20 Best Laptops For College Students – 2018

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.

Using Laptops In Class

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.

Best Laptops for College Students under $300

1. HP Stream 13.3-Inch Laptop

HP Stream 13 13.3 inch Laptop


  • Intel Celeron N3050 Processor
  • 32GB eMMC

The HP Stream 13 features a robust design and comfortable keyboard that's loved by most of the college students. Its battery life could have been better, 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 13-inch laptop is capable of running most the programs that are used in college, and it also 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 less for most of the students, but they have options like an external hard drive and cloud storage.

It's a good option for browsing and playing videos as it loads pages very fast and also runs perfectly with Adobe Flash. Overall, it's among the best budget college laptops under $300 and is HP's best-selling laptop in 2018.

2. Samsung Chromebook 2

Samsung Chromebook 2


  • Samsung Exynos 5 Processor
  • 16GB SSD 

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 other laptops listed here, this one packs Samsung Exynos 5 Octa Core processor and not the usual Intel's one. Regardless of its processor, it's fast enough and can compete with other notebooks of same budget.

It was first unveiled by Samsung in 2014 and is still among the popular laptops of 2018. Its performance is solid as compared to its alternatives and it packs a professional design that is already praised by many experts.

It's undoubtedly stronger than its previous version and is the best Chromebook of 2018. All in all, 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.

3. Acer Aspire E5-575-33BM

Acer Aspire E 15 E5-575-33BM


  • Intel Core i3-7100U Processor
  • 1TB HDD
  • 4GB DDR4 RAM

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 7th generation processor. It's ideal for using in classrooms even without the charging plug as it packs the battery that can last up to 12 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.

Best College Laptops under $500

1. Dell Inspiron i5559-4415SLV

Dell Inspiron i5559-4415SLV


  • Intel Core i5-6200u  Processor
  • 1TB HDD

The Dell Inspiron i5559-4415SLV is surely among the best laptops for college students, and we have listed it in our article of best laptops under $600 in 2018. 

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.

2. Lenovo G50

Lenovo G50 80E30181US


  • AMD Quad-Core A8-6410 Processor
  • 500GB HDD

The Lenovo G50 might be a little old for 2018 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.

3. Toshiba Satellite C55-C5241

Toshiba Satellite L55


  • Intel Core i5-5200U Processor
  • 1TB HDD

The Toshiba Satellite C55-C5241 is one of the best-selling and high-end laptops for a college student that is available for under $500.

It's specially designed for students as well as gamers. 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. Toshiba 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 Mobile 5500 HD graphics make sure that your games run pretty smoothly and it utilizes Windows 10 correctly. Overall, it's one of the best laptops for a college student that is very reliable as well as durable.

4. Acer Chromebook 15 CB5-571-58HF

Acer Chromebook 15 CB5-571-58HF


  • Intel Core i5-5200U Processor
  • 32GB SSD

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.

5. HP Notebook 15-ay011nr

HP Notebook 15-ay011nr


  • Intel Core i5-6200U processor
  • 1TB HDD

The HP Notebook 15-ay011nr 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.

It can be used for multi-tasking and that too on Chrome with HD videos on one tab and others with ordinary web pages. At first it was released with Windows 8.1 but as you already know Windows 10 is what everyone prefers these days.

It's a good option for tech savvy that are looking to buy a budget laptop for college. Overall, it's a good value for money and there are literally no issues other than touchpad and little bit of heating.

6. ASUS F556UA-AS54



  • Intel i5-6200U Processor
  • 256GB SSD

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.

High-End Laptops for College Students under $1000

1. Apple MacBook Pro MD101LL/A

Apple 13 Inch MacBook Pro


  • Intel Core i5 Processor
  • 500GB HDD
  • 4GB DDR3 RAM

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, Pro isn't all light and thin but is powerful enough to handle the high-end applications.

MacBook Pro is also chosen over Air due to its Retina display which is far better than Air's screen, and it's simply a treat for eyes. We recommend 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.

2. ASUS K501UW-AB78

ASUS K501UW-AB78 Review


  • Intel Core i7-6500U Processor
  • 512GB SSD
  • 8GB DDR4 RAM

The ASUS K501UW-AB78 is known for being one of the best budget high-end gaming laptops of 2018 and it certainly outclasses other gaming notebooks under $1000.

When you buy it from Amazon, you're given two choices, only laptop or laptop plus gaming mouse from Razer. It's powered by 6th generation i7 processor and NVIDIA GTX 960M card which are essential in a gaming laptop.

Its backlit keyboard is a big help when you're in dorm with all the lights turned off. Compared to other gaming laptops, it's very light and portable and that's exactly what makes it among the best laptops for college students.

It's made using the aluminum exterior which not only feels great but it can be used to impress other students in college. Its battery life is great and lasts about 6-7 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.

3. Dell Gaming Laptop i7559-763BLK

Dell i7559 Review


  • Intel i5-6300HQ Processor
  • 256GB SSD

These days most of the college students have gaming listed in their hobbies, and nothing can beat a college laptop with NVIDIA GPU. The Dell i7559-763BLK 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 $1500. Overall, it's designed to be powerful yet portable and is an excellent choice for gamers as well as college students.

4. Lenovo Z50 59436279

Lenovo Z50 Laptop


  • Intel Core i7-4510U Processor
  • 1TB HDD

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.

5. Dell XPS 13 9350-673SLV

Dell XPS9350-5340SLV


  • Intel Dual Core i5-6200U Processor
  • 128GB SSD
  • 4GB DDR3 RAM

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 of 2018.

6. ASUS ZenBook UX305UA

ASUS ZenBook UX305UA


  • Intel Core i5 Processor
  • 256GB SSD
  • 8GB DDR3 RAM

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.

7. Apple MacBook Air MJVE2LL/A

Apple MacBook Air MJVE2LL/A


  • Intel Core i5 Processor
  • 128GB eMMC

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.

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 the 2016 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.

Premium Gaming Laptops for College under $1500

1. Microsoft Surface Book 2-in-1 Laptop

Microsoft Surface Book


  • Intel Core i5 Processor
  • 256GB eMMC

The Microsoft Surface Book is one of the premium laptops for college students. It's a 2-in-1 device and does a lot even as a tablet. If you're looking for a futuristic and sleekly designed laptop as well as a tablet, then this is what you need.

It will cost you around $1500, and it's known as Mac quality laptop for Windows. It's smooth, elegant, fast and quiet for such a high-end PC. Its SSD performs as quickly as possible, and it's among the most expensive laptops for college students.

It features PixelSense display that works nicely with its Pen and touch and also includes a feature named "Windows Ink." My wife used it for a month, and she replaced her Dell XPS 13 with this one.

She's been pretty happy with the speed and its design, she mostly uses it to play World of Warcraft, and I know this isn't a gaming laptop but it runs the game pretty nicely. I have also used it for applications like Autodesk Maya, and 3DS Max and both were running quite smoothly.




  • Intel Core i7-6700HQ Processor
  • 1TB HDD
  • 16GB DDR4 RAM

The ASUS ROG GL552VW-DH71 is a 15-inch gaming laptop that will cost you around $1100 and packs all the latest hardware that's required for HD games. Its latest model is powered by Windows 10 and ASUS has already delivered some of the best gaming laptops of all time.

Its gray aluminum body makes sure to attract the gamers as well as college students and when it comes to performance, it's just like a dream. It's incredibly powerful notebook and features a fantastic battery life.

It's available in two variants where user can choose between HDD and SSD and of course that you will have to decide by yourself, SSD will be faster and HDD will be able to save a lot more of your data.

It features NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M which I personally tested with games like DOOM, Dark Souls 3, XCOM 2 and Firewatch. All in all, it's an excellent choice for a student who needs a laptop for both, gaming and studies.

3. Dell Inspiron i7559-7512GRY

Dell Inspiron i7559-2512BLK


  • Intel Quad Core i7-6700HQ Processor
  • 128GB SSD + 1TB HDD
  • 16GB DDR3L RAM

The Dell Inspiron i7559-7512GRY is known for its ultra HD touchscreen display and it also features other latest specifications.

It's highly attracted by gamers a big thanks to NVIDIA 960M GTX card and Core i7 processor and we have recently seen a lot of these notebooks in dorms. It meets all the requirements for gamers as well as students and it's able to run every application that university wants you to.

It features 16 GB RAM as well as SSD which is a great combination and makes it among the fastest laptops of 2018. Its soft keyboard might be an issue for some gamers and could have been little sturdy.

It's almost flawless gaming laptop with very little issues like soft keyboard and average build quality. Its speakers and subwoofer work nicely and it has 3 USB ports of which 1 is of 3.0. It's packed with two fans and there isn't any heating issue which is mostly seen in gaming laptops.




  • Intel Core i7-6700HQ Processor
  • 128GB SSD + 1TB HDD
  • 16GB DDR4 RAM

Here comes another one of the best gaming laptops under $1200 from ASUS ROG series and they both have almost identical design. Hardware is also remarkably similar and the GL752VW-DH71 was launched as Razer Mamba edition that comes with Razer gaming mouse. 

It performs super-fast thanks to its SSD and looks incredibly good. It comes with almost no bloatware which is becoming an issue these days with new laptops and its GPU handles anything that you throw at it.

Its red backlit keyboard is very elegant and responsive and it includes plenty of ports for connectivity. While playing games, it's very quiet and you will rarely hear any noise from its insides.

Overall, with its 6th generation processor, SSD and DDR4 RAM, it's remarkably fast and it also features 17-inch full HD display. Well, what more could you possibly ask for? It's a complete package that's loved by most of the college students and gamers.


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.

This post was last updated on August 11th, 2018 at 03:25 pm

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