Top 8 Laptops for Your College Years

College laptops should be more efficient and durable to last your assignment workload, last-minute presentations, take notes, and more. In other words, your school laptop might fail you especially if the device is years old. Are you looking for the best match for your higher academics at college?

This guide will introduce you to a variety of college-compatible laptops. We have tested all these laptops’ functionality, features, battery life, and more. Thus, we can recommend the best choices if you are off to college. After all, a college laptop should last you at least 4 years in a stretch.

Therefore, you can manage well between your housing, tuition, and textbook costs including your laptop expenses. Additionally, your next laptop purchase for college should be reliably portable. Let’s discover more about what you should focus on while selecting the right college laptop from our list of recommendations.

Best Choices for College-Worthy Laptops

Sticking to a single laptop for your college seems the most impossible task since so many choices are available in the market. Laptop Repair Dubai specialists are here to help you choose the best fit according to your technical requirements, budget, and more. 

Starting from MacBooks, and elite Windows laptops to mid-range Windows and Chromebooks – we understand how your selection may vary. Let’s review the best laptops for college in 2024 and beyond:

1. Apple MacBook Air (with M1, Late 2020)

Are you looking for a powerful laptop that can handle your coding, intense video editing, or similar tasks? Then, you can give the Apple Macbook Air with an M1 processor a swing. First of all, its 13.3-inch Retina display makes it highly portable. Furthermore, the unibody metal design and construction are available in Silver, Gold, and Space Grey. So far, here are the perks of owning this MacBook Air variant as your college buddy:

  • Outstanding battery backup
  • Affordably-priced laptop, especially for a MacBook
  • Power-packed performance due to the presence of the M1 processor
  • Sleek and portable build
  • Exceptional display quality
  • Impressive keyboard and touchpad combination

Meanwhile, let’s go through some tech specs of this Apple MacBook Air:

  • Processor: Apple M1
  • Graphics Processor: Apple M1
  • RAM: 8GB
  • Boot Drive Capacity: 256 GB (SSD)
  • Refresh Rate: 60Hz
  • Wireless Compatibility: Bluetooth, 802.11ax
  • Operating System: Apple macOS
  • Screen: 13.3-inch IPS panel 2560 x 1600

So, the MacBook Air M1 (Late 2020) is the most affordable and reliable choice as a college notebook if you appreciate Apple laptops. However, the following cons might disappoint you a little:

  • No touch-screen
  • Limited USB Type-C ports available

On the other hand, you can check out the MacBook Air M2 (2022) if you are looking for some serious upgrades and a beautiful webcam experience. Not to mention, this upgrade pick will cost you more.

2. Dell G15 Gaming Laptop

Undoubtedly, gaming laptops are built with more advanced rigs compared to regular ones. If you are a college student with a knack towards PC gaming then Dell G15 is an inexpensive way to begin your journey. You can use this notebook as an everyday notebook as well as a powerful gaming rig.

On the other hand, Dell G15 can handle intensive STEM applications. Moreover, its 15.6-inch screen makes it perfect for enjoying high-rated games. Here’s how Dell G15 bowled us with its impeccable features and versatility:

  • Impressive display quality and size
  • A variety of configurations are available to choose from
  • Excellent performance
  • Can be doubled as both gaming and everyday basis

Check out the technical specifications of the Dell 15 gaming laptop:

  • Processor: 13th Gen Intel Core i5
  • Graphics Processor: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050
  • RAM: 8GB (up to 16GB)
  • Storage: 512 GB SSD (up to 1TB)
  • Refresh Rate: 120Hz
  • Wireless Compatibility: Bluetooth, 802.11ax
  • Operating System: Windows 11
  • Screen: 15.6-inch 1920 x 1080 FHD

Well, the Dell G15 gaming laptop might not be everyone’s choice due to the following reasons:

  • A limited number of ports
  • The least configuration doesn’t offer a decent amount of storage
  • Ordinary keyboard and touchpad

You can also review the Dell G16 gaming laptop if you prefer a bigger screen. Additionally, the Dell G16 gaming laptop is powered by the Core i7 processor and next-gen NVIDIA RTX 4050 graphics processors. 

3. Asus Zenbook 14 OLED

A considerable budget and feature-rich laptop might sound contrary but it’s possible with Asus Zenbook 14 OLED. This laptop checks almost every box to qualify as a must-have for most college students. It has a stunning 14-inch OLED touchscreen and a sleek chassis. Hence, the laptop can be a style statement for every college goer.

On top of that, the laptop battery will last for a decent time. Here are some more advantages of owning an Asus Zenbook 14 OLED:

  • Powerful RAM
  • Sturdy and ultraportable design
  • Reasonable price
  • Good performance compared to the price
  • Long-lasting battery
  • Impressive screen quality

Let’s review the tech specs of the Asus Zenbook 14 OLED laptop:

  • Processor: AMD Ryzen 7 7730U
  • Graphics Processor: AMD Radeon Graphics
  • RAM: 16GB
  • Storage: 512 GB SSD
  • Refresh Rate: 90Hz
  • Wireless Compatibility: Bluetooth, Wi-Fi 6E
  • Operating System: Windows 11
  • Screen: 14-inch OLED 2880 x 1800 display

As tested, the Asus Zenbook 14 OLED laptop can provide a video playback of 15 hours and counting. Hence, runtime won’t be an issue. However, the laptop is solely powered by AMD processors and the AMD processor in use lags behind Intel-enhanced devices. So, you can give it a miss if you prefer Intel-powered devices over AMD ones.

4. Acer Swift 3 14-inch (2020)

A budget laptop is under every college student’s radar. On the other hand, the laptop should be powerful enough for handling day-to-day assignments, notes, presentations, and more. The Swift range from Acer is not a cheap one but an older rig’s price has dropped. Therefore, you don’t have to compromise on specs due to budget.

By the way, Acer Swift 3 from 2020 is a lightweight and compact notebook that will last 13 hours in a stretch. Here’s why you should keep Acer Swift 3 on your shortlist:

  • Nice 14-inch full-screen IPS display
  • Thin and lightweight
  • High-end Intel processor
  • Various configurations to choose from
  • Great CPU performance
  • Wide port selection

Before you proceed, you must check out the technical specifications of the Acer Swift 3 (2020) model:

  • Processor: 11th Gen Intel Core i5 (upgradable to Core i7)
  • Graphics Processor: Intel Iris Xe Graphics
  • RAM: 8GB (up to 16GB)
  • Storage: up to 512 GB SSD
  • Refresh Rate: 60Hz (up to 90Hz)
  • Wireless Compatibility: Bluetooth, 802.11ax
  • Operating System: Windows 11
  • Screen: 14-inch IPS display with 1920 x 1080 resolution

Moreover, the battery life of the Acer Swift is approximately 13.9 hours with web browsing. The only hiccups of owning this Acer Swift notebook are:

  • Underexposed image quality
  • Poor webcam
  • Mediocre microphone

5. Microsoft Surface Pro 9

Do you want a little spin on your next college purchase? Then, you must try Microsoft Surface Pro 9. It won’t be exaggerating if we say it’s the best 2-in-1 tablet you can invest in for convenient note-taking and other productive tasks. The Intel-Core version of the Microsoft Surface Pro 9 is an exceptional choice for college students.

Here’s what to like about Microsoft Surface Pro 9:

  • Amazing CPU performance
  • Sleek design
  • Upgradable storage options
  • Windows operating system-powered
  • Best 2-in-1 convertible experience
  • Sunning camera quality
  • Two USB-C or thunderbolt-4 ports
  • Impressive runtime

Moreover, you should check the tech specs before committing to the Microsoft Surface Pro 9:

  • Processor: Intel Core i7-1255U
  • Graphics Processor: Intel Iris Xe Graphics
  • RAM: 16GB
  • Storage: up to 256 GB SSD
  • Refresh Rate: 120Hz
  • Wireless Compatibility: Bluetooth 5.2, 802.11ax
  • Operating System: Windows 11 Home
  • Screen: 13-inch IPS display 2880 x 1920

However, this detachable 2-in-1 notebook doesn’t come with essential accessories. So, you have to buy them separately. Additionally, the following points are the reasons you might avoid the Microsoft Surface Pro 9 as your college laptop:

  • High starting price
  • No headphone jack
  • 5G connectivity is only available with SQ3 processor and not the Intel one

6. Lenovo IdeaPad Slim 3i 14 Chromebook

A cheap laptop must be on the list of the best laptops for college students. That’s why we tested Lenovo IdeaPadSlim 3i Chromebook 14 (2023). However, this laptop is not for everyone as it’s a Chromebook and ideal for those who prefer browsing and web-based applications. So, you won’t get a full-laptop experience from this Lenovo Chromebook.

Still, Lenovo IdeaPad Slim 3i Chromebook 14 has a lot to offer to potential users, such as:

  • Compact and sleek design
  • Full HD display
  • 13 hours of battery runtime (light use)
  • Cheap Chromebook
  • Lightweight device
  • Touch input supported
  • Decent webcam of 1080p with a privacy shutter

Let’s check out the tech specs of Lenovo IdeaPad Slim 3i Chromebook 14:

  • Processor: Intel Core i3-N305
  • Graphics Processor: Integrated Intel UHD Graphics
  • RAM: 8GB
  • Storage: 128 GB eMMC 5.1 TLC
  • Refresh Rate: 60Hz
  • Wireless Compatibility: Bluetooth 5.1, 802.11ax
  • Operating System: Chrome OS
  • Screen: 14-inch FHD IPS antiglare 1920 x 1080

Moreover, you will get a lot of slots such as:

  • 2 x USB-A ports
  • USB-C port
  • HDMI 1.4b
  • Kensington lock slot
  • Headphone/mic combo

The only con of this brilliant Lenovo Chromebook is that you won’t get Windows support. Alternatively, you can check out the Acer Chromebook Spin 714 if you want to do almost everything using the Chrome browser or respective Android application.

7. Dell XPS 15 (2023)

Many college students prefer desktop computers over laptops due to more powerful specs and uncompromised efficiency. If you are looking for a desktop replacement, the Dell XPS 15 is an award-winning choice. As a matter of fact, this slim laptop has everything to impress you.

Here are the potential reasons to invest in the Dell XPS 15 notebook more than anything else:

  • Outstanding build quality
  • Faster performance than ever
  • Stunning OLED touchscreen
  • Long battery life
  • Impressive GPUs

In addition, you should go through the specs of the Dell XPS 15 model:

  • Processor: Intel Core i7-13700H
  • Graphics Processor: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4070
  • RAM: 32GB
  • Storage: 1TB SSD
  • Refresh Rate: 60Hz
  • Wireless Compatibility: Bluetooth 5.1, 802.11ax
  • Operating System: Windows 11
  • Screen: 15.6-inch 4K OLED 345 x 2160

Indeed, we tested the battery life of the Dell XPS 15 and it was more than 14 hours. Hence, it will last you solid hours when you are at college or watching a movie. However, the reasons below can change your mind regarding purchasing the Dell XPS 15 laptop:

  • 720p webcam
  • Only USB-C ports (including the adapter) are available
  • Limited graphics performance

8. Asus ROG Zephyrus G14

As a gaming enthusiast and college student, you might be looking for better specs than what the Dell G15 has. For you, the Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 will be the best choice. During downtime, you can enjoy your favourite games on this specialised laptop by Asus.

Surprisingly, the Asus ROG Zephyrus has full DCI P3 coverage and you can get the maximum brightness even in the outdoors. So far, we have found the following advantages of the Asus ROG Zephyrus G14:

  • Smooth gaming experience
  • Perfect for colour-critical tasks
  • Nice QHD display
  • Variable refresh rate
  • Powerful AMD Ryzen CPU and equivalent GPU
  • Supports 3D graphics

Here’s what you need to know about Asus ROG Zephyrus G14’s tech specs:

  • Processor: AMD Ryzen 7 5800HS
  • Graphics Processor: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060
  • RAM: 8GB
  • Storage: 2TB SSD
  • Refresh Rate: 144Hz
  • Wireless Compatibility: Bluetooth 5.1, 802.11ax
  • Operating System: Windows 10 Home
  • Screen:14-inch 1920 x 1080

Furthermore, the gaming laptop from the Asus ROG series has a backlit keyboard, fingerprint sensor, standard HDMI port, 4 USB ports, and Kensington Lock Port. The battery will easily last if you use the laptop for light tasks. However, the battery lifetime will be much less if you deploy GPU-intensive operations.

What should you Look Out for in a College Laptop?

First of all, the chosen college laptop should have sufficient storage since you have to save too many files, documents, lectures, etc. On the other hand, the device must be lightweight, portable, and compact. Too big screens may be a problem while hanging out. 

Additionally, always look for powerful CPU, GPU, wireless connectivity, battery and port options. Moreover, take care of the budget. Besides this, you can ass or remove features according to your preference while sorting laptops.