College students have to make a lot of choices regarding items that will help make studying easier and successful. Among the long list of choice to make is which of the laptop to purchase. For college students, a laptop is not a luxury but a necessity to help succeed at school.
While there is easy access to the lab and library’s computers, owning one makes it a lot more convenient to work at any time. Laptops are easy to carry since they are lightweight and compact enough to fit into a backpack and bag.
However, there are over a thousand laptops on the market, varying in size, price, OS, and many more. This makes choosing the right unit a lot challenging. Fortunately, we’ve done your homework, and here are the top 7 best laptops for college students by consumer reports to help you handle all your assignments and projects.
Top 7 Best Laptops for College Students by Consumer Reports
1. Acer Predator Helios 300 Gaming Laptop
The Acer Predator Helios 300 Gaming Laptop is a top pick for students looking to own a laptop that can handle any task thrown at it, and including gaming during leisure time. This model is designed with longevity and durability in mind, which is evident in its metal chassis.
This PC offers a battery life of about 7 hours on a full charge, which means you may not have to be bothered about charging your dying laptop in the middle of a project or class. Further, the Acer Predator Helios 300 Gaming Laptop comes with the Intel Core i7-7700HQ Processor, which is the latest 7th generation.
Also, there’s an additional empty expandable hard drive slot, which comes in handy if you have a lot of files to store. Further, it’s equipped with Turbo Boost technology offering more processor speed from 2.8 GHz to as high as 3.8GHz.
That’s not all, it also features 16 GB RAM and 256 SSD to ensure smooth operation and allow you to run a lot of applications and software without hanging or stopping one process for the other. Lastly, it comes with a 64-bit Windows 10 Home for easy use and high performance.
Unparallel gaming performance
Good value for money
Ergonomic port selection
Storage space of 256GB makes it a better option for game lover
Battery life could be better
2. Acer Aspire E 15, 15.6″ Full HD, 8th Gen Intel Core i3-8130U, 6GB RAM Memory
The Acer Aspire E 15 defies its low price tag and punches well more than its competitors in this weight class. This 15-inch PC comes with a wide variety of ports, excellent performance, and a sharp 1080p display for a seamless experience.
The keyboard of this laptop is comfortable and will make your typing with this model hassle-free. Also, it comes with a decent battery life that should last you several hours before having to charge this model. Further, this beast will remain cool despite a heavy workload at school.
That’s not all: Acer Aspire E 15 is equipped with a powerful 8th generation Intel Core i3-8130U to offer impressive performance. Further, it comes with a 1 TB HDD, which should be enough space to store a lot of pictures, videos, and other data, and also help increase performance, boot-up time, and save battery.
Speaking about battery life, this laptop offers more than 12 hours of backup time. This unit is a big, heavy beast made of chunky plastic, but offering a premium appearance with its brushed metal texture. Sadly, this unit for low budget student made some compromise. It does not come with Thunderbolt 3 ports but includes a full HDMI port, a VGA port, a USB 3.1 Type C port, a pair of USB 3.0 Type-A ports, and an ethernet jack.
Widescreen LED-lit Display
Up to 13.5 hours of battery life
Large storage space
The core processor might below
3. Acer Chromebook R 11 Convertible
The Acer Chromebook R 11 Convertible can go from clamshell to tablet mode, which is one of the striking features of this beast. Coming with an 11.6-inch touch screen and 360-degree hinge, this system brings a decent convertible experience to your table. It packs a colorful display, a plush keyboard, and a better battery life to make an ideal choice for students in college.
This model features an elegant white base frame and a diamond pattern on both sides of the casing. However, we’d have preferred if it comes with a better build quality, but considering its price, it’s a good compromise. According to the manufacturer, the lid is made of aluminum, but when pressed, it flexed and pushed air out of the laptop.
Fair good performance
Small and compact design
Low storage space
4. ASUS VivoBook Thin and Lightweight FHD WideView Laptop
The ASUS VivoBook Thin and Lightweight FHD WideView Laptop offer users easy access using fingerprint reader without compromising the safety of your contents. It comes with Windows 10 pre-installed, which is an excellent operating system for students looking to handle tasks such as creating slides, analyzing data, writing a report, and many more.
On top of that, VivoBook has a wide range of connection options from USB 3.0, USB 3.1 Type C (Gen1), USB 2.0, and HDMI. Even better, the keyboard and trackpad are ergonomic, ensuring the student can type and work with this unit for a long time. Also, it fits into your backpack and bag for easy transportation.
8th Generation Intel Core i5 8250
More storage space
Compact and lightweight
No backlit for the keyboard
5. Microsoft Surface Laptop (1st Gen) DAG-00001 Laptop
Next up, Microsoft Surface Laptop comes with a powerful 7th generation Intel Core i5 processor, which will handle just about anything thrown at it. Not only that, it comes equipped with 8 GB of RAM and 256 GB of storage, which makes your applications run smoothly and offer impressive multitasking performance. On a full charge, this machine can offer up to 14 hours of video playback.
Like most products reviewed on this list, Microsoft Surface Laptop comes in a lightweight and compact design with a premium fabric-covered keyboard offering a distinctive feel and look. The laptop exterior casing is made from aluminum, which provides durability despite its lightweight.
Also, Microsoft offers a wide range of tone-on-tone color combinations for students to pick the perfect combo for a personalized look.
Better battery life
Ergonomic trackpad and keyboard
Four tone-on-tone color combinations
A bit pricey
Small storage space
6. Apple MacBook Air Z0UU1LL/A Laptop
This spot is filled by one of Apple’s incredible products. The Apple MacBook Air Z0UU1LL/A Laptop is equipped with a dual-core Intel Core i7 processor offering a decent processor speed of 2.2 GHz, which can go higher, thanks to Turbo Boost, up to 3.2 GHz.
Weighing less than 3 pounds and arriving in a sleek design, this unit will fit into just about anywhere – bag or backpack without slowing you down. Unlike most laptops reviewed on this list, Apple MacBook Air Z0UU1LL/A Laptop comes with 512 GB SSD storage space, which should be plenty enough to store PDFs, pictures, videos, and a lot more without causing the system performance to lag.
With Intel HD Graphics 6000, you expect color and crystal-clear Display. This makes it ideal for use anywhere on the campus. Talking about convenience, these machines come with a backlit keyboard for seamless typing experience at any time of the day.
Impressive battery life
Sleek design and lightweight
On the pricey side
7. ASUS ZenBook Pro 15 Laptop
This model is an ideal choice for people looking to shell out more on a laptop. The most striking feature about this laptop is its adaptive screen pad design, which allows you to create shortcuts and access with a single tap. Also, the model comes equipped with Intel 8th Gen Core i9-8950HK Processor to offer impressive performance and incredible speed up to 4.8 GHz.
Besides, it’s equipped with 15.6″ UHD 4K touch Display for more colorful Display. Like Apple MacBook Air Z0UU1LL/A Laptop, 512GB SSD storage, and 16GB of RAM to allow you to multitask with ease. Another incredible thing is its fast charging feature allowing you to charge up to 60% in less than 50 minutes.
Large 4K Display
How to Pick the Best Laptop for Your College Needs
Check Your School Requirement
Before going to your local or online store, ensure you find out the required system specifications from your school, these recommendations may be laptops with hard-and-fast hardware. Some universities and colleges often recommend laptops running on Windows. Other institutions are not concerned about the operating system, Linux, macOS, or Windows.
Also, some universities offer technical services to only laptops bought from the affiliated or university computer store. Besides, the tun-around time is usually fast compared to send the system back to the manufacturer.
Consider the weight
While it boils down to personal preference, having a large-screen notebook can really make a bigger difference. But weighing more than 6-pound with a 17-inch screen will be a hassle when you need to jump from one class to another across the campus.
It’s better to have a light-sized model. Except you prefer the large screen to convenience, laptops with compact and super thin design might be the right choice.
For most students, a widescreen measuring 13- to 14-inch works well for them, as it takes less space in the backpack or bag and makes it easy to move around in the campus. The downside to a small screen sized model is that it requires you to scroll more and probably strain to eyes at times compared to a larger screen for the same zoom level and resolution.
You probably spend quality time chatting, researching, and writing essays. So, having a comfortable touchpad and a full-sized keyboard can help complete your tasks faster. Models smaller than 13 inches find it challenging to offer the convenience typing experience.
However, if for budget reasons you go for a more affordable and smaller laptop, then you should consider purchasing a standalone keyboard, which will offer better typing experience when at home or hostel. For those with a slightly flexible budget, you can opt for a desktop monitor and connect your laptop using HDMI.
As mentioned earlier, the market is filled with thousands of products, which offers different battery life. As a student, you should consider models that can provide maximum performance without having to compromise battery life.
We’ve reviewed the best laptops for college students by consumer reports to help you limit your search options. Also, to ensure you make the right pick, we’ve included a buying guide section for a more informed decision.