College is expensive, and it can be quite tricky. As a result, most students purchase the first or cheapest laptop they can find. Though that sometimes works out, it will often not give you great results in the long run.
Buying a laptop should always be treated as an important choice. There are many ways to get good processing power without shelling out thousands of dollars, and there are various medium-priced options that are perfect for both work and relaxation.
The following list, which covers the best laptops for college, will go over such choices.
Best Laptops for College
- Upgrade RAM and SSD up to 16G DDR4, 1TB SSD to Improve Performance
- 15.6" FHD LED Display (1920 x 1080) with Touch Screen Panel with Stylus Pen Included, AMD Radeon 540 Graphics with 2GB GDDR5 Graphic Memory
- 8th Gen Intel Quad Core i7-8550U Processor 1.8G/4GHz; 720P HD Webcam
There are many features you need to look for when searching for a college laptop, and one of the most important is versatility.
College students are often in the library, but they also spend a lot of time lounging or getting in some much-needed relaxation. Being able to work on a project is important, but it is also key to have a device that you can lay back in bed with.
The Samsung Notebook 9 Pro, which is available in both 13.3 and 15-inch varieties, is one such option.
This convertible 2-in-1 laptop has a simple, sleek design that gives you everything you could want for hanging out in your dorm room or taking notes in class.
An Advanced Stylus
The functionality of being able to switch between a tablet and a computer is incredibly important, but it is not the only reason this Samsung makes the list. The machine also has many features packed inside of it that help take it to the next level.
First, there is the impressive S-Pen. This stylus comes with 4,096 levels of pressure sensitivity and allows the user to use the device in a completely unique way. It requires no charging and enables you to seamlessly switch between whatever form you want to use the laptop in.
There is also Air Command. This feature makes it so when you draw the S-Pen from its sheath, a menu of options appears on the screen that allows you to create notes or use the show window function.
That makes note-taking and editing extremely easy.
This model also comes with Samsung Notes, Smart Select, and Screen Write. Notes is similar to OneNote, offering different ink types and colors to write over existing files should you need to.
In contrast, Smart Select lets you use the S-Pen to draw out rectangular or oval-shaped screenshots. This also enables you to read text from an image and then move into another document.
Finally, Screen Write captures a screen to allow you to doodle on it.
All of those programs enable you to write, edit, and take notes within a sleek and multi-functional design. The button-based deleting is simple and easy to use, while the digital ink barely bleeds at all while writing.
If you want a college-usable laptop with a lot of versatility, this is the pick for you.
- Surface Pro 4 powers through everything you need to do, while being lighter than ever before
- The 12.3" PixelSense screen has extremely high contrast and low glare so you can work through the day without straining your eyes
- Go from tablet to laptop in a snap with the multi position Kickstand and improved keyboard.
One of the biggest names on this list, the Microsoft Surface Pro is a popular device that serves as a great choice for college students for numerous reasons.
This model is the most advanced Windows tablet on the market. Though not technically a laptop, you will hardly be able to tell the difference once you get used to the features.
Long-Lasting in Many Ways
When buying a device for college you want something that is durable, easy to use, and filled with several attributes.
The Surface Pro hits all of those marks with ease. Most notable is the incredible battery life. Being able to carry your device around and not worry about it dying right away is great for using it in class or the library.
This can also bend back 165 degrees thanks to the new "studio mode," providing you with a strong amount of versatility that allows you to use it in multiple ways.
This tablet comes in multiple styles, but the basic package with Kaby Lake Intel Core m3 CPU, 4GB of RAM, and 128GB of SSD storage is more than enough. If you want to go much higher in price, you can also get an Intel Core i7 CPU paired with a 1TB SSD and 16GB of RAM.
Beautiful Design, Crisp Image Quality
As with each of the other best laptops for college, the Surface Pro is gorgeous to look at. The crisp 12.3-inch PixelSense screen has a 2,736 x 1,824-pixel resolution and is fully touchable.
The ability to use the soft type cover or your fingers is a great choice, and that gets expanded even further by the Surface Pen stylus.
As with the S-Pen, it has low latency to give you more control while drawing patterns or designs.
Variety is the Spice of Life
Devices for college need to give you a lot of options, and that is exactly what the Surface Pro does.
This is a great choice for students because of the way it can handle multiple programs to provide both work and play. If you want versatility inside a good-looking package, this is your best choice.
- 15.6" diagonal FHD IPS BrightView WLED-backlit display (1920x1080) Display, 2GB Radeon DSC 530
- 8th Generation Quad Core Intel Core i7-8550U Processor 1.8GHz (Up to 4.0GHz with Turbo Boost) with 8 MB Cache
- 8GB DDR4 SDRAM, 512GB SSD, 1x Multi-format digital card reader, Backlit Keyboard, Bluetooth
Though not as budget-friendly as other laptops on this list, the HP Spectre X360 is an incredible machine that comes with every single feature and upgrade you could ever want.
This machine gives you the ability to work, relax, and do everything in between. In fact, it provides you with some of the strongest processing power on the market along with the great blend of technology and upgrades all students want.
Portable without Sacrificing Quality
The Spectre comes in two sizes, 13.3-inches and 15.6-inches, and is incredibly easy to move around without adding too much extra weight to your commute.
Not only does it have an extremely thin shell, but it is also incredibly light. These two features are some of the coveted for people on wide campuses, or for people who take their computer with them to every class.
Despite that small size, this also has an incredible list of features. You get an 8th Generation Intel Core I Processor and up to 16 GB of LPDDR3 memory space to make sure you can run any program or stream any show you could imagine.
The Complete Package
As with the Surface Pro, the Spectre lasts a long time. The 16-hour battery life is a blessing, especially when you're lounging around and don't want to be tied to an outlet. It also lets you take advantage of the device's portability without needing to pack extra cords.
The machine also comes with a nearly borderless 13.3-inch micro-edge touch display screen reinforced and protected by Corning Gorilla Glass. For those who like to listen to music while they write or study, you also get fine-tuned quad speakers for a complete entertainment experience.
There are also numerous privacy and security features to make sure you won't have anyone using your laptop without your permission. The built-in fingerprint reader comes in handy, and the HP Sure View integrated privacy screen adds to that.
There is something for every student on this device. It does not matter if you want to read, type, draw, write, or watch: The Spectre will allow you to do it all.
- 13.3" FHD (1920 x 1080) Infinityedge Touch Display
- Intel 7th Gen Kaby Lake i5 7200U Dual-Core;
- 8GB of 2133 MHz LPDDR3 SDRAM, 128 GB M.2 SATA SSD;
Another all-around laptop, the Dell XPS is a fantastic machine for students simply because of how useful it is in so many different situations.
As with most of the other best laptops for college, this one is thin, lightweight, and incredibly easy to carry. In fact, it is 30 percent thinner than older models, measuring a mere 0.3 inches at its narrowest point.
It also only weighs 2.6 pounds, which makes it easy to throw over your shoulder and go.
A Sharp, Stunning Look
Laptop specs are important (and this model is full of them) but a sleek appearance is also key. Everyone, no matter their age, wants their machine to look good.
The Spectre is one of the most modern and stylish laptops around. The exterior comes in a few sleek colors, including white woven into rose gold, as well as a unique complementary-colored keyboard deck.
While such options are a bit more expensive, they are great for people who want a bit more pizzazz.
Adding to that is the truly stunning bezel-less Infinity Edge display. This not only gives you a great outer look, but it makes all of your favorite shows and websites pop off the screen.
That glossy look shines beneath the IGZO touchscreen for a great finishing touch. The .65 percent anti-reflective coating also stops touchscreens and screen glare from all different angles.
Packed with Advanced Technology
What good is a college laptop that can't store all of your files or run your programs? The Dell XPS offers great processing power and combines everything you'd need inside a solid shell.
Another handy feature for campus or dorm rooms are the excellent brightness options. The scaling is incredibly powerful, allowing you to adjust the brightness as you please without losing visibility. Even at 10 percent, you will be able to easily see the screen.
That ability to go low is a great way to use the device in dark lectures or in rooms with other people.
The display also has a 1,500:1 contrast ratio and a 100 sRGB color profile. The backlight even shuts off during dark scenes in videos to help the colors pop and keep everything looking fresh.
Those features are why the XPS 13 is one of the best laptops for college and reveals how it stands out from the rest of the pack.
- The flexible 360 Degree hinge and 12.5" full-HD touchscreen lets you use the C302 in tablet or laptop mode
- Intel Core Processor with 64GB storage and 4GB RAM for fast and efficient performance with a bright backlit illuminated keyboard
- Extremely lightweight at 2.65 pounds with the protection of a sleek aluminum metal body
The final device on our list of the best laptops for college students is the Asus Chromebook Flip. Every machine stands out for their own reasons, and this is one is great because of how much you get for the price.
Some of the above options give you a ton of features at a more expensive price tag. The Asus Chromebook Flip aims to give you just as many options but without breaking the bank.
This is the best Chromebook for money on the market, which enables students to get a great machine without stretching themselves too thin.
Simple but Effective
This model comes with a full 360-degree hinge that makes it a full 2-in-1 laptop. That customization is perfect for switching between uses and enhances the overall quality.
Rather than the Chromebook C100's bar-shaped hinge, you get a ZenBook Flip UX360's multi-gear, metal mechanism. That two-piece clasp is not just functional, it also gives this Chromebook a better appearance and feel.
The laptop also looks incredibly clean, which gives it a simple, modern aesthetic. It is easy to go with ones that have all the bells and whistles, but sometimes simple is better.
A Great Option for Android Users
As with so many Chromebooks, the Flip is equipped with full Android integration. That enables you to use and take advantage of all of your favorite apps. This is particularly helpful for students who want to relax in bed with a bigger screen.
The tablet mode is also useful because it allows you to swipe, tap, and click on all of your favorite apps in a new and interesting way. It even has gyroscopes, a feature that allows you to play motion-controlled games.
There are many options out there for college students, but when it comes to finding a solid note-taking and portable device that won't break the bank, nothing compares to the Chromebook Flip.
Technology for Any Campus
College is a stressful time, and your laptop choice shouldn't add to that. This list helps narrow down the best laptops for college so you don't have to.
While they are different, the above five machines are all wonderful choices for both the lecture hall and dorm. No matter how you live, where you study, or what major you have, they will provide something for you.