Happy female student with a laptop and notebooks

Looking for the best laptops for students right now? From cheap and cheerful to high-end machines, we’ve picked out the laptops that should help you stay at the top of your academic game. Whether you’re pumping yourself up for freshers’ week or grappling with your dissertation, we want to make sure you’re well equipped for university life, as far as technology is concerned anyway

So What makes the best laptop for a student? Here are few things to consider when looking for your perfect laptop.

Design and Build Quality
Nobody really wants to be weighed down by a laptop that breaks bag straps and functions better as a desktop. Thanks to more efficient hardware, fewer laptops require fans and so they’re getting thinner, lighter and more attractive by the year. All of the models in our round-up would fit comfortably into any standard rucksack or messenger bag and weigh comfortably less than 1.5kg. We’ve also included highly-versatile hybrids that serve as both laptops and tablets. They’re equally adept at being used for typing up essays as they are for watching movies in bed or reading on the bus. A further bonus is that you won’t need to shell out on two separate devices. Generally, unless you need a more powerful laptop, it’s best to look at thinner and lighter laptops under 2kg in weight.

Performance and Price
Hardware doesn’t just affect design, of course. Today’s best chips are powerful enough to handle complex 3D games and video editing, but they come at a cost, only featuring in the most expensive laptops. Generally speaking, however, students are restricted by tight budgets, and are thus constrained to the lower end of the market.

Battery Life
Unless you have guaranteed access to a power socket, there’s no point taking a laptop into university with you if you know it’ll run out of battery before the end of the day. None of the laptops in this round-up are lacking in this department, and a couple are capable of going for over 10 hours between charges. That’s enough to conquer even the most gruelling of lecture timetables, even if your brain can’t.

Screen and Sound
Movies and entertainment are central to all students’ university experience, so it’s important to keep an eye out for display size and quality. Resolution isn’t everything, with colour reproduction, black levels and viewing angles each dramatically affecting picture quality. While screens measuring 10 inches and below are great for using on the go, reading on the bus for instance, 11-inch%2B panels offer a vastly superior movie viewing experience.

Several of the laptops in our list feature touch-enabled displays, which are often easier to interact with than traditional trackpads. The Surface Pro 3 arguably makes the most of this feature, thanks to the seamless integration of its excellent stylus with OneNote. Sound quality, too, is worth considering, though it’s best to invest in a speaker if you’re serious about your music. While several of the laptops in this round-up deliver in terms of volume and clarity, they’re all lacking in one key area – bass.

Lenovo ThinkPad 11e Chromebook
Lenovo Yoga 300 11-inch
Acer Chromebook 15.6-inch
Dell Chromebook
HP Pavilion x2