The best student laptops 2024on January 18, 2024 at 16:31 Tech Advisor

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A laptop is arguably the most essential piece of tech for any student. It allows you to work from just about anywhere, whether that’s your bedroom, lecture theatre, library, coffee shop or otherwise. 

Choosing the right one to see you through university or college is a tricky task but we are here to help. There are many many different brands, models and types of laptop but we’ve picked out 10 options that will be perfect for different students. 

Whether you’re looking for something as cheap as possible or powerful enough to run demanding software, we have you covered. Typically, a good student laptop will be highly portable, offer solid battery life and run daily tasks well but everyone’s needs will differ depending on what you’re studying. 

Not sure what to look for in a student laptop? Read our FAQ buying guide at the bottom of the article and click through to our full in-depth reviews for more information on a laptop you like the look of. 

We also have dedicated lists of the best best budget laptops, best 2-in-1 laptops, best Chromebooks or best laptops overall if you have a clearer idea of the type of laptop you need. 

Best student laptop 2024

1. Samsung Galaxy Book 3 360 – Best Overall

Pros

Thin and light design

Impressive OLED display

Premium build

Good battery life

Cons

Performance not the best

Annoying bloatware

Price When Reviewed:



From £1,099 | Model reviewed £1,399

Adding convertible functionality to a thin and light laptop often results in a high price tag, but that’s not the case with the Galaxy Book 3 360. For around $1,000/£1,000, you can get an excellent all-rounder that just happens to have a 360° hinge.

However, the highlight is undoubtedly its 13.3in OLED display, which delivers an excellent, detailed viewing experience and touch support. A 61.1Wh battery doesn’t sound like anything special, but should comfortably last you a full day away from the charger. Intel’s 13th-gen CPUs ensure performance is decent, although it lags behind some rivals with similar processors.

You’ll also have to contend with a lot of extra apps and tools, which may become annoying if you don’t own other Galaxy devices.

But overall, this is a great option for students, even if you’ll find better value for money elsewhere. For something even more premium, consider the Galaxy Book 3 Pro.

Read our full

Samsung Galaxy Book3 360 review

2. Acer Aspire 3 (2022) – Best Budget Option

Pros

Impressive keyboard

Good webcam

Solid performance

Decent battery life

Cons

Only 128GB SSD

Not the most detailed display

Price When Reviewed:



£529.99

Best Prices Today:



£369 at Amazon

The Aspire 3 is currently the best budget laptop around, and running Windows 11 rather than ChromeOS makes it a better buy for students.

Performance from AMD’s Ryzen 7320U is great for everything except gaming, while the keyboard is one of the best you’ll find on any affordable laptop. The webcam is only 720p, but it’s surprisingly good for a built in sensor. You even get solid battery life.

Compromises are inevitable at this price point, and only 128GB of internal SSD storage means you’ll need to store most of your big files in the cloud. The 15.6in LCD display is also only 1080p, but neither of these should be dealbreakers for most students.

Considering everything you’re getting here, the Aspire 3 is a great option for students. You may also be interested in the Intel version with a 12th-gen CPU.

If you’d like something slightly more premium, go for the Aspire 5 instead.

Read our full

Acer Aspire 3 review

3. Acer Swift Go 14 – Best Webcam

Pros

Great performance

Premium design

Impressive display

Excellent webcam

Cons

Underwhelming battery life

Loud fans

Price When Reviewed:



From £899.99

Best Prices Today:



£899.99 at Acer

If you’re a student, you’ll probably want a laptop that you can take almost everywhere with you. That’s certainly true of the Swift Go 14, which comes in at just 15mm thick and 1.25kg in weight.

But crucially, there are no big sacrifices in order to make it this portable. Performance from Intel’s 13th-gen CPUs is impressive, while the OLED display is among the best you’ll find on any 14in laptop.

However, the 1440p webcam is a real highlight, making high-quality video calling easy. There are also plenty of ports, all within a slick and premium design.

Battery life is the main reason not to buy it, although a full day is still possible with light workloads. The fans can also get annoying, but you’ll soon get used to them.

If you’re willing to put up with these shortcomings, the Swift Go 14 is definitely worth considering.

Read our full

Acer Swift Go 14 OLED SFG14-71 review

4. Apple MacBook Air 15in (2023) – Best Mac

Pros

Thin and light design

Great performance

Stellar battery life

Cons

Only USB-C ports

Display could be brighter

Ugly notch

Price When Reviewed:



From £1,399

The 15in MacBook Air is a new size for Apple’s thin and light laptop, but this extra screen area makes a lot of sense for students.

Performance from the company’s own M2 chip is excellent, even if you need to run demanding apps. But it also helps deliver superb battery life – this device should last you a full day with plenty of charge to spare.

Add in Apple’s wide range of free software, including the iWork office apps and GarageBand, and it’s easy to understand why the 15in Air is great for both studying and free time.

However, that display isn’t touchscreen and could be brighter, while the notch will take some getting used to if you haven’t tried it before. With only USB-C ports on the device itself, you may also need an adapter or hub.

Despite this, the 15in Air is the best Mac for students right now. It’s still worth considering the cheaper 13in M1 version from 2020, though.

Read our full

Apple 15-inch MacBook Air (M2, 2023) review

5. Microsoft Surface Laptop Go 3 – Best Keyboard

Pros

Lightweight & attractive

Touchscreen

Excellent keyboard

Quiet

Cons

Limited ports

Middling performance

Price When Reviewed:



From £799

The Surface Laptop Go 3 is once again a solid all-rounder laptop and will be a great buy for many students.

It offers premium design at an affordable price point, although not quite as low as its predecessor. This laptop isn’t about flashy features or insane performance but about getting the main things right.

As well as the very portable design, you get high build quality, an excellent touchscreen, one of the best keyboards you’ll find on any laptop and though ports are limited overall, Microsoft does offers USB-A alongside USB-C which will be a boon for many students.

If you’re not doing any overly demanding tasks then this is an excellent value choice. If you do have more to spend then the Surface Laptop 5 is a great option.

Read our full

Microsoft Surface Laptop Go 3 review

6. Asus TUF Gaming A15 (2023) – Best Performance

Pros

Excellent performance

Impressive battery life

Lots of ports

Good value for money

Cons

Dim screen

Heavy

No fingerprint or face unlock

Price When Reviewed:



From £1,049

The TUF Gaming A15 is the best cheap gaming laptop you can buy, so it makes sense to be included here.

While gaming isn’t a priority for students, it’s certainly a nice option for free time. And the superb performance from the AMD Ryzen 7 7735HS CPU and Nvidia RTX 4060 GPU is impressive regardless of the situation.

Crucially, all this power doesn’t come at the cost of battery life – the 90Wh cell will last all day if you avoid gaming. Alongside an understated yet durable and great selection of ports, there’s a lot to like here for students.

But like most gaming laptops, it’s not thin or light at 25mm and 2.2kg. The 15.6in Full HD display is quite dim and there’s no alternative to unlocking with a PIN or password, but these are easy to overlook when you look at everything you’re getting here.

Read our full

Asus TUF Gaming A15 (2023) review

7. iPad Pro 12.9in (2022) – Best 2-in-1

Pros

Incredible M2 performance

Stunning display

Great accessories

Cons

Limited by iPadOS

Very expensive

Accessories sold separately



The iPad Pro has long represented the finest best tablet money can buy, and the M2 chip takes already-excellent performance to the next level. Incredibly, this makes the iPad Pro more powerful than many of Apple’s MacBooks.

When paired with the stunning 12.9in, 120Hz display, it’s a real treat. Despite its size and quality, you can still expect solid battery life too.

Pairing the tablet with the Magic Keyboard really does turn the iPad Pro into a laptop-style device – with trackpad and all – plus you might also benefit from the advanced features available with the Apple Pencil.

However, these are both expensive accessories, meaning you can easily pay high-end laptop prices. That could be a sticking point, especially when iPadOS still lacks Mac-level apps.

Nonetheless, it’s an amazing all-in-one setup if you can afford it.

Read our full iPad Pro 12.9in (2022) review

8. Acer Swift X 14 (2023) – Great all-rounder

Pros

Great performance

Excellent OLED display

Good port selection

Impressive keyboard and trackpad

Cons

Underwhelming battery life

Plain design

Price When Reviewed:



£1,299.99

Best Prices Today:



£1,099.99 at Amazon

Despite a relatively unassuming design, the Swift X 14 packs in plenty of features that will appeal to students.

That includes plenty of power, with Intel’s Core i7-13700H combining with the Nvidia RTX 4050 (on the model reviewed) for excellent performance. It can handle almost every app a student might need, and even deliver solid gaming at 1080p.

And with a high-quality, 14.5in OLED display with 120Hz refresh rate, everything looks excellent. The full-size keyboard and large touchpad also impress, while the range of ports is better than on most laptops.

However, you will have to put up with underwhelming battery life, despite a decent 76Wh capacity. You’re looking at around four hours of usage on a single charge, so make sure you don’t stray too far away from a power source.

But if you can put up with that and the price, there’s very little to dislike here.

Read our full

Acer Swift X 14 review

9. LG Gram 16 (2022) – Best 16in

Pros

Stunning thin and light design

Gorgeous matte display

Great battery life

Impressively durable

Cons

Not the most powerful

Display only 60Hz

Expensive

Price When Reviewed:



From £1299 (Model reviewed: £1,549)

Best Prices Today:



£1,199.99 at Amazon

If you’re looking for a big display but don’t want to compromise on design, the Gram 16 is a great option.

The highlight here is a stunning 16in 2560×1600 display, with tiny bezels making for an immersive viewing experience. While the display is only 60Hz rather than something more fluid and slick, it’s not a big issue.

Everyday performance is also excellent, thanks to Intel’s 12th-gen processors and 8 or 16GB of RAM. There’s a healthy port selection, too, alongside an 80Wh battery and fingerprint sensor built into the power button, all within a device that weighs less than 1.2kg.

If you’re a student with cash to splash, it’s a stunning bit of kit. But for a more affordable 16in option, consider the Huawei MateBook D 16.

There is also now a 2023 version, but aside from new Intel processors, it’s more of the same.

Read our full

LG Gram 16 (2022) review

10. Asus E410 – Best for the Basics

Pros

Great battery life

Lightweight and portable

Fast and responsive

Cons

Cheap build

Dim display

Annoying NumberPad

Price When Reviewed:



£249.99

If you’re looking for a budget laptop that will still get the job done, Asus’ E410 is a great option. 

The Intel Celeron N4020 doesn’t sound great on paper, but it delivers solid all-round performance that’s capable of handling the basics. There’s also excellent battery life, with Asus’ 12-hour claims holding up well in real-world usage – a full working day is well within reach. At just 1.3kg, it’s also extremely portable. 

You also get solid 14in Full HD+ display, although it doesn’t get particularly bright. The numberpad built into the touchpad is more annoying than useful, while the unusual rear design isn’t to everyone’s tastes. 

Still, these compromises are more than acceptable when you consider its affordable price.

Read our full

Asus E410 review

FAQ

1.

Do all students really need a laptop?

Not necessarily, but it’ll probably make things more difficult if you don’t have one. Most colleges, universities and libraries have computers you can borrow, though you probably don’t want to rely on them all the time.

Also, if you ever want to get work done at home or take notes during lectures, a laptop is your best option. You may prefer a tablet or 2-in-1 device for extra versatility, but a physical keyboard will be important for most people. These are sometimes sold separately.

2.

How much do I need to spend on a student laptop?

Once you’ve decided you need a laptop, this is the first thing to consider.

Do you really need something that costs $1,000/£1,000 or more? Will it get broken, or worse, stolen? While more expensive laptops will get you better performance, this may not be necessary if you’re focusing on coursework and exams.

But powerful devices could be required if you’re studying a course that requires complex software – think animation or video editing. In these scenarios, you don’t want to be waiting around for things to render when you have a deadline.

However, those who simply just need to write word documents and browse the internet can spend a lot less and still find a laptop that’s perfectly good.

3.

What display is best for a student laptop?

A classic 13in laptop remains the sweet spot between size and portability for most people. However, you can get smaller or larger displays depending on what you need.

Bear in mind that cheaper laptops tend to have a lower quality display, which is likely to be on the dim side and lacking some detail. It might be a compromise worth making, but for tasks such as photo editing, it’s worth spending a bit more.

For most people, an IPS LCD screen that’s at least 1980×1080 resolution is good to aim. You don’t need to worry about a refresh rate higher than the standard 60Hz unless you’re gaming.

4.

What processor and graphics do I need in a student laptop?

You get what you pay for when it comes to laptops, so a model closer to $1,000/£1,000 is going to have a more powerful processor (likely Intel Core i7 or Ryzen 7), more RAM and plenty of SSD storage.

It might even have a dedicated graphics card from a company such as Nvidia, which will come in handy for more complex tasks.

Cheaper options tend to feature more basic chips (such as Intel Pentium). They also tend to have a lot less RAM and may not include fast SSD storage, so will be much slower. If you are looking at budget laptops, make sure it’ll do what you need it for and last a while.

5.

How important are the keyboard and trackpad on a student laptop?

Very, but you can easily make do with average ones. MacBook trackpads are generally considered best in class, but you pay for the privilege. Meanwhile, the best keyboard usually comes down to personal preference.

Do you want a lot of travel on your keys, or something flatter and slim? Do you need a full-size keyboard with a separate number pad? Making compromises to either will allow for a more compact design that’s easier to take everywhere with you.

6.

What ports do I need on a student laptop?

It might not seem important now, but think carefully about ports. Many modern laptops come with hardly any ports – often only USB-C.

This means you can’t just plug in an old-school USB flash drive or HDMI cable without getting an adapter (or dongle). Since cheaper laptops are chunkier, they typically have more space for full-size ports, something this could be a real benefit.

Also, remember that laptops don’t come with a CD/DVD drive anymore. If you need one, an external drive is a must.

7.

Which operating system is best for a student laptop?

This will depend on a few different factors, including what you’re familiar with and the other devices you already own.

Windows 11 has now been out for a few months, and you’ll probably have been prompted to upgrade if you have a Windows 10 device. But it’s not necessary yet, with the older OS still supported until 2025.

However, Windows is by no means your only choice when it comes to software. You may prefer macOS, especially if you have an iPhone or iPad, and MacBooks come with lots of great free software. ChromeOS devices are extremely easy to use, but aren’t compatible with the same range of software.

If you’re not sure which will best suit your requirements, it’s worth seeing if the specific apps you need are compatible and if it feels intuitive. Try a friend’s or test out a few devices in a physical store if you need to.

Laptops

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