Today, the best student laptop is even more essential: with the new emphasis on remote learning, online learning, and blended learning, we spend more time on them than ever before. Therefore, the best PHD student laptop has to meet more demanding criteria than in the past.
Virtual seminars, online lessons, and virtual chat will replace face-to-face time in 2021. Online resources will also increase. For the best student laptop, it must have a fast enough processor, a good Wi-Fi radio, and a long battery life to get through even the most demanding days.
It must also be affordable. Students aren’t rich.
That’s why the best Black Friday deals can be helpful. Every year, we see big discounts on some of the best student laptops, which means you get more computer for less money. Black Friday has expanded to include the entire month, so we can expect to see tons of great student deals.
Do you just want our Gide in a nutshell? The following are our top three picks for the best student laptops in 2022.
For most people, the HP Pavilion 14 is the best PHD student laptop. As long as the student isn’t on a specialist course such as engineering or film-making, this system provides everything they need, and it does it at a very affordable price point, too.
The Lenovo Yoga Slim 7i Carbon is the best lightweight student laptop if portability is important to you. It is feather light and looks like a million dollars. Strong internal hardware makes it fast to use.
The best premium student laptop is the evergreen Dell XPS 13. The system is a quality all-rounder, with a stunning screen, powerful internals, and a stylish, light build. Its battery is also strong.
Top 10 Best Student Laptop you can Buy Today
1) HP Pavilion 14″
Best student laptop for most people
- CPU: 8th generation Intel Core i5-8250U
- Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics 620
- RAM: 8GB
- Screen: 14-inch (1,920 x 1,080)
- Storage: 256GB SSD
The HP Pavilion 14 is our pick for the best student laptop available today for the vast majority of students. Featuring an Intel Core i5-8250U CPU, Intel UHD Graphics 620 GPU, 8GB of RAM, and a 256GB SSD, as well as a simple but stylish design and crisp screen, you can’t do any better for the price running Windows 10.
In addition, you have dedicated HDMI, USB Type-C, and networking ports, meaning you can connect the machine in the dorm or in class with ease. There is an 11-hour battery life, and Windows 10 Home is pre-installed on the machine.
Among the student laptops on this list there are cheaper and more expensive models as well as laptops from Apple that run macOS, but the HP Pavilion 14 is the best option for an affordable sweet spot.
To see how this laptop compares to a model that is right at the premium end of the spectrum, be sure to check out our HP Pavilion 14 vs Dell XPS 13 (2020) comparison.
2) ASUS VivoBook 14″
Best student laptop for content creators
- CPU: Ryzen 9 5900HX / 5800H / 5600H
- Graphics: Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050
- RAM: 8GB / 16GB / 32GB
- Screen: 14inch 2880 x 1800 or 3840 x 2400
- Storage: 256GB / 512GB / 1TB SSD
This mid-priced laptop is designed for creative students or content creators just starting out in their careers. It has some unique features that help you work with software such as Photoshop, After Effects, and Premiere Pro. You can make fine control edits to your work using the virtual dial that appears on the touchpad when you swipe the icon.
It also features a 14-inch OLED screen with Pantone-certified colors and a high resolution of either 2880 x 1800 or 3840 x 2400, depending on the model you choose.
As for performance, connectivity, and battery life, they are good but not spectacular, and there is no touchscreen or pen input. The mid-range price of this laptop, however, makes these compromises tolerable for most creative students.
3) MSI Katana GF66
Best student laptop for affordable gaming
- CPU: 11th-gen Intel Core i7-11800H
- Graphics: Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 Ti
- RAM: 8GB
- Screen: 15.6-inch, 1,920 x 1,080 pixels, 144Hz
- Storage: 512GB SSD
- Connectivity: 802.11ax Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.2
- Weight: 2.25 kg
- Dimensions: 359 mm x 259 mm x 24.9 mm
Despite not having the very best frame rates, the MSI Katana GF66 will run all the best games at the moment smoothly and it costs considerably less than a lot of the mid-range and top-tier gaming laptops on the market today. You can play anything you want at a decent level of quality with the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 Ti GPU, and the laptop stays relatively cool and quiet.
There’s a powerful 11th-generation Intel Core i7-11800H CPU inside, which makes it a great student laptop as well as a gaming laptop. You can also use the integrated webcam for video calls thanks to the 15.6-inch display.
Its design isn’t the most inspiring, but it does mean that you can take it into lectures without drawing too much attention to yourself. You should consider the MSI Katana GF66 if you’re shopping for a powerful all-round laptop that can play the best games and at a reasonable price too.
4) Acer 14in Swift 1
Best budget Chromebook for students
- CPU: Intel Pentium Silver N6000
- Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics 615
- RAM: 4GB / 8GB
- Screen: 14-inch, 1,920 x 1,080 pixels
- Storage: 64GB / 128GB / 256GB
- Connectivity: Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.0
- Camera: 720p
- Weight: 1.3kg
- Dimensions: 15 x 323 x 212 mm
The Acer Swift 1 is a great option if you’re looking for an affordable laptop. Besides being slim and lightweight, it also looks quite sleek in comparison to other laptops at this price with a backlit keyboard and slim bezels around the 14 inch display.
However, this laptop doesn’t just look good – it has a decently good screen, a fingerprint sensor for security, and a good battery life. The price is right, too.
You do lose out on performance with this laptop, despite being a great basic laptop. If you need it for anything creative such as graphic design or photo editing, then look elsewhere. This is a good laptop for those who just want to type essays and stream Netflix shows.
5) Acer Chromebook 514
Best budget Chromebook for students
- CPU: Intel Celeron N3350
- Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 500
- RAM: 4GB
- Screen: 14-inch, HD (1366 x 768)
- Storage: 32GB
The Acer Chromebook 514 could be a good option for students on a tight budget because it is so cheap.
Although it might be quite basic, unlike a lot of other affordable laptops, you won’t have to deal with a heavy PC that you’ll have trouble carrying around. With everything you need packed into a slim, light chassis, you can easily carry it in your bag without it weighing you down.
You don’t need to worry about backing up your work because Chrome OS stores all of your files in a secure online area, and apps like Google Docs and Google Sheets are preloaded on the device.
While there aren’t any extra features like a fingerprint sensor or touchscreen on this laptop, its big, colourful 14-inch display, large trackpad, and well-spaced keyboard will be sufficient for streaming TV shows, browsing the web, and writing essays.
People who need large software, or those who do more creative work, should steer clear of this laptop. For example, you won’t be able to download Adobe Creative Suite from the Google Play Store.
6) Google Pixelbook Go
Another great student laptop with Chrome OS
- CPU: Intel Core m3-i7
- Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics 615 (300MHz)
- RAM: 8GB – 16GB
- Screen: Full HD Display – 4K Ultra HD Molecular Display
- Storage: 64-256GB
In spite of being more expensive than other Chromebooks, the Pixelbook Go offers premium looks and build quality for a fraction of what you’d pay for a similarly impressive PC or Mac. We called it “the best Chromebook ever… it is, quite simply, superb” in our review because of the excellent touchscreen, the superb webcam, and the wonderful battery life; we described it as “the best Chromebook ever”.
Even though the processor is relatively low-powered compared to, say, Apple’s M1, Chrome OS has been designed to be as lightweight as possible and doesn’t require the same amount of power as rival operating systems. Chrome is a very mature and capable operating system these days.
7) Dell XPS 13
Best lightweight student laptop
- CPU: Intel Core i3/Core i5/Core i7 (11th Gen)
- GPU: Intel Iris Xe
- RAM: 8GB/16GB
- Storage: 256GB/512GB/1TB/2TB
- Display: 13.4-inch, 1920 x 1200 or 4K
- Size: 11.6 x 7.8 x 0.6 inches
- Weight: 2.8 pounds
Dell’s XPS 13 is a serious workhorse and the best premium laptop for college students. Incorporating an 11th generation Intel Core i7 processor with integrated Intel Iris Xe graphics, the notebook is ready for work or play. You’ll have plenty of time for both with the 11-hour battery life. Performance was either better or comparable to competing systems.
You can rest assured that the XPS 13 is just as beautiful as it is powerful. The company made a laptop that’s smaller and lighter than previous models. Even with the smaller size, Dell added some major changes, including a larger trackpad and keyboard. In addition, you get a 13.4-inch near-bezelless display on every side — the first of its kind.
In a bunch of little ways, the notebook is improved, adding up to a big leap for the system. You can’t go wrong with the Dell XPS 13 if you’re looking for the total package.
8) Apple MacBook Air
Best student laptop for most Mac users
- CPU: Apple M1
- Graphics: Apple M1
- RAM: 8GB/16GB Unified Memory
- Screen: 13.3-inch, 2,560 x 1,600 pixels
- Storage: Up to 2TB
Apple MacBook Air is a good choice if you prefer macOS over Windows 10. The new MacBook Air features the fastest ultrathin laptop ever thanks to its new M1 chip, which delivers outstanding performance and excellent battery life.
The MacBook Air still costs only $999, and yet it offers unbeatable performance as well as a battery life of 14 hours and 41 minutes. It’s a combination you’ll only find in the best Windows 10 laptops, and even they can’t compete in head-to-head performance.
Why should you buy the MacBook Air instead of the Pro? The Pro has better sustained performance, but the MacBook Air is cheaper and quieter since it doesn’t have a fan. Apple’s least expensive 13.3-inch model is also the most portable, coming in at only 0.6 inches thick and 2.8 pounds.
Now the MacBook Air is slower than ever to catch up with the MacBook Pro. Both devices have the same speed and battery life, a 720p webcam, a Magic keyboard, and two USB-C ports. Additionally, the 13.3-inch, 2560 x 1600-pixel Retina display on the M1 model has been enhanced with P3 color coverage, making it more vibrant than the previous display.
9) HP Envy 13
Mobile computing on steroids for students with serious studying
- CPU: Intel Core i5-1135G7
- GPU: Irix Xe (or GeForce MX350)
- RAM: 16GB
- Storage: 256GB
- Display: 13.3-inch, 1080p (touch)
- Size: 12.1 x 7.7 x 0.7 inches
- Weight: 2.9 pounds
The best laptop for students has never been better. Featuring a new design and Thunderbolt 4 port, the new HP Envy 13 is the best sub-$1,000 laptop for students or anyone who needs a portable machine with long battery life (11:15 on the FHD model).
Despite thinner bezels and faster performance, the 2021 model shows that it can compete with much more expensive flagship models. A sleek chassis, bright and vivid 1080p display, and plenty of performance from an 11th Gen Core i5 CPU make the Envy 13 one of the best college laptops. Moreover, since the Envy 13 is a budget laptop compared to many of the others on this list, it is a great choice.
10) HP Envy X360
A classy 2-in-1 student laptop
- CPU: AMD Ryzen 5 2500U quad-core 2-3.6GHz
- Graphics: AMD Radeon RX Vega 8
- RAM: 8GB DDR4
- Screen: 13.3-inch FHD IPS LCD
- Storage: 128GB SSD
You may want to consider the HP Envy x360 if you like the HP brand but don’t mind spending a bit more than the Pavillion costs (see above). At a price that’s not as exorbitant as you might think, it combines some decent specs with some very nice looks.
Due to AMD’s CPU and GPU, it’s a laptop that can handle most tasks except intensive gaming and video editing – it’s perfect for writing essays, doing research on the web, or putting together a budget spreadsheet.
When you’ve finished working, you can flip the HP Envy x360 into tent mode to watch Netflix or YouTube on the 13.3-inch screen. It’s definitely one of the best student laptops.
How to choose the best college laptop for you
When buying a laptop for college, students should consider a number of factors.
Portability and screen size go hand in hand. Students prefer 13-inch laptops because they offer a good balance between screen size and portability. A good example is the Dell XPS 13. IAlthough it weighs around 2 pounds and is just 0.5 inches thick, you get a 13.3-inch display that goes edge-to-edge. Additionally, 14-inch laptops are becoming more popular, such as the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon, which is remarkably portable for its screen size.
A good college laptop should also have a long battery life. Don’t expect an outlet at class or the library if you plan to take the notebook there. Consider a laptop with at least 9 hours of battery life, which will be enough to get you through a couple of classes while still allowing you to study.
When it comes to specs, we recommend buying a laptop with an Intel U-series or H-series Core i5 CPU, at least 8GB of RAM (16GB is great), and at least 256GB of storage. AMD’s 4000-series chips are coming hot, so be on the lookout for them. Even though the new MacBook Air 2020 doesn’t fit those requirements (it uses a low-power Y-series CPU), it’s still a good option if you prefer macOS and don’t want to spend too much. Chromebooks like the Pixelbook Go are excellent choices for college students.
A comfortable keyboard and a sensitive touchpad will help you complete your report or research complex topics. You should also get a laptop with a vivid and bright display (such as any of the ones listed here) when you want to relax.
How we test laptops
Each laptop undergoes extensive benchmark testing – both synthetic and real-world – before it reaches a reviewer. We evaluate every aspect of the laptop, including its performance, battery life, display, speakers, and heat management.
When we test laptop displays, we use a Klein K10 colorimeter to measure brightness and sRGB color gamut. We run the laptop through a variety of benchmarks, including Geekbench 4.3 and 5.0 and 3DMark professional graphics tests.
To test the laptop’s real-world performance, we converted a 4K video to 1080p resolution and duplicated a 4.97GB multimedia file. The Dirt 3 benchmark has medium settings and a 1080p resolution for our real-world graphics test.
Furthermore, we run heat tests by playing a video for 15 minutes and measuring the temperatures in different parts of the laptop. Last but not least, we put the battery to the test with continuous web browsing over Wi-Fi at 150 nits of brightness. It is considered a good result for MacBooks and Windows 10 premium laptops to operate for more than nine hours, while gaming laptops and workstations that can last more than five hours are to be commende Our reviewers conduct extensive hands-on testing as well, evaluating everything from the laptop’s materials to its touchpad.