Note: Our comparison table only shows our top 5 picks. You can find the other recommendations within this article.
Colleges are about to start and every college student will need a compatible laptop for their studies and other fun activities. These days a laptop is as important as books and it’s impossible for a student to survive college years without a reliable PC.
Here in this guide you will find the most reliable and best laptops for college students. Comparing and buying a new laptop is a piece of cake in this era as everything is at your fingertips. In our guide, you will find laptops according to your budget, usage and portability.
In case you will be playing games in your dorm then you should consider a high-end laptop that’s able to run both, study programs as well as games. Anyways, it doesn’t matter what your budget is, you’ll find a suitable college laptop here.
Are you looking for a powerful yet durable laptop for your college years? If yes, then you’re at the right place and here we will help you with choosing the most suitable college laptop. In this article, we have categorized laptops under $300, $500, $1000 and $1500.
Brands like Apple, Dell, HP, Samsung, Lenovo, Acer and ASUS have countless laptops including 2-in-1 hybrids that can be utilized very well in colleges. These devices can also be used for things like video editing, graphic designing, music production, writing and gaming.
Usually college students intend to do a lot more than studies in their free time and we have made sure that these laptops will not disappoint you.
Note: In this list, we haven’t ranked laptops according to what we think is best since we have categorized them under different budgets and usage. Also remember, not the same laptop is best for everyone as if something suits you best might not be good at all for someone else.
These are our picks for the under $300 category. These cheap laptops for students may be very affordable, but they are only cheap in price, not in quality.
The HP Stream 14 features a robust design and comfortable keyboard that’s loved by most of the college students. It has decent battery life and it’s powered by Windows 10.
It comes in four extremely attractive colors like Cobalt Blue, Orchid Magenta, Horizon Blue and Violet Purple. The 14-inch laptop is capable of running most the programs that are used in college, and it often comes with a free full year Office 365.
It’s also available in 11-inch for those looking for a mini laptop and portability. Its 32 GB SSD might be a little small for some students, but there are options like an external hard drive and cloud storage.
It’s a good option for browsing and playing videos as it loads pages very quickly. Overall, it’s among the best budget college laptops under $200.
Just like HP Stream 13, the Samsung Chromebook 2 is also available in 2 sizes without any price difference and one can choose what suits them best. While buying you’re also given the option of buying it with wireless mouse from Amazon and you get that for almost pennies.
Unlike earlier versions of the Samsung ChromeBooks that used Samsung processors, this one sports an Intel dual-core Celeron processor. This provides reasonable performance and increased compatibility.
It’s undoubtedly stronger than its previous version and we think it’s currently one of the best ChromeBooks. Overall, it’s something that only Samsung could make and with only few minor issues, it’s still better than any other option on the market.
This gem from Acer Aspire series might cost you a little bit over $300, but it can be compared with laptops that cost over $500. The Color Blast technology by Acer is very much appreciated by users, and it makes the display more comfortable than ever.
Its specifications are out of the box, and it features top-notch 8th generation processor. It’s ideal for using in classrooms even without the charging plug as it packs the battery that can last up to 13 hours.
People who often travel also prefer this budget laptop as it packs all the power as well as great battery life. Its memory can be expanded quickly, and one of my readers just maxed it out to 32 GB RAM.
According to him, this combination has made the laptop faster than his Lenovo G500s. Anyways, we highly recommend this budget laptop to every college student, and in case they need more speed, they can upgrade it effortlessly without spending a lot of time at the same time.
These picks are our picks for affordable student laptops in the low to mid price range.
The Dell Inspiron i5559-4415SLV is a great laptop for college students. It features extra-ordinary specifications that not only stand out but are powerful enough to handle games like COD and GTA 5. For college students with budget of $500, it can’t get any better than this gem from Dell.
I just wish it would come in SSD variant as that would made it faster than ever. However, one can additionally buy it and replace if it fits in their budget. Its display is available in 4 variant like Non-touch, Regular Touchscreen, Touch with RealSense and Full HD display.
I suggest that you go with RealSense as it’s the latest technology developed by Dell and it feels very responsive and realistic. Personally I would never depend on Dell’s Customer care for setting it up and neither should you.
The Lenovo G50 might be very traditional but it’s still as effective as it was when first launched. It’s powered by Windows 8.1 and comes with a non-touch display. It packs the specifications that will exceed your expectations and it’s a reliable laptop for college students.
Other than students, businessmen can also make a good use of it and it performs better than most of the best i3 laptops on the market. When we talk about portability, it’s little bit heavy like classic Lenovo notebooks but it’s a solid performer.
I recently compared it with G500s before adding it to our list of cheap gaming laptops under $500 and the only reason we chose G500s over this was its price.
Nonetheless, it’s a fantastic laptop that comes with single button restore by Lenovo and one can easily create backups and reinstate them. Overall, its touchpad interferes a little bit while typing and other than that, there’s nothing to worry about.
The HP Notebook Premium is one of the best-selling laptops under $500 for a college students. It’s specially designed for students as well as light gaming. Other than playing games and studying, it can be used for documenting, browsing, watching movies, etc. It’s a little bit heavy, and we can’t add it in the portable category, but it gets your tasks done.
It isn’t one of those laptops that shine and attract, but it performs where the power is needed. HP hasn’t focused on design as far as I am concerned, and they usually focus on delivering powerful laptops for a lower price.
Its Intel HD Graphics 620 graphics make sure that your applications and games run reasonably smoothly and Windows 10 runs well. Overall, it’s one of the best laptops for a college student that is very reliable as well as durable.
Chromebooks are usually added in ultra-budget category but lately there are 15-inch chromebooks that not only pack more power but are also a lot better in design and reliability. It’s certainly the largest chromebook that’s available and for just around $500.
It offers an experience of premium laptop and not at all like an ordinary chromebook and it’s very easy to setup and start using it. It can be a great laptop for college students who want to focus on their studies and prevent them from playing games.
As you must already know, Chrome OS is not able to run any high-end games or applications. Also it’s the easiest OS to learn and one can learn it all on their in just one day. It has plenty of useful Google apps pre-installed and users don’t have to worry about being left out.
In this device, your storage is usually saved on Cloud storage and you will not lose any of your data even if your drive crashes.
Overall, if you really want to avoid all Windows issues and something that’ll let you focus on what matters to you then we highly recommend the Acer Chromebook 15 to you. It doesn’t matter if you’re a college student or not, it has been helping people who need to be creative.
The HP Pavilion 15 Touchscreen is yet another one of the best budget laptops for college student and it features a full HD display and hardware that’s perfect for everyone including gamers.
It can be used for playing mid-level games and while playing games you might face some minor heating issues. After reading plenty of reviews, I can say that its touchpad might not be as great as it’s in other notebooks but everything else works fine.
With a four-core i5-8250U, it can be used for multi-tasking. Although the memory and storage will be sufficient for most people, you can upgrade the RAM and the storage drive. You could also replace the hard drive with an SSD.
It’s a good option for tech savvy that are looking to buy a budget laptop for college. Overall, we believe this laptop is incredible value for the money. Not only is it great for college students but it’s also would work very well as an inexpensive business laptop.
The latest model of ASUS F556UA-AS54 comes with pre-installed Windows 10 and full HD display. It’s available in two different variants and colors where users can choose between Intel Core i5 or i7 processor and Dark Blue or Icicle Gold.
It’s primarily designed for college students and businessmen that need their work done before time. Thanks to its SSD and best-in-class specifications, it’s 2 times faster than laptops of similar budget.
It comes with an internal battery and we really wish it had a backlit keyboard. It’s a decent mid-range laptop that will fit in most of student’s budget and I honestly don’t see any need for upgrading. Overall, it’s a very lightweight, portable and powerful laptop for students and after reading hundreds of reviews; they all seem to be very satisfied.
Here comes the dream laptop of almost every college student, the MacBook Pro is one of the most premium laptops ever made and is capable of handling massive programs with ease.
Almost everyone gets confused between MacBook Air or Pro and it’s totally up to the user and what exactly they want, power or portability. Unlike MacBook Air, the Pro isn’t all light and thin but is powerful enough to handle high-end applications. In the end, the weight difference is only about 0.25 pounds.
The MacBook Pro’s Retina display is simply a treat for eyes. We recommend the Pro to every college student as it’s ideal for multimedia purposes.
Lately people don’t prefer Windows as there are countless issues with it and many are turning towards Mac OS. Overall, it’s one of the most expensive and modern laptops of all time with more than 90% of positive reviews. Whether you love to show off or need a solid performer, you can’t go wrong with the Apple MacBook Pro. Note that the price may be a bit over $1000 depending on the options you choose.
The ASUS VivoBook S15 is known for being a very portable everyday computing laptop. It outclasses other similar notebooks under $1000.
It’s powered by 8th generation i7 processor and uses Intel Integrated Graphics. The NanoEdge display provides lots of display space while keeping the laptop physically small.
Compared to other notebook, it’s very light and portable and that’s one of the reasons it among the best laptops for college students.
It has a bold grey chassis with red highlights that will impress other students in college. Its battery life is great and lasts over 7 hours easily.
Its DDR4 8 GB RAM comes in a single chip and one can easily upgrade it without wasting anything. Overall, it’s a great option for college students as well as video editors and gamers that need powerful device.
These days most of the college students have gaming listed in their hobbies, and nothing can beat a college laptop with NVIDIA GTX 1050Ti GPU. The Dell G3 is a high-end gaming laptop that’s mostly preferred by people who’re looking for a gaming laptop under $1000.
One thing I am sure about this device is that you’ll be very pleased with it and it’s a good value for money. Its boot time is less than 15 seconds, and I just wish it came with a touch screen display. It’s built using the high-quality plastic and also includes a backlit keyboard.
Its speakers could have been better and aren’t really as expected. Its red trim gives it a classy and fabulous look that’s usually seen in laptops under $1000. Overall, it’s designed to be powerful yet portable and is an excellent choice for gamers as well as college students.
The Lenovo Z50 inherits the typical Lenovo design and is one of the most powerful budget laptops for college student. It’s powered by super high-end specifications including full HD display and HD 720p webcam.
It’s mainly built for engineering students who need a laptop that can effortlessly do multi-tasking and can handle heavy programs. It’s also a good option for photographers and graphic designers that need to use applications like Corel Draw and Adobe Photoshop.
It can be easily held by a single hand as it’s quite portable and lightweight. We have seen some negative reviews about it online that recommend not buying this laptop but everyone’s needs are different and same laptop will not be suitable for everyone.
For college students, it’s a perfect match but for businessmen, it might not work that well. Overall, it’s a fantastic laptop for tasks like social networking, video chatting, gaming, coding and photo editing.
Manufactured using the premium quality aluminum chassis, the Dell XPS9350-673SLV is one of the best laptops under $1000. It uses SSD and 6th generation processor that makes it incredibly fast.
It’s a fantastic choice for experts and law students who have to do a lot of research on their PC. It’s a lot different than usual college laptops, and it’s mostly compared with Apple MacBook Pro.
So if you’re okay with this kind of budget, then I’d highly suggest that you go with Dell XPS 13. It’s fully secured and durable laptop made by Dell and packs all the power that any college student might desire. Overall, with just a few minor issues, it’s an utterly stunning device and it can be compared with most of the professional ultrabooks currently being offered.
The ASUS ZenBook UX305UA is incredibly easy to use and is among the most appropriate ultrabooks for a college student. Its solid construction and good battery life are simply a bonus for students who have to use their notebooks in classroom.
The 13-inch full HD display and super-fast SSD is another reason to consider this device for college. It’s designed to help students with number of different tasks and they can also play HD games on it with ease.
Its “Titanium Gold” color and super-slim built are extremely attractive and it can easily beat Apple’s MacBook Air. When it comes to speed, it’s able to handle most of the heavy games and applications effortlessly.
Overall, its price might be issue for many students that are looking for budget laptops but if your budget is around $700 then you certainly need to consider this ultrabook.
The Apple MacBook Air is one of the unique ultrabooks that might have started the ultrabook trend. It’s certainly the most attractive laptop in the world and has been designed pretty nicely. Now, with a Retina display, it’s better than ever.
Not only its design, but its power is worth praising as well. It’s capable of doing nearly anything that a computer is supposed to do and it’s known for being the lightest and thinnest laptop ever.
It’s a very reliable and powerful laptop that has the ability to handle solid applications and games. I personally am using it for more than 3 months now and all I have to say is, it’s incomparable.
I am using this model and it’s my primary device for video and graphics editing. Its premium design can’t be compared with just about any other laptop and you simply can’t brag about any other gadget like this one. Overall, I am using it without any issues and it’s perfect for watching movies, editing photos, Skyping, etc.
Now you do know what laptops are best for college students and also for gaming as well as studies. These 20 laptops are perfect and you can buy one of them with confidence.
We have done a lot of research to find these laptops and if you’re still confused feel free to check our other guides like best laptops under $600 and cheap gaming laptops. We also recommend reading the individual reviews of a laptop that you’re about to buy.
We have also created a program called “Expert Advice” where you let us know your budget, usage and preferred brand and we will find the best laptop for you.
Marcus has a graduate degree in computer engineering and has many years of experience in cutting-edge technology research and development in both startups and Fortune 500 corporations. In his free time, he enjoys RTS gaming.