Best Affordable Laptops for College Students in 2021

Schooling can be difficult, overwhelming and stressful. Don’t let the choice of a laptop add to that stress. To get rid of it, we have tested, compared and selected from several models, the 5 best affordable laptops for college students.

Whatever your industry, your uses and your budget, the ideal laptop is likely to be featured in this buying guide. If you have a bigger envelope, we invite you to check out the best laptops, the best Ultra books or the best 2-in-1s available on the market.

As a general rule, the better the performance of a laptop, the more features it has, the more it will cost. The best student laptops should offer maximum performance and options at a reasonable price.

They are an indispensable tool, able to write courses, layout perfect presentations and lectures, edit photos or videos, process data calculations without costing two years of pocket money to the person in school or a student.

Students are already trying to save as much money as possible, whether it’s paying off their college loan or paying their rent on time.

Best Affordable Laptops for College Students

They can’t decently invest a third of their monthly budget in a laptop. And even if there are entry-level laptops accessible to the greatest number, performance, on this type of model, is rarely there.

Because the student laptop is versatile: it ensures the good quality of school work AND proves to be a suitable media center, even allowing the playback of audio and video content in streaming or occasionally launching a few games.

Granted, you won’t find any state-of-the-art graphics card and maybe a cutting-edge processor in a student laptop. The price being the main criterion, the latter are generally sacrificed. However, budget solutions do not limit the creativity and entertainment needs of their users.

It is also possible to save money elsewhere than on components. The choice of operating system for example. While there are some great Windows 10 laptops here, you don’t have to stick with Microsoft’s OS. The best Chromebooks today offer incredible performance. For a lower price than most other offers.

Affordable Laptops list for College Students:

Below are the some of top laptops for college students.

Apple MacBook Air

About this item

  • Apple-designed M1 chip for a giant leap in CPU, GPU, and machine learning performance
  • Go longer than ever with up to 18 hours of battery life
  • 8-core CPU delivers up to 3.5x faster performance to tackle projects faster than ever
  • Up to eight GPU cores with up to 5x faster graphics for graphics-intensive apps and games
  • 16-core Neural Engine for advanced machine learning
  • 8GB of unified memory so everything you do is fast and fluid
  • Superfast SSD storage launches apps and opens files in an instant
  • Fanless design for silent operation
  • 13.3-inch Retina display with P3 wide color for vibrant images and incredible detail
  • FaceTime HD camera with advanced image signal processor for clearer, sharper video calls

HP Chromebook 14

About this item

  • Google play store: The millions of Android apps you know and love on your phone and tablet can now run on your Chrome device without compromising their speed, simplicity or security
  • Sleek, responsive design: Keep going comfortably with the backlit keyboard and multi-touch touchpad that supports four finger gestures set in a sleek design for moving from room to room or on the road
  • Binge watch while you work: Equipped with an Intel(R) processor, 14″ display, stereo speakers tuned by audio experts at B&O and a long battery life to get more done while having fun
  • Environmentally conscious: Low halogen, mercury-free display backlights, EPEAT(R) Silver registered Chromebook
  • Dual-core Intel(R) processor: Intel(R) Celeron(R) N4000, Dual-Core, 1.1 GHz base frequency, up to 2.6 GHz burst frequency
  • Display: 14.0-inch diagonal HD SVA anti-glare micro-edge WLED-backlit display (1366 x 768); 82% screen to body ratio
  • Memory & storage: 4 GB LPDDR4-2400 SDRAM (not upgradable) and 32 GB eMMC

New Microsoft Surface Go 2

About this item

  • Starting at just 1.2 pounds (not including Type Cover), with new 10.5” touchscreen.
  • Battery life up to 10 hours. Perfect for browsing, shopping, emails, and homework
  • Tablet portability, performance and laptop versatility with adjustable Kickstand and Signature Type Cover.
  • Stay connected with included USB-C port and headphone jack. Full HD front- and rear-facing cameras let you make crisp, clear calls to friends and family, or take and share great photos.
  • Hi-res touchscreen is perfect for browsing, playing, and binge watching.

Acer Chromebook Spin 311

About this item

  • Chromebook runs on Chrome OS – An operating system by Google that is built for the way we live today. It comes with built-in virus protection, updates automatically, boots up in seconds and continues to stay fast over time. (Internet connection is required).
  • All the Google apps you know and love come standard on every Chromebook, which means you can edit, download, and convert Microsoft Office files in Google Docs, Sheets and Slides.
  • Get access to more than 2 million Android apps from Google Play to learn and do more.
  • Chromebooks come with built-in storage for offline access to your most important files and an additional 100GB of Google Drive space to ensure that all of your files are backed up automatically.
  • Acer CP311-2H-C679 convertible Chromebook comes with 11.6” HD Touch IPS Display, Intel Celeron N4020, 4GB LPDDR4 Memory, 32GB eMMC, Google Chrome and up to 10-hours battery life.

Acer Aspire 5

About this item

  • 10th Generation Intel Core i3-1005G1 Processor (Up to 3.4GHz) | 4GB DDR4 On-Board Memory | 128GB NVMe SSD
  • 15.6″ Full HD (1920 x 1080) widescreen LED backlit IPS Display | Intel UHD Graphics
  • Intel Wireless Wi-Fi 6 AX201 802.11ax | Backlit Keyboard | Fingerprint Reader | Up to 8 Hours Battery Life
  • 1 – USB 3.1 (Type-C) Gen 1 port (up to 5 Gbps), 2 – USB 3.1 Gen 1 Port (one with Power-off Charging), 1 – USB 2.0 Port & 1 – HDMI Port with HDCP Support
  • With Windows 10 Home (S mode), you’ll experience fast start-ups, a familiar yet expanded start menu, and great new ways to get stuff done.


In recent years, most companies are changing their processor architecture, going from Intel Core (i3, i5 and i7) to AMD’s Ryzen processors, since as experts indicate, these processors are much more powerful with more affordable prices. .

Also, another novelty that it announced in June and that will not begin until the end of this, is Apple’s change of ARM processors, the fourth technological transition of the company. First it was the PowerPC, then Mac OS X, Intel processors and now its ARM architecture chips.

This will involve a transition as happened with the previous changes, so if you buy an Apple laptop now it is very likely that in the coming years you will have no updates to your applications since they will only be available with the new architecture with ARM chips.

If you do not usually use specific applications and only use the browser, making a purchase of a MacBook now can be a good option to have a powerful and cheaper laptop.

To consider

Going to college without a decent laptop is limiting yourself and putting yourself one notch below other students . Since it is very important to be able to learn and have all the tools available to be the best.

That is why we do not have to look at offers and promotions , but rather choose a laptop suitable for our needs.

Whether we are university students or if we are shopping for one, we have selected 8 tips to help you choose the right laptop for students to improve their learning now and in the future. These are our quick tips and all the details we need to know.

Quick tips

  • Weight: 12.5 to 14-inch displays offer a balance between usability and portability.
  • Battery: More than eight hours of battery life is ideal if we are going to use the laptop on the go.
  • Durability : With a splash resistant keyboard
  • Recommended features: Intel Core m or Intel Core i processor, 8 GB of RAM and 128 GB of hard disk.
  • Operating system: Windows is the best for productivity and macOS is the best for art and design students.
  • 2-in-1: Consider a 2-in-1 laptop if we want to use the laptop as a tablet for drawing or taking notes.


The purpose of buying a laptop for a student is that they can take it to class . Unless we need a desktop laptop, we recommend looking for a laptop that weighs less than 2 kilos and a 12.5 to 14-inch screen.

Arts students may need larger displays with higher resolution, such as the 15-inch retina display on the MacBook Pro.

There are laptops with smaller 11-inch screens, but their small size makes them very uncomfortable to read and write. A 13-inch screen is the best option for portability and usability, although art students and engineers can get more out of a larger screen.


If you have a large budget, we recommend buying aluminum, magnesium or carbon fiber laptops. It is also important that the manufacturer has performed durability tests.

Many notebooks are designed to pass MIL-SPEC 810G (the military ultra-toughness test) durability tests. A splash-proof keyboard is a great option.


We are looking for a product that is not obsolete before finishing the degree, so we should take into consideration the following requirements:

laptops for writers

  • Screen: Our priority is to find a screen of at least 1920 × 1080 (1080p or Full HD), to be able to write works and investigate without problem. Higher resolutions are perfect for photo and video editing (2560×1440 QHD or 3840×2160 UHD), but these tend to consume a lot of battery and increase the price. Touchscreens add tablet functionality to the laptop but consume a lot of power and make the battery last 10 to 25 percent less, so we recommend not choosing a touch screen unless necessary.
  • Processor (CPU): If we want a laptop with great performance today and in the future, we recommend choosing an Intel Core i5 or i7 processor. If our budget is small, we recommend choosing a Core i3, Pentium or Celeron processor that will be enough to carry out work or an Intel Core M with decent performance.
  • RAM memory: 4 GB is the minimum we need, 8 GB of RAM is ideal. That will keep the laptop flowing without interruptions while we use multiple applications.
  • Storage: The best option for a laptop hard drive is to be a solid disk (SSD), since the rest of the available hard drives are usually larger, slower and noisier. SSD hard drives offer less capacity, much faster but are much more expensive.
  • Ports: USB-C seems to be the future, but there are still many devices that use USB type A. We recommend choosing a laptop that has both ports and multiple USB ports, to save us carrying adapters or USB hub.
  • Choose the operating system: It is important to check with the university about the software requirements. Sometimes schools ask us for a specific type of software or operating system to ensure the fulfillment of future jobs.Windows 10 is the most popular and versatile operating system, with thousands of applications and offers the Cortana assistant for searching. Apple macOS has improved its integration with the iPhone and its Siri digital assistant.And although Windows 10 is the platform with the most programs, there are certain applications that are exclusive for Mac, such as some for photo, video and animation editing. Chromebooks, while offering limited software options, can be the ideal option for buyers with very tight budgets that can work with all documents on the Internet.
  • Battery life: The duration specified in laptops is usually an estimate of how long the battery can last, but there are many variables that affect battery life. These are: the brightness of the screen, its resolution and applications that we have open at the same time. The higher those numbers the longer the battery life.
  • Keyboard quality: We recommend looking for a complete keyboard with space for the arrow keys, which are backlit and respond well to keystrokes.

Features of a laptop for a college student

Touch, Ultrabook, 8 GB of RAM, SSD hard drive, new 9XXX processors … (The 10th generation are already beginning to appear in some countries) are some optimal characteristics that a laptop for a student or self-employed (freelance) has to have on a daily basis.

My friends and family always ask me which laptop to buy. They know that I am a Laptop Engineer and that I love the world of technology.

This time I am going to go one step further, and I am going to recommend the best laptops for all of us who work on our own and for demanding students ( those that I would buy myself ), mainly for those of us who have a blog (bloggers) or a website ( several in my case), we edit images with Photoshop or similar, we create invoices, we program, we publish books, we use WordPress, we use Google Docs, Excel, we create presentations, we attend conferences … and we are interested that our laptop does not fail, despite little, it has enough space and be powerful.

Processor types

One of the most common problems is not knowing what the processor numbers mean . It’s good? Is it from the last year?

To distinguish how the types of processors are listed In 2018 the 8XXX generation begins, in 2021 the 9XXX generation and in 2021 the 10th generation.

Ranking of the best laptops for students

In this ranking you will find laptops that will help you in your work and will make you not despair when you use them.

I’m not forgetting the budget, but quality pays off and in most cases it is better to pay more so that it lasts longer without problems than having to change laptops every year because it starts to slow down, does that sound familiar?

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