College Laptop Recommendations

When it comes to choosing a laptop for college, what you want is something powerful, lightweight and portable with a long-lasting battery.

This is a tool that will be very beneficial to your success in college and is what you'll be doing most of your work on so it is important that your system is up to date. If your laptop is more than a few years old, you may want to consider upgrading to a more powerful notebook. You don't want an outdated computer to slow you down when it comes to college work.


Unless you are in a design-related major, go for a 13 to 14-inch laptop. These are better for on the go because they generally weigh less than 5 lbs. This is something you will be carrying with you all over campus, so if you can get one that weighs between 3-4 lbs., even better.

Battery Life

Try and shoot for something that lasts 6 hours or longer; enough to get you through a full day of classes.

Why battery life is important:

  • You don't want to have to carry a power cord around.
  • The popular study spots (coffee shops and libraries) get crowded near the power outlets. You can focus better away from the clutter and distractions of a congested study area by being unplugged with a long-lasting battery.


Having a comfortable keyboard is important because you’ll be writing many papers in college. There are different styles of keyboards that can vary based on how big the laptop is. If having a good keyboard is a major concern for you, go into to your local Best Buy and test out keyboards on models you are considering and see what works well for you.

  • A backlit keyboard is preferable as at times you will be working in a dark or dim environment.
  • If you press down on the keyboard and you see a lot of flex, consider another model.
  • Spacing of the keys is also something to consider; go with something that feels comfortable with your typing style.

Other Quick Recommendations

  • Memory: Look for something with at least 4GB of memory.
  • CPU: At least an Intel i5 or greater.
  • Start up and Wake times: Your computer should wake out of sleep mode within in 2-3 seconds.
  • Be sure to check out student discounts available from Apple, Dell, HP, and Lenovo.

Recommended College Laptops

HP Envy 4

HP Envy 4

This ultrabook has everything listed above along with great built-in sound thanks to a Beats Audio 2.1 system. This sharp looking model sports a brushed aluminum finish in midnight black with a red soft-touch base.

Quick Specs:
CPU: 1.70GHz 3rd generation Intel Core i5
Memory: 4GB
Hard Drive: 500GB
Screen Size: 14-inch 1366 x 768 display
Dimensions: 13.38" x 9.28" x 0.78"
Weight: 3.86 lbs.
Battery Life: 7.5 hours

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Apple MacBook Pro

Apple MacBook Pro

With great battery life and fast overall performance, the MacBook Pro has all the power and style you need to get you through college. While it's more expensive than the other laptops on this page, it remains one of the most popular laptop choices for students.

Quick Specs:
CPU: 2.5 GHz Intel Core i5 dual-core processor
Memory: 4GB
Hard Drive: 500GB
Screen Size: 13.3-inch 1280 x 800 display
Dimensions: 12.78” x 8.94” x 0.95”
Weight: 4.5 lbs.
Battery Life: 7 hours

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Sony VAIO S Series 13

Sony Vaio S Series

The Vaio S Series will get you at least 6 hours of use on a charge. When paired with an additional sheet battery, this laptop can keep you mobile all day long with a full 14 hours of battery life. Its profile remains thin and light (weighing in at only 3.8 lbs.) while still having a disc (DVD) drive.

Quick Specs:
CPU: 2.3GHz Intel Core i5 dual-core processor
Memory: 4GB
Hard Drive: 500GB
Screen Size: 13.3-inch 1366 x 768 display
Dimensions: 13.04" x 8.84" x 0.95"
Weight: 3.8 lbs.
Battery Life: 7.5 hours (14 with optional sheet battery)

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Last Updated ( Thursday, 08 November 2012 )
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