What laptop should I buy for college? (2013 edition)

May 30, 2013 by . 80 comments

Click here to view the 2014 College Laptops list

 

 

Note: The laptop recommendations below are over a year out of date. The 2014 Best College Laptops list has this year’s up-to-date suggestions.

‘Tis the season: as family and friends head off to college, the requests for laptop recommendations start rolling in. It’s a semi-annual tradition for me to blog about my recommendations, so let’s get started! If you haven’t seen my 3 part series on “choosing a computer for college”, check those posts out for some good background info that’s mostly still relevant:

Since I wrote those articles in 2011, the computing landscape has shifted dramatically towards tablets, slates, and a plethora of weird hybrid devices. I’ll be splitting up my recommendations into several categories: primary laptops, for students who plan to have a single laptop for all their needs; primary tablets, for students who plan to have a laptop-grade tablet as their primary device; and companion devices, for students who plan to have a desktop or desktop replacement, but want a small, light, and cheaper device for carrying around campus.

What category works best for you is a personal choice, but most students I know have a primary laptop, and a few have companion devices like Android tablets or iPads. I expect that having a primary tablet will become more popular though as touch hardware improves and becomes more economical.

General advice

Regardless of what mobile computing device you choose, here are the most important factors to consider for an academic environment:

  • Intel is releasing its new Haswell series of processors this summer, and has announced battery life improvements around 50% compared to current-generation Ivy Bridge processors. Once these are released, new laptops will have much better battery life and performance, and previous-generation laptops will come down in price. So: if you can afford to wait until later this summer to buy your laptop, you probably should!
  • With college comes a .edu email address. Use it to your advantage: you should be getting at least 10% off on any laptop purchases. All major companies have student discounts, here are links to a few:Consider a refurbished computer. Dell, Lenovo, and Apple all have online “outlet” stores where you can get refurbished computers in brand-new condition with a full warranty, often for several hundred dollars off the normal price. These are computers that were returned unused (or barely used). For example, an X1 Carbon can be had for $870 from the Lenovo Outlet, vs. $1200 new.
  • Get a computer that will last. It’s better to spend more money up front and not have to replace your laptop in two years when it breaks. I’m lookin’ at you, HP.
  • Weight and size matter more than you realize. Your classes will be far apart, your books will be heavy, and in some lecture halls your desks may be as small as a sheet of paper. The students I know who have heavy laptops rarely bring them to class, and complain bitterly when they do have to. Those of us with light laptops bring them everywhere. The number one regret I’ve heard with laptop purchases is “it’s too heavy/large”. Don’t get anything over 5 pounds, and shoot for around 3-4lbs if you can. I wouldn’t suggest a laptop any larger than 14″, and if you’re considering such a large laptop, try one out in person first if at all possible.
  • Look up third-party reviews to figure out the real battery life. Nothing’s worse than running out of battery half way through a three hour class. If you can get an extended battery, do. A larger battery adds weight, but a power adapter can weight just as much if not more (and is bulky too).
  • Get the highest resolution screen  available that you can afford. A higher resolution means there are more pixels on the screen, making everything look smoother and making it possible to fit more windows on the screen at once. This makes it a lot easier to work on assignments when you can put two windows next to each other comfortably.
  • Get a dual-band wireless card. The nomenclature is pretty variable here, but look for anything that says “dual band”, “5 GHz”, or supports “802.11a” or “wireless N b/g/n/a“. Most universities will have a 5GHz wireless N network, which will experience less congestion and interference than the standard 2.4GHz spectrum. This option may cost extra, but I assure you it’s worth it: in a crowded lecture hall, it can mean the difference between no internet at all and being able to browse whatever resources you need. In a dorm it can mean the difference between DSL speeds and speeds over 100 Mbps.
  • Don’t pay money for antivirus software. There are plenty of free options, and if you get a computer with Windows 8 it’ll have antivirus software built in.
  • Don’t buy Microsoft Office, Adobe products, or any other “add on” software when you order your laptop. This type of software is typically available with huge student discounts either online or through your campus bookstore. Also, software you buy with your computer is non-transferable, while software you buy separately can be reinstalled on a different computer if you switch machines in the future.

Specific recommendations

Primary laptops

In my mind, there are really just two camps when it comes to laptops for college: ThinkPads and MacBooks. I’ll mention a few other options, but hear me out first: you’re (hopefully) going to be in college for about 4 years. You’re going to be spending a significant amount of money on your laptop, and you’re going to be using it daily for years. You want something that lasts. I made the mistake of getting an HP laptop for college, and not only did it die in less than 2 years, but every single person I know who got similar HP laptops had various problems. Three years later I only know 2 people whose HP laptops are still working at all, and there were about 20 of us who had similar laptops freshman year.

Both ThinkPads and MacBooks are known for their quality, and with student discounts can be reasonably affordable. You still might pay a little more up front, but you’ll spend more money long-term if you have to replace your laptop sophomore year – not to mention the hassle of having your laptop die during finals week. I’m telling you this from experience, folks. If you do go for a different brand, try to get their business line if at all possible – for example, choose Dell’s Latitude series over their Inspirons, or HP’s ProBooks over their Pavilions. Business-grade laptops may not be as shiny, but they are much more durable.

For both ThinkPads and Macbooks you have two categories to choose from: thin and light ultrabooks, and heavier machines with more processing power. Ultrabooks tend to be more expensive and less upgradable, but are desirable for their weight and size. With Macs the larger computers aren’t upgradable these days either, so it really comes down to what your needs are in terms of processing power.

ThinkPad T430 (from $680)

The T430 is on the heavier side for a  14″ laptop, but is one of the most versatile laptops you can get. Weighing in at 4.6 lbs (5 with the 9 cell battery), it has a full-power processor and many user-upgradable parts. Key features and specifications include:

  • Full-power Ivy Bridge Intel processors, from a 3.3 GHz  Core-i5 up to a 3.5 GHz Core-i7
  • One easy-access RAM slot (with a second slot under the keyboard). The default configuration comes with a single 4GB memory module, and it’s easy (and cheaper!) to add your own second module after purchase.
  • SATA3 2.5″ hard drive slot, which is also easy to access and upgrade to an SSD (which is cheaper than preconfiguring an SSD).
  • UltraBay which can support a DVD writer (default), or a second full-size 2.5″ hard drive.
  • mSATA/mini PCI-E slot which can be used for either a WWAN mobile internet module or an mSATA SSD
  • Intel HD 4000 graphics, or Nvidia NVS 5400M switchable graphics
  • Webcam, optional backlit keyboard, Mini Displayport, VGA, USB 3.0, SD card reader, optional fingerprint reader
  • Optional 1600×900 (default 1366×768) display – this is a highly recommended upgrade!
  • 6 cell or 9 cell battery
  • Various wireless options – make sure to get the Intel Centrino 6205 or 6300 to get support for 5GHz networks

Full tech specs

ThinkPad X230 (from $760)

The X230 has similar specifications to the T430, but is smaller (12.5″) and significantly lighter at 2.96 pounds. It also has a full powered processor and is user-upgradable. This is probably the most customizable and upgradable laptop in this size range. Additional options include:

  • Full-power Ivy Bridge Intel processors, from a 2.4 GHz Core-i3, 3.1 GHz Core-i5, up to a 3.6 GHz Core-i7
  • Two easy-access RAM slots. Default configuration comes with a single 4GB memory module.
  • SATA3 2.5″ hard drive slot
  • No DVD or ultrabay slot
  • mSATA/mini PCI-E slot, which can be used for either a WWAN mobile internet module or an mSATA SSD
  • Intel HD 4000 graphics
  • Webcam, optional backlit keyboard, Mini DisplayPort, VBA, USB 3.0, SD card reader, optional fingerprint reader
  • Only 1366×768 screen, but there is an IPS display option. IPS screens have much better viewing angles and colors. This is a highly recommended upgrade!
  • 3, 6, or 9 cell battery
  • Various wireless options - make sure to get the Intel Centrino 6205 or 6300 to get support for 5GHz networks

Full tech specs

ThinkPad X1 Carbon (from $1200)

The X1 Carbon is the Ultrabook of ThinkPads, and is one of the nicest machines you can get. At 2.99 pounds it’s about the same weight as the X230, but is thinner and has a larger screen at 14″. This machine is not user-upgradable – the RAM is soldered to the motherboard and the SSD is difficult to reach. Options include:

  • Low-voltage Intel Ivy Bridge processors, ranging from a 1.7 GHz Core-i5 (up to 2.6 GHz in turbo mode) to a 2.0 GHz Core-i7 (up to 3.2 GHz in turbo mode)
  • Soldered RAM, with 4 or 8 GB options
  • Integrated 128 or 256GB SSD
  • 1600×900 display
  • Intel HD 4000 graphics
  • No DVD slot
  • Backlit keyboard (on all models), mini displayport, USB 3.0, SD card reader, webcam
  • Integrated non-replaceable battery, with typical usage of 5-7 hours

Full tech specs

MacBook Pro Retina (from $1400)

All new MacBook Pros have Apple’s “Retina” display, which has double the pixel density of a typical display. This gives you smoother images, but can also degrade graphics performance in some situations. These are available in 13″ (3.6 lbs, starting from $1400) and 15″ (4.46 lbs, starting from $2000) options.

All Macs can run Windows via Bootcamp, so even if you need Windows programs for school, you can still get a Mac. Many schools, particularly for engineering and computer science programs, provide Windows for free to students. If yours doesn’t, make sure you factor the cost of a Windows license into your budget – although if you can afford a $2200 laptop an extra $100 for Windows probably won’t make a difference. You can buy a Windows license for about $95 on Amazon.

MacBook Pros have standard Intel processors. None of the components are user-upgradable, so you’re stuck with whatever SSD and RAM you configure at purchase time. Other specs and options include:

  • 13 inch: 2.5-2.6 GHz dual core Core-i5 processors; 15 inch: 2.4-2.7GHz quad core Core-i7 processors
  • 8 – 16GB of DDR3 RAM
  • 13 inch: 128-256 GB SSD; 15 inch: 256-512 GB SSD
  • 13 inch: Intel HD 4000, 15 inch: Nvidia GeForce GT 650M
  • Backlit keyboard, webcam, mini-DP (thunderbolt) ports, SD card reader, USB 3.0, HDMI
  • 5 GHz dual-band Wireless N adapter

Full tech specs

MacBook Pro (from $1100)

The MacBook Pro is similar to the MacBook Pro Retina, but has slightly lower specs and doesn’t have the high-resolution retina displays, although the 15″ LCD does have a 1440×900 display. These are also available in 13″ (4.5 lbs, from $1100) and 15″ (5.6 lbs, from $1700).

  • 13 inch: 2.5-2.9 GHz dual core Core-i5; 15 inch: 2.3 GHz quad core Core-i7
  • Up to 8 GB of RAM (upgradable)
  • 500 GB HDD, optional 128, 256, or 512 GB SSD
  • Webcam, backlit keyboard, USB 3.0, mini-DP (thunderbolt), SD card reader, DVD drive, ethernet port
  • 5 GHz dual-band wireless N adapter

Full tech specs

MacBook Air (from $950)

The MacBook Air is Apple’s Ultrabook offering, with 11″ (2.38 lbs, from $950) and 13″ (2.96 lbs, from $1500) options. Like the Retina macbooks, none of the components are user upgradable. The MacBook Airs have low-voltage Intel processors that will be a bit slower than a standard processor. Other specification options include:

  • Up to 2.0 GHz Intel Core i7 processor
  • Up to 8 GB of DDR3 RAM
  • Up to 512 GB SSD
  • Intel HD 4000 graphics
  • Webcam, backlit keyboard, USB 3.0, mini-DP (thunderbolt)
  • 5 GHz dual-band Wireless N adapter

 Full tech specs

Those are the laptops I think are most likely to be sturdy, last, and have good specifications for college usage. Here are a few more options you might consider:

ASUS ZenBook

ASUS is a lesser known manufacturer that makes good looking and decent quality laptops. Their ZenBook line of ultrabooks has options including the tiny 11″ UX21A which weighs only 2.4 lbs and is 9mm tall at its thickest point, two 13″ models (the UX31A with a 1600×900 touch panel, and the UX32VD with a 1920×1080 non-touch display), and larger 14″ and 15″ versions.

Most models have low-voltage Intel processors, but the 15″ U500VZ does have a standard power Intel Quad Core-i7, a discrete NVidia GPU, and a 1920×1080 multitouch screen – making it one of the most powerful laptops to fit in a 0.8 inch, 4.9 lb package. The ZenBook line had some quality issues at first, but reviews indicate that they’ve improved substantially and are a good option. Other features (not necessarily available on all models) include:

  • Backlit keyboard
  • Webcam
  • Intel HD 4000 graphics, and some with NVidia discrete graphics
  • USB 3.0, mini VGA, mini DisplayPort, SD card reader
  • SATA III SSDs up to 256 GB
  • Some versions have 5GHz dual-band wifi

Models and tech specs

Buy on Amazon

Dell Latitude Series

If you’re going to get a Dell, look at their Latitude business line. These laptops are available in 14″, 15″, and 13″ versions with full powered Intel processors. Most of the Latitude series have options for 1600×900 displays, and have standard options for upgrading RAM and hard drives. In my experience, Dell’s business laptops are of much higher quality than their consumer-oriented Inspiron laptops. Dell also sells a line of business-oriented laptops under the Vostro brand, but these are often just rebranded Inspirons, and are typically not as durable and have fewer options than a Latitude.

I would recommend the 14″, 4.4 lbs Latitude E6430 (starting from $720) specifically:

  • Metal construction with rugged hinges
  • Discrete graphics card option
  • High-resolution (1600×900) display option
  • SATA III SSD support
  • Optional 5GHz dual-band wireless
  • 9-cell battery option

Models and options

Samsung Series 9 and Series 7

Samsung’s Series 9 is its high-end ultrabook category, and includes a widening variety of 13 and 15 inch laptops, ranging in price from $1000 to $1800. I haven’t used one personally, but they’ve gotten good reviews and have good specifications. All of them – even the 15″ options – come in under 4 pounds, have SSDs, and include backlit keyboards and most have at least a 1600×900 display option.

Models and options

If you’re looking for a nice ultrabook but can’t afford a Series 9, the ATIV Book 7 shares a similar design but with a slightly lower build quality, more weight, and a more lower price to match. Reviews have praised this laptop though for having the “best touchpad on a Windows laptop to date”, and with a 1080p screen it’s a good balance between price and features.

Models and options

HP

Bahahahaha. Don’t buy an HP. Seriously. You’ll regret it. I knew at least 15 people my freshman year in college who had HP laptops (including myself – we all make mistakes!) and less than 3 years later every single one has had serious problems, and most of them have died. If you absolutely must buy an HP for some reason, get one of their business-grade ProBook or EliteBook models. If decide to buy an HP, make use of their HP Academy student discounts, and also look for coupon codes – coupons can’t be used with student discounts, but are sometimes worth more. But really – don’t buy an HP. You’ll be reading the 2014 edition of this review next year when you’re replacing your broken laptop.

Primary tablets

Tablets are becoming more powerful and more commonplace, and it’s possible – even desirable – to do all your college computing on a tablet, especially if you have access to more powerful machines in a computer lab should the need arise. The distinction between primary tablets and companion devices is vague and depends on your usage scenarios, but I’m essentially categorizing anything with a laptop processor (capable of running a “normal” OS) as a primary tablet. All “specialty” OSes like iOS, Android, and Windows RT will be categorized as a companion device, along with cheaper x86 machines (under $500).

Microsoft Surface Pro ($1130 with type cover)

For all the hate Microsoft has received for Windows 8, using a Surface Pro starts to show you what Microsoft was thinking – and makes you realize that there’s actually a lot of potential here. Although it’s a bit awkward using a machine that’s neither a laptop nor a tablet, but a little bit of both, I think college is the perfect fit for a device like this: it’s light and easy to carry to class, but it has a full powered Intel processor that can run anything a normal laptop can. With the built in pen and digitizer you can make drawings and annotations in class, while simultaneously typing on the keyboard cover. With the Windows App Store growing by the day, and the ability to run any existing Windows program, you should be good to go across the board. My biggest concerns with the Surface Pro are its battery life (typically around 5 hours in reviews) and its awkwardness in your lap when using the keyboard cover. That being said, if I were buying a laptop today, I’d probably get a Surface. With a USB 3.0 port, mini DisplayPort, and a microSD slot, you can easily hook up an external monitor, mouse, and keyboard to spread out at your desk, too. The Surface is a very solidly built piece of technology, and feels like it will stand up well to daily use in a college environment.

Tech specs

Buy from Microsoft

Buy from Amazon

Thinkpad X230t convertible tablet (from $1040)

Very similar to the X230 suggested above, this tablet hearkens from the days before slates. It’s definitely a laptop, but the screen can be twisted 180 degrees and folded back to write on its surface with the built-in digitizer pen. It also has 10-point multitouch, enabling modern Windows 8 apps as well. Pretty much everything good I said about the X230 applies here, although it’s definitely a bit large to use as a tablet. You wouldn’t want to hold it in one hand for long periods of time, so while it may be good for taking notes and doing assignments in engineering and science classes, it’s not going to double as an entertainment tablet the way a Surface or other slate would.

Tech specs

Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga (from $930)

Most reviews of this laptop use words like “interesting”, “unique”, and “novel” – polite ways of saying that it’s actually pretty weird. The Yoga is absolutely a laptop, and at first glance you wouldn’t even know it’s a tablet. The hinge rotates almost 360 degrees, letting the keyboard fold up behind the screen so that you can use it as a slate. You can also rotate the keyboard back part way to stand the laptop up like a tent and just use the touch screen.  I don’t see much point in doing that when you could just have the keyboard out, and use both the keyboard and the touch screen as you desire. Reviews have been generally positive, although its long-term durability has yet to be proven, and I don’t think the form factor is for everyone. Nevertheless, it’s worth checking into if you’re looking for a tablet that can function as a full laptop.

Tech specs

ASUS VivoTab (from $775)

The VivoTab is one of many devices powered by Intel’s CloverTrail Atom processors: low-power chips purpose-designed for Windows 8 to run standard Windows apps without harming battery life on tablets. This tablet includes an external bluetooth keyboard, which doesn’t actually attach to the device. I haven’t actually seen one, but reviews have been quite positive, especially with regards to the quality for the price. With 7.5 hours of battery life, it’s one of the longer lasting tablets. Engadget’s review goes into far more detail than I can, and if you’re considering this device I suggest you read their thoughts.

Tech specs

Buy on Amazon

Dell Latitude 10 (from $620 with keyboard dock)

The Latitude 10 has the same Intel Atom processors as the ASUS VivoTab and many other cheaper Windows 8 tablets. With the optional keyboard dock’s additional battery, it’s been measured as lasting as long as a whopping 16 hours! The dock isn’t particularly portable though, and it “only” got 9 hours on the internal battery – still impressive for a tablet running normal Windows. More expensive editions include an active digitizer and stylus, which could be useful for artists or taking notes in class.

Buy from Dell

ThinkPad Tablet 2 (from $780 with keyboard)

Another entry in the Intel Atom category, the ThinkPad Tablet 2 has several perks: an active digitizer, a ten hour battery life, and one of the most comfortable keyboards you can find with a tablet. ThinkPads have always had fantastic keyboards, and this is no exception. The external bluetooth keyboard has a slot that the slate slides into to prop it up in “laptop mode”, but it lacks any additional storage, battery, or connectivity options like the ASUS Transformer and Dell’s options. There is an optional dock connector though that adds HDMI, ethernet, and extra USB ports.

Tech specs

Companion devices

These devices will fill your needs for having a computing device on the go, but probably won’t be enough for all of your computer needs. If you already have a heavier laptop that you don’t want to take to class, or perhaps a desktop computer, these cheaper and more portable devices may be for you.

Google Nexus 10 (from $400)

The Nexus is line of smartphones and tablets are built by other manufacturers to Google’s specifications, and sold by Google. Built by Samsung and running Android 4.0.3 (Ice Cream Sandwich), this ten inch tablet is the latest in the Nexus series. Its claim to fame: a 2560×1600 screen – more pixels than the Retina iPad (or any other tablet, for that matter). Reviews suggest that Android apps handle the high resolution well, properly upscaling images and text. At 10″, this tablet is a good size for taking notes in class or looking up info during a lab. It doesn’t come with any sort of keyboard though, so you won’t be writing all your papers on here. With a dual-core 1.7 GHz ARM CPU, 2GB of RAM, and a separate graphics chip, this tablet isn’t quite as fast as some other Android tablets, but will be sufficient for most casual users. With about 7.5 hours of battery life (that high-res screen sucks power), it’s shorter-lived than some Android tablets, but should last long enough to get you through the school day.

Buy from Google

Google Nexus 7 (from $230)

The Nexus 10′s little brother, the Nexus 7 has been called the first “really good” cheap Android tablet. At only $230, it’s hard to beat this tablet in terms of quality for the price. Given its smaller size, this tablet will mostly be limited to typing brief reminders and looking things up online, but it should perform well for those types of tasks. Despite (or because of?) its smaller size, the Nexus 7 gets almost 10 hours of battery life, which should be plenty for most students.

Update: an upgraded version of the Nexus 7 was released in July, 2013. Most of the info here hasn’t changed, but the new version adds a higher-resolution display and a longer battery life.

Buy from Google

Buy from Amazon

Asus Tranformer Pad Infinity TF700 (from $380)

The Asus Transformer was one of the first slate-keyboard combos to show up, and this latest revision has added a full HD (1920×1200) screen and a micro SD slot, allowing you to upgrade its internal storage. The optional keyboard dock (which is frankly the whole point of this device, so consider “optional” to be “highly recommended) houses an extra 5 hours worth of battery, in addition to a full-size USB 2.0 port and a full-size SD card slot. It also has a touchpad for more laptop-like interaction, but most users will probably stick with the screen as the primary touch device. Although the keyboard makes writing out notes in class or typing up emails much easier, reviewers have labeled it as too cramped for writing long amounts of text, so you probably won’t want it as your only computing device. The Transformer has decent internals too, with a quad-core Tegra 3 processor and 1 GB of RAM.

Tech specs

Buy from Amazon

Microsoft Surface RT (from $450 with touch cover)

If Android isn’t your thing, but you want a relatively cheap slate with an attached keyboard, the Surface RT may be for you. Unlike the Surface Pro, the Surface RT doesn’t run a full version of Windows – it runs the new “Windows RT” which is like Windows 8, but lacks the ability to run normal Windows desktop apps. That means it’ll run any “Metro” App in the Windows Store, but it won’t run your existing games, image editors, or any of your school software like AutoCAD or Visual Studio. Windows RT does come with Microsoft Office 2013 built-in though – you get Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote – which sure is handy for taking notes or making presentations. If your school makes software available via Remote Desktop or through Citrix, you’re in luck: the Surface RT supports both, which can allow it to function almost as a full-featured laptop.

The Surface’s main selling point is its keyboard cover, turning the slate into a laptop when you click out the built-in kickstand. You can choose between the “type keyboard”, which is a standard keyboard crammed into 3mm, or the “touch keyboard”, which has no physical keys – just a large touch surface with keys printed onto it. I haven’t had a chance to spend much time with a touch keyboard, but even after just half an hour of typing on it I was surprised by how much faster I was getting. Microsoft says it takes “about a week” to get used to the touch keyboard, and many online reviews have echoed the sentiment that the touch keyboard is weird at first, but grows on you.

Inside the Surface you’ll find the same Tegra 3 that powers many Android tablets, as well as 2 GB of RAM and a battery that lasts a little over 9 hours. It also has some other perks not found on most tablets – such as a full-size USB port and a micro-HDMI port that can be converted to VGA for those classroom projectors.

Buy from Microsoft

 

 

Filed under College Reviews

80 Comments

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  • allquixotic says:

    I have a ThinkPad T530 and a Surface Pro. Both are great. However, unless you’re going to college to learn how to write high-end 3D gaming engines, I cannot imagine a scenario where you would need more power than the Surface Pro has to get your schoolwork done. Considering the cheaper price, vastly reduced size and weight, and flexibility of using the pen, touch, or keyboard input methods (or a USB or bluetooth mouse), the Surface Pro seems — to me, at least — to be the perfect college device, even though I’m out of college and haven’t actually tried the Surface Pro as a college lecture note-taking device.

    Also, do not under any circumstances buy that 1366×768 screen on the ThinkPad T430/530. It’s a joke. I’ve seen TFTs 10 years old that are better quality than it.

    • nhinkle says:

      I’d hesitate to call the Surface cheap (a T430 with good specs can be had for under $800, vs. $1130 for a Surface Pro 128GB with keyboard cover), although it’s no more expensive than a lot of ultrabooks. That being said, I definitely agree that it’s a very versatile device for schoolwork, especially with the ability to connect an external display and keyboard for desk work.

  • danielbeck says:

    There might even be a specific agreement between your institution and a company about additional savings. Mine had with e.g. Apple — I don’t know whether that was just a function of the university’s .de domain that made this necessary, but it might be worth looking.

    • Louis says:

      I agree, it’s worth a look. Mine had one with Dell which offered even deeper discounts than their student portal, but the selection was very limited.

  • Breakthrough says:

    I cannot stress enough what a difference a higher resolution will make, especially for those getting into science and engineering fields. A larger resolution might not change the physical size of the display, but it will let you work with more data/programs at once, and/or have multiple windows open simulataneously (avoiding having to minimize/maximize windows over and over to switch between them).

    On that point, students going with a dedicated laptop (and no desktop) may also benefit from an external monitor and keyboard. Not only will your productivity increase (generally the ergonomics of desktop keyboards/mice help increase your input speed), but you’ll be investing in the future of your own posture – by avoiding slouching!

    As a final note, you should see if you will have to use Linux/UNIX throughout your education. Some (newer) laptops have poor compatibility with Linux (especially with respect to propiretary graphics drivers), but this largely depends on the particular model of laptop. This is much lesser of a problem now that Linux is more matured, but there are still certain exceptions (e.g. the Ubuntu bug that bricked certain UEFI-enabled Samsung laptops)

    As always, do your research before you purchase anything, and ensure the hardware is compatible with the software you want to use. I’ve heard many good things about all the laptops/manufacturers listed in this blog post (and certainly, there are even more!). So long as the hardware meets your criteria, and the software is compatible, I would pick the laptop that is most asthetically and ergonomically pleasing to use.

    And indeed, it should be – as a student, you’ll spend most of your time infront of it!

  • Raphael says:

    One nice feature of the ThinkPad T series is their support for Lenovos docking solutions. Want a mobile machine that doubles as PC replacement (i.e. stationary peripherals and cables, 2+ external screens)? Go with a ThinkPad.

    As an additional note, let me add one vote in favor of GNU/Linux. Much of the computing infrastructure on campus will run some flavor of UNIX (you want to be easily compatible) and there is lots of awesome free (of cost) software. If you are open towards GNU/Linux at all (and you should be) take special care to pick machines that are well supported.

  • studiohack says:

    nhinkle: well written and extensively researched! I’m impressed with all the options you came up with! As you already know, I’m leaning towards Lenovo for my next laptop, will probably get a solid, conventional Thinkpad, though I would enjoy a Lenovo Helix ($$!)

    Thanks for this, sure is helpful!

  • Dessa says:

    Great article! I’m leaning towards the ThinkPad or the Surface Pro.

  • Amanda says:

    I do not recommend getting anything Dell related. I have a Dell right now and it is full of problems. It doesn’t hold battery life for more than 15 minutes. It also has had several viruses and has had to be wiped once. I am thinking about the Asus Zenbook. Thank you for the advice

    • nhinkle says:

      What kind of Dell do you have? As I mentioned in the article, Dell’s home/personal line (such as the Inspiron series) are generally of low quality. Their high-end business laptops like the Latitude series are of much better quality.

  • MDaw says:

    while all lot of these options are great computers, they are super expensive! starting at $600-700? 600 is the maximum i can afford, what should i buy then?

    • nhinkle says:

      I would strongly consider looking at a refurbished laptop – see the third bullet point in the introductory paragraph of this post. For example, on http://outlet.lenovo.com right now there are X230 laptops with 4GB of RAM, a 500 GB HDD, and a Core i5 processor, for $599; or, a T430 with 4GB of RAM, a 500 GB HDD, Bluetooth, 5GHz WiFi, a 9 cell extended battery, and a Core i5 processor, all for $598.

      If you don’t want to go the refurb route, check out those student discounts linked above – I’m seeing brand-new X230 starting at $640, which is only barely over your budget, and I’m seeing Latitude E5430 starting at $605 on Dell’s website right now. Those are some choices I would check out and consider.

  • Michelle says:

    Does the Macbook Air work well with Excel? Is the processor ok for Excel?

  • shibi says:

    i recently bought a samsung e series NP300E5C-AOCIN laptop what is your opinion about that product

    • nhinkle says:

      I haven’t used it or read anything about it specifically. Looking at the specs, it’ll get the job done fine, but may not be as durable as some other products.

  • JW says:

    Any thoughts on the Lenovo Ideapad Y410p? My son is headed to college and will be part of the Visualization program – animation, graphic design, gaming design, etc. Trying to get a good quality laptop without spending a fortune. Trying to spend that on the education. He has his mind set on this one. Thoughts please.

    • nhinkle says:

      It looks like the Y410P starts at $770 for the lowest configuration. For that price, I’d be looking towards a T430 instead, but it does look like the Y410p has decent specs. The problem with the IdeaPad line is that the construction isn’t as durable and rigid as a ThinkPad. It’ll work fine, but it might not stand up as well to the harsh college environment.

      For animation, game design, etc. it may be worth considering building a desktop (if he’s into that sort of thing), which would be more capable of running games, 3D animations, etc. and then spending the leftover money on a smaller tablet (something under the companion devices list, like a Nexus 7) to take to class It’ll all depend on what sorts of requirements the college has, and what balance he wants between portability and power. That IdeaPad is pretty heavy at 5.5 lbs, and with a quad core processor, the battery life won’t be spectacular. On the other hand, you get a quad core processor, so it’s a trade-off.

      If you do get the IdeaPad, make sure to upgrade to the 1600×900 screen option though!

  • Emma says:

    I currently have an acer aspire M 14″ that is not in stock now (even though I got it 3 weeks ago, so why this is not available anymore is beyond me). The space bar is oddly… dented so it’s a rounded shape so whenever I open the laptop it’s as if the space button has been pressed on. It’s annoying, but not terrible. I’m going off to college and I don’t know if this small problem is worth changing the computer for. As far as details go, I have a i5 intel processor 6GB and memory and 500GB drive. It has 8+ hours of battery life, starts up in less than 3 seconds, touchscreen, and windows 8. it’s an ultrabook so it weights less than 4 lbs. Other features are the built in web cam and back lit keys. Should I look for a different computer with all the same features or stick to it and just get the key repaired?

    • Emma says:

      the computer only cost 799.99 and i’m planning on switching computers in 2 or 3 years or so because better ones come out so often lately.

    • nhinkle says:

      If you got it 3 weeks ago and can still return it, it might be worth returning it if you can find something new with the features you want. If it’s already having problems less than a month in, that’s probably a bad sign. Acers are not known for their quality… or rather, they are known for their quality, in a bad way. That being said, if you’re going to switch in 2 years anyways, it might not be worth the hassle of trying to arrange a return. It’s really up to you.

  • charie says:

    which laptop is best for me i can spend 1250$

    • nhinkle says:

      Knowing your budget tells us nothing about what you actually want to do with the laptop. There are a couple dozen options listed in the blog post, and many of them could be configured to around $1250. If you want more help, you’ll have to ask a more specific question. Nobody can tell you what the best laptop is for you – that’s a personal decision.

    • William says:

      would you like an Dell Latitude 3330, i5, 2.7GHZ, 4.0GB RAM, 64GB solid stata HD, 13″w, IntEL hd graphics 4000, 6 cell battery, comes with win 7 home $500

  • MD says:

    What are your thoughts on the Sony Vaio and Toshiba Satellite series?

    • nhinkle says:

      I haven’t personally used either, and they don’t seem to be so common. I looked at purchasing a Vaio in the past, and found in my research that although they look nice and have good specs, they tend to have poor build quality and not last very long. Also, Sony has a poor history of trustworthiness – they’ve been known to put viruses on their products intentionally, among other issues. I would stay away from the Vaio.

      I’ve read some good things about some Toshiba Satellite laptops – just make sure if you get one of those to look up the weight and read personal reviews of the battery life and build quality. I’ve seen reports of some Satellite laptops being quite nice and others falling apart in not too long. Don’t trust the manufacturer’s battery life claims – make sure to get an outside review for that.

  • Josh says:

    You mentioned Dell’s Latitude models as being viable options, but what about the the XPS line? Would they be suitable for engineering majors?

    • nhinkle says:

      I do know several students and professors in engineering who use XPS laptops. The build quality on a Latitude will tend to be better, and they should be a bit more durable. However, the XPS laptops are definitely much higher quality than the Inspiron line. One thing to watch out for with XPS laptops is that some of the “gaming laptops” under that brand are very heavy and have poor battery life – two things you should really try to avoid. On the other hand, the XPS ultrabooks are fairly nice.

  • John Bomb says:

    I am unsure of what laptop best suite my needs so I will give you the best details of my needs and your feedback and recommendations would he much obliged.

    I am going to be a freshman Mechanical Engineer major.I need durable, fast, efficient, good battery life(important), and something that can handle gaming as I see a future for me in it. I have never owned a mac but am open to learning the Mac OS. Hard drove space isn’t a big deal, I don’t download movies really. So an average 300+GB would seem to be enough. I also want smaller and lightweight. 14in screen give r take and under 5 pounds battery included.Most of all, durabiility is my main concern. I don’t want to buy another laptop 2 yearss in.Lastly, I have a budget of about 1k maybe a $100 more if the laptop is worth it

    Thanks -John.

  • Sanae L.A. says:

    You seem to know your stuff. But all these options are too expensive for me. What would you absolutely recommend for under $500?

    • nhinkle says:

      I know it’s hard on a budget, and I’m sorry there aren’t more options in the lower price range. Unfortunately, a lot of computers in the sub-$600 range tend to be fairly low quality, break earlier, and end up costing more to maintain in the long run. What I would recommend is looking at either buying a used computer, or getting a factory-refurbished computer from the manufacturer. You’ll be better off with a used or refurbished ThinkPad, for example, than a brand-new lowest-price HP laptop.

      Some possible places to look:

  • DK says:

    What do you suggest for a student who mostly uses Internet and types documents and ppt? I want a laptop that lasts long and rarely gets virus. I don’t download files and programs except for some documents and images for homework. I want something light and durable.

  • somewhatquiet says:

    Help! My computer just died and I’m heading to college next month. (surprise it was a HP, and 2+yrs old) I’m majoring in Computer Science so I need to find a computer that will fit my major but will also do gaming. I’m wondering if I should go to a desktop and get a tablet for going to class at college. What’s your thoughts and any suggestions of what to buy?

    • nhinkle says:

      I have some specific suggestions for tablets up above. As for a desktop, I recommend building your own – there are lots of good resources online for doing this. If you’re really into gaming, desktop + tablet (with bluetooth or snap-in keyboard) is a good compromise. Take a look at the “companion devices” section above.

  • Katherine says:

    Hello, could really use some advice! So from all the research I did, it seemed like the Dell latitudes are a really good choice for a laptop. But my dad said that as a first year university student, I should not buy a laptop aimed towards business professionals. I also wanted to go with a brand I am familiar with such as Acer and Dell. What is the difference between business and multimedia for laptops? Sigh* it doesn’t seem like there is a good option for me as I wanted a 15 inch laptop that is a lighter option that will last me a decent amount of time without any major flaws. The only ones really available in 15, are the inspirons and some more expensive XPS which are more heavy. I need to order one soon, but I feel as if I am at a dead end. I just want a good quality, well rounded laptop, is that too much to ask??? Any advice?

    • nhinkle says:

      There’s no reason not to get a business laptop in college. Business laptops are typically designed to be more durable, and have more practical features – which is exactly what you need in college. Multimedia laptops are more designed to look fancy but just sit around the house and not get used as roughly. Just a few examples, business laptops are more likely to have…

      • Extended battery options, good for lasting all day through classes
      • VGA port, which is what most projectors will have as their connector. Multimedia laptops typically only have HDMI these days, which most projectors lack.
      • More upgradable, so you can later add an SSD or more RAM yourself
      • More durable construction materials, and better likelihood of surviving a drop or spill

      Avoid Acer, they’re known for low quality. If you’re set on Dell, definitely avoid the Inspiron line. XPS tend to be a bit higher quality, and some of the XPS laptops can be lighter (IIRC, the “Z” series are their lighter laptops). I’d still go for a Latitude if you can though. 15″ seems pretty big, as you mention a lot of them are pretty heavy – take a look at the 14″ options, as those tend to be lighter and you still have sufficient screen space.

  • yjk18 says:

    Hello! What do you think of the new Samsung ATIV Book 9 lite laptop? It has a quad core processor 1.4 GHz but I am not sure how that compares to the i5 processor or anything… I am also thinking of an engineering major! I know you said quad core processors are often overkill in your 2011 edition “what laptop should I buy…” but has your opinion changed since then? Thanks!

    • nhinkle says:

      I don’t know much about the ATIV Book 9 lite – it looks to be a new product. I still think that for laptops, quad core processors are almost always overkill. For engineering students it’ll usually make more sense to have a dual-core laptop with better battery life, and use the computer lab for intensive computation. A desktop will always outperform a laptop in terms of performance for price, and most engineering schools will have good desktops available with quad core processors.

  • Zack Shannon says:

    I currently need either a small laptop or a tablet with a keyboard to take notes in class. I’m looking for something that at least has a batter life over 4 hours and is light weight.

    What do you think about chromebooks? There is a 250 dollar samsung one that looks like it can do google docs well.

    But besides that the surface RT and IdeaPad S300 looks pretty good to.

    I only have about 400 dollars (which is why I might turn to craigslist for a cheaper unit) Any ideas? Thanks for writing this blog, helped me a lot.

    • nhinkle says:

      If your budget is $400 I’d definitely be looking at refurbished/used laptops. Chromebooks are alright if you always have an internet connection and don’t mind not having any native apps, but I would personally rather a used “real” laptop over a Chromebook.

  • Nikki M says:

    Mr Spock, Kudos. This is a really great site and very good information you got up there – not to mention answering everyone so sweetly!

  • jessica says:

    I’m not going into college or university yet but I am planning on doing a lot of research and writing articles. I need something durable and well worth my money, I have no budget yet but I would prefere not to spend a ton of money. So far I have been looking at the Microsoft surface pro, asus vivotab smart, and the samsungnativ book- either book 4 or book 9 plus. I will of course use it for some entertainment purposes as well. Great information thank you.

  • Kris H says:

    You didn’t touch on the iPad at all. What do you think of that being used in school? Is there a practical way to use an iPad for all school work instead of a traditional computer?

    • nhinkle says:

      I personally feel like the iPad isn’t as good a device for actually getting work done, but I suppose I should have mentioned it under the companion devices section (I think I meant to and then forgot to add it at the end). I’ve seen people successfully use iPads to take notes, but I view it as more of an accessory and less for actually getting work done. If you’re going to use a tablet as your primary device, might as well get one that a) has a keyboard, and b) can run any program you want.

  • Kim says:

    My son is goin to college for computer engineering , I know absolutely nothing about computers nor do I understand anyone the jargon I would greatly appreciate for anyone to please shed a little light and give me a computer brand and model to buy . I have no idea where to begin : /. Thanks so much

    • nhinkle says:

      The first linked article (part 1, how to choose) explains a lot of the jargon in terms of what the components mean. If your son’s interested in computer engineering, he may have a better idea of what he wants, especially if he reads these articles. You might consider giving him a budget and letting him make the decision.

      My top picks would probably be the ThinkPad T430 or X1 Carbon, but it all depends on his personal usage preferences and your budget. ThinkPads are great for school though, so I’d start by looking at those.

  • junaid says:

    I think the hp products are very durable and work for long time

  • Thaddeus says:

    Hi, fantastic blog full of details! I am now convinced that the Thinkpad is the series for me yet cannot decide betrween the T430, T430s and the T431s.. what do you recommend? I honestly cannot see what the major difference is between them.

    Thanks a bunch :)

    • nhinkle says:

      Pretty much just the weight! The lighter it is, the more expensive. T431s has a different trackpad I believe. The T430 is the most configurable, with options for a 9 cell battery, which the others lack, and more upgradeability. They’re all fairly similar though.

  • Praveen says:

    Hi, I’m going to be studying Computer science, majoring CS itself and Software Engineering. With a maximum budget of $1000, what would be the best option for me? As for what I have read before ASUS is the best option for my studies and everything. Is it actually true? What would be your opinion? Thanks in advance. :)

  • Josh says:

    I’m not in college, but am a Resident Physician. I think the author is correct when saying either get a mac or thinkpad. However I would elevate the Dell Latitudes (only the Latitudes) as equal with the Thinkpads. We use a the Latitude e6520s in our cardiology clinic for EHR and for data entry purposes and those things are beasts with the abuse they take and how they’ve held up over the years.

    • nhinkle says:

      The latitudes are definitely nice laptops too! I like the design of the thinkpads better, and think they’re better suited to a school environment, but you make a good point.

  • Veronica says:

    Hi, Currently, I have a 2-year old MacBook Pro 15 inch laptop. I bought it for university, but it’s too delicate, heavy and large for me to carry as a commuter. Right now, I’m looking for an alternative option that is more travel friendly, yet satisfies my needs. I have around $1000.00 budget and want a PC. I’m constantly using Microsoft word and need an overall good computer that’s as light as possible but packs a punch. I was considering the ultrabooks, but was turned off by no hard drive and CD rom. What models would you recommend for me? I’ve been spending hours researching and I find your advice most relevant. Thank you very much

  • David says:

    Hi there, just thought it was worth mentioning the Samsung galaxy note tablets, I own one of these and a desktop and it is fantastic (as you may imagine) for taking notes. The pen and the s-note app allow me to write my notes as if I was writing on paper without carrying a heavy and large notepad with me. Also you can download the lecture notes and annotate them using a fantastic app ezPDF reader, worth every penny if you faster at writing than typing.

  • Jarid says:

    I have no budget. I am willing to pay any amount of money as long as the computer is good. I am going to be an electrical engineering student and I want a computer with good battery life and good resolution which is making me lean towards the Mac Book Pro 15″ with all of the highest specs. Then I would partition the drive and run windows with bootcamp. However I can get a Dell alien-ware with twice the specs for the same price. I am just trying to get the best computer possible no matter what the cost. What’s the best?

    • nhinkle says:

      I’d avoid alienware – they’re generally not great build quality.

      You don’t mention what size, weight, or battery you need, so it’s hard to make a specific recommendation, but here’s some ideas.

      I’d look at the Thinkpad T440s. It’s the latest iteration of the T4x0 series, is relatively light-weight (3.5 lbs) and has up to a 1920×1080 14″ screen. Right now with the best screen, CPU, and battery options, 8 GB RAM, and A/C WiFi it’s about $2200. Not sure how that compares to the MBP you were looking at.

      If you need a retina-level resolution, then the MacBook Pro Retina is probably your only good choice at the moment for decent built quality.

  • Steven says:

    Got an HP laptop (dm4) two years ago, not only have I had fan issues but now the hinges are literally falling apart (from what I can tell, every time you close them, they try to pull themselves away from the screen. Once you open/close them enough times, the damage that is causing becomes very apparent). If this thing makes it to the end of Junior year I’ll be surprised (and at this point I won’t be surprised if it is gone for good by the end of this semester).

  • pat says:

    I have an HP which from day one has been a piece of dog doo. One problem of compatibility with another. Came with all kinds of entertainment TV DVD write, etc None of it ever worked. spastic track pad. slow and sluggish. Don’t buy more options than you need just slows down the computer and uses up your battery life.

    My daughter has a Dell which has a mushy keyboard. ‘ve had to replace keys because they fell off. I’ve replaced battery and it’s at the end of its life again. Edges of computer pull away from body and are sharp.

  • Akeyla says:

    I’m going into engineering next year and was wondering what you thought of the ASUS N550JV, Lenovo T431s, and the Aspire V7-582P-6673.

    • nhinkle says:

      If you don’t start school until next year, I’d suggest waiting until before school starts to pick a laptop. Technology changes fast, and there will likely be new products available by then.

      ThinkPad is going to be the most durable of those choices, although I’d consider looking at something in the T440 family, since the T431s is using a previous-generation processor. T440, T440p, and T440s are all available depending on how much power and what weight you need.

  • Patrick says:

    interesting comments nhinkle, all very useful and i guess relevant to me as UK buyer. i know you are a fan of the apple because you make that recommendation in your opening piece. My 15yr old is desperate for laptop for home work and would very much like a Mac Book Air, his main arguments are that it is robust, it fits with all other apple devices he has and it will last him to University if indeed he survives that long given how far he pushes boundaries at home! Anyway Mac is £950 and good alternative laptop is £500, is the mac really that good? bearing in mind if i buy one there is a good chance i will have to buy his twin sister one too!!

    • nhinkle says:

      I’m actually not a particular fan of Apple products. I included it because the hardware is generally high-quality, and there are a lot of people (especially in non-STEM majors) who like them for college.

      That being said, I don’t think Apple products are very cost-effective, and I personally use a PC and recommend PCs over Macs.

      I’m not sure which specific alternative laptop you’re looking at, so it’s hard to make a direct comparison. Thinkpads (as mentioned above) are a reliable brand. Avoid HP, and regardless of which brand you go for, “business” laptops will last longer than “home” laptops.

  • Damon says:

    Spock, This website blog is great! I think my son will be getting the DELL Latitude based off of the comments made. I had looked in Best Buy but was really confused on the selection and as what to buy. My son is a Freshman, so I am looking for something that will last. I’m not a big fan of HP (given friends that have them and now ur blogs comments). Now, I just have to figure out what to put knit. I think ordering from Dell using the student discount is the way to go. Thanks Any input on what I should be asking for to be included would be greatly appreciated

  • Damon says:

    Ok, we’ll maybe not Dell. The $779 model after choosing appropriate OS, memory, and processor, the price actually doubled to $1400!! Can u or anyone tell me your opinion of Toshiba laptops? I’ve read some really good articles on this Laptop

    • nhinkle says:

      I’d take another look at thinkpads. They’ve released some new models recently. A T440 with a Core-i5, HD+ screen, extended battery, dual-band wireless, and 4 GB of RAM is about $870 right now.

      Which Dell were you looking at? I’m sure Dell has some new products since I wrote this post, so I’m curious how you got from $780 to $1400! Which additions did you make?

  • Teresa says:

    Do you think the Mac Book Pro Retina will be good for a college freshman. Not even sure of his major. Maybe business

    • nhinkle says:

      Most laptops will work fine for most people. The MBP Retina is definitely high-quality. I personally consider it to be overpriced, but if you can afford it, it would probably be fine for most generic college majors. Majoring in something more technical like engineering or computer science may come with more specific requirements, but you can always install Windows on a Mac if necessary, so it shouldn’t be a problem.

  • Prakash15 says:

    Im pursuing graduation , let me know which laptop is better under the budget of $1200. Im looking models in Dell and Asus. #deals15

  • Lexine says:

    That was the most useful piece of writing I’ve ever read for laptop-seeking college students. Thanks very much!

    I’m currently in a dilemma over the Lenovo Thinkpad X1 Carbon for its weight (non-touch because I won’t use it much and to save $) and the Thinkpad T440s for its screen and battery life. Any advice as to which might be better?

    I’m in my sophomore year and looking for a 14″ laptop that can handle academic work as well as future office work. Willing to shell out for a quality device, so long as it can last me a good 4-5 years. It needs to be portable because I travel a fair bit: preferably no more than 4 pounds. Long battery life is, as always, a plus; average (6 hours and up) is fine. I’m in social sciences and we do more writing and research, so no need for spectacular graphics for design work. My pet peeve is a Windows 8 system that cannot be downgraded to Windows 7 – Windows 8 drives me nuts (hoping for better in Windows 9.)

    I prefer Thinkpads because they’ve undergone military-grade testing, and the way my laptops get bumped around when I travel, they need to be able to take a beating.

    Help in weighing these options would be greatly appreciated! Suggestions of different models and brands are welcome, but durability is the biggest draw for me.

  • Amanda says:

    Hi nhinkle,

    I would love your advice on which pc to buy if I need to run both advanced autocad 3D and Solidworks 2013. At home I have a Macbook with OS 10.6. I’m currently taking both a civil engineering class and a mechanical engineering class that uses these programs. I recently purchased an ASUS pc 4 GB RAM and 500 GB hard drive that came with Windows 8 but I’m afraid since its such a new product that it won’t help me much in the engineering field. I have a 1 year student license with these programs but once I download on a pc at home thats it. At school we use desktop computers I believe they’re Dell (but i’ll check) with Windows 8. I’ve also noticed this ASUS is acting more like a tablet than a PC, esp with the touchscreen apps that it came with.

    Do you recommend purchasing a Dell or HP to run these programs. I am thinking about getting a desktop at home but would prefer a pc. I really want to stay around $600 and do not want another MAC ! (what a waste of money)

    Thank you :)

  • Leisak says:

    I’m just starting a medical degree and want a computer thst is simple, lightweight, where I can do papers and print out reports. Any suggestions?

  • Nur says:

    I can’t agree more with the HP. Yes I owned one before, during my warranty period, the cable didn’t work and so I went to the HP centre for replacement. 5 months after that, the charger didn’t work again. I insisted on buying a generic one and it works good until now. Now I’m getting mid-range ASUS laptop for my college.

  • Lee says:

    +1 on ASUS Zenbook. I own one and not only love its power but also its portability it is light and never cause me back pain which my previous laptop did.

  • Jay francis says:

    As an alternative to all the above, you can pick up a super nice used Thinkpad X200s for $150-$200 on ebay. It will have years off life left in it and more processing power than you’ll ever need.

    Then install a decent tiling manager and you’ll be to work effectively with more open apps than if you had a wall screen. Resolution upgrades are much less effective than solutions like tiling managers, because using them to fit more stuff on screen requires (doh) smaller text. A good tiling manager gets round this completely – my subnotebook’s 12″ screen is just as usable as my 28″ desktop now.

    I’d also consider Linux rather than OS X or Windows, at least as a dual boot.

  • niket says:

    nhinkle , I am searching for a long lasting laptop from 2 months and I have researched lot & many users are saying Dell quality is very bad now a days ,under 4 to 5 months they replaced motherboards,HDD,fan problems ,heating problems and many are saying Dell is not for long last. And many are saying they used Hp also & their quality is good long lasting and in my research I haven’t read much problems about HP quality & many are saying they will not buy Dell again.

    …….So I am really super confused please suggest me one of these.

    I am talking about these 2 specific models -

    http://www.flipkart.com/dell-inspiron-15-3521-laptop-3rd-gen-pdc-4gb-500gb-ubuntu/p/itmdhz2rbh73qtvg

    http://m.snapdeal.com/product/hp-15d009tu-notebook-laptop-3rd/1907556309

  • I have got ASUS VivoTab and i love it very much! It’s amazing how easy you can have and computer and tablet, two in one :)

  • Naresh says:

    I need to buy a high end laptop. I am not able to decide between the Asus N550JV and the Lenovo Y510p. I will be using my laptop for running engineering programs like CAD, Catia etc.

  • Tien says:

    LOL This review was too cute and so helpful! I literally laughed out loud! as I was reading the section you wrote about HP, written by a hurt customer hahah I am totally with you. My brother bought an HP laptop like a month after I bought my Lenovo. Two years in, while mine was still working as smooth as oil, he found his screen dead. Oy!

  • Leave a comment

    Log in
    with Stack Exchange
    or