Best Laptops for College Students
More and more, those pursuing a higher education need a laptop that’s dependable, lightweight, and easy to carry. It’s certainly still possible to get through college with only pencil and paper, but it’s difficult to argue against the speed at which you can take notes with an actual laptop. Not only that, but college courses are becoming increasingly dependent on online-based systems where students can submit assignments without using paper. To this end, it is becoming absolutely essential to own a portable computer of some kind, and the more portable it is, the better. Luckily, it’s a fantastic time to be looking for ultra-mobile devices since nearly all PC manufacturers are moving towards slim, sleek, and simple designs..
A great example of this is the recent trend towards tablet/laptop hybrids. Right now these hybrid models are a bit more expensive than plain laptops, but they offer a ton of functionality and convenience that wouldn’t go unappreciated by college students. Especially among this kind of audience, having both a laptop’s productivity and a tablet’s ease of use for consuming content means that it’s an all-around win, both in terms of utility and in terms of cost. More specifically, since a hybrid unit can act as both kinds of devices, this means that less money has to be spent on getting two separate devices. They’re among the best laptops for college students that money can buy.
Within the last year or so, Microsoft has entered the PC market with their own hybrid product that has received a lot of positive reviews. Called the Surface, it’s a mobile device that can act as both a tablet (complete with slick touch screen interface) and as a touchscreen laptop with a full keyboard. Either way, it runs Windows, which is what’s on the vast majority of computers today.
There are two different models available. The regular Surface 2 tablet is $449 and runs Windows RT, which is basically Windows 8 made to run on a different kind of processor. This bit is important, though, because Windows RT cannot run most of the regular Windows desktop applications. You are limited to what’s on the Windows Store as well as the bundled Office RT suite. For a lot of people, this may not be an issue since media consumption and Office work comprise the majority of needed functionality. However, the lack of ability to run regular desktop applications may be a deal-breaker for long time Windows users, student or otherwise.
To this end, Microsoft also has available the Surface Pro 2, which runs at $899 and includes the full Windows 8.1 operating system, with support for both Windows Store and regular desktop applications. One important thing to note is that, as opposed to the regular Surface 2 model, the Pro includes an actual keyboard so that you can do nearly anything that a regular PC can. While a little bit on the pricey side, the Pro 2 is more ideal for college students since note-taking on a physical keyboard is significantly faster in most cases than a touchscreen keyboard.
ASUS Transformer Book
Microsoft isn’t the only one going towards the whole convergence trend. ASUS, known for its Transformer series of mobile devices, has the Transformer Book T100, a 10-inch tablet that can also act as a laptop with Windows 8.1 installed. One of its most significant benefits, besides hybrid functionality, is the promise of 11 hours of battery life. Battery is an extremely significant factor for college students, especially since lectures can last a number of hours. A good laptop should last through the whole thing without having to recharge, and that’s something that some of the latest ultraportable devices excel at.
The T100 in particular sports a latest-gen quad core Atom processor. While it doesn’t pack as much of a punch as the Surface 2’s Core i5 processor, it’s still more than adequate for all but the most intensive PC games. It’s also a decent tradeoff for the fact that it still runs the full Windows 8.1 operating system while retaining a lower price than a regular Surface 2 tablet at $399. Essentially, what it trades off in performance it gives back in utility and value. This makes ASUS one of the best brand of laptop when it comes to bang for your buck, and one of the best laptops for students.
Apple MacBook Air
For those who are willing to spend a bit of money on a nice, lightweight laptop, look no further than the MacBook Air. Apple has always been known for a high standard of build quality and design that other computer manufacturers have struggled to mimic, and the newest MacBook Air is no exception.
At only 2.38 pounds for the 11-inch model, it’s likely one of the lightest laptops you can find. It starts at $999, which is a bit on the pricey side compared to a Surface tablet (for example), but it makes up for it with rock-solid stability and design. It may not have the hybrid functionality of the other two mentioned laptops/tablets, but what it does have is a tightly designed package with a simple-to-use and responsive operating system.
Some people may be turned off by the fact that it runs Mac OS X. In which case, it’s possible to use Boot Camp in order to install Windows in case you want to play some of the latest games or use applications that only work on Windows. Either way, the MacBook Air is more than up to the task with its 4th generation Core i5 processor (similar to the Surface 2 tablets) and all-flash storage.
There are many more laptops and/or tablets to choose from on the market, but the ones mentioned here are among the best of the best at the moment. Which one you choose as the best laptop to buy will depend on your budget and personal preference, but no matter which one of these you pick, you will most likely be very satisfied with your purchase. They’re all made to a very high standard on all fronts, and it will only get better as time goes on.
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