The 7 Best Laptops For College in 2024

Heading off to college is an exciting new chapter! As you prepare for classes, you‘ll likely need a reliable laptop to help you succeed. The right laptop makes studying, completing assignments, and staying organized much easier.

With so many options on the market, choosing the best college laptop can feel overwhelming. That‘s why we‘ve researched the top-rated models and highlighted the key factors you should consider. Read on for our complete guide to picking the best laptops for college in 2024!

Our Top Picks

After extensive analysis, we are confident in recommending the following laptops for college students:

  • Best Overall: HP Envy 13 – With its vibrant display, lightweight design, fast performance and long battery life, the HP Envy 13 aces all the basics for college needs.

  • Best Value: Acer Swift 5 – The Swift 5 doesn‘t compromise on specs but keeps costs lower, making it the best bang for your buck.

  • Best Under $500: Acer Aspire 5 – For those on a tight budget, the Aspire 5 provides solid performance without breaking the bank.

  • Best for Apple Users: MacBook Air – With incredible efficiency and seamless ecosystem integration, the MacBook Air is a top choice for Apple fans.

  • Best for Windows Users: Dell XPS 13 – A premium Windows laptop, the XPS 13 matches exceptional speed with a stunning display.

  • Best Chromebook: Acer Chromebook Spin 713 – Chromebooks balance affordability with usability, making the feature-packed Spin 713 a leading pick.

  • Best 2-in-1: Microsoft Surface Pro 8 – As both a tablet and laptop, the flexible Surface Pro 8 optimizes notetaking and portability.

Now let‘s explore what to look for when selecting the best laptop for your college needs.

Key Factors to Consider

Choosing your ideal college laptop involves assessing a few key factors:

Performance Needs

Consider what tasks you expect to regularly complete on your laptop for classes. This influences priorities around processor speed, RAM, storage and graphics capability. Those studying more technical fields may require higher performance than humanities majors, for example.

Aim for at least a Core i5 CPU, 8GB RAM and 256GB storage for solid all-around performance that won‘t slow you down. Know if your major demands beefier specs.


Students need to easily transport their device across campus for lectures, group meetings, the library and more. Prioritize lightweight and compact models under 3 pounds for maximum mobility.

Also examine battery life claims critically. Look for at least 8+ hours of expected usage so you won‘t constantly hunt for outlets between classes.

Operating System

Are you more comfortable in Mac, Windows or Chrome OS environments? Stick with what you know best built on your previous experience for simplicity.

MacBooks and Windows laptops support full-featured software applications while Chromebooks rely more on web apps. Make sure your OS meets any specialized program needs.


College loans and budgets can only stretch so far. Set reasonable spending expectations upfront based on your means. Quality picks exist both under $500 and over $1000.

View each potential laptop option in context of available funds. Find the best combination of required features and hardware longevity before determining if it‘s truly affordable for you.

Getting the Most from Your New College Laptop

Once you‘ve selected the right laptop for school, a bit of setup and adjustment will ensure you capitalize on your investment over time. We recommend:

  • Take advantage of any student or education discounts when ordering
  • Backup important documents via cloud storage in case anything happens to your laptop
  • Download and set up software, tools and web services you anticipate utilizing for classes right away
  • Personalize settings to maximize battery conservation as you travel campus
  • Use a protective case or backpack with padding when transporting to reduce wear
  • Research manufacturer warranty and support options like extended plans or accident protection

Stay proactive with general upkeep and maintenance too for the best experience. This includes updating programs regularly, cleaning components gently and replacing the battery as needed.


Choosing the ideal laptop for college presents several options to weigh. Keep your individual performance needs, budget, OS preference and portability requirements in mind as you assess possibilities.

For an all-around great choice that checks all the boxes, we believe the HP Envy 13 represents the best laptop for college students in 2024. But explore which other contenders may better suit your priorities depending on major, existing tech and funds available.

Once you select the perfect model for schoolwork on the go, set it up for success through optimization, protective accessories and responsiveness if any issues emerge. With the right laptop by your side, you can focus on academic achievement!

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