Top Laptops for College in 2016

Laptop for College

What is the best Laptop for College – A buying guide

College is no longer all about books and handwritten papers. Nowadays you need a great laptop in order to make the most out of your learning experience. Investing in a decent computer is pretty much an investment in your future. Keep that in mind when analyzing the next few guidelines. Because there are so many options out there for you to choose from, and so little time, we’ve decided to spare you the effort of browsing through dozens of possibilities. Your buying guide is mostly based on the most popular questions our readers have sent our way.

What is the main purpose of a laptop throughout college?

Even though a laptop should do pretty much everything, consider some particularities before starting your search. This is a great way to limit the options and narrow things down to just a few products. From our experience and based on what we have read about the best laptops for college 2016, we recommend focusing on a great internet connection, excellent keyboard layout and portability. Those characteristics will help you make the most out of your investment. You will be able to always stay connected, keep up with teachers in class and also run around campus from class to class.  Even though college is not your best time when it comes to money, try making an effort when it comes to buying a laptop. Some of the students might need some extra features depending on their major. Keep that in mind if you are an architect or a film major. We recommend the Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 13. For more details check out the reviews below.

How big should a college laptop be?

The best laptop for college 2016 should be between 13 and 15 inches in order not to bother you too much while running through campus. Even though displays can be as wide as 17 inches, we recommend focusing on portability rather than on size. A 14 inch laptop is just perfect for students who are always on the go. We recommend getting the ASUS Ultrabook Notebook. For more information check out the reviews below.

How much should a college laptop cost?

That depends on what you plan on doing with it. Usually you could spend around $300-$500 on a regular device which should do a great job at helping you get through all the classes. Some on the other hand might need high end performance in order to work with complex algorithms and programs. For those we recommend going above $500. One great thing you can do to save some money is to get a computer with integrated software. Don’t waste extra money on expensive licenses.

What should a college laptop look like?

We all know college is not all about studying. Why not attract some attention with your device. There are several manufacturers that make some amazing looking laptops. Also consider the fact that college might be rough for your laptop so get one which should last you forever. This way you will surely be able to enjoy it all throughout college.

What college students recommend

Not having a laptop is no longer an option for students. The vast volume of research and information needed to complete term papers and projects which count for your final grade cannot be accessed in a different way than with a computer. Choosing the best laptop for college 2016 will be difficult though as prices have dropped and the options are now endless. Our experts have tested many devices and have come up with a list of five top end products which can be affordable for most of the students out there. In order to make this list they’ve focused on a few important features which any user can find useful.

ASUS X401A-BCL0705Y Ultrabook Notebook

ASUS X401A-BCL0705Y Ultrabook NotebookThe Ultrabook by Asus is one of the most durable laptops on the market. It is not only fast but very sturdy and reliable which is a must for any college student. It comes with a fast 1.8GHz Intel Celeron processor and 4 GB DDR3 which is perfect for text editing and even basic photo and video manipulation. The 14 inch display which comes with UMA graphics is capable of producing a resolution of 1366×768 pixels. The wireless connection is very fast and it does not drain the battery as fast as other adaptors do. In terms of design this is just the right size and weight to carry around through campus without having back pain the next day.

Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga Touchscreen Ultrabook

Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga Touchscreen UltrabookLenovo’s Yoga IdeaPad is one of the most cool-looking devices out there. It is incredibly slim and has the perfect features needed to satisfy even the most demanding of users. It comes with an impressive i5 processor by Intel which will handle almost everything you have to throw at it. It comes with a 128GB SSD which is a lot faster than your average HDD. This compact gadget has a 13.3 inch display which is beautifully showcased with the help of Intel’s HD graphic card. The Yoga IdeaPad has an impressive battery which will last for 8 hours straight. It also comes with a preinstalled version of Windows 8 which means you will be spared of spending extra money on a Microsoft license.

ASUS VivoBook S500CA-SI30401U Ultrabook

ASUS VivoBook S500CA-SI30401U UltrabookThe VivoBook is created especially for those who have a lot of internet browsing to do and also a lot of text editing. It has great features without going over the top. It comes with a fast 24GB SSD to help you run important software a lot faster than you would with a normal HDD. For storage you get 500GB worth of space provided by a normal HDD. This Ultrabook comes with an i3 processor and 4 GB DDR3. It is the perfect gadget for those who don’t have to deal with complex software but still want to see programs like Photoshop run smoothly. It is very user friendly with its 15 inch touchscreen display which works perfectly with the preinstalled version of Windows 8.

ASUS VivoBook S400CA-RSI5T18 Ultrabook

ASUS VivoBook S500CA-SI30401U UltrabookThis is an upgraded version of the device mentioned before. It is definitely one of the best college laptops 2016. It comes with an i5 processor by Intel and a 24 GB SSD for instant reactions. It is powered by 4GB DDR3 and it has 500GB of storage space on its 5400rpm HDD. It comes with a 14 inch screen and a battery which will easily last for 5 hours. It comes with a preinstalled version of Windows 8 and it is fitted with the latest technology in USB ports. It weighs in 4 pounds which makes it one of the most lightweight laptops on the market.

Acer S3-391-6046 Ultrabook

Acer S3-391-6046 UltrabookAcer’s Ultrabook is one of the most affordable gadgets on this list. It is also according to our experts, one of the best laptops for college 2016. It has a 13.3 inch display which is perfect if you are looking for portability. It has an i3 Intel Core processor which combined with 4GB DDR3 make it one of the fastest devices in its market range. It is perfect for communicating with your loved ones who are back home. It comes with a 1.3MP webcam and a very fast wireless connection. It is delivered with a preinstalled version of Windows 8. It weights in 3 pounds and it has one of the most durable exteriors on this list.

Share on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterShare on Reddit

Gaming Laptops under 800 Dollars

The top pick among gaming laptops under $800 is the Acer Aspire V3-771G-6485.

Equipped with a powerful NVIDIA GeForce GT 730M graphics card, it allows users to enjoy lag free gaming on demanding RPG and FPS games including Diablo III, Mass Effect 3 and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3.

In a price level where most gaming laptops afford medium to high settings on PC games, the Acer Aspire is able to run majority of the games at high to ultra settings. Certain games however, like Crysis 3, Hitman:Absolution and Metro: Last Light will only go smoothly above 30 fps at medium settings.

To complement, the gaming experience, the Aspire V3-771G-6485 offers 1600 x 900 maximum pixel resolution on its large 17.3 inch screen. Powered by an Intel Core i5 processor running at 2.6 GHz and 6 GB of DDR3 RAM it is able to take advantage of games that utilize multi-threading technology.

The following round out our top 5 affordable gaming laptops at this price level.

#2
#3
#4
#5

Acer Aspire V3-571G-9686

Acer Aspire V3-571G-9686

Dell Inspiron i15Rse-4267ALU

Dell Inspiron i15Rse-4267ALU

Acer Aspire V3-571G-6622

Acer Aspire V3-571G-6622

Toshiba Satellite S855-S5170

Toshiba Satellite S855-S5170

Price 799.00 770.00 629.99 734.99
Customer Rating 4.3 out of 5.0 4.2 out of 5.0 3.8 out of 5.0 4.0 out of 5.0
Screen 15.6” 15.6” 15.6” 15.6”
Max Screen Resolution 1366 x 768 pixels 1920 x 1080 pixels 1366 x 768 pixels 1366 x 768 pixels
Processor Intel Core i7-3615QM 2.2 GHz Intel Core i7-3632QM 2.5 GHz Intel Core i5-3230M 2.6 GHz Intel Core i7-3630QM 2.4 GHz
Graphics Card NVIDIA GeForce GT 640M AMD Radeon HD 7730M NVIDIA GeForce GT 730M AMD Radeon HD 7670M
RAM 6 GB 8 GB 4 GB 8 GB
Hard Drive 500 GB 5400 RPM 750 GB 5400 RPM 500 GB 5400 RPM 1 TB 5400 RPM
Operating System Windows 8 Windows 8 Windows 8 Windows 8
Battery Life 4.5 hours 4 hours 4.5 hours 4 hours
Dimensions 15 x 9.96 x 1.30 inches 14.9 x 9.9 x 1.34 inches 15 x 9.96 x 1.30 inches 14.96 x 9.53 x 1.31 inches
Weight 5.74 lbs. 6.1 lbs. 5.74 lbs. 5.5 lbs.

What to Expect from Gaming Laptops under $800

1. Graphics & Gaming Capability

Gaming laptops under 800 dollars will allow users to run computing intensive games at an affordable price. The graphics cards included in these laptops fall between Class 2 and Class 3 categories. When possible take advantage of the Class 2 video cards as these mid range graphics cards allow you to play the newest games at medium to high settings at high resolution smoothly.

For the gaming laptop computers in this price range, the following graphics cards are available.  Based on their class ratings, here is how they look:

Class 2:

  • NVIDIA GeForce GT 730M
  • NVIDIA GeForce GT 640M
  • AMD Radeon HD 7730M

For the Class 2 graphic cards listed above, expect to be able to achieve these game setting details for these new and demanding PC games.

Settings are based on the ability of achieving 30 fps (frames per seconds) or higher. This provides smooth transitions between frames during the game.

Settings are based on the ability of achieving 30 fps (frames per seconds) or higher. This provides smooth transitions between frames during the game.

Class 3:

  • AMD Radeon HD 7660M + HD 7670M Dual
  • AMD Radeon HD 7670M
  • NVIDIA GeForce GT 630M
  • AMD Radeon HD 7570M

The main difference between these two classes aside from price is Class 2 allows for both more detailed graphics quality during run time and higher video resolution. Very noticeable is that the Class 3 video cards perform at a notch lower compared to the Class 2 options. However, they are also more affordable which either translates into lower cost of the laptop or higher specifications in RAM, Hard Drive or other features.

2. Display Size & Screen Resolution

Most of the laptops found in this price range also have 15 inch screens except for a handful that offer the larger 17 inch screen. While the 17 inch screen provides better visual experience it also adds to the cost of the machine, which in the end can compromise how much is allocated for the graphics card.

As for screen resolution, all of them come in standard HD. Though, they are limited to the low end of this spectrum at 1366 x 768 pixels. There are a few exceptions like that Acer Aspire V3-771G-6485, which has a 1600 x 900 resolution that is seen more among gaming laptops under $1000. Rare is the full HD 1920 x 1080 pixel capability, seen in the Dell Inspiron i15Rse-4267ALU.

3. Processing Power

What’s under the hood are combinations of dual and quad core processors. Those running of Intel chips will often be of the Core i5 or Core i7 variety, while their AMD counterparts will be equipped with the A8 and A10 gaming optimized processors. When it comes to executing games fluently, the CPU takes a back seat to the GPU as graphics computations are what make the game engines run. Except for a few video games that are made to take advantage of the extra multi-threading capability of the processor, users aren’t going to see huge amounts of difference between the Core i5 and i7 CPUs during game play.

4. Hard Drives

In the ideal world, gamers will have SSDs or solid state drives, instead of the 5400 RPM hard drives. If not, the faster 7200 RPM at least. Having the faster disk drive removes the bottleneck caused by slow transfer of data to and from the hard disk to the memory. And because the graphics card, CPU and RAM move significantly faster than the hard disk, this is where the slowdown occurs.

However, as a compromise to its affordability, gaming laptops under $800 only come with 5400 RPM hard drives. For serious games, this can be upgraded or switched out in favor of any of the faster storage systems mentioned above.

Conclusions

While you aren’t going to be able to achieve the highest settings in all gaming titles as you would with $2000 notebooks from Sager or Razer, these affordable laptops offer an excellent means of getting a full video, audio and reactive gamine experience on good graphics quality and video resolution outputs.

Share on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterShare on Reddit