If you are searching for the best laptops for college students according to consumer reports in 2023 then this post is for you.
For a college student, more than anything, a laptop has become important.
From taking notes on the screen, to reading e-books, taking zero lectures on Zoom, and collaborating over smartphones.
One thing is for sure, college students, have to take their laptops around all the time.
The laptop for college students should be light enough not to be a burden on the shoulders; easy to move around.
Its battery backup should be enough to last at least one day, and it should be good powerful to handle a myriad of operations at one time. Well, this is what we think, you mayx have different feelings.
The list of top best laptops for college students is carved taking the above-mentioned considerations in mind.
We checked dozens of laptops, and upon our tests, we found that the listed-down is the best for college students as per consumer reports 2023. So without further ado, let’s get started.
5 Best Laptops For College Students Consumer Reports
I have compiled a list of the top 5 best laptops for college students based on consumer reports 2023.
1. Apple Macbook Pro M1
Apple Designed Macbook has long been a campus favorite. Now, with the new M1 chip integrated Macbook, it is setting the bar higher for other laptops brand. But, it seems like in Europe there is no closer competition to Apple.
With its New M1 chip integrated Macbook iteration, Apple introduces so many cool features that previous models lacked.
The most prominent change is its M1 chip. Apple home designed M1 chip provides an 8-core processor, 8-core integrated CPU, and 16-core Neural engine to make this laptop as fast as students want it to be. As per Apple’s official claims, the processor is 2.8 times faster than the previous model, and the graphics card is 5 times faster.
Another astounding aspect of the model is its 13.3 inches retina display. This Retina display, an Apple Proprietary display for laptops provides a crisp, sharp, and vivid colors high-resolution viewing experience for binge-watching, assignment preparation, and many other tasks.
Above all, the display got anti-glaring panels, even if you have to use the laptop in outdoors, or in group discussions, it can rightly be consumed with no glares.
Plus, class-best speakers are sitting under the display, on such a small laptop. To help music enthusiasts to enjoy crisp, clearer, and error-free sound.
One more thing that amazed everyone including me, is its battery backup. Despite having a super bright FHD display, this laptop in our testing easily lasts 16 hours. According to the consumer guide, it lasts between 15-20 hours, which is more than asked, for and marvelous for students.
Apple keyboard had already been class best, you enjoy the magic of its Magic Keyboard. Soft one-touch keys, with good travel, and tactile feedback provides a smooth experience for those type for hours. With a superb Trackpad, customizable touch bar, and 720p Webcam, it is surely among our top-favorite laptops for college students.
The only issue you can have, and everyone knows about Apple products is that you can’t customize them. This model too can’t be expanded with the RAM or for storage. In case you buy a 256GB SSD storage Macbook, you can’t increase the size of it.
- New Apple homemade M1 chip
- 3 Inches retina display with anti-glare panels
- Faster, smoother, seamless performance compare to the old model
- Magic Keyboard
- Can’t customize the specs later
2. HP Envy 13 Laptop
HP is one of the most selling brands in the laptop and computer world. Its affordable-priced laptops are the closest competition to Apple and Lenovo, but many chose HP due to their rugged construction and generous specs range, like me.
This HP Envy 13 hits the right cord and makes a powerful plus stylish statement. Remind the traits of a good laptop for college students; power, good battery, portability, and above-all good looks.
If you compare the performance, this laptop shares an 11th Gen Intel Core i7-1165G7 Processor. It is a quad-core processor that runs at 2.70 base clock speed that goes up to 4.70 GHz to help you enjoy the supreme performance. The best thing about the 11th Gen processor is its integration with the Intel Iris Xe graphics card.
Well, it might not make your laptop a good gaming rig. But, this integrated processor got the power to leave even some dedicated graphics behind. It provides you the power to play some old games with decent gaming settings, and some new games at reducing graphics settings.
We tried to play the Sims series, Minecraft, CS: G0, and some other light games, and it runs superbly.
Its display is the stand apart features if you compare it with other laptops. I mean, it is a 13.3 inches FHD diagonal display with a touchscreen, a near-borderless display with micro edges around, and provides an enhanced 88-percent screen-to-body ratio. The viewing experience is as crispy and sharp as you can imagine.
So, for those who think 13.3 inches is a small screen for their real estate, if you compare the screen-to-body ratio with a standard 15-inches, I am sure its viewing area would be equal.
From the specs front, it got the right combo. It has 256GB SSD storage with an extra slot to expand the storage. And 8GB RAM to make you run multiple programs, here to expansion is possible.
For me, the keyboard has always been the most important part, for you too I guess. Because we spend most of our time on laptops either typing or viewing the screen.
Its keyboard as well is as good as other specs. In my testing, the keys are good soft, good-spaced in between, and support backlighting. Turn off the backlights on the days, they are blue lights, in days lights, if the keys are turned on, they become hard to see.
It is an affordable laptop priced under 700 dollars, but it got all premium features like Thunderbolt 3. Yes, the model has one thunderbolt 3 with USB Type-C support. With 2 more USB 3.1 Type-A ports, it fits the needs of students with external keyboard and mouse connectivity.
The battery department is as good as an affordable laptop can be. In our testing, it lasted for around 10 hours, but consumer reports guides it lasts between 10-14 hours. Well, for sure, Apple Macbook lasted longer than this HP rig.
- 3 Inches FHD almost no-bezels display
- Thunderbolt 3 port integration
- HD Webcam with physical camera shutter
- Powerful core i7 processor with Iris Xe graphics
- Affordably priced
- The blue backlights in days light make keys invisible
3. Dell XPS 13 9310
College students always prefer a compact laptop with lots of power and a sharp display. To make the laptop compact and lightweight the hugest factor is the processor. But with a small mobile processor, often the laptop becomes a less-powered model, but in the case of Dell XPS 13.
This laptop shares a mobile processor but focuses more on productivity and creativity but less on gaming. The Dell XPS 13 comes powered with 11th Gen Intel Core i7-1195G7 Processor. It is the same processor we witnessed in HP Envy 13, other factors join hands and make this model better than many laptops including Envy 13.
Keep in mind it is a G-series processor, designed to save on battery, and provides better heat management compare to H-series processors, designed for gaming. So, its power-saving is incredible, way better than HP Envy 13.
In my testing and personal experience, its display stands out in a massive crowd. I find this display even sharper and darker than the Apple retina display. Let me show you its display of leading traits. It is a 13.4 inches FHD IPS display with 1920×1200 pixels resolutions.
Plus, it has 500 nits of brightness, Apple Macbook shares only 400 nits of brightness. Here, there are almost no bezels around, with 100% sRGB coverage, and 90% DCI P3 color gamut, and it makes the screen sharper and brighter than any other model listed.
It is a 16:10 aspect ratio display, Apple Macbook shares a 16:9 aspect ratio, one more leading edge. The Dolby vision integration helps the laptop deliver 40-times brighter and 10-times darker than a regular display.
One more thing, don’t forget the lid sensors. The hinges support one-hand opening, and with the lid opened, sensors make the laptop turn on, with no manual turning on by pressing the power button.
With 16GB RAM and 512GB SSD storage, if you compare the specs, here too it lags Apple rig behind. The issue with the RAM here too is you can’t upgrade it. Yes, the replaceable or expandable part here is SSD storage only.
The keyboard is nice with soft on-touch keys. Keys support backlighting, plus quiet and clicky feedback.
If you are concerned about the battery, in our testing, it is as good as this range-priced laptop. It is nearer to the Macbook Pro, but here it seems Macbook Pro takes a lead, it lasts around 12-14 hours in one charging.
- 4 inches FHD 16:10 aspect ratio display
- Comfortable typing experience
- 500-Nits of brightness
- Long-lasting battery backup
- Machined aluminum construction with carbon fiber palm rest
- Only storage can be expanded not RAM
4. Google Pixelbook Go
Not all college students need power-packed laptops because they could hardly use the resource available on an expensive laptop.
Students who use their laptops only for online tasks like browsing, docs handling, typing, emailing, taking online classes, and other such tasks should buy a Chromebook.
A Chromebook is like a regular laptop with a different OS installed. It is used for online tasks and comes with limited RAM, Storage, and processor to easily cope with the computing needs of not only college students but the go user.
I would like you to recommend Google Pixelbook Go. One of the top-rated, top-followed Chromebook designed by Google.
I recommended this laptop to most of the students attending online classes. Due to Covid restrictions, students were taking online classes. And this Chromebook, to our surprise offers an FHD Webcam. Yes, it has one of the finest 1080P webcams to produce crisper and sharper video chat, or online classes needs and requirements.
We checked the power and performance of this Chromebook for most of the tasks not only students but even professionals on the go have to handle. We threw multiple apps and programs opening, along with excel sheets, dozens of tabs, and streaming, but this CHROMEBOOK was rock steady.
Although it does not come with a high-end processor like other regular Windows laptops come with. It has an Intel Core i5-8200Y processor. Good for most of the tasks a student goes through on regular basis.
It shares a 13.3 inches FHD screen, with a maximum video resolution of 1920X1080P. With 8GB RAM and 256GB SSD storage, it can rightly be taken for any student laptop.
Keep in mind, that it runs ChromeOS. And for every Chromebook Google offers 100GB of Free cloud space with offline access. Here on this Chromebook, you might not be able to expand the storage the extra storage can be acquired from the Google Cloud.
In my tests and experience, it is a quiet laptop with a backlit keyboard. The keys too are well spaced, and can rightly be used for long hours of typing. The dual stereo speakers help you enjoy movies and music without using any headphones or headsets.
Chromebooks battery performance is considered better than regular laptops due to limited resources. This Google Pixelbook Go, in our testing and as per the consumer guide too, easily lasts for around 10-12 hours in one charging.
also read: best laptops under $700
- Lightweight, compact and accessible
- 10-12 Hours of battery backup
- 1080P Webcam
- Backlit Keyboard
- Underpowered compared to regular Windows Laptop
5. Asus Zenbook 13
ASUS is among one the top gaming laptop brands. Its innovative and uniquely constructed laptops are wreaking havoc not only in gaming but business laptop world.
Take an example of the ASUS Zenbook laptop, the closest competition to Dell, and some of its iterations have ranked above Dell XPS 13 in performance, power, compactness, and battery life.
First thing, the feature that stands this laptop apart from others even Apple Macbook Pro is its compactness. It is just 0.54 inches thick a laptop. Yes, with just 2.50 pounds of weight, it is one of the lightest yet most powerful laptops.
So, if you like to carry a laptop always around, I think you should give serious thought to buying this laptop.
Coming to the power of the laptop, the model comes powered with an 11th Gen Intel Core i7-1165G7 processor. The processor’s power is as good as HP Envy, Dell XPS 13, along with Intel Iris Xe graphics card integrated.
So, as long as the power is concerned, I don’t think you will ever face freezing, as long as you are not taking it for rendering, or high-end graphics-oriented operations.
Let me introduce you to another marvelous aspect, its OLED display. This is the only laptop in our list with an OLED display, with 13.3 inches OLED 400-Nits of brightness it can produce some of the sharpest and brightest pictures.
OLED displays are very impressive, especially for those who love to binge-watch. The picture quality of those displays is unparalleled, FHD IPS displays can’t beat them. Plus, it is a four-way nano bezel display, with one of the highest screen-to-body ratios.
If You compare the price range and specs, I think this is the closest competition to Dell XPS 13.
It has 512GB SSD storage with an extra slot to expand the storage if you like to expand it later.
And 16GB RAM, to help you enjoy professional scale computing power. Here too, you can expand the RAM if you like.
Most important for students, professionals, and business owners who conduct business meetings online, it comes with a Built-in IR camera that has facial recognition power. Not only this camera protects your privacy and supports Windows Hello feature but provides a smooth video calling experience.
Let’s not forget the keyboard. Its keyboard is as impressive as Magic KEYBOARD designed by Apple. The keyboard shares the Ergo Lift design to provide you with a comfortable typing experience, along with a dedicated number pad on the spacious Trackpad.
According to the consumer reports, the battery last for around 10-12 hours, a good suit for the student. Plus, the battery features a fast-charging mechanism that charges the laptop for 60% within 49 minutes.
So, if you link all the dots and make a picture, you can easily say that this laptop is the right fusion of power, responsiveness, compactness, and great-battery backup, without spending arms and legs.
- Powerful modern processor for everyday tasks handling
- Bright OLED display with 500 nits of brightness
- Backlit Keyboard with dedicated number pad
- Compact, ultra-lightweight laptop
- Surprisingly no headphones jack
Laptop For College Student Buying Guide
There are millions of laptops out there. Some are cheap, some are affordable and some come in hands at the expensive price range.
It is up to you which one you go with as per your needs.
As we discussed above, it is your requirement, profession, and use that decides the right type, specs, or features of a laptop.
For college students, as we discussed above too, the three features should at least be there; power, portability, and longer battery backup.
Let’s discuss various other features including the mentioned primary, and see what makes a laptop stands out for students.
College Degree Requirement
Not all college degrees are the same, and the same goes for the laptop requirement for different disciplines of studies.
A college student pursuing architecture and design engineering requires an altogether different laptop than one studying an arts degree.
So, when you enroll in your college degree, most often, college authorities recommend you the type of software you will be using, the operating system, and the minimum hardware requirement for the laptop.
So, have a look there, and the model you buy should at least match the mentioned hardware requirement, if not above.
For me, as a freelancer, portability is the biggest factor. That’s another thing that I hardly move out of.
But, the portable lightweight laptop is essential for students who have to go out to take classes every day and day out.
Cumbersome to carry laptops are hard to take around and consume more power than a lightweight small screen laptop.
So, the portability factor should always be in mind, before you give any model a shot.
There is no use of a dead laptop in your classroom or group discussions. You can’t note anything in the lecture, and neither can you research right away.
So, laptop battery backup is as important as portability, and overall performance.
I am not saying you buy a laptop that lasts for 2-days or replace your incumbent battery with a 12-cell battery.
The battery should be enough big to last for at least 10-12 hours so that it lasts for one day without charging.
Well, this one factor can be different for different disciplines of students. Just like the way I mentioned the processing power of an architecture engineering or design student would be different than one pursuing Masters in business administration (MBA).
So, you should know better the right processing power for you.
If you have no idea, then go with the latest generation processor. In our guide, we tried to pick the modern processors with huge computing power to match a large variety of students’ needs.
I always focus more on the type of storage than the size. Size does matter here, but the type matters the most.
Because, if you end up buying old mechanical storage, not only your overall laptop speed will be compromised despite securing a modern processor with huge processing power, but safety too.
So, go with an SSD drive, if you can’t afford bulky SSDs, go with 128GB SSD storage.
If you can afford it, for college students, the minimum storage is around 256GB SSD to 512GB SSD.
Everyone loves colorful bright displays. So, a laptop with an at least FHD display should be accepted for college students.
Keep in mind the other nuts and bolts of the display, like the anti-glare panels, bezels, brightness in nits, and if you like taking notes on the screen then touchscreen.
We can’t deny the fact that a laptop is the most essential tool for college students.
We helped you with top laptops in the market, testing them, and mentioning their advantages and disadvantages. Now, you can easily pick a laptop that is the right suit for you.
How do I choose a laptop as a student?
Being a student you should first learn about your requirements. What you would be using your laptop mostly for? And check the hardware requirements mentioned by your campus authorities.
Try to grab the at least mentioned hardware requirements or ask from your professor or seniors.
How Much Should I Spend on a laptop for College?
For a college student laptop, the average price you should spend on buying a good laptop is between $700-1200.
In this range you can buy a great laptop, likes of Asus Zenbook 13, HP Envy, Dell XPS 13, and even some high-end gaming laptops like of Acer Predator Helios 300.