What are the 5 best laptops for college students in 2020 for $700 to $1500? There are lots of projects, research work and other tasks that are required by a college student to perform.
With so much work pressure, doing everything manually and on pen and paper will be asking for a bit too much, both in terms of time and labor.
Therefore, a laptop will be more than handy in such situations. Nowadays, attending classes with a laptop has become more of a need than a campus culture.
Using a laptop will also help the staff and faculty to explore more effective and innovative co-curricular and classroom uses.
It will help you as the student to make the best use of the advancements in information technology as well as hone your computer skills.
However, with so many brands and varieties out there, it may be a bit overwhelming for you to choose one of the best laptops that may be useful for college students, specifically.
It will be unwise to invest on a device that is meant for professional computing jobs and have features and advanced components that you will seldom use in your college and for its programs and courses.
Since laptops do not come cheap these days, you should be very careful about the particular product and brand you choose. Simply follow the buying guide in the end to help you make the right choice.
If price is not an issue, there are a few specific laptop brands that you could try out.
You will be benefited in ways more than one if you invest in one of these five top laptops mentioned below that are good for the college students to use as well, apart from other professionals.
These laptops will not only help you to finish your projects fast, but will also enable you to follow and make the best of the learning opportunities, as a student, making the best use of the technological advancements.
Laptops for College Students Price List
5 Best Laptops for College Students 2020:
1. Acer Swift 3
This Ultrabook comes with a responsive and large enough touch pad, a hallmark of Acer, and a dedicated NVIDIA GeForce MX150.
This GDDR5 VRAM of 2 GB capacity is good enough to help you create some of the best presentations for your college project, complete with high resolution and clear images and graphics.
The 14-inch Full HD display will produce clearer and sharper images at 1920 x 1080 resolution. You will be able to see everything life-like on this widescreen IPS display, motivating you with your research work.
You will be able to work on this computer for longer sessions, thanks to its extended life of the four-cell lithium ion battery of up to 10 hours. This means that you will be able to do your entire day’s work with a single charge.
The Windows 10 operating system and the dual wireless communication technology in the form of Bluetooth and 802.11ac wi-fi standard featuring dual bands of 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz and MIMO technology will enable you to explore more and do a lot more.
The back-lit keyboard will enable you to type on it easily even if you sit in the darkest corner of your classroom.
The all-aluminum body and thin design of this laptop not only gives it a stylish look but also makes it ultra-durable.
It is super light and slender to carry in your backpack with you. Check out Acer Swift 3 Review.
- Screen: 14 inches
- Storage: 256 GB SSD
- RAM: 8 GB DDR4 SDRAM
- Processor: 8th generation Intel Core i5-8250U
- OS: Windows 10
- GPU: NVIDIA GeForce MX150
- The anti-glare IPS display allows working for a long time without straining the eyes.
- It is amazingly fast, light, and stays cool making it easy to carry and use.
- There are ample ports in this laptop to connect several external devices.
- It does not come with a touchscreen feature making it difficult to take notes.
- The 8 GB RAM may be enough for a college student but may limit its usage.
- The brightness of the backlit keyboard is not the same for all the functions keys.
2. HP Envy x360 13
This two-in-one laptop will boot up and start working fast. It is also extremely light in weight and the sleek design will add to your personality while using it.
The solid-state drive, the high-resolution display, the processor, and graphics will all add to its performance.
The tablet mode will help you to take notes or jot down the points quickly on the device itself without worrying about missing anything said by the professor in the class.
The Windows 10 Pro operating system will take on the voice command and its performance will be further enhanced by the Intel Core i7-7500U processor. It is quite fast operating at a clock speed of 2.7 GHz.
The 16 GB RAM is quite impressive and will allow multitasking. You can create and use a large number of tabs and files at a time and store them in the 256 GB solid state storage.
The screen of this laptop is what will impress you the most.
This 13.3-inch display is actually a touchscreen that comes with WLED-backlit QHD+ technology. The pictures are vivid, clearer and sharper and displayed at 3200 x 1800 pixels.
You can use the 4.2 Bluetooth technology as well to have a better and more connectivity option.
There are lots of ports to connect a lot of other devices for your project needs and charging as well.
There is one reversible Type C USB 3.1 that will allow data transfer at the rate of 5 Gbps, three USB 3.1 ports, one HDMI port, and one digital media card reader that supports multiple formats.
If you want some entertainment to refresh your mind during your demanding projects to submit in your college, capture vivid pictures and videos with the HP TrueVision HD webcam built in the system or talk to your college mates using the integrated digital microphones when you make video calls to communicate with other students while working on a specific project.
The Bang & Olufsen dual speakers will also enhance your listening pleasure.
Typing on the laptop mode will be easiest and most comfortable due to its design and layout.
The full-size, backlit, island style keyboard, will help you to type fast and easy in any given setting.Check out HP Envy x360 Review.
- Screen: 13.3 inches
- Storage: 256 GB SSD
- RAM: 16 GB DDR3 SDRAM
- Processor: Intel Core i7-7500U
- OS: Windows 10 Pro
- GPU: Intel HD Graphics 620
- It is fast, beautiful and powerful enough to pay rich dividends for the price paid.
- The keyboard backlight makes it easy to use as a laptop and the touchscreen feature as a tablet.
- This system boots up extremely fast, thanks to its solid-state drive.
- Small storage of this laptop may force using a card in the SD slot to upgrade it.
- The touchscreen does not support an active stylus due to no ‘digitizer’ design feature.
- Heat buildup after long use may need to turn off manually to prevent the system from ‘dying.’
3. Dell XPS 13 9370
This is an award-winning laptop. It has won CES 2018 Innovation Awards for its hardware components, supportable technologies, and eco-design.
The memory, though low, is fast enough, operating at 1866 MHz, which will read, write and even allow multitasking while using complicated applications in a flash.
You can work on this laptop for long hours and not worry about heat buildup inside it, thanks to the innovative and effective GORE Thermal Insulation technology.
It comes with higher and better thermal conductivity property that keeps the heat of the air low when the laptop works hard.
This insulation technology along with the dual fans will direct and dissipate the heat from inside the system making the best use of the heat pipes.
The small form factor of the system does not affect the level of performance in a negative way.
You can work on intense programs with its 8th generation Intel Core i5 8250U processor.
The multiple cores of it will ensure higher and faster performance even if you use multiple apps at the same time.
The Dell Power Manager will enable you to select a specific power mode when you want to exploit the power of the processor to the fullest.
It will also allow monitoring the system temperature and manage it properly.
This powerful 13.3-inch laptop will allow you to work on it all day with 19 hour and 46 minutes battery life, probably the longest you will get in any laptop on the market today.
It is smaller, thinner and lighter than most of the 13-inch laptops you will get today. It is ultra-portable and comes with a very small footprint.
It is also more durable because it is designed from a single block of aluminum instead of different pieces put together.
The system also comes with woven glass fiber and carbon fiber, inspired by the aerospace industry, allowing the palm rest to have minimum weight and maximum strength.
The Corning Gorilla Glass 4 makes it twice more damage resistant in comparison to other laptops of this rage and specs.
The fingerprint reader provides ultimate security. It is unique because it is integrated into the power button. This allows logging in with a single touch.
The four mics built in the system will allow clearer conversation even from 14 feet away.
The Microsoft Cortana is highly responsive and the Waves-enabled speech technology helps in better control and access of the schedules even in noisy backgrounds, a characteristic typical in college classrooms.
The system is built with the leading-edge technology and connectivity through the multi-use Thunderbolt 3 Type-C ports.
It will not only allow you to connect to multiple devices but will also allow you to charge the laptop. The rate of data transfer is also incredibly high at 40 Gbps, 8 times more than USB 3.0.
Thinner border or bezel of the display allows more pixels and better viewing. The Infinity Edge border is 23% thinner and offer an 80.7% screen to body ratio.
The RGB color and the 1500:1 contrast ratio maximizes the color spectrum making the screen picture perfect and highly defined.
You can work on it sitting next to the window in your classroom, thanks to its anti-reflective screen, superb 400-nit brightness, and the IPS panel.
Offering you a wider viewing angle, you can share the screen and not miss out on a single thing. Check out Dell XPS 13 9370 Review.
- Screen: 13.3 inches
- Storage: 128 GB SSD
- RAM: 8 GB
- Processor: 8th generation Intel Core i5 8250U
- OS: Windows 10
- GPU: Intel UHD Graphics 620
- The device has all the features to ensure faster performance and functionality.
- It is light in weight, good enough resolution and long enough battery life to work for longer sessions.
- The graphics and sound quality are amazing on this sleek, small, and portable laptop.
- The camera is located under the screen. It makes the keyboard visible in the video frame.
- There is no optical drive in this system making it a tad less useful for college students.
- Low RAM and fairly low storage may bother while working on several complex and substantially large projects.
4. Lenovo Yoga C940
Want a laptop that will perform well and stay cool even under heavy workload? Try this laptop. It comes with a unique cooling system and add to that, it is highly durable as well.
The metal casing gives it a classier look apart from making it more robust and rigid. The frame is light in weight but is strong enough to endure shocks, knocks and bumps, every day.
Do not worry about the power supply, thanks to its larger and better 65 watt-hour battery, a fairly long life as well as its rapid charging ability. In fact, it takes just 2 hours and 15 minutes from empty to 100% charge.
You can use the Windows 10 Home operating system to tap, touch, and glide to make the best use of its features.
The IPS technology and the LED backlight makes the screen most energy efficient. It allows wider viewing angles of the 14-inch full HD screen with a 1920 x 1080 resolution.
This will add to the performance. The 360° flip-and-fold design of the screen makes it look all the more stylish.
The 10-point multi-touchscreen feature of this 2-in1 laptop will allow you to take your notes or draw the graphics of your college project on the screen directly when you use it in tablet mode.
Talking about the power and speed in its performance, the 10th generation Intel Core i7 1065G7 processor will play the best role operating at a speed of 1.3 GHz.
This processor is powerful enough with its four cores and eight-way processing ability.
The performance of this laptop is adequately supported by the Intel Iris Plus Graphics, the 12 GB DDR4 SDRAM and the 512 GB SSD storage.
You can work more and store more in this laptop most efficiently and access them comfortably, easily and quickly.
The LPDDR4X RAM will support gaming and even multitasking due to the high bandwidth. It ensures smoother running while you use several browser tabs and programs on this laptop.
The 512 GB Solid State Drive comes with Intel Optane H10 memory that accelerates its performance. This technology provides speedy storage and opening of the most frequent programs that you use in your classes.
The graphics card ensures that the images have rich details and brilliant color that will look good in a HDR 4K video.
This will help you to deal with the creative projects for your college or play the most popular games with ease for refreshing your mind.
The single USB 3.0 Type A port, two USB 3.1 Type C ports, and two Thunderbolt 3 ports in the system will allow you to connect multiple devices and charge your device as well.
There is also a headphone and microphone combo jack in the system.
The backlit keyboard will enable you to type on it easily and comfortably in all situations. The fingerprint reader will prevent unauthorized access thereby keeping your laptop secure in your classroom even if you are away.
The 0.6” thin laptop weighs just 2.98 pounds. This means it will fit in your bag and you will not feel the weight while carrying it on your shoulder.
Get a stronger and more stable connectivity with the dual band, flexible, next generation Intel Wi-Fi 6 Gig+.
The double data streams and antennas will make the connection more reliable with Gigabit wi-fi speed when you connect the system to a wi-fi 6 router. Your pages will load three times faster than a standard wi-fi 5 version.
In short, this is the laptop that comes with more responsiveness, higher performance ability and better features to support all the needs for your college projects. Check out Lenovo Yoga C940 Review.
- Screen: 14 inches
- Storage: 512 GB SSD
- RAM: 12 GB DDR4 SDRAM
- Processor: Intel 10th generation Core i7 1065G7
- OS: Windows 10 Home
- GPU: Intel Iris Plus Graphics
- Comfortable keyboard with better arrow keys, design, key layout and deeper travel.
- Durable and high performing speakers come with Dolby Atmos technology and rotating soundbar features.
- The camera comes with a built-in shutter that ensures taking better pictures even at low lights.
- There is no MicroSD slot or DVD/CD drive built in this system.
- Screen has the shortest aspect ratio, thicker bezel at bottom, and non-customizable anti-glare option.
- Though not frequent, there can be issues with the SSD booting up.
5. Asus ZenBook 13
Unleash and explore your creative vision while making your college project on this computer. This beauty of a laptop comes with a combination of performance and power.
The long battery life of this laptop is powerfully designed to last for the full day. Therefore, there will be no problem in attending long sessions in your college.
The display comes with Nano Edge technology that will provide stunning images at high resolution. The 13.3-inch full HD display comes with 1920 x 1080 pixels.
With a thinner bezel it will offer 95% body to screen ratio. The crisp and clear visuals will make all graphs and charts look great on your project papers.
The accurate, vivid and bold images can be seen from wide viewing angles, thanks to the four-sided Nano Edge screen design. This will ensure less distraction.
The performance will be uncompromising on this laptop which will provide you with all the power you need for effortless and comfortable working. The 8th generation Intel Core i7 8565U will do it all.
The high-quality components of this sleek and compact device will not lag on any occasion and keep you waiting for the system to boot up by the time the college sessions come to an end.
The durability of the system is of MIL-STD-810G military grade. This makes this ultra-tough laptop highly reliable and will work perfectly even in the harshest of environmental conditions.
The design makes it tough enough to do away with the physical vibration and shocks during handling.
The Ergo Lift design of this laptop is exclusive and allows tilting the keyboard automatically to a more comfortable position while typing on it. The touchpad performs dual functions.
It also comes with a better audio and cooling performance.
The hardware TPM security, the exclusive number pad, USB 3.0, carry sleeve, the RJ 45 cable, all ensure speedy data entry, taking notes and preparing your presentation on this 2.6-pound laptop build with spun-metal finish. Check out Asus ZenBook 13 Review.
- Screen: 13.3 inches
- Storage: 512 GB PCIe NVMe SSD
- RAM: 16 GB DDR3 SDRAM
- Processor: 8th generation Intel Core i7 8565U
- OS: Windows 10 Pro
- GPU: Intel HD Graphics 620
- The hinge is unique allowing setting the keyboard and screen in a suitable position to type.
- The Number Pad is an ASUS exclusive innovation that allows fast calculation and speedy entry.
- A lot of ports like a USB Type C and Type A port, HDMI port and microSD card reader allow widespread connectivity.
- Though the fan stays on, the system does build up heat very quickly, while playing graphics intensive games.
- The battery life falls short by four to seven hours in comparison to the 14-hour advertised mark.
- The shift key on the right side is too small to end up hitting enter most of the time, accidentally.
Things to Know before Buying Laptops for College Students
The processor, RAM, storage, graphics, operating system, and features of the laptop, all will play a significant role in choosing your laptop.
However, since you will use it for your college courses specifically, there are also other useful things to look into, apart from knowing your budget and sticking to it.
To make your long and arduous shopping easier and faster, here are a few specific things that you should know to get the right laptop for you that will be high in power and performance.
Follow this buyers’ guide to make your shopping list and time shorter.
- Usage scenario
You will need to be very specific and knowledgeable about the usage of your laptop. Even for your college courses, the usage can be different which is exactly what you should know.
You can use it for taking your notes most of the time, sitting in your classes.
You may also need to use it to browse the internet to visit different websites to prepare your research papers, write your essays and complete your assignments.
You will not need any special laptops for it because most of the Ultrabook will come with good enough hardware components and port connectivity to provide you with what you need, even on a tighter budget.
On the other hand, if you need a laptop to handle intensive programs and courses such as designing and developing a software, using AutoCAD, or Adobe Premiere Pro, you will need a laptop that comes with more powerful processor, dedicated and high-performing graphics cards, higher RAM and storage, and high-resolution display.
If you need to use specific and specialized software, then a laptop with ISV or Independent Software Vendor certifications will be a better choice.
- The durability
Believe it or not, a laptop for college needs will need to endure a lot of use, almost daily.
You will need to use it during each class and between lectures, and even at night while preparing your assignments to present them on the next day. Therefore, choose a device that can withstand a fair amount of use, or abuse, for that matter.
Make sure that you go for the premium laptops to eliminate the chances of frequent failures due to use of inferior hardware components.
Consider buying a laptop that comes with a proper certification for different tests for shock, drop, vibration, dust, humidity resistance, and temperature control.
Pay a few hundred dollars more for one laptop that will provide you with tradeoffs such as longevity and high level and faster performance to give some additional peace of mind.
Buy a laptop with design and features that will not become obsolete soon. This is an important aspect to consider because college will typically last for four years.
Therefore, do not pounce on a piece that is discounted heavily simply due to its age and for the fact that it has already gone out of relevance.
Check for the processor, RAM, graphics card, ports, and hard drive. Also make sure that these are upgradable, as much as possible.
A laptop with not less than a 7th generation processor, at least 8 GB RAM, 512 GB SSD storage, and a good quality battery will be most reliable, speedy, and will not become obsolete soon.
- The ports
Check the ports of the laptop because more of it will enable you to work in any place, even in your dorm, and on multiple devices.
Though there is no fixed list of ports but there are a few common ones that your laptop should surely come with.
These are USB Type C port, USB Type A port, HDMI port, Mini DisplayPort, Thunderbolt 3, and audio jack in.
If you buy a device that comes with a minimum or a single port, you will end up buying a lot of docks and adapters down the road.
- Battery life
College days can be long and you will need to take a lot of notes.
If you do not want to look for and run to an electrical outlet after every class to charge the battery, which will surely be annoying and not provide you with the right value, buy one that comes with a longer battery life.
If the battery life is not long enough, the laptop will be useless.
You will be better off if you not only choose a laptop that has a long battery life but also buy one that comes with a swappable battery system.
However, nowadays laptops with removable batteries are hard to find. Therefore, buy a device that actually provides you with nothing less than 8 hours of battery life and also comes with a fast charging feature.
Check the capacity and wattage of the battery for the best output.
- Touch display
Consider buying a laptop that comes with a touchscreen display along with a stylus support feature.
This additional feature may increase the price of the laptop quite a bit but then it will save you from typing every single note. It will enhance your productivity.
Ideally, a 2-in-1 laptop that can be used as a tablet mode is a better option. This will enable you to take your notes, draw graphs and sketches directly on the screen, thereby saving your time and labor.
It will also provide the same natural writing and drawing experience.
- Additional considerations
Finally, look at the additional features of the laptop you wish to buy. Make sure that it comes with a better and proper antivirus software as you will need to surf the internet quite often for your college project work.
It will keep your device safe and allow it to perform at a more consistent level.
Always buy a laptop from authorized sellers to keep your technology investment safe. The authorized dealers and resellers will provide warranty for parts and labors.
It will also be much easy for returning in case you find the system delivered to you is faulty.
Consider having a proper backup. Buy an external hard drive that is configured to create backup automatically.
You can even use specific apps such as the Google Drive File Stream app and sync it with your campus account for the same purpose.
If you are into making presentations quite often, it will be wise to invest on dongles and adapters. This will enable you to connect your system to any external monitor or projectors in the classrooms.
In order to have a better network and internet connection, ensure that there is an Ethernet connection integrated with the device or it comes with other compatible adapters.
Ensure that the system comes with proper and better security features and software as well.
Since you will need to work often in groups and will be connected online, there is a high chance that your system will be affected by different viruses and malware.
If you choose one that does not come with a security software you wish to have, make sure that you upgrade your system with it.
Always make it a point to buy a system that is futureproof. You will notice that more often than not, the features of the system will be updated and several new ones included.
This however, does not mean you will need to buy a new laptop every time but make sure that you have everything in it that you will require to attend your college classes, take notes, and prepare your research papers, assignments and presentations.
Lastly, make sure that the system supports a better printer. You will need to print a lot for your project presentation.
However, personal printers may not be allowed on campus. This is because it can affect the wireless network of the entire campus negatively.
However, you will need one in your home. Make sure that it can be cabled directly to the computer.