Best Laptop Options For Students

Best laptop options for students

How We Tested

The Tester

Hi, I’m Ashley Barry-Biancuzzo, the former laptop reviewer here at Reviewed and an editor of our Best Right Now buying guides.

First Off: Research Your College

Though Reviewed has been testing laptops for a couple of years now, I seized control of this beat (cue evil laughter) in 2017. It was the perfect category for me because I’ve been playing around with laptops ever since I was a kid. I understand the value of protecting your laptop because of my experience with the delicate internal components.

The Tests

We first attempt to push each machine's processor to its brink.

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These tests help us determine the responsiveness of the laptop and whether it'll be able to handle streaming or running Google Chrome in the background with simultaneous gameplay.

We then run a series of tests on the graphics card to figure out how fast graphics and images rendered on a particular machine, and whether your gameplay will run smoothly.

Once that's established, we run a battery test overnight.

We unplug the laptop and set the display brightness to 200 nits and then we cycle through popular websites like Discord and Twitch until the battery dies.

Best laptop options for students

This is how we figure out how much action we can get on a single charge. The idea is to emulate everyday tasks.

Best Laptop for College in 2020: 7 Perfect Laptops for Students

Lastly, we consider the overall build quality like how sturdy the hinges feel and if there’s any flex to the display. We also take into account how light the machine is—under five pounds is ideal—and how many ports it offers.

What You Should Know About Laptops For Students

What Type of Laptop Should I Get?

There’s the traditional clamshell, which can only be opened 180-degrees.

Best laptop options for students

These laptops have been around for ages and are popular among college students. Then there’s the 2-in-1 convertible, which can be folded or flipped. You can flip the screen around and use it as a tablet or prop it up like a painter’s easel.

Best laptop options for students

This kind of laptop is great for the regular traveler, as they’re really versatile and lightweight.

Does Display Size Matter?

A laptop with an 11-inch display is going to be much lighter than one with a 15- or 17-inch screen. So, if you need something that’s light and portable, a larger display isn’t going to cut it.

Best laptops for students in 2019

That said, bigger displays have higher resolutions and that means a sharper picture. If you’re a photo or video editor, you’ll probably want a bigger screen so you can see all those minute details. If you just need a lightweight machine for research or writing papers on, an 11-inch display should do you just fine, especially if you’re taking it from class-to-class.

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Meet the testers

TJ Donegan

Executive Editor


TJ is the Executive Editor of

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He is a Massachusetts native and has covered electronics, cameras, TVs, smartphones, parenting, and more for Reviewed. He is from the self-styled "Cranberry Capitol of the World," which is, in fact, a real thing.

See all of TJ Donegan's reviews

Ashley Barry-Biancuzzo



Ashley Barry-Biancuzzo is a valued contributor to the family of sites.

See all of Ashley Barry-Biancuzzo's reviews

Florence Ion

Contributing Writer


Florence Ion is a freelance journalist and prolific podcaster.

She's written for Ars Technica, PC World, Android Central, The Verge, and Engadget.

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Her reviews and how-tos can usually be found on Lifehacker, Tom's Guide, and Reviewed. She can also be heard weekly on All About Android on the TWiT network and Material on Relay FM.

See all of Florence Ion's reviews

Checking our work.

We use standardized and scientific testing methods to scrutinize every product and provide you with objectively accurate results.

Best laptop options for students

If you’ve found different results in your own research, email us and we’ll compare notes. If it looks substantial, we’ll gladly re-test a product to try and reproduce these results.

Best laptop options for students

After all, peer reviews are a critical part of any scientific process.

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