It’s almost back-to-school time, so we’ve put together a roundup of the nine laptops we believe will best serve the needs of school, college and university students.

There are a variety of laptops available in the market, and picking a single machine to cover the array of activities for which a student might need a device is certainly a tough ask. Take a look at our Top 10 Tips to Follow when buying a laptop, then look at our list of top choices below.

We also have a more general Best Laptop buying guide, which includes a section of machines as well as a few more expensive options. Gaming more your thing? Check out our Best Gaming Laptop guide for some proper gaming beasts.

 

Whether you’re on a course that requires you to work on 3D graphics, videos or photography, or you just want a bargain-basement machine to sling into your bag as you dash out of halls on your way to a Monday morning lecture, there are tonnes of great deals out there just waiting to be snaffled.

While this guide covers laptops, it’s worth remembering that if you already have a desktop PC or will only be making sparse notes, then a laptop might not be what you need at all. For example, consider the Google Pixel C, a lightweight Android tablet with a keyboard dock that you can take with you everywhere. Got a bit more cash, perhaps one of the new iPad Pros will be more your thing? Even the Lenovo Yoga Book, which is certainly of niche appeal, might be your best bet.

Key features:

  • Quad-core Intel Atom processor
  • 11.1-inch 1366 x 768-pixel screen
  • Weight: 980g
  • Review price: £230

Best cheap laptop for students

This is our new favourite netbook for a few reasons. First, it’s one of the lightest laptops we’ve ever reviewed, but feels robust enough to be slung into any bag without damage. We should know, after all: a member of the TrustedReviews team owns the previous generation of this device, the X205TA, and despite undergoing a huge amount of abuse, it’s still rocking to this day after two years.

Like any budget laptops, there are some compromises. Of course, the biggest is performance: realistically, you’ll only be able to have a few active tabs open at a time when browsing the web before it starts to chug.

If you’re prepared compromise middling performance for 12 hours of battery life, however, the Asus VivoBook E200HA is well worth it.

2. Acer Swift 1

Key features:

  • 1.1-2.5GHz Intel Pentium N4200
  • 4GB memory
  • 13.3-inch Full HD display
  • Weight: 1.3kg
  • Review price: £350

Acer’s Swift lineup brings premium design at a sub-£400 price point. This 1.3kg, 13.3-inch machine is one of the nicest-looking budget laptops available today, and it offers impressive performance elsewhere, too.

The screen, for example, is surprisingly good for the money, packing a Full HD resolution, good viewing angles and a solid user experience overall. Battery life is less than Acer claimed it would be, but with conservative use this laptop should be able to make it through most of a school day.

Since this laptop is powered by a low-power Intel Pentium processor, performance is leisurely. This effectively means you’ll need to balance the programs and browser tabs you have open at once to ensure you don’t overload it. But if you’re already coming from a cheap laptop, this shouldn’t come as much surprise.