12 Best Laptops for College Students Consumer Reports in 2019 – Top Rated Brands

Ideal for low-income 20-year-old college-aged students who are essential for low-budget high school students, our selection of student laptops includes models that combine a relatively low cost with robust durability. , easy portability, long battery life and in some cases incredibly fast speed. Our comparative, made by an expert note in high-tech devices, will guide you in the purchase of the laptop that will best meet your needs.

Today, the majority of courses offered by universities require the use of a laptop. Essential for students in their daily lives, however, it is necessary to know how to make the right choice, depending on their needs. To help you, we offer a shopping guide to make a choice with confidence.

Why do students need laptops?

how to buy a laptop for college student

Everyone agrees that a laptop is needed for college and university students, but they can be just as essential for middle and high school students. There are a number of benefits that students who have a laptop earn over those who do not, such as more efficient note taking, better technology literacy, writing and editing more speed, increased engagement and easier collaboration with other students.

For those who think that a laptop is not necessary for education, think for a moment about how you would feel if you went to see a doctor who was still using outdated medical practices of the 1970s. Most of us would not dream of seeing a doctor who is not aware of the latest medical techniques and research. This is essentially what parents do by providing only pens and paper for their children: they limit them to the kind of technology that was available two or three decades ago.

Schools across the country are starting to realize this, and some have even started implementing a school curriculum designed for laptops. In 2000, the state of Maine reached an agreement with Apple to provide laptops to all grade seven and eight students. In 2010 alone, they distributed more than 70,000 student laptops for free. Their goal is for every student in grades 7 to 12 to have a laptop.

Since the beginning of the program, leaders say they have seen improved grades and increased collaboration among students. They also found an improvement in students’ critical thinking. In 2000, a study was conducted by researchers at Wayne State University to analyze the results of students equipped with laptops compared to those who are not equipped. They found that students who used laptops at school were more interested in education, had greater self-confidence, and had better research and writing skills.

Best Laptops for College Students by Top Brands

Bestseller No. 1
2019 Newest Premium HP 15.6' HD Touchscreen Light Weight Laptop Computer Intel Pentium Quad Core...
2 Reviews
2019 Newest Premium HP 15.6" HD Touchscreen Light Weight Laptop Computer Intel Pentium Quad Core...
  • 15.6 in diagonal HD SVA WLED-backlit touchscreen (1366x768), 10-finger multi-touch support, Intel UHD Graphics...
  • Intel Pentium Silver N5000 (1.1 GHz base frequency, up to 2.7 GHz with Intel Turbo Boost Technology, 4 MB...
Bestseller No. 2
Samsung High Performance Chromebook computer, Intel Dual-Core Celeron N3060 up to 2.48GHz, 11.6 inch...
931 Reviews
Samsung High Performance Chromebook computer, Intel Dual-Core Celeron N3060 up to 2.48GHz, 11.6 inch...
  • 11.6 inch Widescreen LED backlight HD (1366 x 768) Display, Intel HD Graphics 400
  • Intel Celeron N3060 Dual-Core processor, 1.6GHz, 4GB DDR3, 32GB eMMC
Bestseller No. 3
Newest HP 14-inch Chromebook HD SVA (1366 x 768) Display, Intel Dual Core Celeron N2840 2.16GHz, 4GB...
137 Reviews
Newest HP 14-inch Chromebook HD SVA (1366 x 768) Display, Intel Dual Core Celeron N2840 2.16GHz, 4GB...
  • Intel Dual Core Celeron N2840 with Intel HD Graphics (2.16 GHz, 1 MB cache) , 4GB 1600MHz DDR3L SDRAM, 16GB...
  • 14" diagonal HD SVA BrightView WLED-backlit (1366 x 768), microSD media card reader, Built-in HP TrueVision HD...
Bestseller No. 4
2018 New Lenovo 130 15.6' HD LED-Backlit Premium High Performance Laptop Computer, AMD A6-9225...
3 Reviews
2018 New Lenovo 130 15.6" HD LED-Backlit Premium High Performance Laptop Computer, AMD A6-9225...
  • 15.6" display - Typical 1366 x 768 HD resolution. Energy-efficient LED backlight. HDMI output expands your...
  • AMD Dual-core A6-9225 accelerated processor - Handles the AMD Radeon graphics alongside the central processor...
Bestseller No. 5
Lenovo Ideapad 15.6' HD High Performance Laptop, AMD A12-9720P Quad core processor 2.7GHz, 8GB DDR4,...
445 Reviews
Lenovo Ideapad 15.6" HD High Performance Laptop, AMD A12-9720P Quad core processor 2.7GHz, 8GB DDR4,...
  • 15.6" HD display with 1366 x 768 resolution, Powered by a 2.70GHz AMD A12-9720P Quad core processor
  • 1TB 5,400rpm HDD hard drive provides plenty of storage, 8GB DDR4 memory
SaleBestseller No. 6
ASUS Chromebook C202SA-YS02 11.6' Ruggedized and Water Resistant Design with 180 Degree (Intel...
1556 Reviews
ASUS Chromebook C202SA-YS02 11.6" Ruggedized and Water Resistant Design with 180 Degree (Intel...
  • Ready for drops and spills with rugged construction with reinforced rubber guards, easy grip handles, and a...
  • Lightweight 2.65 pound body and rugged construction that can be dropped from 3.9 feet* so you can take it...
Bestseller No. 7
Apple MacBook Air 13.3-Inch Laptop MD760LL/B, 1.4 GHz Intel i5 Dual Core Processor (Renewed)
104 Reviews
Apple MacBook Air 13.3-Inch Laptop MD760LL/B, 1.4 GHz Intel i5 Dual Core Processor (Renewed)
  • 1.4 GHz Dual-Core Intel Core i5 (Turbo Boost up to 2.7GHz) with 3MB shared L3 cache
  • 4 GB of 1600 MHz LPDDR3 onboard memory
SaleBestseller No. 8
Acer Chromebook R 13 Convertible, 13.3-inch  Full HD Touch, MediaTek MT8173C, 4GB LPDDR3, 32GB,...
300 Reviews
Acer Chromebook R 13 Convertible, 13.3-inch Full HD Touch, MediaTek MT8173C, 4GB LPDDR3, 32GB,...
  • Chromebook runs on Chrome OS - an operating system by Google that is built for the way we live today. It comes...
  • All the Google apps you know and love come standard on every Chromebook, which means you can edit, download,...
SaleBestseller No. 9
LAPACKER 15.6-17 inch Business Laptop Backpacks for Women Mens Water Resistant Laptop Travel Bag...
379 Reviews
LAPACKER 15.6-17 inch Business Laptop Backpacks for Women Mens Water Resistant Laptop Travel Bag...
  • Spacious: Large Multi-compartment backpack with a Padded Sleeve for laptops; a Main Pocket for ipad, books,...
  • Laptop Compartment: 11" x 15" (LxH), Holds most up to 15.6 inch and some ultra-slim 17 inch laptop.
SaleBestseller No. 10
Lenovo Flex 14 2-in-1 Convertible Laptop, 14 Inch FHD (1920 X 1080) Touchscreen Display, AMD Ryzen 5...
16 Reviews
Lenovo Flex 14 2-in-1 Convertible Laptop, 14 Inch FHD (1920 X 1080) Touchscreen Display, AMD Ryzen 5...
  • Up to 8 hours of battery life with quick recharge technology to power your laptop computer up to 80% in just...
  • Comprehensive, built-in, ongoing protection with Windows 10 helps protect you against viruses, malware, and...
Bestseller No. 11
Junlion Unisex Business Laptop Backpack College Student School Bag Travel Rucksack Daypack with USB...
37 Reviews
Junlion Unisex Business Laptop Backpack College Student School Bag Travel Rucksack Daypack with USB...
  • [Material]: Oxford cloth, environmental-friendly and durable
  • [Dimension]: 11.4"L x 5"W x 17"H (29*13.5*43cm), fits for 16" laptop
Bestseller No. 12
2018 Acer 15.6in HD Premium Business Chromebook-Intel Dual-Core Celeron N3060 up to 2.48Ghz...
58 Reviews
2018 Acer 15.6in HD Premium Business Chromebook-Intel Dual-Core Celeron N3060 up to 2.48Ghz...
  • Intel Dual-Core Celeron N3060 (Up to 2.48GHz, 2MB Cache), Intel HD Graphics 400
  • 15.6" HD Backlit LED Display (1366 x 768) with ComfyView Technology, Integrated HD Webcam

How to choose a laptop for a student?

Each student will have slightly different needs when it comes to the best student laptop. For example, a college student who specializes in graphic design will need a much more powerful laptop than a student who has just entered high school. That said, there are some tips that apply to the majority of students and that can help you choose the laptop that best suits their needs.

Portability should be a major concern. Purchasing a device that is too large to be easily transported in class will limit the benefits a student receives from his laptop. Ideally, most student laptops should weigh less than 4 kg, with a screen size between 11 and 14 inches. Younger students can get away with an 11-inch screen because they do not mind looking at a smaller screen and may prefer something lighter to carry. For the most part, a 12 or 13-inch screen is generally considered the ideal place for a student laptop, as it will still be easy enough to carry, without compromising ease of use.

While many parents are looking for the most affordable laptop to buy for their child, it can sometimes be worth paying for a more upscale model that has an aluminum or magnesium alloy case. These models will be more durable than models with a plastic case and are more likely to last a few years to end up in a backpack. If you can find a model with a waterproof keypad, you have to consider it.

One of the biggest problems with technology nowadays is the speed with which it becomes obsolete. You may be tempted to buy a lower-cost model with an older processor, but it is likely to become obsolete in just a few years. It is best to choose a laptop with the latest processor to ensure it lasts until graduation. The amount of RAM is another important consideration: a higher number will ensure that the laptop is able to run resource-hungry programs without delay.

Battery life is also a top priority. Look for a model that offers at least 8 hours of battery life to the last students for a whole day of school. Most students prefer a touch screen laptop because of the added functionality, but touch screens are known to be battery hogs. Touchscreen-free models typically last 10 to 25 percent longer on battery, so you have to weigh the pros and cons before buying a student laptop with touch-sensitive features.

What about the desktop PC?

Although it is true that a laptop is much better for a student because it can be taken everywhere, desktops have not disappeared. They are found mostly on the gamers side, digital production or 3D image development. Chains that require a lot of power and performance use a desktop computer. The most popular brands are undoubtedly Apple but also Acer, HP, Dell or Lenovo.

Bet on a Mac or a laptop?

Some notable differences need to be clarified to allow students to make a choice more easily. First of all, it should be noted that a MacBook is much more expensive than a conventional laptop because the prices are around 1000 euros. The laptop PC is more versatile. On the performance side, a Mac is the “ultimate” laptop but it can quickly be too fragile. Aside from that, the light weight of a Mac will facilitate all your movements (The Chromebook can also be an interesting alternative). Finally, if you want to equip you with a design device, the Macbook is for you.

The price of a laptop

In between convertible PCs, ultraportables, hybrids, PCs and classic notebooks, it’s not always easy to make a choice. The ultraportables like the Macbook Pro are super expensive but some ultra-thin models of Asus, HP or Acer are available from 700 euros. Note, however, that with USB Type-C connectors, these devices are not suitable for all devices. Convertible or hybrid PCs are convenient because they can become tablets. They are convenient and accessible to all budgets. The standard 14 or 15-inch laptops range from 450 to 800 euros (prices go up to 900 euros for high-end laptops).

SSD versus Hard Drives for a Laptop for Student

When choosing a student laptop, you will always have a choice between a computer with a hard drive and a computer with an SSD. It’s no secret that an SSD is faster, more durable, and just generally a better overall memory device than a hard drive, but they are also more expensive and most consumers have to sacrifice the size of the memory when they buy one. A laptop with a 250GB SSD can often cost a lot more than a similar model with a 1TB hard drive.

It’s a better choice to choose a student laptop with a smaller SSD than a hard drive. Over the next few years, SSDs will most likely replace hard disks completely, so buying a model with an SSD is a good way to make your laptop stand the test of time. Fortunately, their price is falling rapidly, making SSD-equipped student laptops more affordable than ever before. Additional memory devices are also relatively inexpensive, so one can always buy an external hard drive or USB stick to increase memory space.

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