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Best student laptop deals: Laptops for college from $169

Heading off to college is an exciting and momentous occasion in anyone’s life. It can also be incredibly expensive. We’re not just talking about school fees but having to pay for accommodation and all the other things you need to own while you’re stepping out into the world for the first time. One such thing you’ll need is a great laptop. Fortunately, there are some excellent laptop deals around which means you won’t have to worry about spending too much on the pleasure of being able to type up your reports and notes without any hassle. With so many options around, we’ve picked out some of the very best student laptop deals available so you know exactly what to buy. We’ve included laptops and Chromebooks of varying price ranges so there’s something for every budget and need here.

Acer Chromebook 314 — $169, was $269

The Acer Chromebook 314 at a side angle.

Chromebook deals are typically one of the cheapest forms of student laptops. As with the other best Chromebooks, the Acer Chromebook 314 runs Chrome OS so you don’t have to worry about slowdown issues that can occur with Windows 11 on basic systems. This laptop has an Intel Celeron processor, 4GB of memory, and 64GB of eMMC storage so it’d struggle with Windows but is perfect for Chrome OS. Use cloud-based services for all your work and it’ll look good too thanks to the 14-inch full HD touchscreen. Up to 12 hours of battery life ensures you can use it all day long too.

HP 15-inch laptop — $280, was $460

HP 15-inch laptop at a side angle on a white background.

Functional yet enabling you to use Windows 11 on the move, this HP 15-inch laptop has an AMD Athlon Silver processor, 8GB of memory and 128GB of SSD storage. Those are the essentials you need to work well enough on the move in this price range. It has a 15.6-inch HD screen with 250 nits of brightness and micro-edge bezels. There’s also a HP True Vision 720p HD webcam for taking calls while long battery life and fast charge support means you’re always ready for action.

HP 17-inch laptop — $330, was $500

A side angle view of the HP Laptop 17.

Opt for a larger screen with this HP 17-inch laptop if you hate running out of room and need to juggle multiple windows at once. It has an Intel N200 processor along with 8GB of memory and 256GB of SSD storage. While it won’t be fast, you do have plenty of room for all your files. Its 17.3-inch HD+ screen has a resolution of 1600 x 900 and 250 nits of brightness. It also has an enlarged clicked and a lift-hinge design so it’s easier and comfier to work on. The keyboard has a numeric keypad too. If you need to type up many documents and not much else, this will do the job well.

Dell Inspiron 14 2-in-1 laptop — $500, was $800

The Dell Inspiron 14 2-in-1 laptop against a white background.

Dell makes many of the best budget laptops with the Dell Inspiron 14 2-in-1 laptop a reliable bet for all. It has an AMD Ryzen 5 5625U processor, 8GB of memory and 512GB of SSD storage. That’s all just great for student-related activities from typing up reports to streaming your favorite shows. The latter is enhanced by the 14-inch full HD+ display with a resolution of 1920 x 1200. It’s a touchscreen display and has a 360-degree hinge so you can move it around to place it in presentation mode or use it as a tablet. It’s perfect for watching shows or presenting something important. Other useful details include a mechanical camera privacy shutter, a full HD webcam with temporary noise reduction hardware, and great battery life.

Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3 — $600, was $900

The Lenovo IdeaPad 3 gaming laptop with a racing game on the display.

Lenovo is one of the best laptop brands for both business laptops and gaming laptops too. If you intend on getting in a little light gaming between classes, you’ll love the Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3. It has an AMD Ryzen 5 5600H processor, 8GB of memory, and 256GB of SSD storage. Best of all is its Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 Ti graphics card which can handle even the latest games if you don’t mind tweaking the detail levels. Just make sure you don’t have too many games installed given the hard drive space. A cool-looking backlit keyboard adds a sweet gamer aesthetic too.

Microsoft Surface Pro 7+ — $700, was $930

Microsoft Surface Pro 7+ on a white background.

The Microsoft Surface Pro 7+ deserves a place among the best 2-in-1 laptops thanks to its style and decent hardware. It has an Intel Core i3 processor, 8GB of memory and 128GB of SSD storage. There’s also its fantastic 12.3-inch PixelSense display with a 2736 x 1824 resolution and touchscreen properties. Included in the deal is the Type Cover which means you can easily use the Microsoft Surface Pro 7+ either as a tablet or full Windows 11 laptop. A versatile kickstand makes it simple to adjust the angles while there are dual HD cameras for video calls or snaps. You’ll be wandering around campus in style with this laptop that weighs just 1.7 pounds.

Apple MacBook Air M1 — $800, was $999

Apple MacBook Air M1 open, on a table.
Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

The Apple MacBook Air M1 may not be packing the latest M2 chip but it’s still more than powerful enough for most purposes, especially if you’re a student. The M1 processor is a powerful chip that gives far superior performance than the previous Apple generation. Somehow, it still achieves a battery life of up to 18 hours. Its 13.3-inch Retina display looks gorgeous with sharp text and vibrant colors, while 8GB of memory and 256GB of SSD storage is perfectly sufficient for running macOS. A fanless design means this laptop won’t even make a noise which is great for using in the college library.

Dell XPS 13 — $899, was $1,099

Dell XPS 13 on a white background.

Consistently one of the best laptops around, the Dell XPS 13 is a dream in almost every way. The thinnest and lightest 13-inch XPS laptop yet, it’s powerful too. It has a 12th-generation Intel Core i7 processor, 16GB of memory and 512GB of SSD storage. Its 13.4-inch full HD+ display with a 1920 x 1200 resolution is a delight to look at with 500 nits of brightness ensuring it can handle all lighting situations too. An impressive battery life of up to 12 hours means it’ll handle the busiest days of classes while you can enjoy streaming your favorite shows in style later in the day thanks to the great display and bigger internal speakers than previous models.

Apple MacBook Pro M2 — $1,799, was $1,999

An Apple MacBook Pro 14 sits open on a table.
Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

Well-suited for any student who also conducts a lot of video editing, the Apple MacBook Pro M2 is easily one of the best MacBooks around. It offers the latest super-fast M2 Pro chip with its 10-core CPU and 16-core GPU. Its 14.2-inch Liquid Retina XDR display looks fantastic with over 1,000 nits of brightness and some stunning pro reference modes. Up to 18 hours of battery life can be achieved here with 16GB of memory and 512GB of SSD storage ensuring it can cope with mostly anything you might want to do. A 1080p FaceTime HD camera is good for video calls while the Magic Keyboard is a delight to use, even when writing up the longest of essays.

Alienware m17 R5 gaming laptop — $1,900, was $2,650

Alienware m17 R5 laptop sitting next to a headset.
Dell / Alienware

Easily out to rival the best gaming laptops, the Alienware m17 R5 gaming laptop is a perfect system for students who want to game as hard as they study. It has an AMD Ryzen 9 6900HX processor, a huge 32GB of memory plus 1TB of SSD storage. Alongside that hefty set of specs is an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 graphics card with 8GB of dedicated VRAM. Its 17.3-inch full HD screen goes alongside that well with 3ms response time, a near ridiculous 480Hz refresh rate, and Nvidia G-Sync support. Powerful in every way, it has a great Alienware Cryo-tech cooling system but it also has other more noticeable improvements like Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos support, which really make a difference. If you love to game, you’ll love this setup.

Apple MacBook Pro M2 Max — $3,249, was $3,499

A person sitting at a desk using a MacBook Pro on their lap.

Depending on the classes you’re taking, you might need a super-powerful laptop. Alternatively, you might just want the very best while being able to afford to do so. That’s where the Apple MacBook Pro M2 Max plays a crucial role. It’s expensive but fantastic. Its M2 Max chip includes a 12-core CPU and 38-core GPU. Its 16.2-inch Liquid Retina XDR display ensures whatever you’re doing is going to look amazing. With this level of power, you can easily handle video editing, photo editing, complex programming, and even some Mac-based gaming. 32GB of memory and 1TB of SSD storage further helps your options with it feeling like there’s nothing this MacBook Pro can’t do. An amazing 22 hours of battery life means you won’t need to take your charger with you to class either. The true endgame of high-end laptops, this is a MacBook you’ll be using long after you graduate school.

Editors' Recommendations

Jennifer Allen
Jennifer Allen is a technology writer with over 10 years of experience. She primarily writes about the best deals coverage…
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