It’s August, and that means it’s time to start thinking about back-to-school shopping! You will no doubt need books, paper, pens, and highlighters, but don’t forget the most important tool of them all – a laptop! If you’re in the market for a new one, or just looking to upgrade, we have a simple guide to some of the best new laptops out there. Remember, the laptop’s form and function should match up with what you will use it for, while also fitting into your budget. The perfect laptop can help to improve your college productivity immeasurably. Make sure to always check with your school’s IT department for specific computer requirements.
Best Budget Laptop
When you buy a sub-$350 Windows laptop, you usually have to settle for a low-res screen, poor chassis design, and mediocre performance. But, for only $349.99 ($429 with Windows Office), Acer’s Aspire E 15 E5-575-33BM blows those expectations out of the water. It has a colorful hi-res display, solid build quality, and a reasonable Core i3 CPU processor. Plus, you get over 8 hours of battery life, a DVD drive, and just about every port you may need. Overall, this 15.6-inch laptop is a real winner for college students on a budget.
Best “General Use” College Laptop
The $699.99 Asus ZenBook UX330UA is one of the best laptop values you can find. It features a fast 256GB solid-state drive, a Core i5 Intel CPU, and a sharp bright 1080p screen. Plus, its gorgeous aluminum chassis is only a half-inch thick and it weighs just 2.7 pounds. In summary – it’s fast, thin, and portable. In addition, this laptop provides over 10 hours of battery life.
Best High End Laptop
The Apple MacBook Pro line of laptops are very, very nice, but you pay for those premium features. The metal case and high resolution Retina display are among the best you can buy, the performance is outstanding, and the Touch Bar provides some innovative functionality. With the 2017 version, Apple has improved almost every part of the MacBook Pro, including a larger touchpad, faster components, and a flatter keyboard (which people tend to either love or hate.) Overall, there’s no denying how beautiful and fast this laptop is.
Best Overall Laptop
Featuring an uber-thin bezel, the Dell XPS 13 packs a bright, vibrant, and sharp 13-inch screen into an 11-inch form factor. It is one of the most compact ultraportable laptops ever made. The latest version weighs only 2.7-pounds but manages to deliver a fast performance, thanks to its Intel 7th Generation Core and SSD hard drive. It even has great battery performance, providing up to 22 hours of power. If you need even more features, the XPS 13 comes in an upgraded form with a 2-in-1 design (laptop and tablet), featuring a touch screen, which starts at $999.99. Overall, the latest version of the XPS 13 is the best lightweight laptop for the money.