From this decade for students, a laptop is as essential as textbooks and a school ID and not just for taking notes and writing papers. It also needs to handle your extracurricular activities, from streaming movies and music to keeping up with your social networks, posting photos, gaming, and video chatting with the ‘rents back home. With more colleges and universities mixing on-campus and remote learning, a laptop you can use wherever you are is essential.
A college laptop must also respect your budget while lasting through four years of undergrad and maybe a year or two of grad school. Lucky for you, we’ve collected our favorites from recent reviews, notebooks that not only fit the above criteria but (for the most part) are priced under $1,000, so they won’t replace tuition as the biggest threat to your bank account. Check them out, then keep reading to learn the details of what to look for while shopping
1: This MSI is no speed demon or gaming laptop, but it’s capable, highly portable, and cheap. It’s a backpack accessory you won’t have to apologize for. the Modern gives you quite a bit in a trim 2.8-pound package aluminum instead of plastic construction, 8GB of memory instead of an inadequate 4GB, a backlit keyboard, and decent display quality and battery life, all for a surprisingly low $449.99.
2: The Surface Laptop Go 2 is a fairly well-equipped and has been student’s priority. Available in four snazzy colors, it gives sustainability and longevity. It starts at a low $599.99 ($799.99 as tested and its resolution isn’t ultra-sharp, but the Laptop Go 2 weighs only 2.5 pounds despite a battery that lasts over 12 hours, so it’s hard to complain
3: The Inspiron 16 Plus is one of Dell’s best bargains and a great general-purpose PC and it’s a sensational midrange value. It has sharp 3K resolution (3,072 by 1,920 pixels), plus a graphics card fast enough for gaming (Nvidia’s GeForce RTX 3050) and a beefy eight-core Intel Core i7 processor, all for under $1,400 as tested
4: Speaking of giving your eyes a break, there’s no mainstream laptop display larger than 17.3 inches diagonally. The Asus Vivo Book 17 M712 not only weighs less than most machines its size, five pounds and cost only $550 at Amazon. It comes from an AMD Ryzen 3 processor that’s a couple of generations older than the latest and greatest, but its performance is perfectly adequate for everyday apps, and its matte-finish screen kills glare without killing color brilliance.
5: Boasting a snappy keyboard and nine-hour battery life, the 13.3-inch Flex 5 is a friendly partner for everything from YouTube and Netflix to videoconferencing and collaborating on Google. IdeaPad Flex 5 Chromebook is an affordable three-pound convertible with a peppy Intel Core i3 processor and relatively fast and roomy solid-state drive instead of the wimpy eMMC flash storage of most Chromebooks. It’s a great platform for cloud-based productivity using the Google Workspace apps and Gmail and it costs only $429.99