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As you move on to the next phase of your life as a graduate student, you'll want the right tools to succeed. A laptop is a crucial investment for any grad student. While you don't have to spend a fortune to buy the best school laptops, there are certain considerations to keep in mind as you begin shopping. Good school laptops generally offer a combination of performance, features and portability for the price. We've compiled a list of the best laptops for graduate students and new professionals.
ASUS VivoBook S Thin & Light Laptop, 14" FHD, Intel Core i7-8550U, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD, GeForce MX150, NanoEdge Display, Backlit Kbd, FP Sensor - S410UN-NS74
ASUS VivoBook S410
- 8th Gen Intel Core i7 processor
- Slim 14-inch screen
- Many types of connections
- Speakers could be better
- Flimsy charger
- Some find the battery life subpar
With a speedy 8th Generation Intel Core i7 processor, 14-inch full HD display and lightweight design coupled with an affordable price tag, the ASUS VivoBook S410 is our top pick for grad students.
This laptop has a 14-inch screen, which is large enough to clearly see your notes without added bulk or weight. It also has the latest 8th Generation i7-8550U processor, which is more than enough for word processing, browsing the web, streaming, playing games and more.
Other features include a 1TB hybrid HDD and 8GB RAM. Connections include USB 3.1 Type-C as well as USB 2.0 and 3.0. There’s also a headphone port and HDMI.
Dell Inspiron 13 5000 2-in-1 - 13.3" FHD Touch - 8th Gen Intel i5-8250U - 8GB Memory - 256GB SSD - Intel UHD Graphics 620 - Theoretical Gray - i5379-5893GRY-PUS
Dell Inspiron 13 5000
- 256GB SSD
- Can be used in several modes
- Compact size
- Not the lightest for its size
- A bit heavy
- Some complain of excessive fan noise
With specs such an 8th Generation Intel i5-8250U quad-core processor and a competitive price tag, this is one of our top picks.
It’s hard not to consider the Dell Inspiron 13 one of top picks for a well-rounded, reasonably priced laptop.
This versatile laptop can be transformed in four different ways. Use the laptop in its traditional mode when taking notes, then flip it to tent or stand modes for other tasks such as web browsing in your apartment or watching movies with friends.
In terms of specs, the laptop comes with 8GB memory, which can be expanded up to 16GB. There's also a 256GB SSD.
The 13.3-inch FHD display is compact enough to keep the laptop light and portable, yet provides ample space for viewing even the finest details. The touch display is also backlit and has wide viewing angles for an optimal viewing experience. The laptop has 802.11ac and Bluetooth 4.1 along with 2.4 and 5GHz support.
Acer Aspire 5 Slim Laptop, 15.6" Full HD IPS Display, AMD Ryzen 3 3200U, Vega 3 Graphics, 4GB DDR4, 128GB SSD, Backlit Keyboard, Windows 10 in S Mode, A515-43-R19L
Acer Aspire 5
- Comes with a backlit keyboard
- Stock 128GB SSD
- Many connectivity options
- Not the fastest processor
- Some competitors offer more RAM
- Can be tough to remove back panel
The Acer Aspire 5 is an affordable, entry-level laptop with lots of performance and features for the price. In terms of specs, the laptop comes with an AMD Ryzen 3 3200U Dual-Core processor along with 4GB DDR4 memory and a 128GB SSD.
The 15.6-inch full HD IPS display is just the right size for various school-related tasks, such as taking notes, watching lectures online, writing papers and more.
Connectivity isn't an issue, as the laptop is outfitted with a USB 3.1 Gen 1 port along with two USB 2.0 ports and an HDMI port. There's also a backlit keyboard.
You can expect a battery life of 7.5 hours with normal use. Wireless signals remain strong wherever you are thanks to 2x2 802.11ac. This laptop weighs just under four pounds and runs Windows 10 Home operating system.
Newest HP Spectre x360-13t Quad Core(8th Gen Intel i7-8550U, 16GB DDR4, 512GB PCIe NVMe SSD, IPS micro-edge Touchscreen Corning Gorilla, Windows 10 Ink)Bang&Olufsen 13.3" 2-in-1 Convertible - Dark Ash
HP Spectre x360
- Comes with a digital pen for note-taking
- 8th Generation Intel Core i7 processor
- Bang and Olufsen quad speakers
- A bit expensive
- Some wish the casing was more durable
- Fan can be loud at times
Don't be fooled by the compact size of the HP Spectre x360, as this 2-in-1 laptop stands out for its power, performance and innovation. The cozy 13-inch display keeps the laptop light and portable enough for students. Whether you're listening to a lecture or chilling out after class, the Bang and Olufsen quad speakers deliver premium sound.
The laptop can be used in four different modes, and comes with a digital pen to make taking notes easier. Specs include an 8th Generation Intel Core i7-8550U processor, 512GB SSD, 16GB SDRAM and an FHD IR camera.
There's also Intel 802.11b/g/n/ac (2x2) WiFi and Bluetooth 4.2. The battery lasts over 16 hours per charge with FHD panel, or up to 10 hours with UHD panel. This laptop weighs 2.78 pounds.
- Backlit keyboard
- Battery lasts up to 15 hours per charge
- Comes with USB 3.0 and 3.1 Type-C ports
- Doesn’t have a touchscreen
- A bit heavy for its size
- No-frills styling
If having a reasonably priced, well-rounded laptop that gets the job done without frills, consider the Acer Aspire E 15.
With a price tag of just under $600, this Acer model is a practical choice for budget shoppers, with features such as an 8th Generation Intel Core i5 processor paired with a spacious 15.6-inch screen, 8GB RAM and a 256GB SSD.
If you're looking for more processing power, you can upgrade to the Core i7 processor. Both processors easily handle everyday tasks, but if you plan to watch a lot of movies, stream content and even use the laptop for gaming, the Core i7 processor might be worth the splurge.
This laptop comes with the latest Windows 10 and gets up to 15 hours of battery life per charge. Other features include a backlit keyboard, full HD resolution, and several ports, including USB 3.1 Type-C, USB 2.0 and USB 3.0.
Lenovo Flex 14 2-in-1 Convertible Laptop, 14 Inch FHD, Touchscreen, AMD Ryzen 5 3500U Processor, Radeon Vega 8 Graphics, 8GB DDR4 RAM, 256GB NVMe SSD, Win 10, Black, Pen Included
Lenovo Flex 14
- Several connectivity ports
- Battery recharges quickly
- Narrow bezels improve viewing experience
- Battery life isn't the best
- Not as lightweight as some competitors
- Doesn't have the most robust processor
You can do a lot with the Lenovo Flex 14, starting with the full 360-degree hinge that lets you convert the laptop into various modes.
When you don't need it in laptop mode, switch the laptop to tent, stand or tablet modes to suit your needs. Regardless of which mode it's in, the narrow bezels provide an enhanced viewing experience. The AMD Ryzen 5 3500U is powerful enough for your daily tasks as well as streaming, gaming and more. There's also 8GB DDR4 RAM and a 256GB SSD.
At 14 inches, the screen provides a happy medium between a smaller 13-inch screen and a bulkier 15-inch screen. The 1920 x 1080 HD touchscreen display is convenient enough, but the included pen improves accuracy even more.
The more connectivity, the more practical the laptop, especially for students. This laptop for students has an array of ports, including USB-C 3.0, two USB 3.0 ports, and an HDMI port. Internet connectivity is boosted with 2 x 2 AC WiFi.
Portability is also a plus for graduate students. The Flex weighs 3.68 pounds. One charge delivers up to eight hours of battery life, but you only have to recharge for 15 minutes to get another two hours.
- Powerful 8th Gen Intel Core i7-8565U processor
- Battery lasts up to 12 hours
- Many connectivity options
- Tends to run hot
- Keyboard is a bit cramped
- Some find the trackpad frustrating
The Acer Swift 3 is a solid choice for your first official job after graduation. In terms of pricing, it falls somewhere in the middle of the pack. You can always upgrade when you get that first raise, but the Acer Swift 3 should be plenty for most newly graduated students.
For starters, it has a powerful and fast 8th Gen Intel Core i7-8565U processor up to 4.6GHz. There's also 8GB DDR4 memory and 256GB Pie SSD. Bluetooth 5.0 technology and 802. 11ac Gigabit WiFi ensures you'll always have a strong WiFi signal.
This laptop doesn't skimp when it comes to connectivity options. You'll find a USB 3.1 Type C Gen 2 port, two USB 3.0 ports and an HDMI port. You can expect the battery to last up to 12 hours with normal use.
Other fun features include a backlit keyboard, fingerprint solution and an HD webcam. Whether you're hard at work or relaxing on break, the full HD IPS display provides crisp, clear images.
- Slender and easily portable
- Bluetooth 5.0 wireless technology
- Touch Bar and Touch ID
- Relatively heavy
- Not the fastest processor in this price range
While expensive, the Retina display on this Apple laptop produces vivid detail while improving your overall viewing experience.
Digital eye strain is a common disorder. In fact, it's estimated to afflict at least 50 percent of all computer users, according to the National Institutes of Health. As a student, you already spend a good deal of time looking at a computer screen to complete assignments and take notes. Factor in the extra time spent watching movies, shopping online and checking email, and you can easily spend several hours a day staring at a screen.
To help relieve this strain, Apple's Retina display contains a higher number of pixels at a normal viewing distance, resulting in vivid detail for an improved viewing experience.
The Apple MacBook lineup has been around for years, and remains a top pick among those looking for a lightweight, portable laptop with a high-end display, along with smooth and dependable performance.
This laptop has a sixth-generation Intel Core i7 processor. An even faster Intel Core i9 processor is available. It also comes with a 256GB SSD, up to 1TB, and 16GB memory.
The 15-inch screen size is ideal for long days spent taking notes. You can expect up to 10 hours of battery life on a single charge.
Features such as a Touch Bar and Touch ID add an element of convenience. This Apple laptop is equipped with four Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) ports.
- Decent processor for the price
- Battery lasts up to 10 hours per charge
- 180-degree hinge
- A bit heavy for its size
- No USB 3.1
- Can be a bit slow with more demanding tasks
The ASUS Chromebook C202 is a popular choice for budget shoppers. For the money, you get features such as an 11.6 HD display, built-in flash storage and a rugged design.
Maybe you're on a tight budget or you just want a capable Chromebook for light daily tasks. The ASUS Chromebook C202 checks all these boxes and more. For starters, it's powered by an Intel Celeron N3060 Processor (up to 2.48 GHz), which is plenty for checking emails, taking notes and more.
The Chromebook has a versatile 180-degree hinge design for easier and more versatile viewing. While the base comes with 16GB flash storage, you can upgrade to 32GB if you need more.
Accidents happen. This Chromebook comes with a spill-resistant keyboard and reinforced rubber wrapped frames for added durability.
The battery lasts up to 10 hours, giving you plenty of time to use the Chromebook for essential tasks throughout the day. It also comes with 802.11a/b/g/n WiFi.
LG gram Laptop - 15.6" Full HD Touchscreen, Intel 8th Gen Core i7, 16GB RAM, 1TB (2 x 512GB SSD), 18.5 hrs Battery, Thunderbolt 3 - 15Z990-R.AAS9U1 (2019), Dark Silver
- Ideal for professionals
- Portable design
- Battery lasts up to 16.5 hours
- A bit pricey
- Some wish it had more ports
- Not much storage for the price
The LG gram is geared towards professionals on the go, so it is ideal for older students who will enter the workforce soon.
A powerful 8th Generation Core i7-8550U processor offers plenty of power for completing even the most demanding tasks. Another plus it the extended battery life, especially for such a powerful processor.
You can expect the battery to last up to 16.5 hours per charge, which is longer than just about any other laptop on this list. Other features include a backlit keyboard, 16GB RAM and 1TB SSD. The gram weighs less than 2.5 pounds and has several ports, including HDMI and USB 3.0.
MSI GS75 Stealth-093 17.3" Razor Thin Bezel Gaming Laptop NVIDIA RTX 2080 8G Max-Q, 144Hz 3ms, Intel i7-8750H (6 cores), 32GB, 512GB NVMe SSD, TB3, Per Key RGB, Win10H, Matte Black w/ Gold Diamond Cut
MSI GT63 TITAN-052
- Powerful Intel Core i7-8750H processor
- Maximum memory up to 32GB
- Thunderbolt 3
- Relatively small SSD
- A bit heavy
- Battery life could be better
If your idea of the best laptops for students are those that let you combine work and play, consider this powerful gaming laptop. You'll find that it works just as well for office work as it does a gaming-friendly laptop with serious capabilities.
If the 17.3-inch display is too large, you can step down to the 15.6-inch model. This gaming laptop features a razor thin bezel along with a smooth glass touch pad. You'll get a powerful Intel Core i7-8750H processor along with 32GM memory and 512GB SSD storage.
Gaming can produce a lot of excess heat, but this laptop is prepared with plenty of cooling power. Along with three fans, the interior is outfitted with four exhausts and multiple copper heat pipes.
An 85 percent screen to body ratio makes every action seem more realistic.