The best student laptop for most people


CPU: 8th generation Intel Core i5-8250U

Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics 620


Screen: 14-inch (1,920 x 1,080)

Storage: 256GB SSD


+Strong all-round specs+Solid build quality that will last+Big internal storage space

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We think that for the vast majority of students the best student laptop available today is the HP Pavilion 14. Combining strong all-round specs, which include an 8th generation Intel Core i5-8250U CPU, Intel UHD Graphics 620 GPU, 8GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD, along with a simple yet stylish design and crisp screen, for the money you can’t do better running Windows 10.

The system’s build quality is also good, and you get dedicated HDMI, USB Type-C and networking ports, too, meaning that hooking the machine up in the dorm or in class is easy. Battery life sits at up to 11 hours, and the machines comes pre-installed with a fresh copy of Windows 10 Home.

Cheaper and more expensive student laptops are available in this list, as well as makes from Apple that run macOS, however, for an affordable sweet spot then look no further than the HP Pavilion 14.


2. DELL XPS 13 (2020)

The best premium student laptop


CPU: Up to 10th-generation Intel Core i7-1065G7

Graphics: Up to Intel Iris Plus

RAM: Up to 16GB

Screen: 13.4-inch display (up to 4K, 3,840 x 2,400 resolution)

Storage: Up to 1TB


+Powerhouse performance+Will last way beyond university

The Dell XPS 13 series has consistently wowed us here at T3, and the 2020 version of the laptop continues that trend – it’s powerful, supremely well built, and compact, so just about everything you could possibly want in your search for the best student laptop around during back to school season.

With the latest 10th-gen Intel processors installed and up to 16GB of RAM installed, this is a portable computer that’s going to be able to handle everything that you want to throw at it. From late-night Netflix to early-morning essay writing, you’ll find the Dell XPS 13 for 2020 a capable and competent laptop.

It’s that 13.4-inch display with the super-thin bezels that really makes the XPS 13 stand out though: if you want to, you can go all the way up to a 4K resolution, but the 1,920 x 1,080 resolution models still look fantastic (4K doesn’t make a huge amount of difference on a laptop display this size).


The best budget student laptop


CPU: Intel Celeron 3205U 1.5GHz (dual-core)

Graphics: Intel HD Graphics


Screen: 15.6-inch, 1,920 x 1,080 pixels

Storage: 32GB SSD

Connectivity: 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0

Camera: 720p

Weight: 4.85 pounds

Dimensions: 15.08 x 9.65 x 0.95-inches


+Quality screen+Long-lastingbattery+Very attractive price point

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The Chromebook 15 is a ridiculously cheap student laptop that’s also very capable. The hardware is in line with that price, with lower specs across the board – but as the machine runs Chrome OS, it doesn’t matter too much, with the laptop still delivering a fast and responsive usage experience.

And that 15.6-inch screen is an absolute delight, by the way. Again, its speakers are poor, with flat treble and weak bass – but at this price, you can afford an iPod as well. One of the best student laptops going in 2020 for those shopping on a budget, and who don’t need a host of extra bells and whistles.




The best student laptop for the vast majority of student Mac users


CPU: Up to 10th-gen quad-core Intel Core i7

Graphics: Intel Iris Plus

RAM: Up to 16GB

Screen: 13.3-inch, 2,560 x 1,600 pixels

Storage: Up to 2TB


+Thin and light+Clean, crisp display+macOS always improving

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Apple has made some interesting tweaks to the MacBook Air in recent years, pulling it back from near-obsolescence to make it just about the best Mac laptop option for students. It’s thin, it’s light, and it has just about enough power to handle all of the usual studenty tasks that you’re going to need it for.

The 2020 edition of the MacBook Air features the latest 10th-gen Intel processors, and you can kit it out with up to 16GB of RAM and up to 2TB of internal storage if you need to know – impressive specs by any standards.

Perhaps most importantly, the entry-level price is now below the £1,000/$1,000 mark, making it the cheapest MacBook that Apple has on offer at the moment. With macOS Big Sur on the way later in the year, the MacBook is going to get even more appealing as a device, as long as you can afford it.



A gem of a budget 2-in-1 laptop for students


CPU: 8th-gen Intel Core m3

Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics 615

RAM: 4GB / 8GB

Screen: 10.5-inch 1920 x 1280 pixels (220 ppi)

Storage: 64GB / 128GB


+Attractive low price+Great hardware package+Compact and lightweight


Microsoft’s forays into the 2-in-1 market have been a huge success, revitalising the company’s image as a serious hardware maker right when it needed it. For people who want to get in on this without paying handsomely – so students, in other words – Microsoft has you covered with the second Surface Go.

It builds on what made the original Surface Go so good, adding a more premium-feeling design and a small specs bump to make sure you can get through all of the computing tasks that you need to get through. It also squeezes in a bigger-sized screen into a form factor the same size as the original Surface Go, but cutting down on the bezels.

You can eke out around five hours of use between charges with the Surface Go, and given its size and power, it’s perfect for jumping between the library and the lecture hall. In your calculations about whether or not to buy this, make sure that you factor in the extra cost of the Type Cover keyboard in as well, which you’re going to need to make full use of this as a laptop as well as a tablet.


Mobile computing on steroids for students with serious studying (and entertainment) needs


CPU: 8th generation Intel Core i5 – i7

Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics 620, Nvidia GeForce MX150 2GB GDDR5

RAM: 8GB – 16GB

Screen: 13.9-inch 3K (3,000 x 2,080)

Storage: 512GB SSD


+Clean and vibrant display+Impeccable battery performance+Very strong hardware suite

If you’re going to kickstart your education, regardless of the subject or the level, why not invest in a student laptop that’s not only built to last, but also one of the most powerful laptops you can buy in 2020? That’s what Huawei is offering with the robust MateBook X Pro, and it’s going to have you covered whatever your subject.

Its attractive and sleek chassis is home to a lovely 13.9-inch 3K display, a meaty Nvidia GeForce MX150 2GB GDDR5 GPU, and a battery that will serve you well through even the lengthiest of all-nighters.

With all these specs and more, the Huawei MateBook X Pro has proved itself the new gold standard, and one of the very best 2020 laptops for students available.

7. DELL INSPRION 14 3000

A brilliant budget buy for students


Processor: Intel® Celeron® Processor 4205U (2MB Cache, 1.8 GHz)

Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics 620


Storage: 128GB M.2 PCIeNVMe Solid State Drive

Display: 14-inch LCD 1366 x 768 resolution

OS: Windows 10 Home 64bit

Weight: 1.66 kg (3.68 lbs)


+Incredibly cheap+Solid internal hardware+Full fat Windows 10 experience

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There’s just so much to like about the Dell Inspiron 14 3000, and its crazy cheap price point is just the first. Next, it rock-solid internal hardware means that light computing tasks are handled with ease, while its stylish lightweight design also makes it incredible portable.

It’s 14-inch LCD anti-glare screen is crisp, too, and with a full fat version of Windows 10 Home 64bit installed, it very much delivers the genuine experience out of the box. If browsing the internet, writing reports and essays, as well as storing your most valuable media and work is important to you, then the Insprion 14 3000 is a great companion.

The laptop also comes with a webcam so joining seminars and remote meetings is handled, while its SD card reader and multitude of ports makes it easy to hook storage up to it, as well as it to larger screens and peripherals.

Overall a brilliant cheap Windows 10 laptop that will be ideal for going back to school.

8. HP ENVY X360

A classy 2-in-1 student laptop


CPU: AMD Ryzen 5 2500U quad-core 2-3.6GHz

Graphics: AMD Radeon RX Vega 8


Screen: 13.3-inch FHD IPS LCD

Storage: 128GB SSD


+Very versatile form factor+Stylishdesign+Competitive price

If you like the HP brand but want to spend a little bit more than the Pavillion costs (see above), the HP Envy x360 might be for you. It manages to marry some decent specs with some very decent looks at a price that’s not quite as exorbitant as you might think, looking at it.

With AMD powering the CPU and GPU, this is a laptop that’s going to handle most of the tasks you throw at it, besides intensive gaming and video editing – it’s perfect for writing up essays, or doing some research on the web, or putting together a budget spreadsheet to work out where all your money is going.

And as this is a 2-in-1, when the working day is over you can flip the HP Envy x360 into tent mode and enjoy some Netflix or YouTube on the bright, crisp 13.3-inch screen. Definitely one for your best student laptops shortlist.


Another strong student laptop that delivers 2-in-1 computing


CPU: Dual-core AMD Ryzen 3 2200U (2.5GHz-3.4GHz)


Screen: 14-inch, 1,920 x 1,080 pixel resolution

Storage: 128GB SSD


+Rotating hinge for the 14-inch display+Pick a colour to match your style+Rock solid hardware suite

Versatility is important for the students of today and a 2-in-1 like the Yoga 530 series from Lenovo doubles up as a tablet when you don’t need a full laptop – perfect for taking into lectures or seminars with you. It’ll even stand up in a tent position for when you’re watching movies.

The specs are very competitive for the price (though a stylus costs extra), and the Lenovo Yoga 530 should be able to chew through all the tasks you give it fairly rapidly. If you’re after something a little bit different from your student laptop in 2020, this is worth a look.


10. DELL XPS 15

A portable student laptop powerhouse


CPU: 2.6GHz Intel Core i7 6700HQ (quad-core, 6MB cache, up to 3.5GHz with Turbo Boost)

Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 960M (with 2GB GDDR5)

RAM: 16GB Dual Channel DDR4 (2,133MHz; 8GB x 2)

Screen: 15.6-inch, 4K Ultra HD (3,840 x 2,160) InfinityEdge touch

Storage: 512GB PCIe SSD


+Dazzling 4K display+Impeccable build quality+Premium-grade hardware

Like its smaller sibling, the awesome XPS 13, Dell’s XPS 15 sports an almost bezel-less InfinityEdge display, but is better for long hours of work because of the larger screen. It brings the dual benefit of making whatever you’re doing on its gorgeous 15-inch 4K screen come to life while also lending it the dimensions of a 14-inch laptop.

It’s bag-friendly to boot and comes packing the goods in terms of specs, including an Nvidia GTX 960M mobile graphics card that’s beefy enough to handle just about any game so long as you stick to 1080p.

The XPS 15’s battery life is its main weakness, so don’t expect its runtimes to stretch into the double figures without taking a booster pack along for the ride. Even with that against it, it’s still one of the best student laptops out there.

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