Best Laptop for College Students in 2017 Buying Guide

Being a student of several years myself, and having used a laptop every day in my classes and for working, I can say that, in my opinion, the Toshiba Chromebook 2 is the best laptop for college students.

1 – The laptop with the best quality/price ratio

The laptop with the best ratio of quality to price is the Toshiba Chromebook 2.

Its IPS Full HD display is excellent, its battery easily holds a charge for 6 to 8 hours, its light – 1.3 kg – weight makes it very easy to transport, and it it powerful enough to take notes in class and surf the web without any difficulty.

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The display on the Toshiba Chromebook 2 measures 13.3 inches, which makes it highly mobile while remaining large enough to be comfortable for working at. It offers very decent sound and its refined design makes it stylish.

Whether it is for working, watching Youtube videos, or simply surfing the internet, the Toshiba Chromebook 2 display is great under all circumstances. Its IPS technology offers enormously wide viewing angles as well as very rich colors, and its Full HD provides a highly detailed image.

2 – Convertible Touchscreen and Long Discharge Battery

Another excellent choice for a college student is the Acer Chromebook CB5-132T (R11). Its main advantage is its convertible touchscreen which allows it to be used as either a laptop or as a tablet.

Acer Chromebook CB5-132T

Small and light-weight, the Acer CB5-132T is the best laptop in terms of mobility. It weighs 1.6 kg, its case is high-grade aluminum, and its battery-life can reach up to 10 hours.

If its 11 inch screen seems too small to for studying comfortably, its big brother, the Acer R13 – 13 inches, will surely be more appealing to you.

3 – Performance, Build Quality and Full HD Display

With its superb design, its solid aluminum case and its Full HD display, the Acer Chromebook 14 is an excellent chromebook for college students.

Acer Chromebook 14

With its enormous, 12 hour, battery-life you won’t have to worry about recharging this laptop. What’s more, it comes with excellent internet connectivity, allowing it to get the most out of any WiFi signal.

To learn more about this laptop, don’t hesitate to read my complete test of the Acer Chromebook 14.

What Kind of Laptop Does a Student Really Need?

What is the best laptop for a student? How much will it cost? What are the characteristics which make a laptop especially good for studying?

If you have ever searched the internet for the best laptops for students, it is likely that you have asked yourself the question: “what is all this shit?”

The problem is, that none of the articles you have read have been written by actual students. They were probably written by some random author from a large website who was asked to compile a list in order to get a higher page ranking on Google.

I, on the other hand, am a real student. And like almost all of my fellow student bought a laptop in order to study easily at school.

However, I didn’t want to buy the same thing as everyone else. Not because I wanted to be rebellious, but rather because I try to get the most performance for my money.

And yet, the majority of the laptops which student buy are not really the best.

Forget for a moment the different laptop brands and operating systems which you are familiar with.

What does a student really need in a laptop?

From what I have been able to observe in classrooms, more than 80% of the time, laptops are only used to display course content and to take notes.

From these simple uses, we can already say that a laptop should have a good display and keyboard. A good display in order to clearly show the course content without causing eye strain and a good keyboard in order to be able to quickly and easily take notes.

Students also have a tendency to move around a lot. Not just form their home or their dorm to school, but also from class to class and campus to campus. Moreover, it is often difficult for them to find a power outlet to charge their computer.

Again, it would be advantageous for the laptop to be light-weight to make it easier to transport, and that it have a battery with a long life so as not to need to recharge it too often.

Take a step back and look at all the simple needs that you have for your laptop as a student.

Maybe you need a fast computer to be able to load several web pages without difficulty. Or maybe you need a computer with long-range WiFi capability.

Above all other things, a student needs a laptop with an affordable price tag. Unless you are lucky enough to have parents willing to give you 1500$ for you to buy the latest Macbook or you created a successful business during your childhood, your budget is probably limited to a few hundred euros. And the less you spend the healthier your wallet will remain.

The State of Laptops in 2017

The sales of laptops are not doing very well at the moment. They have even gone down during the past few years.

This phenomenon is mainly due to smartphones and tablets which are becoming better and selling for less all the time and are becoming a serious contender against laptops especially for tasks like surfing the web.

There is however a type of laptop whose sales, instead of dropping, have not ceased to increase in the last few years, even to the point of surpassing Mac sales in the United States – becoming the second in terms of sales numbers, only surpassed by Windows PCs.

Even more surprising is the fact that this type of laptop has only been around for five years. This means that in only five short years, these unusual computers have gotten a grip on the American market and have outsold Apple computers – one of the biggest brands in the world.

If these computers have been able to achieve this feat, it is because they have been massively adopted by a certain segment of society: education.

All throughout the United States, whenever a school needs to provide its students with laptops, they immediately know what choice to make. Inexpensive, fast, secure and good-quality. The best laptops for students.

These unique laptops are the Chromebooks.

Basic Advantages of Chromebooks

Chromebooks are laptops which exploit the Chrome operating system.

Free and open-source, Chrome OS was developed by Google in order to offer an alternative to entry-level Windows PCs which are often slow and of mediocre quality.

To be able to call one of its devices a “Chromebook”, a manufacturer must respect a list of prerequisites imposed by Google, just as with smartphones and the Android OS.

By doing so, Google allows manufacturers such as Acer, Toshiba, or Asus to integrate – free of charge – chrome OS into their computers, all while keeping a certain amount of control over the quality of these computers.

Thanks to this practice, Chromebooks have many basic advantages over their competition. Here are the four most important ones.

Price

Price is a big advantage in favor of Chromebooks, and which makes them of particular interest to students.

Given that the manufacturers are not required to pay for licenses in order to integrate Chrome OS with their computers, there is one fewer cost passed on to the consumer.

It is therefore possible to find Chromebooks for as little as 200-300 euros, which will not be any slower or of inferior quality to Windows PCs.

Build Quality

Another point in favor of the Chromebooks is their build quality.

Contrary to entry-level Windows PC where the manufacturers are forced to cut corners in order to lower the price, Chromebooks always have a superior build quality.

Case, display, keyboard, track pad, front-facing camera, speakers, everything is solid and functional.

Speed

Thanks to Chrome OS’s optimization and the prerequisites imposed on the manufacturers by Google, Chromebooks are surprisingly fast.

While surfing the web with a Chromebook, everything feels fast and easy. Pages load in an instant, sites and applications load quickly and easily, just like with the Google Chrome browser.

What’s more, their boot tome is less than 8 seconds and they come out of sleep mode instantly. In the time it takes for you to sit down, your computer is ready to go to work.

Security

The last major advantage of the Chromebooks is their high security.

On a Chromebook, it is totally unnecessary to install an antivirus because Chrome OS has an impenetrable firewall.

Moreover, Chromebooks automatically update every week in order to incorporate the latest performance and security patches.

As opposed to many computers whose performance drops over time, Chromebooks become even faster and more secure as they incorporate ever newer and better code.

These updates are the easiest thing in the world to do. They automatically download and install in the background and all the user is required to do is to reboot (which takes less than 10 seconds) for the updates to be activated.

Price, build quality, speed and security are four major areas where the Chromebooks excel. However, there are other more specific advantages for a student to use a Chromebook.

Coupled with their other strengths, all these advantages together make Chromebooks virtually the best laptops for college students.

5 Proofs that Chromebooks are the Ideal Laptops for Students

Throughout a the course of a student’s time at school, he or she will require a laptop with a certain number of features.

Where these features will cost a lot on a Windows PC, they can be found on even the most basic of Chromebooks.

During all the time I have spend studying using my Chromebook, these features have proven to be useful and have really helped me in my studies.

Google Office Suite

You are probably familiar with the Microsoft Office Suite. This suite of programs is made up of Word, Powerpoint, and Excel – useful for word processing, presentations and spreadsheets, respectively.

Google also has an office suite and it is extremely similar to Microsoft’s and at times better. Google Docs for documents, Google Slides for presentations and Google Sheets for spreadsheets.

The main advantage of the Google suite over Microsoft’s, in addition to being totally free, is its integration with the cloud.

When you work on a local document with Microsoft Word, your document is saved to the computer’s internal memory. In order to share this document with a friend, you will need to use a USB key or send it to them by email.

If you forget to save your document, loose your USB key, or your computer’s memory is erased, you can say goodbye to your document.

However, if you use Google Docs to type your document, it is automatically saved to your Google Drive account. If you want to share it with a friend, all you need to do is make one simple click. You are also able to work in a group and make it possible for everyone in it to edit the document simultaneously.

Going from my Chromebook to my desktop PC would be a nightmare if I had to transfer my documents to a USB key every time. Instead, I can open my Drive and automatically sync my two devices. I can even reread the document on my smartphone if I choose to.

Organizing classes, notes and assignments with Google Drive, really makes things easier for a students. No need to remember to bring your USB key with you everywhere. Your documents are safe in the cloud.

Mobility

Students are always on the move. Either from their dorm to class or from class to class, they are always moving around.

Chromebooks are generally very mobile. They are light-weight, sleek and slide easily into a backpack. They also have huge battery autonomy. It is not unusual for a Chromebook’s battery to be able to hold 8, 10, or even 12 hours of charge.

In my case, I didn’t even need to bring my charger to class in order to make sure I didn’t run out of power. If you leave your Chromebook charging overnight, it will be able to last throughout the whole next day, even with the display on all the time.

Keyboard and Track Pad

Another factor in mobility and productivity is the keyboard and the track pad on the Chromebooks.

If you have ever used a laptop, you have probably tried to stay away from using its track pad. It is therefore not uncommon for people who use a portable PC to walk around all day with a portable mouse and mouse pad in order to be able to use their computer properly.

On Chromebooks, the track pad is extremely useful and is capable of handling gestures allowing the user to navigate faster than with a mouse.

In addition to the track pad, the Chrombook’s keyboard is also designed to allow for faster, and easier use. Instead of the F1, F2, etc. buttons found on Windows PCs, Chromebooks have buttons with icons clearly showing their functionality: like increasing volume or refreshing a web page.

Taking notes and surfing the web are enjoyable experiences on a Chromebook.

Connectivity

One important consideration which is often neglected is the laptop’s connectivity.

If you want to get the most out of your faculty’s WiFi connection, you are going to need a Chromebook.

Thanks to their dual band Wifi, Chromebooks are able to connect to any WiFi network faster, better and from farther away than conventional PCs.

My school’s WiFi is not very good, and more than once, I was the only person able to get a signal. And when there was more than one person using it, I was always the one able to use the most bandwidth.

What’s more, if you are looking to connect a Bluetooth device such as speakers to your Chromebook, you’ll be happy to know that you will be able to take advantage of the latest Bluetooth technology.

While Bluetooth 4.0 is still a rare feature on other laptops – at the moment of writing this article – it is almost a standard feature on Chromebooks.

In a world where WiFi internet is extremely important for following classes and taking notes, connectivity is a major factor. This is something that Chromebook designers have understood.

Operating system

The Chrome OS is designed to be simple and functional above all other things. “Less is more”. When you are working on a Chromebook, things simply work.

  • There are no programs reminding you every five minutes that they need to be updated.
  • There are no Windows popups telling you that there is a problem with the firewall.
  • There is no antivirus spamming you with messages to upgrade to the paid version.
  • There is no charger, mouse or mouse pad to take around with you everywhere.
  • There are no crashes, memory errors or forced reboots.

It just works.

What a student really needs is a computer that works and if at all possible, not be too expensive without compromising on build quality.

The best laptop for a college student is a Chromebook.

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