Five laptops for students on a budget
Are you going off to college soon? My guess is a laptop is among the first items on your shopping list.
Nowadays, a decent computer is vital to any student’s life on campus. In addition to managing and organizing coursework, a laptop is a useful tool for communication and collaborative research among learners and teachers.
However, shopping for a college laptop isn’t a walk in the park. You’ll need to know what to look for to ensure you get the right computer for the job. Things like portability, performance, and battery life should be of utmost priority, followed closely by screen quality, keyboard comfort, and connectivity options.
The best laptops for students are those that achieve the highest score in the areas above. Unfortunately, although impressive college-friendly notebooks aren’t that hard to find, things get significantly more challenging when working with a tight budget.
But, just because you can’t shell out $1000 on a laptop doesn’t mean there isn’t something out there for you.
Below are five notebooks that any young student on a budget would love to have.
If you want a budget college laptop that ticks all the boxes, then Acer’s Aspire E5-575-33BM is your best bet. Despite carrying an under $400 price tag, the notebook features a 7th generation Intel Core i3-7100U processor, as well as the latest USB 3.1 Type C and Bluetooth 4.1 connectivity options.
Its 5-pound weight may be a little unwieldy to carry around in a backpack all day, but the E5 makes up for it with a large 15.6-inch Full-HD display, which offers an enjoyable viewing experience with pictures, videos, and text.
Typing will also be a breeze, thanks to the full-sized keyboard, whose well-spaced keys provide decent travel and feedback. You may not think you need a DVD drive, but Acer has included one anyway, for those rare but crucial moments. And, as if that’s not enough, the laptop comes with a 1TB internal hard drive and a six-cell battery that will hold a charge for a good 12 hours.
Asus may be better known for their remarkable line of gaming laptops, but they also have a few reasonably-priced college-friendly notebooks on the market. Among them, and arguably the most impressive, is the Asus VivoBook F556UA.
For about the same price as the Aspire E5-575, you get a 15.6-inch Full-HD display, an Intel Core i3-6100U processor, 4GB RAM and a 1TB hard drive, all in a simple but stylishly designed case. The keyboard is also exceptionally designed to offer comfort for those long typing spells, and the battery will last an entire day on a single charge.
Sure, the VivoBook F555UA isn’t the most compact laptop out there, nor will it play the latest games or run demanding software. Nonetheless, if you’re looking for a device that will easily handle your daily school work without breaking the bank, it’s an excellent choice.
If you’re open to Chrome OS, you’ll undoubtedly be pleased with the Samsung Chromebook Plus. Like other new generation Chromebooks, it offers full support for Android apps from the Google Play Store. This means that, while earlier Chrome OS devices suffered from a lack of software resources for even basic tasks, you now have access to millions of useful apps and learning resources.
The Chromebook Plus comes with a 12.3-inch 2400×1600-pixel resolution QHD screen, a 2GHz Hexa-core processor, 4GB of RAM and a 10-hour battery life, all of which ensure you make the best use of the new Chrome-Android ecosystem. And, when it’s time for a break from the tiring class work, you can relax with the Chromebook in tablet mode and enjoy a movie, game, or ebook.
Admittedly, 32GB of flash memory is in no way enough for college. Thankfully, there’s a MicroSD card slot onboard, as well as up to 100GB of Google Drive space for additional storage when you need it.
It may seem a bit steep for a Chromebook to carry a $400 price tag, but the Samsung Chromebook Plus is, in many ways, worth it. To sweeten the deal even further, Samsung currently has a $75/month payment plan for the Chromebook, with a no-interest policy if the total amount is paid in full within six months.
The Lenovo Ideapad 510 is the perfect choice for anyone looking to buy a high-performance college laptop on a budget. While it won’t win any prizes in the design and portability categories, the 510’s Full-HD IPS screen, Intel Core i5 processor, 8GB of RAM and 1TB hard drive place it among the most feature-packed mid-range notebooks around.
Furthermore, its full-sized backlit keyboard allows you to type comfortably for extended hours, even in dimly-lit environments. The HD webcam is great for face-to-face interactions with friends and family, and the battery can hold a charge for 8 hours.
Amid all its strengths, however, what takes home the win is the Ideapad 510’s NVIDIA GeForce 940MX discrete graphics chip, which delivers enough power for graphics-intensive work and play.
If you’re a gaming enthusiast or your course is likely to involve a lot of visual designs and the use of graphically demanding software, keep a close eye on the Lenovo Ideapad 510.
Not many ultrabooks offer the ideal balance between portability and functionality at an affordable price, which means that, even without uncovering any detail, the ZenBook Flip UX360CA is already in a class of its own.
The convertible serves up an Intel Skylake Core M3 processor, 8GB RAM, and 512GB SSD in a sleek and lightweight aluminum body that promises to keep things in your backpack weightless as it travels with you throughout the day.
Whether you’re studying or enjoying an evening movie, the 13.3-inch Full-HD screen is crisp enough for a pleasant viewing experience. The keyboard is comfortable and responsive for stress-free typing. And, when you’re done working, simply flip over the ZenBook for casual use as a tablet.
Battery-wise, the laptop will manage a decent 12 hours on a single charge, and although you only get one USB Type-C port – which doubles as a charging port – it’s nothing an external hub can’t fix.
Having limited cash to splash on a college laptop will often mean making a few compromises. Therefore, take the time to identify your needs and preferences. My guess is you’ll find a laptop from this list of laptops for students that will work great for the college years and not break your budget.
Do you have a favorite laptop for students? Be sure to share it with us in the comments section. Be sure to tell us what features make it your favorite!