 11.6″
3. HP 15-F222WM 15.6″ Touch Screen Laptop
5. ASUS Chromebook 11.6″ Ruggedized and Water Resistant Design
I hope this selection can help you decide on your decision with your next purchase of laptop. I would highly recommend paying extra for a computer if you need it to last as the old saying go “You get what you pay for” it is true in this case.
I would highly recommend getting Apple product but of course due to the pricing it might not a be a good financial decision for you.
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Richard Barnett is a student majoring in finance, entrepreneur, marketer, content writer, budget traveler, and financial blog “Student Money Adviser” owner. You can read more about me here.
Hey, just wanted to say that I really enjoy your blog posts, keep up the great work!! Could you do post on
the best money management techniques or something that can help me to manage money better?
Hello Max, thank you so much that means a lot to me! I am very happy that you find my posts useful 🙂
To answer your question, I did a post on that recently actually, check it out “Simple Tips for Student Budgeting from a Student”
Let me know if you want some other topics for me to discuss, I’d love to hear more ideas from readers!! Helps me to see what my readers are actually enjoying.
Wishing you a great week ahead!
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