The Best Laptops For College Students Who Want To Work And Play

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The best college student laptops are good at balancing the needs of everyday coursework with more leisurely pursuits like playing games and streaming video. Whether you need a laptop for research, notetaking, writing papers or unwinding after a hard day, the best laptops for college students can handle both. While you may see some overlap with some of the best overall laptops, our picks for students take the unique mix of student needs into account.

Need something high powered but affordable? Apple’s MacBook Air (with the M1 chip) is still the value champ. Not only that, students get an education discount and other perks from Apple. If you prefer a machine running Windows, Dell’s latest XPS 15 is a great example of a powerful laptop that can do just about anything, and do it all well. For more limited notetaking needs or navigating online courses, the low-powered Lenovo Chromebook Duet costs just a few hundred dollars and can handle cloud basics.

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To find the best laptops for college students, we combined extensive first hand experience with in-depth research to pick the best laptops for students.

Best Laptop for Students Overall

Highly Portable And Great To Type On

CPU: Intel Core i5-11300H | RAM: 16GB LPDDR4X | Graphics: Intel Iris Xe | Storage: 256GB SSD | Display: 14.4-inch touch | Resolution: 2,400 x 1,600 | Refresh Rate: 120Hz | Battery: Up to 19 hours  | Weight: 3.8 pounds

Best for: Students who want a laptop with great performance, impressive battery life and the convenience of Microsoft’s Surface Pen.

Microsoft’s Surface Laptop Studio is an excellent all-around laptop with terrific battery life. This laptop’s touchscreen tilts into a Stage Mode, a convenient angle for writing on the screen with the extra-cost Surface Slim Pen ($130). The laptop’s 2K screen is gorgeous: Bright, detailed, and vibrant, with sharper text than you’d find on a 1080p display. Surprisingly, the display has a 120Hz refresh rate, which makes it buttery smooth for animation work and light gaming (esports and indie games only).

While this model doesn’t have the latest CPU, but what it does have more than suffices for student needs—and this laptop’s ability to last up to 19 hours without a charge makes it stand out from the crowd. This Surface Studio Laptop isn’t inexpensive, but it represents a strong value for a Windows system with extensive battery life and this set of features.

Pros:

  • Versatile touchscreen
  • Stores and charges Surface Slim Pen
  • Lengthy battery life

Cons:

  • Older-generation CPU
  • Expensive
  • Doesn’t actually include the pen

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Best 2-In-1 Laptop For Students

Impressive Performance With A Versatile 2K Display

CPU: Intel Core i7-1260P | Graphics: Intel Iris Xe Graphics | RAM: 16GB LPDDR5 | Storage: 512GB SSD | Display: 16-inch touchscreen | Resolution: 2,560 x 1,600 | Battery: Up to 15 hours | Weight: 4.2 pounds

Best for: Anyone who wants the versatility of a high-performance 2-in-1 laptop and tablet with a large 2K touchscreen.

The Lenovo Yoga 7i 16-inch has all the components for a strong performer, including a 12th generation Intel CPU and fast LPDDR5 memory to go along with it. This combination smooths processor-intensive tasks like video and photo editing. And helps this model achieve up to 15-hours of battery life, an impressive number for such a large, high-resolution display. The detailed 2K screen has sharp text, and its roomy size means you can get windows of reasonable size side-by-side—convenient for doing research and writing papers. And at 400 nits brightness, the display looks great in both well-lit and dark environments.

As a 2-in-1, this model can change to tent or stand mode, and works with the included stylus. It can also be flipped around and used as a tablet, but is heavy enough you’d probably need to use two hands to hold it. (If you prefer a smaller display/lighter unit, Lenovo has 14-inch version as well.) This laptop has a slew of ports, including two Thunderbolt 4/USB Type-C ports for high-bandwidth connectivity, and two USB Type-A ports.

Pros:

  • Powerful internal hardware
  • Detailed screen is great for reading
  • Plethora of useful ports

Cons:


Best Budget MacBook For Students

All You Need For School

MOST POPULAR

CPU: Apple M1 | Graphics: M1 8-core | RAM: 8GB LPDDR4X | Storage: 256GB SSD | Display: 13.3-inch | Resolution: 2,560 x 1,600 | Battery: Up to 18 hours | Weight: 2.8 pounds

Best for:  Students looking for the best overall value, pairing low price with light weight and good battery life.

When the MacBook Air (M1 Processor) first came out, it made enormous leaps in performance and battery life over its predecessors and set new standards for performance and efficiency in a thin and light laptop. While the faster still Apple MacBook Air (M2 Processor) is now available, the original M1 MacBook Air is the least expensive MacBook you can buy at $200 less, and it remains an excellent choice for a wide range of everyday computing tasks.

This model has a 256GB SSD and only 8GB of RAM, but for lightweight tasks like writing up papers, taking notes, or doing online research, it’s perfectly suited. The M1 processor is impressive enough too, for video editing or more intensive tasks. You just probably want an external drive of some kind for additional storage. The display on the M1 MacBook Air is gorgeous, with a 2K resolution for sharp text, vibrant colors and 400 nits brightness. One catch: It has just two Thunderbolt 4/USB Type-C ports, and one of those is for charging.

Pros:

  • Sharp display
  • Impressive performance for the price
  • Long battery life

Cons:

  • M2 models offer better performance
  • Limited ports


Best Creatives Laptop For Students

A Video Or Photo Editor’s Dream

CPU: Apple M2 | Graphics: Apple M2 10-Core | RAM: 8GB DDR4 | Storage: 512GB SSD | Display: 13.3-inch | Resolution: 2,560 x 1,600 | Battery: Up to 18 hours | Weight: 3 pounds

Best for: Creative students with deep photo and video editing needs who want the fastest machine for the job.

The MacBook Pro 13-Inch 2022 (M2 Processor) is Apple’s least expensive MacBook Pro model, and the first to use the new M2 CPU. This model handily leads the Mac performance pack, and has a massive 18 hour battery life. The unit retains the same look and feel as the previous 13-inch MacBook Pro, and still has the Touch Bar touchscreen strip atop the keyboard—an element no longer found on the larger MacBook Pro models redesigned in 2021.

The 2K screen carries 500 nits brightnes, and is sharp with accurate colors—useful for creatives doing photo and video editing. At three pounds this model is relatively portable, and it should remain the lightest MacBook Pro in the lineup. It has two Thunderbolt 4/USB Type-C ports and a headphone jack, a limited selection of options considering one of those ports is for power, too.

Pros:

  • Solid performance
  • Long battery life
  • Display is crisp and bright

Cons:


Best Budget Chromebook Laptop For Students

Super Affordable, Super Portable

CPU: Qualcomm Snapdragon 7c Gen 2| RAM: 4GB DDR4X| Storage: 128GB eMMC | Display: 10.9-inch touchscreen | Resolution: 2,000 x 1,200 | Battery: Up to 10 hours | Weight: 1.4 pounds

Best for: Those who want a capable little ultraportable machine for notetaking on-the-go.

Arguably one of the most portable laptops you can buy today, the Lenovo Chromebook Duet can handle basic cloud-based tasks, and does so with an attachable full-size keyboard and a capable 2K touchscreen, too. All of this is packed into an slim, attractive 1.4 pound chassis—making it a dream for carrying around all-day between classes. The display on this device is comparatively small, but it is enough for monotasking chores like taking notes or writing emails, and its 2000 x 1200 resolution delivers a crisp picture with a high pixel density.

The hardware inside isn’t powerful, but the lightweight and responsive Chrome OS doesn’t require much. Likewise, the storage is limited and slow, but again, for tasks light on creating this should suffice. The Lenovo Chromebook Duet is the perfect companion for web browsing and other light tasks, and it can even handle streaming video from YouTube and elsewhere. At this low price, this is one of the most affordable ways to get an ultra-portable system, but students with more complex needs will want to look elsewhere—including at the updated and pricier version of this laptop, the $499 Chromebook Duet 5 (13.3-inch OLED screen, 8GB of RAM, 128GB eMMC storage).

Pros:

  • Ultra compact and portable
  • Useful keyboard
  • Crisp display

Cons:

  • Limited on-board storage
  • Basic processor only handles light tasks


Best Premium Chromebook Laptop For Students

Strong Performance And Multitasking Potential

CPU: Intel Core i3-1115G4 | Graphics: Intel UHD | RAM: 8GB | Storage: 128GB SSD | Display: 15.6 inches | Resolution: 1,920 x 1,080 | Battery: Up to 10 hours | Weight: 4.2 pounds

Best for: Budget-minded, cloud computing needs.

The Asus C536EA Chromebook is a 2-in-1 with an impressive level of computing power for a Chrome OS laptop focused on cloud computing. This model has some of the beefiest components you can find in a Chromebook today, including an 11th Intel CPU, 8GB of memory–the most found in Chromebooks–and a 128GB SSD. The better CPU and higher memory make it easier to do multitasking and have more browser tabs open at once, without skipping a beat. It charges off of USB Type-C and Wi-Fi 6 connectivity, and has a built-in SD Card slot.

This model weighs 4.2 pounds and measures just 0.7-inch thick, so it’s portable but not insignificant if you’re toting it around all day. The unit has a hinge so you can flip the screen 360-degrees to use it in tent, stand and tablet modes. The backlit keyboard is great for working in low-light situations. This model’s one drawback is its prosaic screen 1920 x 1080 resolution. This Chromebook works with both Android and Chrome OS apps, and is a great choice for students with more demanding needs.

Pros:

  • Slim design
  • Built in SD Card reader
  • Supports Wi-Fi 6 – 802.11ax

Cons:

  • Lacks high-resolution display
  • Intel UHD graphics best suited to casual games
  • Limited ports


Best Budget Windows Laptop For Students

Impressive Windows Performance For Under $1,000

CPU: Intel Core i5-1240P | Graphics: Intel Iris Xe | RAM: 8GB LPDDR5 | Storage: 256B SSD | Display: 14-inch touchscreen | Resolution: 2,880 x 1,800 | Battery: Up to 18 hours | Weight: 3.1 pounds

Best for: Students on a budget looking for a high-resolution touchscreen, long battery life and mid-range Windows performance.

The Asus Zenbook 14 is a great choice for students looking for a lightweight, full-featured Windows laptop under $1,000. This model has the latest 12-generation Intel CPU, and uses DDR5 memory to take advantage of the processor’s performance boosts. This laptop can handle both lightweight and more processor intensive tasks. It has a high-resolution, sharp 2.8K OLED screen, terrific for spending hours in front of the screen typing, reading or even playing movies.

Battery life reaches up to 18 hours on a single charge, so you rarely need to look for a power cord when out and about. At 3.1 pounds, it’s portable enough to carry around all day without causing a backache, and 14-inches is a comfortable middle ground in terms of laptop size — more screen space for work and play, but not so big that it becomes unwieldy. The keyboard includes the unusual design of a number pad integrated into the touchpad. And it has a handful of ports, including two Thunderbolt 4/USB Type-C ports, an HDMI port, one USB Type-A port, and a microSD card reader.

Pros:

  • Excellent performance
  • Strong battery life
  • Detailed and clear OLED display

Cons:

  • RAM and storage may limit productivity


Best Premium Windows Laptop For Students

This High-Performance Model Can Do Everything

CPU: Intel Core i7-12700H | Graphics: Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 Ti | RAM: 16GB DDR5 | Storage: 1TB SSD | Display: 15.6-inch touchscreen | Resolution: 3,456 x 2,160| Battery: Up to 11 hours | Weight: 4.3 pounds

Best for: Students who need desktop-like power.

Dell’s XPS range includes some of the best Windows laptops you can buy at any size, but the Dell XPS 15 is a truly premium Windows machine combining high-powered internal components—including fast DDR5 memory and 1TB of SSD storage. If you want to do a little gaming in your off-hours, this model packs Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 Ti graphics, more than enough for gaming at maximum levels, as well as doing 3D design work and video transcoding, too. This laptop costs more, but it can do just about anything.

This model has a finger-friendly keyboard perfect for long nights of typing up papers. It’s 3.4K OLED screen produces rich, crisp images and excellent contrast, perfect for browsing the web, or watching your favorite movies and TV shows. At just over four pounds, this Dell is not the lightest of laptops, but it’s not so heavy that it’ll be a chore to lug between classes.

Pros:

  • Strong performance across work and leisure tasks
  • Crisp, high-resolution OLED display

Cons:


Best For Gaming Laptop For Students

A Fast, High-Resolution Display And Productivity Powerhouse, Too

CPU: AMD Ryzen 9 6900HS | Graphics: Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 | RAM: 16GB DDR5 | Storage: 512GB SSD | Display: 15.6-inch | Resolution: 2,560 x 1,440 | Refresh rate: 165Hz | Battery: Up to 10 hours | Weight: 4.2 pounds

Best for: Avid gamers who do homework, too.

The Asus ROG Zephyrus G15 packs a gaming performance punch, without the high costs associated with some more premium laptops. This model has extra vents to run cool, and nifty RGB lighting to give it the true feel of a gaming machine. But the G15 more than just a gaming machine: Armed with the latest top-tier AMD CPU and solid Nvidia graphics, this unit can handle everyday productivity tasks and it playing esports and AAA games when the work is done.

The 2.5K screen produces sharp text, while the 165Hz refresh rate ensures you can be competitive during online gameplay. The keyboard is comfortable to type on, with backlighting and dedicated one-touch media controls too—handy for mid-game adjustments.

Pros:

  • Great all-round gaming and productivity performance
  • Impressive battery life for a gaming laptop
  • Sharp display with fast refresh rate

Cons:

  • Less battery life than many productivity-focused laptops


This page was created programmatically, to read the article in its original location you can go to the link bellow:
https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbes-personal-shopper/2022/08/04/best-laptops-for-college-students/
and if you want to remove this article from our site please contact us

Camryn Rabideau

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