The Best Laptops for University Students

By Tom Pritchard on at

The new academic year is fast approaching, and with it comes 8-9 months of coursework, lectures, research, and all the other studenty things that breaks up drinking sessions. Unless you plan on working with pen and paper or fighting in the library for a seat at one of the good computers, you'll need some sort of portable computer to get your work done. Here's are a few of the better options for you to consider.

Microsoft Surface 3, £390

If you're looking for something with great portability, the Surface 3 is a great option. This is the cheapest model, with 2GB of RAM, 64GB of storage, Wi-Fi, a 10.8-inch 1080p display, a 3-position kickstand, an quad-core Intel Atom processor, a USB 3.0 port, Mini Display Port, a microUSB port, and a microSD card reader. The battery life is estimated to last about 10 hours. Bear in mind that this doesn't come with the Surface Pro 3 Type Cover, or the Surface Pen. It does come with a year's subscription to Office 365 (which also comes with 1TB of free OneDrive storage for the duration).

You also get 3 months of Now TV and a 10% student discount if you buy directly from Microsoft. [Buy it here | Buy it direct from Microsoft]

HP Stream 11, £179

A laptop doesn't have to cost a fortune, and if you'd rather save your limited student funds for beer or bills try the HP Stream 11. It's a laptop with a full version of Windows, a dual-core 2.6GHZ processor, 2GB of RAM, HMDI, Bluetooth, USB 2.0 and 3.0, and a 5.6 hour battery life. The downside here is that it only has 32GB of storage, but it does come a year's subscription to Office 365 which includes 1TB of free OneDrive storage for a year. There's also an SD card reader you can use for expansion. [Buy it here]

Macbook Air 11", £590

If you value sleek design, want a laptop that isn't going to kill your back, or you plain just don't like Windows, try the 11-inch Macbook Air. It weighs 1.2 kilos, has an 11-inch screen with a 1366x768 resolution, a 1.6GHz i5 processor, 4GB of RAM, a 128GB SSD, and OS X Yosemite. It's a perfect choice for design and sound students, plus if you hold off until you get your university email you can get up to 15% off. [Buy it here]

Acer Chromebook 15.6", £230

Not a fan of Windows, but don't want to pay up for a Mac? Looks like you need a Chromebook. This one from Acer has a nice big screen to work with, 32GB of storage, 2GB of RAM, a glare-free 1080p display, a 1.5GHz dual-core processor, and an all-day battery life. It's a little heavy at 3kg, but if you want a nice lightweight OS for the basics this will do nicely. [Buy it here]

Lenovo ThinkPad E555, £300

ThinkPads have a pretty iconic design, but these days getting that design means throwing wads of cash at Lenovo. That's not the case with the ThinkPad E555, and you get that classic design without paying too much. For the price of £300 you get a 6.3 hour battery life, a 500GB hard drive, 4GB of RAM, a 15.6-inch 1366 x 768 resolution display, a DVD drive, and a quad-core 1.8 GHz processor. At 2.4kg, it's a little heavy for what you get but you can't beat that classic design. [Buy it here]

Acer Aspire V7, £652

This is a nice entry-level gaming laptop, with 4GB of RAM (it's all you really need!), a NVIDIA GeForce GT 720M with 2GB of dedicated memory, and an i5 dual-core 1.7GHz processor. It also has a 15.6-inch 1080p display, a 520 GB hard drive, and a nice seamless design. If you want something that'll tackle your work, and satisfy your PC gaming needs, this is definitely one to look at. [Buy it here]

HP Pavilion X2, £249

Looking for a laptop/tablet hybrid? Look no further. The HP Pavilion X2 itself is actually a Windows tablet that connects to the keyboard to form a laptop. That means you can actually disconnect the display if you don't feel like lugging around the keyboard. It also has up to 12-hours of battery life, 2GB of RAM, a quad-core 1.33 GHz processor, a 10.1-inch 720p display, a touchscreen, 32GB of storage, micro HDMI, and a single USB 2.0 port. [Buy it here]

Dell XPS 13 (2015), £849

If you want something New-Macbook-like, but don't want to actually buy a Macbook, this might work for you. It's got the same sleek and slim design, a 15 hour battery life, a 13.3-inch 1080p display, 4GB of RAM, a 128GB SSD, and a dual-core 2.2GHz i5 processor. Plus, unlike the new Macbook it doesn't require you to buy an adaptor to charge and use your ports at the same time. It has 2x USB 3.0 ports, a 3-in-1 card reader, and mini DisplayPort. [Buy it here]

Asus ROG GL551, £924

This is an expensive one, but if you're serious about PC gaming but still need something you can carry around to work on, this this is a nice choice. The Asus ROG GL551 has a 15.6-inch 1080p display, a 1TB hard drive, 16GB of RAM, a quad-core 2.6GHZ Intel i7 processor, a Blu-Ray drive, and a NVIDIA GeForceTM GTX 960M with 2GB of memory. [Buy it here]

Asus Zenbook UX305, £630

This one is a nice slim premium feel laptop, with a few features that help the portability side of things. For starters the UX305 has one of Intel's Core M processors (dual-core 2GHz), which means there are no vents that collect more dust than the underside of your sofa. The aluminium design also means that it only weights 1.2kg, and it's got a nice 13.3-inch full HD display. It also has 8GB of RAM, a 128GB SSD, a 2-in-1 card reader, 3x USB 3.0, and micro HDMI. [Buy it here]

Featured Image: English106/Flickr (modified)

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