Best Laptop for College in 2023

If you are a prospective student or you are currently studying, you need a laptop. Taking notes with pen and paper is way too slow, and you can get a lot more done by typing away on a brand new notebook. But what’s the best? We researched and tested to find the best laptop for college in 2023.

Given the supply chain issues and chip shortages we’ve seen over the last few years, you might think it’s difficult to get your hands on a decent, budget-friendly laptop for school. However, it is still possible to find laptops and two in one Featuring the latest processors from AMD and Intel that improve performance and battery life over previous generations.

What is the best laptop for college?

At the moment, Apple’s MacBook Air M1 is the best laptop for most students. (The M1 Air is also $100 off right now.) But if that doesn’t suit your needs, we’ve rounded up some college laptop picks that will serve most students well in school and beyond. The majority of our picks for the best college laptops range in price from $500 to $1,000. If you’re looking for a cheaper laptop — or open to an alternative to Apple’s macOS and MicrosoftWindows
— we recommend checking out The best Chromebooks for students
(just to be sure any software you need for teaching is supported). On the other hand, if you’re looking for a more powerful laptop or one gaming laptop
that doubles as one for college we have a few suggestions also for them. So if you’re ready to upgrade your tech, keep reading our list of the best laptops for college.

The best laptops for college

Stephen Shankland/CNET

Despite the availability of the bigger and better M2 MacBook Air, the M1 MacBook Air (one of the first to move from Intel to Apple silicon) remains, and that’s a good thing. Apple’s entry-level laptop remains our top pick for a macOS laptop for basic everyday use. It has great performance and long battery life – up to 18 hours – making it a solid choice for school and entertainment anywhere.

Like previous Mac laptop models, the M1 Air features Apple’s Magic Keyboard, Touch ID, a Force Touch trackpad, and a 13.3-inch Retina display. If you’re a college student, you can’t go wrong with the new MacBook Air.

MacBook Air M1 in review

Read our Apple MacBook Air M1 (Late 2020) review.

Getting Price Alerts for Apple MacBook Air M1 (256GB, Space Gray)

Josh Goldman/CNET

HP packed a lot of value into the Aero 13: an attractive magnesium-aluminum chassis, strong processing power, long battery life, a bright, colorful display, and a weight of just 2 pounds (0.94 kilograms). Amazingly, with everything it offers, it has a regular starting price of less than $800 but is regularly on sale for less than $700.

HP Pavilion Aero 13 in review

Josh Goldman/CNET

The HP Pavilion 14 is a budget laptop that beats its price point in looks and performance. At 1.4 kilograms (3.2 pounds), the laptop can easily be carried to school or work every day. It could also be a good home office laptop that easily connects to a monitor, keyboard, and mouse at a desk, but also has a screen that’s comfortably large enough for full-time use. It’s just a solid everyday laptop with a clean design. The starting price is $650, and the configuration we tested typically costs $800, but it sells for a lot less (it was last $550).

HP Pavilion 14 in review

This thin 3-pound convertible is a solid choice for anyone who needs a laptop for office or school work. The all-metal body gives it a premium look and feel, and it has a comfortable keyboard and responsive, smooth precision touchpad. A two-in-one device, you can use it as a laptop or tablet, and it supports pen input with Lenovo’s optional Active Pen. It also has a physical shutter for its webcam, giving you privacy if you want it. And it has a long battery life of 12 hours and 45 minutes in our tests. The latest version, powered by 12th Gen Intel processors, starts at $999 (although you can find them on sale for less). However, 2021 models with 11th Gen Intel processors are also excellent performers and available at a discount.

You will receive price alerts for Lenovo Yoga 7i

Josh Goldman/CNET

Acer’s Spin 513 is an update of sorts for one of the best Chromebooks of 2021, the Spin 713. It’s a convertible two-in-one Chromebook with a 13.5-inch display and a 3:2 aspect ratio. The extra vertical spacing means less scrolling while working. The screen size is also close to that of letter paper, making it easy to take notes with a USI pen in tablet mode. Compared to the 713, some non-critical features like an HDMI out are left out in favor of a lower price point. However, it has amazing battery life and a rugged, fanless design, making it quiet—perfect for quiet classrooms, lectures, or video calls.

You will receive price alerts for Acer Chromebook Spin 513 (CP513-2H)

Other recommendations for starting school

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