School can get really expensive very quickly: books, tuition and accommodation – those things add up fast, and that’s without adding one of the best laptops for students to the mix. The silver lining, though, is that many of the best student laptops on the market could save you an impressive amount of cash. In fact, the best laptops for students are budget-friendly devices that exude style and tout power without breaking the bank.
That’s more than a good thing, especially because when you’re spending all your money on textbooks and instant ramen, saving up for a new laptop can be hard. The prime candidates for a student laptop will put value above having the top-of-the-line processors and graphics cards, yet still boast enough juice to get you through your demanding workload at school – and offer some post-schoolwork entertainment.
You need not limit yourself to Windows 10, either, as some of the best Chromebooks are capable of going head-to-head with some of the best laptops, which means you can get everything you’ll need in a laptop without shelling out some serious silver.
Going to school, after all, can be a stressful time, and you don’t need the added pressure of running around campus with a barely functional laptop to your plate. You deserve to have an excellent laptop, and that’s why we sought out the best laptops for students that you can afford with your budget. Because no one should be limited to an ancient relic just to get some work done, but you shouldn’t have to sell a kidney, either.
Huawei Matebook 13
We’re massive fans of laptops that can skillfully combine price and performance with hardly any compromises, and the Huawei MateBook 13 comes closer to hitting that perfect balance than anything in 2019 so far. It’s thin and light, ideal for stuffing it in your backpack as you hurry from class to class; and it’s fast and affordable. This beautiful 13-inch Ultrabook will let you get all your work done in style, without burning a hole in your pocket. Just be sure to have that charger handy, as the battery life is underwhelming.
Dell XPS 13
Dell’s flagship laptop has always ranked among the best laptops for students and professionals alike, not to mention casual, everyday users. But, the Dell XPS 13 2019 brings back the entry-level model, making it inexpensive for college students again. Dell has also managed to fix our biggest issue with the XPS lineup – the webcam. The manufacturer has moved the webcam back up to the top of the display where it belongs, so your family and friends don’t have to stare up your nose when you’re video chatting.
Surface Laptop 2
While the Surface Laptop was one of the best laptops for students, it was held back by below average performance, a lack of ports and Windows 10 in S Mode. The Surface Laptop 2 greatly improves on its predecessor, however – except for the port situation. It’s now packed with 8th-generation Intel Kaby Lake Refresh processors, full-fat Windows 10 Home and a black color option. We wish it had even a single USB-C port, but that doesn’t change the fact that you’ll get all your tasks done in style with this laptop.
Micro Soft Surface Pro
When you’re trying to find a laptop for school that strikes a balance between price and performance, a dollop of style can’t hurt. The Microsoft Surface Go isn’t just one of the best Windows tablets, but it’s also one of the most ideal laptops for students, especially from a value perspective. Don’t be fooled by the low-power components, as Microsoft has engineered this tablet to keep up with all your general schoolwork and more while hardly breaking a sweat.
Dell XPS 15
The Dell XPS 15 has been our list of best laptops for students for a few years now, and Dell has taken that old “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” approach with the latest model. Not much has changed since the 2017 version, but that’s not a bad thing. After all, you’re getting an Ultrabook that isn’t only reliable; it also has enough juice to get you through pretty much any workload. The best part? The Dell XPS 15 is very affordable. And, while the entry level should be just fine for most users, you can configure this thing with up to an Intel Core i9 processor and 32GB of RAM, upgrading the Dell XPS 15 into an extremely powerful workstation. If Dell would move that webcam, we’d be gravy.
Acer swift 5
You don’t need some high-end affair from Apple that looks like something out of a designer catalog – not for school. You need a laptop that’s going to get the job done, and the Acer Swift 5 should be near the top of your list. This affordable Ultrabook is packed with the latest 8th-generation Intel processors, not to mention enough RAM and SSD storage to get you through pretty much any homework or project. It’s not the most good-looking laptop in the world, but with that price, looks hardly matter.
The Microsoft Surface lineup has made a name for itself for being among the best Windows devices out there, with gorgeous touch screens, impressive performance and long-lasting battery life. The Surface Pro 6 continues that tradition, even if it doesn’t bring anything new to the table. You’re getting a speedy Windows tablet that can effortlessly turn into a laptop through the Surface Type Cover, making it one of the best laptops for students. You can get your work done then effortlessly transition into break time.
Dell Inspiron Chromebook 11 2-in-1
Most schoolwork that’s not specialized (i.e. engineering) can be done on a Chromebook, saving you hundreds of dollars. If you’re a student who’s on the market for a laptop that will let you do all your research, type up papers and nothing else, the Dell Inspiron Chromebook 11 2-in-1 might be right up your alley. The Dell Chromebook 11 2-in-1 won’t be able to do much heavy lifting, but at under $300, it doesn’t need to. This is the best laptop for students on a very limited budget.
Much to many MacBook Air users’ relief, Apple has finally ushered the MacBook Air into the modern age, with 8th-generation fanless processors, a thinner and lighter design, and perhaps most importantly – a Retina display. You won’t have to compromise on modern features if you want an “affordable Mac,” which makes the MacBook Air one of the best laptops for students, especially those in college.
MacBook Pro 15-inch (2018)
If you have the means to splurge, and you’re a macOS addict (we get it), the 2018 MacBook Pro is the most powerful MacBook that’s ever existed. With its formidable hexa-core processors and up to a whopping 32GB of memory, this Cupertino powerhouse will get you through whatever you throw at it – school projects, photo editing, even some gaming. It also includes an overhauled third-generation Butterfly keyboard that will not only be less distracting to the students around you, but will be less prone to failure.