The best student laptop should tick all the boxes for solid performance, durability, reliable battery life, and, importantly, offer good value for money.
With a plethora of options available, finding the best laptop that meets a student's unique educational needs can be daunting. The specific requirements of student life make some models stand out more than others, so for students in creative fields like animation or graphic design, the best MacBooks offer a blend of power and finesse ideal for such disciplines.
Alternatively, for those involved in intensive tasks like 3D rendering or scientific modeling at the university level, opting for a laptop with powerful discrete graphics is advisable, like those found in the best gaming laptops (it doesn't hurt that they can help you blow off steam in your downtime).
Beyond performance, the practicalities of student life must also be considered. A laptop that can endure a full day of classes without needing a charge, and can withstand the rigors of a busy campus life is essential. This is where the best 2-in-1 laptops come into play, offering a versatile, lightweight, and compact solution perfect for moving between classes.
Budget is another significant consideration for students. With financial constraints often in play, it’s important to find a laptop that delivers great value. For those on a tighter budget, exploring the best cheap laptops is a wise choice. They provide a balance between cost and functionality without compromising on the essential features.
To assist in this crucial decision-making process, we've compiled a list of top laptop choices for students across various disciplines. Whether you're seeking the best Chromebook, the best thin and light laptop, or more powerful options, our comprehensive guide is here to help you make an informed choice for your academic journey.
The quick list
If you want to get right to it and see the best student laptop in every category, check out our quick roundup of top picks below. Don't worry though, you can easily jump to a more detailed view of every pick along with a price comparison tool to help you find the best laptop deals for students no matter your budget.
Best of the best
Best student laptop overall
With a solid build and decent weight, this extremely affordable 14-inch laptop offers decent battery life and performance for the price.
Best budget student Chromebook
It might not be the flashiest, but it's built to last, especially in terms of battery. ChromeOS is also a great, versatile OS - especially for younger learners.
Best Chromebook overall
Best student Chromebook
The best Chromebook for students overall, the Duet 5 Chromebook features a gorgeous OLED display, excellent battery life, and a portable design.
Best premium Chromebook
Best premium Chromebook
It may not be cheap, but its performance more than justifies the extra expense, delivering one of the best Chromebook experiences.
Best premium Windows
Best premium Windows laptop
Still one of the best Windows laptops you can buy at an affordable price, it's thin and light without compromising on performance.
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Best affordable 2-in-1
Best affordable 2-in-1 for students
This laptop has an attractive price, good design, great performance, and excellent battery life. And it offers a great degree of versatility.
Best premium 2-in-1
Best premium 2-in-1 for students
Sometimes, you need more than just good enough from a 2-in-1, and this delivers performance and build - though it's generally more expensive.
Best gaming laptop
Best gaming laptop for students
It can't be all work and no play, but on a student budget, the MSI GF63 Thin has great performance and affordability you need from a gaming laptop.
The best student laptop overall
Reasons to buy
Reasons to avoid
✅ You’re on a budget: This entry-level model only costs around $600/£450, which makes it a capable option for budgeting students.
✅ You travel a lot: It’s not an ultrabook, but a sturdy design and weight of just 1.7kg mean that the Aspire 5 will happily live in your backpack all day long.
❌ You’re a gamer: Acer’s website talks about a discrete GeForce graphics card, but most Aspire 5 models rely on more basic integrated graphics.
❌ You need all-day battery life: Six and a half hours certainly isn’t bad for a laptop in this price range, but you’ll need to spend a bit more if you need a long-lasting laptop.
The Acer Aspire 5 (2022) is a 14-inch Windows laptop that makes some compromises to get to its price point, but thankfully it doesn't scrimp on too much so it's performance is more than enough to get students through several years of school work, whether that's in secondary school or university-level coursework.
The model we reviewed was an entry-level unit (all the better to test its value for money) packing an 11th-gen Intel CPU. Although it hardly blew us away in our testing process, we ruled that it would make a 'respectable office laptop' given its reliable mid-range performance and decent battery life - we even ruled that a bit of casual gaming should be an option here, provided you're willing to dial back your graphical settings a bit.
If you're a student who isn't looking for the highest-end specs and you need to come in under a budget, but still need your laptop to last you through the day and perform well, the Acer Aspire 5 definitely has you covered.
Read our full Acer Aspire 5 (2022) review
The best budget Chromebook for students
Reasons to buy
Reasons to avoid
✅ You’re after a fantastic value 2-in-1 Chromebook: It's an awful lot of machine for the money and performs much better than the on-paper specifications imply.
✅ You want a flexible 2-in-1 device: With a touchscreen and tablet capability that’s suitable for students or kids, the Flex 3 is truly versatile.
❌ You need a device with decent performance: While the Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 3 copes fine with daily web browsing and media streaming, it would be a poor choice for anything more demanding.
❌ You need something with a great display: It's small, not terribly bright, and pretty low resolution.
The Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 3 Chromebook isn't flashy by any means, and its MediaTek processor and 4GB LPDDR4 RAM is just about enough to run Chrome OS, but there's no denying that this is a solidly-built Chromebook that'll get you through your school day without much trouble.
A laptop like this doesn't need to have great specs thanks to the lightweight OS. Plus, as a 2-in-1 Chromebook, you'll be able to get the most out of notetaking in the cloud and other collaborative apps like Office 365, Google's G-Suite, and more thanks to built-in WiFi 6.
When we reviewed it, we noted that despite its modest specs, ChromeOS ran smoothly and general productivity workloads were a breeze. The battery life was also nothing short of epic, lasting for a whopping 16 hours in our video playback test. Best of all, this durable Chromebook is among the cheapest laptops for students you'll find.
Read our full Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 3 Chromebook
The best overall Chromebook for students
Reasons to buy
Reasons to avoid
✅ You want the best 2-in-1 Chromebook around: The lightweight and easily convertible form factor here is about as comfortable as it gets, with a decent amount of power and phenomenal battery life.
✅ You want outstanding battery life: Very few Chromebooks get this kind of battery life, and with the right tweaks, you can easily get to the 18-19 hours of battery life.
❌ You want a cheap Chromebook: There are some truly premium features on the Duet 5 Chromebook, and that does push the price up into the high end for a Chromebook.
❌ You want more of a tablet-first form factor: The 16:9 screen ratio and 13.3-inch display makes using it in tablet mode somewhat unwieldy.
The Duet 5 Chromebook isn't the most powerful on the market, nor is it the cheapest, but the mix of solid performance, adaptability, excellent battery life, and a very fair price makes this a Chromebook that you'll not only want to use, but one you'll want to show off.
This 2-in-1 detachable Chromebook features a full HD OLED display, giving you vibrant color and clarity that is almost impossible to find with even the best Chromebook using a standard IPS display. What's more, with 8GB RAM and a Qualcomm Snapdragon 7c Gen2 processor, you're looking at some very solid performance as well. We loved the lightweight chassis and detachable keyboard back when we reviewed it.
And because it's a Snapdragon CPU at its core, its battery life is phenomenal, lasting just over 16 hours in our tests. To be clear, this is downright unheard of for an OLED laptop, so you really can't miss with this one. It's not the best for note-taking, owing to its tighter 16:9 display ratio, but it can definitely do that and more, making it a great option for students with a bit of flex in their budgets.
Read the full Lenovo IdeaPad Duet 5 Chromebook review