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Best Laptop Computer for College Students 2013

Updated on July 26, 2013

Cheap Laptops for College Students - 2013

The best laptop to buy for college students really depends on the particular wants, needs, and future needs of the individual. A student firmly set on studying digital photography has a very different set of priorities than a hopeful philosopher and/or literature critic. Thus, before you start looking at laptops, write down all the features you need in a laptop and list them in the order of importance. Depending on your intended major, you will want a laptop that caters to your specific needs. Since buying a laptop is a big investment for a college student, I suggest you take your time to find the perfect one for you.

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In today's world, a laptop is more than just a productivity tool, it is also a fashion statement and an accessory. Like your smartphone, your laptop is a machine that you will not only use at work, but at home as well. It is critical that you find one that fulfills all your needs. In addition, you will need to also think about the ideal dimensions and weight of your laptop. If you hope to study abroad and travel during your summers, you might want a light and portable one. If you are all about gaming and being in the comfort of your dorm, you might want to look at bigger ones that can serve as a substitute for a desktop in terms of speed, power and size. Read on for a list of laptops that cover a wide variety of capabilities and features.

Most Portable Laptop for College Students - 2013

For the student who has class on the other side of the mountain range that divides the lecture halls and the dorm rooms, a MacBook Air would be an excellent choice. Weighing just a few pounds and thinner than a poor students' wallet, these notebooks are designed for ultimate portability while still retaining the features of a full laptop capable of all basic computing needs. After an honest assessment of how one spends his/her time on a computer, it'll usually boil down to web browsing, word processing, message sending, and YouTube watching.

Apple Macbook Air MD231ll/A 13.3-inch Laptop (OLD VERSION)
Apple Macbook Air MD231ll/A 13.3-inch Laptop (OLD VERSION)

This is a personal laptop that I own and I couldn't be happier. I've used it for about a year now and it has everything I need to do my work as a graduate student. In addition to its quick speed and ease of use, I love how thinness and portability of the Macbook Air. My backpack is very heavy because I carry around a lot of textbooks and so it was very important that I got a very light laptop. If there is one laptop that I can recommend to the average college student, it would be the Air, without a doubt.


Most Portable PC Laptop for College Students - 2013 - MacBook Alternative

If you do not want to purchase a MacBook and want to stick with a PC and Windows 7, I suggest the VIZIO as an alternative. One of the biggest complaints at Apple laptops is that they're very expensive. Even though I love my MacBook Air, I also do think they they're are a bit overpriced and they should be sold at a price that is 5 to 10% cheaper than what they are right now. However, I only purchase refurbished ones, so I actually manage to save a lot on my purchases. The VIZIO looks amazing in its clean and minimalistic design. On top of that, it is less than $700! With soaring college tuitions, it is imperative that your money wisely.

VIZIO Thin and Light CT15-A2 15.6-Inch Laptop
VIZIO Thin and Light CT15-A2 15.6-Inch Laptop

My younger brother is a PC guy and won't even touch a Mac. He owns the VIZIO and from the time I've spend on it, browsing online sites, checking my email, watching videos and doing my work on Excel, it is an excellent piece of machine. I would say it is currently the best laptop for its value.


Best Multi-Purpose Laptop for College Students - 2013

If you are planning on moving into the dorm rooms with a huge collection of DVDs and CDs, the MacBook Pro might be your computer. The emerging trend away from physical media and towards all things wireless and digital is only going to accelerate in the coming years as hard drives get smaller while storing more bytes, the Internet speeds speed up, and transistors are shrunk to impossibly tiny sizes. The MacBook Pro still has a CD/DVD optical drive for those who really do still need to pop in those shiny circular disks. However, you might want to pick one up before Apple decides to mercilessly axe that design feature from its laptop line altogether.

Best Multi-Purpose PC Laptop for College Students - 2013 - MacBook Alternative

HP computers have evolved over the years from being decent to excellent machines. The HP Pavilion has several advantages over the MacBook Pro that many diehard PC fans will enjoy. First of all, it comes with the powerful and brand new Windows 8 software, which looks very clean and improves upon a lot from its predecessor. Armed with a 750 GB 5400 rpm Hard Drive, Intel Core i3-2370M 2.4 GHz and 17.3-Inch Screen, this HP Pavilion will allow you to do any task, whether it is gaming or crunching numbers on Excel, with relative ease.

Best Laptops For the Art, Film, Fashion Design, Photography, Architecture Students - 2013

Unequivocally, one of the best displays ever squeezed into a laptop, the MacBook Pro with Retina Display is one expensive piece of machinery built for those who need the highest levels of pixel density. The display enables professional video and photography editing and contains more pixels than most of those massive high-definition big screen televisions on the market right now. If you really need a high quality laptop display or simply want to walk into a lecture hall with the latest and greatest piece of Apple technology (although this laptop is pretty indistinguishable from the other Apple laptops, they even removed the "MacBook Pro" moniker beneath the display, without the owner loudly proclaiming, "Oh man I love my new MacBook Pro with Retina Display!" to anyone in earshot), you might like this black and gray machine.

Apple MacBook Pro MC975LL/A 15.4-Inch Laptop with Retina Display (OLD VERSION)
Apple MacBook Pro MC975LL/A 15.4-Inch Laptop with Retina Display (OLD VERSION)

If you are going to be studying the arts, no matter what type, you would be foolish to get any other laptop. Yes, everyone in the industry works with MacBooks and if you want to be different by purchasing a different laptop, that's understandable. However, there are no other laptops today that can compete with providing the best software and capability to produce your best work.


Best PC Laptops For the Art, Film, Fashion Design, Photography, Architecture Students - 2013 - MacBook Alternative

The Dell Inspiron is under 1000 dollars and is quite an impressive machine that comes with everything an Art student needs. It comes with a 15.6" HD (720p) screen with LED with Truelife u2122, 8GB DDR3 memory, Intel HD Graphics 3000 (IB) and a Microsoft Office Starter 2010. I've actually had the change to run Photoshop and Final Cut Pro on this laptop and I was amazed at how well it worked. I experienced no lags or unnecessary freezes when I loaded up my projects for edits. While you many not be as "cool" or as "hip" as your fellow peers, it helps to know that you've saved a lot money on a machine that pretty much has the same capabilities as the far more expensive MacBook.

Dell Inspiron i15R-2105sLV 15-Inch Laptop (Silver) [Discontinued By Manufacturer]
Dell Inspiron i15R-2105sLV 15-Inch Laptop (Silver) [Discontinued By Manufacturer]

The first laptop I ever purchased was a Dell and I loved it because it was not only cheap, but durable and easy to use. It lasted my 5 years and it never broke down or cause me any frustrations. While I have moved on to Macs, I still vouch for Dell computers whenever my PC friends ask for recommendations on a new laptop.


Best Gaming Laptop in 2013

College is often the first time for many young adults to live away from any parental eyes or daily adult supervision for an extended period of time. If you love gaming and plan to spend many hours in your room accompanied by nothing but your computer and an incessant, unending series of rapid-fire mouse clicks, the ASUS Republic of Gamers brand of notebooks would interest you. A line of laptops specifically designed for the hardcore gamers, these ASUS machines are great gaming computers and solid laptops in general.

Find Used Laptops on Ebay

If money is really an issue and you want to purchase the cheapest laptop that will get you through college, you'll find a lot of great deals on eBay. Just make sure to take the time and research everything they offer. Only purchase from sellers that have sold a lot of items and have great ratings. If a deal seems to be too good to be true, it probably is. Online shopping for laptops is fun and convenient, but also have to be careful as well.

What do you think is the best laptop for college students?

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