Either it is your last year at high school and you are about to apply to college/university, or it is time for you to replace your old laptop with a new one – you are probably wondering which are the best laptops for college students in 2015.
In 2014, we have seen a lot of improvement in technology, and especially in, laptops and ultrabooks, tablets and smartphones, even bigger smartphones. Most laptops are now coming with SSD instead of HDD, many of them are allowing touchscreen, and some of them even can play the role of a tablet. We’ve also seen a lot from Apple – the new MacBook Pro model, which is as thin as MacBook Air.
As a college student, you cannot just walk into an electronic store and pick any laptop from the sea of laptops on display. This is because a student has a completely different lifestyle and need the laptop for special purposes. Furthermore, the particular program the student is taking may have special demands in terms of system requirements.
Top 3 Best Laptops for College Students In 2015
Let’s start by reviewing our top 3 picks for student laptops.
Apple MacBook Pro 13-Inch Laptop
Apple computers are with no doubt the best laptops on the market, especially for education and work. Personally, I am using a MacBook Pro with non-retina display for 2 years, and I have to say it couldn’t be better. Oh and yes – I am a college student. If you are not a big Windows fan and you are willing to invest some more cash in your next laptop for college – this is a great deal.
This Apple MacBook is without any shred of doubt the best laptop for school. It weighs a paltry 3.5 pounds and features 13.3-inch screen with Retina* display, making it a highly portable laptop. The screen features the innovative Retina display, which provides very clear display perfect for reading, designing, watching movies or let’s just say it – perfect for anything. It has great processing speed provided by its 2.4 GHz Intel core i5 processor – great for multitasking I have to say.
In terms of RAM, this laptop has 8GB of 1600MHz DDR3L internal memory that is just perfect. This Apple MacBook Pro has 128/256GB Solid-State hard drive which in my honest opinion is perfect for a typical college student. The operating system is Mac OS X Mavericks. At one charge, this laptop can last up to 18 hours, at least that’s the official information. Usually, with Wi-Fi enabled, the battery lasts up to 9 hours.
The new 13.3″ MacBook Pro can be found at a special price in Amazon.com. It is a lightweight, portable solution. The screen size is 13.3″, smaller than the regular laptop size, but however, it comes with high Retina display resolution.
|Mac OS X||Intel Core i5/i3 2.4 GHz||8 GB DDR3L (you can add more)|
|Intel Iris Graphics||128/256 SSD (Solid State – fastest drive)||13.3″ Retina Display 2560×1600|
|Strengths and specifications|
|The MacBook is famous with its powerful battery life, nice and elegant design, quality of keyboard and touchpad, and its high screen resolution. With no doubt, the performance of MacBook and Mac OS X is one of the greatest.|
Samsung ATIV Book 9 Lite 13.3″ Black
User Friendly, Elegant Design, Mobile and Portable, with Touchscreen
The 13.3″ portable ATIV Book 9 Lite was announced early this year, and looks like a good opportunity for those who are looking for light, compact and plastic design, with touchscreen capabilities. This Samsung touchscreen laptop is another great choice if you are looking for the best laptop for college. It features AMD Quad-Core 1.4 GHz processor, which is optimised for Samsung’s devices, 4GB of DDR3 RAM and 128GB Solid-State Drive Serial-ATA. Another thing which is good about this machine is that it runs on AMD Radeon graphics card. These features offer more than what a typical student needs when it comes to performance. Let’s look at its full specifications.
|Windows 8.1||AMD Quad-Core 1.4 GHz (4 cores)||4 GB DDR3|
|Graphics||Average Battery Life||Screen Size|
|AMD Radeon Graphics||5.5 Hours Average||13.3″ 1366×768|
|Strengths and specifications|
|White, light, elegant and plastic. Fast boot-up and wake up times, excellent battery life, suitable for students on the go.|
Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga 13.3-Inch
Both laptop and tablet – you decide.
Finally yet importantly in our top 3 picks for best student laptops in 2014 is the Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga You will love this laptop if you are looking for a tablet and laptop 2 in 1. That’s why they called it “Yoga”. The laptop is powered by 1.8 GHz Intel Core i5 central processor. It features 8 GB of SDRAM and 128 GB Solid-State Drive hard drive. It comes with preinstalled Windows 8, which offers great intuitive computing experience. Its 12.5″ HD screen is powered by Integrated Intel HD graphics card and a native resolution of 1600×900, which is above the average pixels per inch.
|Windows 8||1.8 GHz Intel Core i5||8 GB DDR3|
|Integrated Intel HD Graphics||128GB SSD||12.5″ 1600×900|
|Strengths and specifications|
|Portable, comfortable, flexible – laptop and tablet in one. Good performance, enough to suit the needs of a student. Comes with Windows 8 installed.|
What is important when choosing a good laptop for college?
The question is what makes the best laptop for college students in 2014? Before reviewing some of the best laptops for school, here are some of the things you need to know about that will help you with making the right decision when shopping.
- The processing speed – or CPU – While it is attractive to have a laptop with the highest processing speed, a laptop for regular schoolwork does not require such high specifications. Usually the processing speed is determined by the number of cores the processor has. The more the cores the faster the laptop is and the more adept it is for multitasking. For a collage student, an Intel Core i3 or i5, or AMD Phenom II should suffice.
- Memory and storage – Most of the laptops currently on the market are equipped with between 4GB and 8GB of RAM, but some can support up to 16GB. Laptops with 4GB memory are good enough if you intend to use the laptop only for basic functions such as writing papers, emailing, social networking and web surfing. However, if your college programme involves creativity, and you insist to use your laptop for heavy processes, such as rendering video or using any of the Adobe Creative Cloud software applications, I guess you need at least 6GB of RAM then. Playing games at higher FPS also requires more RAM, except the good graphics.
- Storage – HDD or SSD? In terms of storage space, each student has his or her own preference. It is where you will store your college documents, reading materials and resources, photos, videos, games and movies. For a typical student between 200GB and 250GB of storage space is enough. Here I suggest looking for SSD (Solid State Drive) type of disk, because they are a lot faster. If you need extra space you can always buy an external, portable USB HDD.
- Operating system – There are basically two operating systems available for students – Windows and Mac OS X, so the choice is narrow. Of course, there are all kinds of Linux based operating system, but I do not advice you to mess with Linux, since its complicity. The choice of the operating system depends on your personal preferences, and usually depends on the laptop that you’ve chosen. However, if you are not sure, Windows 7 Home and Student edition is a good choice.
- Video graphics – All laptops come with integrated video (graphics) card, which is good enough for the needs of a typical student. However, if your program involves video editing or you are a gaming enthusiast you may need better graphics card. Instead of going for high-end laptops with superior graphics cards, you can choose to discrete or add-on graphics cards which are cheaper.
- Portability – This is one of the most important considerations. As a college student, you need laptop that is light and slim enough to carry with you anywhere you are going such as library and lecture rooms. If you can find a laptop that weighs 5 pounds or less, it would be great. The screen size is your personal preference but you have to remember that the bigger the screen size the heavier the laptop. However, 13”-15” screen is good enough for the best laptop for college.
- Durability and battery life – These are perhaps the most important features you need to look for in a collage laptop. You need a laptop that will take you through the four years of college education. This means it must be able to withstand impact and other things that accelerate the rate of wear and tear. Since some lessons may last several for hours, you need a laptop with long battery life. A laptop with battery life of over 4 hours is good for collage students.
While this list may not be exhaustive, it should act as a starting point if you are shopping for the best laptop for school. Using the guidelines, you can choose a good laptop based on your budget, but still be sure that it will give you the performance that you need.