For college, your textbooks, school ID and (now) laptop are the essentials you need. And it isn’t only needed for school work alone, you need it for extracurricular activities, such as watching movies, gaming, surfing the Web, editing/sending photos, video chatting with those back home, and so on.
Its back to school, again.
If you need to be sure of it, soon you’ll be seeing roads to Cornell or Oxford at a standstill in the morning hours, with the streets once again filled with teens donning boisterous fashions.
For the 9-5 office folks, traffic craze is sure. If you work from home, you’re safe. But for parents, the ‘college rush’ will set back your bank with a vengeance. And for students, its back to the ‘system’. Lazy days spent watching the latest series and playing new titles (or whatever kids play nowadays) are over and its back to the classrooms. And the assignments are here again.
For college students, it’s back to the all-familiar term papers, projects, presentations…and hopefully final exams.
But one thing can make al this a little easier and bearable. A right tech bag. With the right assortment of gadgets, you can work smarter, stay more organized and perhaps enjoys a little gaming in between the lectures. If you choose your gizmos right, you’ll be the envy of your classmates!
While that sounds enviable, your folks aren’t going to spend $3,000 for a gaming laptop, and and have tuition fees in the mix at the same time. Instead, they won’t be getting you anything you’d consider desirable. Rather, you’ll have to do with gadgets they consider sensible and budget friendly. That’s what you’ll get for the most part.
At the start of the year, we already did a back to school tech guide, but now we’re going to dive further and take a last minute look at the laptop you need to go back to school, hoping that you have already captured the other gadgets.
Even on budget, it doesn’t mean that the notebook of choice for college can’t be slick, powerful and useful. Here is some of our ‘back to school notebooks’ for summer 2018, to help you survive the next academic session with style.
Our Top Picks for College Students in 2018
1. Acer Swift 3
Ultrabook performance for much less
CPU: Latest 8th generation Intel Core i5-8250U| Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 620 | RAM: 8GB – 16GB | Screen: 15.6-inch FHD (1,920 x 1,080) Widescreen IPS | Storage: 256GB SSD
Starting configuration: $699.99 at Amazon
The Acer Swift 3 (SF315-51-518S) has the looks of a premium laptop, with an ultra-thin, all aluminum body that competes with what you’d find n pricier ultrabooks. It brandishes the power of Intel’s latest 8th-generation processor, a comfortable backlit keyboard, useful connectivity ports and a passive 8 hours of battery life.
Read full review: Acer Swift 3
2. Microsoft Surface Pro
A tablet that easily replaces your laptop
CPU: 7th generation Intel Core i5| Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 615 – Iris Plus Graphics 640 | RAM: 8GB | Screen: 12.3-inch, 2,736 x 1,824 PixelSense display | Storage: 256GB SSD
The 2017 Microsoft Surface Pro is a shoo-in for anyone looking for a 2-in-1 detachable hybrid tablet PC, thanks to new seventh-generation processors and longer battery life. It is the system to watch for the remainder of the year as we expect competition to intensify, but with a processor bump and longer battery life.
Read the full review: Microsoft Surface Pro
3. Acer Aspire E 15 E5-575-33BM
Very affordable, good battery life
CPU: 7th generation Intel Core i3 | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 620 | RAM: 4GB | Screen: 15.6-inch, 1,920 x 1,080 | Storage: 1000GB (5400RPM) HDD
Starting configuration: $359.99 at Amazon
The Acer Aspire E 15 is your ideal budget laptop for college. It has an impressive feature set for the price including, a seventh-generation (Kaby Lake) processor and a good number of ports. It may not stand out, but it’s what you need to have the work done, thanks to its 15-inch Full HD screen, strong performance and excellent battery life.
Read the full review: Acer Aspire E 15 E5-575-33BM
4. Apple MacBook Pro (13-inch, 2017)
Timeless design, powerful enough into the future
CPU: 7th generation Intel Core i5 | Graphics: Intel Iris HD Graphics 640 | RAM: 8GB | Screen: 13.3-inch, 2,560 x 1,600 | Storage: 256GB SSD
The newest Apple MacBook Pro is so far, the laptop of choice for anyone looking for a blend of power and function, making it an aesthetic masterpiece. It does get a few upgrades here-and-there, especially on performance and has the best battery life.
Read the full review: Apple MacBook Pro (13-inch, 2017)
5. Dell Inspiron 13 5000 Series
A powerful, yet affordable, 2-in-1 hybrid laptop
CPU: 8th Generation Intel Core i5-8250U | Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics 620 | RAM: 8GB | Screen: 13.3-inch FHD (1920 x 1080) True-life IPS | Storage: 1TB (5400rpm) HDD
Starting configuration: $594.99 at Amazon
The Dell Inspiron 13 5000 (i5379-5043GRY-PUS) offers good value in both design, feature set and performance than you’d find in the 2-in-1 convertible category, for much less. However, it makes a few tradeoffs in the choice of storage option, but it does make up for the same with the latest 8th-gen., processor and pocket-friendly pricing.
Read the full review: Dell Inspiron 13 5000 Series
6. Acer Premium R11 Chromebook
Acer’s chromebook is modestly priced
CPU: Intel Quad-Core N3160 | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 400 | RAM: 4GB | Screen: 11.6 HD Touchscreen (1366×768 ) IPS | Storage: 32GB eMMC
Starting configuration: $299.95 at Amazon
The 2017 Acer Acer Premium R11 is a convertible-hybrid Chrome OS system, that delivers impeccable all-round performance, and has a battery that lasts all-day. Plus, it packs a solid feature set, offers a sturdy construction, and useful ports options than most mainstream laptops.
Read the full review: Acer Premium R11 Chromebook
7.ASUS VivoBook F510UA-AH51
MacBook Pro aesthetics and experience for half the price
CPU: Latest 8th Gen Intel i5-8250U | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics | RAM: 8GB | Screen: 15.6 Inch Anti-glare FHD 1920 x 1080 Display | Storage: 1 TB HDD
Starting configuration: $479.00 at Amazon
The ASUS VivoBook F510UA-AH51 sports a stylish look, a super svelte build, a gorgeous display and the latest eighth generation ‘Kaby Lake-R’ processor. In a crowded field of ultraportables, it stands out for solid performance and good pricing.
Read the full review: ASUS VivoBook F510UA-AH51
8. Samsung Notebook 9
A new dawn for premium ultrabooks
CPU: 7th-gen Intel Core i7-7500U | Graphics: Nvidia GeForce 940MX | RAM: 16GB | Screen: 15.6-inches FHD (1920×1080) IPS | Storage: 256 SSD
The Samsung Notebook 9 NP900X5N-X01US is a premium ultrabook, with all-day battery life, but don’t really need a higher-than-HD display. It redefines the concept of thin and light laptops, and it bolsters with one of Intel’s high-performance, highly efficient seventh-generation Core i7 processor and a snappy solid-state-drive alongside a premium build.
Read the full review: Samsung Notebook 9
9. Dell Inspiron Gaming Laptop
May it be work or play, it does all
CPU: 7th Generation Intel Core i7-7700HQ | Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 | RAM: 8GB | Screen: 15.6-inch FHD (1920 x 1080) Anti-Glare | Storage: Dual drives with 128GB SSD + 1TB HDD
Starting configuration: $829.99 at Amazon
The Dell Inspiron i5577-7359BLK-PUS can play modern titles in full HD, can suffice for daily productivity, boasts good battery life and is very reasonably priced. If shopping for a budget gaming laptop with the right features, the Inspiron 15 is a deal that is hard to pass.
Read the full review: Dell Inspiron Gaming Laptop
10. Microsoft Surface Laptop
A design with students in mind, from the OS up
CPU: 7th generation Intel Core i5 | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 620 | RAM: 8GB | Screen: 13.5-inch, 2,256 x 1,504 PixelSense| Storage: 256GB SSD
The Microsoft Surface Laptop is a stylish, powerful ultraportable that’s a prime choice for university students on budget, and anyone in need of a solid, travel-friendly PC. It doesn’t do much to shake the crowded category as Microsoft expected, but it works hard to stand at the top alongside leaders in its category.
Read the full review: Microsoft Surface Laptop
And, it’s a wrap for college students in 2017
For college, your textbooks, school ID and (now) laptop are the essentials you need. And it isn’t only needed for school work alone, you need it for extracurricular activities, such as watching movies, gaming, surfing the Web, editing/sending photos, video chatting with those back home, and so on. As such, the ideal for a college student should have a solid design that will survive the harsh class room environment, daily commute in a backpack, and occasional drops and pushes. In the long haul, it should last, possibly though four years of undergrad and maybe a year into grad work.
- Now, check out our list of student/college laptops.