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What Are the Best Laptops for College?

Jessica Ellis
By
Updated May 17, 2024
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Buying a laptop is a major investment for many students who will use the machine on a daily basis. The best laptops for college will be suited to the individual needs and requirements of the student. When looking for the best laptops for college, carefully consider factors such as price, function, weight and durability. Doing research into laptop reviews before buying will certainly help you winnow out the correct model for you or your student.

Laptops can be quite expensive, but prices change quickly in a market with consistent new releases. Expect to pay about $300-$400 US Dollars (USD) for a brand new basic model. With greater features, more space and better operating systems, prices can double or triple for a top-of-the-line model. If budget is a serious consideration for you, consider looking into refurbished laptops. These are often restored to perfect condition by experts and are available at a much lower price than new models.

In choosing the best laptops for college, an important consideration will be the needs of the student’s curriculum. A design student may need a system capable of handling 3D model programs, while a literature major may need only a word processor and access to the Internet. If this will be the student’s only computer, consider factors like CD burning capabilities, or the ability to download movies and music for entertainment. Hard-drive space, RAM, and the type of included graphics card will help you determine whether a model fits your needs.

As you will most likely be lugging this laptop to campus and back, weight is a serious thing to consider when choosing the best laptops for college. The marvels of technology have allowed miniaturization of many computer components; the lightest laptops now weigh less than 3 lbs (1.3 kg). However, these “ultra lights” are often extremely expensive and usually include fewer features and lower capacities. Ultra lights also bring up another factor: durability.

Hauling a computer around campus is a great way to have information at your fingertips, but also makes it easier to damage your precious possession. Generally, the heavier a laptop, the more durable the materials, giving you added protection for your laptop. Investing in a well padded laptop bag can also help protect the machine from accidental bumps and drops. Because these lightweight machines are inherently somewhat delicate, you may want to check into warranties or insurance that cover accidental breakage and damage.

The best laptops for college are ones that can meet your needs for school, entertainment and even individuality. With models available in a rainbow of colors and a huge market in removable laptop skins, you should have no trouble making your computer an expression of yourself as well as a necessary tool. Remember to choose based on system requirements first, however, and accessorize later. The prettiest laptop in the world will become your enemy when you can’t install necessary software because you’ve run out of space.

Ultimately, the best laptops for college are those that meet your specific needs, whether it's for note-taking, research, or online tutoring. They should offer a balance of performance, portability, and price. Remember, a good laptop is an investment in your education, so choose wisely. With the right laptop, you can enhance your learning experience, making college life more manageable and productive.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Jessica Ellis
By Jessica Ellis , Writer
With a B.A. in theater from UCLA and a graduate degree in screenwriting from the American Film Institute, Jessica Ellis brings a unique perspective to her work as a writer for WiseGeek. While passionate about drama and film, Jessica enjoys learning and writing about a wide range of topics, creating content that is both informative and engaging for readers.

Discussion Comments

By Babalaas — On Jul 12, 2010

@ Georgesplane & Fiorite- you both offer good reasons to purchase a quality laptop. I would like to offer another reason. A quality laptop is more environmentally friendly than their cheaper counterparts are. Quality laptops are often made with recycled materials. They are more energy efficient. They are often manufactured with less mercury, lead, and other dangerous heavy metals. Lastly they are easier to recycle, and more likely to be bought by someone who can reuse it.

By Fiorite — On Jul 12, 2010

My advice is to purchase the best laptop you can afford. You will be using the laptop for four years, and it will be one of the most important things during your college life.

Chances are you will be using your laptop for more than just schoolwork. Your laptop will become your DVD player, social networking portal, and your mobile filing cabinet. You want a laptop that will be able to withstand four years of abuse, if not more.

It can be just as costly to purchase an expensive laptop, as it is to purchase two laptops. It can be even more expensive if you have to replace the software that you had on your old laptop. Many student editions of software may only offer you one software license, leaving you hundreds in the hole when you purchase a new one.

Also, don't forget the time it takes to set up and transfer information from an old laptop to a new one. You will likely have better things to do on your weekend off.

By Georgesplane — On Jul 12, 2010

If you can afford it, consider buying a laptop with a solid-state drive. These laptops are more durable, and they will keep your data safe in case you drop or bump your laptop. It is also easier to recover data when something like water damages your computer.

You may spend a little more for one of these laptops, but it could be worthwhile if you only have to buy a laptop once during your college career. If you cannot afford it, look for laptops that have built in accelerometers. These devices will automatically lock your hard drive when it suspects your laptop is falling, saving anything you may be working on.

Jessica Ellis

Jessica Ellis

Writer

With a B.A. in theater from UCLA and a graduate degree in screenwriting from the American Film Institute, Jessica Ellis...
Learn more
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