Best Affordable Laptops for College Students 2021

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Best Affordable Laptop for College Students

Not every laptop in the list of best affordable laptops for college students may be a perfect match for you and do not tick everything off the list you want, such as long battery life or affordability. 

While going to buy a laptop for you or someone in your home for college needs, do not only pay attention to the laptop price because you can easily find cheap laptops, but those laptops would not fulfill your study requirements. 

Before buying proper research, check each spec of the laptop so it will be easy for you to save your lectures, prepare presentations, and complete many other tasks. Tick off the basic requirements such as long battery life, lightweight, high storage capacity, fast processor, etc. 

For your convenience, we have prepared a list of the best affordable laptops for college students so you can choose according to your needs.

Recommendations for Best Affordable Laptops for College Students

In our best affordable laptops for college students list, we are recommending you the top 10 laptops with all the necessary features the best laptop must-have for academic purposes in an affordable range. 

We are listing the top laptops with the finest battery timing, sufficient storage, an HD webcam, and wide full HD screens. Now you do not need to do a lot of struggle to find the best match for you. 

We have listed the laptops that are popular for college needs and have all the specs such as webcam, speakers, storage, weight, battery life, and microphones with the highest qualities to facilitate your study requirements without any trouble. 

Check our list and pick up the one that exactly suits your college laptop requirements.

IMAGEPRODUCTSFEATURESPRICE
Apple MacBook ProApple MacBook ProDisplay: 16 Inches
RAM: 16GB
Storage: 512GB SSD
Battery: Up to 11 hours
Samsung Chromebook 4Samsung Chromebook 4Display: 11.6 Inches
RAM: 6GB
Storage: 64GB SSD
Battery: Up to 12.5 hours
Lenovo Chromebook Flex 5Lenovo Chromebook Flex 5Display: 13.3 Inches
RAM: 4GB
Storage: 64GB SSD
Battery: Up to 10 hours
Apple MacBook AirApple MacBook AirDisplay: 13.3 Inches
RAM: 8GB
Storage: 256GB SSD
Battery: Up to 12 hours
Acer Swift 3Acer Swift 3Display: 14 Inches
RAM: 8GB
Storage: 512GB SSD
Battery: Up to 5 hours
Acer Aspire 1 A115Acer Aspire 1 A115Display: 15.6 Inches
RAM: 4GB
Storage: 64GB SSD
Battery: Up to 10 hours
Acer Chromebook 314Acer Chromebook 314Display: 14 Inches
RAM: 4GB
Storage: 64GB SSD
Battery: Up to 5 hours
ASUS TUF TUF506IU-ES74ASUS TUF TUF506IU-ES74Display: 15.6 Inches
RAM: 16GB
Storage: 512GB SSD
Microsoft Surface Laptop GoMicrosoft Surface Laptop GoDisplay: 12.4 Inches
RAM: 8GB
Storage: 128GB SSD
Samsung Galaxy Book IonSamsung Galaxy Book IonDisplay: 13.3 Inches
RAM: 8GB
Storage: 512GB SSD
Battery: Up to 22 hours

1. Apple MacBook Pro 16-inch – Best Laptop For College Students and Gaming

Apple MacBook Pro 16-inch - Best Laptop For College Students and Gaming
  • CPU: 9th Gen Intel Core i7, 2.6GHz – 4.5 GHz
  • RAM: 16 GB
  • Storage: 512 GB SSD
  • Screen Size Resolution: 16″ Retina Display (2500 x 1600)
  • Graphics: MD Radeon Pro 5300M, 4 GB

The new Macbook Pro is may not be the most affordable laptop for students but it is worth buying as a top choice. It has one of the biggest Retina display screens of 16 inches that provides a beautiful and comfortable workspace.

Enjoy your work with a widescreen with P3 white color and a bright screen with 500 nits of brightness. It provides high performance because of the Intel Core i9 with eight cores. While you can play most of the modern games with its 8 core GPU that keeps its performance with a larger heat sink and increased airflow.

Apple Macbook Pro improves its working efficiency and smoothly executes instructions with a 4.3x faster memory of 16GB. MacBook comes with the largest graphics horsepower of AMD Radeon Pro with 5000M series. That makes it the best college laptop for gaming as well.

 It has a very efficient keyboard with a touch ID that enables easy, fast, and secure logins. Touch Bar and ForceTouch trackpad enhance the value of the MacBook Pro. 

The six-speaker sound system produces high-quality sound, and dual force canceling woofers enhances the sound quality. MacBook Pro generates excellent sound with its studio-quality 3-mic array to the listener. 

Retina display, wide and bright screen proves to be the best match for the apple laptop for college students and gaming in 2021.

Pros
  • Reliable and most secure operating system
  • Amazing ergonomics and premium build quality
  • Ultimate battery timing for whole college class time
  • Ultra-high quality resolution
  • 2 USB ports
Cons
  • You have to install latest Windows to play games
  • GPUs may not be optimized enough for modern Games

2. Samsung Chrome Book 4 – Best Budget Laptop For Students

Samsung Chrome Book 4 - Best Budget Laptop For Students
  • CPU: 10th Gen Intel Core i5
  • RAM: 6 GB
  • Storage: 64 GB SSD
  • Screen Size Resolution: 11.6″ FHD (1366 x 768)
  • Graphics: Intel Integrated Graphics

Samsung Chromebook 4 is created with a compact design that allows you to work, play, create and stream on a more secure and faster device that is easy to carry anywhere. It comes with 11.6 inches wide screen, long battery life, and Military grade durability.

Gigabit wifi enables fast connectivity, and an advanced security system enhances Samsung Chromebook’s value.

While talking about specs 32GB hard eMMC storage, 4GB RAM, and up to 12.5 hours of battery make it the best budget laptop for students in 2021. Carry your laptop wherever you want and work in your favorite place because the Samsung Chromebook 4 is a lightweight laptop having 2.6 pounds weight only.

If you are thinking that 64 GB storage is insufficient then there is good news for college students. You’ll get 200GB of cloud storage for 12 months with this chrome book to keep your files safe in plenty of space.
 Malicious malware can not harm your device because of automatic updates and multiple layers of built-in virus protection by Chrome OS.

Pros
  • Less vulnerable to viruses
  • Comfortable keyboard
  • Long battery life up to 12.5 hours
  • Google Assistant is there for voice commands
  • N4000 is a Fast processor
Cons
  • Only one USB C and one USB A port
  • Insufficient physical storage

3. Lenovo Chrome Book Flex 5 – Best Laptop For College Students Under $500

Lenovo Chrome Book Flex 5 - Best Laptop For College Students Under $500
  • CPU: Intel Core i3, 2.1 GH
  • RAM: 4 GB
  • Storage: 64 GB SSD
  • Screen Size Resolution: 13.3″ FHD (1920 x 1080)
  • Graphics: Intel Integrated Graphics

Either you have to work at school or home, you can get your work done easily and quickly with Lenovo Chromebook Flex 5.

It is powered with an Intel 10th gen Core i3 processor along with up to 10 hours of battery life that makes this Chromebook faster and efficient than others. You can enjoy video calling or take your online classes comfortably with 13.5 inches wide screen of the Lenovo Chromebook.

Enjoy high-quality audio with enhanced stereo speakers of Chromebook Flex 5 and get the party started.

This device provides audio connectivity for efficient working by one audio jack, two USB 3.1 gen 1 type C ports, and one USB 3.1 Gen 1 type A port. It is a touchscreen notebook and an automatic update system to avoid any kind of online threats.

Simply, It is the best laptop for college students under $500 as it provides a great experience for online classes and other study tasks. The great benefit of is Lenovo Chromebook Flex 5 is that it is a convertible laptop having a 360-degree rotating angle so that you can adjust according to your comfort.

Pros
  • 2-in-1 Laptop, easily convertible to tablet mode
  • 360° convertible Notebook with beautiful visuals
  • Wide connectivity ports
  • MicroSD card reader for external memory cards
  • Digital Stylus Support
Cons
  • Only 1 USB Type-A Port
  • You have to purchase Stylus separately

4. Apple MacBook Air (13-inch) – Best Laptop For College Students Under $1000

  • CPU: 10th Gen Intel Core i3, 1.1 – 3.2 GHz
  • RAM: 8 GB
  • Storage: 256 GB SSD
  • Screen Size Resolution: 13.3″ Retina Display (2500 x 1600)
  • Graphics: Intel Iris Plus Graphics

Apple MacBook Air is the best laptop for college students under $1000 and keeps you unplugged for 11 hours for the whole day for efficient performance. It has a touch ID for security purposes and a wonderful backlit magic keyboard that adds value to Apple MacBook Air.

MacBook Air is empowered with stereo speakers and provides a high-quality sound that keeps you away from any kind of sound problems during physical or online classes, video calling, or watching movies.

Apple Air laptop is available in 3 colors i.e. space gray, silver, and gold. It comes with 13 inches wide screen that provides a great view during online classes. You can easily store your lectures and other important files in 256GB SSD storage memory and performs better and faster with 8 GB RAM. 

It is equipped with a force touch trackpad and its low item weight makes it easy to carry anywhere you want. It offers great connectivity and possesses 3 USB type C ports that ensure efficient working.

Pros
  • Retina display is ultra-rich in colors
  • Keyboard with force touch trackpad
  • TouchID security
  • Lightweight and Slim shape
  • Great battery timing
Cons
  • Relatively low performance
  • Limited storage capacity

5. Acer Swift 3 – Best Coding laptop For College Students

Acer Swift 3 - Best Coding laptop For College Students
  • CPU: AMD Ryzen 7 Octa-Core, Up to 4.1 GHz
  • RAM: 8 GB
  • Storage: 512 GB PCIe NVMe SSD
  • Screen Size & Resolution: 14″ Widescreen IPS (1920 x 1080)
  • Graphics: AMD Radeon Graphics
  •  Fingerprint Reader

Acer Swift 3 has a stylish look and is ultra-thin and lightweight, made up of aluminum and aluminum-magnesium metal body with a wide and high screen. It is only 0.63 inches thin and has a 2.6lbs weight which enhances its portability and beauty as well.

It can code for programmers and work efficiently while keeping you plugged for up to 11.5 hours and complete your daily tasks without any trouble.

Enjoy a great multimedia experience with 14 inches wide full HD screen that provides a great view during video calling. Acer Swift 3 assures efficient performance with up to eight-core ultra-responsive AMD Ryzen 7 processor.

The device has an embedded fingerprint sensor for security purposes and verifies your identity without using a password. 

Acer Swift 3 with two built-in microphones that ensures clear communications and an HD webcam fulfills all the laptop requirements for college students. The Built-in stereo speakers assure high-quality sound, 8GB RAM, and 512GB SSD enhances the value of Acer Swift 3.

It comes with a backlit keyboard and weighs 2.65 pounds, a lightweight laptop.

Pros
  • Excellent battery timing of Up to 11.5 hours
  • Two high-quality built-in microphones
  • AMD Ryzen 7 is one of the fastest processors
  • Lightweight and slim sleek design
  • Just 0.63″ thin and 2.65 pounds weight makes it ultra-portable
Cons
  • No SD card reader.
  • Dim Brightness display

6. Acer Aspire 1 A115 – Best Affordable Laptop for University/College Students

Acer Aspire 1 A115-31-C2Y3 - Best Affordable Laptop for University Students
  • CPU: Intel Celeron N4020 Dual-Core, Up to 2.8 GHz
  • RAM: 4 GB
  • Storage: 64 GB SSD
  • Screen Size Resolution: 15.6″FHD (1920 x 1080)
  • Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics 600

Acer Aspire 1 let you enjoy all the view during online classes or video calling with 15.6 Full HD screen covered with a Blue light shield that offers a great experience for eyes.

Its stylish body and lightweight design let you carry it anywhere for comfortable working. Intel Celeron processor provides fast processing, extra processing power, value, and quality for efficient performance with Windows 10. 

It keeps you stress-free by keeping you unplugged for up to 10 hours during your busy work routine. The long wifi range of 802.11ac and wide range of connectivity ports enhance the importance of Acer Aspire 1.

The black color device design is eye-catching and a favorite for the majority of students, and it is easy to lift as it weighs 4.2 pounds.

Acer Aspire 1 has 4GB RAM, 64GB SSD storage, and a 2.8 GHz processor for fast performance. Its amazing features make it the best affordable laptop for university students.

Pros
  • Fine build quality
  • Microsoft 365 personal 1-year subscription
  • USB C port for fast data transfer
  • Fingerprint Reader is a valuable addition to this budget
  • Up to 10 hours battery life is wonderful
Cons
  • An old processor makes it slow
  • No backlit keyboard

7. Acer Chromebook 314 – Best Most Affordable Laptop For College Students

Acer Chromebook 314 - Best Most Affordable Laptop For College Students
  • CPU: Intel Celeron N4000, 2.6 GHz
  • RAM: 4 GB
  • Storage: 64 GB SSD
  • Screen Size Resolution: 14″ FHD (1920 x 1080)
  • Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics
  • Free 100GB of Google Drive space

Acer Chromebook 314 comes with an Intel Celeron processor that ensures fast performance within a limited budget and available resources. The 14 inches wide full HD touchscreen with IPS display provides a great experience for online video classes, watching movies, and other stuff.

It makes your routine college tasks easy with 4GB of RAM and a 64GB SSD storage for is sufficient for your files. Acer Chromebook 314 offers clear communication with a built-in microphone and two stereo speakers that enhance the sound quality.

It has a wide range of connectivity ports that boost performance and let you enjoy working with just 4.89 pounds weight.

High definition webcam (SHDR) with 1280 x 720 resolution helps in clear imaging and proves Acer Chromebook 314 the best most affordable laptop for college students. Google Chrome Operating System and long battery life of about 12.5 hours is icing on the cake for Acer Chromebook 314.

Pros
  • High-Quality built-in webcam.
  • 2 Stereo Speakers with HQ audio
  • Wide connectivity ports with USB type C port
  • Full HD touchscreen.
  • High brightness.
Cons
  • Touchpad needs improvement
  • Annoying search key opens window while typing

8. ASUS TUF TUF506IU – Best Laptop For College Accounting Students

ASUS TUF TUF506IU - Best Laptop For College Accounting Students
  • CPU: AMD Ryzen 7,  Up to 4.2 GHz
  • RAM: 16 GB
  • Storage: 512 GB PCIe NVMe M.2 SSD
  • Screen Size Resolution: 15.6″ FHD (1920 x 1080)
  • Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti, 6GB

Asus Tuf proves to be the best laptop for game lovers as it is empowered with serious gaming durability and supports fully the latest games. Its valuable features such as self-cleaning and cooling, make it the best laptop for gamer college students on the go.

AMD Ryzen processor along with the NVIDIA Ge force 1660 Ti graphics helps college students with efficient work, streaming videos, playing online games, and everything else easy and quick. A wide connectivity range with 3 USB ports enables fast data transfer.

While talking about sound quality it is enhanced by two upgraded speakers for a high-quality audio experience. It comes with a backlit keyboard, 16GB RAM, and 512GB SSD storage for efficient storage.

ASUS TUF with 15.6 inches widescreen with full HD never disappoints your display screen needs. It weighs 5.1 pounds. It keeps you unplugged for a long time during your hectic online or physical classwork and other routine tasks.

All these features of ASUS TUF make it the best low-cost laptop for college students.

Pros
  • Does not use PWM for adjusting screen brightness
  • NVMe Support that provides access to high-speed storage media
  • Fast wireless.
  • Decent thermals.
  • Solid performance
Cons
  • Average battery life
  • No USB C port and card reader slot

9. Microsoft Surface Laptop Go Best Cheap Laptop for College Students

  • CPU: 10th Gen Intel Core i5, 3.6 GHz
  • RAM: 8 GB
  • Storage: 128 GB SSD
  • Screen Size Resolution: 12.4″ FHD (1536 x 1024)
  • Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics

With up to 13 hours of battery life, a sleek style design, and a high-performance processor, the Microsoft Surface Go is the notebook a college student needs in his daily life. TouchID and fingerprint sensor are embedded for safe log-in purposes without using the passwords.

It comes with stylish looks with a sleek design and rounded corners. The Surface Go is available in three different colors i.e Ice-blue, platinum, and sandstone. The availability of three colors may vary by the market.

The touch screen will let you see and do more tasks like taking notes in class, drawing technical designs, and sketches, etc on 12.4 inches widescreen.

Windows 10 ensures fast performance specially designed for professionals. Smooth scrolling, extra cloud storage, and great portability are the other benefits. A lightweight laptop comes with 2.45 pounds that are easy to carry anywhere or everywhere.

You can choose it for your daily office work, gaming, or college work as this is the best cheap laptop for college students.

Pros
  • Wide portability range
  • Excellent battery life of 9 hours
  • Excellent and comfortable keyboard
  • A fast processor that ensures fast working and processing.
  • The full HD Touch screen of 12.4 inches
Cons
  • Runs hot quickly as compared to other laptops
  • No backlit keys

10. Samsung Galaxy Book Ion – Best Laptop For College Students Computer Science

  • CPU: 10th generation Intel Core i7
  • RAM: 8 GB
  • Storage: 512 GB SSD
  • Screen Size Resolution: 13.3″ Q-LED (1920 x 1080)
  • Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics

Samsung Galaxy Book ion comes with an Intel processor i7 that lets you enjoy fast and efficient working. Keep your data safe and secure with 512GB of storage and enjoy fast operating with Windows10.

It has a wide range of connectivity ports and an amazing battery life of up to 22 hours. The 13.3” inches Full HD screen lets you enjoy all the views while watching movies and in video calls. It comes with a weight of 3.6 pounds.

Wireless Power share/charging is the most amazing feature is you can charge your wireless devices(Qi wireless charging supported devices) by placing them on the mouse trackpad. It’ll charge your mobile phone without moving from your seat.

The Wi-Fi 6 is a faster wireless connection than its predecessor Wi-Fi connectivity protocol, as it boosts data transfer up to 3x times. Overall, it is the best low-cost laptop for college students and grads.

Pros
  • Brilliantly bright QLED display screen, rarely used in laptops
  • Responsive Keyboard with a touchpad
  • Wonderfull battery life up to 22 hours
  • Excellent performance with 10th gen Intel Core i7
  • Sufficient ports for broader connectivity
Cons
  • No additional memory slot
  • Fingerprint sensor placement near the delete key and the right Shift key is problematic

How to Select  Best Affordable Laptops for College Students – Buyer Guide

There are a lot of factors that one should consider before buying a laptop for your studies. Check the screen size a 13-inch size is good for a student so they can easily take online classes without any trouble. 

RAM must be 8GB to store your data efficiently, and weight also matters that it should be about 2 pounds. A laptop with good portability and with 9 hours of battery life is the best match for college students. I prefer laptops with Intel U-series or H-series that have fast performance. 

What Minimum and Recommended Specifications are Required?

Go for the laptop that meets all your college needs before making a purchase. Your college laptop must have all the specs to facilitate your study needs so that you can save and share your data and lectures easily and prepare your ppts comfortably.

Here we are sharing with you the main specs of the best laptop for college students to make your decision easier. Check the specs we have mentioned below before going to purchase one.

Processor (CPU)

The processor is considered the brain of your laptop. It must be of Intel core i5 or AMD Ryzen 5 or higher. The more advanced the processor is, the more efficient your laptop works. But mostly these processors cost more than $500.

RAM

RAM plays an important role in enhancing the performance of a laptop for college students or other tasks. 

Being a university or college/school student, your laptop must have 8GB RAM. You can also go for 12 GB RAM which is sufficient. 

Storage

A student’s laptop must have some extra space than normally used laptops to store documents or other study files for efficient laptop working. Usually, affordable laptops have 64-128 GB SSD storage. 

It is insufficient, as after Windows or Chrome OS installation there is very little space left. So try for a conventional mechanical HDD if you have a low budget or go for at least 256 GB SSD storage. 

Graphics Processing Unit (GPU): 

Being a student every one tends to play offline or online games or watch 3d movies in this era of high-speed internet. For that, you have to buy a laptop with a 1-2 GB dedicated memory GPU.

For an affordable college laptop, you have to rely on a built-in graphics card or in another case for high budget NVIDIA GeForce or AMD Radeon series GPU.

Display/LCD Monitor

A good display is a basic necessity for a college laptop. The display should have a minimum of 1080×724 resolution, and the recommended is 1920×1080. The larger the size of the screen, the more comfortable the laptop will be.

Screen size should be not less than 13 inches, or you can also go for a 15″-17″ screen size. 

FeaturesMinimumRecommended
Operating SystemWindows 7Windows 10 Education or Pro macOS 10 or higher
RAM4 GB8, 12, or maybe 16GB
ProcessorIntel Core i3Intel 9th or 10th Gen or AMD Ryzen 5 in 4000 line
Screen Size and Resolution11 – 13″15″-17”
Storage64 – 128 GB256 – 512GB
LCD/LED Monitor1080×7241920×1080 or higher like 3K or 4K screen

FAQs

What type of laptops should I buy for college needs?

As mentioned in the guide above, you can choose a laptop that can fulfill college needs easily, or simply consider following as an example

1. Microsoft Surface Laptop Go

2. Acer Chromebook 314

3. Acer Aspire 1

4. Lenovo Chromebook Flex 5

5. Samsung Chromebook 4

How much memory should a laptop have for college requirements? 

Normally users who only browse the internet and stream video content should have 8GB of RAM while for a student or gamer a 16GB of RAM is recommended.  

Which specs should we check before buying the best laptop for a college student?

One should check specs as mentioned in the above guide before buying whether for a student, gamer, or any other level student such as university or elementary school.

While other features like 2-in-1 laptop convertible laptop or rotatable are separate features.

How much one should spend on buying a college laptop?.

Before considering the money, focus on specs because a cheap laptop would not be able to fulfill your needs and maybe get expired or damaged soon.

You can buy an appropriate or best college laptop in the $300 to $700 range budget. 

Faq 5? What are the best online stores for buying the best college laptop?

1. Amazon.com

2. TechBargain.com

3. Overstock.com

4. ebay.com

5. Walmart.com

6. Tigerdirect.com

7. PCMag.com

8. NewEgg.com

Conclusion

It is mandatory to do some research to get a good fit laptop for you before making a purchase. For your ease, we have done detailed research to find the best laptop for college students at reasonable prices. 

The list contains laptops that have all the specs necessary for online studies or college needs. We have recommended you the top 10 best laptops to fulfill your college or university requirements. 

Out of all the laptops, Apple MacBook Pro stands 1st, Microsoft Surface Go is on 2nd, and Acer Chromebook 314 and others are runners up.

Choose your laptop carefully, and if you want to know more about the laptops for any other specific fields, do let us know in the comment section. Your feedback is highly important for us. 

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