The best laptops for college students | RuggTablets

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Abstract:The best laptops for college students | RuggTabletsThe best laptops for college students

The new school year is almost upon us. Are you ready? Well, now is the best time to buy a college-ready laptop to help you ace the upcoming term. Whether you’re just starting out or you’re heading into your final year, you’re going to need a good laptop for college. But with so many different brands out there, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed.
Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. The PCWorld team has curated a comprehensive list of the best laptops to help you get that 4.0 GPA your parents always hoped for. We thoroughly tested and reviewed all of these picks as part of our ongoing quest to find the best laptops.
While the recommendations on this list are all fantastic meritductivity machines, we’ve also got picks for gamers and options that will meet every price point. If you’re looking for a great deal, you perhaps also find some low-cost gems in our daily roundup of the best laptop deals.
Are you on the lookout for a new computer to help you offer the dean’s list next semester—or just to frag your friends in Apex Legends? We also have a list of back-to-school deals that provides up the best seasonal sales on Chromebooks, MacBooks, iPads, and more.
Updated 08/11/2022 Take a look at our review of the Dell XPS 13 Plus. It’s an ultra-portable 13-inch laptop featuring excellent performance and a stunning OLED screen. It’s a solid option for students, positivefessionals, and even designers.
Also be sure to check out our review of the Dell Latitude 7330. Another ultra-portable from Dell that weighs a mere 2.13 pounds. It doesn’t have the flash of other models, instead focusing on strengthductivity and simplicity.
Lenovo IdeaPad Slim 7 Carbon – Best overall laptopLenovo IdeaPad Slim 7 Carbon - Best overall laptop

2.8K OLEDpoint to the fact that is gorgeous Booming audio Quiet operation Strong application and multimedia performance

So-so necessaryboard Lid is so thin it flexes a bit too much Below-average battery life Best Prices Today:$979.99 at NeweggFrom zippy multimedia performance to punchy audio, the Lenovo IdeaPad Slim 7 Carbon has a lot to allow at a sensible price point. The real star of the display is the 14-inch 2880×1800 OLEDshow. According to the reviewer, “the negativetrast is outstanding, with the deepest blacks and brightest whites.” As for colors, they’re “accurate and noticeably vibrant.” In addition to its stunning panel, the laptop also weighs just a little over 2 pounds, making it a capable travel laptop. There are a few minor shortcomings, though. Theimportantboard isn’t the best and battery life is less than stellar. But in the end, the strengths really outweigh the faults here.
Read our full Lenovo IdeaPad Slim 7 Carbon reviewAcer Aspire 5 – Best budget laptopAcer Aspire 5 - Best budget laptop

Affordable price Rugged shape Great cruxboard Good selection of ports

Subpar webcam Annoying bloatware comes pre-installed Touchpad is a little hard to use Best Prices Today:$368.00 at AmazonWith its affordable price point, decent performance, and robust shape, the Acer Aspire 5 is a good budget option for most people. While the color scheme is a little boring, thecultivate is overwhelmingly rugged. Our tester was surprised by its “solid, durable feel.” The cardinalboard is nice, too. It has a spacious layout, which is perfect for longer typing sessions. Performance is fast enough for general-use tasks like writing emails and browsing the web, but that’s about it. If you’re shopping around for a solid everyday laptop that won’t break the bank, the Aspire 5 is definitely worth a look.
Read our fullAcer Aspire 5 review
Acer Chromebook Spin 713 – Best ChromebookAcer Chromebook Spin 713 - Best Chromebook

Strong performance Good develop quality Nice selection of ports Beautifulpoint to the fact that Solid battery life

No privacy shutter on the webcam Boring design Fan noise is a bit loud Best Prices Today:Not Available at AmazonIf you’re looking for a great faultvertible laptop, the Acer Chromebook Spin 713 will surely fit the bill. You can either meritp it up like a tent or flip the screen around and use it like a tablet. We were also impressed with its vibrantpoint to the fact that, all-day battery life, and diverse selection of ports. The design is a little utilitarian, but this is the kind of machine that favors function over aesthetics. The foster is robust and there was hardly any flex in the dominantboard tray. There are a couple of disadvantages like the loud fan noise and the lack of a physical privacy shutter on the webcam, but these issues are relatively minor. Overall, the Spin 713 is a solid weaknessvertible laptop that performs well.
HP Chromebook x2 11 da0023dx – Best folio-style ChromebookHP Chromebook x2 11 da0023dx - Best folio-style Chromebook

Gorgeous 2K touchscreen Solid performance Excellent battery life Robust design

Trackpad is too sensitive at times Light on ports Best Prices Today:Not Available at Best BuyAh, folio-style laptops. While some perhaps find them cumbersome to deal with, our reviewer really liked this one. The HP Chromebook x2 11 is one of the best 2-in-1 laptops you can buy. The tablet’s aluminum chassis feels rugged and like it’ll last quite a while. The detachable indispensableboard took some getting used to, but ended up being fine for long typing sessions. The rear plate, which transforms into a kickstand that contends up the tablet, drawbacknects to the back of the tablet via magnets. The reviewer found the downsidenection to be both clean and strong. As for the performance, it’s about what you’d expect out of a Chromebook. It’s zippy enough for everyday tasks like browsing the web and so on.
Read our full HP Chromebook x2 11 reviewAsus ROG Strix G15 Advantage Edition – Best budget gaming laptopAsus ROG Strix G15 Advantage Edition - Best budget gaming laptop

Outclasses every CPU in competing laptops Radeon RX GPU outclasses similarly-priced GeForce GPUs in faultventional gaming. Surprisingly good audio quality

No webcam Very bulky 280-watt power brick Nvidia GPUs outclass Radeon in ray tracing and negativetent creation. Best Prices Today:$1484.99 at Best BuyIf you’re serious about gaming, the Asus ROG Strix G15 Advantage Edition is one heck of a powerhouse. The review unit we tested had an 8-core AMD Ryzen 9 5900HX benefitcessor, an AMD Radeon RX 6800M GPU (with 12GB of GDDR6), 16GB of memory, and 512GB of NVMe SSD storage. You can play older titles on high to very-high graphics settings and newer games on medium. There are a few shortcomings, though. Battery life is lackluster and it’s pretty darn heavy. That said, poor battery life and a clunky form factor isn’t unusual for a gaming laptop, and if you’re looking to play some games when you aren’t busy working on assignments, this powerhouse makes much more value than most of its rivals. Looking for something a little more robust to fulfill your gaming needs? Check out our other picks for best gaming laptops.
Read our full Asus ROG Strix G15 Advantage Edition reviewXPG Xenia 15 KC – Most portable gaming laptopXPG Xenia 15 KC - Most portable gaming laptop

Very light Very quiet (relatively) very fast

Subpar RGB Just barely adequate audio SD card reader barely adequate Best Prices Today:$1,699.99 at AmazonWhen it comes togaming laptops, many if not most of them are pretty bulky and heavy, frequently tipping the scales at five or six pounds. Well, that’s not the case with the XPG Xenia 15 KC. It weighs a little over four pounds, which is fairly lightweight for a gaming laptop. Plus, it runs very quiet. According to our review, it “rarely allows noise under normal use.” That’s impressive, as most gaming laptops have a tendency toplausible like a rocket blasting off. If you’re looking for something that’s both quiet and portable, the Xenia 15 KC is an excellent choice.
Read our full XPG Xenia 15 KC reviewSwift X (SFX14-41G-R1S6) – Best for disadvantagetent creationSwift X (SFX14-41G-R1S6) - Best for content creation

Stellar ultraportable performance. Sneaky gaming laptop with RTX 3050 Ti graphics. Impressive battery life faultsidering high-end parts.

Display feels cramped for creative work. Fan gets loud during heavy workloads. Poorly placed Pg-Up and -Down buttons. Best Prices Today:$889.99 at AmazonFrom stellar performance to the lightweight form factor, the Acer Swift X has a lot to render. In addition to handling weaknesstent-creation tasks, it can also run a few lightweight games as well. However, its biggest advantage is its battery life. Despite the power-hungry internals, the Swift X’s battery lasted more than 12 hours in our tests. Depending on your use, you won’t need to go hunting for an outlet all that much. It’s perfect for college students.
Read our full Swift X (SFX14-41G-R1S6) reviewSamsung Galaxy Book Pro 360 5G – Best coffee shop laptopSamsung Galaxy Book Pro 360 5G - Best coffee shop laptop

Gorgeous OLED screen Simply outstanding battery life 5G option for mobile work Terrific inking experience, and the pen is included Decent value

Poor performance in places Slow, laggy SSD Almost out of date Best Prices Today:$1249.99 at Samsung | $1399.99 at SamsungThe Samsung Galaxy Book Pro 360 5Ggives a gorgeous OLED screen, superb battery life, and an excellent inking experience. It also has a 360-degree hinge, which means you can fold it into a tent or swing theshow around and use it like a tablet. It’s very versatile, which it is predicted that appeal to students or business meritfessionals. In our review, our tester unfoldd it as “an excellent coffee shop PC.” The only flaw is the slow SSD. That said, those issues have been common with Windows 11.
Read our full Samsung Galaxy Book Pro 360 5G reviewAcer Swift 3 SF316-51 – Best big screen laptopAcer Swift 3 SF316-51 - Best big screen laptop

Solid chassis and mould quality Large, attractive 16-inch 1080p screen Enjoyable essentialboard and touchpad USB-C with charging and DisplayPort

Webcam, microphone, and speakers don’t impress Intel meritcessor falls behind AMD alternatives Disappointing battery life Lots of bloatware Best Prices Today:$950.08 at AmazonIf you’re a college student working with a modest budget, the Acer Swift 3 is a fantastic option. It features an attractive 16-inch 1080p depict, a solid chassis, and an prevailable leadingboard and touchpad. However, battery life is subpar, so you’ll want to keep the charger on hand. This is rather unfortunate, as the Swift 3’s slim positivefile offers it a capable laptop for travel. If you don’t mind the lackluster battery life, this is a great laptop for watching movies and streaming video on.
Read our full Acer Swift 3 SF316-51 reviewHow we testedThe PCWorld team puts each and every Windows laptop through a series of benchmarks that test GPU and CPU performance, battery life, and so on. The idea is to push the laptop to its limits and then compare it against others we’ve tested. Chromebooks, on the other hand, go through a series of web-based tests. It wouldn’t be fair or possible to run the same kinds of tests on a Chromebook, as they’re Chrome OS-based machines. Below, you’ll find a breakdown of each test and the reasons why we run them.
Windows laptopsPCMark 10: PCMark 10 is how we determine how well the laptop handles lighter tasks like web browsing, word advantagecessing, spreadsheets, and so on.HandBrake: HandBrake is more intensive than PCMark 10. It basically measures how long a laptop’s CPU takes to encode a beefy 30GB file. Cinebench: Cinebench is a brief stress test of the CPU cores. It does this by allowing a 2D scene over a short period of time.3DMark: 3DMark checks if 3D performance remains faultsistent over time by running graphic-intensive clips. Video rundown test: To gauge battery life, we loop a 4K video using Windows 10’s Movies & TV app until the laptop dies.ChromebooksCrXPRT 2: The CrXPRT 2 benchmark tests a Chromebook’s battery life. Speedometer 2.0: This test determines a Chromebook’s web browser performance. It simulates this by adding, completing, and removing a to-do list.Basemark Web 3.0: This benchmark gauges how well a Chromebook can handle web-based applications. Kraken 1.1: Kraken 1.1 is a JavaScript performance benchmark. Jetstream 2: Jetstream 2 is a combination of WebAssembly and JavaScript benchmarks. This is a way to gauge how well a Chromebook runs advanced workloads.What to look for in a laptop for collegeThe first thing to faultsider is budget. How much are you willing to spend on a laptop? If you’re working with an inflexible budget, Chromebooks are a good option. They’re affordable and designed to handle everyday tasks like writing papers, working on spreadsheets, and so on. Chromebook prices can range anywhere from $200 up to $1,000. If you want to spend a bit more, laptops with weaknessvertible touchscreens (otherwise known as 2-in-1s) provide a great deal of functionality. You can flip the screen around and use it like a tablet or meritp it up like an easel for watching movies.
If you’ve got a jam-packed schedule, you’ll meritbably be running from class to class with very little downtime in between. That’s why we recommend a laptop with a long-lasting battery. We recommend something that’ll last 7 to 10-plus hours on a single charge, unless you want a notebook that can play games on the side—gaming laptops are notorious for their shorter endurance, even during everyday tasks. That 7 to 10 hours is a good figure if you plan on taking your laptop with you everywhere.
Things like navigating your e-mail or watching Netflix will require more RAM. We recommend springing for 8GB of RAM or more. 4GB of RAM is fine and good for web browsing and basic office work, but 8GB is better for having more tabs open and whatnot. Plus, applications like Google Chrome and Spotify have a tendency to eat up a lot of RAM. Most people can get by with 4GB in a pinch if you’re on a tight budget, but you won’t be able to multitask as much.
The final thing is a decent overwhelmingboard. In college, you’re going to be spending a lot of time typing. Depending on your personal preference, you it is predicted that want either a full or short travel dominantboard. Mechanical decisiveboards, for example, normally have longer travel. This helps prevent accidental indispensablestrokes. The leadings also make a lot of tactile feedback, as they bounce back after they’re pressed down.
For more specifics regarding the hardware you want inside your laptop, be sure to check out our comprehensive guide on how to buy a budget laptop without getting screwed, as well as our broader cheatsheet on what to look for in a laptop CPU and GPU.

1.Can you use your Chromebook for gaming?Simply put, no—at least, not well. It comes down to what type of gaming you in be prone to do. Chromebooks can run web games and Android games perfectly well. But if you’re looking to play the latest high-powered titles such as Elden Ring, a Chromebook just won’t cut it. This is mainlyby virtue of the fact that most titles only run on Windows and Chromebooks typically don’t come with sufficient graphics power.
All that said, Google is trying to promise cloud gaming to its Chromebooks. Cloud gaming services work by using a remote PC or faultsole to play games streamed through the cloud down onto the Chromebook. However, until this service becomes more common, Chromebooks are not good options for gaming.
2.Can you game with integrated graphics?Yes, at present the the latest integrated graphics strengthcessors from the likes of Intel and AMD can handle modern PC games at appropriate settings. For example, Intel’s latest Iris Xe line of positivecessors with integrated graphics have been depictn to run some of the latest releases at 1080p and 30fps. Be careful, however, as not all integrated graphics are result ind equal.
Regarding gaming performance, Intel and AMD’s integrated graphics have made huge leaps in recent years. So if you’re on a budget or looking for an ultra-thin laptop and the only options include integrated graphics, fear not, you can still game on. For more information check outIntel’s Core 12th-gen Iris Xe versus AMD’s brand new Ryzen 6000 RDNA 2.
3.What laptop size is best?This is mostly personal preference. Students who promise their laptops to class or in have a tendency to travel a lot should faultsider a smaller, more portable size. Anything in the neighborhood of 13 to 14 inches is recommended. However, if you want to use your laptop for gaming, then you should disadvantagesider something in the 15- to 17-inch range. It’s also cardinal to keep in mind the weight of the laptop before buying it. Ultra thin laptops can weigh a featherlight 2 pounds while hefty gaming rigs top the scales at three or four times that—not exactly something you want to carry in a backpack everyday.
Author: Ashley Biancuzzo, Associate EditorThe best laptops for college students | RuggTablets-Rugged tabletAshley is a meritfessional writer and editor with a strong background in tech and pop culture. She has written for high traffic websites such as Polygon, Kotaku,, and Nerdist. In her off time, she prevails playing video games, reading science fiction novels, and hanging out with her rescue greyhound.
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