6 Best Laptops for College Students

Sarah Reese
Dec 11, 2020
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’re going to stay ahead of the curve this school year, 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, 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. Here is our selection of the 6 best laptops for college students for 2020.

1. Dell XPS 13

At the top of our list is a classic that has been ranked among the top 10 laptops for students for years. The reasons are obvious: It's powerful and affordable and is suited for most college needs. Touted as the world's smallest 13-inch laptop, the Dell XPS 13 features impressive battery life, above-average screen display, and keyboard space, all at a reasonable price point. No wonder this laptop is the company’s flagship computer. Screen size: 13.3 inches CPU: 8th generation Intel Core i7-8565u Storage: 512GB Weight: 2.7 pounds Dimensions: 7.8 x 11.9 x 0.46 inches

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2. Microsoft Surface Laptop 3

A close runner up, the Surface 3 by Microsoft offers valuable upgrades from the Surface 2, including speed. Lightweight and durable, it offers a beautiful display and 4 color options. The battery life is impressive with up to 11.5 hours; and it's a fast charge of up to 80% in one hour. The only drawback is that it doesn’t have enough USB ports for its size (at two), but this may not be an issue for some users. Plus, you can always pick up a USB hub. Screen size: 13.5 inches CPU: Intel Core i5 Storage: 256GB
Weight: 2.79 - 3.4 pounds Dimensions: 12.1 x 0.57 x 8.8 inches

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3. HP Envy 13

The HP Envy 13 has a highly responsive keyboard. While the display could be improved (especially when compared to Microsoft’s Surface), the powerful performance and long-lasting battery life of this laptop are valuable and its price will fit most student budgets. If you're worried about security, you'll like the fingerprint reader for secure log-in. Screen Size: 13.3 inches CPU: 8th Generation intel core i7-8565u Storage: 512GB Weight: 2.6 pounds Dimensions: 13.3 x 8.9 x 0.9 inches

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4. Acer Swift 5

The Acer Swift 5 ultrabook is affordable and reliable. It's also an extremely lightweight laptop, making it easy to carry around campus. It features an impressive 15.6 inch display on a glossy touch screen, and convenient back-lit keyboard. It's quiet and has a battery life of up to 10 hours.
Screen size: 15.6 inches
CPU: 1.6GHz Intel Core i5-8265U Storage: 256GB PCIe SSD Weight: 2.2 pounds Dimensions: 14.09 x 9.06 x 0.63 inches

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5. Dell Inspiron Chromebook 11

So you're on a budget, and you need the best laptop for under $300?  Look no further. Dell makes its way onto this list for a second time with the most affordable option so far. Be aware that this is a Chrome browser, so it has limited storage and programs. This may not be a problem unless you're required to run programs only available on Windows or Mac. Chromebooks cost much less than laptops, with this Dell model coming in at under $300, which may offset the disadvantages of its heavier weight and smaller screen size. Screen size: 11.6 inches CPU: 1.6GHz Intel Celeron N3060 CPU Storage: 64GB eMMC Weight: 4.4 pounds Dimensions: 11 x 8 x 0.8 inches

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6. Apple Macbook Air 2020

No laptop list would be complete without at least one entry from Apple, and rounding out our list of best laptops for college students is the Macbook Air. It's a great upgrade from 2017 and features an excellent display, an easy-touch, backlit keyboard, fingerprint password, and up to 11 hours of battery life. Screen size: 13.3 inches CPU: 1.6GHz Intel Core i5-8210Y (dual-core, 4 threads, 4MB cache, up to 3.6GHz) Storage: 256GB PCIe SSD Weight: 2.8 pounds Dimensions: 12.76 x 2.4 x 9.09 inches

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