We are here to help you choose the best laptop for educational purposes. Today, most colleges require you to have a laptop for some classes to take lecture notes or check information online.
While studying, having a portable device makes life easier for many reasons. As a student you usually have to travel more often, being away from home, and need a laptop to check e-mails, write assignments, and maybe some other work. However, there are variety of choices for picking the perfect notebook for college.
Let’s take a look at the basic criteria for the best laptops for college students.
The Price of a Laptop
First off, a great idea is to pick-up a laptop that can last for the next 4 years in terms of specifications. That way you won’t need to buy another one after 2 years or so, or have to upgrade it. These laptops may vary in price, but they will cost between $700 and $1200.
In college, you will definitely need some essential Windows software, such as Microsoft Office package or a licensed Windows. Sometimes, colleges provide those kinds of products for your laptop that are necessary for studying, but usually a license needs to be purchased. If not, make sure that the laptop you are buying comes with the Office package included, or at least a Windows license, so you don’t need to buy it separately.
Display size and weight – Portability
Another criteria that is important while purchasing a laptop for college is the screen size. For college, you need portability. You need more battery life, and you definitely don’t need a big screen. 13 inch laptop screen may sound surprisingly small to you, but it is one of the best choices. You can also go with 14 inch screen. From my experience, I can say that the 15 inch screen laptop is a little bit TOO BIG, and you may not find it very comfortable (but it’s great if it doubles as your TV). Never go with a 17” screen, unless you have something in mind. If you are required to work on a huge screen, better purchase a small, portable laptop and an external monitor with it.
Storage / Hard Drive
For college work, you may not need a lot of storage. But it depends on your specialization. If you have any important data it would be better to keep it (or back it up) on an external hard drive or cloud service, but not in your laptop.
Cloud storage is a common service, in which data is kept and backed up remotely, and therefore made accessible over the Internet. It can be private, public or even hybrid.
Anyway, its 2012, the year of the SSD (solid-state drive). Many laptops are now configured with SSD. This device is much faster and it is not as big as the regular HDD, so it is much lighter too. The disadvantage is that it still cannot keep a lot of data. These devices are usually smaller (128GB or 256GB) than the 5400RPM hard drives. Our recommendation is to choose a laptop with SSD, only if you need the speed of the hard drive.
There will definitely be some lectures that last more than 2 hours and there won’t always be a chance to plug in your laptop to charge. It would be better to choose a laptop with longer battery life, so you don’t have to worry about missing out on taking notes, referencing material and other stuff that your college requires. In other words, make sure that your laptop would be able to last up to 3 hours on a single charge. In our laptop reviews we will include the battery life as an important criteria.
Ask the university for laptop deals
Before making any decision, check to see if the university you are applying to can offer any student discounts on laptops. School are usually giving advice for laptops, depending on the program you are in. Then, you can ask them what kind of hardware specifications are good for your particular program, and what software you will be working with. Finally, take some notes, go to the local store, or ask someone who is competent with technology. You may also ask us – just drop a message through our contact form.
There are also some other “educational discounts” that you should definitely keep an eye out for. They can save you up to $150 or even more in hardware and software. For example, there are some huge discounts on Adobe and Microsoft products, around 90%!
Which is the best laptop for college?
The perfect laptop for college depends on your preferences. Some people may prefer to have a thin and portable laptop, that is easy to carry to school, while some others may prefer the performance rather than portability. However, we are going to give some suggestions that you may like. Browse our current 2013 selection of best laptops for students.
What is ultrabook and which are the hit ultrabooks on the market
Ultrabooks came on the market recently. The term “ultrabook” is used to describe a laptop that is lighter and thinner than the regular, mainstream one. It is usually a combination between a regular laptop and a tablet. However, the ultrabooks are developed to such degree, that they can handle heavy processes, such as video editing, light gaming and even some 3d modeling.
MACBOOK AIR FROM APPLE – ULTRABOOK FOR COLLEGE
One of the most popular ultrabooks on the market (and allow me to say – the first one) is the Macbook Air.
The Macbook Air has a lot of advantages, especially for college students. What makes it one of the best laptops for college is the combined ultra portability and functionality. I am not going to get into much hardware details, since it depends on the model that you have chosen, but as well as you choose a new model, you won’t have any trouble. It has a great battery performance, which will last for up to 6 hours when working. I would recommend you to buy the 13 inch version of Macbook Air, since the 11 inch version is too small (unless you are looking for ultra-small screen).
The advantages of Macbook Air for college student laptop are :
- Ultra portability. Weights 1kg, and is 0,3-1.7cm thin.
- SSD technology for storage, which means better performance.
- Mac OS X.
- Long battery life – up to 5/7 hours if using wireless internet, and more than 10 hours on cable or no internet access.
The price of Macbook Air starts at $999, as the 13-inch version costs $1199.
You may also consider Macbook Pro as a better alternative. Read our advices on Macbook Air or Macbook Pro for college.
Many people would not find a Macbook the best solution, since its default operating system is Mac OS X, and to be honest, it is more expensive (but not overpriced in any way). If it is easier for you to work with Windows, there are also a lot of great devices that are portable, cheap and with good performance at the same time, which are running on Windows 7 and even Windows 8.
SAMSUNG SERIES 9 – ULTRABOOK/LAPTOP FOR COLLEGE
Among the highest rated ultrabooks this year is the Samsung Series 9 NP900X4C. Many people describe this machine as “the best laptop on the market”. Well, again – it depends on your preferences. You can read more information on this model by clicking the toggle, right below the image.
By default, the new Samsung Series 9 NP900X4C comes with an Intel i7 processor and 8GB of RAM, which is a pretty good configuration for such a lightweight ultrabook. What is more, it comes with a resolution of 1600×900 pixels, which is closely to FULL HD. Another good component of this machine is the 256GB SSD, because most models have either a hybrid SSD/HDD, or only 128GB SSD.
At that moment you can find the Samsung Series 9 NP900X4C at approximate price of $1799, which in our opinion is a fair number, keeping in mind the features that this model offers.
ACER ASPIRE V5 SERIES – LAPTOP WITH TOUCHSCREEN
Acer Aspire V5 571P is a new addition, which seems to be preferred by many students all around the world. With its 15.6 touch-screen display and stylish design, this laptop may do a great job for you, especially if you want to enjoy the full functionality of Windows 8, and precisely the touch-screen functions.
The Acer Aspire V5-571P may be an enjoyable laptop, but it has its disadvantages. It is powered by Intel Core i5 1.7 GHz (3 MB Cache) processor, which some people may rate as a low-performing one. At least, 6 GB of RAM are enough for most of the needs you may have. Behind the graphics, there is an Intel HD Graphics 4000, which can be seen in other top models, such as the new Macbook Pro. If you are wondering for how long on a single change you can play around with your touch screen – official data says around 5-hours.
What do you get with the Acer Aspire V5:
- Portability. Weights 2.4kg. 2.2cm thin.
- Touch Screen Display for full Windows 8 functionality.
- Windows 8 – new features, better design, more battery life, faster than ever.
- Nice to touch Backlit Keyboard.