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Whether you're going to attend a physical campus, take online classes, or a combination of the two, your laptop is sure to be the center of control for your studies. Buying a new machine will help you better manage your schedule and handle crazy multitasking with dozens of tabs dedicated to research while you write your essay. Given that we're still dealing with inflation and global chip supply shortages, you may be concerned about rising prices or what might be available. The good news is that companies are still producing new laptops, and there are many models for you to consider. We've put together this guide with a list of this year's best laptops to help you make the right choice.
Suggested Laptop For College Students
Little has changed since Apple's M1-based MacBook and Windows 11 appeared last year. Apple has unveiled two laptops with its new M2 system-on-a-chip (SoC), including the redesigned MacBook Air. Meanwhile, new PCs are being announced, with this year's models typically featuring 12th generation Intel processors or the latest AMD Ryzen chips.
Best Laptops For Engineering Students Of 2022
While the transition to ARM-based systems has been successful for Apple, the PC industry is still struggling to keep up, and Windows on ARM is still hard to recommend. Snapdragon laptops can look and feel slim, have great battery life and built-in cellular radios, but they're generally more expensive, especially given limited app compatibility.
Speaking of which, most top spec laptops these days can cost you $1,800 to $2,000. However, a mid-range car may be sufficient for most students. Depending on your field of study, you can get by with an Intel Core i3 processor or the equivalent of at least 6GB of RAM. If you need to run specialized software for design or programming, consider upgrading to a more powerful system with more memory. On the other hand, if you do most of your coursework online or in a browser, getting a Chromebook can save you a lot of money.
You'll also want to pay attention to the weight of the device. In the 13-inch category, there are many premium ultraportables with chips like Intel's Core i3 or i5 priced around $1,000. And if that's too expensive, you still have decent options in the $600-$800 range, but they can be heavy and use older, slower processors. I've included our favorite budget models in this roundup, but we also have a full guide to more affordable laptops that you can check out as well.
Since some laptop manufacturers have decided to get rid of headphone jacks this year, it's important to check the spec lists when you're shopping for new machines. If you don't have wireless headphones or use devices that plug into the 3.5mm jack, you should avoid devices like Dell's new XPS 13 Plus.
Best 15 Inch Gaming And Work Laptop For 2022
Finally, while most laptops in 2022 will offer Wi-Fi 6 or 6E and Bluetooth 5.0 or later, compatible routers and other devices that enable these fast connections are not yet very common. Chances are, the Wi-Fi on your campus may still be stuck with an outdated setup, so it's not that important that you get a system with the latest standards. Of course, getting a future-ready laptop doesn't hurt, but knowing all the things to consider, the WiFi 6E shouldn't be a deal breaker in your decision-making process.
Apple's MacBook Air is hard to beat if you want a powerful college machine that won't let you down. You have two good options this year, the new M2-based MacBook Air and the MacBook Air M1. The M2 scored us 96 for its impressive performance, gorgeous 13.6-inch Liquid Retina display and slimmer design than the previous M1 machine. Our biggest gripe with this laptop is its price — the M2 will set you back $200 more than the M1, so if you want the latest and greatest from Apple you're looking at spending at least $1,199.
However, despite being old, the M1 MacBook Air is a solid machine that outperforms many PCs while maintaining a fanless design. You still get a great keyboard and great battery life, as well as a beautiful Retina display. Of course, it uses a 720p webcam, while the new model has a sharper 1080p setup housed in a cutout. The latter also has thinner display bezels that make it look more modern, as well as a MagSafe port that allows you to continue charging while accessing the device's two USB-C ports. But if you're already living a mostly wireless life and don't mind a less-than-great camera, you might find the M1 MacBook Air a better deal.
Buy MacBook Air M2 at Amazon - $1,199 Buy MacBook Air M1 at Amazon - $999 Best Windows: Dell XPS 13 Plus
The Best Laptops For College Students
For a long time, Dell's all-around XPS 13 series was the best computer around, and I still recommend it to anyone who doesn't want a Mac. Yes, the new XPS 13 Plus doesn't have a headphone jack, and we haven't received one yet for testing. But the XPS 13 is an all-around machine and a reliable workhorse that will get you through late-night classes and writing without breaking a sweat.
Like its predecessors, the XPS 13 Plus offers a gorgeous OLED screen with impressively thin bezels and includes a spacious, comfortable keyboard. It also has a new minimalist design that looks more modern. I'm not sure about the row of capacitive keys on top instead of traditional function keys, but from our initial sample they at least worked.
If you don't like the changes Dell made to the XPS 13, or if you really need a headphone jack, older generations are still good options. There's also the Samsung Galaxy Book 2 Pro series, which has beautiful OLED screens and sharp webcams in thin and light frames. I also like Microsoft Surface laptops, and the latest version offers great performance and battery life, despite the outdated design.
Just because your laptop is primarily for study or work doesn't mean you can't use it for entertainment. Those who want to play on their machines should prefer sensitive screens and multiple ports for their favorite accessories that will help them defeat their virtual enemies. If you're considering the first gaming machine to use at school, check out our guide to buying a gaming laptop. This includes different CPUs and GPUs, minimum specifications, and more. Our favorite gaming laptop is the Razer Blade 15, with an Intel Core i7 processor and NVIDIA RTX 3070 graphics card for $2,500.
Top 3] Latest Best Laptops For College Students
It's the most expensive product on this list, but you also get a 15-inch Quad HD screen that refreshes at 240Hz. Depending on your preference, different configurations are available, including a Full HD 360Hz version and a 4K 144Hz version. The Blade series is also one of the most advanced gaming laptops.
Those looking for something cheaper and more portable should consider the ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14, which was our favorite model last year. The main reason it was downgraded is because the 2022 upgrade costs about $600 more. Despite its slim profile, it's still a solid gaming laptop with great performance, a spacious trackpad, and plenty of ports.
If you can do most of your school work using web apps, a Chromebook is worth considering. Of course, they usually don't look fancy and don't have high-end specs. But they are often affordable and have long battery life. Our favorite Chromebook is Lenovo's Chromebook Flex 5, which longtime Chrome OS fan Nathan Ingraham describes as an "incredible value."
This laptop packs the basics with a 13-inch full HD touchscreen, a great keyboard and a 10th Gen Intel Core i3 processor. 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage may seem like a small amount, but in our testing, the Flex 5 held its own despite this limitation. It's nice to see one USB-A port and two USB-C ports, eight hours of battery life, and a 360-degree swivel hinge that makes the Flex 5 easy to use as a tablet. That's a bonus, especially now that Chrome OS supports Android apps.
Best Laptops For College Students
Although the Flex 5 is almost two years old, it's a solid device for around $400. In fact, you can sometimes find it on sale for as little as $300, making it a great choice for those looking for a basic browser-based machine on a budget.
If you're looking for something under $800, your best bet is the HP Pavilion Aero 13. For $750, you get a full HD screen with a 16:10 aspect ratio and surprisingly thin bezels, and
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