Best cheap laptops for college students

Laptop Computers

Buying a computer case is wise because it can help protect laptops from damage while commuting between classes and dorms.

BestReviews is reader-supported and may earn an affiliate commission. Details.

What are the best cheap laptops for college students?

For college students, laptops have become an absolute necessity, especially with the integration of remote learning for so many people. However, finding a laptop with all of a student’s needs while staying within a budget can be difficult. With different classes requiring different tools and programs, a laptop that can do everything necessary while still being affordable can be hard to find. By knowing what the laptop needs to have, a student can buy the right device by letting go of other features that may not be necessary. 

Features to consider before buying a laptop

Memory

Random Access Memory helps run multiple applications smoothly at the same time. For users who are going to need high performance while performing several tasks at once, the amount of gigabytes of RAM on a laptop is important to pay attention to.

Processing power

The processing power of a laptop contributes to the smoothness and performance of the device. Especially for programs that require more power from the laptop, needing strong processing power from an Intel Core Processor or AMD brand processor can make a significant difference.

Storage capacity

For students who need to keep a lot of files, videos or images on their laptop at all times, having a large storage capacity is hugely convenient. However, with external hard drives and cloud storage also being an option, storage capacity may not be a major priority. 

Battery life and durability

A laptop that’s being carried from class to class in a backpack needs to have a level of durability in case of being dropped or tossed around. In the same circumstance, many classrooms don’t have outlets to charge from, so having solid battery life on a sturdy device is helpful.

Operating system

The three main operating systems available are Windows 10, MacOS and Chrome OS. Some schools have IT support for a specific operating system, which may be important to take into consideration. Windows 10 and MacOS offer more options and programs, while Chrome OS is a cheaper option for students who just need to run basic programs and search the web. 

7 best cheap laptops for college students

Best of the best cheap laptop for college students

HP ENVY Laptop 17t-cg100

HP ENVY Laptop 17t-cg100

What you need to know: Equipped with 8GB of RAM and a large full HD screen, this laptop can perform any task a college student may ask of it.

What you’ll love: The i5 Intel Core Processor can help maintain solid performance across most programs and across different subject matters.

What you should consider: At over 6 pounds, the laptop is heavy enough to feel while walking from class to class in a backpack. 

Sold by HP

Best bang for your buck cheap laptop for college students

Samsung Chromebook Plus V2

Samsung Chromebook Plus V2

What you need to know: A laptop that offers all of the basic functionality an average college student would need while still costing less than $500. 

What you’ll love: Despite being so affordable, the laptop has tablet capabilities with a touchscreen and fully foldable screen. 

What you should consider: With just 4GB of RAM, the laptop has shown to be laggy while running multiple programs. Some users also report issues with the hinges. 

Sold by Amazon

Honorable mentions

Lenovo Chromebook Flex 5

Lenovo Chromebook Flex 5

What you need to know: A combination laptop and tablet with a full HD display, the Lenovo Chromebook Flex 5 offers a lot of versatility to users.

What you’ll love: Ultra-fast connectivity to any external device or Wi-Fi allows this laptop to boot up at lightning-fast speeds across different settings.

What you should consider: With barely any internal storage and an i3 Intel Core Processor, the laptop compromises some processing power and capabilities.

Sold by Amazon

HP Chromebook x360

HP Chromebook x360

What you need to know: Equipped with a solid HD display and a touchscreen, the laptop is good for the basic needs of a college student.

What you’ll love: With over 13 hours of battery life, the laptop can handle a full day of classes with no need to recharge throughout the day. 

What you should consider: The laptop comes with a lower-quality Intel processor that leads to possible lagging and less overall power. 

Sold by HP

Lenovo IdeaPad 5

Lenovo IdeaPad 5

What you need to know: A great all-around device with solid processing power and a full HD screen that’s perfect for nearly every situation.

What you’ll love: The 16GB of RAM is well above competitors at similar price points, ensuring solid performance even as multiple applications are running. 

What you should consider: Some users report poor screen quality and defective displays.

Sold by Amazon

Samsung Galaxy Book S

Samsung Galaxy Book S

What you need to know: A thin, lightweight device with powerful computing power for an affordable price for a college student. 

What you’ll love: 17 hours of battery life and 256GB of internal storage puts the laptop in rare quality in comparison to others at the same price.

What you should consider: The laptop lacks overall performance power for higher-intensity tasks such as playing video games or running dense programs. 

Sold by Amazon

Acer Aspire 5

Acer Aspire 5

What you need to know: A full HD 15.6-inch display and a backlit keyboard make the laptop great for students studying late at night. 

What you’ll love: The Windows 10 operating system and an AMD Ryzen processor helps maintain solid performance for more difficult tasks throughout the day.

What you should consider: The laptop only has 7.5 hours of battery life, meaning most students will have to recharge the device sometime throughout a full day of classes. 

Sold by Amazon

 

Sign up here to receive the BestReviews weekly newsletter for useful advice on new products and noteworthy deals.

Tom Price writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

Copyright 2021 BestReviews, a Nexstar company. All rights reserved.

Don't Miss