Best College Laptops: Tested Picks for Research, Writing, Gaming and More

shady28

Distinguished
Jan 29, 2007
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Bad list.

In college you want something light, good battery life, a good adjustable screen, decent keyboard, and fairly rugged. Those are paramount. Gaming is a far distant concern. A lot of corporate laptops fit this bill

A big bulky low battery life Nitro 5 is horrible. You'll look really dense sitting in a classroom with that thing and its huge power brick. Which means it'll sit in the dorm.

The Surface would be perfect, but that's a $1500+ laptop there. You probably should have set a price limit of $800 or so.

The XPS, beyond being expensive, again you picked a 15" model. Do you guys imagine a bunch of students in class with 15" screens on their 12" wide flip up tables? I mean yes, get a 27" 1440p IPS monitor for the dorm, the laptop needs to be usable in class.

The Mac would be the perfect form factor with a great screen and solid construction, but unless you are going for a media related degree like graphic design or some such, it is a no go. Too much requires Windows software. It's also expensive.

There are plenty of options out there but this list is trash.
 
Jul 20, 2022
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Mac may be out of the budget of many college students. I have both PC and Mac laptops. The PC laptop is necessary for PC-specific applications. In my work, I need MS Visio. The Mac substitutes do not work for me as well. I love the Mac for its intuitive layout.
On the PC side, I like the HP laptops. I have a Z Book 17 (not the best for lugging around, however it has a top notch discrete graphics card and 32 gb of RAM. I have a smaller HP for portability's sake. The elite book is small and fairly powerful.
The best considerations need to be:
  1. What software do I need to run?
  2. How portable do I need it to be?
  3. What kind of battery life do I need?
There are great choices that fit the spectrum.
 

walldoo99

Distinguished
Sep 8, 2013
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walldoo99

Distinguished
Sep 8, 2013
10
0
18,510
0
Bad list.

In college you want something light, good battery life, a good adjustable screen, decent keyboard, and fairly rugged. Those are paramount. Gaming is a far distant concern. A lot of corporate laptops fit this bill

A big bulky low battery life Nitro 5 is horrible. You'll look really dense sitting in a classroom with that thing and its huge power brick. Which means it'll sit in the dorm.

The Surface would be perfect, but that's a $1500+ laptop there. You probably should have set a price limit of $800 or so.

The XPS, beyond being expensive, again you picked a 15" model. Do you guys imagine a bunch of students in class with 15" screens on their 12" wide flip up tables? I mean yes, get a 27" 1440p IPS monitor for the dorm, the laptop needs to be usable in class.

The Mac would be the perfect form factor with a great screen and solid construction, but unless you are going for a media related degree like graphic design or some such, it is a no go. Too much requires Windows software. It's also expensive.

There are plenty of options out there but this list is trash.
I have some client that are student and need the 15" workstation like the W520 and W530 for cad rendering, video editing and such. I feel sorry for them lugging that beast arond , but the Dell equivilant weighs almost twice as much. But they are still cheaper than the a fraction of what these sell for.
 

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