Best Student Laptops : The Very Best Laptops For Students
These are the best student laptops for going back to school, blended learning and studying remotely
Studying today, no matter if you are at school, college or university, is markedly different from a few years ago, with a new emphasis placed on online remote learning. There’s significantly less face-to-face time, more virtual seminars and lessons, as well as more resources being delivered purely online.
All of that means that it is now more important than ever to own one of the best student laptops of 2021.
Laptops for students are not just for writing essays now but for taking part in those critical online sessions, so you need one that can handle video calls as well as documents. And with so many online classes, video meetings and virtual collaborations, students are spending more time on their laptops than ever before and to work optimally you don’t want to scrimp on an underpowered model.
We’re now in the pre-new academic year summer months, and that is good news for student laptop shoppers as plenty of retailers are currently discounting some great systems that are perfect for school and college.
So how do you choose the best student laptop? Price is important, of course, but it shouldn’t be your sole criteria. That’s why our guide covers so many options, manufacturers and operating systems: every student is different and that means their requirements will differ.
Macbook Air Best For Portability
Apple released the new 13.3-inch MacBook Air in 2020. Like all of Apples new computers, it uses the companys own M1 processor, which means its fast and power-efficient. It boasts up to 15 hours of wireless web use on one charge, which is impressive.
The base model costs only $999 and has all the specs that a student might want and more. The 13.3-inch LED-backlit IPS display with True Tone technology has a resolution 2560×1600 at 227 PPI and supports millions of colors. The internal SSD has 256GB configurable to 2TB with 8GB of unified memory. The cheaper version has a seven-core GPU built into the M1 chip, while the version up has an eight-core GPU.
The MacBook Air weighs 1.29kg , making it exceptionally portable and compact. If you feel like the 13-inch screen is not enough for you, you can connect an external display with up to 6K resolution at 60Hz.
If you ever need to charge your phone with the laptop, connect an external drive, printer, or mouse, Air has two external Thunderbolt 3 ports. And the final touch for environmentally conscious people: its made out of 100% recycled aluminum and at least 35% recycled plastic.
Microsoft Surface Go 2
Why you should buy this: This versatile laptop from the Surface Line can handle a wide variety of school tasks.
Whos it for: Students who are interested in more power and spec options than a Chromebook can provide.
What we thought of the Microsoft Surface Go 2:
Microsofts Surface line is powerful, includes portable modes like the Go 2, and offers plenty of customization options for you to boost performance. The latest version of the 10.5-inch Surface Go 2 is better than ever, available at a low price for those on a budget, and compact enough to fit in any pack or case you might be using.
While configuration options may vary, the affordable version of the Go 2 includes an Intel Ptenium 4425Y processor, 4GB of RAM, and 64GB of on-board storage space, with a battery rated for up to 10 hours of work. Connections are managed with a USB-C port, and theres also a headphone jack for wired audio devices.
One notable caveat while this is one of the most affordable Surface laptops, youll still need to get the Signature Type Cover to use it as a laptop instead of just a tablet. On the other hand, if youre more of a tablet fan, but sure to pick up a Surface Pen, too. These options make the Surface Go 2 an alternative option to Chromebooks that many may appreciate.
Read our full review of the Microsoft Surface Go 2
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Hp Spectre X360 13 Display
The 13.3-inch, 1080p IPS touchscreen is a good one if you don’t mind the traditional 16:9 aspect ratio. It gets bright enough to use outside on a sunny day and the colors are punchy when you’re streaming Netflix or watching videos.
Getting back to the aspect ratio, many premium laptops released in the past year use 16:10 or 3:2 ratios to allow for more vertical screen real estate. While the Spectre’s screen is ideal for watching videos, taller displays improve productivity by showing more content on web pages, documents or spreadsheets. Which method is best comes down to personal preference, but tall and narrow is certainly trending.
Watching the trailer for Free Guys on the Spectre x360 13 was a visceral gauntlet composed of a richly saturated video game world with epic explosions, frenetic action scenes, and an increasingly sentient Ryan Reynolds. The FHD panel was sharp enough to reveal shards of glass sprinkling over Reynolds after a bank robber blasts a shotgun round at a glass partition.
From the neon signs to the freshly painted supercars, colors on the Spectre’s screen were rich without being oversaturated.
The touchscreen was responsive to my taps and so accurate that I could press on small icons to minimize my Microsoft Edge browser window or change the volume using the on-screen controls.
How We Test Laptops
We put each laptop through extensive benchmark testing both synthetic and real-world before they end up in the hands of our reviewers. We evaluate each aspect of the laptop, including its performance, battery life, display, speakers and heat management.
In our benchmark testing, we use a Klein K10 colorimeter to detect the brightness and sRGB color gamut of the laptop’s display. For performance testing, we run the laptop through a gauntlet of benchmarks, including Geekbench 4.3 and 5.0 and 3DMark professional graphics tests.
To determine real-world performance, we task the laptop to convert a 4K video to 1080p resolution and to duplicate a 4.97GB multimedia file. Our real-world graphics test is the Dirt 3 benchmark with medium settings at 1080p resolution.
We also run heat tests by playing a 15-minute full-screen video and measuring temperatures in different areas of the laptop. Last but not least, our battery test consists of continuous web surfing over Wi-Fi at 150 nits of brightness. For MacBooks and premium Windows 10 laptops, a runtime of over 9 hours is considered a good result whereas gaming laptops and workstations that can stay powered for longer than 5 hours deserve praise.
These tests are complemented with extensive hands-on testing from our reviewers who critique everything from the laptop’s materials to the feel of its touchpad.
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Hp Pavilion 14 Review: Screen And Speakers
The Pavilion 14 boasts a 14-inch LED display that provides 1080p Full HD. We found it quite delightful in practice. It’s a good size for opening multiple windows and placing them side by side, helping you do more things, more quickly. Its responsive and accurate as a touchscreen. And for TV and movies, it provides a crisp and clear picture, with deep blacks and accurate colour reproduction.
The brightness level and anti-glare coating meant we could enjoy watching films even in strong daylight, and the use of an IPS panel allows you to watch comfortably from pretty much any viewing angle. Yes, there are better screens out there if you want to spend more, especially if youre keen on 4K content. But personally, we found the Pavilion 14s picture more than rich and detailed enough for this screen size.
And heres the real kicker: the audio is fantastic. Normally for a laptop at this price , youd get a tinny sound that compels you to order some external speakers. But the Pavilion 14 features a dual speaker system provided by Bang & Olufsen that truly rocks. .
Student Software Discounts And Free Alternatives
If your course requires you you use certain software, check whether any discounts or free offers are available.
For example, if your university subscribes to Microsoft Office365, you should be eligible for free Office software downloads, including Word, Excel and PowerPoint. You can find more information on the Microsoft website.
You can also subscribe to Adobe Creative Cloud for £10 a month to get Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom perfect if your course involves photography . Alternatively you can access all Adobe Creative Cloud apps for £16 a month, which is a deal exclusive to students and teachers.
The 3D design software firm Autodesk also offers a three-year free licence to some of its software packages if youre a student.
If you dont want to pay for anything, there are free, open-source alternatives to popular software packages. These include GIMP or Pixlr for image editing, LibreOffice for productivity, Google Drive or Office 365 Free for web-based word processing and spreadsheets, and Blender for 3D modelling.
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Hp Pavilion 14 Review: Verdict
If youre looking for a mid-range Windows laptop, should you go for the HP Pavilion 14? In truth, theres no one, standout reason to choose this laptop. But there are lots of little reasons that add up to a very convincing proposition.
The most obvious reason is the stylish, ultralight design. That might sound superficial, but if you want something that will look impressive in a meeting, for instance, then this will do it. Another is the delightful HD display which, when teamed with the superior Bang & Olufsen audio, makes this is a great choice as an entertainment centre.
Connectivity is broad, which means that you can team it with a wide variety of monitors, TV, headphones, universal chargers and more. Battery life is decent. And on the whole, the Pavilion 14 does an good job of letting you use Windows 10, without holding things up with bloatware or annoying quirks.
In short, this is an attractive, efficient laptop that gets out of its own way, and lets you do what you want to do. And for the price, you cant say fairer than that.
Buying Guide For Best Printers For College Students
The perfect printer for your dorm room could be a basic machine for printing the occasional essay, or it could be a powerhouse capable of scanning, copying, and double-sided printing. Finding a good printer for a college student means carefully weighing your budget against your needs.
Modern printers have lowered in price significantly, and just because youre on a budget doesnt mean you have to forgo useful features. There are plenty of affordable inkjet and laser printers to choose from and several models that feature additional functions like scanning and copying. You want to look for a printer with a relatively small footprint, and a machine with the ability to print via WiFi can save you a mess of cables. Also, consider how easy the printer is to set up and whether its compatible with your laptop.
Every college student has different printing needs, but whether you need to use a printer monthly or daily, we can help you find the perfect model. Continue reading our buying guide to learn more about the different printers available to college students, and take a look at our favourites when youre ready to buy.
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Best For Power Users: 16
The 16-inch MacBook Pro is the computer to get if you need the most power possible. You can configure it with several options, whether you need that eight-core processor, 64GB of RAM, or 8TB of storage.
But even at its base configuration, a six-core Intel Core i7 with 16GB of RAM, 512GB of storage, and an AMD Radeon Pro 5300M GPU, it’ll still handle any task a student can set to it besides the most computationally intense workflows. If you want a no-doubt-about-it machine, get this MacBook Pro. Keep in mind, however, Apple’s likely to update this machine before the end of 2021.
Do You Require A Business Laptop
The laptops listed in this article are recommended for business majors like you. However, the idea is that you own a device that will last you past college, their masters degree, evening classes, or even into the professional career pathways afterward.
If youre a regular user, a business laptop will surely have plenty of power for your daily internet needs, but you may not utilize all of the features it provides and could be equally content with a more affordable unit or model. On the contrary, a model with a higher power is almost certain to have a longer lifetime of usage.
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Best Overall: Macbook Air
In mid-2020, Cupertino announced Apple silicon. Six months later, the first non-Intel-based MacBooks in over a decade arrived, starting with the MacBook Air . The best MacBook for students this year, the latest MacBook Air packs a punch for anyone on a smaller budget, starting with its battery life up to 18 hours between charges, depending on what you’re doing.
At 2.8 pounds, the MacBook Air is the lightest Apple tablet on the market despite having the same screen size as the smallest MacBook Pro model. Along with being less weighty, the MacBook Air also contains the same essential internals Apple’s all-new M1 SoC. The laptop also includes a backlit Magic Keyboard and a Touch ID sensor.
No doubt, the MacBook Air is appealing. However, it comes with drawbacks, including fewer Thunderbolt 3 ports, less display brightness, and more inferior speakers than most MacBook Pro models. It also offers 2 hours less battery life between charges than the 13-inch MacBook Pro . None of the disadvantages should stop you from buying it, however.
The MacBook Air is also our favorite Mac for all users this year.
How To Choose The Right Laptop For College
The important thing to remember is that there is no single correct choice here. The laptop that’s best for your college experience depends on what you’re doing at college. An English major with long reading lists and many papers to write might do better with an iPad and a nice accessory keyboard. A computer science major who needs to compile software or run Linux will need a laptop they can tinker away on.
That said, here are some basic metrics to keep in mind for laptops:
Weight and Battery
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The Best Student Laptop Deals This Week*
*Deals are selected by our partner, TechBargains
Also note that most schools offer price breaks for particular vendors and include extensive software bundles, which can shave off a good amount from your laptop purchase. So you might want to look into the campus store as a first shopping destination, before you hit your local superstore or favorite online seller.
Buy Best Laptops For Students On Emi
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Check your pre-approved offer, and purchase your favorite laptop model today.
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Choosing The Best Mac For Education
Macs especially Apple laptops are hugely popular among students. They’re portable and fast, robustly built, and have a longer battery life compared to other popular laptops.
A Mac you buy for education will provide you with support throughout your entire course and will likely be a computer youll want to carry on using long after you graduate.
Choosing the best Mac for college depends on the kind of student you are, the type of assignments you get, and your general expectations from a computer.