If you were to walk onto any campus today, you’ll notice that students favor laptops that are versatile and extremely light (even if it’s slightly less efficient). Some students also prefer an ultraportable 2-in-1 hybrid PC or tablet, which can switch between tablet and laptop.
Regardless of what you decide, these are the key laptop features to think about when buying a laptop:
Even the lightest laptop starts to weigh heavy after a long day between classes and work. Some laptop models weigh less than 2.5 lbs, while others weigh more than 5 lbs. Compactness is key here, so try to find a model that is minimal in width, length, and thickness.
This is the second most important criteria, because you don't want to be left without battery in the middle of the day or in the middle of class. Worst case scenario is your laptop dies before you have a chance to save your work! Laptop battery capacity options can vary, but try to find devices with up to 14 hours of battery life. With general use, that should get you through your day.
Finding a laptop with the highest processing power should not be your priority. Most processors can handle the simple daily routine of a student without any issue. Instead, opt for a low-power model for better battery life, such as an Intel Core i3 processor (or i5 if you still want a little more power).
Random access memory, or RAM, is an important spec that will help your laptop run smoother and faster. The more you have, the faster your machine will be: opt for 4 GB minimum or 8 GB for even better performance. The last thing you want is to be lagging between apps in the middle of a lecture.
If you can afford it, go for a computer with an SSD drive. It will be significantly faster and they are more energy efficient, meaning you’ll have even better battery life. 256 GB is plenty, especially if you have an external hard drive to store your files.
The screen is one of the elements on a laptop that consumes the most energy, so the smaller it is, the more battery efficient your laptop will be. Stay between 11 and 16 inches. A 14-inch or 15-inch screen is fine as well, but keep in mind that it will be slightly bigger and sometimes heavier to carry around in your bag.
The touch screen may also tempt you, but you should be sure that you’ll actually be using this feature. More times than not, you pay more for it, but find out that you naturally work without touching your screen at all.
No need to invest in a dedicated graphics card. The integrated cards (Intel) are completely sufficient for your display needs, unless you plan on gaming on campus.
Opt for a minimum of 4 USB or USB-C ports to connect your mouse and your external hard drive without worries. It never hurts to have a few extra options for any other devices that you need to connect as well.
Here's a popular video to help you decide on the best student laptop for your needs, but keep in mind that you'll likely find the laptop models listed in this video even cheaper on Back Market.