April 24, 2024
Best Laptop for College 2024: Top 7 Picks!

A laptop has become an essential tool for every college student, enabling them to study, research, and complete assignments anytime, anywhere.

Whether you are a freshman or about to enter your final year, having a powerful, durable, and long-lasting battery laptop will help you stay in the best learning state.

But with so many laptops available on the market, choosing the best laptop for college students can be overwhelming. That’s why we have compiled this list!

Important Factors to Consider When Choosing the Best Laptop for College

  • Portability: Look for a lightweight, slim laptop that is easy to carry around campus. 
  • Battery life: If you need to go to class or study in a place without easy access to power outlets, a laptop with a long battery life will be helpful. 
  • Performance: Consider the laptop’s processor, RAM, and storage capacity to ensure it can handle the tasks you’ll be performing. For general college work, an Intel Core i5 or i7 processor with 8GB to 16GB of RAM should be sufficient. 
best laptop for college
  • Display and keyboard: A comfortable keyboard and a clear, high-resolution display are important for long hours of studying and typing. 
  • Connectivity: Ensure the laptop has good ports (USB, HDMI, etc.) to connect peripherals and accessories. 
  • Operating system: You can select Windows, macOS, or Linux as your operating system of choice, taking into consideration the software that you will be using for your coursework. 
  • Budget: Choose a price range for your laptops based on your budget. It’s important to strike a balance between price and performance.

With these factors in mind, we list some popular and highly regarded laptops for college students.

best laptop for college: Apple MacBook Air M1

1. Best Laptop For College: Apple MacBook Air M1


Starting from $999

Processor:Apple M1 chipScreen:13.3-inch Retina display
Memory:8GB / 16GBWeight:2.8 pounds (approximately 1.29 kg)
Storage:256GB / 512GB / 1TB / 2TBTested battery life:Up to 18 hours

Apple’s most revolutionary step was to introduce their own silicon instead of Intel, and yes, the entry-level Macbook M1 Air will still be worth every penny in 2024. 

It has an 8-core CPU, 7-core GPU, and a 16-core Neural Engine. It can effortlessly handle tasks like video editing and CPU-intensive gaming for extended periods without any lag or even external Power input.

I always hoped that Apple would add a higher resolution camera to the MacBook, but they came up with another way to make it better for the Zoom era. There are several ways that the picture signal processor on the M1 chip can make you look better.

I currently use it for my daily tasks, and with 8-9 hours of daily usage, a full charge will easily last for 2 days. The screen is 13.3 inches, and the retina display is crisp and clear. You’ll fall in love with how easy to seamless MacOS is if you’re a first-time user. 

The only catch is the lack of ports. Macbook Air M1 comes with 2 Thunderbolt 4 ports and a headphone jack. So you’ll have to spend another 3-5k on an external hub. You might as well have to spend on software since there aren’t many free software compatible with MacOS. 

This review of the M1-equipped MacBook Air from Apple showcases why its incredible durability and astonishing speed elevate the MacBook Air to new heights. If the new MacBook Air could add a few more ports and reduce the bezels, it could be the best laptop for college with a perfect five-star.

Pros

  • Breathtaking performance
  • Outstanding battery life
  • Slim unibody aluminum chassis
  • Great speakers and a Magic keyboard
  • iPhone and iPad app support
  • macOS Big Sur is a nice update

Cons

  • Few ports
best laptop for college: Dell XPS 13

2. Best General Use: Dell XPS 13


Starting from $599

Processor:10th Gen Intel Core i5 / i7Screen:13.4-inch InfinityEdge display
Memory:8GB / 16GB / 32GBWeight:2.64 pounds (approximately 1.2 kg)
Storage:256GB / 512GB / 1TB / 2TBTested battery life:Up to 18 hours

The Dell XPS 13 is a prime example of an ultrabook, combining reliability, portability, and reasonable pricing.

This laptop has a sleek design—it’s only 11.9 millimeters wide and weighs 1.2 kilograms. This makes it easy to carry around.

Along with great performance, its screen has a wide color gamut and high brightness, making it perfect for students working with pictures or editing videos.

In addition, the Dell XPS 13 has a long battery life, which is great for students who need to use it for long periods. This laptop’s keyboard is easy to type on, and the touchpad is very fast and can handle multiple touches.

Furthermore, it offers multiple ports, allowing students to connect external devices easily.

The entry-level model of the Dell XPS 13 is competitively priced, making it one of the best choices for students who prefer Windows over ChromeOS or macOS.

Pros

  • Thin and light
  • Nice screen
  • Beautifully built
  • Battery life is okay
  • Decent price for the specs

Cons

  • Speakers could be louder
  • No high-resolution or OLED screen option
best laptop for college: HP Pavilion Aero 13

3. Best lightweight: HP Pavilion Aero 13


Starting from $879.99

Processor:AMD Ryzen 5000 SeriesScreen:13.3-inch FHD IPS display
Memory:Up to 16GB DDR4 RAMWeight:2.2 pounds (approximately 0.94 kg)
Storage:Up to 1TB PCIe NVMe M.2 SSDTested battery life:Up to 10 hours

If you’re looking for a versatile and highly portable laptop under $1,000, I believe you need the HP Pavilion Aero 13.

This beautiful product feels as light as a book in my hands. You can effortlessly take it to class, attend lectures or the library.

According to our colorimeter, the Aero 13 achieves an sRGB color gamut of 119.5%, meaning its colors are richer than the average. So, you can enjoy your favorite Marvel movies or other films on it, making your college life more fulfilling.

Although the HP Pavilion Aero 13 only comes with integrated AMD Radeon graphics, gaming is not entirely out of the question. In fact, when it comes to gaming, the Aero 13 outperforms many ultralight and portable devices.

In our battery test, the HP Pavilion Aero 13 lasted an impressive 10 hours and 27 minutes, with the screen brightness set to 150 nits, allowing for continuous web browsing over Wi-Fi.

Surprisingly, considering everything it offers, its starting price is under $900, and it regularly goes on sale for under $700.

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Bright and colorful display
  • Clicky keyboard will make you feel satisfying
  • Affordable
  • Good performance

Cons

  • Small deck
  • No microSD card slot

Best for: Students, professionals, and anyone in need of a lightweight, powerful, and affordable laptop.

Not suitable for: Gamers or those requiring high-end graphics performance.

best laptop for college: Acer Aspire 5

4. Budget-Friendly: Acer Aspire 5


Starting from $379.99

Processor:10th Gen Intel Core i5-1035G1Screen:14-inch Full HD IPS display
Memory:8GB / 16GBWeight:2.65 pounds (approximately 1.2 kg)
Storage:256GB / 512GBTested battery life:Up to 11 hours

Looking for the best laptop for college but don’t want to spend more than $500? Then, the Acer Aspire 5 could be your first choice.

With its reasonable price, it offers quite impressive performance.

It has an AMD Ryzen 3 3200U dual-core processor, 4GB of DDR4 RAM, and 128GB PCIe NVMe SSD.

It also features a 15.6 Full HD (1920×1080) widescreen IPS display with Acer’s coral intelligence feature.

The build quality of Aspire 5 is sturdy. It’s made of polycarbonate plastic and feels pretty solid in the hands.

It’s also relatively lightweight, making it a perfect companion for students carrying their laptops.

However, it doesn’t accompany an SSD, which may be a disadvantage. Likewise, the camera is okay, but not very extraordinary at the cost.

So, this best laptop for college is a value for the money. Put it all on the line.

Pros

  • Affordable price
  • Rugged build
  • Great keyboard
  • Good selection of ports

Cons

  • Modest performance
  • 720p webcam
  • The touchpad is a little hard to use

Best for: Budget-conscious college students

Not suitable for: Someone who needs a high-performance or premium laptop.

best laptop for college: Razer Blade 15 (2023)

5. Best Gaming Laptop For College: Razer Blade 15 (2023)


Starting from $2,199.99

Processor:13th Gen Intel® Core™ i7 Processor (14-core)Screen:15.6-inch Full HD (1920×1080) 144Hz or OLED 4K
Memory:16GB (DDR5 5200MHz)Weight:4.63 pounds (approximately 2.10 kg)
Storage:1TB PCIe
Extra M.2 PCIe Slot
Tested battery life:Up to 6 hours (may vary depending on usage)

This is a machine for hardcore gamers! If you game for hours every day, then this is definitely something you would want to go for.

The core of the Blade 15 OLED design lies in its 240Hz 15.6-inch QHD OLED display, which offers stunning graphics with a resolution of 2560×1440, making it the most gorgeous laptop screen out there. This crazy fast refresh rate delivers smooth, immersive visuals in high-end gaming and boasts the best HDR contrast I’ve seen on any laptop.

While the Blade 15 performs admirably in both gaming and productivity tasks overall, it did struggle in all of our video performance tests.

The Razer Blade 15 has a beautiful, evenly lit RGB keyboard and plenty of ports, making it a great choice for college students who prioritize functionality over flashy exteriors.

While the Blade 15 may not be the lightest gaming laptop you can find, weighing in at 5 pounds, it’s still much better than many traditional gaming laptops while offering similar performance and specs. This weight also gives it a solid, sturdy feel.

It certainly isn’t cheap, so you should consider your wallet when considering this best laptop for college.

Pros

  • Wicked fast 240Hz QHD OLED display
  • Sleek aluminum chassis
  • Firm, responsive backlit keyboard
  • IR Windows Hello webcam

Cons

  • Matte black case fingerprints badly
  • Poor video rendering performance
  • The screen picks up glare easily

Best for: Gamers and college students who prioritize performance and functionality.

Not suitable for: Budget-conscious individuals or those who prioritize lightweight design.

best laptop for college: Microsoft Surface Pro 9 (Intel)

6. Best Premium 2-in-1: Microsoft Surface Pro 9 (Intel)


Starting from $999

Processor:12th Gen IntelFootnote® Core™ i5 or i7 processorScreen:12.3-inch PixelSense Display
Memory:Up to 16GB RAMWeight:1.7 pounds (approximately 0.77 kg)
Storage:Up to 1TB SSDTested battery life:Up to 15.5 hours

The Surface Pro 9, powered by Intel Core processors, is the perfect 2-in-1 tablet for college students. It impresses with its remarkable performance, excellent battery life, and user-friendly 3:2 screen, which is ideal for note-taking with a stylus.

With its sleek design, upgradeable storage, and two Thunderbolt 4 (USB-C) ports, the Surface Pro 9 undoubtedly stands as the most powerful 2-in-1 device in the market. Its 11th-generation Intel Core CPUs speed up online browsing, email, videoconferencing, and work programs.

The devices are also lightweight and have a long battery life, which is another plus for professionals who need to work for extended periods without access to power outlets.

Additionally, the Surface Pro 9 can be paired with accessories like the Surface Pen (for note-taking, drawing, and sketching) and the Surface Dock (allowing you to connect multiple monitors and peripherals). This significantly enhances your learning efficiency during class.

The Surface Pro 9 is still the best high-end Windows computer, even though it has a higher starting price.

Pros

  • Neat colors and top-notch hardware
  • Crisp 120Hz screen with dynamic refresh rate
  • Very handy stylus garage

Cons

  • Battery life is merely adequate
  • No 3.5mm audio output
  • The keyboard and stylus cost an extra

Best for: College students who need a multifunctional device suitable for note-taking, homework completion, and entertainment purposes.

Not suitable for: College students who need advanced features or play games.

best laptop for college: Acer Chromebook Spin 514 (2023)

7. Best Chromebook that will last 4 years: Acer Chromebook Spin 514 (2023)


Starting from: $699.99

Processor:AMD Ryzen 5 5625CScreen:14-inch Full HD Touchscreen
Memory:16GB RAMWeight:3.42 pounds (approximately 1.55 kg)
Storage:256GB PCIe NVMe SSDTested battery life:Up to 10 hours

If you rely on tools like Google Docs and Android apps to complete coursework, a Chromebook may be the best choice for budget-conscious students.

The AMD processor offers top-notch performance, while features like a Full HD webcam, Wi-Fi 6, USB-C ports, and HDMI connectivity complement its versatile convertible design.

With a battery life of 13 hours, this Chromebook eliminates the need for frequent charging. Its sturdy aluminum body, MIL-STD 810H certification, and ability to withstand the rigors of campus life make it our top pick for college students.

Pros

  • Category-leading performance with AMD Ryzen 5 processor
  • Excellent full HD webcam
  • Rugged MIL-STD 810H construction with sturdy aluminum

Cons

  • Uses cheaper eMMC storage
  • No Thunderbolt 4 port
  • No stylus included

Best for: College students whose course loads favor writing papers and online research.

Not suitable for: College students who like stylish looks and lightweight laptops.

Author

  • James Anderson

    James Anderson is a senior technology writer with more than ten years of experience working in top technology companies. Before transitioning into a professional application and product review expert, he was responsible for product development and marketing. These experiences gave him a professional level of understanding of technology products. James' articles are well-loved by readers because he can always transform complex technical details into easy-to-understand information, helping readers make informed decisions in complex markets.

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