Best student laptops 2021: from budget-friendly to top-of-the-line


Best student laptop 2021

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(Image credit: HP)

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Mat Gallagher

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With online classes, video meetings, and virtual collaboration now the norm, getting the right laptop for studying is crucial. The best student laptops in 2021 should strike the perfect balance of performance, versatility, and price-to-performance ratio. Student laptops were already essential devices in the world of modern study, but as schools become more remote, we’ll be using them more than ever in the near future.

Our company’s We have some good news to share with you. Due to the current situation, retailers are heavily promoting student discounts on laptops, and there are some excellent deals to be had: these systems provide an incredible blend of portability and performance without breaking the bank. best Back to School deals This guide includes some of today’s best student laptop deals!

Because, to be honest, one of the primary differences between student laptops and, say, the best laptops overall, or more specialist systems like gaming laptops and 2-in-1 laptops, is that their prices are generally less expensive.

A lot like with the best Chromebooks On that note, T3’s website might be worth a look. On the market, buying a student laptop is more cost-effective. best tablets Many of today’s top slates are more than capable of acting as a student laptop with the addition of a keyboard cover.

Those students who need to do a lot of reading should pick up one of the following books. best Kindle ereaders could be a wise investment.

We’ve also seen some manufacturers – hello, best Dell laptops– take giant leaps in product development that make their products even more suited to student life than they were before. However, as our best student laptops guide demonstrates, choosing a student laptop is about more than just getting the cheapest one.

We don’t know what this academic year will bring, but we do know that no matter what type of learning you’ll be doing – fully remote, in-person, or a combination of the two – these laptops will be the ideal companions for studying, staying in touch with friends and family, and even for creativity.

Finally, if you’re looking to improve your home or dormitory office for studying, we recommend that you take a look at our website. best office chairs guide, as it will allow you to work comfortably for long periods of time.

The best student laptops you can buy today

If you want to get the most bang for your buck during your student years, the HP Pavilion 14 is a great option.

The best student laptop for most people

Specifications

CPU:

8th generation Intel Core i5-8250U

Graphics:

Intel UHD Graphics 620
RAM:
8GB
Screen:
14-inch (1,920 x 1,080)
Storage:
256GB SSD

Reasons to buy

+Strong all-round specs


+Solid build quality that will last


+Big internal storage space

Reasons to avoid

Not great for heavy Photoshop work

With an 8th generation Intel Core i5-8250U CPU, Intel UHD Graphics 620 GPU, 8GB of RAM, and a 256GB SSD, as well as a simple yet stylish design and crisp screen, you can’t do much better for the money running Windows 10. The HP Pavilion 14 is the best student laptop available today for the vast majority of students.

The system’s build quality is excellent, and it includes dedicated HDMI, USB Type-C, and networking ports, making it simple to connect the machine in your dorm or in class. The machines come pre-installed with a fresh copy of Windows 10 Home and have a battery life of up to 11 hours.

On this list, you’ll find both low-cost and high-cost student laptops, as well as Mac OS X options. Look no further than the HP Pavilion 14 for an affordable sweet spot.

Compare our top recommendations in Which student laptop is better for you: the HP Pavilion 14 or the Dell XPS 13 (2020)?

(Image credit: Dell)

2. Dell XPS 13 (2020)

The best premium student laptop

Specifications
CPU:
Up to 10th-generation Intel Core i7-1065G7
Graphics:
Up to Intel Iris Plus
RAM:
Up to 16GB
Screen:
13.4-inch display (up to 4K resolution, 3,840 x 2,400 pixels)
Storage:
Up to 1TB

Reasons to buy

+Powerhouse performance


+Will last way beyond college

Reasons to avoid

Average battery life


Limited number of ports

It’s powerful, well-built, and small, which is pretty much everything you could want in a student laptop during back-to-school season. The Dell XPS 13 series has consistently impressed us here at T3, and the latest model is no exception.

This portable computer is equipped with the latest 10th-generation Intel processors and up to 16GB of RAM, making it capable of handling anything you throw at it. The Dell XPS 13 is a capable and competent laptop for late-night Netflix to early-morning essay writing.

But it’s the 13.4-inch display with the ultra-thin bezels that really sets the XPS 13 apart: you can go all the way up to 4K resolution if you want to, but the 1,920 x 1,080 resolution models still look great (4K doesn’t make a huge difference on a laptop display this size).

Check out our comparison of this premium student laptop to a more budget-friendly model. Dell XPS 13 (2020) vs Acer Chromebook 315 comparison feature.

If you don’t mind Chrome OS, the Acer Chromebook 315 is a great, low-cost student laptop option.

(Image credit: Acer)

3. Acer Chromebook 315

The best budget student laptop

Specifications
CPU:
Intel Celeron 3205U 1.5GHz (dual-core)
Graphics:
Intel HD Graphics
RAM:
4GB
Screen:
1,920 x 1,080 pixels on a 15.6-inch display
Storage:
32GB SSD
Connectivity:
802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0
Camera:
720p
Weight:
4.85 pounds
Dimensions:
Dimensions: 15.08 x 9.65 x 0.95 inches

Reasons to buy

+Quality screen


+Long-lasting battery


+Very attractive price point

Reasons to avoid

Basic keyboard and audio

The Chromebook 315 is an incredibly affordable student laptop that is also extremely capable. The hardware matches the price, with lower specs all around – but since the laptop runs Chrome OS, it doesn’t really matter, as the laptop still provides a fast and responsive user experience.

Simply put, it provides everything a student requires in class or when revising and working on coursework. This Chromebook unlocks the powerful and comprehensive G-Suite of applications, which includes Google Docs, GMAIL, Drive, Sheets, Slides, Calendar, Hangouts, and more, as long as you have an internet connection, which anyone with a smartphone does (hello portable hotspot).

By the way, that 15.6-inch screen is a dream come true. One of the best student laptops available in 2021 for those on a budget who don’t require a slew of extra features. Its speakers are poor once again, with flat treble and weak bass – but at this price, you can get an iPhone or iPod as well.

Do you want to see how this system compares to our top-rated student laptop? Then take a look at our website. HP Pavilion 14 vs Acer Chromebook 315 comparison feature.

(Image credit: Microsoft)

4. Microsoft Surface Go 2

For students, a 2-in-1 laptop is ideal. A budget that’s a real find.

Specifications
CPU:
8th-gen Intel Core m3
Graphics:
Intel UHD Graphics 615
RAM:
4GB / 8GB
Screen:
1920 x 1280 pixels (220 ppi) 10.5-inch display
Storage:
64GB / 128GB

Reasons to buy

+Attractive low price


+Great hardware package


+Compact and lightweight

Reasons to avoid

Not a powerful laptop

The second Surface Go is designed for people who want to get in on the action without paying a lot of money – students, in other words. Microsoft’s forays into the 2-in-1 market have been hugely successful, reviving the company’s image as a serious hardware manufacturer just when it needed it.

It improves on what made the original Surface Go great, with a more premium-feeling design and a minor performance boost to ensure you can complete all of your computing tasks. It also crams a larger screen into a form factor that’s the same size as the original Surface Go while reducing bezels.

Make sure to factor in the additional cost of the Type Cover keyboard when deciding whether or not to buy this. You’ll need it to use this as a laptop and a tablet to its full potential. With the Surface Go, you can get around five hours of use between charges, and its size and power make it ideal for hopping between the library and the lecture hall.

Check out our in-depth review of this budget 2-in-1 student laptop. Should I Purchase the Microsoft Surface Go 2 User’s Guide?Check out our to see how it stacks up against other top budget laptops. Asus Vivobook 15 vs Microsoft Surface Go 2 comparison feature.

(Image credit: Google)

5. Google Pixelbook Go

The best Chromebook you can buy right now

Specifications
CPU:
Intel Core m3-i7
Graphics:
Intel UHD Graphics 615 (300MHz)
RAM:
8GB – 16GB
Screen:
Full HD Display – 4K Ultra HD Molecular Display
Storage:
64-256GB

Reasons to buy

+Amazing battery life


+Fantastic “hush” keyboard


+Premium looks, not a premium price

Reasons to avoid

Pricier than comparable Chromebooks

The Pixelbook Go is more expensive than other Chromebooks, but thanks to widespread discounts, you can get premium looks and build quality for a fraction of the price of a comparable PC or Mac. The touchscreen is excellent, the webcam is excellent, and the battery life is excellent, with 8 to 10 hours of mixed use and support for fast charging; we described it in our review as “the best Chromebook ever… it’s simply outstanding.”

Chrome is a mature and capable operating system these days. Although the processor is relatively low-powered compared to, say, Apple’s M1, Chrome OS has been designed to be as lightweight as possible and doesn’t require the same amount of horsepower as rival operating systems. If you’ve previously looked at Chromebooks but thought they weren’t powerful enough, we think the Pixelbook Go will change your mind: although the processor is relatively low-powered compared to, say, Apple’s M1, Chrome OS has been designed to be as lightweight as possible and doesn’t require the same amount of

(Image credit: Apple)

6. Apple MacBook Air (M1, 2020)

For the vast majority of student Mac users, this is the best student laptop.

Specifications
CPU:
Apple M1
Graphics:
Apple M1
RAM:
8GB/16GB Unified Memory
Screen:
2,560 x 1,600 pixels on a 13.3-inch display
Storage:
Up to 2TB

Reasons to buy

+Thin and light


+Clean, crisp display


+Spectacularly fast

Reasons to avoid

More ports would be nice


Webcam still not great

Almost everyone will find it to be the best Apple laptop. This isn’t just the best Apple laptop for students; it’s also the best Apple laptop for professionals. It’s the Apple-powered M1 MacBook Air this year. It may appear to be identical to its predecessor on the outside, but it is vastly different on the inside. Last year, we recommended the Intel-powered MacBook Air as the best Apple laptop for students.

It’s from the same family as the iPhone and iPad processors, and it’s incredibly fast and energy efficient. The processor in this MacBook is now an Apple one, which sets it apart.

In tests, the new Air outperformed a number of laptops that cost significantly more. The processor, graphics processor, and memory in Apple’s M1 are all combined to work incredibly efficiently, resulting in a MacBook Air that delivers truly exceptional performance and all-day battery life, as well as the pick-up-and-go portability that has long been a trademark of the MacBook Air.

It’s a fantastic all-arounder. For a variety of reasons, we chose the MacBook Air over the MacBook Pro. It’s less expensive without being less powerful, it’s completely silent, and it has the same number of expansion ports as its more expensive sibling.

Check out T3’s review to see how this system stacks up against our top student laptop pick. Apple Macbook Air (M1, 2020) vs. HP Pavilion 14 comparison feature.

The Dell XPS 15 is currently the best student laptop for tech enthusiasts running Windows 10.

7. Dell XPS 15

A portable student laptop powerhouse

Specifications
CPU:
Intel Core i7 6700HQ (quad-core, 6MB cache, Turbo Boost up to 3.5GHz) 2.6GHz
Graphics:
Nvidia GeForce GTX 960M (with 2GB GDDR5)
RAM:
Dual Channel DDR4 (2,133MHz; 8GB x 2) Memory: 16GB
Screen:
InfinityEdge touch 15.6-inch 4K Ultra HD (3,840 x 2,160) display
Storage:
512GB PCIe SSD

Reasons to buy

+Dazzling 4K display


+Impeccable build quality


+Premium-grade hardware

Reasons to avoid

It loves fingerprints


Only two USB ports

The XPS 13 is similar to its smaller sibling, the fantastic XPS 13. Dell XPS 15 It has the advantage of being able to bring whatever you’re doing on its beautiful 15-inch 4K screen to life while also having the dimensions of a 14-inch laptop. has a nearly bezel-less InfinityEdge display, but the larger screen is better for long hours of work.

It’s also bag-friendly and comes with a spec sheet that includes an Nvidia GTX 960M mobile graphics card that’s capable of handling just about any game as long as you stick to 1080p.

Despite this, it remains one of the best student laptops on the market. The XPS 15’s main flaw is its battery life, so don’t expect it to last more than a few hours without a booster pack.

(Image credit: Acer)

8. Acer Nitro 5

The best student laptop for gamers

Specifications
Weight:
6.61 pounds (3kg)
Dimensions:
15.8 x 11.02 x 1.05 inches (40.3 x 28 x 2.69cm) W x D x H
CPU:
2.6GHz Intel Core i7-9750H (hexa-core)
Graphics:
Intel UHD Graphics 630; Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 (6GB GDDR6 VRAM);
RAM:
8GB
Screen:
17.3-inch Full HD (1,920×1,080) IPS (144Hz refresh rate with Nvidia G-Sync) IPS (Pantone Validated)
Storage:
256GB NVMe SSD
Camera:
0.9MP (1280×720)
Ports:
2 USB 3.1 Gen 1 ports, 1 USB 3.1 Gen 1 (Type-C) port, 1 USB 2.0 port, 1 HDMI port, and a headset jack

Reasons to buy

+GeForce RTX graphics card


+Affordable price point


+Solid all-round laptop

Reasons to avoid

Plastic case is a bit flexible


Not the most contrasty screen


Not the most powerful gaming laptop

The Acer Nitro 5 is also a great choice if you’re a gamer who wants to play the latest AAA PC games in between study sessions. It’s an excellent choice because it offers serious gaming prowess at a reasonable price. It’s not all work and no play when you’re a student.

This GPU is powered by a 2.6GHz Intel Core i7-9750H hexa-core CPU that has more than enough horsepower to handle any typical laptop task as well as more creative tasks like photo and video editing. The Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 graphics card is at the heart of that experience, allowing you to play games like Cyberpunk 2077 with real-time ray tracing enabled.

The Acer Nitro 5 also has a large 17.3-inch screen, which makes watching movies and TV shows more immersive, and connecting peripherals and other tech is a breeze thanks to a variety of connection ports.

A built-in webcam and microphone are also included, allowing for remote learning and video chats with friends, family, and other gamers. The laptop comes in a variety of configurations as well.

Overall, the Acer Nitro 5 is a capable all-around laptop with dedicated gaming silicon tucked away under the hood, making it a no-brainer for students looking for a new gaming laptop.

Check out T3’s review to see how this laptop stacks up against two other popular gaming systems. Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 vs Acer Nitro 5 and Acer Nitro 5 vs. Asus Zephyrus ROG S GX701 comparison features.

The Lenovo Yoga C740 is well worth a look if you’re looking for a 2-in-1 computing experience.

(Image credit: Lenovo)

9. Lenovo Yoga C740

Another capable student laptop with dual-function computing.

Specifications
CPU:
10th Gen Intel i7-10510U
RAM:
8GB
Screen:
15.6″ FHD (1920×1080) IPS
Storage:
512GB SSD

Reasons to buy

+Rotating hinge for the 15-inch display


+Pick a color to match your style


+Rock-solid hardware suite

Reasons to avoid

Heavy for a tablet replacement


Very reflective screen

For today’s students, versatility is key, and a 2-in-1 like Lenovo’s Yoga C740 series doubles as a tablet when you don’t need a full laptop – ideal for bringing into lectures or seminars. When you’re watching movies, it can even stand up in a tent position.

This one is worth a look if you’re looking for something a little different than your student laptop in 2021. The specs are excellent for the price (though a stylus is an extra charge), and the Lenovo Yoga C740 should be able to handle any task you throw at it quickly.

The Dell Inspiron 15 is without a doubt one of the best budget student laptops available.

(Image credit: Dell)

10. Dell Inspiron 15 5000

A brilliant budget buy for students

Specifications
Processor:
Intel® Core i3 (up to 4.1GHz, 6MB cache) 11th Gen
Graphics:
Intel UHD Graphics
RAM:
8GB DDR4 3200MHz (1x8GB)
Storage:
128GB M.2 PCIe NVMe Solid State Drive
Display:
15.6-inch FHD (1920×1080) Anti-Glare LED
OS:
Windows 10 Home 64bit

Reasons to buy

+Incredible value for the price


+11th Gen Intel i3 processor


+Full Windows 10 experience

Reasons to avoid

Screen resolution is not the best


Keyboard is unsatisfying 

There’s just so muchThere’s a lot to like about the Dell Inspiron 15 5000, and its ridiculously low price is just the beginning. Then there’s its rock-solid internal hardware, which makes light computing tasks a breeze, and its stylish, lightweight design, which makes it incredibly portable.

Its 15-inch anti-glare LED screen is also sharp, and it comes pre-installed with a full version of Windows 10 Home 64bit, so it offers a true Windows 10 experience right out of the box. If you value browsing the internet, writing reports and essays, and storing your most important media and work, the Inspiron 15 5000 is an excellent companion.

The laptop also has a webcam, making it easy to join seminars or remote meetings, and an SD card reader and a slew of ports make connecting storage, as well as larger screens and peripherals, a breeze.

Overall, this is a solid, low-cost Windows 10 laptop that will be ideal for returning to school.

The HP Envy x360 2-in-1 student laptop is a powerful and versatile 2-in-1 laptop.

(Image credit: HP)

11. HP Envy x360

A classy 2-in-1 student laptop

Specifications
CPU:
2-3.6GHz AMD Ryzen 5 2500U quad-core AMD Ryzen 5 2500U quad-core AMD Ryzen 5 2500U quad-core
Graphics:
AMD Radeon RX Vega 8
RAM:
8GB DDR4
Screen:
13.3-inch FHD IPS LCD
Storage:
128GB SSD

Reasons to buy

+Very versatile form factor


+Stylish design


+Competitive price

Reasons to avoid

Processor is not the quickest


Not great for gaming

The HP Envy x360 is a good option if you like the HP brand but don’t want to spend as much as the Pavillion (see above). It manages to combine some respectable specs with some very respectable looks for a price that isn’t quite as astronomical as it appears.

Apart from intensive gaming and video editing, this is a laptop that can handle most tasks you throw at it thanks to AMD’s CPU and GPU. It’s ideal for writing essays, conducting internet research, and putting together a budget spreadsheet to figure out where all your money goes.

Because this is a 2-in-1, you can fold the HP Envy x360 into a tent mode after the workday is done and watch Netflix or YouTube on the bright, crisp 13.3-inch screen. This laptop should be on your list of the best student laptops.

(Image credit: Apple)

12. MacBook Pro 13-inch

The best student laptop for Apple fans looking for a high-end product.

Specifications
CPU:
8th-generation Intel Core i5 to 10th-generation Intel Core i7 quad-core processors
Graphics:
Intel Iris Plus Graphics 645 vs. Intel Iris Plus Graphics 645 vs. Intel Iris Plus Graphics 645 vs. Intel I
RAM:
8GB to 32GB
Screen:
Display: 13.3-inch, 2,560 x 1,600 pixels
Storage:
256GB to 4TB

Reasons to buy

+Impressively thin design


+Incredible performance


+Gorgeous Retina display

Reasons to avoid

New M1 version offers better performance

Consider the 13-inch MacBook Pro from Apple (and yes, the keyboard has finally been fixed) if you need sleekness and power and are willing to pay for it (but still want something that isn’t too difficult to carry around or stuff into a backpack).

Don’t overlook what you get with macOS, either, as Apple’s apps are constantly improving. There are a variety of configurations to suit your needs and budget, but if you’re planning on doing any serious image or video editing, you can get this laptop very well specced out.

If your budget is tight, Macs aren’t the best option, but if you can afford the 13-inch MacBook Pro, you won’t be disappointed – it’ll last you well through your college years and likely beyond. Prior to the switch to Apple Silicon, the 10th-generation Intel chips are included.

(Image credit: Lenovo)

13. Lenovo ThinkBook 15 Gen 2

One of the best student laptops, ready to take on any task.

Specifications
CPU:
11th Gen Intel i5-1135G7
Graphics:
Integrated Intel Iris X
RAM:
8GB
Screen:
15.6 FHD (1920×1080) IPS Anti-Glare
Storage:
128GB

Reasons to buy

+GeForce GTX GPU on board


+Top-rate fit and finish


+Mid-tier price point

Reasons to avoid

Not as slim as an ultra-portable

The ThinkBook 15 Gen 2 offers an incredible setup for students at an excellent price for what you get. Lenovo’s ThinkBooks are designed to deliver cutting-edge performance without the high price tag. They come in a variety of specs and configurations to meet any need.

Lenovo pulled out all the stops to ensure you get every ounce of juice out of this thing, which is powered by the latest 11th Gen Intel i5 processors. Plenty of RAM allows for a variety of tasks, such as editing and spreadsheets, but the ThinkBook 15 Gen 2 shines in terms of value.

You’re getting a long-lasting laptop that’s ideal for mobile work on the go or personal use at home. Working from home or starting a semester from afar? This is a must-see option.

(Image credit: Acer)

14. Acer Swift 3

A great all-round and compact student laptop

Specifications
CPU:
Intel Core i7-1065G7 quad-core processor (up to 10th generation)
Graphics:
Up to Nvidia GeForce MX350
RAM:
Up to 16GB
Screen:
Resolution: 1,920 x 1,080 pixels on a 14-inch display
Storage:
Up to 512GB

Reasons to buy

+Power through work


+Sharp, bright screen


+Lightweight and compact

Reasons to avoid

Limited integrated graphics


Ordinary battery life

For staring at those essays and video streaming services, you get a 14-inch, 1,920 x 1,080 screen, while everything is powered by Intel Core i5 or i7 chips under the hood. We’ve always been fans of the Acer Swift series, and the Swift 3’s 2020 edition hasn’t changed our minds.

The Acer Swift 3 gets better as you look closer; it supports the latest Wi-Fi 6 standards, for example, and has a good selection of ports (2 USB-A, 1 USB-C, and 1 HDMI). If you think you’ll need it, you can even install an Nvidia GeForce MX350 graphics card at the top of the configuration options.

If you prefer Windows, this is one to add to your shortlist. When looking for the best student laptop for returning to school, you want something that’s dependable, compact, portable, and attractive – and the Acer Swift 3 checks all of those boxes.

Read the full Acer Swift 3 review

On a student budget, the Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3i delivers solid gaming performance.

(Image credit: Lenovo)

15. Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3i

One of the most capable gaming laptops for students.

Specifications
CPU:
Intel Core i5-10300H
Graphics:
Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 4GB
RAM:
8GB DDR4
Screen:
15.6-inch, IPS, 1920 х 1080p
Storage:
128GB

Reasons to buy

+Stylish design


+120Hz screen


+Affordable price point

Reasons to avoid

More power means higher price

Gaming laptops are typically more expensive than non-gaming laptops, which is why Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3i It makes a strong case for any student who wants to be able to play games in their spare time, thanks to its low price, stylish design, and dedicated GPU. It stands out a little.

This improves the experience of playing fast-paced games. There’s a lot to like about this student laptop, including the 120Hz IPS Full HD display. The screen is also 15.6 inches in size, giving you plenty of room for at least two windows and full-screen Netflix streaming.

As you might expect, the Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3i’s graphics card isn’t the fastest, but the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 4GB has enough power to run most AAA games at medium settings, which is aided by its powerful Intel Core i5 CPU.

Overall, this is a good all-around student laptop that also has some decent gaming performance and comes at a reasonable price.

The Dell Inspiron 3000 is without a doubt one of the best budget student laptops available.

(Image credit: Dell)

16. Dell Inspiron 14 3000

A brilliant budget buy for students

Specifications
Processor:
Celeron® Processor 4205U (2MB Cache, 1.8 GHz) Intel® Celeron® Processor 4205U (2MB Cache, 1.8 GHz) Intel® Celeron® Processor 4
Graphics:
Intel UHD Graphics 620
RAM:
4GB
Storage:
128GB M.2 PCIe NVMe Solid State Drive
Display:
14-inch LCD 1366 x 768 resolution
OS:
Windows 10 Home 64bit
Weight:
1.66 kg (3.68 lbs)

Reasons to buy

+Incredibly cheap


+Solid internal hardware


+Full fat Windows 10 experience

Reasons to avoid

Not ideal for heavy processing or gaming

There’s just so much Then there’s its rock-solid internal hardware, which makes light computing tasks a breeze, and its stylish, lightweight design, which makes it incredibly portable. There’s a lot to like about the Dell Inspiron 14 3000, and its ridiculously low price is just the beginning.

If you value browsing the internet, writing reports and essays, and storing your most important media and work, the Inspiron 14 3000 is an excellent companion. Its 14-inch LCD anti-glare screen is also sharp, and it comes pre-installed with a full-fat version of Windows 10 Home 64bit, so it offers a genuine experience right out of the box.

The laptop also has a webcam, making it easy to join seminars and remote meetings, and its SD card reader and numerous ports make it simple to connect it to storage as well as larger screens and peripherals.

Overall, a fantastic low-cost Windows 10 laptop that will be ideal for returning to school.

Buying advice: How to pick the best laptop for a student

We hope that our student laptop buying guide proves useful to anyone looking for a system that is capable, affordable, and productive. We’re constantly updating this list with newer models and updated information, so check back often. We’ve also included some helpful buying advice to help you choose the best learning tool for returning to school.

Computers today must be capable of far more than the primitive number crunchers of the past. Given that several courses have special requirements, as well as the standard office packages, they must support a wide range of software.

When it comes to software, students can use Microsoft’s Office 365 suite for free, and there are also other options. Google’s Chromebooks There’s also the Google Docs suite to consider, the latter of which is also free to use.

Of course, these laptops must be capable of running HD video lectures without stuttering, and a good set of speakers is always useful after a long day at university. Given the rising cost of education around the world, these machines must also be affordable.

It’d be difficult to find a model who didn’t have one. For web lectures and broadcast media-related courses, integrated webcams are also important, but they are now included as standard on every laptop.

How we test student laptops

Laptops are extremely versatile and powerful tools, so there is a lot to think about when purchasing one. As a result, we approach student laptop testing with this in mind, narrowing down the process to what a buyer would consider in-store.

We’re looking for signs of toughness and quality, as well as overall fit and finish, in this section. We also evaluate the student laptop’s screen at this point, judging color balance, fidelity, and features such as anti-glare coatings and small bezels. First, we assess the system’s build quality and design.

Next, we assess the student laptop solely on the basis of its hardware, both on paper and in practice. So we examine its core specifications, such as the processor, RAM, storage capacity, and graphics chip, before using a set of benchmarking tools to test the overall package.

Then we move on to the more hands-on part of the review, which includes how the laptop’s operating system and software work, as well as how it performs in the real world – for example, how easy is the student laptop to carry around or how well does it perform in a coffee shop.

Finally, we examine any notable features of the system, including RGB lighting systems, mechanical keyboards, built-in webcams, touchscreens, rotating screens, stylus support, biometric sign-in options, and more. At this point, we also provide a rough estimate of the system’s battery life.

We only score the student laptop after these stages are completed, using a 5-star system (1 being the worst and 5 being the best). If the student laptop receives a high score, it will be considered for T3’s best student laptop buying guide, which showcases the best systems available.