What To Look For In College Laptops
Given the fact you will be carrying the laptop to and from class, having something that doesnt weigh a ton is critical. Luckily, the days of brick-sized laptops are long, long gone. But you may want to pay special attention to super-lightweight models or the best Chromebooks if youre looking to really minimize the amount weight in your backpack. On the other hand, if you are going to school for graphic design, coding, filmmaking or have any multimedia courses on your schedule, youll want to go with a beefier and more powerful laptop.
When shopping for the best laptops for college, youll want to look for the following features:
Finally, if remote learning is on the syllabus, youll want to make sure you choose a college laptop that comes with a built-in camera and microphone for video conferences. Additionally, you may want a bigger screen or vivid display if youre going to spend a lot of time watching streaming content or gaming.
Buying Advice: How To Choose The Best Student Laptop For You
We hope our student laptop guide proves invaluable for anyone out there shopping for a system that’s capable, decent value, and a boon to your productivity. We’re constantly updating this list with newer models and updated information, so be sure to keep checking back regularly, and we’ve also included some crucial buying advice to help you narrow down the ideal learning tool for going back to school.
Today’s computers need to be able to do much more than the primitive number-crunchers of old. They need to support a huge range of software, given that several courses have special requirements, as well as the standard office packages.
When it comes to software, Microsoft’s Office 365 suite is free for students, and there are also and the associated Google Docs suite to consider as well, with the latter also free to use.
These laptops need to be able to run HD video lectures without shuddering of course, while a set of good speakers always comes in handy when the university day is done. These machines have to be affordable too, given the increased cost of schooling all around the world.
Integrated webcams are important as well, for web lectures and broadcast media-related courses, but these are now included as standard on every laptop. You’d be hard-pressed to find a model without one.
The Best Student Laptop Deals This Week*
*Deals are selected by our partner, TechBargains
Also note that most schools offer price breaks for particular vendors and include extensive software bundles, which can shave off a good amount from your laptop purchase. So you might want to look into the campus store as a first shopping destination, before you hit your local superstore or favorite online seller.
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The Best College Chromebook: Google Pixelbook Go
Google’s latest is the best college Chromebook because it combines a sleek design with an incredible keyboard and a surprising level of hardware for its starting price.
- Screen: 13.3-inch, 1,920 x 1,080 ~ 3,840 x 2,160 touch screen
- Processor: Intel Core m3 ~ Intel Core i7
- Operating system: Google Chrome OS
- Memory and storage: 8GB ~ 16GB of RAM, 64GB ~ 256GB storage
Pros: Excellent display, incredible keyboard, lightweight and slim, long battery life
Cons: Fan-less CPU, pricey upgrades, no biometric login, small-capacity storage
If your budget allows and you want a Chromebook that’s a bit more powerful, check out Google’s newest Chromebook, the Pixelbook Go.
With its attainable starting price, the Pixelbook Go provides a shockingly luxurious portable computing experience that similarly-priced laptops couldn’t come close to. For example, the Pixelbook Go has a 1080p touch-capable display with a 1080p camera, in addition to 8GB of RAM.;
However, the Pixelbook Go does come a bit short on storage, at least local storage. With merely 64GB of space in the entry configuration, it leans heavily on cloud storage, which starts at $1.99 per month for 100GB more space . Still, most other Chromebooks at this price point offer either the same or less local storage. Finally, the Pixelbook Go’s battery can last for up to 12 hours, by Google’s measure, putting it in line with the MacBook Air.
Best Premium Windows Laptop
The Dell XPS 13 has been one of the best laptops for anyone, for years, and that’s still true today. It combines a lightweight chassis, with excellent battery life, a sturdy frame and powerful internal hardware for a uniquely all-round combination. It looks good, is easy to use and the webcam is even mounted on the top again!
Under the hood of this 2021 version, the XPS 13 9310 features a powerful quad-core Intel Core i7-1185G7 Tiger Lake processor combined with 16GB of high-speed memory and half a terabyte of fast SSD storage. The onboard graphics are more than capable for entry-level 3D work and basic gaming, and there aren’t any research or office tasks that the CPU can’t handle.
The display is a real standout with this laptop too. It’s 1080p, but itâs supremely bright at up to 500 nits and the contrast is excellent. Combined with the InfinityEdge tiny bezels, this screen looks way bigger than it actually is, making this 13-inch laptop one of the best for any student with bigger projects in mind. It’s not cheap but you get a lot for your money.
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Cheap Laptops For College And School
If budget is a concern, then rest assured that there are plenty of bargain laptop choices that will serve any school student perfectly well. Shop around and youll find plenty of laptops that fit your budget and can do everything a school child should need. So, how much should you be looking to spend?
Choose The Graphics Card
There are two types of graphics solutions found on laptops integrated and discrete. The integrated ones are typically slower while the discrete ones are more geared towards performance. If you are going to use your laptop for playing basic games or just for browsing, watching movies, a laptop with an integrated graphics card is perfectly fine.Discrete graphic card solutions on laptops are typically powered by AMD or NVIDIA. AMD calls their cards Radeon, while NVIDIA calls their solutions GeForce.
These GPUs come with dedicated graphics memory which lets them handle graphic intensive software and games. If you are studying a 3D or computer graphics course, a discrete graphics card is essential.Of course, the other benefit is being able to play high-end games on your laptop. NVIDIAs entry-level graphics solutions are labelled as GeForce 930M, 940M, whereas the mid-range offering start with the GTX 950M and above. AMDs low-end graphics solutions start from the Radeon R5 going up to the R9 series of GPUs.
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Choose The Operating System
Windows 10 is one of the most popular operating system today. You may find it pre-installed in pretty much every laptop these days. It is easy to use. You can install any software, be it productivity to entertainment to games. Depending on what youre studying, there might be specific system requirements such as Mac OS or Linux.
This is something to consider. Of example, if you need a software package that runs on a Mac, you wont be able to do that on a Windows laptop. However, a MacBook or a MacBook Pro is expensive, but you can choose to install Windows on it as well. Laptops running Linux might be more affordable than ones that come with Windows pre-installed. This might save your money, but youll need to spend a bit more to get a copy of Windows.
Best Laptop For High School
High schoolers laptop needs can vary based on their interests, but most dont need powerful machines with lots of bells and whistles especially if they come with glitches or serious downsides that could interfere with schoolwork. Miles Riehle, a student at Laguna Beach High School, has a high-end Surface Pro 7 but finds it overwhelming. There is so much other stuff that I dont use very often, he said. Something simpler might be a little more straightforward.
The best operating system may depend on what your child is used to. Aryan Nambiar, a student at Barrington High School in Illinois, has an iMac at home and enjoys using an iPad for his schoolwork. Riehle says he would prefer a Chromebook because he has an Android phone and often uses Google services.
But almost every student I spoke to agreed that the most important feature of a high school laptop is portability. Kids attending in-person classes may be carrying their device around for much of the day with a stack of other books. Look for a 13- or 14-inch screen, or a lighter 15- to 17-inch model.
Battery life is another key feature. It can be a real struggle to find a place to charge while in class, says Cas Heemskerk, a sophomore from the Netherlands. Unlike college students, many high schoolers dont have frequent breaks to juice up their devices, so try to find something that can last a full day.
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How To Choose The Best Laptop For College
Finding the best laptop for college doesnt have to feel like taking a final examconsider what youll use it for and prioritize your needs.
Consider “futureproofing” your purchase. Buy a laptop that has headroom for more advanced technology while you’re in school1.
Consider “futureproofing” your purchase. Buy a laptop that has headroom for more advanced technology while you’re in school1.
A Generously Sized Touchpad
The power button/fingerprint reader combo is nestled into the top row of the keyboard on the $699 model . The keyboard itself offers the comfortable typing experience that Ive come to expect from Surface devices, though unfortunately it lacks key backlighting. Below the keyboard, theres a generously sized touchpad with accurate tracking and a sturdy, refined clicking mechanism.
The Surface Laptop Gos chassis is completely sealed except for a recessed grille next to the display hinge, which spreads across most of the width of the laptop. This grille handles air intake and outflow to cool the internal components, and I did occasionally hear the fan spool up to clearly audible levels when running demanding performance benchmarks. With no other openings, the grille also serves the laptops speakers, which unfortunately produce loudspeaker-like audio quality that is almost completely devoid of bass. Youll likely want to connect headphones if you plan to watch movies on your Surface Laptop Go.
Microsoft includes a one-year limited hardware warranty with the Surface Laptop Go.
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The Best Laptops For College Students In 2021
Where college will be in the fall, and what form it takes, are the biggest current questions for students and their families. Which laptop to use? That doesn’t have to be one. Whether for remote learning or carrying around campus, start your “best laptops” short list with these top-rated, value-focused models.
Best Laptops For Engineering Students In 2021
These are our recommended laptops for engineer undergrads
Students searching for the best laptops for engineering need a lot of power. But, they need a few other things as well. Most matriculating minds on their way back to school need to find that sweet spot between performance and price, and should look at laptops ideal for college. Engineering students, however, need powerful graphics cards, as well as other capable innards, to be able to fully utilize programs like CAD and CAM, not to mention handle computational tasks that require a lot of computing power.
All that power needs to come in a reasonably priced package that also has great battery life and is lightweight. While they might not compare pricewise to cheap laptops, they need to be within a college students budget. Additionally, the best engineering laptops should be able to last the whole day on a single charge as well as be easy enough to lug around from class to class.
Weve done the hard work for you and gathered the best laptops for engineering students here, some of which are under $1,000, just in time for back to school season. Since we’ve tested these notebooks, rest assured that youre getting quality, regardless of your pick.
- Find the best graphing calculator for engineering work or school
- Here are the best 2-in-1 laptops currently available.
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What Is The Best Laptop Backpack And Bag
The Peak Design Everyday Messenger is the best laptop backpack. Our reviewer tested the Peak Design Everyday Messenger bag and dubbed it one of the best laptop bags he’s ever had the pleasure of hauling around.
It’s stylish, comfortable and features an easy-to-adjust strap. The bag’s interior dividers provide a perfect cozy area to stuff your laptop in. There are several models of this bag. The 15-inch model can hold most laptops up to the size of a 15-inch MacBook Pro. The 13-inch Everyday Messenger, on the other hand, is strictly for smaller ultraportable systems.;
For those who want a bag with two shoulder straps instead of one, Peak Design makes a backpack version of the Everyday Messenger, too.
You can see why the Peak Design Everyday Messenger is our favorite bag it has many different versions and models depending on your needs and desires. While the Peak Design Everyday Messenger is our top pick, there may be other laptop bags that may be better suited to your tastes in terms of style, features and design. Take a look at our list and check out the best laptop bag for you.
First Off: Research Your College
The first, and most important, thing to do is check with your school for specific system requirements. They may have hard-and-fast hardware recommendations.
Some colleges and universities want their students equipped with;Windows-based laptops, to cut down on software incompatibility issues or to keep technical support concentrated on one platform. Others don’t care which operating system you use, whether it’s Windows,;macOS, or even Linux if you’re a hard-core type. Some institutions have onsite computer repair centers that service only laptops purchased from the university or an affiliated computer store on campus; using one of these facilities, the turn-around time will be much quicker than if you were to send it overnight to the original manufacturer.
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Are Gaming Laptops Good For College
There was once a time when our answer would be a strong no, primarily because gaming laptops were once usually much larger, thicker, and heavier than non-gaming machines. Thats the last thing you want to carry around from class to class. Thats no longer true today, when many gaming laptops are thinner and lighter than ever. In addition to our Dell G3 Gaming pick above, the Razer Blade;is perhaps the classic example of a laptop thats made for gamers, with fast CPU and GPU options, but isnt much thicker or heavier than other laptops.
At the same time, gaming laptops tend to;focus more on performance than battery life, and youll pay a premium to carry around those gaming components in a thin and light chassis. The great thing is that many laptops today have Thunderbolt 3 ports that can connect to external GPU enclosures for some extra gaming oomph. If you choose a laptop with at least a quad-core 8th-gen Intel CPU and at least 8GB of RAM, then you can attach it to an external GPU and get performance thats pretty;darn close to a dedicated gaming laptop. And your choice of a laptop will be much wider, including choosing among the horde of excellent 2-in-1s that have hit the market over the last several years.
Laptop Or Tablet For College 8 Things To Ask
Laptops can do everything the tablet does and not vice versa, as college students you may write long essays or articles which tablet cannot suffice but laptops can.
And even if you manage to write an article on a tablet you still need to use a college laptop for finishing touches, tablets may seem convenient but it has limited functions compared to laptops.
Without further ado, lets get right into it.
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Will You Be Using Your Laptop For Gaming
If you will be using your laptop for gaming as well as doing schoolwork, youll need more than just the basics. To start with, youll probably want to go a bit larger with the screen size since visuals will be important. Just be sure to choose a size that will fit into your backpack when classes are in session on campus or youre gaming away from home.
Youll probably also want a better resolution for clean, crisp graphics and as close to hi-fi sound as you can get. As for speed and performance, 4GB of RAM is passable, 8GB is highly recommended, and 12GB will provide a positively premium gaming experience. An external keyboard and mouse, headphones, and a separate monitor can enhance game time and give a student something to look forward to during brutal marathon study sessions.
The screen on this Acer laptop is large enough to ensure you wont miss any of the action while gaming . And at twice the RAM required for the best gaming laptops, it promises peak performance. Theres also 1TB of storage space for school necessities, four USB 3.0 ports, and an average battery life of eight hours. Its probably too big to fit into most traditional backpacks, but it should comfortably fit into a larger tote bag.