It’s back to school, college and university season, which means plenty of people are looking for the best student laptop of 2019. Well here you can take the stress and strain out of choosing a great system with our guide to the best laptops for students, which covers just about every need and budget imaginable.
The good news is that online retailers are keen to shift laptops to students, and will usually offer a host of tempting deals and discounts to get you to part with your cash: and deals to tempt students in, so keep your eyes peeled for the best student discounts on laptops while you shop. You may end up spending less than you budgeted for.
So whether you’re heading off to university, picking up your studies at home, or anything in between, use our guide to the overall best student laptop to narrow down a device that’s perfect for you – one that has the features you need at a price that suits.
We hope our student laptop guide proves invaluable for anyone out there shopping for a system that’s capable, decent value, and a boon to your productivity. We’re constantly updating this list too with newer models and updated information, so be sure to keep checking back regularly, and we’ve also included some clutch buying advice to help you narrow down the ideal learning tool.
Anybody who is looking for a new laptop would be very smart to keep the incoming 2019 Black Friday deals event fixed very firmly in their mind, as year after year we see many of the awesome student laptops listed in this guide getting serious discounts in the sale.
These are deals that, literally, cut hundreds off the prices of these systems, and among the best places to scope out to bag them are Amazon’s Black Friday deals, Walmart’s Black Friday deals and Best Buy’s Black Friday deals.
AO.com’s Black Friday deals, Argos’ Black Friday deals, John Lewis’ Black Friday deals and Currys’ Black Friday deals are also great destinations for finding great student laptop discounts.
Currys in particular is noteworthy for UK customers. Even now, in the Black Friday pre-game, the retailer has over 60 laptops discounted and, as we get closer to the Black Event, that number will only increase. Acer, HP and Lenovo laptops are a specialty for Currys, while AO.com tends to have reductions on Asus, Apple and Microsoft systems.
Expect many of Microsoft’s Surface range of laptops to get hacked down in price come Black Friday…
WHAT IS THE BEST STUDENT LAPTOP?
If you just want one single recommendation, then our top choice of best student laptop right now is the 2019 version of the excellent Dell XPS 13. The new and improved model has it all – a powerful CPU, a versatile GPU and a great design. It’ll cost you a bit but we reckon the outlay is worth it.
There’s also the rather brilliant Acer Chromebook 15 to consider as well, a great all-round device that’s ideal for all students – providing you’re happy with Google’s Chrome OS rather than Windows 10 or macOS, so make sure you understand what Chrome OS entails before buying.
For more information about both of these best student laptops in 2019, as well as more top notebook computers, then read on. Before we get to the main list, though, let’s cover how to choose the best student laptop for you.
HOW TO CHOOSE THE BEST STUDENT LAPTOP FOR YOU
Today’s computers need to be able to do much more than the primitive number-crunchers of old. They need to support a huge range of software, given that several courses have special requirements, as well as the standard office packages.
When it comes to software, Microsoft’s Office 365 suite is free for students, and there are also Google’s Chromebooks and the associated Google Docs suite to consider as well, with the latter also free to use.
These laptops need to be able to run HD video lectures without juddering of course, while a set of good speakers always comes in handy when the university day is done. These machines have to be affordable too, given the increased cost of schooling all round the world.
Integrated webcams are important as well, for web lectures and broadcast media-related courses, but these are now included as standard on every laptop. You’d be hard pushed to find a model without one.
Given all that, these are our pick of the best student laptops currently available, ranging from humble typing machines to top-of-the-line desktop replacements for those hoping for a bit of LAN gaming between all that work…
1. DELL XPS 13
Dell raises its game once again, and delivers the world’s best student laptop
If you’re looking for one of the most refined and revitalised laptops on the market, look no further than the impressive Dell XPS 13. When it comes to performance you won’t be left wanting, thanks to its super slick 8th-generation Intel Core i5 – i7 CPU, while you can game lightly with the Intel UHD Graphics 620 graphics card.
Add in a repositioned webcam (for vlogging and streaming purposes, naturally) and a simply stunning 13.3-inch Full HD display and you’ve got a powerhouse in portable form.
The only caveat is it’s quite the investment, but it’ll definitely see you through college, uni and beyond, and that raw quality and longevity, for us, make it the best student laptop in the world in 2019.
Note that this laptop got a minor upgrade at CES 2019 ready for the new year, making it better than ever.
2. ACER CHROMEBOOK 15
The best student laptop available in 2019 running Chrome OS
The Chromebook 15 is a ridiculously cheap student laptop that’s also very capable. The hardware is in line with that price, with lower specs across the board – but as the machine runs Chrome OS, it doesn’t matter too much, with the laptop still delivering a fast and responsive usage experience.
And that 15.6-inch screen is an absolute delight, by the way. Again, its speakers are poor, with flat treble and weak bass – but at this price, you can afford an iPod as well. One of the best student laptops going in 2019 for those shopping on a budget, and who don’t need a host of extra bells and whistles.
3. HUAWEI MATEBOOK X PRO
Mobile computing on steroids for students with serious studying needs
If you’re going to kickstart your education, regardless of the subject or the level, why not invest in a student laptop that’s not only built to last, but also one of the most powerful laptops you can buy in 2019? That’s what Huawei is offering with the robust MateBook X Pro, and it’s going to have you covered whatever your subject.
Its attractive and sleek chassis is home to a lovely 13.9-inch 3K display, a meaty Nvidia GeForce MX150 2GB GDDR5 GPU, and a battery that will serve you well through even the lengthiest of all-nighters.
With all these specs and more, the Huawei MateBook X Pro has proved itself the new gold standard, and one of the very best 2019 laptops for students available.
4. HP PAVILION 14
The best student laptop for all-round value for money
We’ve got a lot of time for the HP Pavilion range of laptops: not the most stylish or the most powerful computers, but no-nonsense laptops that marry decent specs with good build quality. Numerous configurations are on sale besides the one we’ve highlighted here, so take your pick.
When it comes to picking the best student laptop, you want value for money rather than the best specs or the most dazzling display. This HP Pavilion 14 is just about affordable enough for most students and won’t let you down while you’re at college or university.
5. HP ENVY X360
Add a touch of class and style to your studies
If you like the HP brand but want to spend a little bit more than the Pavillion costs (see above), the HP Envy x360 might be for you. It manages to marry some decent specs with some very decent looks at a price that’s not quite as exorbitant as you might think, looking at it.
With AMD powering the CPU and GPU, this is a laptop that’s going to handle most of the tasks you throw at it, besides intensive gaming and video editing – it’s perfect for writing up essays, or doing some research on the web, or putting together a budget spreadsheet to work out where all your money is going.
And as this is a 2-in-1, when the working day is over you can flip the HP Envy x360 into tent mode and enjoy some Netflix or YouTube on the bright, crisp 13.3-inch screen. Definitely one for your best student laptops shortlist.
6. LENOVO YOGA 530
The best student laptop for 2-in-1 computing
Versatility is important for the students of today and a 2-in-1 like the Yoga 530 series from Lenovo doubles up as a tablet when you don’t need a full laptop – perfect for taking into lectures or seminars with you. It’ll even stand up in a tent position for when you’re watching movies.
The specs are very competitive for the price (though a stylus costs extra), and the Lenovo Yoga 530 should be able to chew through all the tasks you give it fairly rapidly. If you’re after something a little bit different from your student laptop in 2019, this is worth a look.
7. DELL XPS 15
A portable student laptop powerhouse
Like its smaller sibling, the awesome XPS 13, Dell’s XPS 15 sports an almost bezel-less InfinityEdge display, but is better for long hours of work because of the larger screen. It brings the dual benefit of making whatever you’re doing on its gorgeous 15-inch 4K screen come to life while also lending it the dimensions of a 14-inch laptop.
It’s bag-friendly to boot and comes packing the goods in terms of specs, including an Nvidia GTX 960M mobile graphics card that’s beefy enough to handle just about any game so long as you stick to 1080p.
The XPS 15’s battery life is its main weakness, so don’t expect its runtimes to stretch into the double figures without taking a booster pack along for the ride. Even with that against it, it’s still one of the best student laptops out there.
8. MACBOOK PRO 15-INCH (2018)
The best student laptop for Apple fans shopping at the premium end of the market
Another 2018 iteration of an already impressive model, the 15-inch Macbook Pro offers some of the most powerful specs on this list. If you’re studying any form of graphic design or video production, then this might well be the machine for you.
Those sturdy 8th generation Intel Core i7 – i9 processors will ensure any program you throw at it runs like a dream, while that AMD Radeon Pro 555X GPU is going to cover the most demanding graphical performance needs.
It also boasts an improved keyboard for quieter keystrokes, so you can even take it to the local library without fear of being kicked out for noise pollution. A simply stunning laptop and one of the best student choices.
9. MICROSOFT SURFACE GO
An excellent 2-in-1 student laptop for lightweight computing
If you’re a student and need a system that can handle lightweight computing tasks, and can be carried around easily, and can transform into a tablet for entertainment and creative sessions, then the Microsoft Surface Go is an excellent option – especially so if you’re shopping on a particularly tight budget.
Indeed, as we said in our Surface Go review, this system definitely delivers on the creativity chops. “The performance of the Surface Pen on the Go was impeccable,” we noted, and “responsiveness felt instant and lines appeared smoothly as we sketched – there was no lag at all, which can be a killer for a drawing device.”
It ticks all the boxes for one of the best student laptops in 2019 and the versatility of the form factor really makes it stand out. You’ve got a choice of configurations to pick from to balance power and price.
10. MICROSOFT SURFACE PRO
The best all-rounder student laptop for hybrid, 2-in-1 computing
A step up in terms of performance from the Microsoft Surface Go we highlighted above, the Microsoft Surface Pro delivers the same 2-in-1 versatility but more power and performance across the board. It’s one of the best student laptops in 2019 if you’ve got a little bit more money to spend, though again multiple configurations are available.
This Pro model is as versatile as they come, with a 7th generation Intel Core m3 – i7 CPU and a fanless cooling system for truly silent running. If you’re looking to keep working on the commute to and from class, on campus, in halls or at home, the Surface Pro can flip in and out of either mode with silky smooth ease as well, making it very bus or train friendly.
Naturally, if you’re a student and don’t already have a tablet, then the Surface Pro can deliver excellent slate functionality, too, saving you money and keeping the amount of expensive tech you need to lug round to a minimum.
11. LENOVO IDEAPAD L340
Attention student gamers!
All work and no play makes for a very dull student experience, so you may well be looking for some gaming power when shopping for the best student laptop on the market – you just don’t want to pay full whack in terms of price, which is understandable (that loan won’t pay itself off).
Enter the Lenovo IdeaPad L340, a 15.6-inch gaming laptop that manages to keep the price down while ramping the specs up (take a look at that GeForce GTX 1650 graphics card with 4GB of video RAM). You should be able to play anything on this, even if you can’t quite ramp up the quality settings to the very highest level.
That extra screen space comes in handy for work as well as leisure time, and the specs inside this laptop mean it should last you comfortably for the length of your course – unless you’re studying to be an architect or a doctor, or something like that. It doesn’t look half-bad, either.
12. ASUS CHROMEBOOK FLIP
A 2-in-1 best student laptop that won’t cripple your bank balance
If you’re looking to bring the world of 2-in-1 computing into your student life without burning your bank balance to the ground, then the Chromebook Flip from Asus is an ideal choice.
At less than £500, you’re not getting knockout specs, but with an Intel HD Graphics 515 and a Intel Core m3 CPU this acrobatic laptop offers enough grunt to run all the programs you could need for school, college or university.
The real selling point here is its gorgeous 920 x 1080 Full HD 12.5-inch display that adds vibrant style to its support for Android apps and the Google Play Store.
13. APPLE MACBOOK AIR (2019)
The best student laptop for Mac fans on a budget
Following the untimely death of the 12-inch MacBook, Apple has made some adjustments to the MacBook Air lineup, dropping the price for the base-spec model to just £1,099 and boosting the internal components to offer both power and portability.
For students, it’s hard to do better than the MacBook Air: a beautiful design, the latest version of macOS, and enough oomph to play SIMS until your hearts desire — or to do uni work… Both models also feature what Apple describes as an updated keyboard, which seeks to fix some of the reliability issues that plagued the previous generations.
Those seeking more power or storage alongside the thin design will be pleased to know that Apple offers a range of upgrades.
14. ACER NITRO 7
Gaming laptop specs at the right place
Every student’s need is slightly different, and some students will want a laptop that can handle a bit of gaming in between the essay writing and web browsing. If that applies to you, then the Nitro 7 from Acer is one of the more affordable gaming laptops that you’re going to come across.
Under the hood you’ve got a 9th-generation Intel Core i7 processor, up to 16GB of RAM, up to 512GB of SSD storage, and an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 or GTX 1650 graphics card inside. Those are specs beyond what a lot of students might need, but they’ll certainly handle everything you throw at it and then some.
In terms of design and use, it’s hard to fault the Nitro 7 – though the glowing red keys and angular metal chassis won’t be to everyone’s taste. It’s definitely got that premium feel and is going to stand out if you happen to pull it out in a classroom or lecture hall.