Top 7 Laptops for College Students by Consumer Reports
College is an exciting time for any student. In order to get the best experience possible you need to get a good laptop. There are a few conditions your laptop needs to meet in order to be suitable for college life. Listed below are some fantastic laptops that meet this criteria.
Top 7 Laptops for College Students
7. Apple 15.4″ MacBook Pro Laptop
- 16GB RAM
- 512GB SSD
- 15 inch retina display
- 2.6 GHz 8th Gen Intel Core i7 processor
Apple is a trusted brand, so you can be sure that this laptop will be high quality and perfect for daily use. The screen is phenomenal, with each detail popping out perfectly. You will definitely enjoy watching movies on this laptop, and the design is the pinnacle of how beautiful a laptop can look. Along with all of this you can half a terabyte of storage space, enough to store pretty much all of your important files.
These benefits are dampened by the fact that this laptop is so ridiculously expensive, though. College students generally don’t have that much money to spend, so the fact that this laptop costs thousands of dollars is definitely a downside. Also, you are stuck with Mac OS which, although a decent operating system overall, will leave a lot of programs incompatible with your laptop.
- High definition screen
- Ample storage space
- Sleek, attractive design
- Clear audio from speakers
- Extremely expensive
- Many programs not compatible with Mac OS
- Only USB-C ports limit functionality
6. NEW Microsoft Surface Go
- 10″ display
- 8GB RAM
- 128GB SSD
- Intel Pentium Gold processor
This laptop provides very fast charging thanks to the Surface Connect technology that has been used. This is important because a college student is still getting the hang of adult life, which means that they are going to need fast charging so that they can get to their lectures on time. This is also a very lightweight product. It’s also a perfect fit for architects and we have recommended it in our laptop guide for architects. The 10 inch screen makes this product nice and compact, perfect for people looking for something that they can carry around on campus.
The touch interface is a real blessing because it will make it much easier for you to do your assignments. That being said, the lightweight design leaves this product a little fragile. You will have to be careful while using it because one drop could mean that the laptop stops working. You also don’t get very good battery life with this product, so you will have to use the fast charging feature quite frequently.
- Surface connect enables rapid charging
- Touch interface useful for assignments
- Lightweight and portable
- Can be used as a tablet
- Fragile; needs to be handled with
- Battery life lower than similarly priced products
5. Acer Aspire E 15
- 8th generation Intel Core i3 processor
- 6GB dual channel RAM
- 1TB HDD
- 15.6” screen
This laptop finds itself ranking higher than the Macbook and Surface Go because of its powerful processor. It comes with a latest generation Intel Core i3 processor which allows you to work on multiple projects at the same time. This is also a very affordable laptop, costing only a small percentage of what the Macbook does. This is perfect for college students that are struggling to get buy.
This is a great student laptop because it also has excellent battery life. Lasting at well over twelve hours, this laptops battery is enough to help you finish all of your assignments on time, and its durable nature means you can carry it around without worrying about it breaking. The rugged design also means that the laptop isn’t very light, however, so carrying it around might tire you out. Also, the screen isn’t high quality enough to give you a perfect entertainment experience.
- Powerful processor
- Affordable option; perfect for college students on a budget
- Above average battery life allows long usage hours
- Rugged design meant for durability
- Slightly bulky and heavy; lacks portability
- Screen not high quality enough
4. Microsoft Surface Laptop 2
- 8th Gen Intel Core i5 Processor
- SSD 128GB, 256GB, 512GB, or 1TB
- 13.5 inch screen
- 8GB or 16GB RAM
A more advanced version of the Surface Go, this laptop weighs a measly 2.6 pound which is very light indeed. Unlike the Surface Go, this product has excellent battery life. Over 14 hours is more than enough time to get all of your work done without having to worry about charging your laptop repeatedly. This laptop’s display is superior to the Acer Aspire E 15, with the colors showing a lot of vibrancy and depth.
This laptop also has a beautiful design, equal to that of the Macbook even though it costs less. Still, it is quite expensive when you consider the average college student’s budget. Also, for a laptop that costs so much it sure is fragile. College students live a fast life and a fragile product can be a nuisance in such situations.
- Excellent battery life
- Beautiful design
- Vibrant and colorful display
- Very lightweight; perfect for students on the go
- Slightly expensive
- Rather fragile design; gets easily damaged
3. ASUS Chromebook C202SA-YS02
- 4GB RAM
- 16GB EMCC hard drive
- 1.6 GHz Intel Celeron N3060 Processor
- 11.6 inch screen
One of the biggest advantages of this laptop is the spill resistant keyboard. College students often find themselves drinking coffee or red bull to get the energy to finish assignments on time, and in such situations spillage is quite common. This is also a highly portable 2 in 1 laptop since it is so compact, and the anti glare screen is perfect for long hours because it protects your eyes from harm.
To top it all off, this product is one of the most affordable laptops out there, especially since it is so durable and long lasting. That being said, a lot of you might not like the OS. It isn’t quite as good as Windows or Linux based operating systems since it is so limited. It is also a rather basic laptop; you won’t be able to play any hardcore games on it which is a problem for a lot of college students. Overall, though, this is a great budget laptop that will improve your college experience.
- Google drive storage space
- Compact and highly portable
- Extremely affordable; great value for money
- Resistant to all kinds of damage
- Anti glare display reduces strain on eyes
- Limited OS; inferior to Windows or Linux
- Not powerful enough for games
2. Acer Chromebook R 11 Convertible
- 4GB RAM
- 1.6GHz Intel Celeron Processor
- 32GB SSD
- 11.6 inch HD touch display
The high definition touch display is a big reason why this product is ranked so highly on this list. This screen is enough to let you enjoy the movies you watch and the quick boot times can help you save a lot of time in class. You also get access to the Google PlayStore which means you can download a variety of useful and entertaining apps. This is also a very virus resistant product which is an important aspect that you will appreciate.
This laptop also comes with a tablet mode that is useful for on the go working, and for such a compact machine it is surprisingly solid. It’s a shame that this laptop doesn’t work without an active internet connection, and that the battery life isn’t as long as some other products on the market. These reasons bump this laptop down to second place instead of first.
- Boots up very quickly
- Access to tons of apps and programs
- Tablet mode is very useful for portable use
- Built in virus protection keeps your files safe
- Surprisingly durable for a lightweight machine
- Doesn’t work without an internet connection
- Below average battery life
1. ASUS ZenBook UX330UA-AH5Q
- Comes with 13.3 inch screen
- 2.5GHz 7th Gen Intel i5 processor
- 256GB SSD
- 8GB RAM
We finally have a laptop that is affordable yet has a solid sized screen. Though not huge, the screen is big enough to help you look at the final details of your work. You also get a powerful i5 processor which is far better than anything else you can get on this budget. The portable design is relatively solid, able to withstand a lot of rough use. You also get the fingerprint scanner which can help you keep your precious files safe.
This laptop also has a much better battery life than the Acer Chromebook at number 2 which is what helped it clinch the top spot. The processor may not be strong enough for heavy games, but college students need something more practical. This laptop will give you everything you need to make the best of your college experience.
- Superior security thanks to fingerprint scanner
- Powerful processor can run multiple programs at once
- High definition screen
- Portable yet durable
- Solid battery life of 12 hours
- Attractive, sleek design
- Can’t handle games or heavy duty programs
Consumer Reports for ASUS ZenBook UX330UA-AH5Q:
Cristine G. Hogan: This is a nice, light laptop. I use it to watch movies and finish assignments and it works like a charm.
Charles E. Jackson: This laptop is so affordable priced, I can’t believe how good it is all things considered! It’s made my life so much easier.
Hattie J. Grimes: I am always confused about how to buy the right laptop, but luckily I made the best decision when I bought this one. What luck!
Betty K. Davis: Everything worked perfectly right out of the box. No muss, no fuss; a brilliant buy overall, and one I’m glad I made!
Deborah E. Whitehurst: My friend recommended this laptop and I was unsure at first. But as soon as I used it for a while I knew I had bought something worthwhile.
The MacBook is an okay option but is mostly a waste of money. Going for the ASUS Zenbook is a much smarter decision because of the difference in price as well as the amazing features you get. College life is all about spending money smartly, and choosing to save money and get the better product here is a great way to start.