If you’re a student, you’ll want one of the best college laptops so you can ace your exams then stream TV or play games when it’s time to relax. But with so many choices at so many different prices, it can be homework in itself to find the very best laptops for students.
When you’re buying a laptop for school, make sure it has long battery life and fast CPU performance. You can find a lot of these units on our main best laptops page, which gives you a wide selection of the top notebooks to choose from. And if you prefer to take notes by hand, buy one of the best 2-in-1 laptops. We’ve also ranked the best gaming laptops for those who like to unwind after the coursework is wrapped up. We’re still in a process of reviewing some laptops that could find their way on this list, so be sure to check back in regularly for the latest and great laptops for students.
Whichever laptop you get, you’ll also want to pick up a few extras, such as a comfortable mouse, a well-appointed backpack, and perhaps a printer. Without further ado, here are the best college laptops, including some budget picks for those dreading tuition payments.
We feel strongly about the Envy 13 and the Envy x360 13 as the best laptops for college students. Not everyone is on a budget, but most folks will want to save as much money as possible so they can pay off student loans. If you’re in this group, the Envy 13 and Envy x360 13 deliver premium specs and features at a reasonable, sub-$1,000 price.
The Envy 13 might be a mid-range notebook but it looks and feels like a more premium machine. The Envy also delivers fast performance from 11th Gen Intel CPUs, it has a great screen, and it’s portable enough to carry around campus. Then there’s the Envy 13 x360, which has all of those traits in a convertible chassis and is assisted by AMD’s powerful new Ryzen 4000 CPUs. Need a larger screen? The HP Envy 14, as the name suggests, is essentially a 14-inch version of the Envy 13.
Apple fans who prefer macOS should opt for the new MacBook Air or MacBook Pro. The fanless MacBook Air with M1 is a good choice for those on a budget but the 13-inch MacBook Pro delivers longer battery life and sustained performance. If you don’t have a budget, consider the 16-inch MacBook Pro (although it hasn’t received Apple’s custom chips) or the Dell XPS 15. You could also go big on the Dell XPS 17, the best 17-inch laptop around.
If you don’t need a new laptop immediately, consider waiting for the next fleet of notebooks to hit the market. We’ve seen dozens of new models announced at CES 2021, many of which will be hitting shelves in the coming weeks and months. Those include laptops with Intel 11th Gen Intel CPUs, AMD 5000-series chips and Nvidia 30-series GPUs.