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The best laptops for students in 2019

best laptops for students
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Welcome to our guide to the best laptops for students in 2019. No matter what course they are studying, or what institution they are attending – be it school, collage or university – this list of the best laptops for students will have something for everyone.

When picking the best laptop for the student in your life, there are some important things to consider. Ideally, a laptop should last their entire course – if not longer (keep them safe with one of the best laptop bags) – and should provide excellent value for money. 

Other things you should look out for when buying a student laptop is battery life – as students could be in lessons and lectures all day, so getting a laptop that can last for multiple hours between charges is essential.

Another important aspect to think about is storage. If you're a student in a creative field especially, you'll want a laptop that comes with plenty of hard drive space to store your work. For photography, video editing and music production students, we'd recommend going for at least 1TB. If it's image editing you'll be specialising in,  you might also want to consider one of these best laptops for Photoshop

Having a large screen and comfortable to use keyboard are also hallmarks of the best laptops for students, as you'll be working on them for long periods of time. And, if you're taking your laptop to university with you, then a gaming laptop, or one that's great at watching TVs and movies on, is important when you're not working.

So, read on for our pick of the best laptops for students in 2019 – and let our built-in price comparison tool find the very best deals.

Dell Latitude 7490

(Image credit: Dell)

01. Dell Latitude 7490

The best laptop for students overall

CPU: 8th-generation Intel Core i3 – i7 | Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics 620 | RAM: 4GB – 16GB | Storage: 128GB SSD – 512GB SSD

Reasonable price
Excellent performance
Great battery life
Dell proprietary PSU

The Dell Latitude 7490 is our pick for the best laptop for students overall. This is because it ticks all the right boxes for students. So, its modern components are powerful enough for day-to-day work, with a choice of SSDs that keeps the laptop feeling speedy while also offering plenty of space for your important files and coursework. It has excellent battery life as well, which means you can carry it around with you in school or on campus all day without worrying about it running out of juice. Best of all, it's decently priced, so you're not spending a fortune – and Dell lets you customise the Latitude 7490 so that you can build a laptop that suits your needs and budget.

MacBook Air

(Image credit: Apple)

02. Apple MacBook Air (2019)

The best laptop for students if money is no object

CPU: 1.6GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 | Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics 617 | RAM: 8GB – 16GB | Screen: 13.3-inch (diagonal) 2,560 x 1,600 LED-backlit display with IPS technology | Storage: 128GB – 1TB SSD | Dimensions: 11.97 x 8.36 x 0.61 inches (30.41 x 21.24 x 1.56cm; W x D x H)

Lovely design
Screen is great
Fantastic battery life
New lower price
Lack of storage space

If you've got a decent amount of cash to spend on a student laptop – or the bank of mum and dad is feeling particularly generous – then the Apple MacBook Air (2019) is arguably the best laptop for students you can buy. Apple has given its thin and lightweight laptop a refresh, adding True Tone technology to its display and an even more reliable keyboard. Hardware specs remain the same as the 2018 version, but what makes the MacBook Air such a good choice for students is its reliable performance, slim design (which makes it comfortable to carry around in a backpack all day) and excellent battery life. It's not the most powerful laptop on this list – so if you need something for heavy-duty graphic editing, check out the MacBook Pro, which is also on this list.

Acer Switch 3

(Image credit: Acer)

03. Acer Switch 3

The best cheap laptop for students

CPU: 1.10GHz Intel Pentium Quad Core N4200 - Intel Core i3 7100U | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 505 | RAM: 4GB | Screen: 12.2-inch, 1920 x 1200 IPS LCD touchscreen | Storage: 64GB - 128GB eMMC

Excellent build quality
Superb value
Tricky hinged stand
No good for games

The Acer Switch 3 is our pick for the best cheap student laptop. It's one of the best 2-in-1 laptops/tablet hybrid, which makes it a versatile little device for students, and it's small enough to be easily carried around with you on campus or between lessons. Despite its low price, it's solidly built, and there's a decent amount of power behind it – especially if you go for a version with 8GB of RAM and an Intel Core i3 processor. For day-to-day computing, writing up homework and even a spot of binge watching on Netflix, this is an excellent affordable laptop to help students with their studies.

Dell G5 15 5590

(Image credit: Dell)

04. Dell G5 15 5590

The best gaming laptop for sudents

CPU: up to 9th generation Intel Core i7-9750H | Graphics: up to Nvidia GeForce RTX 2070 with Max-Q | RAM: 8GB – 16GB | Screen: 15.6 inch FHD (1920 x 1080) IPS 300-nits – 15.6 inch FHD(1920 x 1080) 300nits IPS Anti-Glare LED with 144Hz refresh rate | Storage: 128GB SSD + 1TB HDD – 1TB SSD

Perfectly balanced feature set
Strong gaming performance
Great battery life
IPS panel is merely OK
Confusing configuration options

While being a student is no doubt hard work, you do need to have some downtime, so when you're taking a break from your studies, you may want to let of steam with a bit of gaming. If that's the case, you'll want a powerful – yet affordable – gaming laptop, which is why the Dell G5 15 5590 is our pick for the best gaming laptop for students. It has decent specs that will play the latest games smoothly at 1080p, as well has featuring a stylish design and great build quality, all for an impressively low asking price. Perhaps best of all, it offers 10 hours of battery life, which is pretty much unheard of in gaming laptops, and means you can use it as a productivity laptop when you need to work.

(Image credit: Apple)

05. MacBook Pro (15-inch, 2019)

The best laptop for graphic design students

CPU: 9th-generation Intel Core i7 – i9 | Graphics: AMD Radeon Pro 555X – 560X, Intel UHD Graphics 630 | RAM: 16GB – 32GB | Screen: 15.4-inch, 2,880 x 1,800 Retina display | Storage: 512GB – 4TB SSD | Dimensions (H x W x D): 34.93 x 24.07 x 1.55cm

Decent configuration options
Screen remains gorgeous
Lack of ports
Keyboard concerns remain

Voted as one of the best laptops for graphic design in our round-up, if that's what you're studying, you'd be hard pushed to find better than the MacBook Pro (15-inch). This incredibly powerful laptop has had a hardware upgrade for this year, making it more powerful than ever, and its discrete AMD graphics means it's easily powerful enough to handle intensive graphic design tasks. It is very expensive, but the powerful components, as well as Apple's renowned build quality, means this is a laptop that will last you for years – both during your studies and when you get a job.

Microsoft Surface Pro 6

Image Credit: Microsoft

06. Microsoft Surface Pro 6

The best laptop for students who need it for programming/coding

CPU: 5th-Generation Intel Core i5-i7 | Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics 620 | RAM: 8-16GB | Screen: 12.3-inch, 2,736 x 1,824 PixelSense display | Storage: 128GB-1TB SSD | Connectivity: 802.11ac Wi-Fi; Bluetooth 4.1 | Camera: 8MP rear-facing, 5MP front-facing | Weight: 1.73 pounds | Size: 11.5 x 7.93 x 0.33 inches (W x D x H)

Quad-core processor
Insanely portable

Microsoft's Surface Pro 6 is an ideal laptop for programming students, thanks to its compact design, great build quality and powerful components. Its quad-core Intel processor and decent amount of RAM (choose between 8GB and 16GB) means it can compile code quickly and easily, and as it runs Windows 10, you don't have to worry about compatibility issues. Just keep in mind that you’ll have to pay extra for the Type Cover, which adds a keyboard.

Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

Image credit: Dell

07. Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

The best laptop for students who want it for drawing/sketching

CPU: Intel Core i5-i7 | Graphics: Radeon RX Vega M GL Graphics with 4GB HMB2 Graphics Memory | RAM: 8GB | Storage: 512GB PCIe SSD

Stunning design
Impressive integrated graphics
A little noisy

The Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 is one of the finest convertible laptops in the world, packing in a huge amount of power into an impressively slim body. It offers enough power to keep up with graphic design applications, and its touchscreen works great with a stylus – making it the ideal choice for students who need a laptop they can draw or sketch on. It's thin and light enough to comfortably carry around with you, and it offers a decent amount of connectivity as well, including two Thunderbolt 3 and two USB-C, plus a headphone jack and MicroSD card reader. It is pricey, but Dell often features the laptop in its sales, so you can often find it at a very compelling price.

Asus Chromebook Flip

(Image credit: Asus)

08. Asus Chromebook Flip

The best Chromebook for students

CPU: Intel Pentium 4405Y – Intel Core m3-6Y30 | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 515 | RAM: 4GB | Screen: 12.5-inch, FHD (1,920 x 1,080) LED backlit anti-glare | Storage: 32GB – 64GB eMMC

Elegant tablet mode
Tactile keyboard
No out-of-box Android app support
Middling speakers

Chromebooks are fantastic devices for students, thanks to their low prices, huge battery lives and – especially with laptops like the Asus Chromebook Flip - great build quality. This 2-in-1 Chromebook runs Google's ChromeOS. It's different to Windows 10, and can't run Windows apps, but it's easy to get the hang of, and ChromeOS has thousands of apps (along with Android apps, which it can now run) that means you'll likely find an alternative. The benefit of ChromeOS is that its lightweight, so batteries last longer, and its more secure – you don't need to worry about viruses. It also has a great selection of parental controls. The Asus Chromebook Flip comes with an Intel Core processor and a full-HD display.

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme Mobile Workstation

(Image credit: Lenovo)

09. Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme Mobile Workstation

The best laptop for engineering students

CPU: up to 8th-generation Intel Core i7 | Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050Ti with Max-Q design | RAM: up to 64GB | Screen: 15.6” FHD (1920 x 1080) – 15.6” 4K UHD HDR (3840 x 2160) multi-touch | Storage: up to 1TB SSD

So much power
Glorious 4K screen
Great user experience

If you’re looking for a workhorse and you have the funds for it, then Lenovo’s ThinkPad X1 Extreme mobile workstation is the best laptop for engineering students. It's an incredibly powerful laptop that can handle even the most demanding programs and applications, and it comes with a robust carbon-fiber and aluminum body that will survive any field work. This is not going to be a laptop that suits all students, due to its high price tag and powerful components, but for students looking for a mobile workstation that can handle complex tasks with ease, then this laptop is well worth considering.

Image Credit: Microsoft

Image Credit: Microsoft

10. Microsoft Surface Go

The best laptop for word processing and general studying

CPU: Intel Pentium Gold 4415Y | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 615 | RAM: 4GB – 8GB | Screen: 10-inch 1,800 x 1,200 PixelSense Display | Storage: 64GB – 128GB SSD

Beautiful style
Keyboard comes separate

Microsoft's affordable Surface Go is an excellent laptop/tablet hybrid for students that want something portable and stylish, to do general word processing on. As a Microsoft device, you can be confident that it runs Office programs, such as Word and Excel, with ease, and it's a brilliant little device for quickly jotting down notes – or if you get the keyboard attachment – writing whole essays on. The gorgeous PixelSense display is also great for watching some Netflix in your down time, too.

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