Best Laptops for College

best laptops for college

The laptop you need for college is one that can handle the workload you’ll face. As a college student, you’re in the market for a device that’s not only portable and sturdy but also has an excellent battery life to power through a packed day.

To help you make your decision, we’ve compiled a list of the best laptops for college students in 2024. No matter your major or your aesthetic preferences, you’ll find the right one for you in the list below.

How to Choose the Right Laptop for College

Performance Needs

The essential criterion of any good college laptop is its performance. What you need your laptop to do can greatly influence the type of specs you should be looking for. For general coursework, a laptop with an Intel Core i5 or AMD Ryzen 5 processor, paired with at least 8GB of RAM, should suffice. However, for more demanding majors such as engineering, graphic design, or video editing, you’ll want to aim higher.

Look for laptops with more powerful processors (Intel Core i7 or AMD Ryzen 7), at least 16GB of RAM, and dedicated graphics cards. Storage is also critical, with solid-state drives (SSDs) offering faster boot times and quicker access to files. A 256GB SSD is the bare minimum, but 512GB or more is recommended for those handling large files regularly.

Battery Life

The ability to move from class to class without being tethered to a power outlet is priceless for any college student. Thus, battery life is a key consideration. Opt for laptops that promise and deliver at least 8 hours of battery life under moderate use. This ensures that your laptop can last through a day of lectures, study sessions, and group projects without needing a charge.


A laptop’s weight and size significantly impact its portability. A model that’s easy to carry around campus is essential, especially for students who have classes across different buildings. A good balance is a laptop with a screen size of 13 to 14 inches, which provides ample screen real estate for studying while remaining light enough for easy mobility.

Operating System Preferences

Your choice of operating system (OS) can affect your laptop experience. Windows laptops offer versatility and a wide range of software compatibility, making them suitable for various academic programs. MacOS, found on Apple’s MacBook lines, offers an intuitive interface and robust performance, especially for creative tasks. Chromebooks, running Chrome OS, are budget-friendly and cloud-based, ideal for students primarily using web applications and services.

Budget and Value

Your budget will inevitably play a significant role in your final decision. Fortunately, the market offers excellent options across all price ranges. It’s about finding the best value—a laptop that meets your performance and durability needs without breaking the bank.

Top Laptops for College Students in 2024

AW_SX14 FRONTCredit: Asus

1. Vaio SX14

Best Overall

Leading our list of the best college laptops in 2024 is the Vaio SX14, a model that combines high performance, exceptional portability, and long battery life, making it the ideal choice for the rigorous demands of college life.

  • Performance: The Vaio SX14 is equipped with the latest Intel Core i7 processor, ensuring smooth operation even with demanding applications and multitasking. It’s designed to handle everything from everyday coursework to more intensive tasks like video editing and software development.
  • Display: Featuring a 14-inch Full HD display, the SX14 offers vibrant colors and crisp visuals, essential for both study and entertainment. Its anti-glare screen also means you can work comfortably in various lighting conditions.
  • Portability: Weighing just 2.32 pounds and boasting a slim profile, the SX14 is built for students on the move. Its lightweight design does not compromise on durability, thanks to its carbon fiber construction, making it both sturdy and easy to carry around campus.
  • Battery Life: One of the SX14’s standout features is its battery life, capable of lasting through a full day of classes on a single charge. This means less time spent searching for power outlets and more time focusing on your studies.
  • Connectivity: With a comprehensive range of ports, including USB-C, HDMI, and VGA, the SX14 offers versatile connectivity options. This makes it easy to connect to various devices and peripherals, from projectors during presentations to external storage for backing up important work.
  • Security: The Vaio SX14 also prioritizes security, featuring a fingerprint sensor and TPM (Trusted Platform Module) for secure login and data protection. This is particularly important in a college setting, where safeguarding personal and academic information is paramount.

In summary, the Vaio SX14’s blend of performance, portability, and battery life, combined with its robust security features, make it the top choice for college students in 2024. Its capabilities ensure that it can meet the diverse needs of student life, from studying and completing assignments to enjoying downtime.

Credit: Asus

2. Acer Swift 3

Best Budget Laptop

For college students who need a reliable laptop without breaking the bank, the Acer Swift 3 stands out as an exceptional choice. Combining affordability with strong performance, it’s ideal for both academic and personal use. Here’s a closer look at its features:

  • Performance: The Acer Swift 3 is known for its solid performance, thanks to Intel Core processors that handle everyday tasks with ease. Whether you’re writing essays, compiling research, or enjoying streaming services, the Swift 3 keeps up without a hitch.
  • Portability: With its slim design and lightweight, the Swift 3 is perfect for students constantly on the move. Easily slip it into your backpack and go from class to the library without any burden.
  • Battery Life: One of the Acer Swift 3’s highlights is its long battery life. It’s designed to last through a full day of classes and study sessions, so you can focus on your work without worrying about staying near an outlet.
  • Display: Featuring a Full HD IPS display, the Swift 3 offers bright and clear visuals. This makes it suitable for both studying and relaxing with your favorite movies and TV shows.
  • Connectivity: With a comprehensive array of ports, including USB-C, HDMI, and more, the Swift 3 ensures you can connect all your essential devices without needing additional adapters.
  • Durability: Despite its affordability, the Swift 3 doesn’t compromise on build quality. It’s sturdy and reliable, ready to withstand the daily rigors of college life.

XPS 15 9530

Credit: Asus

3. Dell XPS 15

Best for Engineering and Tech Majors

The Dell XPS 15 earns its spot as the best laptop for engineering and tech majors in 2024. Its robust build and high-performance specifications make it perfectly suited for running complex simulations, software development tasks, and other computing-intensive applications that students in these fields often encounter. Below are the key features that set the Dell XPS 15 apart:

  • Performance: The XPS 15 is powered by high-end Intel Core processors and paired with NVIDIA GeForce graphics, offering the muscle needed for demanding engineering and tech-related workloads, including CAD, programming environments, and video editing software.
  • Display: It boasts a stunning 15.6-inch 4K UHD display, providing exceptional clarity and color accuracy, which is beneficial for detailed graphical work and presentations. The virtually borderless InfinityEdge screen maximizes screen space, enhancing productivity and visual engagement.
  • Portability: While slightly heavier than ultraportables, the XPS 15 remains relatively light and slim for a high-performance laptop, making it manageable for students to carry to classes and labs.
  • Battery Life: Despite its powerful performance, the XPS 15 offers commendable battery life, thanks to its efficient processors and battery optimization. It’s capable of supporting long hours of work on a single charge, which is ideal for back-to-back classes or extended study sessions.
  • Connectivity: Featuring a comprehensive set of ports, including Thunderbolt 3, USB-C, and an SD card reader, the XPS 15 ensures seamless connectivity with a wide range of devices and peripherals. This versatility is crucial for engineering and tech students who frequently interact with external hardware and data storage devices.
  • Build Quality and Design: The XPS 15 is not just about performance; its premium build quality, featuring aluminum and carbon fiber materials, ensures durability and a professional appearance. The sleek design and solid construction make it a reliable companion for the rigorous demands of engineering and tech studies.

Credit: Asus

4. Apple MacBook Pro

Best for Art and Design Majors

For art and design majors, the Apple MacBook Pro stands out as the optimal choice in 2024, offering unmatched power and a display that brings creative projects to life with stunning clarity and color precision. Below are the reasons why the MacBook Pro is highly recommended for students pursuing creative disciplines:

  • Performance: Equipped with Apple’s M1 Pro or M1 Max chips, the MacBook Pro offers exceptional processing power, enabling seamless multitasking and smooth handling of graphics-intensive applications, such as Adobe Creative Suite, 3D modeling software, and video editing tools.
  • Display: The MacBook Pro features a Liquid Retina XDR display, known for its breathtaking dynamic range and pinpoint color accuracy. This is particularly beneficial for art and design students, where color grading and detail are paramount.
  • Portability: Despite its robust performance capabilities, the MacBook Pro maintains a slim and lightweight design, making it easy for creative students to carry their work with them wherever they go.
  • Battery Life: One of the most significant advantages of the MacBook Pro is its all-day battery life, allowing students to work on their projects without being tethered to a power outlet, fostering creativity and productivity anywhere.
  • Connectivity: With its Thunderbolt 4 ports, the MacBook Pro offers high-speed connections to a wide range of peripherals, including external displays, storage devices, and more, facilitating a seamless workflow for complex creative projects.
  • Ecosystem Integration: For students already using Apple products, the MacBook Pro integrates flawlessly with the Apple ecosystem, providing a cohesive and efficient workflow across devices with features like AirDrop, Sidecar, and Universal Clipboard.

Credit: Asus

5. Microsoft Surface Pro 7

Best 2-in-1 Laptop

The Microsoft Surface Pro 7 stands out as the best 2-in-1 laptop for college students in 2024, offering unparalleled versatility that caters to both traditional computing and tablet functionality. This makes it a fantastic choice for students who value flexibility in their study and work environments. Here’s what makes the Surface Pro 7 a top pick:

  • Performance: Powered by 10th-generation Intel Core processors, the Surface Pro 7 is more than capable of handling a wide range of tasks, from note-taking and document editing to more intensive applications like photo editing and light video production.
  • Display: It features a 12.3-inch PixelSense touch display that offers vibrant colors and crisp details, ideal for reading, writing, and visual tasks. The touch screen and Surface Pen compatibility enhance note-taking and drawing experiences, making it perfect for students across various disciplines.
  • Versatility: The standout feature of the Surface Pro 7 is its versatility as a 2-in-1 device. Easily switch between laptop mode with the Type Cover keyboard (sold separately) and tablet mode, providing a dynamic user experience for both productivity and leisure.
  • Portability: Its lightweight design and compact size make the Surface Pro 7 incredibly portable, fitting easily into most bags without adding significant weight, essential for students always on the move.
  • Battery Life: While not the longest-lasting on this list, the Surface Pro 7 offers a decent battery life that supports a day of mixed usage, important for students attending classes, studying, or working on projects without constant access to power.
  • Connectivity: Despite its slim profile, the Surface Pro 7 includes a useful range of ports, including USB-C and USB-A, making it easy to connect to displays, docking stations, and other peripherals without needing additional adapters.

ZenBook 14 UX425 PINE GREY display opened from the front view.Credit: Asus

6. ASUS ZenBook 13

Best Lightweight Laptop

The ASUS ZenBook 13 solidifies its position as the best lightweight laptop for college students in 2024, offering a perfect balance of high performance and ultra-portability. This model is especially suited for students who are always on the move and need a device that’s easy to carry without compromising on power. Here’s a closer look at what makes the ASUS ZenBook 13 a top choice:

  • Performance: Despite its slim profile, the ZenBook 13 is powered by the latest Intel Core processors, ensuring smooth and efficient performance for a wide array of tasks, from academic research to multimedia editing.
  • Display: It features a stunning 13.3-inch Full HD NanoEdge display, which boasts slim bezels for an immersive viewing experience. The display’s excellent color accuracy and brightness levels make it ideal for both study and leisure.
  • Portability: Weighing just under 2.5 pounds and with an ultra-slim design, the ZenBook 13 is one of the lightest laptops on the market. Its compact size doesn’t sacrifice durability, however, as it’s built with a robust aluminum body.
  • Battery Life: The ZenBook 13 offers impressive battery life, capable of powering through a full day of lectures, study sessions, and even some extra-curricular activities, all on a single charge.
  • Connectivity: Despite its thin frame, the ZenBook 13 doesn’t skimp on ports. It includes USB-C, HDMI, and microSD card readers, providing flexible connectivity options for various peripherals and external displays.

Innovative Features: One of the standout features of the ZenBook 13 is its ErgoLift hinge, which tilts the keyboard to an optimal typing angle, enhancing both comfort and cooling. Additionally, the laptop includes a NumberPad integrated into the touchpad, a boon for students who frequently work with numerical data.