Top 10 Best Budget Laptops for College Students

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Headed off to school and need a cheap laptop that will do everything you need for your classes? In this article, we’ll cover some affordable yet powerful budget minded laptops that come with enough horsepower to do everything from typing your papers, to designing graphics or presentations you might need to make to go the extra mile for your professors. We’ll cover a wide price range below, so there’s something for every budget. (you can even get something super cheap for around $400 bucks that will do everything you need, but I recommend spending a little bit more so it’ll last a couple extra years before you have to upgrade again)

Pricing last updated on 2021-08-25 - Disclaimer

Under $1000

10) Dell Inspiron 15 Gaming Series / 7559

For those that grew up with a love for video games and want to continue that hobby throughout their college years, the Dell Inspiron 15 is a piece of technology that will provide great gaming experience all the while providing the means to produce top quality academic work. The i7559 is powered by an Intel i5-6300HQ Quad-Core processor, which boasts a CPU clock rate of 2.3 GHz with Turbo capabilities of boosting that to 3.2 GHz. With that type of processing power, last minute projects and essays will no longer be buffered by lagging response time. If you are in a specific major such as Computer Science, Engineering, Information Technology, etc. in which a powerful personal computer might commonly give you an advantage or some convenience, the i7559 is a great option. The power of a quad-core processor gives the student the ability to multitask efficiently and as smoothly as ever. With the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M graphics card, the i7559 is always an appealing source of entertainment during a study break through stunning visuals produced on the i7559’s 15.6 anti-glare, wide angle screen. 8GBs of RAM and a 256GB SSD will give you the comfort in knowing your computer has no trouble keeping up with all the documents you can save. The SSD in the i7559 outpaces load times than a traditional hard drive, so the i7559 is consistent in its conquest to be a quick as possible. On the weekend when you want to use your laptop for entertainment all day long, the i7559 conquers the battle against overheating through Dell’s thermal cooling design. Sporting two fans, three exhaust points, and large vents, the i7559’s breathability is in the highest tier within the laptop industry. For those that listen to music while you do your school work, the i7559 does not disappoint as it’s excellent sound produced with Waves MaxxAudio Pro will have you enjoying your favorite music at crystal clear quality. While on the go, the i7559 poses no problems for the user, as its battery will last up to 10 hours of regular use and its 1 inch thick frame makes it very portable. Claiming over 1500 Amazon reviews, the i7559 sports a very respectable average star rating of 4.1 out of 5. The i7559 does come at a higher initial price, but its long term durability will prove the i7559 to be a great value. The i7559 is not the type of laptop you will worry about having to upgrade from every semester.

9) Apple Macbook Pro

Apple products are some of the most popular pieces of technology in the mobile and tablet world, but also in the computing industry. Apple products come at a premium price, but the case is true in their products that you get what you pay for, and the Macbook Pro is certainly n different. Equipped with a Intel Core i5 Processor, the Macbook’s CPU clocking rate runs at 2.5 GHz with turbo capabilities pushing that speed to 3.1 GHz. Built with 4GB RAM and a 500 GB hard drive, the Macbook Pro has enough storage to hold years worth of college papers and presentations. 802.11n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0 make the Macbook Pro’s network and device connectivity reliable and smooth. With two USB 3.0 ports, the Macbook Pro provides to high speed ports than can be used for quick data transfer or high speed device connection. With the Intel graphics 4000 card producing stunning visuals on the Macbook’s 13.3 LED-backlit display, the Macbook Pro is a great resource to have for watching movies, playing games, or viewing pictures. Mac OS X 10.10 Yosemite makes the Macbook Pro’s operating system an enjoyable and user friendly operating experience. With battery life extending to as long as 8 hours, those on the go won’t face the struggle of low power later on in the day. With over 100 reviews on Amazon at an average of 4.6 stars, the Macbook Pro doesn’t only get its great reputation from its brand. The Macbook Pro fluctuates in price on Amazon, but it floats below, at, or above the $1000 mark.

8) Microsoft Surface Pro 4

Powered by a 2.2 GHz Core M Family processor, the sleek 2 in 1 Microsoft Surface Pro 4 has processing power that will surprise you due to its slim look. With 4GB of RAM and a 128GB solid state drive, The Surface Pro 4 certainly has plenty of storage for your academic needs. With Windows 10 preinstalled and Office 365 optimized for Microsoft devices, producing Word documents, Power Point presentations, and Excel spreadsheets have never looked smoother. With a service dock and attachable keyboard, the Surface Pro 4 gives you the classic laptop look and feel. With an included Surface Pen, users gain greater control and convenience of their Surface Pro 4. A full-size USB 3.0 allows users to connect external devices, just like a regular laptop, and the Surface Pro 4 has the ability to run desktop software just as it would run on a traditional laptop. With product dimensions of 15.2 x 9.2 x 1.6 inches, the surface pro definitely doesn’t drag you down. For those that are going to be using MSOffice heavily through college and want a 2 in 1, the Surface Pro 4 is one of the best options. With over 1000 Amazon reviews, the Surface Pro 4 boasts and average star review of 3.7.

Under $500

7) ASUS Transformer Book T100HA

The Transformer Book T100HA by ASUS is a 2 in 1 laptop option for those that want the appeal of a tablet and a laptop. With a magnetic hinge design that aligns by itself, the T100HA ensures a strong connection as a laptop with the easy option to disconnect into a tablet. The T100HA design has been tested through 20,000 swing tests and 25,000 open close tests to ensure its durability through common disassembly. With 4GB memory and 64GB eMMC, you have space to save papers and projects, but if you are in the market for something with outstanding memory then another laptop would be better for you. A 2 in 1 is attractive for the college student because you can utilize the portability of a tablet and use it as an E-reader for textbooks, but then use it as a laptop after class to do assignments. With an Intel Quad-Core Cherry Trail, the T100HA has a clocking rate of 1.44GHz with turbo ability up to 2.24GHz. That type of processing power is an excellent feature, especially within the confines of a tablet. On average, the T100HA’s battery produces power enough for 12 hours of work on a full charge, and with fast charge technology, users can enjoy 9.5 hours of use after 2 hours of charging. With Windows 10 preinstalled, users can use the Touchscreen to navigate more smoothly as ever on the familiar operating system. With an average of 3.3 stars on Amazon reviews, the T100HA has an above average reputation. Most concerns are that medium to heavy computing is not a smooth experience on the T100HA, but if that is not applicable for your major, the T100HA could be a great value option.

6) Asus F556UA-AB32

The Asus F556AU is high quality, great value option for those trying to save some money on a laptop. An Intel i3-6100 processor pushed the F556UA at a CPU clocking rate of 2.3 GHz. With its 1TB hard drive and 4GB of RAM, the F556UA’s memory is ample when it comes to saving and storing academic work. With Windows 10 preinstalled, users can have a familiar operating system and with Cortana, interface with Windows has never been easier. The F556UA has all the necessary ports you might need for whatever reason, and this includes one high speed USB 3.1 port. For those that want to use their laptop to unwind on the weekend through movie or TV streaming, the F556UA’s blue light reducing LED screen will allow you to view your screen for extended periods of time without the eye strain. With Splendid Technology, the ASUS F556 produces a greater depth of color, making the visual experience that much better. With a battery that retains 80% of its original charge through hundreds of charge cycles, you won’t have to worry about a short life battery a few months down the road. With IceCool technology, the F556 is sure not to make you uncomfortable in class or in your dorm. Asus SonicMaster produces the highest of audio quality, making music through your laptop more enjoyable to listen to no matter what the occasion. With Asus 1 year warranty, you have insurance to get you and your laptop through that first year of college. With over 1,700 reviews on Amazon at an average of 3.8 stars, the F556 stands in at one of the most popular value laptop options on the market.

5) Dell Inspiron i3558-5501

As on of the newest models available on the laptop market, the Dell Inspiron i3558-5501 is fittingly designed with some of the newest features of recent laptops. The i3558’s powerful Intel Core i5-5200U Dual-Core processor makes it incredible responsive, cutting out a chunk of the wait times of previous laptops. With a CPU clock rate of 2.2GHz and turbo boost that kicks that up to 2.7 GHz, the i3558 will always provide a smooth and seamless session of operation. An 8GB DDR and 1TB hard drive are installed to provide memory space ample enough for any collection of academic work. A combination of the Intel HD Graphics 5500 card, Truelife LED Display, and an energy efficient backlight make the i3558’s touchscreen one of its most attractive features. With the HD touchscreen, users have control over their laptops like they have never had before. 802.11ac wireless connection components ensure that your network connection is fast and reliable. With Waves MaxxAudio, the user has crystal clear audio that makes listening to music while doing homework a great experience. The i3558 features 1 USB 3.0 port, which makes transferring data from your devices quicker than ever. With a 720p HD webcam, students can conveniently make video calls to their friends and family back home. The Dell Inspiron i3558-5501 is a medium priced laptop, and serves as an excellent option for those that love the aspect of touchscreen control. With Windows 10 preinstalled, users have a smooth and classic interface to navigate through. At an average of 3.7 stars on Amazon, the i3558 has a commendable reputation among buyers.

4) Acer Aspire E 15

The Acer Aspire E 15 is a lower priced laptop that doesn’t compromise high quality features because of its low price. Sporting a 7th generation Intel Core i3-7100U Processor, which has a CPU clocking rate of 2.4 GHZ, the E 15 runs programs and commands at a lightning fast rate. With 4GB Dual Channel Memory and a 1TB 5400RPM Hard Drive, the E 15 has plenty of save for you to save all of your projects, presentations, and everything else. The Aspire E 15 boasts an Intel HD Graphics 620 card, which produces incredible quality visuals on the 15.6 Full HD ComfyView Screen. Throw in Acer’s ColorBlast Technology, and study breaks to watch your missed TV shows are that much more enhanced. With the MU-MIMO technology implemented into the 802.11ac, the Aspire E 15’s wireless connection performance is as fast as your network is. The Aspire E 15 also features a RJ-45 port for those that prefer a wired connection to access the internet. With Windows 10 preinstalled, users have access to Cortana, making user interface as easy as it has ever been. With 12 hour continuous battery usage, the E 15 allows for those that are frequently on the go to always have power. With two 3.0 USB ports and one that features power-off charging, the Aspire E 15 is excellent for data transfer. The E 15 is designed with an included HD Webcam, your video calls to family, friends, or even colleagues will be top quality visual feeds. With over 150 reviews on Amazon for an average rating of 4.2 stars, the Aspire E 15 is a top quality value laptop that is regulalrly commended by users.

Under $250

3) HP Chromebook 11 G3

At one of the lowest prices you will find for a brand new laptop, the HP Chromebook 11 63 is a great value for your buck. Powered by an Intel Celeron N2840 Dual-Core Processor, the Chromebook 11 G3 holds its own with a CPU clocking rate of 2.16 GHz. 4GB of RAM and a 16GB solid state drive will ensure you that you won’t run out of space saving numerous papers, presentations, and spreadsheets that you will use over 4 years (or more) of college. With the Intel HD Graphics Card producing sharp visuals on the 11.6 inch HD screen, the Chromebook 11 G3 is a great laptop to watch movies, view pictures, or play games on. Weighing 2.8 pounds, the Chromebook 11 G3 is a light product that won’t weigh down a bookbag or give you a sore arm from carrying it on long walks to class. The Chromebook 11 G3’s dimensions are 11.8 x 8.1 x 0.8 inches, making it a portable piece of technology you can easily take with you wherever you need. Note: Chromebooks aren’t able to have MSOffice applications installed. If that is an issue for you, you can use the online version of Microsoft Office which is available as apps for Chromebook.The Chromebook 11 G3, like all Chromebooks, comes installed with Chrome OS, so if you are a Windows fan, look elsewhere. Sporting a 4 out of 5 star average on Amazon has the Chromebook 11 G3 with a commendable reputation among users.

2) Samsung Chromebook 3

The Samsung Chromebook 3 is powered by the Intel Celeron N3050 Dual-Core Processor, allowing the student to run programs necessary for academics such as web research, book reports, etc. at a high speed. The Chromebook 3’s 2GB RAM and 16GB Solid State Drive ensures that you have plenty of space to store all of your work locally. With a user friendly Chrome OS, users can easily and enjoyably navigate the Chromebook 3 with no issues. The 11.6 inch HD Anti-Reflective Display provides awesome visuals, making your picture-viewing, video-watching, and game-playing experience a more enhanced experience. With screen reclining potential of 180 degrees, you can view your screen at any angle you desire. The college student’s life often puts you in a situation where you are gone for hours and have no place to plug in your laptop, but that isn’t an issue with the Chromebook 3. The Chromebook 3 has a batter life of up to 11 hours of continued use on a full battery. When you get home from a long day of classes, don’t forget to video call your best friend through the camera preinstalled into the Chromebook 3. If you’re clumsy but have to have coffee to be productive, the spill-resistant keyboard of the Chromebook 3 just might save all your academic work when you knock over your morning java. If you are an Android user, connecting your phone and laptop have never been easier than through AirDroid, which is preinstalled on the Chromebook 3. At 2.54 pounds and .7 inches thick, the Chromebook is one of the most portable laptops out there. The Samsung Chromebook 3 will not be able to install Microsoft Office software, but there is an online Microsoft Word application on the Chrome Web Store. If that poses an issue for your academics, the Chromebook 3 is not a suitable option for you.The Samsung Chromebook is one of the most popularly reviewed laptops on Amazon with 300 total reviews. With an average of 4.1 stars through those 300 ratings, the Samsung Chromebook 3 sits with a great reputation and popular choice for those heading out off to school.

1) HP 14-an013nr

At an incredible bargain price, this HP notebook is one of the best value options for those looking to get a laptop for college. With an AMD Quad-Core E2-7110 APU Processor, the HP 14-an013nr is lightning fast in its response time while running at a rate of 1.8 GHz. The 14-an013nr’s lightweight and portable frame of 3.9 lbs makes it an attractive option for the student that is always on the go, and it’s dimensions check in at 9.5 X 13.6 X 0.9 inches. On top of that, you can go just over 5 hours of usage without needing a recharge. With 4GB memory and 32GB eMMC storage, you will have plenty of room for all of your academic work to be saved locally. College is a time in your life when you are going to make all sorts of memories and you will want to be able to capture and relive them. The 14-an013nr makes that easy for you and enhances it through its 14-inch 1080p HD screen that brings life to your media. With DTS studio sound, discovering new music through your laptop has never sounded better. The 14-an013nr comes installed with the latest Windows 10 software, which features built-in security technology and updates to make sure that technology is up to date against future developing threats. With Cortona, Windows’ virtual assistant, simple tasks that used to take up your time are no longer a problem. While you’re gone at college, use this laptop’s advanced HD camera to video chat with your friends and family back home. The 14-an013nr is currently a best seller on Amazon, and its 4.1 average star rating goes to show its good reputation among customers.

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