10 Best Laptops for Students of 2022

10 Best Laptops for Students of 2022

For students of all ages, a reliable laptop can make the difference between a passing grade and missing the deadline on your final paper. The dizzying array of laptop brands, designs, capabilities, and perhaps most importantly, prices, can make it difficult to choose the right computer for your studies.

To take some of the stress out of the decision, we’ve tested a wide range of Chromebooks, 2-in-1 convertible laptops, and more to find the best laptops for students from each category.

Our best laptop for school (for most people) is the Apple M1 MacBook Pro (available at Apple). It’s stylish, ultra-powerful, and its battery keeps going for 14 straight hours of frantic research and Netflix breaks. Should our main pick not suit your needs, our guide includes a number of other laptops that work great inside the classroom and out.

These are the best laptops for students we tested, ranked in order:

  • Best Overall: Apple MacBook Pro 13 M1
  • Best Budget: HP Envy x360 15
  • Best Gaming Laptop for Students: Asus ROG Strix G15 AMD Advantage
  • Apple MacBook Air M1
  • Asus Chromebook Flip C434TA
  • Dell XPS 13 9310
  • MSI Summit E16 Flip
  • Asus ROG Zephyrus G14
  • Asus Zenbook 14
  • Dell Inspiron 3501
These are the best laptops for students.

Credit: Reviewed / Jackson Ruckar

10 Best Laptops for Students of 2022

All 2020 models come with a Touch Bar, which acts like a mini-control hub for many apps and device functions.

laptop open and on a table

Credit: Reviewed / TJ Donegan

10 Best Laptops for Students of 2022

The HP Envy x360 15-inch proves you don’t need to break the bank to get a great laptop.

Overhead shot of laptop corner

Credit: Reviewed / Joanna Nelius

10 Best Laptops for Students of 2022

The Asus ROG Strix G15 AMD Advantage goes head to head with the best Nvidia GeForce RTX-based gaming laptops out there.


Other Laptops For Students We Reviewed

How We Tested Laptops for Students

The Tests

Here at Reviewed, we test laptops for their processing capability, graphics, battery life, and screen brightness. We use a mix of industry-standard and custom-made tests, as well as specialized lab equipment in our Cambridge, MA testing facility. We use popular benchmarks like Geekbench and 3DMark to gauge how well the laptop multitasks, runs games, and more.

For battery testing, we set them up to continuously cycle through various websites at around 60% brightness (200 nits) until they run out of power, estimating how much work you can get done on a single charge. We also use each laptop for an extended period of time, rating each on factors like build quality, price, portability, and design.

What You Should Know About Laptops For Students

What makes a great student laptop? Of course, everyone’s priorities differ. But if your computer needs to survive campus life, you’ll want to focus on portability and durability.

Performance is where peoples’ needs will likely differ. Activities like web browsing, video editing, and high-end gaming come with different requirements. Consider what you’ll actually need your computer to do.

The Basics

  • Performance: The CPU, graphics chip, RAM, and storage inside your PC determine how well your computer can multitask, handle intensive tasks like gaming, and store all your files. The better the specs, the snappier the laptop will feel.

  • Build Quality: Not only do you want a laptop that can take a beating (since you’ll probably be lugging it around with you), but you want one with a well-built keyboard and trackpad since you’ll be on the move. The best laptops for college students need to be durable and work well on the go.

  • Touch Screens, Portability, and Features: 2-in-1s like the Surface Pro have gained popularity, but that touch screen and pen cost extra. Similarly, cramming powerful components into a thin and light package can often cost more than a larger laptop with fewer design constraints.

Operating System

Consider which operating system you need. Windows is still the dominant OS these days. If you’re going to play games or need certain software for work, you should probably stick with Microsoft.

If you spend all your time on the web, though, a Chromebook may serve you better than you’d think. Between Netflix, Gmail, Google Docs, and even online photo editors like Pixlr, you can do almost anything in a browser. Many of those web apps even work offline, for when you don’t have Wi-Fi. Chromebooks are also often cheaper (since they don’t need as much processing power) and virtually virus-free (since Chrome OS is Linux-based).

Display Size

  • 13 inches and under: These smaller laptops are easy to carry around campus, and great for light work like writing papers and browsing the web.

  • 15 inches: Mid-sized laptops are a bit less portable, and may not work in constrained spaces like airplane seats. But the larger display is useful for photo editing and watching videos.

  • 17 inches: These large computers are only recommended for those willing to lug it around, or who need it for video editing or other intensive work that requires a lot of screen real estate.

There’s variation within these categories. For example, the XPS 13’s smaller bezels make it much smaller than most 13-inch laptops. There are also sizes in between, like the 14-inch Lenovo Yoga C930. But picking a general size range can help narrow the field.

You should also consider how many USB ports you need, whether you need HDMI and Ethernet, and how comfortable the keyboard and trackpad are to use. This can vary from model to model, and it’s important to get something responsive and durable.

Under the Hood

Finally, you’ll need to consider the guts—the processor, graphics chip, RAM, and storage that determine your laptop’s capabilities. For browsing the web and using office software, lower-power chips like Intel’s i3 and i5 are fine.

While 4GB of RAM is usable in a Chromebook, even web browsing can eat up RAM these days. 8GB is recommended if you tend to open lots of tabs, use lots of browser extensions, or want to be future-proof. We wouldn’t advise 4GB for most Windows users these days.

If you run more intense workloads—whether that’s photo and video editing or playing the latest PC games—you’ll want a bit more “oomph.” Intel’s higher-end i7 processors will make those video encodes run noticeably faster, and a dedicated graphics card will ensure your games run smooth as butter.

No matter who you are, err on the side of more storage. People often underestimate how much space they’ll fill with their music, photos, and videos over time, and it’s a hassle to lug an external drive around. Storage can be expensive, though. If you can’t afford a large solid-state drive, consider buying a laptop with an SD card slot and using a high-capacity card for cheap, expandable storage.

Consider upgradeability, too. Many modern laptops solder their components onto the motherboard, preventing you from adding more RAM or storage down the line. Either buy a laptop that keeps its components separate, or spend a bit more to buy the specs you’ll need in a couple of years—not just what you need right now.



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