Top 5 Best Laptops for Students in 2021!

Top 5 best laptops for students in 2021. M1 MacBook Air, Acer Swift 3, Dell XPS 2-in-1, HP Envy x360, Microsoft Surface Go

There are several laptops for students on the market: lightweight, specced up, 2-in-1, gaming, portable, Apple, Windows, and many more! If your head starts spinning, just trying to think about all of the possible options out there, keep reading.

Here’s a quick summary of our top picks:

  1. Best Apple laptop: Apple MacBook Air (2020, M1)
  2. Best portable laptop: Microsoft Surface Go 2
  3. Best all-rounder: HP Envy x360 13 (2020)
  4. Best 2-in-1: Dell XPS 2-in-1
  5. Best budget laptop: Acer Swift 3

How to choose a laptop?

A laptop is not a cheap investment. Therefore it’s essential to consider some things before buying one. Ask yourself these questions:

  • Am I going to be using it only for internet browsing and Office 365, or will I be doing more demanding tasks such as editing? 
  • How much storage do I need?
  • Do I need a touchscreen so that I can write notes or draw?
  • Should it be small and portable, or am I comfortable carrying a bulky device?
  • How much money am I looking to spend?
  • Am I more comfortable using Apple IOS or Windows?
  • What software will I need to install on it?  

Once you have your answers, you’re ready to start looking for your ideal laptop!  

(Image Credit: Apple)

Apple MacBook Air (2020, M1)

Best Apple Laptop For Students

This laptop ticks all the boxes – from its effortless and straightforward design to the powerful performance due to the new energy-efficient Apple M1 chip. The laptop’s exterior consists of a stylish aluminum design, two thunderbolt ports, and a headphone/microphone input.

SpecificationsCPU: Apple M1 chip with 8‑core CPU
Graphics: Integrated 7-core – 8 core GPU
RAM: 8GB – 16GB unified memory
Storage: 256BG – 2TB SSD
Display: 13.3 inch, 2560-by-1600 native resolution
Battery Life: Up to 15 hours wireless web
Ports:
Headphone, 2 x Thunderbolt/USB 4
Weight: 2.8 Pounds
CostStarting from $999 at https://www.apple.com/macbook-air/
ProsLightweight
Great battery life
Powerful and fast M1 chip
No fan noise
Reasonable Price
ConsOnly 720p webcam
Limited to what apps you can install
Lack of customization
Repair has to be done professionally by Apple
Limited Ports


The screen is 13 inches Retina LED-backlit and provides a bright and vivid viewing experience. The new “magic-keyboard” provides the user with comfortable spacing between the keys and is a much-needed improvement to the previous MacBook’s too-shallow butterfly switch keys (and that’s putting it politely, I hated those things!).

The M1 Macbook Air is perfect for a student who’s always on the go as it weighs only 2.8lbs and provides the user with up to 15 hours of battery life.

This MacBook is perfect for multitasking, light to moderate video and photo editing, Office 365, and less intense games such as Fortnite, Dying Light, and CounterStrike GO.

You may have heard that some issues were surrounding the new M1 Macs. However, we’ve debunked most of these already.

One of the best laptops for students

Microsoft Surface Go 2

Best Portable Laptop For Students

SpecificationsCPU: Intel Core m3
Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics 615
RAM: 4GB – 8GB
Storage: 64GB eMMC – 128GB SSD
Display: 10.5” 1920 x 1280 (220 PPI) PixelSense Display
Battery Life: Up to 10 hours
Ports: 1 x USB-C, 3.5 mm headphone jack, 1 x Surface Connect port, Surface Type Cover Port, MicroSDXC Card Reader
Weight: Starting at 1.2 lbs (Excluding the keyboard)
CostStarting from $399.99 at https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/p/surface-go-2/8pt3s2vjmdr6?activetab=pivot:overviewtab
ProsSlim and lightweight design
Touchscreen
Reasonable price
Mobile broadband option
ConsKeyboard and pen sold separately
Flimsy keyboard for on-lap use
Only one port: USB-C
Small storage capacity


If you’re after a desktop computer housed in a tablet – this one is for you. The “sleek, compact, and adjustable” design allows the Surface Go to be used almost anywhere. This is extremely useful for students always on the go. 

This device is best for someone who’s only looking to use a laptop for internet browsing and Microsoft Office as it may struggle with more intensive tasks. Don’t expect to render 4K videos or play CyberPunk 2077 on this one!

Nevertheless, there are some pros to this device. It boasts a 10.5” screen size, producing bright and accurate colors with a pretty accurate touch screen. 

The 1080p HD camera provides the user with great quality video, while the 2W stereo speakers enhance your movie-watching experience.    

Using the device, you will notice that the Surface Go 2 is extremely quiet and doesn’t heat up, which is incredible if you’re someone who wants to use this tablet on your lap (unless you prefer toasty thighs).

Although the tablet is excellent for lap use, the keyboard is quite flexible and isn’t as sturdy as an actual laptop, so you may run into issues while trying to type with it on your lap. 

As for the touch screen, as a previous business student myself, I know that I would have appreciated using this tablet for quickly drawing those tedious BPMN model examples from my lectures.

It is important to mention that Surface Go 2 is sold separately to the keyboard and stylus, so you should expect to spend an additional $300 if you plan to acquire these two accessories.

HP Envy x360 13 (2020)

Best All Rounder Laptop For Students

SpecificationsCPU: AMD Ryzen 5 4500U
Graphics: AMD Radeon Graphics
RAM: 8GB
Storage: 128GB – 1TB SSD
Display: 13.3” 1920 x 1080 Touchscreen
Battery Life: Up to 15.5 hours
Ports: 2 x USB-A (3.1 Gen 1), 1 x USB-C (3.1 Gen 2), 1 x Display Port, MicroSD, 1 x headphone/speaker (3.5mm Audio Out)
Weight: Starting at 2.9 Pounds
CostStarting from $689 at https://www.hp.com/us-en/shop/pdp/hp-envy-x360-laptop-13z-ay000-8lz58av-1
ProsPortable design
Good privacy features
Reasonable price
Above average performance
Comfortable keyboard
Great battery life
ConsReflective screen
Loud fans
Stylus pen sold separately
No thunderbolt or HDMI


If you’re after a premium convertible laptop at an affordable price, then this HP Envy x360 is a good pick. Although not as light as other laptops listed here, this PC has vibrant visuals, long battery life, solid performance, and good privacy features at a reasonable price. 

The aluminum design is clean and minimalistic. A decent assortment of ports eliminates the need to carry a hub, perfect for a student who uses external monitors, hard drives, and USBs.   

The keyboard has generously spaced keys, which are comfortable for typing for people with small or large fingers. Shortcuts at the top of the keyboard are also a welcome addition.

The integrated AMD Radeon graphics can handle some less intense gaming, such as Overwatch. However, it may struggle with video editing (especially 4K). So if you are a student who uses software such as Premiere Pro, this laptop is not recommended for you.

Dell XPS 2-in-1

Best 2-in-1 Laptop For Students

SpecificationsCPU: 1.3GHz Intel Core i7-1065G7
Graphics: Intel Iris Xe Graphics
RAM: 16GB
Storage: 256GB – 1TB SSD
Display: 13.4” FHD 1920 x 1200 Touchscreen
Battery Life: Up to 14 hours
Ports: 2 x Thunderbolt 4 ports, MicroSD, 1 x headphone/speaker (3.5mm Audio Out)
Weight: Starting at 2.9 Pounds
CostStarting from $1,575 at https://www.dell.com/en-us/shop/cty/pdp/spd/xps-13-9310-2-in-1-laptop?~ck=mn#features_section
ProsLong battery life
Compact and lightweight
16:10 aspect ratio display with Dolby Vision and HDR
Fast CPU and GPU performance
Dell Eyesafe reduces bluelight
ConsMinimal ports
Not upgradeable SSD and RAM
Can heat up while performing demanding tasks
Lacks OLED vision


Dell XPS 2-in-1 is among the best convertible laptops you can buy. With a premium look and feel, the device itself is thin and has a stunning HDR display which gives more depth and dimension than the previous Dell laptops. 

Dell XPS has been co-engineered with Intel to create a powerful yet thin device for life and work anywhere. Iris Plug graphics can accommodate entry-level video and photo editing with the addition of light gaming.

Fortnite and League of Legends can be played on this laptop at higher settings, but medium is recommended to make it more enjoyable.

This laptop allows any student from IT and mathematics to design and animation to write notes and equations, draw, program, and even game in their free time. A perfect 2-in-1 machine.

Acer Swift 3

Best Budget Laptop For Students

SpecificationsCPU: AMD Ryzen 5 4500U
Graphics: AMD Radeon Graphics
RAM: 8GB
Storage: 256GB
Display: 14” 1920 x 1080, non-touch
Battery Life: Up to 11.5 hours
Ports: 1 x HDMI, 1 x USB 2.0, 1 x USB Type-C port 3.2 Gen 2, 1 x USB 3.2 Gen 1, 1 x headphone/speaker (3.5mm Audio Out)
Weight: Starting at 2.65 Pounds
CostStarting from $629 at https://www.acer.com/ac/en/US/content/series/swift3
ProsFingerprint scanner
Good battery life
Great performance
Light and slim design
Crisp display
Performs smoothly while multitasking
ConsNo SD card reader
RAM not upgradable
Poor audio


Let’s just take a moment and appreciate how many pros there are to such an affordable laptop. At a starting price of $629, you can get a slim, lightweight, and stylish device. 

This laptop consists of a decently sized screen of 14” which provides an enhanced color contrast great for movie streaming. 

This laptop responds well during everyday use and can accommodate some basic gaming. It is great for multitasking and can handle those resource-hogging Google Chrome tabs quite well. On this device, you will be able to have many tabs open from internet explorer to Slack.

Its small RAM of 8GB can run photoshop and photo editing applications smoothly.

So if you are a more budget-conscious student who is after a sturdy build, decent battery, and average performance, then it is a solid choice for you. It is by no means the best laptop on the market, but it is the best at its price point.