Becoming a full-time student is expensive - all those student loans, tuition fees, and flights to Thailand to discover who you are don't come cheap.
Regardless of the money you'll save in haircuts, times are tough, indeed. But choosing a decent portable PC to lug from lecture - to pub - to lecture halls and, hopefully, last the duration of your course is something we can help you with. So we've scoured our peerless laptop reviews to find 10 of the best laptops for students.
As we know scholars aren't renowned for being flush with cash, we mainly picked the cheap laptops. we've also added a few that have a little more graphic power should your course tutor offer extra credit for live action documentaries with your history papers or your lecturer demand exploding real-time 3D pie charts with every marketing assignment.
Acer C720 Chromebook - £199
Chromebooks are great for chucking in a backpack for lectures. They are fast, maintenance-free, light and, if you leave the backpack on the bus, cheap to replace. The Acer C720 uses a 1.40GHZ Celeron processor and, like all Chromebooks, boots up quickly and will get you on the web or writing notes in seconds. That's their main sell, though, and they aren't going to be for every student.
There are so many caveats with Chromebooks that it's worth reading our Chromebook guide before buying one. The main one being that you're limited to Google products and Chrome Store web apps that run in the browser.
On-board storage is also small, in this case - 16GB, but you're meant to store everything in the cloud. Additionally, printing is also a bit of an issue - you'll need to use a printer that supports the Google Cloud Print protocol, which could see you having to buy a new printer as well. In theory, you can edit images, but we'd suggest giving video editing a miss.
If you can afford it, you might want consider using the Acer 720 as a really lightweight research and note-taking device. You'll be able to save everything to the cloud for easy access on your main machine back at your dorm.
HP Chromebook 11 - £229
The HP Chromebook 11 is surprisingly well built for the price. Its ARM processor is powerful enough to do the things you'd expect of a Chromebook: web surfing and writing essays, checking email and amusing yourself on YouTube during a tiresome lecture. However, like the Acer 720 above, you'll need to decide whether a Chromebook and its Chrome OS will work for your studies.
The 16GB SSD is fast, but not enough to store all your offline work, but as long as you can connect via Wi-Fi you'll have access to 100GB of cloud storage on Google Drive for free for two years.
We found the keyboard was up to the task and responsive while the 11-inch 1,366 x 768 IPS screen is decent quality considering the price. The HP Chromebook 11's one key failing is battery life. We managed five hours, which is less than the full day of work we expect from a Chromebook.
Beyond its limitations by design, this is a stylish, affordable and fast little laptop that will be great for the basics, but, depending on your course, may not be enough for your needs.
Lenovo G500s - £300
The number of plain-looking Lenovo portables available at this price range is a little overwhelming, but they do make good student laptops. This G500s is an updated G505 and sports an Intel Pentium 2020M running at 2.4GHz. Coupled with the 8GB of RAM, this means the Lenovo G500s handles Windows 8 smoothly and will be fast enough for general day to day studies.