Best Laptops for college

Asus ZenBook 13
MacBook Air M1

How to pick the best laptop for college or a student?

Buying a laptop for a student is more than just finding a device that is highly portable and offers good performance; it is also about affordability and durability. Among the many options available on the market today, these are the best laptops for students.

Asus ZenBook 13

You won’t find many laptops that offer a better combination of low price, excellent performance and lightweight design. Aimed at college students who don’t have much of a budget, but still require a good laptop.

An affordable, well-built, feature-packed machine; the latest Asus ZenBook 13 does it all. We gave a previous version of this laptop a 9 rating in our review precisely because of how well it performs essential tasks: this updated version comes with a tenth-generation Intel Core i7-10510U processor, a GeForce MX250 GPU, and an interesting customizable touchscreen/trackpad that can switch between different formats for different shortcuts, depending on what you’re doing.

One of the ZenBook’s best attributes is that it looks and feels premium, as it’s made with the same type of aluminum chassis as the more expensive machines. It also features Asus’ iconic “concentric metal circle” finish for added eye appeal.

To top it off, it’s a thin and light laptop, with an innovative ErgoLift hinge that raises the keyboard to a comfortable angle. You won’t feel like you’re carrying a cheap machine.

Other important specs include a USB-C port (plus HDMI), Wi-Fi 6 support, and 512GB PCIe NVMe solid-state drive storage and 16GB of RAM. The Asus ZenBook UX333 is a solid, reliable option that proves you don’t need to spend an excessive amount of money to get an excellent college laptop.

MacBook Air M1

Any college student who loves Macs, but doesn’t have the budget for a MacBook Pro cn go for a MacBook Air M1 instead.

For years, the MacBook Air has been a thin and light alternative to the MacBook Pro, but one that doesn’t perform any better. This is no longer the case, as Apple’s upgraded M1 chip delivers excellent performance and the MacBook Air demonstrates this to perfection. In our comparison, we found the MacBook Air to be the better overall choice. It’s also cheaper.

The base model starts at $999 and has an eight-core CPU, seven-core GPU, 256GB SSD storage, and 8GB of unified memory. No matter which configuration you choose, you get Apple’s beautiful Retina display and the Magic Keyboard, which is much better than previous MacBook keyboards.

The downsides aren’t many. The MacBook Air M1 has all the power you need in a thin and light laptop, and still has one of the best displays and keyboards on the market. The only problem you’ll have is the port selection. The MacBook Air M1 only has two Thunderbolt/USB 4 ports (one that you’ll use when charging) and the headphone jack.

Microsoft Surface Go 2

The first Surface Go was designed to be an ultraportable computer that could fit anywhere. The second generation is a bit heavier (0.05 pounds heavier), but it also has a larger HD display (10.5 inches) and the performance options feature a new Intel Core m3-8100Y processor. At a low price, it’s clearly competition for Apple’s iPads and a solid choice if you like the iPad, but need a Windows-oriented device for your classes.

It also has support for use of the company’s Surface Pen stylus, which provides the lowest latency on a Windows 10 tablet, 4,096 levels of pressure sensitivity, and tilt support. This means it is capable of taking handwritten notes and making quick drawings, something that may be useful for college students. However, Windows S Mode can be frustrating to use at times, so we suggest disabling it if you’re using the Surface Go 2 for more complex tasks. If you want something with a little more power, check out the Surface Pro 7.

Our conclusion about picking the best laptop for students

In this article we gave answer to the question: how to pick the best laptops for college? There are a lot of good laptops out there, whether you pick a Chromebook, an Apple MacBook Air or Gen Intel. It all depends on the purpose you’re going to use it for. Are you also going to use it as a gaming laptop, are more people going to use your laptop or is it only going to serve as a student laptop?

But let’s get a bit further in picking the right laptop in general. 

What color? RAM? Processor? There are so many features that it can be overwhelming trying to choose a laptop that’s right for you. That’s why we’re dedicating this tutorial to help you through the process. Here are the things you need to consider:

Autonomy

Think about whether you will spend a lot or a little time using your laptop. If you are a student you will probably spend less time than those people who work. Also, if you are a person who is constantly on the move, you don’t want a laptop that has to be plugged in every two hours. The advantage is that, nowadays, the processors included in laptops help to save battery life.

RAM Memory

What programs do you want to install on your laptop? If you are a low-demand user, that is, you only need 4GB of RAM for programs such as the office suite and one or two photo editing programs, it could be enough for a good performance. If, on the other hand, you are one of those people who require a lot of editing programs, data analysis, etc. Even for games, 4GB might be enough, but it depends on the nature of the game.

Internal Memory

If you are one of those who have a thousand important documents and are growing in quantity, you’d better choose 1TB of memory, it will serve you in the long run. If on the other hand, you consider that the information you handle is considerably less 750GB, 500GB or 250GB might be enough. Another option if you are concerned about storage is to buy an external hard drive that could even serve as a backup medium for the information or the cloud.
Operating System

One of the crossroads when buying a laptop is which system to choose, being honest you may have more opportunities to install programs without having to pay so much money on Windows. Although on the other hand, Mac can be much easier to use because of the gestures.

Screen

Currently you can find from 13 inches, if you are one of those who have to frequently transport your computer equipment could be a perfect choice. On the other hand, if you need to have many screens open at the same time, you may need more inches. You should also check the quality with which you want to have the screen: LCD or LED.

One more option: buy a laptop with a smaller screen size and look for a good monitor.

Also read our article: Best Chromebook for kids

Processor

The best known: Intel and AMD. When choosing a processor you should know that the former are more expensive, although AMD is trying to compete even more with Intel Core. If you are going to run very demanding games and applications we recommend Intel Core. Keep in mind that more expensive processors do not mean that you really need them, it all depends on the activities you carry out.
Ports

Do you need to use HDMI and/or USB? If you have USB 3.0 it will be very good for the speed of connection with the devices. Also think about how many ports do you need? There are some laptops that require adapters for these types of ports.
Design

If you are buying something that will be with you for several years, make sure you like it. And designs are as important as the interior when it comes to a laptop, to tell the truth, I would worry more about the weight, that it is light as the ultrabook, that the keyboard fits well to my hands, and aspects of that type.

Also view our latest article about Best laptops for business and Best laptops for working from home

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