7 Best Laptops for College Students

Sarah Reese
May 20, 2021

At the top of your list for college needs is most certainly a laptop. We’ve come a long way from taking notes by hand. College students today need to be prepared for more than just long nights in the library.

If you want to increase your productivity this school year, and still be able to stream your favorite TV shows before class, you’re going to need the best laptop for you that can keep up.

Below we’ve compiled a list of the best laptops for college students by looking at factors like battery life, performance, weight, and value. In addition to highlighting their greatest features, we’ve pointed to drawbacks that you might want to consider.

1. Apple Macbook Air (M1 2020)

No laptop list would exist without an appearance from Apple's MacBook. By far the best laptop for your money that you can buy on the market is the MacBook Air. It's the ARM-based Apple M1 chip for us, a different approach than intel, what they previous ran off of. 

This results in a thinner, lighter, more compact piece of technology that has insane performance and extended battery life. Think 11 hours on one charge. That's what makes it perfect for college students going from class to class, easy to carry and easy to use. 

As for price, coming in under $1000 is a steal especially comparing it to some of its rivals like the Windows 10 and Dell XPS 15. If you've never been a Mac user, now is the time to make the switch to the Apple MacBook Air  (M1 2020). It's an incredibly reliable machine.


  • CPU: Apple M1
  • Graphics: Integrated 7-core/8-core GPU
  • RAM: 8GB - 16 GB
  • Screen: 13.3 inches (diagonal) 2,560 x 1,600 LED-backlit display with IPS technology
  • Storage: 256GB - 2TB SSD
  • Dimensions: 11.97 x 8.36 x 0.63 inches (30.41 x 21.24 x 1.61 cm)

2. Microsoft Surface Laptop 4

A close runner up, the Surface 4 by Microsoft offers a great value in this Windows operated piece of technology. The build quality and design atop the PixelSense Touchscreen make this computer multi-faceted and set it apart from the competition.
The keyboard is one of our favorite parts, actually enjoyable to type those hefty research papers on, plus with 13 hours off of one charge you won't feel any stress taking this away from. a power source. It's a great value for those who want to run a Windows computer. You will not be disappointed with how this laptop works for you. . 


  • CPU: 11th-generation Intel Core i5 – i7 /AMD Ryzen 5 - 7
  • Graphics: Intel Iris Xe / AMD Radeon
  • RAM: 8GB – 32GB
  • Screen: 13.5-inch PixelSense (2,256 x 1,504) touch
  • Storage: 256GB – 1TB SSD

Buy it on Amazon for $989

3. Dell XPS 15 (2020)

If you're looking for a laptop to increase your productivity, look no further than the Dell XPS 15. It's been ranked among the top 10 laptops for students for years. The reasons are obvious:
  • Extremely powerful, some of the best mobile tech from Intel
  • Impressive battery life
  • Above-average screen display and keyboard space

No wonder this laptop is the company’s flagship computer. It's price point is higher than some of the others on the list, but there is not loss of value. If you are a gamer, a graphic designer, an engineer, or just a technology lover, then this is the laptop for you. 


  • CPU: 10th-generation Intel Core i5 – i7
  • Graphics: Intel Iris Plus Graphics - Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 Ti
  • RAM: 8GB – 64GB
  • Screen: 15.6" FHD+ (1920 x 1200) IPS - UHD+ (3840 x 2400)
  • Storage: 256GB – 1TB SSD

4. HP Envy x360 (2020)

The HP Envy x360 is one of the best 2-in-1 laptops on the market. Coming in at under $1,000, you can flip between laptop, tent, and tablet mode. The value is incredible for this device with it's aluminum design and Herculian AMD Ryzen processors. Don't be fooled by it's price, the HP Envy x360 packs a punch and can certainly compete with the laptops in the $1,000 dollar range. We like it for students because it's cost-effective and has a bright display and comfortable keyboard, the things that really matter for work and play.


  • CPU: AMD Ryzen 5 4500U
  • Graphics: AMD Radeon Graphics
  • RAM: 8GB
  • Screen: 13.3 inch display, 1080p
  • Storage: 256GB 


5. Acer Swift 3 

The Acer Swift 3 is a great laptop for studying, not lacking in the power department by any means. Not only is it inexpensive but it has a pretty superior performance. Compared to it's closest competition, the Microsoft Surface, the only thing missing is the high-resolution display. This laptop is also easy to use, it has a great size trackpad, a backlit keyboard and it's easy to travel back and forth to classes with. The Acer Swift 5 ultrabook is affordable and reliable.


  • CPU: Up to Intel Core i7-8565U
  • Graphics: Nvidia GEForce MX150, Intel HD Graphics
  • RAM: 4GB - 8GB
  • Screen: 14-inch FHD
  • Storage: 128GB - 1 TB HDD, 16 GB Intel Optane Memory

6. Google Pixelbook Go

So you're on a budget, and you need the best laptop for under $700?  Look no further, the Google Piexelbook Go is the best Chromebook you can buy right now. It still has a lot of the premium features of the previous Pixelbook, plus an even greater battery life and a great keyboard. The performance of this is on par with some of it's more expensive Windows and Apple laptop competitors 


  • CPU: MediaTek Helio P60T Processor
  • Graphics: ARM G72 MP3 800GHz
  • Screen: 10.1" FHD (1920 x 1200) IPS, glossy touchscreen
  • Storage: 64 GB eMMC

Buy it now on Amazon

7. MacBook Pro (16-inch, 2019)

The MacBook Pro is always going to be on the top of the list for laptops for college students. It's hard to beat. Coming in at a bit of a more expensive price point that it's sibling, the MacBook Air, the MacBook Pro is an incredible machine. If you're a graphic design major, or any type of film animation career path, this is the laptop you need. The display is impeccable and the battery life of 11 hours is also highly attractive. With the capabilities to add 8TB of storage for the creative future pros of the world. 


  • CPU: Intel Core i7/Core i9
  • Graphics:  Radeon Pro 5300M/5500M
  • RAM: 16GB/32GB/64GB
  • Screen: 16-inch, 2072 x 1920
  • Storage: 512GB - 8TB