Which Laptop Should I Get for College?

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How much battery life do you need?
What size laptop do you want? Physically?

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Macbook Pro M1

Why this Laptop Is Right for You:

People choose the Macbook Pro for speed, efficiency, design, and simplicity. You don’t need your computer to be able to run the latest games, you’re probably not into bitcoin mining, and you’re looking to make an investment in a good laptop that will last you beyond school. This means you know how to take care of nice things (or at least are willing to do so with this one). You don’t mind working off the cloud, but you also like to have some local storage space for quick internet-free access to your data. You like excellent battery life and you generally just want everything to work flawlessly.


You also might want to do some more sophisticated stuff down the road like video or photo editing, so you want a machine that can handle whatever projects you might be into.


Price Range: From $1,199 (w/ education pricing)

OS: macOS Sur

Processor: M1

Storage: Good | 256GB to 2TB SSD

Good for Gaming: Ok (Some games not compatible with Mac OS.)

Good for Video Editing: Excellent

Good for General Use: Excellent

Touchscreen: No

Battery Life: Excellent | 20 Hours

Size & Weight: Small and Medium Weight

  • Height: 0.61 Inches

  • Width: 11.97 Inches

  • Depth: 8.36 Inches

  • Weight: 3 Pounds


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Macbook Air M1 13”

Why this Laptop Is Right for You:

The most common reason people choose the Macbook Air is because it’s just cool. It is amazingly thin, lightweight, but has an excellent battery life and a good amount of local solid state storage. You’re going to like this machine because of its simplicity, design, and sleekness. The money spent on a Macbook Air goes to providing superior usability for everyday tasks, while also providing speed & computing power for more complex tasks.


A Macbook Air will last you a long, long time if taken care of. By selecting this laptop, you are making a statement that you can have nice things. Having said that, you don’t plan on creating stunning visual effects for the next Star Wars movie, so you’re OK with foregoing some of the bells and whistles of a more expensive machine.


Price Range: From $899 (w/ education pricing)

OS: macOS Sur

Processor: M1

Storage: Good | 256GB to 2TB

Good for Gaming: Ok (Some games not compatible with Mac OS.)

Good for Video Editing: Excellent

Good for General Use: Excellent

Touchscreen: No

Battery Life: Good | 15 Hours

Size & Weight: Ultrathin, & Lightweight

  • Height: 0.16 Inches

  • Width: 11.97 Inches

  • Depth: 8.36 Inches

  • Weight: 2.8 Pounds


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HP Envy x360 13” (2-in-1)

Why this Laptop Is Right for You:

This is a laptop for the student who wants to do a little bit of everything. This has enough processing power to perform some complex tasks and enough drive space to store libraries of content on a fast SSD drive. You’ll be able to play just about any game for the near future, but maybe not at the best possible settings. This comes with the capability to help with graphic design, video editing, or even 3d modeling. You’ll also be able to accomplish these tasks without breaking your bank or your back, as the price is sub $1000, and weighs only 3 pounds.


TL/DR: This is for the modern renaissance student.


Price Range: From $969

OS: Windows 10

Processor: Intel Core i7-1165G7

RAM: Good | 8 GB DDR4

Storage: Excellent | 1TB SSD

Good for Gaming: Good (Some AAA games won’t run at 60 FPS)

Good for Video Editing: Excellent

Good for General Use: Excellent

Touchscreen: Yes

Battery Life: Excellent | 13 Hours

Size & Weight: Small and Lightweight

  • Height: 0.6 Inches

  • Width: 13.3 Inches

  • Depth: 8.3 Inches

  • Weight: 3 Pounds


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HP Envy 13

Why this Laptop Is Right for You:

This machine has the touchscreen, plus the computing power to handle a wide variety of tasks. You’ll appreciate the price point, plus the fantastic battery life. You probably want a little bit of storage, but are fine working mostly off the cloud. You don’t plan on doing a ton of video editing or 3d modeling, but maybe you like to do some casual gaming every now and then. More than anything, you want a great computer that will last you at least through college and possibly beyond.


This is a familiar machine that can easily have expanded RAM, extra storage added, and parts will be less expensive. If you need to replace something you’ll be able to without breaking the bank. Maybe you can even do it yourself!


Price Range: From $938

OS: Windows 10

Processor: Intel Core i7-1065G7

RAM: Good | 8 GB DDR4

Storage: Ok | 256GB SSD

Good for Gaming: Ok (Can play some games on lowest settings)

Good for Video Editing: Good

Good for General Use: Excellent

Touchscreen: Yes

Battery Life: Excellent | 11 Hours

Size & Weight: Small and Lightweight

  • Height: 0.67 Inches

  • Width: 12 Inches

  • Depth: 7.66 Inches

  • Weight: 3 Pounds


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Lenovo Chromebook Duet (2-in-1)

Why this Laptop Is Right for You:

You want a computer that works, is easy to use, and is inexpensive. College is pricey enough. Is it too much to ask for a computer that can get me through college without being terrible?


That’s what Chromebooks are for. You are OK working mostly on the cloud. You don’t need to run any fancy games. You’re not going to be doing any advanced computing. Let’s face it, you’re mostly going to be using this for paper, research, netflix, TikTok, you know… college stuff! It’s also less than ½ thick!


This machine will get you through school while using it’s easy-to-use Chrome OS and easy-to-carry 1 pound & ultra-thin size!


Price Range: From $299

OS: Chrome OS

Processor: MediaTek Helio P60T Processor

RAM: Ok | 4 GB DDR

Storage: Poor | 64 GB SSD

Good for Gaming: Poor

Good for Video Editing: Poor

Good for General Use: Good

Touchscreen: Yes

Battery Life: Good | 10 Hours

Size & Weight: Ultra Small and Ultra Lightweight

  • Height: 0.29 Inches

  • Width: 9.5 Inches

  • Depth: 6.29 Inches

  • Weight: 1 Pound


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Dell Chromebook 11 3100

Why this Laptop Is Right for You:

You are OK working almost exclusively on the cloud. You don’t need an HDMI port. You’re main goals are to get through your homework, do your research, and save money. This will be a machine you’ll use a lot, so you want good battery life. You don’t need any of the bells and whistles like touch-screen, gaming, or complex processing. Your laptop doesn’t need to be ultra-thin.


You DO want your laptop to perform all the basic tasks flawlessly. You also want this to be user-friendly and are OK using the Chrome OS to facilitate your work. It needs to have great WiFi connectivity, speed of regular use, and good battery life. You want to make sure this computer lasts you through school, but by that point, you might be looking to upgrade based on your needs at that time.


Price Range: From $268

OS: Chrome OS

Processor: Intel Celeron N4000 Processor

RAM: Ok | 4 GB

Storage: Poor | 16 GB SSD (Cloud Storage Only)

Good for Gaming: Poor

Good for Video Editing: Poor

Good for General Use: Ok (External or cloud storage may be necessary)

Touchscreen: No

Battery Life: Good | 10 Hours

Size & Weight: Small and Medium Weight

  • Height: 0.8 Inches

  • Width: 8.2 Inches

  • Depth: 12 Inches

  • Weight: 3.4 Pounds


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Asus Chromebook Flip C434 (2 in 1)

Why this Laptop Is Right for You:

You don’t need a super-computer, but you’re willing to spend slightly more for a computer/tablet hybrid. You’re wanting a touchscreen experience, but also want the ability to get lots of typing done on a physical keyboard. You’re OK working mostly on the cloud, don’t do much gaming, and are OK with the Chrome OS, which facilitates everything in a user-friendly way.


You want good battery life, but you’re not looking for more than 1 workday of battery use. You’re not wanting the thinnest laptop out there. You also don’t plan on using a second monitor, and don’t need the HDMI connection. (Or if you are, you are OK using an adapter.)


For these small sacrifices, you are expecting to save a good amount of budget without worrying about this machine failing pre-emptively. You’re getting a good, versatile machine for a good price.



Price Range: From $435

OS: Chrome OS

Processor: Intel HD Graphics 615

RAM: Ok | 4 GB DDR3

Storage: Poor | 64GB SSD (Cloud or external storage may be required)

Good for Gaming: Poor

Good for Video Editing: Poor

Good for General Use: Ok

Touchscreen: Yes

Battery Life: Ok | 9 Hours

Size & Weight: Small and Medium Weight

  • Height: 0.8 Inches

  • Width: 12.6 Inches

  • Depth: 8.2 Inches

  • Weight: 2.9 Pounds


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Samsung Galaxy Chromebook 2 (2-in-1)

Why this Laptop Is Right for You:

“Size matters not”, as Yoda would say. While this machine is a bit larger and heavier, it’s lighter on your wallet! You want this machine because you live in the cloud. You don’t need extra storage, extra monitors, or extra processing power. You DO want good battery life (at least one full day) and touchscreen functionality. You want it to be fast & to be simple to use. You are OK using the Chrome OS that makes it all easy for you. If you wind up needing another monitor or additional storage down the road, you’re OK using an adaptor or paying for Google Cloud Storage.


Price Range: From $435

OS: Chrome OS

Processor: Intel Celeron 5205U / 1.9 GHz

RAM: Ok | 4 GB DDR3

Storage: Poor | 64GB SSD (Cloud or external storage may be required)

Good for Gaming: Ok (Casual Gaming Only)

Good for Video Editing: Ok (Storage required)

Good for General Use: Good

Touchscreen: Yes

Battery Life: Ok | 9 Hours

Size & Weight: Large and Medium Weight

  • Height: 0.8 Inches

  • Width: 17 Inches

  • Depth: 10.25 Inches

  • Weight: 3.75 Pounds


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Microsoft Surface Pro 7 (2 in 1)

Why this Laptop Is Right for You:

Versatility is important to you. Sometimes you want a tablet; other times you want that keyboard. Sometimes you’re plugged in at your desk, other times you go a full day on battery power. Sometimes you like to play games, other times you like to work. You can work on the cloud, but you also need some local storage. You are OK with Windows OS, and you don’t need your machine to be ultra lightweight or thin. You plan on doing most of your work on the laptop itself, so you don’t plan on using an external monitor. If you need accessories, you’re OK maybe using an adaptor.


For this flexibility, you’re OK paying a hair more than the national average for a laptop in the US (which is between $600 and $700).


Price Range: From $799

OS: Windows 10

Processor: 10th Gen Intel Core i5

RAM: Good | 8 GB DDR3

Storage: Good | 128GB SSD

Good for Gaming: Ok (Will run AAA games on low settings)

Good for Video Editing: Good

Good for General Use: Good

Touchscreen: Yes

Battery Life: Excellent | 10.5 Hours

Size & Weight: Large and Medium Weight

  • Height: 0.8 Inches

  • Width: 17 Inches

  • Depth: 10.25 Inches

  • Weight: 1.7 Pounds


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Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5 (2 in 1)

Why this Laptop Is Right for You:

The hint is in the name. This laptop is flexible. You’re looking for a laptop that can get your work accomplished quickly, but also allows you to get creative with a touchscreen in tablet mode. You’re not into hardcore gaming, but you do like to pass the time with some casual games now and then.


You want a laptop that’s capable of doing some slightly more complex tasks, but you see no reason to go for anything super high-end. You want a larger screen, and you’re OK with a slightly heavier machine. You are OK with the Windows environment and want the ability to have your files locally or on the cloud. You want at least a full day of battery life, and you probably like to hear that it can charge to 80% in 1 hour.


For these small sacrifices, you want to pay slightly less than the average laptop buyer (which is between $600 and $700).


Price Range: From $549

OS: Windows 10

Processor: AMD Ryzen 3 5300U

RAM: Ok | 4 GB DDR3

Storage: Good | 256GB SSD

Good for Gaming: Ok (Casual Gaming Only)

Good for Video Editing: Ok

Good for General Use: Good

Touchscreen: Yes

Battery Life: Good | 9 Hours

Size & Weight: Medium Size and Heavier

  • Height: 0.7 Inches

  • Width: 12.7 Inches

  • Depth: 8.4 Inches

  • Weight: 5 Pounds


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Dell XPS 17 9700

Why this Laptop Is Right for You:


So you like to test your metal in the gaming arena? Maybe you want to do some 3D modeling or run some graphics-intensive applications. Do you run 10 apps & have 20 tabs open at the same time? Then we got this one right. You might use cloud storage, but you also need speedy access to your local data, and you expect to have lots of it. You like the Windows OS working at its full potential. You know what features you need and you DON’T need a tablet or expensive logo.


You expect that such a powerful laptop might weigh more and be larger. You also expect that it may cost quite a bit more. However, you also expect it to perform at the highest level for years to come. This machine will serve you well for not just your college career, but possibly well into your actual career. You see this as a sophisticated tool, as well as a really cool toy.


Price Range: From $2,000 (Pre-Owned)

OS: Windows 10

Processor: 10th Gen Core i7-10875H

RAM: Excellent | 16 GB DDR4

Storage: Excellent | 512GB SSD

Good for Gaming: Excellent (Will play any game at 60 FPS in HD or 30 FPS in 4k)

Good for Video Editing: Excellent

Good for General Use: Excellent

Touchscreen: Yes

Battery Life: Good | 9 Hours

Size & Weight: Medium Size and Heavier

  • Height: 0.5 Inches

  • Width: 15 Inches

  • Depth:10 Inches

  • Weight: 5.5 Pounds


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Dell XPS 13 9310 11th Gen

Why this Laptop Is Right for You:

You like to game, but you also want your money to go further for you. You’re not super picky about frame rates, playing on extra large monitors in 4k, or VR. You want a great battery life and a processor that can handle anything you throw at it. You prefer that you machine not be overly large or heavy, but you are OK with it not being ultra thin. You are OK with the Windows 10 OS working at its best. You know how to take care of a computer and expect this one to last you quite a while. We’re talking beyond college. This is an investment in your future, and will serve as a tool and a toy.



Price Range: From $1,499 (Pre-Owned)

OS: Windows 10

Processor: 11th Generation Intel Core i7-1165G7 Processor

RAM: Excellent | 32 GB DDR4

Storage: Excellent | 1TB SSD

Good for Gaming: Good (May not play some AAA games at 60 FPS)

Good for Video Editing: Excellent

Good for General Use: Excellent

Touchscreen: Yes

Battery Life: Excellent | 12 Hours

Size & Weight: Medium Size and Medium Weight

  • Height: 0.5 Inches

  • Width: 14 Inches

  • Depth:13 Inches

  • Weight: 2.8 Pounds


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