It’s the end of the semester, and you know what the means. That’s right, it’s time to start thinking about making sure that your autumn 2017 semester goes just as swimmingly – if not more so than – as the last. But, of course, you’re going to need the proper tools. That includes a laptop that gets you through your coursework without any onerous labor being added to the mix.
Fortunately, the top laptops for students aren’t hard to find. In fact, most of them come from manufacturers as well-known as Dell, HP, Asus and even Apple. On the downside, not all of the best laptops for students appeal to every type of pupil. Some are focused on sheer horsepower, matching robust graphics with first-rate CPU performance while others are more budget-friendly.
What’s more, with 2-in-1 form factors like the Asus ZenBook Flip S on the rise, there’s an entirely separate category of mobile PCs to choose from. Whatever qualities you desire from your next battery-operated workhorse, we’ve searched high and low for the best laptops for students on the market, 10 of which can be found below:
- Dell XPS 13
- Asus Chromebook Flip
- Asus ZenBook UX305
- Microsoft Surface Pro 4
- Samsung Notebook 7 Spin
- Asus ZenBook Flip UX360
- Apple MacBook Pro (13-inch, Late 2016)
- 13-inch MacBook Air
1. Dell XPS 13
Powerful, functional, aesthetically pleasing
CPU: 7th generation Intel Core i3 – i7 | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 520 | RAM: 4GB – 16GB | Screen: 13.3-inch FHD (1,920 x 1,080) – QHD+ (3,200 x 1,800) InfinityEdge | Storage: 128GB – 512GB SSD
Packing a high-resolution screen and serious processing power, there's more to the Dell XPS 13 than its status as a tightly kept Ultrabook. Now featuring new processors and better integrated graphics, clearly there’s an advantage to the Dell XPS 13 besides the fact that it comes in Rose Gold.
The 13-inch display, crammed into an 11-inch body, a worthy rival to a certain other aluminum laptop line. What’s more, the Dell XPS 13’s utility is extensive, spanning everything from writing to video editing to everything in between.
Read the full review: Dell XPS 13 review
2. Asus Chromebook Flip
MacBook quality for a Chromebook price
CPU: 6th generation Intel Pentium – Core m7 | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 515 | RAM: 4GB – 8GB | Screen: 12.5-inch FHD (1,920 x 1,080) LCD | Storage: 32GB – 128GB eMMC
While we can admit that Google’s Chromebook Pixel and the HP Chromebook 13 were handsome and built to last, their high price tags weren’t well justified. That’s why Asus has taken it upon itself to craft a full-fledged premium 2-in-1 Chromebook that retails for a fraction of the price.
The Asus Chromebook Flip’s pair of USB Type-C ports, dazzling screen and stunning MacBook-esque looks render it an essential inclusion on our best laptops for students list, especially when you consider its pristine value. And with a battery life of 10 hours and 46 minutes, the Asus Chromebook Flip ought to last you an entire work day, even if the speakers aren’t great.
Read the full review: Asus Chromebook Flip
3. Asus Zenbook UX305
Ultrabooks at their finest hour
CPU: Intel Core M6Y30 - Intel Core M6Y54 | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 515 – 5300 | RAM: 8GB | Screen: 13.3-inch FHD (1,920 x 1,080) – QHD+ (3,200 x 1,800) | Storage: 128GB - 512GB SSD
It’s not a MacBook Air knockoff if it’s better, right? Considering the price, the Asus ZenBook UX305 kicks Apple’s thin-and-light in the tail. Featuring a full HD screen, a whole 8GB of RAM and up to 512GB of SSD storage, the Asus ZenBook UX305 is a steal.
Like the Dell XPS 13 listed above, the UX305 is further proof that you can find a truly primo, general use laptop for less than a thousand bucks. The ZenBook UX305 is an attractive, honest-to-goodness laptop that serves as a testament to the demand for well-rounded Ultrabooks.
Read the full review: Zenbook UX305
4. Microsoft Surface Pro 4
The tablet that can replace your laptop
CPU: 6th generation Intel Core m3 – Core i7 | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 515 – Iris Graphics | RAM: 4GB – 16GB | Screen: 12.3-inch PixelSense (2,736 x 1,824) | Storage: 128GB – 512GB SSD
A higher resolution screen, a thinner design and full-fledged 6th-generation Intel Skylake processors all work together to make the Surface Pro 4 truly a hybrid that’s just as effective at your desk as it is in your bed.
As Microsoft’s marketing declares, the Surface Pro 4 is the tablet that can replace your laptop (and your desktop too, depending on your needs). With Windows 10, it serves as a great companion device, too. Sadly, the Type Cover keyboard is still an optional necessity.
Read the full review: Microsoft Surface Pro 4
5. Samsung Notebook 7 Spin
MacBook Pro size and power, MacBook Air price
CPU: 2.5GHz Intel Core i7-6500U | Graphics: Nvidia GeForce 940MX (2GB DDR3L); Intel HD Graphics 520 | RAM: 12GB – 16GB | Screen: 15.6-inch Full HD (1,920 x 1,080) LED with touch panel | Storage: 1 TB HDD
For less than a grand, you could get a MacBook Air, complete with a sub-1080p screen and a Broadwell processor... or you could buy a Samsung Notebook 7 Spin. A 2-in-1 laptop with an HDR, full HD touchscreen, the Spin is home to both a discrete Nvidia graphics chip and a 6th-generation Intel Core “i” CPU.
Considering the sheer horsepower you can exert from this thing and – we can't stress this enough – an HDR screen, the Samsung Notebook 7 Spin is as suited for the classroom as it is in your dorm. Though the spinning hard drive and 480p webcam aren’t ideal, they keep the price of the Samsung Notebook 7 Spin modest and its reputation positive.
Read the full review: Samsung Notebook 7 Spin
6. Asus ZenBook Flip UX360
Taking on Apple with more ports and a touchscreen
CPU: Intel Core m-6Y30 | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 515 | RAM: 4GB | Screen: 13.3-inch FHD (1,920 x 1,080) | Storage: 128GB – 512GB SSD
It’s not much in terms of specs, but with this kind of versatility, the Asus ZenBook Flip UX360 doesn’t need to be. For the price, it’s one of the better 2-in-1 laptops money can afford. It’s thin and light, packing in an all-day battery life and yet maintains all your favorite ports intact.
PC purists and newcomers alike will be delighted to find a pair of USB 3.0 ports joined by USB-C and even the long-endangered SD card reader, though merely an antiquated micro HDMI input. Regardless, this laptop more than makes up for shortcomings, thanks to a spacious trackpad and keyboard as well as a processor that zips through everyday life.
Read the full review: Asus ZenBook Flip UX360
7. Apple MacBook Pro (13-inch, Late 2016)
The MacBook Pro of the future, right now
CPU: 6th generation Intel Core i5 – Core i7 | Graphics: Intel Iris Plus Graphics 640 | RAM: 8GB | Screen: 13.3-inch WQXGA (2,560 x 1,600) | Storage: 128GB - 256GB SSD
For students impressed by the sleek-and-alluring 12-inch MacBook, but unsatisfied by the lack of power and ports, the 13-inch MacBook Pro is the obvious resolution at long last. With battery life exceeding seven hours and a powerful Intel Core i5 processor, the latest 13-inch MacBook Pro is replete with everything you need to get through the coming semesters.
The 13-inch, late 2016 MacBook Pro weighs only 3.02 pounds (1.37kg), making it lighter than ever before as the result of a slimmed-down, “butterfly” mechanism-powered keyboard and stealthy cooling system. The MacBook Pro even manages a larger trackpad despite the laptop itself being thinner. And, like all macOS-outfitted devices, it ships with Pages, iMovie and Garageband pre-installed at no extra cost.
Read the full review: Apple MacBook Pro (13-inch, Late 2016)
8. 13-inch MacBook Air
The OG of all-day battery life
CPU: 5th generation Intel Core i5; Core i7 | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 6000 | RAM: 8GB | Screen: 13.3-inch WXGA+ (1,440 x 900) | Storage: 128GB – 512GB SSD
Though it has yet to adopt Apple's Retina display standard (and may never at this rate), you can take solace in that, with the 13-inch MacBook Air, Apple promises a 12-hour battery life paired with a dual-core Broadwell processor and now starts with a competent 8GB of RAM.
So if you’re skeptical of the 12-inch MacBook's low-travel butterfly keys, the MacBook Air uses a more traditional, chiclet-style keyboard. And hey, a MacBook Air is the most affordable (and pretty much the only) ways to get that backlit Apple logo on the back of your laptop.
Read the full review: MacBook Air 13-inch
- Now check out the best 2-in-1 laptops