Whether you need an affordable and lightweight laptop for your studies or a durable and powerful machine for your business needs – you’re in the right place. In this article, we’ll walk you through the 3 crucial steps of choosing the best laptop and offer a comprehensive list of best laptops to work and study on the go.
3 Key Elements to Choosing a Laptop
Here’s a brief buying guide to help you choose the right model among many options out there on the market.
Pick the Right Size
Do you plan to carry on your laptop around a lot? Does the screen resolution matter to you? While small laptops are great for typing and browsing the web, the bigger ones are perfect for doing workstation-level productivity. It makes sense to get an 11-12 inch laptop for actual on-lap use like on trains or travels, while 13-15 inch models are more suitable as a stationary device.
Depending on the screen size, your laptop is either going to be lightweight at around 2.5 to 3.5 pounds for 11-12 inch models and easily portable, or heavier with a weight of 4.5 to 6.5 pounds for 13-15 inches ones, and will probably stay at your desk most days.
Consider the Performance You Need
The innards of your ideal laptop are equally, if not more, important than the outside look. Pay attention to such parameters as the RAM – the bigger it is, the more tabs you can open at once without it all creeping at a snail’s pace. Also, be aware of which processor you get, it has a huge influence on a laptop’s performance. There are ones that are Intel Core-based and others that are powered with AMD-processors. While the first are mainstream ones, the latter are less common. Choose how much power you need to get from your device and read about its specs carefully.
Think of Important Details
Do you need a touchpad? What devices are you going to plug into your laptop? What’s your ideal keyboard? Some laptops have only 2 USB ports, while others have up to 4 and some come with a DVD drive built-in. At the same time, there are models with highly responsive touchpads, as well as those with hit-and-miss ones. On top of that, laptop keyboards are also very different. For instance, there are some with or without a numeric keypad. So, pay attention not only to main device characteristics such as performance or desktop resolution but also to the details which might make your laptop experience just that much better.
Top 3 Laptops for Studying
Read about the best laptop options for students to help manage your school workload and cruise your way through your education. We’ve tested them all and here’s what we found out!
Apple MacBook Air 13 (2019)
As one of the thinnest and lightest (2.75 pounds) laptops on the market, this model is a perfect choice for students. Yet, only for those who don’t mind its relatively high price tag which starts at $999.
We loved its 8GB of RAM, 128GB of storage and 13.3-inch display, as it’s just enough for managing a student’s workflow. Other than that, it’s 100% made of recyclable aluminum, which makes it more sustainable in terms of the environment. Finally, this model has a lovely, minimalistic design, just like all other Apple devices.
The downside of the Air 2019 is that there are only 2 Thunderbolt 3 ports (USB-C), which may be not enough if you plan to use your laptop as a hub for other devices. Besides, the hardware upgradeability is limited after you customize the specs of the device at the point of purchase.
Brilliant retina display
Security via ID-touch
Extremely lightweight design
Limited port selection
No room for memory, processor, or storage upgrade
Huawei Matebook 13
Huawei Matebook 13 runs on Windows 10 and offers 8GB of RAM as well as 512GB of storage. The price starts at $985 and for that, you get 13 inches of touch-screen, a highly productive processor (Intel Core i7-8565U), and, surprisingly — no thunderbolt 3 port.
Yet, its top-class speakers and Nvidia MX150 graphics card make it a good value for the money you spend. We especially loved how ultra-lightweight (2.91 pounds) it is because it makes it such a great carry-on option. However, there was a disappointment — it’s short battery life makes it less portable than it seems. The battery lasts between six to seven hours of active browsing, writing docs, or watching videos.
On the bright side, Matebook 13 has an extremely comfortable keyboard, suitable for massive typing challenges during lectures or doing homework.
Short battery life
No thunderbolt 3 port
The screen is a bit dim
Our Top Pick
Microsoft Surface Go is basically a 2-in-1 option; combining a tablet and a lightweight laptop. We’ve chosen it as the best laptop for college because it combines a notebook for lectures and for pure entertainment all for under $400!
Microsoft Surface Go
Similar to the Macbook Air 13 (2019), the Surface Go has 128GB of storage and 8GB of RAM. Yet, it is significantly cheaper (starting at $532) and lighter (1.15 pounds without the keyboard), making it as portable as possible. This gives it great educational potential, which we loved about it most.
A keyboard is sold for $100 at least, and it has an excellent trackpad and good-sized keys. Yet, it’s a little narrow, making it not really comfortable for on-lap use.
The weakest part of the Surface Go is its got a low-power processor, using the Intel Pentium Gold 4415Y. Because of this, you can’t expect a super-fast performance, but in fact, its powerful enough for completing regular student tasks. Also, bear in mind that the laptop only leverages a single USB Type C port.
Small, lightweight design
Great core processing power
Narrow for on-lap use
No full-size USB ports
Top 3 Laptops For Business
Got some work to do? Read our business laptop recommendations that’ll help you to find your best work companion!
Lenovo Yoga c630
Starting at $1137 Lenovo Yoga offers an outstanding battery life (up to 25 hours) and performance. It’s powered with the newest iteration of Qualcomm’s Snapdragon processor and has an integrated fingerprint reader, which is a great security feature to protect important work documents.
It has 4GB of RAM which can be extended up to 8GB, and 128GB of storage and 2 Type-C ports. The laptop is significantly lighter than a MacBook Pro 15 (2019) and weighs only 2.71 pounds with the keyboard and cover included.
The reasons Lenovo Yoga falls behind its competitors are its weak speakers and front-facing camera, which are important features for those dealing with lots of video calls. So, despite being thin, light, and well suited for business trips, it still has room for improvement.
Sturdy, aluminum chassis
Extreme battery life
8GB RAM option
Poor quality front-facing camera
Dell Latitude e5420
Dell Latitude e529 is an all-around laptop with a bright display, responsive touchpad, and powerful speakers. The model can be customized (which will add to the price), yet a minimal version in terms of configuration (which we had a chance to test) is also great. You can get it for $670 at the lowest.
Basically, Dell Latitude e540 is a powerful and sturdy laptop with a 14-inch screen, an Intel Core i5-based configuration, 16GB of RAM (upgradable up to 32GB), and 512GB of storage. We especially liked its convenient handle on the front of the laptop, which makes it super easy to transport for business trips. Still, mind that it’s pretty heavy, weighing in at 6.2 pounds.
On the downside, even though there are are two USB 3.0 ports and a USB-C port, they are situated all around the case, which means you’ll have wires everywhere. Also, there is no webcam and each new feature you add or upgrade is going to make your laptop significantly increase in price. We still recommend it for those looking for a reliable and durable device, which can be used both as a carry-around or stationery item.
Comfortable RGB keyboard
Excellent battery life
Poorly designed stylus garage
Our Top Pick
We’ve chosen the Apple MacBook Pro (15-inch 2019) as our top laptop for business needs for its fantastic display, lightweight design, and great productivity. We loved its features and were especially pleased by the internal upgrades available. Read further for all the details!
Apple MacBook Pro (15-inch 2019)
This well-designed, professional laptop offers a long battery life, comfortable keyboard, and upgradable internals, which makes it a perfect choice for business needs.
In fact, the Apple MacBook Pro (15-inch 2019) is recognised as being the most powerful among all the other laptops Apple has released. It weighs 4 pounds and is admirably slim for a laptop, with a 15.4-inch display. Besides, 32GB of RAM and 4TB of storage, 4 Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) ports, and the newest Intel processor, all add up to make it one of the best business laptops on the market overall. It’s speedy and can survive long trips without needing extra charging, but you’d have to pay at least $2399 for all these benefits.
Opt for Apple MacBook Pro (15-inch 2019) if you are an Apple fan (cause you’d love it) or if you want a high-quality laptop and don’t mind the relative expense.
Good battery life
No user upgrades of repairs
Keyboard can malfunction
There is no best laptop overall. Pick the one which corresponds with your needs and your budget. Luckily, there are many models to choose from, most of them are pretty good, but all come with various and differing specs. Pick a super lightweight one to carry it around or get a powerful, yet heavy model to keep it at your desk. The choice lies in your hands at the end of the day, but we hope our guide helped you out! Follow our updates and find all the innovations and tech news at one point!