The back to school 2018 season is among us once more, and with all the great deals floating around, it can be hard to find the best laptops for college students. Well, there are still a wide range of the best laptops that college students can decorate their dorms with, even if we are still waiting on the Surface Laptop 2. The best laptops for students will sport elegant designs and beefy components, while maintaining a modest price tag so that even the most frugal college students can get in on the action.
We know it can be hard to scrounge up money when you’re studying, so the best laptops for college students don’t need to feature the best processors and GPUs – they’re feature what they need to get work done, no frills attached. They’re not limited to Windows 10, either – the best Chromebooks are some of the best laptops for college students, most will be able to get all of their work done on a Chromebook, saving hundreds of dollars.
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The next few years are going to be stressful, but the right tool is worth the expense if it’ll help you earn that degree. To alleviate some of the frustration, we’ve listed the best laptops for college students below so that you can buy one for yourself or a loved one. You won’t have to limit to yourself to an old clunker any more.
Watch the video below for the top 7 things to consider when buying a laptop:
1. Huawei Matebook X Pro
Bringing luxury to learning
CPU: 8th-generation Intel Core i7-8550U | Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics 620, Nvidia GeForce MX150 | RAM: 16GB | Screen: 13.9-inch 3K (3,000 x 2,000) LED with touch panel | Storage: 512GB SSD
Once in a while we’ll get our hands on a laptop that completely changes the way we look at other laptops – the Huawei Matebook X Pro is one such laptop. Not only does it feature modern, powerful components like an 8th-generation Kaby Lake R processor and 16GB of RAM, but it’s also gorgeous – incorporating all the latest trends in notebook design. What’s better, it manages to do all of this while still being a lot more affordable than its competition at the same time. This is why it’s one of the best laptops for college students – you’re not going to get a more powerful and more luxurious laptop for less cash than the Matebook X Pro.
Read the full review: Huawei Matebook X Pro
- This product is only available in the US and UK at the time of this writing. Australian readers: check out a fine alternative in the MacBook Pro.
2. Dell XPS 13
Get back to class with the best-in-class
CPU: 8th-generation Intel Core i5 – i7 | Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics 620 | RAM: 4GB – 16GB | Screen: 13.3-inch FHD (1,920 x 1,080; non-touch) – UHD (3,840 x 2,160; touchscreen) | Storage: 128GB – 1TB SSD
It’s not controversial to claim that the XPS 13 is the best laptop for college students. For the last few years, we’ve watched in awe as Dell has continued to top its best Ultrabook again and again. Thin, light and powerful enough to handle anything college students may throw at it – the Dell XPS 13 is back, albeit at a higher starting price than before. However, that higher price means you get an 8th-generation Intel Core i5 processor at the very least, paired with a gorgeous, bezel-less InfinityEdge display on top of an Alpine White woven into Rose Gold color scheme. Yeah, it may be expensive – but you’re getting the best laptop a college student could ask for.
Read the full review: Dell XPS 13
3. Samsung Notebook 9 Pro
The dawn of a new era for 2-in-1 laptops
CPU: 7th generation Intel Core i7 | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 620 – AMD Radeon Graphics (2GB GDDR5) | RAM: 8GB – 16GB | Screen: 13.3-inch – 15.6-inch FHD (1,920 x 1,080) LED display with Touch Screen Panel | Storage: 256GB SSD
The Samsung Notebook 9 Pro isn’t just one of the best laptops for students – it’s what other 2-in-1 laptops have dreamed to be since the beginning. It revolves around the S-Pen, Samsung’s own proprietary stylus with 4,096 levels of pressure sensitivity (the same as Microsoft’s sublime Surface Pen), a nifty little accessory isn’t just good for taking notes – you won’t even need to remember to charge it. And, while the screen is limited to 1080p, and isn’t as bright as it could be – it’s one of the best laptops for college students, as it’s packed with all the features that college students need in 2018.
Read the full review: Samsung Notebook 9 Pro
- This product is only available in the US as of this writing. Australian and UK readers: check out a fine alternative in the HP Spectre x360 15.
4. Microsoft Surface Go
A Surface for everyone
CPU: Intel Pentium Gold 4415Y | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 615 | RAM: 4GB – 8GB | Screen: 10-inch, 1,800 x 1,200 (217 ppi; 3:2 aspect ratio) PixelSense touch display | Storage: 64GB eMMC – 128GB SSD
In our minds, the best laptop for college students is one that manages to effortlessly blend price and performance in a compelling way. The Microsoft Surface Go doesn’t just succeed at this, it does so while having build quality that challenges devices that cost twice as much. Don’t be fooled by the low-power CPU either, Microsoft has engineered this thing to be able to keep up with all of your schoolwork. Trust us, this really is one of the best laptops for college students – even though it doesn’t look like it at first glance.
Read the full review: Microsoft Surface Go
5. Samsung Notebook 9 (2018)
We can think of 9 reasons to buy this laptop
CPU: 8th-generation Intel Core i7 | Graphics: Nvidia GeForce MX150 | RAM: 16GB DDR4 | Screen: 15-inch FHD LED | Storage: 256GB SSD
It should come as no surprise that the Samsung Notebook 9 has a gorgeous display, considering who made it. But, even beyond the screen, this laptop just breathes quality, from its useful fingerprint scanner, insane portability to its bleeding-edge, 8th-generation Intel Core i7 processor. Sure, its keyboard is a bit lackluster, and you’ll fill up the storage quickly but even those flaws are serviceable. Finally, thanks to its insane battery life, this is hands down one of the best laptops students can buy in 2018.
Read the full review: Samsung Notebook 9 (2018)
- This product is only available in the US at the time of this writing. Australian and UK readers: check out a fine alternative in the Dell XPS 13
6. Microsoft Surface Pro
The tablet that can replace your laptop
CPU: 7th generation Intel Core m3 – i7 | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 615 – Iris Plus Graphics 640 | RAM: 4GB – 16GB | Screen: 12.3-inch, 2,736 x 1,824 PixelSense display | Storage: 128GB – 1TB SSD
The 2017 Surface Pro isn’t just one of the best Windows tablets, it’s one of the best laptops for college students, period. Everything from its rounded edges to its refined hardware lineage. There's also the fact that the Surface Pro draws inspiration from all-in-one PCs in the way it can bend back 165 degrees. Its portability, flexibility and fantastic build quality all make the Surface Pro one of the best laptops for college students – it’s an extremely compelling purchase.
Read the full review: Microsoft Surface Pro
7. MacBook Pro 15-inch (2018)
Thin, powerful, elegant
CPU: 8th generation Intel Core i7 – i9 | Graphics: AMD Radeon Pro 555X – 560X, Intel UHD Graphics 630 | RAM: 16GB – 32GB | Screen: 15.4-inch, 2,880 x 1,800 Retina display | Storage: 512GB – 4TB SSD
If you have the cash for it, and you’re attached to macOS, the new MacBook Pro is the most powerful Mac you can buy today. With its impressive hexa-core processors, and up to 32GB of RAM this Cupertino workstation will get you through whatever your class workload happens to be – even if you need to do some video and photo editing work. It also includes an improved keyboard that will not only be less distracting to the students around you, but will be less prone to failure if some dust comes within 10 feet.
Read the full review: MacBook Pro 15-inch (2018)
8. Acer Aspire E15
All work and a little play
CPU: 8th-generation Intel Core i5-8250U | Graphics: Nvidia GeForce MX150 | RAM: 8GB DDR4 | Screen: 15.6-inch FHD (1,920 x 1,080; non-touch) | Storage: 256GB SSD
While it’s not going to win a beauty contest, the Acer Aspire e15 does one thing, and it does it well: work. If you need a laptop that you can carry with you between classes and get your work done, with no frills attached, this is one of the best laptops for college students. With new 8th-generation Kaby Lake-R processors, you’ll never have to worry about your laptop slowing down in the middle of an important project again. Just don’t expect a flashy chassis.
Read the full review: Acer Aspire e15
- This product is only available in the US and UK at the time of this writing. Australian readers: check out a fine alternative in the Dell Inspiron 15 7000 Gaming
9. Samsung Notebook 7 Spin
One step back, but not too shabby
CPU: 8th-generation Intel Core i5 | Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics 620 | RAM: 8GB | Screen: 13.3-inch full HD (1,920 x 1,080) LED with touch panel | Storage: 256GB SSD
While we still adore the Samsung Notebook 7 Spin, we have to admit it’s not quite the same device it used to be. Instead, it’s evolved into a 13-inch convertible laptop that literally bends over backwards to suit your creative needs. And, while it doesn’t feature an included stylus, the lengthy battery life and speedy processor means that you’ll be able to tackle all of your class work efficiently and remotely.
Read the full review: Samsung Notebook 7 Spin
- This product is only available in the US and UK at the time of this writing. Australian readers: check out a fine alternative in the Asus ZenBook Flip UX360.
10. Acer Chromebook 15
The 15-inch Chromebook that plays for keeps
CPU: Intel Pentium N4200 | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 505 | RAM: 4GB | Screen: 15.6-inch FHD (1,920 x 1,080) multi-touch IPS display | Storage: 32GB eMMC
It’s not every day that you see a 15.6-inch Chromebook decked out with a full HD, 1080p touchscreen. However, it’s even less frequent that we get on our hands with a laptop that lasts this long under pressure. Surviving 16 hours and 47 minutes in our signature battery test, the Acer Chromebook 15 prioritizes having an excellent battery life over everything else. Although it’s performance is still satisfactory given its low-power Intel Pentium processor and flexible operating system, its long battery life and outstanding looks separate it from the pack.
Read the full review: Acer Chromebook 15
- Looking for a new laptop? Check out the ultimate laptop buyers guide
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