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20 Best Laptops for Students (2014)

With school season just around the corner, we decided to do a post on a good set of laptops for students. We’ve broken them down into various needs. Below you’ll find a solid list of current laptops with some brief information to make your decision easier. This list is current as of August, 2014 so depending on when you are reading this be aware that the prices and / or specs may have changed on some of them. We will try to keep this list updated every so often.

When seeking to buy the ideal computer for a student, most seek to strike a perfect balance between staying within budget and getting the best possible specifications for your money.

In this article we’ll show you some of the best laptops for students, based on:

Budget, for those who care mostly about the cost.
Quality, for those who want to enjoy maximum performance on their laptops.
Balance, for those who want a mix of good quality and low prices.

Amazing Low Budget Student Laptops

Going to College is already extremely expensive for most, so it makes sense to look for the cheaper options when it comes to laptops, especially if your budget is limited. These are the highest quality laptops in the low price-tag division:

1. Lenovo G500


The Lenovo G500 is an excellent entry level device, perfect for any student on a tight budget. This isn’t a computer for gaming or any heavy programs. The Lenovo G500 is the ideal tool for the basic needs of a student, which are: Writing emails, essays, web surfing and checking social media etc.

The important thing to remember is that the Lenovo G500 is extremely cheap for its specifications. For only around 400$ you get:

Processor 3rd generation Intel® Core™ i5-3230M (2.60GHz 1600MHz 3MB)Intel® Celeron® 1005M (1.90GHz 1600MHz 2MB)
Operating System Windows 8.1 64Windows 8 64
Display 15.6″ high-definition (1366×768) display16:9 widescreen
Graphics Intel® HD Graphics
Memory Up to 8GB PC3-12800 DDR3 SDRAM 1600 MHz
Hard Drive Up to 1TB HDD storage (5400rpm)
Optical Drive DVD Recordable (Dual Layer)
Network Card Lenovo BGN Wireless
Bluetooth Optional Bluetooth® 4.0
Warranty One Year
Battery Life 5 Hours
Weight 5.73lb

These specifications actually are much better than many laptops that cost a lot more. A perfect laptop for the thrifty student!

2. HP Chromebook 11


The most inexpensive of the Chromebook line, the HP Chromebook 11 features amazing portability, beautiful design as well as excellent internet connectivity. This is a very simple device, used for mostly basic needs, like browsing the internet, listening to music and writing documents.

The simplicity of the HP Chromebook 11 hides some very nice features:

Processor Samsung Exynos 5 Dual 5250 (1.7 GHz)
Operating System Chrome OS
Display 11.6″ diagonal IPS HD LED-backlit (1366 x 768)
Graphics ARM Mali-T604
Memory On-board 2 GB 1600 MHz DDR3L
Hard Drive 16 GB eMMC
Optical Drive
Network Card Intel 802.11a/b/g/n (2×2)
Bluetooth Bluetooth 4.0
Warranty 1-year limited hardware warranty with toll-free support
Battery Life Up to 6 hours
Weight 2.26 lb

All in all, for only $229 dollars this is probably the cheapest good quality laptop you can find. For those who want to cover their basic computer needs in style, the HP Chromebook is an ideal solution.

3. Asus Transformer Book T100


A great idea for any student is an ultrabook like the awesome Asus Transformer book T100, which doubles as both a tablet and a laptop. It is quite cheap at only $329, while offering a platform on which a student can both enjoy music and videos, as well as write up assignments and emails.

While cheap, the Asus Transformer Book T100 has a lot more to offer than it would seem:

Processor Quad core Intel® Atom™ processor
Operating System Windows 8.1 with MS Office Home & Student 2013
Display 10.1″ HD (1366*768) IPS with multi-touch
Graphics Intel HD Graphics
Memory 2GB
Hard Drive 32GB eMMC
32GB eMMC With 500 GB HDD
64GB eMMC With 500 GB HDD
Optical Drive
Network Card WiFi
Bluetooth Bluetooth 4.0
Battery Life 11 h
Weight 2.4lb

This device isn’t just light and quite powerful, but it also features an 11 hour long battery life, which means you’ll be covered for the whole day, no matter how mobile and active you are!

4. HP Pavilion 15


The HP Pavilion 15 is another fantastic budget choice for the busy student. Priced at around $370, it offers decent web browsing. With its normal sized keyboard it is far better for writing assignments on than other, smaller budget laptops, making the HP Pavilion 15 one ideal for those who intent to do a lot of writing on their laptop.

This device is certainly worth your money. Just check out these decent specifications for yourself:

Processor AMD’s A4-5000 APU
Operating System Windows 8
Display Active Matrix TFT Color LCD
Graphics Radeon HD 8330
Memory 4GB of DDR3 RAM
Hard Drive 750 GB
Optical Drive DVD-Writer
Network Card IEEE 802.11b/g/n
Warranty 1 YEAR
Battery Life 5h 22min
Weight 5.1lb

If you’re looking for a basic, decent machine, the HP Pavilion 15 can serve you extremely well during your college years.

5. Acer Chromebook C720P-2600


This is one of the best Chromebooks you can find in the cheap price range. At only $299, the Acer Chromebook C720-2600 has an excellent battery life. The touch screen is bright and anti-glare, making it comfortable to use. Quite light and small, this device is ideal to cover every basic student’s needs.

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Here are the Acer Chromebook C720-2600’s specifications:

Processor 1.4 GHz Celeron 2955U
Operating System Chrome OS
Display Active Matrix TFT Color LCD
Graphics Intel HD Graphics
Hard Drive 32 GB
Optical Drive
Network Card Dual-band 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi
Warranty Limited warranty
Battery Life 7.5h
Weight 3lb

You’ll have great internet access with this device. The battery lasts the whole day and won’t just abandon you in the middle of a class. The Acer Chromebook C720-2600 is a great little device that is already very popular among students.

6. Toshiba Chromebook


The Toshiba Chromebook has pretty much everything the average student needs from a laptop and perhaps a little bit more. It costs only $299 and lets you surf the internet with top speed. You can store up to 100GB of photos, documents and videos, which you can send from your phone or PC.

It is certainly worth to give a good look at this device’s specifications:

Processor Intel Celeron 2955U
Operating System Chrome OS
Display 13.3-inch 1366×768 HD TruBrite
Graphics Intel Integrated Graphics
Memory 2GB DDR3L 1600MHz
Hard Drive 16 GB SSD
Optical Drive
Network Card Wi-Fi® Wireless networking (802.11a/g/n)
Bluetooth Bluetooth V4.0
Battery Life 7h 10min
Weight 3.17lb

With a battery life of 9 hours, this chromebook will last you throughout almost all your day if you are busy and on the go. It is an ideal solution for the student on a tight budget.

The Highest Quality Student Laptops

For those students who don’t have any budget restriction and only strive to find the best laptops for their needs, there are plenty of top notch student-friendly devices to choose from:

7. HP Spectre


If you’re looking for that ultrabook that stands above most others, then the HP Spectre is a perfect choice. With a quick i5 processor, 8GB memory and 250GB storage space, this device features many of the benefits of a PC, while also being streamlined and thin. It is perfect to carry with you as a student, taking little space, yet offering a great full sized keyboard.

The HP Spectre has a gorgeous design and packs quite a punch when it comes to its specifications:

Processor Intel® Core™ i5-4200U with Intel HD Graphics 4400
Operating System Windows 8.1 64
Display 33.8 cm (13.3″) diagonal Radiance FHD LED-backlit touch screen
Graphics Intel HD Graphics 4400
Memory 8 GB 1600 MHz DDR3L SDRAM (onboard)
Hard Drive 256 GB M.2 SSD
Optical Drive
Network Card Intel 802.11ac (2×2)
Bluetooth Bluetooth 4.0
Warranty 1 year limited
Battery Life 6h 40min
Weight 3.2lb

This is an ultrabook for those who want to enjoy some of the best that technology has to offer in this department. The $1000 dollar price tag is quite steep, but it’s backed up by pure quality.

8. Sony Vaio Pro 13


Another great laptop from Sony, the Vaio Pro 13 costs a hefty $1249, but certainly offers a lot of amenities for that money. The touch screen is large and bright; its sleek design leaves little to be wanted and the i5 processor means top speeds. This device can handle quite a few games and heavier programs than your average laptop.

The specifications reflect the price tag perfectly:

Processor 4th gen Intel® Core™ i5-4200U (1.60GHz / 2.60GHz)
Operating System Windows 8 64-bit
Display Full HD, Triluminos Display for Mobile
Graphics Intel® HD Graphics 4400
Memory 4GB RAM
Hard Drive 128GB (128GB x1) SSD
Optical Drive
Network Card Intel® Dual Band Wireless-N 7260 (802.11a/g/n)
Bluetooth Bluetooth Standard (4.0 + HS)
Warranty 1 year
Battery Life 6 h 30 min
Weight 2.34 lb

Users are most pleased with the speed, portability and numerous extra features, which make this an ideal laptop for busy students who enjoy a big budget.

9. Apple MacBook Air


This laptop is quite expensive, starting at $899, and perhaps a little bit overhyped. It still deserves a spot on the top 20 list for its sheer popularity and decent specs. The cheapest version has a 9 hour battery life, which is very good for a student’s busy days. It is thin, light and quite sturdy for its size.

Here are the complete specifications of the Apple MacBook Air with a 13” screen:

Processor 1.4GHz dual-core Intel Core i5
Operating System OS X Mavericks
Display 13.3-inch (diagonal) LED-backlit glossy widescreen display
Graphics Intel HD Graphics 5000
Memory 4GB of 1600MHz LPDDR3 onboard memory
Hard Drive 128GB PCIe-based flash storage
Optical Drive
Network Card 802.11ac Wi-Fi networking;4 IEEE 802.11a/b/g/n compatible
Bluetooth Bluetooth 4.0
Warranty 1 year limited
Battery Life 12 h
Weight 2.96 lb

This laptop offers some of the highest Wi-Fi speeds and sports the usual great and dependable Mac OS. Just beware that Apple’s cheaper options aren’t as good as the more expensive ones in many fields.

10. Alienware 17


Some students want an amazing laptop for serious gaming and Alienware 17 is certainly one of the best choices for that specific use. Starting at $1499 this is the most expensive laptop of the list and for good reason. Games are usually very hard to play well on laptops, because they are designed for PCs. The Alienware 17 does an amazing job circumventing all the usual laptop weaknesses with sheer technological power.

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Just take a good look at these awesome specs:

Processor 4th Gen Intel® Core™ i7 processors
Operating System Windows® 8.1 (64Bit)
Display 17.3-inch display
Graphics NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 860M graphics with 2GB total GDDR5
Memory 8GB Memory
Hard Drive 256GB Lite-On SSD 750GB 7200RPM (WD7500BPKT) secondary hard drive
Optical Drive 8X DVD slot-load DVD burner
Network Card Broadcom 4352 802.11n/ac wireless LAN
Bluetooth 4.0
Warranty 1 year limited
Battery Life 4h 9min
Weight 9.2 lb

If you want to spend lots of time playing games on a laptop that’s light and extremely powerful (and you don’t mind the pricetag), then Alienware 17 is your machine.

11. Lenovo ThinkPad X240


Costing around $950, the Lenovo ThinkPad X240 is one of the best laptops out there. It’s most prominent features is the quite high 8.7 hour battery time, which keeps you covered throughout a typical student life’s day. Light, sturdy and very powerful, this device will certainly tick all the right boxes for you.

Check out the specifications here:

Processor 4th Gen Intel Core i3-4010U Processor (3MB Cache, 1.70GHz)
Operating System Windows 8.1 64
Display 12.5″ HD (1366 x 768) LED Backlit AntiGlare Display
Graphics Intel HD Graphics 4400
Memory 4GB PC3-12800 DDR3L SDRAM 1600MHz SODIMM
Hard Drive 500GB Hard Disk Drive, 7200rpm
Optical Drive
Network Card Intel Single Band Wireless 7260BN
Bluetooth 4.0 (optional)
Warranty 1 Year Depot or Carry-in
Battery Life 8.7 h
Weight >3lb

Students with a big budget will certainly love listening to music, browsing the web and studying on this amazing device. This is certainly one of the best Lenovo laptops you can get!

The Balanced Student Laptops

Usually the best choice for a student is to put a little bit of money aside and opt for a laptop in the average price range. These laptops offer more than basic uses and make for a great, cost-effective investment for your college years.
Here are out top choices when it comes to balanced, average priced laptops:

12. Samsung Ativ Book 9 Lite


Not too expensive at $749, the Ativ Book 9 Lite is lighter than your average paperback book! With a quad-processor, this laptop is excellent for plenty of games and apps. The touch screen allows you to swipe, tap and even pinch, making it possible to browse the web faster and use many specialized touch screen apps.

Just one look at the Ativ Book 9 Lite’s specifications will certainly not fail to impress:

Processor AMD Quad-Core Processor Optimized for Samsung
Operating System Windows 8.1 (64-bit)
Display 13.3″ LED HD
Graphics AMD Radeon™ HD 8250 Graphics
Memory 4GB DDR3L (1066 MHz)
Hard Drive 128GB SSD SATA3
Optical Drive
Network Card 802.11 b/g/n
Bluetooth 4.0
Warranty 1 Year Standard Parts and Labor
Battery Life 5.5h
Weight 3.48 lb

The battery life isn’t too great, but the power of this device makes more than up for that. You won’t even notice you’re carrying this extremely light laptop as you run from class to class.

13. Lenovo IdeaPad Z400 Touch


A bit heavy for its size, the Lenovo IdeaPad Z400 Touch is an amazing laptop that will serve any student well. Very sturdy, like all Lenovo computers, this model sports a touch screen and a good hard drive. It might be a bit bulky, but costing only $700 it certainly is worth the investment.

You can find Lenovo IdeaPad Z400 Touch’s specifications here:

Processor 3rd generation Intel® Core™ i3-3120M
Operating System Windows 8 64
Display 14″ HD+ display 16:9 widescreen
Graphics Intel® HD Graphics 4000
Memory 4GB
Hard Drive 320GB
Optical Drive DVD reader/writer
Network Card Intel Centrino Wireless N-2230 802.11 b/g/n WiFi
Bluetooth 4.0
Warranty Limited
Battery Life 5h
Weight 5.29 lb

This is the ideal laptop for someone who wants a little bit of the ultrabook specs, without having to fork out a fortune to get them. Lenovo has created another excellent laptop with good value for money.

14. Lenovo Thinkpad 11e


Sturdy and durable, the Lenovo Thinkpad 11e comes at a very decent price of around $529. This is an extremely well built notebook that can take some rough handling and survive a few falls. It is ideal for all student work, as well as browsing the net and using touch screen apps.

You can find its specifications here:

Processor Intel Celeron N2920 Processor (2MB Cache, up to 2.00GHz)
Operating System Windows 8.1
Display 11.6″ HD LED
Graphics Intel® HD
Memory 4GB PC3-12800 DDR3L SDRAM 1600MHz SODIMM
Hard Drive 320GB Hard Disk Drive, 7200rpm
Optical Drive
Network Card Intel Dual Band Wireless 7260AN
Bluetooth 4.0
Warranty 1 year depot-carry on
Battery Life 6.5 h
Weight 3.3 lb

This is quite an inexpensive, sturdy notebook, ideal for even young students and school kids. With the Lenovo Thinkpad 11e you don’t have to worry about breaking your notepad on a busy, hectic day or when students accidentally shove you in the classroom.

15. Lenovo Yoga 11S


The Lenovo Yoga 11s is a very good choice for those who want an ultra-portable device that has a flip around display and focuses on practicality first. The price of $570 dollars makes it quite cheaper than most popular notebook/laptop choices. The processor is good, the memory decent and overall the Lenovo Yoga 11s is a very good student laptop.

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For a closer look at its specification you can go here:

Processor 3rd generation Intel® Core™ i3-3229Y (1.40GHz 1600MHz 3MB)
Operating System Windows 8 64
Display 11.6″ multimode high-definition (1366 x 768)
Graphics Integrated Intel® HD Graphics 4000
Memory 4 GB
Hard Drive 128GB
Optical Drive
Network Card 802.11 b/g/n
Bluetooth 4.0
Warranty 1 year
Battery Life 6 h
Weight 3.1 lb

The Lenovo Toga 11s strikes a very good balance between using cheaper tech and still being just as useful for a student as most laptops out there!

16. Lenovo IdeaPad U 430


If you love Lenovo’s sturdiness and reliability, but want one of the better models, then the Lenovo IdeaPad U430 is a very good choice. At $700 it still is in the middle price range and offers plenty of great features, like voice control, enhanced graphics and 10 hours of battery life.

For the complete specifications you can check here:

Processor 4th Generation Intel® Core i7-4500U
Operating System Windows 8.1 64
Display 14″ high-definition 250 nits (1600 x 900) 16:9 widescreen display with multitouch
Graphics Intel® HD Graphics 4000
Memory 4.0GB PC3-12800 DDR3L SDRAM 1600 MHz
Hard Drive Hybrid 500GB 5400RPM + 8GB SSHD
Optical Drive
Network Card Wi-Fi connectivity
Bluetooth 4.0
Warranty 1 year limited
Battery Life 10 h
Weight 4.2 lb

Many students need a decent laptop for some games, quick student work and plenty of online fun. Lenovo IdeaPad U430 offers all that for a very good price, rivaling much more expensive laptops in its value for money ratio.

17. Asus X552CL


While this isn’t a laptop to try the latest games on, the Asus X552CL is extremely good at doing everything decently well. It costs only around $450 dollars and will fulfill every student’s typical needs, like browsing the web and writing documents just as well as many more expensive devices would.

Check the specifications here:

Processor Intel Core i5-3337U
Operating System Windows 8
Display 15.6”
Graphics Nvidia GeForce GT 710M
Memory 6.00GB
Hard Drive 750GB
Optical Drive Super-Multi DVD
Network Card 802.11n
Bluetooth 4.0
Warranty 2 year limited
Battery Life ~3 hours 20 minutes
Weight 5.3 lb

This is one of the best balanced laptops you can find. With a beautiful design and decent tech, this laptop will serve a student well for many years.

18. Acer Aspire E1-572-510P


For only $448, this laptop has many amazing features that are sure to serve every student well. The battery life is good, the price is awesome and your even get a touch screen. Sadly, the touch screen isn’t very bright and this laptop isn’t a powerhouse of a device, but it will work well for many years to come.

The Acer Inspire E1-572-510P sports these specifications:

Processor Intel Celeron N2920
Operating System Windows 8.1
Display 15.6”
Graphics Intel HD Graphics
Memory 8 GB
Hard Drive 500GB
Optical Drive Dual-Layer DVD+/-RW
Network Card 802.11n
Warranty Limited
Battery Life 6 h
Weight 5.84 lb

This is a laptop you can trust to do everything a student needs done. For its price, this laptop is an absolute bargain for the thrifty buyer.

19. Sony Vaio Fit 15e


Another incredible budget laptop, Sony Vaio Fit 15e allows you to tweak its specifications to your needs. This little device is compact, light and cleverly designed. It has a battery life of 5.25 hours and has a very comfortable keyboard with a big wrist-rest area. Good enough for some gaming and a lot of web browsing, the extra features of this laptop are what really make it stand out.

Check out the specifications of the Sony Vaio Fit 15e here:

Processor Intel Core i3-3227U
Operating System Windows 8
Display 15.5”
Graphics Intel HD Graphics 4000
Memory 4.00GB
Hard Drive 500GB HDD
Optical Drive DVD writer (optional)
Network Card 802.11 b/g/n
Bluetooth Yes
Warranty 1 year
Battery Life 5 hours and 25 minutes
Weight 6 lb

Sturdy and beautiful, the Dell Latitude 3330 offers a great browsing experience and works very well for its price-range.

20. Dell Latitude 3330


The Dell Latitude 3330 is an excellent laptop for anyone who needs a good, basic laptop to do student work on and for some decent web browsing. It has very good value at around $543 with its decent specs, comfortable keyboard and accurate touchpad. The light design s well as the good battery life makes this laptop be worth every penny.
You can check out the specifications of the Dell Latitude 3330 here:

Processor Intel Core i5-3337U
Operating System Windows 7 Pro, Windows 8
Display 13.3” HD
Graphics Intel® HD 4000
Memory 4GB DDR3
Hard Drive 500GB HHD
Optical Drive Optional External DVD+/-RW
Network Card Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11n Wi-Fi single-band
Bluetooth Optional
Warranty 1 year
Battery Life 8h (light use)
Weight 3.4 lb

Sturdy and beautiful, the Dell Latitude 3330 offers a great browsing experience and works very well for its price-range.

We hope this list can be helpful in making your decision. Remember, always know what you want before going out and purchasing that way you can get the best laptop for your budget. Do your research, look at reviews, and don’t be afraid to ask questions from companies and sales reps.