The Best Student Laptops: A Guide

Welcome to our handy guide to the best student laptops on the market today.

Gone are the days of ring-binders, notebooks and pens to see you through your uni lectures, and now everyone in class has either a tablet or laptop to work from. Even if you’re not studying a course that involves programming, computer design or lots of note-taking, you’ll find that you really need a computer to see you through. Of course, they’re not cheap, and as with anything retailers can prefix with the word ‘student’, you’ll find the internet full of sales spiel and confusing contradictions. Here, we set the record straight when it comes to what you really need to know before you make your decision to purchase.

If you’re more likely to use your laptop for streaming shows and browsing social media, then first you should really consider if you need a laptop; a tablet may see you through. However, if you’ve got coursework to complete, research to do and a dissertation to write, you’ll need a laptop.

First things first, you need to set a budget. There is huge variety in the amount of money you can spend on a laptop for university, and in general terms, the more functionality, the more cost; so weigh up exactly what you need it to do alongside your budget amount – and if you’re doing a course that you suspect will incur lots of computer usage, check for any set requirements in features or functionality. There’s a balance to be found in incurring cost: don’t scrimp unnecessarily or you may end up with poor quality, but equally, don’t spend heavily on features you don’t need and will never use.

Consider where you’ll use your laptop most, and if you need something easily portable between home and classes. If you’re a design student, you may find you need something with a large screen no matter how much you’ll need to cart it about, but otherwise you should be able to find something that’s light and compact enough not to give you arm-ache while out and about.

If you’re particularly clumsy, then you would be wise to investigate into differing warranties, insurance policies and even rugged accessories to protect your new purchase. Dependent on your day’s schedule, you may too need to buy extra chargers or a laptop with an extra-long battery life to see you through back-to-back seminars. And be sure, of course, to find a bag or rucksack that can fit your new laptop within so that you’re not forced to carry it around in your hands.

It goes without saying that if possible, you should shop around to find a deal with a decent student discount. There’s many ways to do this, so be sure to look into various deals; with the manufacturers directly, third-party retailers and even university-linked schemes. Snap yourself up a bargain, and get started studying asap!

Lenovo IdeaPad 330S 15.6inch 4GB 128GB Laptop – £329.00, Argos

 

lenovo ideapad student laptop

Huawei Matebook D 14inch Ryzen 8GB 256GB Laptop – £559.99, Argos

A 14inch laptop that really packs a punch, Huawei’s Matebook looks slimline and delicate but in power, is really anything but!

Power wise, the Huawei Matebook’s price tag is justified with a quad core processor with a 2GHZ speed, 8GB of RAM, 226GB SSR storage, and Microsoft Windows 10 OS. The beautiful high definition display spans a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels with a 178 degree viewing angle across a 14inch screen. The Radeon Vega graphics card ensures a stunning display that wouldn’t be out of place on a computer at a much more premium price tag.

The optimised battery life lasts up to 7hours on a single charge, which is plenty for a day on campus. This laptop comes very highly reviewed and commended by users, and for those who expect to use theirs a lot, this could be a wise purchase.

Huawei Matebook D 14inch Ryzen 8GB 256GB Laptop – £559.99, Argos

huawei matebook student laptop

A 14inch laptop that really packs a punch, Huawei’s Matebook looks slimline and delicate but in power, is really anything but!

Power wise, the Huawei Matebook’s price tag is justified with a quad core processor with a 2GHZ speed, 8GB of RAM, 226GB SSR storage, and Microsoft Windows 10 OS. The beautiful high definition display spans a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels with a 178 degree viewing angle across a 14inch screen. The Radeon Vega graphics card ensures a stunning display that wouldn’t be out of place on a computer at a much more premium price tag.

The optimised battery life lasts up to 7hours on a single charge, which is plenty for a day on campus. This laptop comes very highly reviewed and commended by users, and for those who expect to use theirs a lot, this could be a wise purchase.

Apple Macbook Air 2017 13inch 8GB 128GB Laptop – £799.00, Argos

Apple MacBook Air Student Laptop

A premium laptop, the Apple Macbook Air runs on iOS and so not Windows – be aware if you’ve not used it before that it does take some getting used to, even if you do use an iPhone every day!

A Macbook Air is not a purchase to be made lightly as the price point is high, but Apple’s unique style and functionality rules elite in many cases. The ‘All Day’ battery life lasts up 12hours (so it really is all day!) and you’d be hard pressed to find anything that lasts longer on the high street outside of industrial solutions. Powered by a fifth-generation Intel Core processor, the machine is designed to offer premium power with little battery usage, and it does so brilliantly.

An Intel Graphics 6000 processor gives a sharp enhanced display that’s a real must for those studying design or computing – you won’t believe the difference compared to other laptop models! Of course, if you do study design or creatives, you’ll adore the streamlined steel look of the Macbook Air; truly, an iconic tech piece of kit.

Light enough to carry, professional enough to show off and powerful enough to get the job done, your money will be well-spent if you’re looking for something long-lasting and high quality.

HP Pavilion 15.6inch Pentium Gold 4GB 128GB Full HD Laptop – £429.99, Argos

HP Pavilion student laptop

A mid-range laptop from consumer favourites HP, the Pavilion Pentium Gold makes for great value given its features. The 15.6inch screen means it does feel larger than some of the other options listed in the guide, but its ultra-thin and sleek casing combined with its lightweight size don’t make it any less portable than others. Don’t be betrayed by its size, though; there’s some serious power behind it!

The Quad Core processor operates at a 1.1GHZ speed, operating the latest version of Windows 10, and there’s 4GB of RAM and 128GB SSD storage to boot. The connectivity is tip top, too; there’s 2 USB 3.1 ports, 1 USB 2.0 port, Bluetooth, Ethernet, HDMI, and a multi-card media reader… on top of top-speed WiFi enablement, of course. You’ll also find a built-in webcam, built-in microphone, built-in audio sound system, pre-installed Netflix and 30 days free of Microsoft Office and McAfee Live.

The pinnacle of the HP Pavilion Pentium Gold is its high-definition display, across 1920×1080 pixels with an Intel 605 graphics card. You’d be hard pressed to beat a display of this calibre in a screen this size; certainly without Apple software installed.

HP Envy 13.3inch Intel Core i7 512GB Laptop – £1,149.00, Currys

hp envy student laptop

The HP Envy will definitely give your peers envy when they see it, but this isn’t a purchase to be made lightly – it’s no run-of-the-mill computer, and the price tag reflects that. If you’re sure that your laptop will be used heavily for work and pleasure and you need a long-lasting practical solution, then read on.

The Intel Core i7 processor within is top of the range for speed and heavy usage, allowing you to stream video footage, editing complex documents, touch up photos, browse the web and run design programs all at the same time! The performance is evident from the off – you’ll find Windows loads in seconds rather than minutes… there’s a first for everything, eh?

The HP Envy has a touchscreen as well as a normal keypad, so you can flick between apps and typing as you need to dependent on where you are, what you’re up to, and what works best for you. The NVIDIA graphics card gives beautiful still and video imagery like you’ve never seen before, and the built-in speakers by Bang & Olufsen produce stunning sound that rival the quality of external ones.

Backed up with a 14-hour battery life, beautiful streamlined design, fingerprint security detail and pre-loaded applications, this is a laptop that can’t be easily beaten by anything else on the high street.

ACER 11.6inch Intel Celeron Chromebook 16GB eMMC Laptop – £149.00, Currys

acer chromebook student laptop

The ideal laptop for those on a limited budget or looking for something for limited study use, the ACER Celeron Chromebook is a great cheap buy! It’s super compact with just an 11.6inch screen, meaning it’s easy to transport around and fits in just about every bag.

Perfect for internet browsing and low-level streaming (from the likes of YouTube, for example), a discreetly positioned wireless antenna ensures consistent levels of internet access and speed no matter how far or awkwardly-positioned you are from a router. It’s also ideal for Skype and other video calling, as the high definition webcam has an 88° angle; making it easy for more than one of you to fit the screen and for you to show off your surroundings.

The Celeron Chromebook’s battery life is extremely impressive for this price point – weighing at a full 9hours from a single charge! You won’t find better in a budget buy, so that alone makes this model really competitive. It’s definitely something we’d recommend for an easy uni buy that won’t break the bank but will supply you with all the basic functionality you need for work and a bit of play.

HP Envy 13.3inch Intel Core i7 512GB Laptop – £1,149.00, Currys