Laptops have quickly made their way into classrooms worldwide, with younger generations of students being nowadays unaware that there was a time when computers were just too big to be carried around. These days, the advent of new technologies have made it possible for laptops to become smaller and smaller every year. For this reason, newer laptops are almost as slim as tablets as far as size goes, while still packing quite a punch in terms of technological capabilities.
Speaking of size, you will find that the best thin laptop on the market is also one of the best-selling laptops as well, a fact that speaks volumes about people’s tendencies and what the general consensus is. In this regard, it is mostly the younger population that prefers smaller devices, which explains why most of the laptops that students use are quite small and lightweight. In fact, the smaller the laptop the bigger the chance that young people are going to be interested in it.
Another thing to consider is that although laptops are getting smaller every year, their capabilities are being boosted as soon as new technologies become available. This is because most applications are designed to run on high-end computers, and to meet those standards, laptops have to keep up with desktop computers in more ways than one. As a matter of fact, it is also possible to find laptops that out-perform desktops in the high-end price range, which explains why software developers don’t really show any signs of optimizing applications to run on lower specs.
Speaking of specs, students have to keep in mind that a modern laptop has to be versatile above everything else. In order for their laptop of choice to run most applications under optimal conditions, these specifications have to meet certain standards. To be more precise, you should be looking at a laptop equipped with a Core i5 Processor at least, along with 4 to 8 GB of RAM and a fast-performing SSD for storage.
At the same time, a good laptop should have a big enough storage capacity to meet most modern requirements. We’re talking here about 500 GB to 1 TB Hard Disk Drives, which should, at least in theory, be accompanied by fast SSDs. In terms of graphics, a dedicated graphics card is to be desired but not necessary; at least not for students who aren’t all that interested in playing the latest video games. Overall, you should be fine as long as you take the time to educate yourself on what the market has to offer before making any sort of purchase.
Best Laptops for College Students 2017 – Reviews
(Updated February 2017)
10Lenovo Flex 4 – 2-in-1 Laptop/Tablet
This high-performance laptop combines the best features of a laptop and a tablet to give you a portable device capable of almost anything. As such, this device can be used as a laptop, stand, tent, or a tablet depending on your needs. Equipped with a Core i7 processor and 8 GB of RAM, this laptop will run most applications without any real issues. Not only that but it also features a 1 TB HDD that will definitely come in handy in the long run. Also worth mentioning is that it has a stunning HD display running a 1920×1080 resolution.
– Versatile design
– Lightweight and slim
– Decent specs
– Will exhaust battery quickly if you run resource-hungry applications
– Keys are exposed when in tablet mode
9HP Pavilion 15t 15-au147cl Touchscreen 15.6 Inch HD Laptop
If you have the resources for it, the HP Pavilion 15t 15-au147cl is definitely a laptop to consider. The reason we say this is because it features a 7th generation Intel Core i7-7500U Processor along with an impressive 16 GB DDR4 SDRAM and a 1 TB HDD. Given that it also features a high-end Nvidia GeForce 940MX graphics card with 4 GB of DDR3 dedicated video memory, it can very well be used for gaming purposes as well. Not only that but this laptop also benefits from a backlit keyboard, B&O PLAY with dual speakers, and a long-lasting battery that will enable the laptop to run for 8 hours on a single charge.
– Long battery life
– Impressive specs
– Decent sound output
– The graphics card seem to be underperforming in some models
– Tedious software updates
– Case seems fragile
8HP Stream Laptop PC 14-ax010nr
If you’re looking for a cheap laptop that will get the job done, then HP Steam Laptop PC 14-ax010nr has to be at the top of your list. Although it only packs an Intel Celeron N3060 dual-core Processor, it makes up by having 4 GB of RAM and a pre-installed Windows 10 OS. It also features a fast 32 GB eMMC Drive that can be improved with a microSD card if needed.
As for its screen, let us point out that it features a 14-inch HD SVA bright view WLED-backlit display operating a 1366×768 resolution. If you’re the type of person who doesn’t play too many video games, this laptop should prove more than enough.
– Office 365 Personal for 1 year
– Windows 10 OS
– Integrated graphics
– Processor speed could be faster
– Limited storage space
7Lenovo Ideapad 310 15.6 Inch Laptop
Another good laptop to consider is the Lenovo Ideapad 310, a laptop which features a configuration that recommends it for almost any type of application. Given its capabilities, you can use this versatile laptop for internet browsing, office work, graphic processing, or even to play video games. For this purpose, it comes with a surprisingly fast AMD A12-9700P Processor and an AMD Radeon R5 graphics card. It also has no less than 12 GB of RAM, which is quite impressive given its price, along with a 1 TB 4300 RPM HDD and a pre-installed Windows 10 OS.
– Big memory
– Decent graphics
– Relatively inexpensive
– No SSD
– Keyboard has a built-in 10-key setup
– Battery life should be longer
6Samsung Chromebook 3 XE500C13-K02US
Looking for a reliable 11 inch laptop is no easy task because most of these small laptops have been known to have difficulties running modern applications under optimal conditions. This is not the case with Samsung’s Chromebook 3, however, a laptop that will definitely meet the standards of even the pickiest of customers.
Although it only packs an Intel Celeron N3050 Processor, the fact that it has 4 GB of RAM and a secure Chrome OS certainly make up for it. Interestingly enough, this laptop features an 11.6-inch HD Anti-Reflective Display with Image Enhancer capabilities, a display that helps the laptop to last no lass than 11 hours on a single charge.
– Long battery life
– Compact and lightweight
– Some compatibility issues with WinOS software
– Limited processor power
– Storage capacity is quite small
5Toshiba Satellite Fusion 15 L55W-C5357
Although not entirely necessary, it is nice when laptops have a touchscreen feature, which is exactly the case with this particular laptop from Toshiba. As good as it may be, its touchscreen feature is not the only thing that makes this laptop stand out, as it also benefits from 8 GB of RAM, a backlit keyboard, stereo speakers tuned by Skullcandy, WiFi capabilities, an HD Webcam, Bluetooth connectivity, and a memory card reader. Furthermore, this laptop has no less than 1 TB of storage space, which when combined with the laptop’s 10-finger multi-touch support make it perfect for anyone looking for a laptop/tablet bundle.
– Decent touchscreen
– Good sound output
– Quite fast
– Glossy screen to some extent
– Rim around the edge becomes annoying when typing a lot
– Lid is hard to open
4Acer Aspire E5-573G 15.6 Inch Gaming Laptop
While some students do indeed go for a 17 inch laptop to help with their schoolwork, they quickly realize that such a large laptop needs constant recharging. Instead, a 15-inch laptop with similar specs can be just as good, with the added benefit of lasting a lot longer between charges. With this particular laptop, you get an Intel Core i5 Processor and 8 GB of DDR3L SDRAM along with a powerful Nvidia GeForce 940M graphics card. In this respect, you will find the Acer Aspire to be just as good as much more expensive laptops, at least when it comes to running popular applications.
– Decent graphics card
– Good enough battery life
– Stays cool at all times
– Unreliable touchpad
– Has a ‘cheap’ feel construction-wise
– No optical drive
3ASUS ZenBook UX305UA 13.3 Inch Laptop
If you’re looking for a good 13 inch laptop to acquire without breaking the bank, then look no further. The ZenBook UX305UA from ASUS is perhaps one of the most user-friendly laptops the market has to offer at this point in time. It includes all necessary features of a high-end laptop while still being reasonably priced, features like a micro HDMI, a 256 GB SSD, a 1.2 MP HD Webcam, and no less than 8 GB of RAM. We should also point out that it has a long-lasting battery life that allows the laptop to operate at full potential for up to 10 hours on a single charge.
– Long battery life
– Slim design
– Large SSD
– Graphics card could be better
– Sub-par speakers
– Possible issues with the sleep function
2Dell Inspiron i7559-2512BLK 15.6 Inch FHD Laptop
Powered by a Quad Core i7-6700HQ Processor, the Inspiron i7559-2512BLK from Dell is without a doubt, one of the fastest laptops in this price range. It isn’t just the CPU that’s impressive, mind you, but all of its other specs as well. For instance, this high-performance laptop features a Nvidia GeForce GTX 960M 4 GB GDDR5 graphics card and 8 GB of DDR3L SDRAM. Add to this the fact that it also features a 1 TB HDD along with an 8 GB SSD and you begin to understand why this particular laptop is seen as one of the absolute best money can buy.
– Very fast
– Good graphics card
– Quality display
– Keypad might develop issues
– Some customer support problems
– Cheap sounding speakers
1Apple MacBook Air MJVG2LL/A Laptop
The quest for a good battery life laptop can be tiresome if you don’t know exactly what to look for. With the MacBook Air MJVG2LL/A, you get everything you could possibly need and then some. This thin, lightweight, and above all, extremely powerful laptop from Apple is designed with speed in mind and speed is what it delivers.
Powered by a dual-core Intel Core i5 Processor with 4 GB of 1600 MHz LPDDR3 RAM, this laptop will run most applications the way they were meant to run. It also benefits from a lightning-fast 256 GB PCIe-based SSD that will surprise you with its data transfer speeds.
– Very fast all around
– Long battery life
– Sleek design
– Some compatibility issues with WinOS software
– Quite pricey
– Screen could be better
While most college students would indeed like to be able to play the occasional video game, it is much more important for them to have a reliable laptop to depend on. In this regard, a decent laptop becomes a great laptop if it enjoys a long-lasting battery life. Not to say that this is the only thing to consider, but it is perhaps the most important aspect of any laptop that isn’t designed for intense gaming sessions.
Overall, we consider laptops to be good for students if they boast decent specs, have good WiFi connectivity, and if they’re unlikely to break down over time.