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Scott Gilbertson

The Best Laptops and Tablets for College Students

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Asus Zenbook 14 OLED

Best Windows Laptop Asus Zenbook 14 OLED Read more

Lenovo Ideapad Flex laptop

Best Budget Laptop Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5 Read more

2023 15inch Apple MacBook Air

Best Mac for College Apple MacBook Air (13 and 15 Inch) Read more

Framework Laptop 13

Best Linux Laptop Framework Laptop 13 (2023) Read more

The perfect college laptop may not exist. But somewhere between performance, size, weight, and price, there's a machine that will make you (and your parents) happy. We test dozens of laptops and tablets every year. The choices below are our favorite picks for students headed back to school this year. Whether you're attending classes in person or online—or doing some of both—there's something here for every student and every budget.

Be sure to check out our other back-to-school guides, including the Best Laptops , Best Tablets , Best Laptop Bags , Best Student Email Discounts , and Best Dorm and College Gear .

Updated August 2023: We've revamped all our picks to include the latest models with the most up-to-date specs.

Best Windows Laptop

The Asus Zenbook 14 is a unique combination of performance, great battery life, and an OLED display—all for $700 ( 8/10, WIRED Recommends ). The model we like uses an AMD Ryzen 5 7530U CPU, with 8 GB of RAM and a 256-GB SSD. That may not sound like much, but we were impressed with the performance, especially given the price. That said, if you're heading to film school or plan to spend your nights gaming this is not the laptop you want (see our gaming pick below). Battery life is outstanding though, clocking in at 12.5 hours (measured looping a YouTube video at full brightness), which is helpful for the long days on campus.

This is a small, portable machine too (3.1 pounds and 19 mm thick), and it manages to pack in plenty of ports despite the slim form. There are two USB-C ports (one of which is needed for charging), one full-size USB 3.2 port, a full-size HDMI output, and a microSD card reader. If you want something just a little more powerful, you can bump the specs to 16 GB of RAM and a 512-GB SSD for not much more money.

Specs to look for: AMD Ryzen 5 7000 series, 8 GB RAM, 256-GB SSD

Best Budget Laptop

Lenovo's AMD-based IdeaPad 5, which comes with a Ryzen 5 processor, is a great laptop for students. There's plenty of power, a very nice 14-inch IPS display, 16 GB of RAM, and a 256-GB SSD. The 360-degree hinge converts it to tablet mode or stand mode for watching movies in your dorm. To take full advantage of the 2-in-1 design, be sure to grab the digital pen ($40) . Another reason we like the IdeaPad is the plethora of ports: You get two USB-A ports, an HDMI, an SD card reader, one USB-C, a headphone jack, and a charging port (though you can use the USB-C to recharge the laptop too). If you're a computer science major or plan to do some video editing, the more powerful Ryzen 7 version can be had for just a little more .

Specs to look for: AMD Ryzen 5, 16 GB of RAM, 256-GB SSD

Best Mac for College

Apple's M2-powered MacBook Air ( 7/10, WIRED Recommends ) comes with a ton of upgrades on both the inside and out. It's boxier than the old version and comes in a couple of new colors—midnight and starlight—in addition to the traditional space gray and silver options. The display is bigger (you can choose between a 13-inch and 15-inch model ) and the webcam is a little better. There are still only two Thunderbolt 4 USB-C ports, but at least you can charge it without using one of them via the MagSafe charger.

Apple’s M2 chip offers decent performance on typical college workloads, running apps like Slack, Spotify, Telegram, and Pages alongside a browser, though we did experience some slowdowns with a lot of tabs open. If you can, upgrade the unified memory to 16 gigs for a smoother experience. Also, Remember, you can take $100 off if you use an education email and buy the MacBook through Apple's Education store . If you want a cheaper MacBook the M1-powered Air is still a good choice for less than $800 .

Specs to look for: Apple M2 processor, 8+ GB of RAM, 256-GB SSD

Best Linux Laptop

Framework's 13-inch laptop is a good choice for budding programmers and sysadmins. The 13-inch model ( 8/10, WIRED Recommends ) is available with either Windows or Linux, but I much prefer it with Linux—a DIY laptop needs a DIY OS. The hallmark of this laptop is how you can repair and replace components down the road, making it more environmentally friendly and cost-effective.

Right now you can get an Intel Core 13th-gen series system with 32 GB of RAM, a 2-TB SSD, and whichever mix of ports suits your needs for around $1,400. That will ship with no operating system. When it arrives you can install Linux yourself (or opt to ship it with Windows if you need to dual boot). See our Best Linux Laptops guide for more options.

Specs to look for: Intel Core i5, 16+ GB of RAM, 250-GB SSD

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Asus chromebook flip cx5

The Best Chromebook

The Asus Chromebook CX5 is a good choice for students who are all-in on Google services. It strikes a great balance between price, power, and features, with a 2-in-1 design that lets you seamlessly switch between laptop mode for homework and stand mode for late-night binges. The keyboard is excellent. Typing is often the first to get trashed when manufacturers seek to save money, but Asus has clearly focused on this area—there's a ton of travel and a satisfying click.

The 16 GB of RAM and 11th-Gen Intel Core i5 chip is possibly overkill for a Chromebook, but if you're going to have hundreds of tabs open doing research, this won't let you down. The display is 1080p and gets bright enough for most typical conditions, though there's nothing special about it. The port selection is better, there are two USB-Cs, a USB-A, a headphone jack, a microSD, and even an HDMI. See our Best Chromebooks guide for more.

Specs to look for: Intel Core i5, 16 GB of RAM, 128-GB SSD

2022 Apple iPad Air devices

Do you really need a laptop? Really really? Only you can answer that, but if your requirements revolve around taking notes, doing research, reading textbooks, and other knowledge-related tasks, then you might be able to get by with a much lighter tablet like the iPad Air ( 8/10, WIRED Recommends ). The Apple Pencil ($129) is a must-have. Using it on the iPad's screen feels close to dragging a real pencil across a piece of paper. You'll also want a Bluetooth keyboard for typing those papers and emails. We like the Logitech Folio Touch or Apple’s own Magic Keyboard ($299) , both of which add trackpads to the mix for a more computer-like feel. Check out our Best iPad Accessories guide for more options.

That said, it's not as easy to multitask on an iPad as it is on a laptop, and by the time you get a keyboard, pencil, and whatever else you need, it can become just as expensive as a laptop.

Specs to look for: M1 processor, Wi-Fi or Wi-Fi+cellular, 64 GB of storage

★ An Android alternative: If you don't want to buy into Apple's ecosystem, the OnePlus Pad ($479) ( 8/10, WIRED Recommends ) is a great alternative. You need to add the $149 magnetic keyboard cover to make it a productivity machine (OnePlus sometimes has an offer that bundles it for free), but you can use split-screen mode to run apps side by side and have a third app floating on the side for easy access.

Microsoft Surface Pro 9 models

A Windows Tablet

If you want a tablet but aren't sure if Apple's iPadOS or Android can do everything you need, then the Surface Pro 9 is your next-best bet. Its lightweight tablet design is easy to carry, and the 13-inch 120-Hz hi-res touchscreen with a document-friendly 3:2 aspect ratio makes it nice to stare at and use. With 12th-gen Intel chips, you get pretty great performance too. It also runs Windows, which nets you access to all the desktop-class software you're likely to need. For college use, you definitely want the Type Cover keyboard. This accessory is essential, but it adds an extra $140 .

The most affordable, smallest member of the Surface lineup is the 10.5-inch Surface Go 3 ( 8/10, WIRED Review ). If your needs are minimal, or you prefer tiny computers, this is what you should buy. Despite its slower Intel chips, it's more than capable of handling most college-related tasks.

Specs to look for: Intel Core i5, 8 GB of RAM, 256-GB SSD

Acer Nitro 5 Gaming Laptop

The Acer Nitro 5 is a stealth gaming machine, the kind of boring-looking laptop you might convince your parents to buy. This isn't a top-of-the-line gaming rig , but it's a solid, powerful-enough machine. The display won’t blow you away, but at 15.6 inches (Full HD) and with a fast 144-Hz refresh rate , it is a great choice for gamers. The standout keyboard has a surprising amount of travel and feedback for such a low-cost device.

The base model is the cheap one, but you can get up to 16 GB of RAM, a 1-TB SSD, a Ryzen 7 chip, and an RTX 3070 GPU. If you've got the cash for a high-end gaming rig, check out our Best Gaming Laptops guide.

Specs to look for: AMD Ryzen 7 5800H processor or Intel Core i5, Nvidia RTX 3060 graphics card, 16 GB of RAM, 512-GB SSD, 15.6-inch 1080p display with a 144-Hz refresh rate

Raspberry Pi device

It's not a laptop or tablet, but the Raspberry Pi 4 has education written all over it. This hackable, programmable micro PC is a great option for anyone—computer science major or otherwise—who wants to tinker and experiment with software or hardware. They're also just fun to build projects with. You can automate your dorm coffee maker , make a beetbox , or create a network-wide content filter . If the Raspberry Pi doesn't grab you, have a look at our guide to some alternative small board options .

Person working on a laptop inside of a college lecture hall

How to Choose the Right Laptop for College

The important thing to remember is that there is no single correct choice here. The laptop that's best for your college experience depends on what you're doing at college. An English major with long reading lists and many papers to write might do better with an iPad and a nice accessory keyboard. A computer science major who needs to compile software or run Linux will need a laptop they can tinker away on. That said, here are some basic metrics to keep in mind for laptops:

  • Windows : If you're getting a Windows machine, your main options for the processor are Intel and AMD. Both will work, but each has its strengths and weaknesses. For a more complete guide to the differences, see our full guide to buying a laptop .
  • Chromebooks : These browser-based machines use half a dozen different processors, most of which you've probably never heard of. There's a reason for that: Those processors are slow. My recommendation when buying a Chromebook is to go with a more powerful processor if you can afford it. The Core m3 chip is the best choice for most students. If you want a more powerful, future-proof machine, get a Core i3 or i5 chip. There are also ARM-based Chromebooks, like the Lenovo Duet . They aren't quite as speedy as the Intel Core chips, but in most cases, they're just fine for college workloads.
  • MacOS : Apple is making its own processors now, notably the M2 chip found inside the MacBook Air showcased above. More powerful models like the MacBook Pros feature the M2 Pro and M2 Max chips. Our MacBook buying guide can help.

Regardless of which OS you choose, the minimum amount of RAM you want in your laptop is 8 GB. That's enough memory to keep your computer feeling snappy even if it's running under load. That much RAM will also keep the machine feeling spry longer into its lifespan. If you can afford it—especially if you plan to edit photos or videos as part of your coursework—go for 16 GB.

Screens vary tremendously but don't settle for anything less than 1080p. For a 13-inch laptop, 1080p is sharp enough. If you're going with a bigger laptop, 2.5K or even 4K screens will really improve the viewing experience. If you're trying to play games as well, be sure to get something with a higher refresh rate— 120 Hz or 144 Hz will more than satisfy.

Weight and Battery

Don't forget you'll be lugging this thing around campus. It may well be tugging on your back for eight hours or more. One pound may not seem like much, but at the end of a long day of walking, you will notice the difference between a 3-pound laptop and a 4-pound laptop. Trust me. Also, maybe pick out a nice bag to carry your computer.

Similarly, battery life is very important when you're (potentially) away from a wall outlet for extended periods. Whatever you end up getting, make sure it's capable of lasting at least eight hours under real-world use—browsing the web, editing documents, writing emails, and taking notes. Even then, you might want to consider a portable battery charger .

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Best laptops for engineering students in 2024 - our top picks

The best laptops for engineering students you can buy right now

  • Best overall

Best portability

  • Best 2-in-1
  • Best big-screen option
  • Battery life results
  • How to choose
  • How we test

Samsung Galaxy Chromebook 2 review

1. The list in brief 2. Best overall 3. Best value 4. Best portability 5. Best OLED 6. Best 2-in-1 7. Best big-screen option 8. Battery life chart 9. How to choose 10. How we test

The best laptops for engineering students are powerful enough to handle the computationally intensive coursework that such studies require, while still being light and efficient enough to carry through a day of classes without running out of juice on you mid-lecture. 

This used to be a tricky combination to find, especially at a price that fits into a student's budget. However, recent advances in mobile CPU and GPU tech have brought a bumper crop of laptops to market that are light, long-lasting, and beefy enough to tackle most engineering projects. Now that lots of us are getting ready to go back to school, there's plenty of laptop options for engineering students.

Today's best gaming laptops are often well-suited to tackling engineering coursework because they're built with discrete graphics cards, powerful CPUs, and lots of memory and storage. It's all in the name of running the latest games and making them look as flashy as possible, of course, but many modern engineering applications have similar demands. 

So read on for our curated list of the best laptops for engineering students, which should help make your buying decision a little easier. Of course, you should always contact your school's engineering department first to see what they recommend for your specific coursework and areas of study!

Alex Wawro

Alex Wawro is a lifelong journalist who's spent over a decade covering tech, games and entertainment. He oversees the computing department at Tom's Guide, which includes managing laptop coverage and reviewing many himself every year.

The quick list

In a hurry? Here's a brief overview of the laptops on this list, along with quick links that let you jump down the page directly to a review of whichever laptop catches your eye.

Dell XPS 15 promo photo

The best engineering laptop overall

The Dell XPS 15 is our current top recommendation for students because it's svelte, portable yet powerful enough to do some heavy lifting thanks to its discrete GPU.

Read more below

MSI Cyborg 15

The best value engineering laptop

The cyberpunk aesthetic makes it clear this is a gaming laptop, but don't let that dissuade you from considering this budget machine, which gives you a cutting-edge Nvidia RTX 4050 GPU, a 13th Gen Intel CPU and a solid 144Hz 15.6-inch display.

Asus ROG Zephyrus G14

The Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 is a great gaming laptop with a discrete GPU and battery life to rival the XPS 15 or Galaxy Book 3 Ultra. The fact that it lasts over 10 hours on battery yet weighs under 4 pounds makes it the most portable on this list.

Samsung Galaxy Book 3 Ultra

The best OLED engineering laptop

The powerful Nvidia GeForce RTX 40-series GPU in Samsung's Galaxy Book 3 Ultra make it not just great for gaming, but heavy-duty computational work too. If you like the vivid colors and sharp contrasts of OLED, the 16-inch OLED screen makes this a great choice.

Microsoft - Surface Laptop Studio

Best 2-in-1 for engineering students

The Microsoft Surface Laptop Studio's discrete Nvidia GPU onboard makes it one of the most powerful 2-in-1s you can buy, and the unique sliding 120Hz touchscreen is great for taking notes if you splurge for the $129 Surface Slim Pen 2 stylus.

Alienware m18

The best big-screen engineering laptop

The Alienware m18 is the biggest, most powerful gaming laptop we've tested to date. Despite its great keyboard and solid speakers/screen it's too heavy, hot and loud to be of much use on the go, so this is really best as a semi-portable PC you mostly keep on your desk.

The best laptops for engineering students you can buy today

Why you can trust Tom's Guide Our writers and editors spend hours analyzing and reviewing products, services, and apps to help find what's best for you. Find out more about how we test, analyze, and rate.

The best laptop overall

Dell XPS 15 OLED

1. Dell XPS 15 OLED (2022)

Our expert review:

Specifications

Reasons to buy, reasons to avoid.

The Dell XPS 15 OLED 2022 is our top pick for engineering students who want a slim, powerful ultraportable that's easy to carry all day. 

All models of the refreshed Dell XPS 15 pack the latest Intel Core CPUs and come bundled with  Windows 11 . Higher-end configurations feature an Nvidia GPU, which gives this laptop some serious muscle for CAD work and gaming. The sheer power you can pack into this svelte, elegant ultraportable make the XPS 15 one of the best laptops for engineering students, and that's before you consider the great speakers and gorgeous, immersive InfinityEdge display. 

If you can afford it, we recommend you splurge for the 3.5K OLED touchscreen upgrade -- it makes everything you do on the display look nicer. However, the OLED model we tested lasted under 8 hours on our battery test, which isn't great if you need this laptop to last through a full day at school. If you don't care about OLED and don't need the higher resolution for your work, we recommend the XPS 15 with a discrete Nvidia GPU and a FHD (1,920 x 1,200) display — it should last a bit longer on a single charge with the lower-resolution screen.

Read our full Dell XPS 15 OLED (2022) review .

Not interested in OLED? Don't miss our Dell XPS 15 (2020) review .

The best value option

MSI Cyborg 15

2. MSI Cyborg 15

The MSI Cyborg 15 ($999) is a cyberpunk-inspired gaming laptop that won’t destroy your wallet. Packing a 13th Gen Intel Core CPU and an Nvidia RTX 4050 GPU, this laptop delivers solid gaming performance for $1,000, making it great for students who want to use that power for schoolwork. Toss in a 144Hz 15.6-inch display and you have a machine that’s a great entry into the world of PC gaming.

The laptop has a cool design, great performance and costs less than $1,000. The display could be brighter and a bit more colorful, but the 144Hz refresh rate is welcome. And while its battery life isn’t great, the Cyborg 15 also doubles as a good productivity device, so long as you keep it plugged in.

Read our full MSI Cyborg 15 review .

The best portability

Asus ROG Zephyrus G14

3. Asus ROG Zephyrus G14

The Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 is a powerful 14-inch laptop built for gaming on the go — but engineering students can turn all that power to more productive uses. 

What sets the Zephyrus G14 above other gaming laptops in our eyes is the incredible 10+ hours of battery life it delivers when you’re not gaming, ensuring you can carry this through a day of classes without need to scramble for a charger. And at a price that typically ranges from $1,000 - $2,000, the ROG Zephyrus G14 is pretty affordable for a gaming laptop — and that's key for students trying to keep costs down.

Read our full Asus ROG Zephryus G14 review .

The best OLED

Samsung Galaxy Book 3 Ultra

4. Samsung Galaxy Book3 Ultra

The Samsung Galaxy Book 3 Ultra is a powerful laptop that’s capable of handling everyday computing tasks, video editing and high-end gaming thanks to its discrete Nvidia GPU. All of that muscle makes it a great choice for doing demanding work and running GPU-intensive tasks in engineering school.

In addition to its impressive performance, this notebook also packs a gorgeous 16-inch OLED display that makes viewing content and playing games a pure joy. On its own, it’s a fantastic Windows 11 laptop.

The biggest rival to the Samsung Galaxy Book 3 Ultra is the MacBook Pro 16-inch, and you might consider the Macbook Pro 2023 if you'd prefer a macOS laptop. But Samsung’s laptop is remarkably lighter, has a full-size USB port and offers a more colorful (albeit dimmer) OLED display. 

Read our full  Samsung Galaxy Book 3 Ultra review .

The best 2-in-1

Microsoft Surface Laptop Studio 2 review unit on desk

5. Microsoft Surface Laptop Studio 2

Microsoft's Surface Laptop Studio 2 is a powerful 2-in-1 with a MacBook Pro-like design and an eye-catching hinged display. This is Microsoft’s flagship device for  Windows 11 , which promises to make Windows a more inviting place for both work and play. Like Windows 11, the Surface Laptop Studio is advertised as a one-stop shop for productivity, entertainment and creative work.

And for the most part, it is all that: its 13th Gen Intel CPU and 16+ GB of RAM gives you enough power to tackle most work, and if you splurge for a model with the discrete Nvidia GeForce RTX 4050 or 4060 GPU the Surface Laptop Studio also doubles as a decent machine for gaming or video editing on the go. We've also heard it's an ideal choice for college engineering programs which require laptops that both have a discrete GPU and can be used with an active stylus. While you have to pay extra for the Microsoft Surface Slim Pen 2 stylus, its haptics make writing or drawing on the Studio's 14.4-inch 120Hz touchscreen feel great.

However, it's a bit pricey when you kit it out, and despite its great components the Surface Laptop Studio delivers subpar performance compared to the best MacBooks and Windows laptops. But few laptops can match its intriguing sliding hinged display, which can be tented over the keys like an easel or slid all the way flat to turn the Studio into a heavy tablet.

Read our full Microsoft Surface Laptop Studio 2 review .

The best big screen

Best laptops for engineering students: Razer Blade 15 Advanced

6. Alienware m18

The Alienware m18 is the biggest, most powerful gaming laptop we've tested to date. It's too heavy, hot and loud to be of much use on the go, but when plugged in it runs the latest games as well as some of the best gaming PCs, truly earning the term desktop replacement. 

If you want a PC for school but want something more portable than a traditional tower and a monitor, the m18 is an interesting compromise. The 18-inch screen feels almost as big as a full-size monitor, and the incredible weight of this laptop isn't a big problem when you rarely move it. 

The low-profile CherryMX mechanical keys are also a delight to type on, and the speakers and screen are good enough for gaming. The port placement is a little odd (why put a single USB-C port on the right-hand side, right up near the front?) and the heat this thing kicks off is truly scorching when it gets going, but if power and screen size are all you care about (and price is no object) this is the biggest, best laptop to buy.

Read our full Alienware m18 review .

Razer blade 15 advanced review

7. Razer Blade 15 Advanced

The Razer Blade 15 Advanced does exactly what you’d expect a Razer laptop to do: it looks great, offers plenty of ports and runs games and other graphically-demanding apps beautifully. It’s also as expensive as you’d expect a Razer laptop to be — you could easily spend $3,000 on a higher-end model.

Obviously that's a bit steep for many students, but it's about on par with comparable laptops. The Alienware m15 R4 is similarly priced, for example, and both offer great performance in a slim package. However, the Razer Blade 15 Advanced is just a bit lighter and a bit smaller than the m15 R4, and it lasts an hour or so longer during normal (i.e. non-gaming) use.

However, the Blade 15 Advanced's keyboard and touchpad are lackluster at best. They'll work well enough for classroom use, but if you expect to be doing a lot of typing on this laptop you'd be well-served by investing in one of the best keyboards .

Read our full Razer Blade 15 Advanced review .

Battery benchmarks: comparison

How to choose the best laptop for you, how to choose the best engineering laptop for you.

Performance: If you're going to be spending years studying engineering, you're going to need a computer with enough power to handle anything your teachers throw at you. We recommend at least a new mid-range CPU (Intel Core i5 or AMD Ryzen 5) and at least 8 GB of RAM, though if you can afford to spend more on on a laptop with better specs it will pay off in the long run.

Graphics and gaming: Most gaming laptops come with discrete graphics cards so they can run the latest games well, but the same card can be equally vital to engineering students who will be using CAD (computer-assisted design) and 3D analysis programs. These kinds of applications really benefit from the power of a good GPU, so if you're expecting to do any graphics or 3D work it's a good idea to invest in a laptop with a discrete Nvidia or AMD graphics card.

Operating system: Laptops typically come in three flavors: Windows (most mainstream PCs), macOS (MacBooks) and Chrome OS ( Chromebooks ). Chrome OS isn't good for much besides web surfing, file management, and light computing, so a Chromebook isn't a great choice for serious schoolwork. However, a crafty student could install Linux on a high-powered Chromebook to turn it into a decent laptop for engineering work.

Many engineering students spend a lot of time working with specialized or self-developed software, so Windows is often preferable over macOS because it throws up fewer roadblocks when using such tools. However, even Windows can sometimes get in the way of serious engineering work, which is why many engineering students get Windows laptops and install Linux on them so they can dual-boot into either operating system.

As mentioned above, when making your buying decision be sure to consult your teachers and/or the engineering department at your school for more specific advice on what you'll need for your studies. Whichever system you decide on, it's a good idea to pair it with the best mouse for your particular work situation.

How we tested these laptops

How we test the best laptops for engineering students.

To find the best laptops we run every machine through a rigorous suite of benchmarks and real-world tests to gauge how it will perform during everyday use. 

We measure the average brightness and color quality of each laptop's display using our in-house light meter and colorimeter. For general performance, we run our machines through tests that include Geekbench 5 (CPU performance), as well as various 3DMark tests to measure graphics capabilities. We also run a file transfer test to measure how fast a machine's hard drive is, and a custom battery test that has the machine browse the internet over Wi-Fi until it runs out of juice.

Plus, we run the graphics benchmark test in Sid Meier's Civilization VI: Gathering Storm to get a sense of how well a laptop can handle basic games. When testing dedicated gaming laptops, we run benchmarks for a number of games such as Shadow of the Tomb Raider and Far Cry: New Dawn.

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Alex Wawro

Alex Wawro is a lifelong tech and games enthusiast with more than a decade of experience covering both for outlets like Game Developer, Black Hat, and PC World magazine. A lifelong PC builder, he currently serves as a senior editor at Tom's Guide covering all things computing, from laptops and desktops to keyboards and mice. 

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The best laptops for college students

Our favorite machines for classes on campus, online and everywhere in between..

Whether you commute to a physical campus, take classes online or do a little of both, a laptop is likely the center of your studies. If you're working with an aging machine, upgrading to a newer model can make all of your academic pursuits a little easier by helping you stay on top of your schedule and multitask better with dozens of tabs devoted to research while you write your essays. While almost every new laptop the comes out is a bit more expensive than the last, there's good news, too: laptops are lasting longer than ever before, so your new machine should serve you well for years to come. That is, as long as you pick one from a reliable company and with the right specs. To help you find the best buy as you shop, we put together this collection of things to look out for as well as a list of the best laptops for college.

Apple MacBook Air M3

Best apple laptop, dell xps 13, best windows laptop, razer blade 15, best laptop for gaming, lenovo ideapad flex 5 chromebook (2023), best chromebook, hp pavilion aero 13, best budget laptop, microsoft surface pro 9, best 2-in-1 laptop, what to expect.

Apple has completed its transition to its own Silicon, so you’ll no longer have the option of Intel-powered Macs. Nor should you want to, really, since the M-series MacBooks have proven to be reliable, speedy and long-lasting. And with each new generation of chip, older models get cheaper while still offering excellent performance. This means you’ll have more options to consider without having to stretch your budget.

Meanwhile, new PCs keep getting announced, with the latest models typically powered by 13th-gen Intel processors or the latest AMD Ryzen chips. Though the shift to ARM-based systems has been successful for Apple, the PC industry is still struggling to keep up, and Windows on ARM is basically dead in the water. Don’t waste your time or money on an ARM-based PC; they’re hard to find nowadays anyway.

Speaking of, laptops with top-of-the-line specs can cost you around $1,800 to $2,000 these days. For most college students, though, a midrange machine to use primarily for writing papers and web browsing might be enough. Depending on your field of study, you could get by with an Intel Core i3 processor or equivalent, with at least 6GB of RAM. If you need to run specialized software for design or programming, consider upgrading to a beefier system with more processing power and memory. On the other hand, if you do most of your coursework online or in a browser, getting a Chromebook could save you a lot of money.

You’ll also want to pay attention to a device’s weight, especially if you plan on lugging your laptop to classes in person. There are a lot of premium ultraportables in the 13-inch category, with chips like Intel’s Core i3 or i5, that cost around $1,000. If these light laptops are too expensive, you’ll still have respectable options in the $600 to $800 price range , but they might be heavier and use older, slower processors. I’ve included our recommendations for the best budget laptops in this college-centric guide but we also have more affordable top picks that you can check out as well.

Best Laptops for 2024

Best Gaming Laptops

Best 2-in-1 Laptops for 2024

Best Chromebooks

Best Cheap Windows Laptops for 2024

With some laptop makers deciding to get rid of headphone jacks, it’s important to check specs lists when you’re shopping for newer machines. If you don’t have wireless headphones or use equipment that plugs into the 3.5mm jack, you’ll want to steer clear of devices like Dell’s XPS 13 Plus.

Finally, while most laptops offer WiFi 6 or 6E and Bluetooth 5.0 or later, you may not have one of the compatible routers or other devices that would enable those faster connections yet. Chances are, your campus WiFi might still be stuck on an older setup, too, so it’s not crucial that you get a system with the latest standards yet. Of course, it doesn’t hurt to get a laptop that’s future-proof, but just know that of all the things to look out for, WiFi 6E shouldn’t be a dealbreaker in your decision-making process.

Read our full review of the Apple MacBook Air M3

It's hard to beat Apple's MacBook Air if you want a powerful machine for college that won't weigh you down. You have a few good options this year — the 13-inch or 15-inch MacBook Air M3 and the MacBook Air M2 . The M3 laptop earned a score of 90 from us for its impressive performance, gorgeous 13.6-inch Liquid Retina display and its thin-and-light design. However, the M2 remains a fantastic machine and, with the launch of the M3 models, it received a $200 price cut. We recommend springing for an M3 Air if you want a more future-proof laptop, but the MacBook Air M2 will likely be enough for most students's needs.

Apple has officially stopped selling the M1 MacBook Air in its online store, but it's still floating around the internet for under $1,000. It has the wedge design of older MacBook Airs, larger bezels and only a 720p webcam. But if you're coming from an Intel machine, the performance gains will be noticeable even if you pick up an M1 machine on clearance. However, we expect stock to become limited as the year goes on.

The best PC has long been Dell’s well-rounded XPS 13 series and I still recommend it to anyone that doesn’t want a Mac. Yes, the latest XPS 13 lacks a headphone jack, and some of its buttons are hard to see and use. But it's a well-rounded machine and reliable workhorse that will get you through classes and late-night writing sessions without breaking a sweat.

The XPS 13 (previously called the XPS 13 Plus ) offers a solid balance of speed and attractive-yet-minimalist design. This year, it’s powered by a new Core Ultra 7 processor , which makes it an “AI PC.” Thanks to a built-in NPU (neural processing unit), it can handle a few AI tasks, like Windows Studio Effects for video chats , without taxing your CPU or battery life. But it also has everything we previously liked about the XPS 13 Plus: An edge-to-edge keyboard with lusciously large keys, along with a huge “invisible” trackpad nestled within its glass wrist rest. And of course, it features a nearly border-less “Infinity Edge” screen, which has been a mainstay of the XPS line for almost a decade.

When it first debuted, the XPS 13 Plus was a more powerful alternative to Dell’s thinner and weaker XPS 13. While we’ll miss the previous XPS (which you can still find refurbished), it makes sense for Dell to lean into its stunning new aesthetic. The 2024 XPS 13 Plus looks more refined than the vast majority of Windows ultraportables, and like the Infinity Edge display, it raises the bar for what other PC makers should emulate.

Read our full review of the Razer Blade 15 gaming laptop

Just because your laptop might primarily be for coursework doesn’t mean you can’t use it for fun, too. Those looking to game on their machines should prioritize responsive screens and ample ports for their favorite accessories that can best help them defeat their virtual enemies. If you’re considering a gaming-first machine that you can use for school, check out our guide to buying a gaming laptop . It covers details about different CPUs and GPUs, minimum specs and more. Our favorite gaming laptop is the Razer Blade 15 , which has an Intel Core i7 processor, and an NVIDIA RTX 3070 graphics for $2,500.

At that price point, it’s the most expensive item on this list, but you also get a 15-inch quad HD screen that refreshes at 240Hz. Different configurations are available, depending on your preference, including Full HD 360Hz and 4K 144Hz versions. The Blade series is also one of the most polished gaming laptops around, and Razer consistently updates it with the latest processors, graphics and other hardware advancements. If you really want to go all-out, you could consider the new Razer Blade 16 that has NVIDIA's RTX 4060 or 4070 GPUs .

Students and gamers looking for something cheaper and more portable should consider the ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14, which was our favorite model in 2021. The main reason it got bumped down a notch is because the 2022 refresh is almost $600 more expensive. It’s still a solid gaming laptop though, with an excellent display, roomy trackpad and plenty of ports in spite of its thin profile.

If you can do most of your schoolwork through web-based apps, a Chromebook is worth considering for your college laptop. Sure they don’t generally look fancy, nor have high-end specs. Our favorite Chromebook is Lenovo’s Flex 5 Chromebook , which Engadget’s resident Chrome OS aficionado Nathan Ingraham described as a tremendous value. This laptop nails the basics, with a 14-inch Full HD touchscreen, a great backlit keyboard and a 13th-gen Core i3 processor. The latest model has an upgraded 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage, which when paired with the Core i3 CPU, make for a speedy, capable machine. It’s also nice to see one USB-A and two USB-C ports, six hours of battery life and a 360-degree hinge that makes it easy to use the Flex 5 as a tablet. This could be the ideal laptop for Chrome OS fans, and it’ll hit the sweet spot for a lot of other buyers out there, providing a level of quality and performance that’s pretty rare to find at this price point.

Read our full review of the HP Pavilion Aero 13 laptop

If you’re looking for a sturdy student laptop under $800, your best bet is the HP Pavilion Aero 13 . Yes, it’s almost two years old, but it’s still one of the best cheap laptops for college students available now. For an affordable price, you’ll get a Full HD screen with a 16:10 aspect ratio and surprisingly thin bezels, as well as a comfortable keyboard and spacious touchpad. Importantly, the Aero 13 provides relatively powerful components compared to others in this price range, with an AMD Ryzen 5000 series processor and Radeon graphics. Plus, it has a generous array of ports and enough hours of battery life to last you a full day and then some.

Read our full review of the Microsoft Surface Pro 9

For those who need their laptops to occasionally double as tablets, the Surface Pro series is a no-brainer. Compared to notebooks or 2-in-1 laptops with rotating hinges, tablets with kickstands are often much slimmer and lighter. The Surface Pro 9 is the most recent model and it features Microsoft’s sleek design with a thinner profile and minimal bezels. The Pro 9 also has a 120Hz display that makes scrolling long documents or spreadsheets feel much faster, and you can drop the refresh rate down to 60Hz if you want to conserve battery life. Just make sure you get an Intel processor rather than an ARM-based configuration, since app compatibility might be an issue on the latter. You don’t want to be the only one in class who can’t install the obscure app that your professor wants everyone to use, do you?

We also like Microsoft’s Type Covers and the Surface Pens, though it’s worth noting that they’ll have to pay extra for both if you want them. Unless you’re bent on sticking to Apple’s ecosystem, in which case an iPad Pro would suit you best, the Surface Pro 9 is arguably the best convertible laptop around.

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  • Electronics

The Best Laptops for College Students

An ASUS Zenbook open to a Kant essay sitting on a green background among textbooks, pen, and paper.

By Kimber Streams

Kimber Streams is a writer who has been covering laptops and other tech at Wirecutter for more than a decade. They once built a fort out of keyboards.

College is expensive—including tuition, housing, and textbooks, not to mention food and other miscellaneous costs. So students need a reliable laptop that’ll last for years of taking notes, writing papers at 3 in the morning, and editing slides for a group project. But choosing the right laptop can be more challenging than writing a thousand words on Proust.

We test dozens of laptops every year, and for this guide we’ve rounded up the picks from our other guides that are the best for students. A laptop’s price-to-performance ratio is the most important factor, followed by its battery life, its size and weight, and its keyboard and trackpad. Our top pick offers the best balance of all those factors for high school and college students, whether they’re attending classes remotely or schlepping it to a physical classroom.

We also have more-portable picks, if you’re able to spend more. And for anyone on a tighter budget, we have less expensive options that are also well suited for younger kids. To achieve their more-affordable price tags, these cheaper options all make serious trade-offs—in shorter battery life, bulkier size, or more-limited functionality—and they’re not likely to last as long as our picks. If you’re a film or photography student and you need a laptop for photo and video editing , or if you want a laptop that can also play games , we have picks for you, too.

The research

Our pick: asus zenbook 14 oled, a windows upgrade: hp spectre x360 13.5, mac options: macbook air, budget chromebook pick: lenovo ideapad flex 5i chromebook plus, budget windows pick: acer aspire 3 spin 14 (a3sp14-31pt), budget tablet pick: apple ipad.

coursework laptop

Asus Zenbook 14″ OLED (UM3402YA-WS51T)

The best value.

The Zenbook 14 is the best laptop you can get for the price. But its build quality isn’t as nice, and it won’t perform as well in a few years as our top picks.

Buying Options

You save $123 (18%)

coursework laptop

Asus Zenbook 14″ OLED (UM3402YA-WS74T)

This version of the Zenbook 14 performs just as well as our top pick, but it costs a couple hundred dollars more than the base model.

Recommended configuration

Who these are for: Budget ultrabooks—thin and light laptops with good performance and long battery life and a price tag in the $700 to $800 range—are ideal for high school and college students because they provide the best value. These cheaper ultrabooks tend to make minor trade-offs compared with ultrabooks over $1,000: They may be a bit larger and heavier, may not last quite as long on a charge, may feel less sturdy or solid, or may lack convenient features such as a fingerprint reader or USB-C charging. But even with those drawbacks, budget ultrabooks still provide far better performance and overall quality compared with $500 laptops.

Our top Ultrabook budget pick, the Asus Zenbook 14 OLED, shown open to a pink zebra pattern desktop.

Why we like this one: Most high school or college students shopping for a laptop to last through graduation should get the Asus Zenbook 14 OLED, either the base model with 8 GB of memory or the version with 16 GB of memory . It’s powerful and portable enough to use for a full day of classes, and it has a vivid screen and a solid keyboard and trackpad. Unlike most cheap ultrabooks, the Zenbook 14 is sturdy and equipped with a fingerprint reader, and it comes with a USB-C charger, which you can use to charge more devices and is generally cheaper to replace than specialty non–USB-C chargers. If you spend around $400 more for the HP Spectre x360 13.5, you get a sleeker, nicer laptop with a better webcam and potentially more memory. But for most students, those differences aren’t worth the $400.

You can read more about the Asus Zenbook 14 OLED and our other picks in our guide to Windows ultrabooks .

Upgrade pick

coursework laptop

HP Spectre x360 13.5″

The best ultrabook.

The Spectre x360 offers excellent battery life, a tall touchscreen, and a reliable keyboard and trackpad. It’s also thin and light enough to slip in a bag and take anywhere.

Who these are for: If you’re willing and able to pay more, get an ultrabook, which is a laptop with a great keyboard, screen, and battery life, as well as enough power to do everything most people need a computer for. It’s also thin, light, and portable. Because great ultrabooks provide a better experience and last longer than cheaper alternatives, they can cost more than many students are able to spend on a laptop—expect to pay between $1,100 and $1,300 for a great one that will last for years. But they lack the processing power to play high-end games or to handle demanding tasks like video editing or 3D modeling.

The HP Spectre x360 showing an abstract homescreen, sitting against a green background.

Why we like this one: The HP Spectre x360 13.5 has the best balance of what makes an ultrabook great: It offers fast performance, battery life for a full day of classes, a tall aspect ratio screen that’s ideal for browsing the web and writing papers, and a quality keyboard and trackpad. And if you take any classes remotely, the Spectre has the best webcam we tested this year. It also has a 360-degree hinge that lets you flip the touchscreen all the way around to use it as a tablet, and some models come with an active stylus for taking notes. The Spectre x360 13.5 isn’t as light or compact as some other Windows ultrabooks, but at 3 pounds it’s certainly not heavy, either. It ships with too much bloatware, but that’s easy to uninstall when the laptop arrives.

You can read more about the HP Spectre x360 13.5 and our other picks in our guide to Windows ultrabooks .

coursework laptop

Apple MacBook Air (M1, 2020)

Performance for a great price.

The M1 MacBook Air has a comfortable keyboard, good performance, and a reasonable amount of storage—things that haven’t always been true of previous MacBook Airs.

You save $50 (7%)

coursework laptop

Apple MacBook Air (M2, 2022, 13-inch)

A sleek design and a nice webcam.

The 2022 M2 MacBook Air offers an updated design, a brighter screen, and a better webcam, and it restores the fan-favorite MagSafe port.

You save $150 (15%)

Who these are for: If you prefer macOS or need exceptional tech support , a MacBook is a safe bet; the 13-inch models usually offer the best combination of size, weight, and speed. They’re great for most types of schoolwork, including writing, researching, and basic video and photo editing and coding. Once you factor in Apple’s education discount , you can get one with good enough specs and storage to last three to four years for less than $1,000. MacBooks are usually more expensive than Windows ultrabooks, especially if you want to upgrade the memory or storage; Apple’s SSD upgrade prices are so high that we usually recommend looking into cloud storage or an external SSD instead.

The 13-inch MacBook Air with Apple’s M1 processor, shown open to its desktop screen.

Why we liked this one: At $900 after an education discount, the 13-inch MacBook Air (M1, 2020) is Apple’s cheapest MacBook. If your budget can stretch another $100, we recommend the newer MacBook Air (M2, 2022, 13″) , which has a brighter screen, a superior webcam, and a MagSafe charging port. Both models are more than fast enough for web browsing, working on documents, and light photo and video editing, plus they can even handle professional work like 3D rendering or compiling code. They also have great keyboards and trackpads, as well as all-day battery life. Like Apple’s other laptops, the Air has only USB-C ports; you may need a USB-C hub for certain peripherals. But the Air’s light weight, solid construction, and industry-leading support make it a great laptop, especially if you also own an iPhone or other Apple devices.

For more details on our Mac picks, take a look at our full guide to MacBook models .

coursework laptop

Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5i Chromebook Plus

The best chromebook.

Reliable performance, a spacious touch display, and long-enough battery life for a full workday make the Flex 5i the best Chromebook for the price. But it is a bit heavy.

Who these are for: Chromebooks are ideal for students who don’t need Windows or macOS for specific programs. A good Chromebook can do  almost anything a regular laptop can do , including document work, video calls, and streaming video—as long as it’s possible in a web browser or via Android apps. And $500 Chromebooks tend to be faster, lighter, and sleeker than similarly priced Windows laptops. Plus, Chromebooks are secure and easy to maintain . But Chromebooks may have trouble connecting to campus printers, and they can’t play Windows games. And they’re not good for people who need access to Mac or Windows apps for photo, video, or audio editing, or other specialized software.

The Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5i Chromebook Plus open to an orange homescreen, sitting on a purple background.

Why we like this one: If you can complete all of your coursework on a Chromebook, we recommend the Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5i Chromebook Plus because it has the best combination of features and price of all the models we tested. It has fast performance, a reliable keyboard and trackpad, a tall touchscreen, surprisingly good speakers, and enough battery life to last a full day of classes. But we wish it were lighter—at 3.6 pounds, it’s heavy for a 14-inch laptop.

For more options, you can read our full guide to Chromebooks .

Budget pick

coursework laptop

Acer Aspire 3 Spin 14 (A3SP14-31PT)

The best windows laptop under $500.

Unlike most cheap Windows laptops, the Aspire 3 Spin 14 is fast, compact, and light, and it has a decent 1080p touchscreen and good battery life.

Who these are for: If you need a Windows laptop for school and you can’t afford to spend a lot, you can find a decent one for less than $500, but you have to make some compromises. These models are best suited for grade-school or middle-school students, because most budget Windows laptops that are fast enough for school work tend to be bulky, heavy, and stuck with battery life that won’t last a full day of classes. You have to be extra-vigilant when shopping for a laptop in this price range to avoid slow or old processors, not enough memory, sluggish storage, and terrible, low-resolution displays.

A stock image of the Aspire 3 Spin 14 open to an abstract blue and green desktop wallpaper.

Why we like this one: The Acer Aspire 3 Spin 14 (A3SP14-31PT) in any of our recommended configurations ( 37NV , 38YA , or 32M6 ) is the best Windows laptop you can find for the price. But we strongly recommend saving up for our top pick if you can—it’s better in nearly every way.

The Aspire 3 Spin 14 is fast enough to meet most people’s computing needs, and its keyboard and trackpad are reliable. It also has a decent-looking 14-inch 1920×1200 touchscreen with a tall aspect ratio, as well as a 360-degree hinge that allows you to use the device as a tablet to take handwritten notes (if you have a stylus). Compared with most bulky Windows laptops in this price range, the Aspire 3 Spin 14 is also more compact, and it has long enough battery life to last a full day of classes.

The Aspire 3 Spin 14 ships with Windows 11 S mode, which allows only apps from the Microsoft Store and limits you to Microsoft Edge for web browsing. But you can switch it to Windows 11 Home for free to install any program you need. It also comes with a ton of bloatware; we recommend following these steps to get rid of it.

Choosing a budget laptop is tricky, because you can find hundreds of variations, their prices fluctuate constantly, and companies release and discontinue models with no warning. If our pick isn’t available, check our full guide for other available options and advice on how to shop for a budget laptop.

For additional details, you can read our full guide to budget laptops .

coursework laptop

Apple iPad (9th generation)

The best tablet for almost anyone.

With a large screen, a fast-enough processor, and Apple Pencil and Smart Keyboard support, the 9th-gen iPad offers the features most tablet users need.

Who these are for: Windows laptops and Chromebooks that cost around $300 are almost uniformly unpleasant to use—washed-out screens and crappy performance are the two biggest problems. A tablet isn’t good at all the things a laptop is good at, and if you’re taking programming classes or learning how to do high-end photo and video editing with apps such as Photoshop or Premiere, a tablet probably wouldn’t work for you. But if you mainly need to browse the internet, write papers, stream videos, draw, and take handwritten notes, an iPad can be a workable, inexpensive substitute for a traditional laptop. iPads feel faster than cheap laptops, they run the App Store’s huge selection of games (in addition to productivity apps), and their light weight makes them more convenient to use in bed or on a couch when your homework is done and you want to unwind.

an iPad (9th generation) with an Apple Pencil.

Why we like this one: The 10.2-inch Apple iPad (9th generation) isn’t as fast as the much-more-expensive iPad Pro models or the newer 10th-gen iPad, but it is responsive and pleasant to use, its screen is bright and colorful, it has good battery life, and the Apple Pencil is great for drawing or taking notes. And Apple has made big strides forward in keyboard and mouse support, which makes the iPad feel a lot more like a traditional laptop when you put it in a case and pair it to a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse (or one of Apple’s Magic Trackpads ). If you can afford it, and especially if your iPad will be your only computer, consider the 256 GB version instead of the 64 GB version; with that version, you’ll need to rely on cloud storage less, and you’ll have more space for apps and other files.

Head to our reviews of the best tablets and pro tablets to read more about our picks.

Meet your guide

coursework laptop

Kimber Streams

Kimber Streams is a senior staff writer and has been covering laptops, gaming gear, keyboards, storage, and more for Wirecutter since 2014. In that time they’ve tested hundreds of laptops and thousands of peripherals, and built way too many mechanical keyboards for their personal collection.

Further reading

Some of our picks for best laptop, placed around each other in a grid. Some of them are open and active while others are shut.

The Best Laptops

by Kimber Streams and Dave Gershgorn

From budget-friendly options to thin-and-light ultrabooks to powerful gaming laptops, we’ve spent hundreds of hours finding the best laptops for most people.

Our five picks for best backpack for college and high school students, shown in a row.

The Best Backpacks for College and High School Students

by Zoe Vanderweide

Our top backpack picks for the 2023-2024 school year include a sporty-looking ergonomic pack, a bag that’s nostalgic and timeless, and a polished workhorse.

A person sits upright on a bed, holding a coffee mug with a cat on it and smiling, close-lipped, at the camera

The Best College Dorm Essentials

by Wirecutter Staff

Our favorite durable-but-not-too-expensive bedding, accessories, kitchen gear, and tools for your dorm room.

Four Windows ultrabooks tested for this review.

Which Computer Should You Buy for Your Kid?

by Kimber Streams

We have a range of computer buying advice for parents facing a variety of schooling and budget situations, from used to new, and from laptop to desktop.

Best laptops for engineering students in 2024

Master your course with best laptops for engineering students

The quick list

  • 1. Best overall
  • 2. Best on a budget
  • 3. Best MacBook
  • 4. Best for gamers
  • 5. Best 2-in-1
  • 6. Best Chromebook
  • 7. Best Surface
  • 8. Best 17-inch
  • 9. Best premium
  • How to choose
  • How we test

A Dell XPS 15 (2022) on a wooden desk

The quick list 1. Best overall 2. Best budget laptop 3. Best MacBook 4. Best for gamers 5. Best 2-in-1 6. Best Chromebook 7. Best Microsoft Surface 8. Best 17in laptop 9. Best premium laptop

Looking for the best laptops for engineering students? Our team of expert reviewers have gone hands-on with the top models, whether you're creating complex CAD designs, analyzing datasets, or writing up your next essay.  

When reviewing laptops for engineering students, we're looking for reliable performance, good durability and portability, with comfortable keyboards and future-proofed specs - so it will last the duration of your course. For that reason, the best mobile workstations and the best business laptops remain a popular choice. 

Our team put the best laptops for engineering students to the test. During our review process, we compared configurations and specs, benchmarked speeds and performance, and evaluated everything from size and weight to screen resolution and ergonomics. With top models from brands like Apple , HP , Dell , and Asus, you'll find a laptop suited to whichever branch of engineering you're studying.

  • Best laptop for AutoCAD deals : We tracked down the best AutoCAD laptop deals around right now

Dell XPS 15 on white background

"Laptop perfection" is how we described the Dell XPS 15. A Windows laptop with a robust chassis, comfortable carbon fiber palm rests for prolonged use. The powerful performance is driven by impressive specs - the top model features a 12th-gen Intel Core i9 and 32GB RAM.  

Read more  

HP Victus on white background

A great value gaming laptop whose RTX-equipped model effortlessly doubles as a laptop for engineering students running graphically-demanding programs. It’s not the lightest machine you can buy, but we found performance solid and the 15.6-inch FHD display bright and clear.

Apple MacBook Air on a white background

Feather-light and slimline, the MacBook Air is the ideal engineering laptop for those who prize portability. Don’t let the diminutive size fool you though - this M2-powered laptop delivers impressive performance that’s near-silent in use. A gorgeous screen and 11-hour battery life seal the deal. 

Asus ROG Strix SCAR 18 on a white background

A laptop for engineering students and gamers alike, the Asus ROG Strix SCAR 18 is an absolute beast of a machine. Specced with a 13th Gen Intel Core i9, 32 GB RAM, and an Nvidia GeForce RTX 4090, our tests showed it delivered absolutely class-leading speed. 

Hp Spectre x360 on a white background

Offering the best of both worlds, the HP Spectre x360 offers tablet and laptop mode for more flexibility. With i5 and i7 models, and up to 8GB RAM, it’s not a performance-driven device - and the lack of discrete GPU is disappointing. But a good choice if you need a two-in one.

HP Dragonfly Chromebook on a white background

With little power and storage, Chromebooks are rarely the right laptop for engineering students. But if ChromeOS is a must, opt for the HP Elite Dragonfly. With higher-end configurations, it proved to be one of the most powerful Chromebooks we’ve ever tested.

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Microsoft Surface 4 on a white background

When we first tested the Microsoft Surface Laptop 4, we called it “the best Surface laptop yet.” A comfortable keyboard makes for a pleasant typing experience. The 11th-Gen Intel processor is perfect for getting work done, although you’ll struggle to run games outside of your course. 

Dell XPS 17 on a white background

For more screen real estate to really zone in on the details, the Dell XPS 17 is tough to beat. Despite the size, the 17in laptop is incredibly thin and lightweight - ideal for carrying around campus. In our tests, it easily tore through even demanding tasks like video encoding and 3D rendering.

Razer Blade 15 on a white background

Performance, powerful, a beautiful design - the Razer Blade 15 has a lot going for it. It packs a RTX 3000-series GPU, DDR5 memory, and a 12th-generation Alder Lake Intel CPU - and in our testing process, it easily handled even the most demanding workloads. But all that power will cost you. 

Best laptop for engineering students overall

A Dell XPS 15 2022

1. Dell XPS 15

Our expert review:

Specifications

Reasons to buy, reasons to avoid.

"Laptop perfection" is how we described Dell's excellent XPS 15. Maintaining its outstanding classic design from previous generations, the 2022 model is a solidly built device. It's made with a brushed CNC aluminum chassis and carbon fiber palm rests that, alongside the ever-comfortable Dell keyboard design, we found comfortable for prolonged use. If you're writing a lot of essays, you'll feel the benefit of this design very quickly. We were also impressed with the extended battery life, letting you work across campus without worrying about losing charge too fast. 

However, limiting portability (without the use of a laptop docking station at least) is the lack of available ports. You'll find three USB Type-C ports, which won't be ideal if you're using USB-A peripherals. 

It's a small complaint, perhaps, in an otherwise great laptop. Paired with a beautiful screen, a great keyboard, and plenty of storage space, you'll blaze through your latest project. Better still, this is a Windows laptop - and many engineering programs, particularly Autodesk's line-up, only run on Windows. 

Read our full Dell XPS 15 review

Best budget laptop for engineering students

HP Victus 15

2. HP Victus 15

It might be marketed as a gaming laptop. Still, the HP Victus 15's simple design (free from the gaudy 'gamer aesthetic' of many powerful laptops) and RTX-equipped models make it a solid choice for any engineering student who will be running graphically-demanding programs.

It's also remarkably cheap for a laptop with a discrete GPU, likely to please any budding engineer on a budget. During testing, it performed below other gaming laptops in our standard benchmarks, but not by a huge margin. We also found that it takes air circulation seriously, boasting a dual-fan setup and a large air vent at the bottom. That's going to be a major benefit when working in those resource-intensive apps and large, complex projects that really test the mettle of any engineering laptop. 

A bright 15.6-inch FHD display and generally robust build quality mean that while this isn't the most lightweight laptop in the business, it's tough enough to withstand the bumps and bruises of college life. If you're looking to save space in your dorm, this machine easily pulls double-duty as a laptop and a desktop replacement. 

Read our full HP Victus 15 review

Best MacBook for engineering students

Apple MacBook Air (M2, 2022)

3. Apple MacBook Air (M2, 2022)

The Apple MacBook Air (M2, 2022) isn't just one of the best laptops Apple has ever made. It's one of the best laptops for engineering students who value portability and power. However, it's worth checking course requirements here, as depending on your discipline, many engineering classes require a Windows laptop for software compatibility. 

But if it's right for you, then you'll find this machine will absolutely breeze through just about any project, thanks to its incredibly powerful M2 processor. During our time with the MacBook Air, the laptop performed incredibly well, blazing through tasks like video editing and graphic design without a single drag on performance. So, it's more than capable of handle compatible engineering apps. Better still, for those working in libraries and other busy, communal areas, we found the fan was silent under normal operating conditions (although we would expect the volume to amp up when running heavier workloads). 

The laptop is thin, light, stylish, durable with an incredible battery life that lasts over 11 hours on a single charge. In other words, perfect for carrying around campus. Its screen is gorgeous, and the new-and-improved keyboard means you can effortlessly produce coursework for hours.

Read our full MacBook Air (M2, 2022) review

Best engineering laptop for gamers

Asus ROG Strix Scar 18 (2023) on a stool

4. Asus ROG Strix SCAR 18

The Asus ROG Strix SCAR G834JY boasts an incredible array of specs that promise to make this machine rocket to the top of wishlists for engineering students looking for a laptop powerful for work and play (because college isn't all about studying, right?). 

While built with gamers in mind, the G834JY is built to effortlessly handle processor and GPU-intensive workloads on engineering courses. Specs are excellent - 13th Gen Intel Core i9-13980HX processor and an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4090 Laptop GPU. RAM tops at 64 GB of DDR5-4800 MHz memory and comes equipped with 2 TB of PCIe 4x4 configured in RAID 0. So, this machine should last you throughout your course - it's not going to age-out or need upgrading. 

The screen is great, too - 18-inch QHD+ 16:10, with more screen real estate to keep total oversight over your work. Especially good for designers, the display boasts 100% DCI-P3 color gamut and Pantone Validation. 

On the downside, it's not ultra-portable.  It's broad and heavy and you won't want to lug this laptop around college ground a lot. Cooling isn't great here. Nor did we find battery life especially good. The Asus ROG Strix SCAR G834JY is ideal, however, for setting up in one or two locations each day. Connectivity and port selection aren't great either, the only highlight being a single Thunderbolt 4 port, so you'll need a docking station if you have a lot of peripherals.

With its top-end specs and those minor shortcomings on a very high-performance laptop, this one gives us desktop alternative vibes. 

Read our full Asus ROG Strix Scar 18 review

Best 2-in-1 laptop for engineering students

An HP Spectre x360 2022 on a wooden table

5. HP Spectre x360 (2022)

The HP Spectre x360 offers students a luxurious device beyond their typical 2-in-1 laptop. It provides a stunning multi-touch display, a beautifully designed chassis, and an excellent keyboard experience.

Tablet-type laptops aren't always the best choice for engineering students, as they often feature mobile components, smaller keyboards, or are otherwise less powerful than traditional laptops. Here, the Spectre x360 lacks a discrete GPU - and that's going to be a deal-break on certain engineering courses, where a laptop needs graphical prowess.

But if a two-in-one laptop for engineering is a must, the HP Spectre x360 is an excellent option - especially if you're using office apps or doing design work, with the laptop's stunning multi-touch OLED screen. We also found the keyboard was very satisfying to use, with well-spaced keys that prevent typos.

Portability is a highlight, with a sleek, modern design you can carry all day without (too much) fatigue, and in our battery tests, it lasted over eight hours, which should be ample for most student use. 

Read our full HP Spectre x360 (2022) review

Best Chromebook for engineering students

An HP Elite Dragonfly Chromebook on a wooden desk

6. HP Elite Dragonfly Chromebook

Chromebooks aren’t usually the best choice for engineering students - like a lot of two-in-ones, they lack the powerful processors, the dedicated graphics card, the broad storage space. 

But for running office apps (or similar) for essays and coursework, they can be the perfect solution. ChromeOS laptops tend to be lightweight, which is always welcome when you're going from class to class, library to lab, dorm to dorm. And one of the best out there is the HP Elite Dragonfly Chromebook.

There's a good reason why this may qualify as the best Chromebook for engineering students - assuming your course doesn't demand a Windows machine: it's an enterprise-grade laptop with up to i7 / 16GB RAM configurations that proved to be one of the most powerful Chromebooks we’ve ever tested. 

However, engineering students will best avoid the entry-level model with its 12th-gen Core i3 configuration. And we did find the keyboard somewhat tight in use, which might impact its ability to handle long essay-writing sessions. 

Read our full HP Elite Dragonfly review  

Best Microsoft Surface for engineering students

Microsoft Surface Laptop 4

7. Microsoft Surface Laptop 4

A great pick for engineering students looking to take on a wide range of workloads, from design work to content creation, the Surface Laptop 4 is perhaps Microsoft 's best laptop.

The Surface 4 comes in a broad range of configurations to suit every student. You can choose between a 13.5- or 15-inch screen, depending on how much portability you need. We have to say, during our own testing on the 13.5in model, we found the laptop's 3:2 PixelSense display was gorgeous. 

The keyboard and trackpad are spacious and responsive, a delight for longer writing sessions - even if we found the palm-rests' Alcantara fabric gets dirty easily. And the touchscreen supports the Surface Pen for creative endeavors that are central to so many engineering courses. Our only real criticism with the Surface's design is the lack of port selection - just a single USB-C port, a lone USB-A port.

But it isn't the most powerful Windows machine out there, and there's no discrete GPU - but with configurations up to i7 / 32GB, it's more than capable of handling everyday tasks for engineering students across most disciplines. You can even pick up an AMD variant, if you're Team Red.  

Read our full Microsoft Surface Laptop 4 review

Best 17-inch laptop for engineering students

Dell XPS 17 (2022)

8. Dell XPS 17

For a powerful, 17-inch laptop, the Dell XPS 17 is impressively thin and light, making it ideal for student who wants high-performance and a broad display without compromising on portability. 

The laptop has a gorgeous design, with a solid chassis and stable keyboard for carting around campus. The 2022 model packs an RTX 3050 or 3060 GPU with a 12th-gen Intel processor, delivering a speedy performance that can handle complex projects. In our tests, it tore through the most demanding tasks with ease, including 3D renders, making it a good pick for students of engineering, design, architecture. We also loved the all-day battery life - a rarity on a laptop with these sort of specs and size.

It's not a budget laptop - the XPS line is Dell's premium consumer range - but we don't feel it's overpriced considering the laptop's stellar performance. 

Read our full Dell XPS 17 (2022) review

Best premium laptop for engineering students

Razer Blade 15 (2022)

9. Razer Blade 15

If money is no object and you want a future-proofed laptop that will continue running AutoCAD and the like for the next few years at least, then the Razer Blade 15 is certainly an investment. It is an expensive laptop for engineering students compared to rivals, but you get a lot of bang for your buck. 

Of course, as a Razer-branded laptop, this one is built for gaming - making it ideal for more resource-intensive engineering software like the Autodesk line-up. With a RTX 3000-series graphics card, DDR5 memory, and a 12th-generation Alder Lake Intel CPU, our tests have shown that this machine can easily power through the most demanding workloads you'll face on your course. 

The exterior of the Razer Blade 15 is beautiful - a durable brushed aluminum chassis, with a precision glass trackpad and a gently illuminated RGB keyboard that adds a bit more flavor when writing up coursework. The screen is excellent, too, with various resolutions up to a glorious 4K panel with a 144Hz refresh rate and 100% DCI-P3 color gamut for enhanced design-work. 

Read our full Razer Blade 15 (2022) review

Best laptops for engineering students: FAQs

Are apple laptops good for engineering students.

Are MacBooks good for engineering students?

Apple MacBooks have always been a solid competitor in the world of laptops for engineers. With the recent jump to Apple's own silicon with the M1 and M2 chips, these laptops have gotten even more efficient and even better at multitasking while also powering through even the largest of programs and tasks.

However, the issue is that many engineering programs, like those from Autodesk, will only work on the Windows operating system. If in doubt, ask your school or college which software you'll be using on your course. 

Do engineering students need a powerful laptop?

Engineering students need a powerful laptop - although this need is balanced by the portability of the device and the type of software that's being run. 

Using engineering programs pushes devices far harder than, say, the best laptops for writers . Even the best laptops for programming won't work as hard as laptops for engineering students. 

Ultimately, a CAD or SolidWorks window pulls significantly more power than a text document or web search. As such, a dedicated GPU and plenty of RAM are key requirements, while CPU is more dependent on the chosen software.

How to choose the best engineering laptop for you

When choosing the best laptop for an engineering student, there are a number of factors to consider. 

A great laptop for engineering students must operate high-powered applications simultaneously with many open program windows - a CAD window, a large mapping service, and a large Excel sheet. 

Since you will likely be using complex programs like AutoCAD, MATLAB, and SolidWorks, you will need a laptop with sufficient power to run them smoothly and effectively. It can be graphically intensive when using programs like the best graphic design software and the best 3D modeling software .

For that reason, and for an uninterrupted workflow, look for laptops spec'd with the best graphics cards , best processors , and best RAM . We recommend a laptop with the latest Intel Core i5 or Core i7 chips as a minimum, 1TB SSD storage, and 16GB of RAM – although 32GB is even better.

A clear display with a minimum 1080p resolution is advisable - although size will be a matter of preference, unless you need as much information on the screen as possible. 

Portability and ruggedness are key features - you should be able to carry your laptop around all day, wherever you need to work. And the device handle a few accidental bumps along the way. As part of this, check the battery life of each device. An all-day battery means you won't have to lug around a charger everywhere. But if you're mostly going to have your setup in one place, then a lower battery capacity will be acceptable too.

Typical laptops focus on a lightweight frame, long battery life, or other specifications for easy communication and media consumption (eg. webcams, WiFi, screens). Laptops for engineering students need to be able to perform advanced operations easily, even if they don't have all-day battery life.

It's also worth asking your school, college, or university if they have preferred machine, or minimum hardware specifications. In many instances, the engineering software you use will be restricted to a particular operating system - usually Windows - so it's best to get that information before committing. 

How we test the best laptops for engineering students

Our team of reviewers have tested hundreds of the best laptops and the best student laptops to find the top-rated for all students. 

We take the same rigorous approach to our review process whether we’re reviewing the best laptops for MBA students , comparing the specs of the best laptops for computer science students , or benchmarking the performances of the best laptops for architecture students . 

When testing the best laptops for engineering students, we compare all specs, and run simulated and real-world benchmarking tests. We also undertake a full battery life test to see how well it measures up to a manufacturer’s generous claims - because being able to work on the move is essential here. 

We’re looking for devices that are powerful, running engineering programs across a range of disciplines without slowdowns or lagging. They should be discreet and high-performance machines that keep you focused on your classes, not the overwhelming noise from the fan. 

We also look at portability - the best engineering laptops for students boast slim and sleek designs, comfortably slipping into your bag. While when we evaluate build quality, we expect to see a durable construction that can withstand a busy commute, crossing campus, and from dorms to libraries to labs. 

We also assess connectivity and port selection, screen size, overall weight and dimensions, and test out extra features such as face recognition or fingerprint sensors. Finally, we look at which of the best student engineering laptops offer genuine value for money. 

You can find out more in our detailed guide How we test laptops and desktops: our reviewing process explained .  

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Former TechRadar Pro B2B Hardware Editor, Collin has been in journalism for years, with experience in small and large markets, including Gearadical, DailyBeast, FutureNet, and more.

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Best laptops for remote learning in 2022

Keep students remote learning on track with these excellent laptops

Acer Chromebook Spin 713 review

The best laptops for remote learning can help ensure that even away from the classroom a student can do their best. Some of these students may be just as well served by our best college laptops , but there are some unique pieces to remote learning that lead us to draw a line there and we'll highlight those when relevant. 

Whether the remote learner is in elementary school, middle school, high school or beyond these are the best laptops to help them succeed in a remote learning environment.

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For many remote learners, a Chromebook is probably the right answer. The simplicity, security and familiarity make them an excellent solution. Students can log into the Chromebook with their school address and the Chromebook will immediately be populated with all of the apps and content that they need. With touchscreens and support for Android apps now commonplace in these versatile laptops, a Chromebook is ideally suited for many remote learners.

Windows laptop

For high school age and beyond, some remote learners will want to consider Windows 11 or macOS laptops depending on their areas of study. Students who are working with content creation, whether that be photography, videography, or music will require the software and hardware performance found in laptops with either operating system. And while there are numerous learn-to-code resources available for Chromebooks, the more robust tools found in Windows or macOS will be necessary especially for those interested in iOS or macOS programming as this can only be done on a Mac.

Now that you have a general idea of what to look for depending on the age or grade level of the remote learner, let’s take a look at which specific laptops are going to be the best for remote learning.

What is the best laptop for remote learning?

Why you can trust Laptop Mag Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test .

The Acer Chromebook Spin 713 is the best laptop for remote learning. It can typically be found for under $500, which is a bit pricey for a Chromebook, but its superior specs help it keep up with increasingly demanding tasks. 

The 13.5-inch 2256 x 1504 pixel touchscreen is vivid and bright and strikes an excellent middle ground between portability and screen real estate. The larger panel should allow for multitasking or for an engrossing viewing experience.

The aluminum chassis should also hold up well over time. And thanks to its more premium looks, specs, and approximately 12 hours of battery life , the Acer Chromebook Spin 713 is more than capable of being a top-tier remote learning laptop for years to come.

coursework laptop

If you are looking for something a bit smaller, but still want premium hardware, the Google Pixelbook Go is a fantastic option with even better specs, but it’s also pricier, at around $650. On the more affordable end of the spectrum is the Lenovo Chromebook Duet . It offers an incredibly handy 2-in-1 detachable form factor that is going to be well suited to particularly younger remote learners and is available for less than $300. The more recent Lenovo IdeaPad Duet 5 Chromebook is pricier at $499, but it ups the ante with a gorgeous 13.3-inch OLED display, while delivering surprisingly solid performance.

Turning to the older remote learners, the HP Envy 13 is a beautiful Windows 10 /11 laptop that has plenty of power to tackle any task that might arise all the way through a college curriculum. And at less than $1,000 for the FHD model, which delivers over 11 hours of battery life, it is a solid value. To save a few hundred dollars, the Acer Swift 3 with its AMD processor offers stellar performance and battery life at an unbeatable price, with the dim display being the one major trade-off. 

Finally, if macOS is a must-have, then the new MacBook Air is the best option, with enough power for most remote learners and an affordable starting price at $899 for students. But for budding filmmakers, developers, or music majors, the extra power of the MacBook Pro 13 is advisable.

coursework laptop

1. Acer Chromebook Spin 713

Our expert review:

Specifications

Reasons to buy, reasons to avoid.

The Acer Chromebook Spin 713 is one of the best Chromebooks on the market and that makes it one of the best laptops for remote learners. Even at its retail price, it was worth the investment, but now frequently available for under $500 it's a steal compared to comparably specced Windows laptops.

The Acer Chromebook Spin 713 won a spot on the best Chromebooks list for its colorful and bright display, speedy performance and versatile form factor. Remote learners, in particular, may appreciate the form factor given their more varied learning environments.

For remote learners at any level seeking an inexpensive, portable and durable laptop, the Acer Chromebook Spin 713 is certainly one of the best laptops they could choose for their everyday device.

Read our full review of the  Acer Chromebook Spin 713.

Best Laptops: HP Envy x360 13 (2020)

2. HP Envy 13 (2021)

The HP Envy 13 is the best sub-$1,000 laptop on the market, making it an easy choice for remote learners that want a powerful laptop without spending too much. The lack of an IR camera shouldn't be much of a concern as a remote learner and HP fixed our other complaint from the previous model which was the lack of Thunderbolt 4, meaning any extra port needs can be solved with a docking station .

The bright, vivid display and beautiful aluminum chassis make this laptop a pleasure to look ad the keyboard is a joy to type on. Best of all the new Intel processor manages to deliver over 11 hours on a charge so you can work from anywhere in your home for a full day without worrying about plugging in. For remote learners who have software needs that Chrome OS can’t meet, this Windows 10 laptop is going to be a great fit. Like the Envy 13 but want a 2-in-1 laptop, then check out the HP Envy x360 13 (2020) .

See our full HP Envy 13 (2021) review.

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3. Google Pixelbook Go

For a premium and portable Chromebook experience for remote learners who take their laptops outside of the home, the Pixelbook Go is hard to beat. It has a gorgeous 13.3-inch FHD touchscreen display that is one of the best we’ve seen on a Chromebook.

Its slim frame and unique ribbed underside make it a pleasure to carry and easy to fit into virtually any bag for when you're on the go. And if you are away from a charger, the incredible battery life (11 hours and 29 minutes in our testing) will ensure that the day’s classwork can be finished with room to spare for some extracurricular activities. 

The speakers are one potential downside for the Pixelbook Go as they are a bit harsh sounding. See our full Google Pixelbook Go review .

Acer Swift 3 AMD Ryzen 7 4700U

4. Acer Swift 3 (AMD, 2020)

The Acer Swift 3 is the best value around for a remote learning laptop. The AMD Ryzen 7 4700U CPU puts it on par in terms of performance with laptops more than twice its price. Seriously, we’ve pitted it against the MacBook Pro and Dell XPS 13 and this notebook has really held its own. This makes it suitable for virtually any level of remote learner as this laptop is ready for whatever task you have the throw at it and then some. Battery life is similarly impressive with about 11 hours between charges. Obviously, it’s not perfect. There are a few tradeoffs such as the relatively dim display, but for the price and performance, we think you’ll let it slide. Especially if the laptop is going to be mostly used indoors. The pros are going to outweigh the cons for many users.

See our full Acer Swift 3 (AMD, 2020) review.

MacBook Air

5. MacBook Air (2020, M1)

If you absolutely need a MacBook due to either macOS or investment in other Apple hardware, the best option for most remote learners is the MacBook Air. Starting at $899 for students, it is a solid value by Apple laptop standards, particularly considering the performance and battery life with the new Apple M1 chip.

The keyboard on the MacBook Air was finally fixed in 2020, as the company ditched the horrid Butterfly keyboard in favor of the new Magic keyboard . This is an excellent update as the last thing you need as a remote learner is an uncomfortable or unreliable keyboard. While there will be some slight growing pains as developers update for the new M1 chip, most apps already work perfectly fine with Apple's Rosetta 2 emulation so unless you know a critical piece of software won't work for you this shouldn't be a problem.

See our full MacBook Air (2020, M1) review .

Asus Chromebook Detachable CM3 laying on a chair

6. Asus Chromebook Detachable CM3

The Asus Chromebook Detachable CM3 will fool others into thinking you're carrying a tweed-bound journal, but in reality, you've got a spectacular  2-in-1 laptop  in your hands. As a cherry on top, the Chromebook Detachable CM3 actually comes with a built-in stylus, so you could definitely get some journaling in with some high-tech handwriting or for younger remote learners can simply practice their handwriting.

We also can't talk about the Chromebook Detachable CM3 without raving about its battery life. You might never need to bring your charger along with you because this Asus Chromebook can last for nearly 12 hours, according to our in-house battery life test.  You also don't need to worry about hauling the Detachable CM3 everywhere in your bag as it meets U.S.  MIL-STD810H standards . This means that in can handle bumps, shocks and temperature changes. Bolstered by the case and keyboard, it has quite a bit of protection, and if you are worried about that fabric covering, it's stain-resistant.

See our full  Asus Chromebook Detachable CM3 review .

Dell XPS 13 (2020)

7. Dell XPS 13 (2020)

If you are willing to spend a little bit more money to have considerably more performance, the Dell XPS 13 (2020) is the laptop for you. The notebook is a fantastic performer and the best premium Windows 10 laptop on the market for remote learning.

The new 10th Gen Intel Core i7 processor with Intel Iris Plus graphics is sufficient for any kind of remote classwork that could be thrown at it, including videography or photography. The 13.4-inch near-bezelless display is also well suited to those kinds of tasks as there is nothing to distract from the content on screen. Plus, it’s just a beautiful screen to take a study break and watch some Netflix . The keyboard and touchpad are excellent and larger than those on most Windows laptops. With 12 hours and 39 minutes of battery life, even the heaviest day of remote learning will not kill the Dell XPS 13. For an even steeper price, the Dell XPS 13 OLED adds updated internals and a gorgeous new display.  

See our full Dell XPS 13 (2020) review .

Apple MacBook Pro (13-inch, M1, 2020)

8. MacBook Pro 13-inch (2020, M1)

The MacBook Air (M1, 2020) should be enough to handle the performance needs of just about any remote learner, but if you are in videography, graphic design or some other processor-intensive course of study then you might need to step up to the MacBook Pro 14-inch. 

While it lacks a 4K display option, the 14.2-inch Retina display offers high-res views. The new design with three Thunderbolt 4 ports, an SD card slot, a headphone/mic jack, an HDMI 2.0 port and MagSafe charger is a welcome change from the last few years of MacBooks.

The new M1 Pro or M1 Max processor is going to be more than enough power for any task and while apps are still being updated to fully support these chips, Rosetta allows for virtually anything to run at an acceptable rate. Combine that power with over 14 hours of battery life and this laptop is a dream, although with a starting price of $1,999 that dream will cost you. See our full MacBook Pro 14 review.

Asus ZenBook 13 UX325EA review

9. Asus ZenBook 13 UX325EA

The Asus ZenBook 13 UX325EA features a brand new Intel Tiger Lake CPU and the powerful new Intel Iris Xe graphics, which makes this an impressive performer with a sleek business laptop exterior. Military-grade durability will keep it safe from the occasional drop or spill.

Ports are plentiful with two Thunderbolt 4 ports, a USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A port, an HDMI 2.0 port and a microSD slot. No headphone jack, unfortunately, so you'll need to pick up some wireless headphones . The massive touchpad is fantastic to use and has a clever feature that turns it into a calculator if that's something you need.

Now this isn't going to replace a true gaming laptop anytime soon, but if you are looking to fit in some gaming after classes are over for the day the Intel Xe graphics will let you play modern AAA titles as long as you don't push the settings too hard. And despite that performance, the battery is fantastic at 13 hours and 47 minutes in our battery test, almost 4 hours beyond the category average.

There's a number of solid Windows 10 options out there around the $1,000 price point, but with the stylish design and latest Intel processors, the Asus ZenBook 13 UX325EA belongs on the shortlist for those that need a little more performance out of their remote learning laptop.

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Sean Riley

Sean Riley has been covering tech professionally for over a decade now. Most of that time was as a freelancer covering varied topics including phones, wearables, tablets, smart home devices, laptops, AR, VR, mobile payments, fintech, and more.  Sean is the resident mobile expert at Laptop Mag, specializing in phones and wearables, you'll find plenty of news, reviews, how-to, and opinion pieces on these subjects from him here. But Laptop Mag has also proven a perfect fit for that broad range of interests with reviews and news on the latest laptops, VR games, and computer accessories along with coverage on everything from NFTs to cybersecurity and more. 

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ECE 2024 Capstone Design Fair highlights, part 2: Guiding consumers with an app that accurately shows prescriptive lens in frames

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MAY 14, 2024 • By Matthew Tierney

In April, ECE’s fourth-year undergraduate students showcased their team-based projects at the 2024 Capstone Design Fair, held over three nights in the Myhal Centre.

Capstone is a yearlong project design course (ECE496) that asks the students to develop an initial concept into a working prototype. This year, coordinator Professor  Bruno Korst  says the department incorporated industry reporting processes to better mirror what students can expect in the workplace.

“I conducted multiple interviews with former students and hired two project administrators who currently work in industry. They all said written reports have given way to brief meetings on deliverables — what’s been done, what’s up next — and then everyone moves on.

“So we simplified the documentation for the students and had stand-up meetings over the two semesters. It set an industry pace, which meant that the students had to pick it up. You can see it in the results this year, which to my eye are more focused.”

“Developing a working engineering prototype requires a combination of teamwork, dedication and the application of a variety of ECE skills acquired from our classrooms and labs,” says ECE Chair Professor  Deepa Kundur .   “Each year, it’s inspiring to see how much the students have learned and their pride in their projects. The design fair is one of the highlights in our academic year.”

Man gestures to students gathered around a poster board

This Capstone team project highlight is part 2 of 3.

Read part 1: improving the battery system for neural implants, next up, part 3: helping students around campus with an indoor campus visualization app, part 2: lenscrafters.

“You go into a store, you select frames that you like, you pay $500 or so,” says Omar Farag (Year 4 CompE), “then wait a couple of weeks. When you go to pick up the glasses, you don’t like them.”

This is the problem that he and his teammates Tawseef Hanif and Jessica He (both Year 4, CompE) look to solve with their project, LensCrafters (with a nod to the retailer by that name).

The team created a graphical user interface (GUI) that uses the specifics of your prescription to show you a 3D representation of exactly how your chosen frames look with the lenses inserted. The 3D viewer allows you to change the angle, zoom in, see the lenses within the frames or alone.

The look of the lenses is the result of a complex process that takes into account the myriad corrective options and lens-making procedures for different vision problems.

For example, one would need a spherical lens to correct nearsightedness or farsightedness — concave or convex, respectively — while a cylindrical lens corrects astigmatism, which is a condition where the eye has multiple focus points. The higher the refractive index, the thinner the lens, but a higher index requires different, more expensive materials. It’s a choice the consumer must weigh.

“Our app allows you to choose a number that represents a cheaper option,” says He. “But say you’ve chosen thin, metal frames. After seeing the 3D illustration, you might consider paying for higher index lenses because you don’t like how the thicker lenses stick out past the edge of the frames.”

The app has other helpful features, such as an augmented “try-on” tool, which places a virtual pair of glasses on the user’s face. Also included is the weight of the frames plus lenses.

“Sometimes if your glasses are too heavy, you get wear marks on the bridge of your nose,” says Farag. “It’s important info to have.”

The most challenging part of the project was calculating the geometry to know how to cut the lens for accurate representation.

“Prescriptions are given in powers of magnitude, such as 1.0 or 1.25,” says Hanif. “We had to convert that number into a radius of the sphere that we’d cut out of the lens. And while optics can give you a good approximation, the optimization of the optics for lens manufacturers are industry secrets.”

Given more time, Hanif says they’d would have liked to allow for more complex prescriptions, such as bifocals and progressives, as well as a better process to combine spherical and cylindrical-powered lenses, which complicates the magnitude.

When asked what advice he’d give upcoming students, Hanif says, “Whatever time you estimate for your project, it’ll take double or triple that.”

You might be interested in:

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2024 PGA Championship odds, predictions, picks: Tiger Woods projection by top golf model that hit the Masters

Tiger woods, an 82-time pga tour winner, is expected to be part of the 2024 pga championship field at valhalla golf club.

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Only five golfers have completed the grand slam of winning all four major titles, and Jordan Spieth has another chance to become number six. The 30-year-old has been a PGA Championship shy of completing the grand slam since winning the Open Championship in 2017. Spieth finished third in 2019 and second in 2015, his only top-10 results in 11 PGA Championships. He'll have another shot at the 2024 PGA Championship at Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville, which tees off Thursday. Spieth is 33-1 in the latest 2024 PGA Championship odds.

Tiger Woods was the last golfer to complete the grand slam and Woods will compete in the 2024 PGA Championship field. Woods finished 60th at the 2024 Masters after a poor third round. Woods has 125-1 2024 PGA Championship odds to win, which would be his 16th major and fifth PGA Championship. Before locking in your 2024 PGA Championship picks or Tiger Woods props, be sure to  see the golf predictions and projected leaderboard from the proven computer model at SportsLine .

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Top 2024 PGA Championship predictions 

One major surprise: Justin Thomas, a 40-1 longshot, makes a strong run at the title. He's a target for anyone looking for a huge payday. Thomas, a two-time major winner, won both at the PGA Championship. Most recently, Thomas defeated Will Zalatoris in a playoff to win the 2022 PGA Championship and also won in 2017. After a rough 2023 season, Thomas' putter has helped him perform better this year, ranking eighth in birdie average and 11th in putting average.

Comparatively, Thomas was 46th in birdie average and 122nd in putting average last season. Thomas was once one of the most dominant golfers in the sport, winning 12 PGA Tour events from 2016 to 2020, but his last victory came at the 2022 PGA Championship. There are signs this season of a turnaround for Thomas and at 40-1 to capture another PGA Championship, the model sees value in his PGA Championship odds 2024. 

The model has also examined where Tiger Woods finishes. Since suffering a gruesome leg injury in a single-car accident in February 2021, Woods has played sporadically. He has made seven worldwide starts over the last two years and had to withdraw from three of those because of either injury or illness. However, he has made it a point to try to play at courses that have been of historical significance to him and could be feeling nostalgic at Valhalla.

Woods beat Bob May in a playoff to win his fifth career major championship and his second PGA Championship in 2000 and when he won the 2001 Masters eight months later, he became the first player in history to hold all four major titles at once. Tiger put together two solid rounds to open the 2024 Masters, but struggled over the weekend. However, completing a four-round event should serve as a confidence boost and Valhalla should be an easier walk for Woods than Augusta was.  The model just locked in its Tiger Woods PGA Championship picks here. .

How to make 2024 PGA Championship picks

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2024 PGA Championship odds, field

Get full 2024 PGA Championship picks, best bets, and predictions here.

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