11 Best Laptops for Grad Students

Acer

Good school laptops generally offer a combination of performance, features and portability for the price, whether you’re looking for a laptop that you can carry to class or the best laptop for online classes. We’ve compiled a list of the best laptops for students and new professionals.

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What Are the Best Laptops for Grad Students Available Right Now?

asus vivobook 15 Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Fast processor handles most computing tasks
  • Full 15.6-inch HD display
  • Backlit keyboard
Price: $797.97 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
macbook air Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Next-generation M1 chip
  • Stunning Retina Display
  • Battery lasts up to 18 hours
Price: $899.00 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
laptops for students Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Battery lasts up to 16 hours
  • 4K 15.6-inch micro-edge touch display
  • WiFi 6 and Bluetooth 5 technology
Price: $2,049.95 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Choice of three processors
  • Battery lasts up to 19 hours
  • Far-field microphones enhance call quality
Price: $1,269.00 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
best laptop for online school Amazon Customer Reviews
  • 11.6-inch display
  • Google Chrome operating system
  • Works well for online learning
Price: $254.00 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
laptops for students Amazon Customer Reviews
  • 360-degree hinge
  • Includes USB-C and USB 3.1 inputs
  • Full HD touch 14-inch screen
Price: $714.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
best laptops for graduate students Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Backlit keyboard
  • Full HD IPS display
  • Lightweight
Price: $999.11 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
LG, LG gram, laptop Amazon Customer Reviews
  • 10th Gen Core i7 processor
  • Fingerprint reader
  • Weighs less than 2.5 pounds
Price: $1,699.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
chromebook touchscreen Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Affordable
  • Lightweight
  • 10-point touchscreen display
Price: $254.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
msi creator 15 Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Processor boosts up to 5.1 GHz
  • Cooling technology prevents overheating
  • 180-degree hinge adds versatility
Price: $1,999.00 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
best laptops for high school students Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Solid budget pick
  • Affordable
  • HD webcam
Price: $250.00 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Our Unbiased Reviews
  1. 1. ASUS VivoBook 15 F515

    Pros:
    • Ergonomic keyboard design for extended typing
    • Stunning four-sided NanoEdge display
    • Available with WiFi 6
    Cons:
    • Average speaker quality
    • Flimsy charger
    • Battery life isn't great

    With a choice between an efficient and economical i3-1005G1 processor or a more robust i5-1035G1 processor, the ASUS VivoBook 15 F515 is a practical investment for most students. An expansive four-sided 15.6-inch frameless NanoEdge bezel display and ample storage space makes the ASUS VivoBook 15 F515 our favorite laptop for students.

    Save some money by opting for the i3 processor or upgrade to the i5 for more demanding tasks. Either way, you’ll have more than enough power for word processing, browsing the web, streaming, playing games and more.

    One of our favorite features is an innovative tilt design that positions the keyboard in a comfortable and ergonomic position for extended typing. Your roommate will surely appreciate the backlit keyboard, which makes it easier to work at night and in low-light settings.

    Take your pick between the i3 model with 4GB RAM and 128GB SSD or the i5 with 8GB RAM and 512GB SSD. The i5 also features WiFi 6 for enhanced WiFi coverage, speed and capacity. A similar laptop, the Asus Swift 3, also has WiFi 6. Connections include USB 3.1 Type-C as well as USB 2.0 and 3.0. There’s also a headphone port and HDMI.

    This Asus laptop runs Windows 10 and weighs just 3.75 pounds. 

  2. 2. Apple MacBook Air

    Pros:
    • Larger trackpad for multi-touch gestures
    • Powerful and efficient 8-core CPU
    • Touch Bar and Touch ID
    Cons:
    • Slighly heavier than previous models
    • More expensive than most competitors
    • Not available with a larger screen

    While expensive, the Retina display with True Tone technology on this Macbook Air produces vivid detail while improving your overall viewing experience. If you’re hesitating at the thought of squinting at a small screen, this laptop’s impressive technology should put your mind at ease.

    Digital eye strain is a common disorder. In fact, it’s estimated to afflict at least 50 percent of all computer users, according to the National Institutes of Health. As a student, you already spend a good deal of time looking at a computer screen to complete assignments and take notes. Factor in the extra time spent watching movies, shopping online and checking email, and you can easily spend several hours a day staring at a screen.

    To help relieve this strain, Apple’s Retina display contains a higher number of pixels at a normal viewing distance, resulting in vivid detail for an improved viewing experience.

    The Apple MacBook lineup has been around for years, and remains a top pick among those looking for a lightweight, portable laptop with a high-end display, along with smooth and dependable performance.

    In terms of processing power and performance, an 8-core CPU with a fast and efficient M1 chip makes it easier to power up apps and launch advanced programs on demand. You can choose between 256GB or 512GB SSD depending on your needs.

    Features such as a Touch Bar and Touch ID add an element of convenience. This Apple laptop is equipped with two Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) ports and a more spacious trackpad for multi-touch gestures. It also has a FaceTime HD camera and machine learning to make your life easier. WiFi 6 connectivity means faster and more reliable internet connectivity.

    If you don’t want to worry about your laptop powering down as it runs out of juice during class, this laptop’s 18-hour battery life means you can get through an entire day on a single charge. This Apple laptop weighs just 2.8 pounds for easy portability.

  3. 3. HP Spectre x360

    Pros:
    • Comes with a digital pen for note-taking
    • 10th Generation Intel Core i7 processor
    • Bang and Olufsen quad speakers
    Cons:
    • Not the most lightweight laptop
    • Casing isn't the most durable
    • Fan can be loud at times

    Don’t be fooled by the compact size of the HP Spectre x360, as this 2-in-1 laptop stands out for its power, performance and innovation. The 15-inch display keeps the laptop light and portable enough for students and won’t strain the eyes. Whether you’re listening to a lecture or chilling out after class, the Bang and Olufsen quad speakers deliver premium sound.

    The laptop can be used in four different modes, including tablet and laptop, and comes with a digital pen for easier note-taking. Specs include an Intel 10th Gen. i7-10510U processor, 1TB SSD and 16GB DDR4 RAM. A built-in webcam makes it easy to stay connected with friends, family and classmates.

    There’s also WiFi 6 and Bluetooth 5 technology. Depending on the specific model, you can expect up to 16 hours of battery life per charge, even with heavier use. This laptop weighs in at just under five pounds, which is on the heavier side for carrying around campus.

  4. 4. Microsoft Surface Laptop 4

    Pros:
    • Touchscreen with pen input
    • Weighs less than three pounds
    • Choose between AMD and Intel processors for both models
    Cons:
    • Doesn't have a microSD storage card
    • Design remains largely unchanged
    • Lacks a thin bezel screen

    As a Windows fan, you’ll find virtually everything you need with the Microsoft Surface Laptop 4. Performance is one of the most notable improvements over previous models, including the Surface Laptop 3,  with available 11th Gen Intel Core i5 and i7 or AMD Ryzen 5 processors.

    With a battery that lasts up to 19 hours per charge, the Surface Laptop 4 lasts longer than most other laptops on our list. If you plan to be out and about most days, this Surface laptop is a sensible investment.

    Choose between 13.5-inch and 15-inch screens. While the smaller version is slightly more portable, the larger screen is optimal for multi-tasking. A PixelSense touchscreen simplifies everyday tasks.

    Look and sound your best on video chats and conference calls with the high-definition camera and dual studio microphones. You can also use the Microsoft Surface Earbuds to listen to calls, music and more. This Microsoft laptop features USB-C and USB-A ports. It weighs just 2.67 pounds, which makes it easy to carry around campus.

     

     

  5. 5. Samsung Chromebook 3

    Pros:
    • Waterproof keyboard guards against spills
    • Battery lasts up to 11 hours per charge
    • Screen can be used in a traditional mode or reclined to 180 degrees
    Cons:
    • Doesn’t have a touchscreen
    • A bit heavy
    • No-frills styling

    The Samsung Chromebook 3 is equally affordable and efficient, making it a good budget pick if you’re looking for the best laptop for online college and courses. The Intel Celeron processor N3060 isn’t the speediest processor available, but it’s well suited for basic computing tasks such as checking emails and light web browsing.

    This Samsung laptop is equipped with an 11.6-inch display and 2GB memory, which should be plenty for most school demands. Accidents happen, which is why Samsung created this laptop to be spill-resistant with a waterproof keyboard.

    You can use the laptop in its traditional stance or recline the screen 180 degrees. A Google Chrome operating system gives you access to basics such as Docs, Maps, Google, Gmail and more.

    You can expect to get up to 11 hours of battery life per charge. As an added bonus, you won’t have to worry about replacing the battery any time soon, as it’s designed to retain most of its charge after three years.

  6. 6. Lenovo Flex 14

    Pros:
    • Included Active Pen for drawing and note-taking
    • Battery recharges up to 80 percent in 60 minutes
    • Narrow bezels improve viewing experience
    Cons:
    • Battery life isn't the best
    • Not as lightweight as some competitors
    • Doesn't have the most robust processor

    You can do a lot with the Lenovo Flex 14, starting with the full 360-degree hinge that lets you convert the laptop into various modes.

    When you don’t need it in laptop mode, switch the laptop to tent, stand or tablet modes to suit your needs. Regardless of which mode it’s in, the narrow bezels provide an enhanced viewing experience. The AMD Ryzen 5 3500U is powerful enough for your daily tasks as well as streaming, gaming and more. There’s also 8GB DDR4 RAM and a 256GB SSD.

    At 14 inches, the screen provides a happy medium between a smaller 13-inch screen and a bulkier 15-inch screen. The 1920 x 1080 HD touchscreen display is convenient enough, but the included pen improves accuracy even more.

    The more connectivity, the more practical the laptop, especially for students. This laptop for students has an array of ports, including USB-C 3.0, two USB 3.0 ports, and an HDMI port. Internet connectivity is boosted with 2 x 2 AC WiFi.

    Portability is also a plus for graduate students. The Flex weighs 3.68 pounds. One charge delivers up to eight hours of battery life, but you only have to recharge for 15 minutes to get another two hours.

  7. 7. Acer Swift 3

    Pros:
    • Powerful 8th Gen Intel Core i7-8565U processor
    • Battery lasts up to 12 hours
    • Many connectivity options
    Cons:
    • Tends to run hot
    • Keyboard is a bit cramped
    • Some find the trackpad frustrating

    The Acer Swift 3 is a solid choice for your first official job after graduation. In terms of pricing, it falls somewhere in the middle of the pack. You can always upgrade when you get your first raise, but the Acer Swift 3 should be plenty for most newly graduated students.

    For starters, it has a powerful and fast 8th Gen Intel Core i7-8565U processor up to 4.6GHz. There’s also 8GB DDR4 memory and 256GB Pie SSD. Bluetooth 5.0 technology and 802. 11ac Gigabit WiFi ensures you’ll always have a strong WiFi signal.

    This laptop doesn’t skimp when it comes to connectivity options. You’ll find a USB 3.1 Type C Gen 2 port, two USB 3.0 ports and an HDMI port. You can expect the battery to last up to 12 hours with normal use.

    Other fun features include a backlit keyboard, fingerprint solution and an HD webcam. Whether you’re hard at work or relaxing on break, the full HD IPS display provides crisp, clear images.

  8. 8. LG gram

    Pros:
    • Ideal for professionals
    • Portable design
    • Battery lasts up to 17 hours
    Cons:
    • A bit pricey
    • Some wish it had more ports
    • Not much storage for the price

    The LG gram is geared towards professionals on the go, so it is ideal for older students who will enter the workforce soon.

    A powerful 10th Generation Core i7-1065G7 processor offers plenty of power for completing even the most demanding tasks. Another plus it the extended battery life, especially for such a powerful processor. You can expect the battery to last up to 17 hours per charge, which is longer than just about any other laptop on this list.

    Other features include a backlit keyboard, 16GB DDR4 RAM and a 1TB SSD. The gram weighs less than 2.5 pounds and has several ports, including HDMI, USB 3.0 and Thunderbolt 3.

  9. 9. Lenovo Chromebook C330

    Pros:
    • Decent processor for the price
    • Battery lasts up to 10 hours per charge
    • Can be used in several modes
    Cons:
    • A bit heavy for its size
    • No USB 3.1
    • Can be a bit slow with more demanding tasks

    A 10-point touchscreen gives you instant access to content, making the Lenovo Chromebook C330 a practical choice for busy students. Plus, it boots up in just seconds, so you don’t have to wait for your computer to start up if you got to class a few minutes late.

    This no-frills Chromebook features a user-friendly Chrome operating system along with built-in virus protection to keep your content safe. The 11-inch screen is large enough to take notes, watch movies, browse the web and more. You can use the Chromebook in several modes, including tent, tablet, stand and conventional laptop modes.

    The expected battery life is up to 10 hours per charge. This Chromebook comes with a 32GB eMMC hard drive and 4GB memory.

    Bluetooth 4.2 technology allows the device to connect wirelessly with other Bluetooth-enabled devices. Standard 802.11AC (2×2) WiFi connectivity ensures quicker and more dependable connectivity.

  10. 10. MSI Creator 15

    Pros:
    • Durable aluminum chassis
    • Powerful Intel processor with eight cores
    • Runs Windows 10 Professional
    Cons:
    • Fans can be loud under heavy load
    • Speakers aren't the best quality
    • Doesn't have an HD webcam

    At the heart of the MSI Creator 15 is a powerful Intel Core i7-10875H processor with eight cores and a 5.10 GHz max turbo frequency. In short, the Creator 15 is a true workhorse for professionals of all levels.

    Combined with efficient Cooler Boost Technology, any heat that builds up as you work is dissipated appropriately. This allows you to complete more demanding tasks without straining the laptop too much. Multi-task or process like a pro on this premium laptop.

    After you’ve perfected your masterpiece, you can easily share it thanks to a hinge that lays flat 180 degrees. A thin bezel offers a premium viewing experience at any angle.

    Other highlights include high-resolution audio, NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 Super graphics processor, and an innovative Creator Center that allows you to optimize resources as needed.

    Powered by a 99.9 WHr battery, the Creator 15 lasts for several hours per charge. Intel WiFi 6 ensures fast and dependable coverage.

     

     

     

  11. 11. ASUS VivoBook L203

    Pros:
    • Includes a year of Microsoft 365
    • Wi-Fi 5 (802.11AC) provides fast connection speeds
    • Built-in USB and HDMI ports
    Cons:
    • Not the fastest processor
    • Some competitors offer more RAM
    • Display isn't a touchscreen

    Its overall efficiency makes the ASUS VivoBook L203 one of the best laptops for high school students looking for a cheap laptop for basic tasks. The Intel Celeron N4000 is suitable for most light daily demands, including browsing the web and checking email. The 11.6-inch display is large enough to clearly see what’s on the screen without adding weight or bulk.

    This ASUS laptop includes a year of Microsoft 365. An HD webcam makes it easier to participate in online courses and video chats with friends and family.

    If you’re looking for a lightweight laptop, this VivoBook weighs just 2.2 pounds and is only 0.7 inches thick.

    Wi-Fi 5 (802.11AC) provides speeds up to three times as fast as 802.11N. This laptop comes fully equipped with 64GB flash storage and 4GB LPDDR4 RAM.

    Connectivity options include USB Type-A, USB Type-C (Gen 1) and HDMI.

Which Are the Best Laptops for Online Classes?

On days when you can't make it to class, or you've signed up for an online course, your laptop can provide valuable information. If you're using your laptop primarily for online learning, you might gravitate towards certain features more than others. Budget is also a factor whenever you're looking for the best laptops for students, which is why we've rounded up the best laptops for students for every budget.

For example, you might need a high-quality webcam or good speakers to hear any available audio. A higher-quality screen can mean less eye strain as you browse through notes and view previously recorded lectures. Apple's Macbook Air is an especially good choice if you're looking for excellent screen quality, as it has an industry-leading Retina Display.

You may also want a laptop or Chromebook that can be used in a variety of modes, so you can set up the display accordingly. We like the Lenovo Chromebook C330, which can be used in standard, tent,  tablet and stand modes. A powerful processor is often more useful if you're regularly streaming content. 

The best laptops for online classes don't necessarily have to be the most portable or have the best battery life, as you might not be carrying your laptop around as much. If you're splitting the time between a classroom and online courses, these features may be more important.

How Do I Choose the Best Laptop for School?

The best laptops for students are often lightweight and compact, making them easy to carry to school and around campus. Many students also lean towards efficient laptops with powerful-enough processors and longer-lasting batteries.

Choosing the best laptops for students often means considering your age and grade level as well as budget and desired features. If you're about to graduate, it makes sense to think about a laptop that will perform just as well once you land your first job or move on to the next phase of your education. The LG Gram is an especially appealing choice for college or grad students, as it's super portable, comes with impressive battery life and has top-level features for your next step in life.

Many of the best laptops for graduate students have smaller screens, which keep the overall cost down and can make the laptop lighter and more portable. However, you don't want to increase eye strain by working on a screen that's too small. According to Popular Science, the top of the computer screen should be just under eye level. If you're better with numbers, that's about 20 to 28 inches away from the face.

What Is the Best Laptop for Engineering Students?

The best laptops for students are constantly changing, with fresh annual updates that often see upgraded processors, new software and even better technology. A laptop with a more powerful processor can make demanding engineering courses a bit easier. We suggest the ASUS VivoBook S15 and the HP Spectre x360 if you're looking for performance-oriented laptops for students along with extended battery life if you're going to be out all day.

If you're living in a dorm and want to work at night without disturbing others, a backlit keyboard could come in handy. Connectivity is another consideration. A growing number of laptops and Chromebooks come standard with USB and HDMI connectivity, along with the latest Bluetooth technology.

See Also:

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