Top 10 laptops for students

With so many choices, picking the ideal laptop for your student may be the hardest part of the whole back to school shopping experience. To make things easier, I put together a list of the top 10 laptops for students. I grouped these based on a few key criteria that many people base their decision on. Read below for a full description of these criteria, but first here is the list of the top 10 laptops for 2017:

  1. Dell 15.6-inch Gaming Laptop (Gaming)
  2. ASUS ROG Strix GL502 Gaming Laptop (Gaming)
  3. Microsoft Surface Laptop (Thin and Light)
  4. ASUS ZenBook 14-inch Laptop (Thin and Light)
  5. ASUS Zenbook Flip UX360UA (2 in 1 Convertible)
  6. HP Spectre x360 Touchscreen Laptop 13.3 inch – OR 15.6-inch version(2 in 1 Convertible)
  7. HP Stream 14-inch Laptop (Value)
  8. HP 15.6-inch Laptop (Value)
  9. HP 15.6-inch Touchscreen Laptop (Mainstream)
  10. Dell i7567 15.6-inch Laptop (Mainstream)

 

Gaming

What do students like doing more than homework? For many, gaming is going to be high on that list. So it only makes sense to kick off any list of top 10 laptops for students with some choices that can pull double duty for PC gaming. These gaming laptops can also be a good choice for a student who needs high performance capabilities such as the ability to edit video.

Dell 15.6-inch Gaming Laptop

This Dell gaming laptop checks all the boxes for portable PC gaming. It has a 15.6-inch Full HD display, driven by a NVIDIA GTX 1050Ti video card with 4GB of dedicated video RAM. Power is provided by a 2.8GHz Intel Core i7 CPU with 8GB of RAM. The hybrid hard drive combines 1TB of mass storage with 8GB of solid state flash storage for fast startup and speedy system responsiveness.

Top 10 laptops for studentsASUS ROG Strix GL502 Gaming Laptop

Want to take mobile gaming to the next level? Then this ASUS ROG laptop should be on your list. It features a quad-core Intel Core i7 CPU running at 2.8GHz and 16GB of fast DDR4 RAM. Graphics are powered by a VR-capable NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 with 3GB of video RAM that makes the most of its Full HD 15.6-inch display. With 1TB of HDD storage, you can install a full collection of video games, while a 128GB SSD ensures fast boot-up, rapid system performance and lets you install a favourite game or two.

The ASUS ROG Strix GL502 is packed with the connectivity options gamers want, including 802.11ac, Bluetooth 4.1, three USB 3.0 ports, 10/100/1000 Ethernet and HDMI.

Thin and Light

Some of the best back to school laptops for students are thin and light. Easy to fit in a backpack and light enough that they can easily carry them all day.

Top 10 laptops for studentsMicrosoft Surface Laptop

Laptops don’t come much thinner or lighter (or more stylish) than the new Microsoft Surface Laptop. Equipped with a 7th generation Intel Core i5 CPU, 4GB of RAM and a 128GB SSD, it offers snappy Windows 10 performance. The 13.5-inch PixelSense touchscreen display offers crystal clear 2256 x 1504 resolution and the luxurious Alcantara fabric keyboard feels as good as it looks.

ASUS ZenBook 14-inch LaptopTop 10 laptops for students

At 1.5 cm thick and weighing just 1.3 kg, this ASUS ZenBook definitely falls under the thin and light category, especially considering it still offers a 14-inch Full HD display. The ‘zen’ pattern on its case adds some style to the sleek. Inside are components like an Intel Core i5 CPU and 256GB SSD to ensure students can run any Windows 10 software needed for their courses.

2-in-1 Laptops

There are plenty of choices in mobile computing’s hottest category, convertible and 2-in-1 laptops. Featuring the latest mobile-optimized CPUs, they offer performance and great battery life in a compact package. Most also offer touchscreen displays and the ability to convert to a tablet form factor.

ASUS Zenbook Flip UX360UA

The ASUS Zenbook Flip is one of those laptops for students that appeals to both power users and those who appreciate sleek design. It features an Intel Core i5 CPU, 8GB of RAM and 256GB SSD for great performance. It’s loaded with connectivity options, including a pair of USB 3.0 ports, USB-C, 802.11ac, Bluetooth 4.1 and HDMI. The Full HD 13.3-inch touch display is sharp and bright, and it rotates 360-degrees for use as a tablet. The slim, Rose Gold ZenBook Flip also makes a style statement. If you prefer a more traditional colour scheme, it’s also offered in Silver.

HP Spectre x360 Touchscreen Laptop (13.3-inch)

Is it an ultra-thin laptop or a Windows tablet? The HP Spectre x360 is both and it deserves a a spot on any list of top 10 laptops.

Top 10 laptops for students

Made from a block of CNC-machined aluminum, this laptop is both stunning and rock solid. Only 13.9 mm thick, it still offers a 7th generation Core i5 CPU, 8GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD to deliver on the performance front. Its 13.3-inch Full HD UWVA BrightView WLED-backlit multitouch-enabled display is brilliant and supported by premium Bang & Olufsen audio. The 360-degree hinge turns that display into a powerful Windows 10 tablet, with support for the included stylus. A full HD TrueVision webcam is perfect for college and university students to stay in touch with video chats. Want to go big? HP also offers a 15.6-inch version.

Learn more about the new HP Spectre x360 here.

Value

You don’t have to break the bank to get a decent notebook computer. The next two entries on this list of the top 10 laptops for students are value options, ideal for shopping on a budget.

Top 10 laptops for studentsHP Stream 14-inch Laptop

The HP Stream offers all the basics in a student laptop, including a dual-core CPU, 14-inch HD display and fast 802.11ac Wi-Fi. The blue case makes for a fun look that stands out from more “serious” looking laptops.

You also get a free one-year subscription to Office 365 Personal.

HP 15.6-inch Laptop

If you want something a little bigger in the value range, this HP laptop has a 15.6-inch HD display. The AMD E2-9000e processor paired with 4GB of RAM is sufficient to run Windows 10 and handle basic computing tasks, while the 500GB hard drive has plenty of space for storing music, movies and other files.

Mainstream

To finish off this top 10 laptops list, it’s time to call out a few outstanding mainstream options. These laptops don’t try to be super skinny or ultra-powerful, but  they’re a solid option for being able to handle pretty much any tasks a student might have.

HP 15.6-inch Touchscreen Laptop

This laptop would be a good choice for a reliable portable computer  that covers off all the basics. The 15.6-inch HD display is big enough for daily use. An Intel Core i5 CPU, 8GB of RAM and a 1TB hard drive provide the performance to run Windows 10 software including Microsoft Office, plus plenty of storage.

Dell i7567 15.6-inch Laptop

This Dell laptop is technically a gaming laptop, but it’s also a solid mainstream computing choice and would be ideal for anyone who plans to use their laptop for multimedia of any sort—editing, streaming movies and gaming.

Top 10 laptops for students

It’s powered by an Intel Core i5 CPU with 8GB of RAM and has a hybrid drive for HDD mass storage and the quick response of an SSD. But the NVIDIA GTX 1050 video card with 4GB of RAM combined with a 15.6-inch Full HD display is what makes it a multimedia powerhouse while also supporting mobile gaming.

Make sure to check out all the laptops for students available at Best Buy as part of your back to school preparations. Whether you’re looking for a model that can handle gaming or just a basic laptop for writing essays and surfing the web, Best Buy has all the best choices in every price range.

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Brad Moon
Editor Computing solutions
I’m a long-time electronics and gadget geek who’s been fortunate enough to enjoy a career that lets me indulge this interest. After 13 years as a product manager with a leading Canadian tech company, I transitioned into a full-time career of writing about technology. I’ve contributed to a range of publications and websites including Forbes, Wired, Gizmodo, Lifehacker, About.com, MSN Money, the Winnipeg Free Press, InvestorPlace Media, Shaw Media and—combining technology and my three kids—I’ve been a Core Contributor to the award winning GeekDad blog since its launch in 2007.

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