10- Best Laptops for College Students Under $500

The Back to School period is almost here, so we’ve put together our top picks for student laptops. Most of the best laptops are great for students, but we think it’s important to consider what the average student needs compared to someone who isn’t in school. For example, if you’re in animation or graphic art, you’ll want a MacBook that can handle the workload. On the other hand, if you’re a university student who needs to do 3D rendering or science modeling, you’ll want to make sure you have a laptop that can handle a full day of school without a charge and stand up to the rigors of student life. Plus, many of the best two-in-one laptops are lightweight and small enough to take with you between classes. best laptops for college students under $500




When it comes to getting a new laptop, price is a big factor. Most students don’t have a lot of money to spend, so you want to make sure you’re getting the best deal. If you’re on a tight budget, check out our list for the best cheap laptops. Otherwise, here are our top picks for laptops for students of all levels. best laptops for college students under $500

An acer aspire 5 on a wooden desk

1. Acer Aspire 5 (2023)

At a price point of $999, Acer’s 14-inch Aspire 5 is a budget laptop that doesn’t skimp on performance. It’ll get you through a few years of secondary school and university-level courses, and you’ll even be able to play a little casual gaming on it, as long as you don’t mind turning down your graphics settings. Our review was of the entry-level model, which is a great way to test the value for money of a laptop. It comes with an Intel CPU (11th-gen), and while it didn’t blow us away with its performance in our testing, we did find it to be a solid mid-range laptop. It also had decent battery life, making it something of a ‘respectable office’ laptop. The best student laptop overall

SPECIFICATIONS

  • Best for: All students
  • CPU: Up to Intel Core i7-1165G7 or AMD Ryzen 7 5825U
  • Graphics: Integrated Iris XE or Radeon graphics
  • RAM: Up to 16GB DDR4
  • Screen: up to 17.3-inch 1080p
  • Storage: Up to 512GB SSD

A Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 3 Chromebook on a desk

2. Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 3 Chromebook

The best budget Chromebook for students At $1,299, Acer’s Aspire 5 is a 14 inch Windows laptop that sacrifices a few things to get to that price point. Fortunately, it doesn’t compromise too much on performance, so it’s more than enough for students to get through a few years of high school and university-level courses. This Acer laptop doesn’t have to be flashy, but it’s still a solidly built Chromebook that will get you through the school day without a hitch. It’s lightweight, so you don’t need to worry about it having too many bells and whistles. It’s a great choice for those who want to take their notetaking to the cloud, and it’s also a great option for those who need to work with other collaborative apps such as Office 365 and Google G Suite. When we reviewed this laptop, we found that ChromeOS ran just as smoothly as it should, and it has built in WiFi 6. best laptops for college students under $500

SPECIFICATIONS

  • Best for: Budget-minded students who don’t need a lot of power
  • CPU: MediaTek MT8183 Processor (2.0 GHz)
  • Graphics: Integrated graphics
  • RAM: 4GB LPDDR4
  • Screen: 11.6-inch HD 1366 x 768 IPS
  • Storage: 64GB eMMC Flash Memory

A Lenovo IdeaPad Duet 5 Chromebook on a wooden table

3. Lenovo IdeaPad Duet 5 Chromebook

The best Chromebook for students overall

SPECIFICATIONS

  • Best for: All students who have some room in their budget
  • CPU: Qualcomm Snapdragon 7c Gen2 2.55GHz
  • Graphics: Qualcomm Adreno GPU
  • RAM: 8GB LPDDR4
  • Screen: 13.3-inch 1920 x 1080p multitouch OLED, 400 nits
  • Storage: 128GB eMMC

An Acer Chromebook Spin 514 on a kitchen counter

4. Acer Chromebook Spin 514

The best premium Chromebook

SPECIFICATIONS

  • Best for: students who need a more serious Chromebook
  • CPU: Up to AMD Ryzen 5 5625C
  • Graphics: Integrated Radeon graphics
  • RAM: Up to 8GB LPDDR4X
  • Screen: 14-inch FHD (1920 x 1080p) multitouch
  • Storage: Up to 128GB eMMC

A Dell XPS 13 (2022) on a wooden table

5. Dell XPS 13 (2023)

An excellent choice of compact laptop for students

SPECIFICATIONS

  • Best for: High school through college students who need more performance
  • CPU: Up to 12th Generation Intel Core i7
  • Graphics: Up to Intel Iris Xe Graphics
  • RAM: Up to 32GB LPDDR5
  • Screen: 13.4″ FHD+ (1920 x 1200) InfinityEdge Non-Touch – 13.4″ UHD+ (3840 x 2400) InfinityEdge Touch
  • Storage: Up to 1TB M.2 PCIe SSD

Apple MacBook Air (M2, 2022) on a white desk in a studio

6. MacBook Air (M2, 2023)

The best laptop for creative students

SPECIFICATIONS

  • Best for: Students wanting to go into creative fields
  • CPU: Apple M2 chip with 8‑core CPU
  • Graphics: Integrated 8/10-core GPU
  • RAM: Up to 24GB unified LPDDR5
  • Screen: 13.6-inch 2560 x 1664 Liquid Retina display
  • Storage: Up to 2TB SSD

A Dell Inspiron 14 2-in-1 on a wooden table

7. Dell Inspiron 14 2-in-1 (2023)

An excellent compact 2-in-1 from Dell

SPECIFICATIONS

  • CPU: Up to Intel Core i7-1255U
  • Graphics: Intel Iris Xe Graphics
  • RAM: Up to 16GB DDR4
  • Screen: 14-inch FHD+ (1920 x 1200) Touch, 60Hz
  • Storage: Up to 512GB PCIe NVMe SSD

Which laptop is best for college students?

If you’re looking for a top-of-the-line laptop, Apple’s MacBook Air with the M1 chip is still the best value. Plus, students get an awesome education discount and other cool stuff from Apple. But if you’re looking for something a bit more powerful, Dell’s XPS 15 is the way to go. It’s a great laptop that can handle just about anything and does it all really well.

Is 14 inch laptop good for students?

If you’re looking for a laptop that can do it all, a 14-inch one is a great option. It’s powerful enough to do all the stuff you need it to do, but still small enough to take with you everywhere you go. When people use tablets or smartphones, they don’t realize that a laptop is way better for gaming, editing videos, or even writing a paper.

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