The best laptops for students not only work for in-class use but go beyond the school for use at home and more. That means the ideal laptop will be portable yet also pack enough power -- and battery life -- to keep up with a wide range of tasks.
Of course exactly what you need is worth thinking about as it could save you money. If you're not using this as a video-editing station or high-powered gaming rig, then you likely won't need to spend top dollar on the most super speedy machine.
You might want a Chromebook that helps you save on costs while doing all you need at your Google-based school. Or perhaps you want a Windows machine that won't break the bank but still has a good enough screen to watch movies on? Or maybe you simply have to go Apple and -- despite what you might think -- there are also ways to get a Mac affordably too.
Think about the types of apps you're going to need to run, then make sure you have the right operating system to suit that. It's also worth thinking about portability -- does the model have enough battery to last the day or will you need to factor in carrying a charger with you? And does your laptop need to be tough or should you think about buying a case too?
Below are some of the best laptops for students out there right now so you can find the ideal digital buddy to suit your needs.
1. Dell XPS 13: The best laptops for students top pick
The Dell XPS 13 is one of the best laptops for students out there right now. This is thanks to a well-balanced combination or portability, power, design, and pricing. It is essentially the Microsoft Windows laptop equivalent of a Mac, with a slightly less steep price.
Usefully, it's possible to spec this laptop to the level you need, with even the more basic and affordable end offering plenty of power for tasks, such as video editing. Everything is encased in a beautifully slim and light metallic build that makes this very portable and robust enough to withstand moving between classes.
There are two display resolution options with the top-end offering crystal clear 4K resolution on the 13.4-inch touch display. So for watching movies, video editing, and even gaming, this laptop can do it all without breaking the bank.
Some people may want more ports except this helps to keep the design minimal and the portability to a maximum. A superb all-around laptop that's difficult to beat.
2. Acer Aspire 5: Best laptop for students on a budget
The Acer Aspire 5 is a more affordable option than many and still delivers plenty of laptop bang for your buck, making it ideal for both elementary and secondary students. The great build quality means this device is rugged enough to withstand a day of being lugged about classes, yet it is also lightweight thanks to its chassis.
More expensive options are available in this range if you want to get more grunt and don't mind paying a bit more, for gaming for example. Usefully, this laptop packs in a battery that goes for a good six-and-a-half hours on a charge and the display is plenty big and clear enough at 14-inches.
The machine is running Windows so all those with a Microsoft setup school will be well served by this choice of laptop.
3. Google Pixelbook Go: Best powerful Chromebook for students
The Google Pixelbook Go is a Chromebook that caters to the high end, packing in lots of powerful features and a top-build quality that is reflected in its price. As such, this is more suited to the elementary school end of the student spectrum.
The Hush keyboard is a standout feature, offering near silent typing that makes it ideal for the classroom. This build quality extends throughout the unit, resulting in a durable machine that's ideal for young student use.
This highly portable 13.3-inch Full HD screen laptop lasts a full day on a charge, aka 12 hours, ideal for those who don't want to carry a charger. And since it's a Chromebook, it integrates perfectly with schools running Google's education-focused platforms.
4. Microsoft Surface Go 3: Best pure Windows 2-in-1 laptop for students
The Microsoft Surface Go 3 is a great way to get a pure Windows experience from the manufacturer of both the software and hardware. As a result, this is a powerful-yet-portable laptop that doubles as a tablet, using the optional Touch Cover keyboard case to let you type. Yup, you'll need to pay for that in your initial setup to use this as a full laptop rather than a tablet alone – presuming you don't already own a keyboard that you can use with it, of course.
The touchscreen display is large and clear with its 10-inch, 1800 x 1200 resolution setup. It's also super portable, easily slipped into a bag, so it's great for elementary students on the move. Although with a five-hour battery life, you'll likely need to carry a charger to get through a full school day.
This does feature a stylus, making it great for note taking or even sketching. Beyond pure work, this is also powerful enough to run Minecraft, and it'll do everything securely thanks to Windows built-in security.
5. Apple MacBook Air M2: Best laptop for students of graphics and video
The Apple MacBook Air M2 is one of the best laptops you can buy and, as such, the price reflects that. But if you can stretch to it then you're getting a super portable laptop with a great battery life that also has enough power to keep up with most tasks -- including video editing.
The build quality is as high as you'd expect from Apple, with a metal frame that can withstand the rigors of daily use. Yet this is slim and light enough to slip into a bag without being noticed, much, even when walking about the school halls all day with it. Plus that battery life is good for a day so you shouldn't need to carry a charger with you.
The high-resolution display lets you watch movies on here while the webcam and multiple microphones let you record yourself at high-quality -- ideal for video calls or vlogging. Plus, you have access to some of the best apps in the world thanks to that macOS operating system running the show.
6. Acer Chromebook 314: Best affordable Chromebook for students
The Acer Chromebook 314 is a low-price laptop that does everything needed for most secondary and elementary school students. The big brand name means it's well-built for longevity and quality, while the Chromebook OS makes it agile and ideal for schools running G Suite for Education.
The well-sized 14-inch display offers clarity and brightness, if not quite the highest resolution compared to some. But the keyboard and trackpad are both responsive and fashioned to last, and connectivity is decent with dual USB-A and USB-C ports plus a MicroSD card slot.
Chromebook battery life is famously great, so don't expect to carry a charger around. Also, at this price, it's an ideal candidate for districtwide purchases in bulk so even more savings can be made on this highly capable student laptop.
7. Lenovo Yoga Slim 7i Carbon: Best lightweight and portable laptop
The Lenovo Yoga Slim 7i Carbon is a great choice for anyone who is moving between classes in the day as it's made to be very portable; it's lightweight and slim enough to slip into a book bag. Despite the form factor, this still crams in a super 13.3-inch QHD display with 100% sRGB color and 11th Gen Intel processing power – more than enough for most students. Although for graphics, that Intel Iris Xe GPU may be lacking.
The battery life is the only gripe as this is decidedly average. You may need to plug it in during the day, which means carrying a charger and detracts from that portability. That said, you may find it does the job if you're not using it constantly – expect up to 15 hours.
The carbon build makes this military-grade tough for taking knocks and drops, and it also protects the high-quality keyboard, which provides a very intuitive typing experience.