Best Laptops for Students – 2020 Ultimate Guide

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Tech family it's josh i have been inundated with questions about recommendations for students buying a laptop as i spent a ton of time at university doing three degrees two in computer science and one in business i thought that's what we'll talk about today the way i'm going to do this video is to first go over general laptop buying advice for students then i'm going to provide some specific guidance for certain types of students including those studying computer science programming photography video editing and even those who plan to

Do some gaming or streaming while at college and during this i'll be telling you my picks right now for each of these types of students at a variety of price ranges including for those who are on a tight budget those looking for a value buy and those who are buying a premium device by the way i'm josh and i buy and review a lot of laptops and talk tech from the perspective of what it's like to own and use these devices if at the end of this video you like what you watched make sure to smash that subscribe button click the thumbs up and

The notification bell it shows your appreciation for the insane amount of work that goes into making these portability yes right now most of you will be starting from home but i think we need to expect that at some point you'll be returning to the classroom you'll want a laptop that will comfortably fit into your backpack you don't want a laptop that's too big or distracting in class so 17 inch laptops are out they are also too heavy in my opinion

In fact i personally think any laptop that is over about five pounds with the charger is too heavy for a student also try to buy a laptop that charges via the usb c port if you forget your charger at home you'll easily be able to find someone who can lend you one now on that note if you do want to do some aaa gaming gaming laptops tend to be heavier due to their more powerful components and the cooling system required but they also have significantly heavier power bricks so

Keep an eye out for those that also support usb-c charging in addition to the heavier bricks for example the new razer blade advance for 2020. this can make the laptop more portable than its competitors as you can buy a small charger to take with you for days that you don't need to use that graphics card i'd also look for a laptop with decent battery life for a small laptop you want at least a 50 watt hour battery for example the new dell xps 9300 which has excellent battery life has a 52 watt hour battery

If you are going for a laptop with a more powerful cpu and a high resolution display i'd look for at least an 80 watt out battery as these components chew more power having good battery life will give you more freedom to head out for a couple of hours without the charger that being said even for a full day school i still recommend you bring a charger with you no laptop is likely to last an entire day with moderate use reliably this is why i want you to consider the

Overall carry weight of the laptop including the charger next you will probably be starting for a long time potentially years look for a laptop where you can get an extended warranty which is easy to service either where someone comes to your place to fix it or you take it to a store like apple's many of these include accidental damage protection or allow you to upgrade to it two laptops that i purchased the extended warranty on and owned for several years needed it my 2016 macbook

Pro which i dropped and my microsoft surface book 215 which stopped working after one and a half years for peace of mind i'd advise you to save some of the money you intended to spend on the laptop for the warranty and accident protection if possible buy from a place you can return to you never know what issues you will find that frustrate you i certainly try to cover these kind of niggling things in my reviews but even i sometimes miss some that way you can test it out thoroughly before

Deciding to keep it if you are on a tight budget refurbished laptops which are normally those that have been returned are a decent option so long as they are covered by the return policy from where you buy them from you can then test it to ensure it's working properly and you want to buy from a place where the laptop is still covered by their manufacturer's warranty places that tick these boxes are apple's refurbished store dell's outlet amazon warehouse deals and best buy open boxes

Now if you are not on a budget i'd avoid this some of these laptops are returned because they have a genuine problem out of the five laptops i have personally bought refurbished two i had to send back because of issues and three i kept four specs i would ensure you get a minimum of a fork or eight thread processor on intel laptops such as an i5 or i7 found in intel's 8th gen 910 or 10th gen cpus if you are going amd i'd recommend a minimum of 6 cores and 6 threads such as the new 4500u processor honestly these amd processors right now

Chew less power than their intel counterparts and generally produce less heat both are a good thing so if you can go amd i definitely recommend that now you'll notice i did mention some older processors from intel right now they are on the 10th generation but i included their offerings from two years ago that's because intel's i5 and i7 laptop processors haven't really changed all that much in the last couple of years certainly not since they increased their threads and cores across the board in

Their 8th generation lineup as most laptops have thermal constraints that don't allow you to run the processor at their max speeds the difference between intel's 8th gen detention isn't going to matter a whole lot therefore if you are looking for a deal i'd strongly consider buying a model with a processor from a prior year for those who are considering a dual core laptop like the macbook air base model please don't these laptops aren't going to have the performance to ensure basic operation

Will be snappy over the years of your degree same goes for 4 gigabytes of ram it won't cut it eight gigs should be the minimum even today you'll notice slow operations on many programs definitely ensure your laptop includes solid state storage rather than a spinning hard drive these laptops are substantially faster and quieter luckily most laptops now come with ssds i would aim for at least 256gb because one 128gb ssds tend to be slower than higher capacity ssds

And two you could be at school a long time and may get into things that require more storage than you initially expected like creating videos once you install basic programs 128 gig just won't give you much room for the display i personally think that 14 inch is where it's at especially for newer laptops that have thin bezels and are basically the same size chassis as 13 inch laptops this should give you ample screen space to fit documents on

While still being super portable that being said apple's mac os does make excellent use of screen real estate so i do still feel the macbook pro 13 is still a good option now in terms of the quality of the display itself i find anything under 300 nits to be too dim you'll be squinting in bright environments please check how bright the laptop is by watching reviews like mine on youtube or looking up the laptop on notebook check when you do just make sure the reviewer has the same

Model screen that you're looking at as many laptops have different screen options in terms of color accuracy just try to get a display as accurate as your money will allow once the laptop has less than say 80 srgb you'll definitely notice that the colors are off overall the quality of a laptop's display is the primary difference between a cheap laptop with a dim 250 inch screen and inaccurate colors to a premium one with a bright 500 nit screen and 100 color accuracy also please ensure your laptop can

Output to an external monitor at 4k 60fps you may want to add a more color accurate or larger display in the future let's touch on chromebooks they look pretty and are cheap but i'd be careful of buying one as a student many classes require you to install specific software this software may not be available on chrome os lastly pricing most manufacturers and stores have student discounts please make sure you're taking advantage of these also several manufacturers do have coupons available on their sites so

Check them out and try coupon plugins like honey as well there is a deals area in my discord channel that we frequently post deals to so feel free to join that as well alright recommendations for laptops for general students please note i'm not going to say the exact prices as they change regularly and as mentioned there can be discounts available if you're on a tight budget i'd look to lenovo's ideapad 5 with amd these are really high quality machines for the price with powerful processors good specs and a passable screen the

Main downside is their screens aren't that color accurate and their fan isn't completely silent on light loads if you have more money to spend check out lenovo's x1 carbon you'll get a better keyboard better display a more premium feeling chassis and quieter operation for a little more money i'd recommend the hp spectre x360 13 with oled it has an incredible screen and many of the benefits of the x1 even though it's only 13 inches the fidelity of its display

Should compensate for the smaller screen size by the way i'd probably skip over the macbook pro 13 with 8th gen i do feel the other two i mentioned give you more for your money at a similar price point at the high end i'd get the macbook pro 13 10th channel this laptop is very powerful has great speakers solid battery life a phenomenal screen comes with 16 gig of ram and has that excellent apple build quality i would skip over the dell xps 9 300. i've had three of these even though they do have great battery life they get

Really hot under light load and there are issues for example the right speaker in mind seems to have blown alright let's talk about needs for specific students for software developers let's start off with ram coders need more ram than casual users this is because you'll be running a lot of applications that other users won't such as integrated development environments like intellij now on top of that you've got to run the application you'll be coding this may require even more ram to load a decent amount of data into memory for

Processing what compounds this is if you are required to run virtual machines for some of your classes i know containerized apps like those using docker are gaining popularity over vms and they use less ram but they still require ram so moral of the story is this i'd like developers on 16 gig of ram if you can afford it in fact if you are on a tight budget i'd opt for more ram over a less color accurate display

If you are doing machine learning or other ai based tasks you want to get a laptop with a dedicated graphics card these tasks require concurrent processing that gpus offer and can certainly utilize nvidia's cuda by the way you will survive learning to code with less specs than what i am recommending but you will likely see some slowdowns please research what you need by checking the details of your class and if unsure reach out to faculty members or alumni also check whether your school offers access to server environments such as

Those in the cloud this will enable you to run heavy processing tasks there rather than on your laptop which means you won't need as powerful a laptop that being said it's generally more convenient to be able to just use your laptop so if you can afford what i'm recommending please buy it for laptops for software developers not doing much ai i'd go for similar recommendations as i gave for regular students just with a minimum of 16 gig of ram so

Ideapad 5 for those on a budget x1 carbon for my value pick and the macbook pro 13 10th gen for my premium pick if you are planning to do a lot of ai related classes then as i said i'd like to see you with a dedicated gpu ideally an nvidia 1650 or higher i'd recommend that you hpmv15 or if you have a bit more money to spend the 15-inch dell xps 9500 just make sure your xps has a working trackpad both are highly configurable and meet all the specifications that i recommend

You do lose a bit of portability due to their increased weight but they have both powerful and capable machines at the premium end something like the razer blade advance series these are still very portable and will give you access to more powerful graphics alright for those studying photography film or planning to make videos in addition to what i recommend for regular students and coders you will want a color accurate display plus if you can afford it a high resolution retina or 4k one

This will be important if you are working with high resolution content also having a strong gpu is important for you especially if you plan to edit videos you are going to need storage and lots of it at least 512 gig to put it in perspective each of my youtube videos requires about 200 gig of storage i'm filming on a two-camera setup at 4k each but nonetheless i want you to have enough storage to be creative lastly an sd card reader would be handy so you can quickly transfer photos and

Videos to your laptop at the budget end i like the asus zenbook 14 i reviewed on the channel it comes with a color accurate display is powerful with the new ryzen cpu pad with a dedicated mx350 graphics and it's extremely affordable unfortunately it only has eight gig of ram and you can't upgrade it bumping up i'd get the macbook pro 13 10th gen it is a powerful machine with better build quality and solves a lot of issues that i had with the asus zenbook 14 like no usbc charging bad backlighting

Of the keyboard brighter screen etc etc that being said the intel g7 graphics although good enough for photography and 1080 video editing is absolutely not good enough for 4k i don't care what other reviewers are telling you for 4k editing i recommend the new xps 9500 with its 4k like screen it's a powerful laptop with an sd card reader and a great display if you can afford it though my ultimate laptop for you is the macbook pro 16. it's lighter than the xps 15 has a bigger display

Better speakers longer battery life and doesn't suffer from the quality control issues of the new xps line for gamers the graphics in the new ryzen 4000 series laptops or the g7 graphics in intel's 10th gen is enough to get you 60 fps in esports titles however if you want to play aaa games you are going to want more powerful graphics unfortunately that often means you'll be trading more power for a bigger heavier laptop at the budget end i'd recommend the new hp omen i like the model with the 144hz

Screen the best buy offers you get one of the new powerful ryzen processors with a solid 1660 ti graphics card a bright screen and good build quality for an excellent price my main gripe with it is the edge where you put your palms it feels a bit sharp you may want to get a wrist rest to place there at the higher end i'd look at either an aero 15 or razer blade advanced the blade is more portable especially as it supports usb-c charging so you won't have to bring that bigger power brick with you

However it gets very warm when gaming you'll probably want to consider using an external keyboard the arrow 15 runs cooler than the blade and has a more comfortable keyboard however it does have a couple of niggling things the fans aren't as quiet for light loads the secondary function keys don't light up it doesn't charge by a usbc and it has a bigger chassis alright well that's all i have time for i hope it's helped you out if you want specific help from me when i have free time i do provide laptop

Advice free on the discord chat link in the description below however i am super busy and if you want a response become a patreon supporter that will unlock a special discord chat just for you where i make a best effort to prioritize my responses to those supporters please note that chat will only be unlocked once your first contribution is processed before i go i have made a video on how to test your new laptop thoroughly to ensure it's working which i'll post in the description below

Anyway that's all for today folks if you like this video you know what to do smash that subscribe button click the thumbs up and the notification bell i would certainly appreciate it until next time i will catch you later

Best Laptops for Students – 2020 Ultimate Guide

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