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Top 10 Best Laptops for Students

Tamires Criscio
Tamires Criscio
  | Edited by Tom Church
Updated 1st April 2021

Are you looking for the best laptop for students? Making sure you have a powerful tool to get your studying done is an important part of your academic success. Latest Deals is here to help you get the best student laptop you can. We have selected some of the best choices available at the moment and have collected tips and advice on how to choose a student laptop for you.

In this guide

Best student laptops: what to consider before buying one 

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First of all, you need to decide how you are going to use your laptop. If you are just going to use it to research and write essays, you can work with a more budget-friendly student laptop, but if your degree requires using heavy types of software, you will need a more powerful student laptop. Also, if you are planning to stream videos or play video games, you probably will need to invest a bit more money. 

You also need to define what is more important to you. Do you want more storage? Or do you want more speed? Another important point is taking into consideration your student lifestyle.

You will probably be commuting a lot to and from class and will be in libraries and coffee shops to get extra work done. So you need a laptop that is extremely portable and also that has a long battery life with a quick recharging. Look for a laptop that weighs less than 1.5kg and has a battery life of up to at least 12 hours. 

Does your university have a laptop requirement? 

Depending on what type of course you are enrolled in, your university may have a laptop requirement. Make sure you check it first before buying anything. This is even more important if you are studying any type of design course or related to creating digital content.  In some other cases, some universities request Windows-based laptops instead of MacBooks due to software incompatibility issues or technical support limitations. 

How to effectively manage remote learning

Nowadays, it’s essential to learn how to effectively manage remote learning. If you are planning to use your laptop for remote learning, you also need to look for: a good webcam, 

a headset with a built-in microphone and a good broadband service. We have a full article on student broadband deals. 

Student software deals

In some cases, on top of the price of the laptop, you also need to buy a specific software. We recommend looking for student software deals before buying anything. Some universities offer free access to Microsoft Office365, for example. Microsoft gives up to a 10% discount for students. Adobe also offers some deals for design students. You can get all its different types of  software for less than £20 per month. 

Google offers document (Google Docs), spreadsheet (Google Sheets), presentation (Google Slides) software for free online.

IMPORTANT NOTE: MacBooks can be more expensive, but they already come with lots of software, so you won’t need to invest in a Microsoft Office365 for example, or a basic video editing software. 

Should I buy a Chromebook for school?

Usually, a Chromebook is a cheaper version of a laptop due to the fact that it’s a less powerful machine, but good enough for students that will spend most of their time surfing the web and writing essays. They have a different operating system called Chrome OS which was developed by Google. You can find a Chromebook made by Google or third parties. This type of laptop is perfect for students that already use Google services, such as Google Drive. These laptops are fast because they use Cloud technology. If you are worried about taking a more expensive computer around campus, this could be an option. 

Should you buy 2-in-1s for school?

A  2-in-1s is a laptop that can be turned into a tablet and vice-versa. This can be another great option for students that want to save some money as they can be cheaper. If you are someone that is using tablets, this can be great. This is also much smaller and lighter. This can also be an alternative if you are worried about taking a more expensive computer around campus.

What is the best operating system for student laptops? 

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The most common operating system is Windows 10 developed by Microsoft. With this system, you will need to buy Microsoft Office365 separately which will increase the price of your laptop slightly. The second most common system is macOS which comes with software included. You can also get a third option that is increasing in popularity: Chrome OS which connects to Google accounts and uses Cloud technology to be faster. 

IMPORTANT NOTE: Nowadays there is much more connectivity between these systems so you don’t need to worry so much about not being able to share documents with your colleagues and professors. The best option is the one that will work better for you. Please keep in mind that you need to check if your university has any requirements regarding operating systems. 

What is the best processor (CPU) for students laptops? 

The most reliable and common processor (CPU) at the moment is Intel® Core™ i5. Anything below that can be tricky to get things done at a good speed and will soon be very outdated. If you are thinking about getting an Apple laptop, the latest technology is the Apple M1 chip. You can also find other processors, like the ones used by Huawei (Ryzen).

IMPORTANT NOTE: We recommend getting either Intel® Core™ i5 or Apple's M1 chip.

What is the best RAM for students laptops? 

For internal memory, which will improve the processing capacity, we recommend at least 8 GB, this will guarantee good performance and your computer won’t get slower when managing more than one software at the same time. The bigger the RAM the more capacity of a computer to run more than one program at the same time. So if you want to be able to do lots of things at the same time with your laptop, you need bigger RAM. 

IMPORTANT NOTE: If you are planning to play games, use heavy software and  stream in Full HD, you will need bigger RAM. 

What is the best internal storage for students laptops? 

Internal storage is very personal as some people will need more and some will need less.  Nowadays it’s very common to use the cloud as storage, even more for documents and you can always use external storage. However, we recommend getting at least 128 GB, this way you won’t have to worry about storage for a good amount of time. Also, the more internal storage you get, the more types of software you can have installed on your computer, so if you need more specific types of software for your course, get more internal storage. 

IMPORTANT NOTE: Look to get hard drives that are SSDs. This is a new technology that stores data in a way to protect it better from any damages. 

What is the best battery life for students laptops? 

The longer the battery life, the better. We recommend a battery life of 12 hours minimum. 

What is the best screen resolution for students laptops? 

The most popular screen resolution you can get is 1920 x 1080 (Full HD),  make sure you invest in one that will allow you to stream with quality.

What is the best screen size for students laptops? 

As we are taking into consideration portable laptops, we recommend 13-inch laptops. They are not too small that you will have problems reading certain types of documents, or too big that you won’t be able to fit in a smaller bag. They are also cheaper and come with good configurations, so you are taking home a powerful machine in a smaller size. You can also find some cheap options for 14-inch laptops. 

IMPORTANT NOTE: Getting a 13-inch student laptop can be a much cheaper option for an excellent machine as they are, usually, the cheapest option in the range. 

What is the best weight for students laptops? 

The lighter the weight, the better. You will be carrying your student laptop with you all the time, so make sure you get the lightest option available with the configuration you need. We recommend getting a machine that is up to 1.5kg. 

How much should you spend on a student laptop?

If you want to get a good laptop that will allow you to do more things with it, we recommend a budget of around £1,000. Remember that you will need to buy some software separately and in some cases some accessories, such as an external hard-drive, mouse, keyboard, sound boxes and monitor. Another thing to consider is getting laptop insurance, as you want to protect your assets and avoid losing money in the future if anything bad happens to it. This is an investment for your future, and if you take good care of this machine, it can last for at least 5 years. So you will use it during all your university studies and after graduation still. 

What are the best laptops for students? - 10 of the Best Laptops for Students

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We have selected some of the best laptops for students. Here you will find the cheapest options with a good configuration. They are all small laptops but will allow you to get your work done with reliability and comfort. 

Best laptops for essay writing and research

Acer Chromebook 314 -  Best Budget Chromebook for Students for less than £250

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Acer Chromebook 314 
System:Chrome OS
Processor:Intel Celeron N4000
RAM:4GB
Storage: 32GB EMMC
Battery life:Up to 12 hours
Screen Resolution:LED
Screen Size: 14-inches
Weight: 1.5kg
Price:£229.99
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Chromebooks can be cheaper laptop options.  They come with their own system, called Chrome OS developed by Google. They are only recommended for students that are planning to write essays, for example. 

If you are planning to use your laptop for anything else, you might end up frustrated. Or if you are looking for a machine that will limit what you can do with it, this can be perfect because you won’t have to worry about distractions and will get work done. 

Although the Acer Chromebook 314 comes with an older processor, you will get a Micro SD media card reader.

IMPORTANT NOTE: This can be a good option if you are already a Google user, as you can keep your laptop and phone connected to your Google Accounts. 

HP Pavilion 14 - best student laptop for less than £600

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HP Pavilion 14 
System:Windows 10
Processor:Intel® Core™ i5
RAM:8GB
Storage: 512 GB SSD
Battery life:Up to 10.5 hours
Screen Resolution:Full HD
Screen Size: 14-inches
Weight: 1.6kg
Price:£549.00
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If you are looking for a good machine that’s affordable, this is the best option for you. It has  a configuration compatible with some other more expensive student laptops for a much cheaper price. You will be able to do all your university work comfortably. This comes with lots of internal memory so you won’t need to worry about external hard drives for a long time. 

Acer Swift 3 (2020) - Best Student Laptop for Less than £700

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Acer Swift 3 (2020)
System:Windows 10
Processor:Intel® Core™ i5
RAM:8 GB
Storage: 512 GB SSD
Battery life:Up to 16 hours
Screen Resolution:HD
Screen Size: 13.5-inches
Weight: 1.19kg
Price:£679.00
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This is one of the best options for student laptops because it ticks almost every box. Acer Swift 3 (2020) is very light, one of the lightest laptops available on the market and has longer battery life. This is an affordable machine, as you can get one for less than £700. You will be able to do all your daily tasks with quality and reliability. This won’t handle games and heavy types of software, but you will be able to watch Netflix and Amazon Prime Video. Some users complain about the sound quality, which is not the best in the market. 

Best laptops for students that want to stream

Microsoft Surface Pro 7 - Best 2-in-1 tablet for students for less than £900

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Microsoft Surface Pro 7 
System:Windows 10
Processor:Intel Core i5
RAM:8GB
Storage: 128GB 
Battery life:Up to 11.5 hours 
Screen Resolution:HD
Screen Size: 12.3-inches
Weight: 1.1kg
Price:Starting at £699.00
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This is a brilliant tablet that can be doubled as a laptop for students. If you are comfortable with using tablets frequently, this can be a great option for you! This tablet was developed by Microsoft. This will be the perfect machine to write essays on the go and stream wherever you go. The only problem is that you will need to buy the keyboard separately and it will cost around £150 extra. This is a powerful tablet and you will be able to do a lot with it. 

Google Pixelbook Go - Best streaming laptop for less than £900

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Google Pixelbook Go
System:Chrome OS
Processor:Intel Core i5
RAM:8GB
Storage: 128GB 
Battery life:Up to 12 hours 
Screen Resolution:Full HD
Screen Size: 13.3-inches
Weight: 1.09kg
Price:£829
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Google Pixelbook Go is a Chromebook. Although you can find the ChromeOS operating system with other manufacturers, this laptop made by Google is a better option. This machine is faster and sleeker. The design is modern and durable, perfect for students. This is also great to stream on the go. This is another super lightweight student laptop option. 

Best laptops for production and design for students and gamers

Honor Magicbook 14 - Best high-quality laptop for less than £500

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Honor Magicbook 14
System:Windows 10 
Processor:AMD Ryzen 5 3500U 
RAM:8GB 
Storage: 256GB SSD 
Battery life:Up to 10 hours 
Screen Resolution:Full HD
Screen Size: 14-inches
Weight: 1.38kg
Price:£549.99
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This is a laptop developed by Huawei, which promises high quality at cheap prices. This laptop has a very similar design to the MacBooks. The only problem with this laptop is the processor which is not a traditional option such as Intel. You will be able to play video games, run design software and stream in 4K with this student laptop. 

Asus ZenBook 13 - Best powerful light laptop for less than £900

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Asus ZenBook 13
System:Windows 10 Home
Processor:Intel Core i7 
RAM:16GB
Storage: 512GB SSD 
Battery life:Up to 18 hours 
Screen Resolution:Full HD
Screen Size: 13.3-inches
Weight: 1.19kg
Price:£899.99
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This is an excellent laptop, one of the best in this list. You will get a great performance, good battery life and a gorgeous design. You are taking home one of the best processors, the Intel Core i7, with 16GB RAM and 512GB SSD for internal storage. This configuration is one of the best available in the market for laptops and for less than £900.

MacBook Air (M1, 2020) - Best MacBook for students for Less than £1,000

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MacBook Air (M1, 2020)
System:macOS 11.0 Big Sur
Processor:Apple M1 chip
RAM:8 GB 
Storage: 256 GB SSD
Battery life:Up to 18 hours
Screen Resolution:Retina display
Screen Size: 13.3-inches
Weight: 1.29kg
Price:£949.00
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The MacBook Air is the perfect first Apple laptop you can get. If you haven’t been converted to Apple, this will probably persuade you to make the switch. Apple has created a new technology exclusively for MacBooks called M1, this is a chip that replaces “old processors”. This small chip promises to deliver a big performance. This small machine is very powerful and will allow you to use heavy software and games with more quality and comfort than the competition in the same price range. 

IMPORTANT NOTE: This can run iOS apps, giving you a larger library of apps than ever before.

MacBook Pro (M1, 2020) - Best MacBook for students for Less than £1,250

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MacBook Pro (M1, 2020)
System:macOS 11.0 Big Sur
Processor:Apple M1 chip
RAM:8 GB 
Storage: 256 GB SSD
Battery life:Up to 20 hours
Screen Resolution:Retina display
Screen Size: 13-inches
Weight: 1.4kg
Price:£1152.00
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The biggest difference between MacBook Air and Pro is that the Pro will allow you to run larger types of software for longer because it has a fan so you should be able to push it more. This can also handle content in 4K or even 8K resolutions depending on the model you buy (this will probably cost you more). So if you are a student that needs a powerful machine to deliver work such as video editing, graphic designing or even music production, this is the perfect machine for you. 

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon (8th Gen) - best student laptop for less than £1,600

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Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon (8th Gen)
System:Windows 10 
Processor:10th Generation Intel® Core™ i5-10210U Processor
RAM:8 GB
Storage: 256 GB
Battery life:Up to 19.5 hours
Screen Resolution:Full HD 
Screen Size: 14-inches
Weight: 1.09kg
Price:Starting at  £1,549.99
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If you are willing to spend more money, this is a laptop that will cover it all. You can use it for gaming, for heavy software and for streaming. This laptop comes with the quality of Lenovo and you can expect a laptop that will last for a long time. If you are someone that needs a resistant machine, this is tested and approved against 12 military-grade requirements.

Laptops for Students with Discounts 

Some companies give students discounts, check them below: 

FAQs

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