Best laptop for students 2021

Nowadays, a computer is considered essential, especially if you're a student. While many students are working from home this year until further announcements are made by Downing St., This means hundreds of thousands of students have replaced lecture halls to their bedrooms and watching their professor on a podium to watching them through a webcam. 

In normal circumstances, you may be able to get by without a laptop, or at least one that doesn't need as much processing power or RAM to multitask when you have resources such as the university library, but having to work from home makes owning a laptop a necessity.

There are hundreds of laptops with thousands of specs to choose from, but what computer is most suitable for students? We've put together an assortment of our top picks for the best laptops for students you can get your hands on this year. Let's take a look.

2020 Apple MacBook Air 13.3"

CPU: Apple M1 | RAM:8GB | Storage:256GB SSD

Perhaps the most popular laptop for students is a MacBook. Often a favourite for creative students due to their abilities at handling creative software such as Adobe Creative. MacBooks also have one of the best display systems on the market- retina display. 

While Apple products come at a higher price-tag, they've built a reputation for surpassing the life of ordinary computers. They're a sound investment for your studies, work on your side hustles, and towards the beginning of your career - especially if you're jumping on temporary work and projects.

With a price tag of just under a thousand pounds, you'll be buying a powerful machine with the latest Apple M1 processor and 8GB RAM. Powerful enough to run demanding programs or handle numerous tabs. 256GB SSD storage is a remarkable upgrade compared to previous models. 

Arguably, you won't find a laptop that is as noticeable as a Macbook; the distinct features, clean aesthetic, and overall design is one to be adored. You can choose between 3 different finishes, from Space Grey, Gold, or Silver.

Curry’s PC World | John Lewis

Dell XPS 13

CPU: 10th Generation Intel® Core™ i5-10210U (6 MB Cache, up to 4.20 GHz) | RAM: 8 GB, LPDDR3, 2133 MHz, Integrated | Storage: 128GB M.2 PCIe NVMe Solid State Drive | Graphics card: Intel® UHD Graphics with shared graphics memory

As seen as Apple’s strongest competitor, Dells’ XPS range of computers doesn’t hold back on performance and comes fractionally below Macbooks in cost when broken down power to cost ratio. Not only do you have much more variety in your options when tailoring your specs to your needs, but with the XPS, you can easily later upgrade down the line or even repair; with Apple products, they are much more challenging to repair. They are known to cost an arm and a leg. 

Like the Macbook, the XPS 13 is designed beautifully, weighing as little as 1.23 kg, you can easily lug this around in your laptop without any issues. The 8GB RAM and Intel® Core™ i5 are seen as relatively comfortable to run any programs or projects on your computer as you study without you being slowed down. However, there is the option to upgrade if you know you’ll be testing these limits. The 128GB internal storage, on the other hand, is on the slightly lower side, but with the use of the Cloud, which is a safer way to store your work, you won’t be using too much of it.

Dell | Curry’s PC World

ASUS Flip C434 14” 2 in 1 Chromebook

CPU: Intel® Core™ i5-8200Y Processor | RAM: 8 GB | Storage: 128 GB eMMC

Technically not just a laptop, but a 2-in-1, the ASUS Flip C434 14” 2 in 1 Chromebook can double up as a tablet as you scroll through Twitter in bed or watching Netflix, but then fold down and use the keyboard while studying. 

Although you can use it as a tablet, it still has the power of a mid-to-higher end laptop, but at a more affordable cost. With 8GB Ram and 128 GB storage, this is the benchmark for a computer to not run into any issues when working on robust programs or video games. 

The Chromebook uses apps as your mobile phone would, making navigating much more convenient and helping keep you organised. With the Intel® Core™ i5-8200Y Processor, you can efficiently multitask, switch between conversations with your friends, watch a movie, or study. 

Curry’s PC World | AO.com

Microsoft Surface Pro 7

CPU: Dual-core 10th Gen Intel® Core™ i3-1005G1 Processor; Quad-core 10th Gen Intel® Core™ i5-1035G4 Processor; Quad-core 10th Gen Intel® Core™ i7-1065G7 Processor | RAM: 4GB; 8GB; or 16GB LPDDR4x RAM Z Storage: 128GB; 256GB; 512GB; or 1TB (SSD)

Surface Pro 7 allows you to naturally draw or write on the screen, perfect for creative courses or taking notes in lectures. The impressive 12.3" PixelSense™ Display automatically adjusts to lighting conditions, too, so you get the best visibility regardless of where you are. 

If the subject you study requires you to be out and about regularly, whether it's to the coffee shop to do some readings, to the park to sketch, or the library for a study session, the Microsoft Surface Surface Pro 7 is one of the best 2-in-1s on the market perfect for this. 

With many options available, find the specs that meet your demands. If you're planning to use the Surface for programs or multi-tasking, you will want to invest in the 8GB or 16GB RAM; as with the processor, opting for a slightly higher Quad Core over the Dual-Core would be a sound investment. If you download images, videos or files regularly for your course, you'll be better off with 256GB, 512GB, or 1TB hard drive options. 

Microsoft | John Lewis

Google Pixelbook Go

CPU: Intel Core m3 | RAM: 8GB eMMC | Storage: 64GB

This laptop will handle your basics with an Intel Core M3 processor but don't expect it to run programs or tens of tabs during your research. Nor will you be able to download much with the 64GB hard drive, but you won't need it with accessibility to the Cloud. While students are working from home, this computer is most suitable for those who need to watch lectures online, stream Bridgerton on Netflix, or write essays on Google Drive.

As this laptop provides you with the essentials for primary university studying, it comes at a much more affordable price than the other laptops mentioned in this guide; in the region of £600, you'll have a computer that will last you years. Weighing only 2 pounds, this laptop is 13mm thin and has a battery life of up to 12 hours, so it's great to take out and about with you to the cafe to work. 

 Very | Argos | John Lewis

So there you have it - a few of our top picks for the best laptops for students we’ve seen recently. Did we miss any makes or models that you’d recommend? What laptops are you currently using as your day-to-day machines? Let us know over in the forums.

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