Best Lightweight Laptops for College Students

Best Lightweight Laptops for College Students

Lightweight Laptops are essential for every college student these days because colleges make it mandatory for students to have one. Lightweight laptops are loved by students, that’s because they fit inside backpacks easily. They are required for note-taking and doing assignments. Laptops come at all types and prices. Getting a new lightweight laptop might not be the most straightforward task for anyone, considering the vast number of laptops out there.

However, we have compiled a list of best lightweight laptops for college students to help you make a choice. We made sure to test and review all laptops based on their hardware, operating system, and their overall performance. After reading our list you’ll be able to choose the best lightweight laptop for college.
Let’s start!

Top 11 Best Lightweight Laptops for College Students

1. Apple MacBook Air

It’s one of the thinnest laptops on this list. The body is carved out of high-grade aluminum that is robust and strong. It’s excellent to keep in backpacks, thus making it one of the best laptops for college students. Overall, the laptop weighs very little and is one of the lightest laptops outs there.

Apple calls its display technology the Retina display technology. The screen measures in at 13.3” and has a resolution of 2560×1600. It has a pixel density of 227 per inch, and the aspect ratio of this screen is 16:10. Its screen is one of the best in the market right now.

Apple MacBook Air features a compact backlit keyboard that is best suited for typing and quick note-taking The large trackpad makes it really easy to navigate through the web pages and do tasks like video and photo editing without the need of plugging a mouse.

This laptop features two Thunderbolt 3 USB Type-C ports that can be used for charging as well as connecting other peripherals like monitors and external hard drives.

Apple MacBook Air features the latest 10th Gen Intel Core i3 CPU with Intel Iris Plus GPU. Apple MacBook Air also comes with a fast SSD, and you can choose between 256GB,512GB, and 2TB variants. It also comes with 8GB of RAM.

You won’t feel a single moment of lag while using this laptop. You can expect around 10 hours of solid battery backup on this laptop. It runs the latest macOS Catalina out of the. It also features a touch ID for security.

Apple MacBook is one of the best laptops for college students right now. It’s sleek design and portability are unparalleled. It’s great for casual users and productive ones.

Pros
  • Sleek Design
  • Fast SSD
  • 10th Gen Core i3 CPU
  • Lackluster Battery Backup
  • Touch ID for Security
Cons
  • RAM and SSD can’t be upgraded

2. Acer Swift 7

This laptop follows a minimalistic approach with its design. It’s sleek and thin. The chassis is carved from black and gold themed aluminum, which adds to its overall aesthetic appeal. It performs amazingly well for its price, making it one of the best lightweight laptops for college students.

The screen on this laptop measures in at 13.3 inches and provides a full HD resolution. The screen is also backlit and Corning Gorilla 4 is also there to protect the screen from any scratches.

The keyboard featured on this laptop has a black accent to it with gold background. The keys feel excellent and responsive. The trackpad on this laptop is also big and features numerous gestures to do various tasks.

Acer Swift 7 features two USB 3.1 Type-C ports. You can use these ports to connect your laptop to a plethora of devices.

This model features the 7th Gen Intel Core i7 CPU with Turbo Boost up to 3.2Ghz. It also has Intel HD Graphics 615 as the GPU. It comes with an 8GB LPDDR3 memory that can’t be upgraded. For storage, it has a 256 GB SSD.

It’s the thinnest laptop featured on this list. Coupled with its powerful processor and sleek design, this is a must-buy for anyone who’s looking to get a laptop for college.

Pros
  • Sleek Design
  • Responsive Trackpad
  • FHD Screen
Cons
  • RAM and SSD can’t be upgraded

3. HP Spectre Touch x360

This laptop has class written all over it. It features a foldable hinge design, which can essentially turn it into a functional tablet. The display has large black bezels on top and bottom. The body is made out of high-grade aluminum and has a black and gold color scheme all over it. Spectre might come in a thicker category, but it is still one of the most productive laptops for students.

It features a 4K OLED touchscreen at 15.6 inches with Corning Gorrilla Glass 4 for protection. It has one of the best displays for any laptop in this list.

The keyboard featured on Spectre is pretty solid and also has a full-sized Numpad.The trackpad on this laptop is compatible with a stylus, and you can use it for a wide range of productivity tasks.

It features two thunderbolt USB Type-C ports, a full-sized USB 3.1 port, HDMI port, headphone jack, and a fingerprint reader. Spectre has an 8th Gen Intel Core i7 CPU, which is clocked at 3.1Ghz and is boostable up to 4.1Ghz. For the GPU, it has a dedicated AMD Radeon RX Vega M with 4GB memory.

The RAM inside this laptop is 16GB. Spectre comes with 1TB of M.2 SSD, which is upgradeable. The Vega M GPU destroys its competition when it comes to gaming and video editing tasks. The OLED display conserves the most battery when you’re using the dark mode. It can easily give you a battery backup of around 5-6 hours on moderate usage. 

HP Spectre Touch x360 is a business-class laptop that is aimed at college students. It’s a well-designed laptop for the students who are currently enrolled in media studies. The Vega M GPU makes it easy to edit videos and photos on the go.

Pros
  • Foldable Design
  • Upgradeable SSD
  • Stylus Support
  • AMD Radeon RX Vega M GPU is Strong
  • Fingerprint Reader
  • 4K OLED Display
Cons
  • Battery Life is substantial

4. ASUS Chromebook Flip C302

This Chromebook features a foldable display that essentially turns into a fully functional tablet. The entire body is made out of metal. It remains fairly lightweight and doesn’t take up much space in your backpack. It runs ChromeOS and is one of the best performing laptops for students right now.

It features a 12.5-inch full HD touchscreen display. The trackpad featured on this laptop is excellent for note-taking. The trackpad is fairly big and compact and very responsive. It features a single USB Type-C port that can be used for charging as well using peripherals. It also comes with an SD card slot.

This Chromebook comes in 3 variants with different processors. Intel Core m3, Intel Core m5, and Intel Core m7. It also has Intel HD Graphics 515 as the graphics processor. For storage, it has 64GB SSD and 4GB of DDR3 RAM.You can expect a battery backup of up to 12 hours on this Chromebook.

If you’re someone who likes note-taking and browsing the web, then this laptop might be a great choice for you. It handles all your web browsing needs with ease and doesn’t lag at all.

Pros
  • Full Metal Body
  • Chrome OS
  • Android Support
  • Exceptional Keyboard
Cons
  • No Support for Windows

5. Lenovo Yoga C940

You can transform this lightweight laptop into a fully functional tablet with Microsoft Pen Support. The Iron Gray color scheme on this laptop looks really classy and attractive. Lenovo Yoga remains lightweight and durable at the same time. It has a 10th Gen Intel Core i7 CPU, making it one of the high-performance 2 in 1 laptop for students.

It features a 14-inch 1080p display with full touch support. All Microsoft Pens and stylus are supported by the screen. The keyboard has a sleek finish and is backlit, with a dust-proof key that can be cleaned easily. The trackpad, on the other hand, supports various gestures and registers touch input without any delay.

Lenovo Yoga C940 features 2x Thunderbolt 3 USB Type-C ports, USB-A port, and a headphone jack.

It features the latest 10th Gen Intel Core i7 CPU with Intel Iris Plus graphics. This laptop handles all the daily tasks easily and runs the office suite without any problems, essentially making it a good choice for college students.

It features 16 GB of DDR4 RAM and 512 GB SSD for storage. The CPU inside this laptop can control the battery usage very efficiently and can easily give you up to 5-6 hours of battery backup with moderate usage.

Lenovo Yoga C940 is a powerful laptop aimed at college students. Considering the hardware inside, it comes in at an affordable price, essentially making it one of the best laptops for college students.

Pros
  • 360-degree design
  • Touch Screen
  • 10th Gen Core i7 CPU
  • Excellent sound quality in tablet mode
  • Microsoft Pen Support
Cons
  • Bezels on top and bottom of the screen are noticeable

 6. HP Elite Dragonfly Notebook PC

The charcoal black color finish on this laptop looks amazing from every angle. The entire laptop weighs in at roughly 4lbs, and that’s surprisingly lightweight. It has one of the fastest SSD’s on any laptop paired with 8th Gen Intel i5 CPU.  

It features a 13.3inch display with 1920×1080 Widescreen resolution. The screen also supports touch input and can be used with a stylus as well.

The keyboard on this laptop is intended for note-taking and doing your class assignments. The trackpad sits flush with the laptop body and provides a large surface area for your fingers.

This laptop features two Thunderbolt 3 USB Type-C ports, one USB 3.1 port, HDMI 1.4 port, and a headphone jack. The Type-C ports can be used to connect this laptop to a plethora of devices. 

Dragonfly Notebook PC offers an 8th Gen Intel Core i5 CPU, which is rated at 1.6Ghz and features a turbo boost up to 3.2Ghz. For storage, this laptop has 256GB SSD and 16GB of DDR3 RAM.This laptop has a great battery life and can easily last up to 8 hours with moderate usage.

HP Elite Dragonfly is an excellent choice for a laptop if you’re on a budget and want something that can last and provide superb portability. The touch screen on this laptop is fairly responsive and supports stylus and Microsoft pen inputs. It’s one of the best laptops for college students right now.

Pros
  • Touch Screen
  • Fast 256 GB SSD
  • Native Drivers in Windows Update
  • Great Wireless Connectivity
Cons
  • The hinge isn’t easy to move

7. Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon

It follows the traditional ThinkPad laptop design with red and black elements. The chassis of this laptop is crafted from aluminum. The 7th Gen Intel i7 CPU handles everything flawlessly and provides maximum performance. Essentially making it one of the best laptops for students.

It features a 14-inch IPS display at FHD resolution.It is best suited to watch movies and do video editing.  It has the same old keyboard layout as featured on older ThinkPad laptops. The trackpad is fairly small as compared to other laptops, but it works flawlessly.

It has a wide range of connectivity options, which include 2 Thunderbolt 3 USB Type-C ports, 2 USB 3.1 ports, one HDMI 1.4 port, an Ethernet port, and a headphone jack to connect your favorite pair of headphones.

It features a 7th Gen Core i7 CPU, which performs exceptionally well and can match the performance of its desktop counterpart. It also features Intel UHD Graphics 620 as the main GPU inside this laptop.

It features a 256 GB NVME SSD, which is really fast and reliable. It also has 8GB of DDR3 RAM and can be upgraded to 16GB. This laptop has a quick charge feature and you can expect a solid battery backup of up to 8 hours with moderate use.

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 has the traditional appeal of the old ThinkPad laptops. It features solid hardware for a reasonable price. Essentially, making it one of the best performing laptops for college students.

Pros
  • Traditional ThinkPad design
  • RAM and SSD can be upgraded
  • Excellent Audio Quality
Cons
  • The thumbstick is prone to fall out

8. ASUS VivoBook 15

VivoBook 15 follows a minimalistic approach when it comes to design. The entire body is made out of durable plastic, which is very good at keeping the laptop cool at all times. ASUS calls their design as ‘Ergolift’ design, which is made for improved typing on this laptop. It features Windows S mode and can be configured to use normal Windows 10.

This laptop features a 15.6-inch FHD display with minimum bezels and 88% screen to body ratio. The bezels on this laptop are the smallest bezels on our list. The viewing angles are great, and the image remains sharp at all times without any type of ghosting. 

It features the complete Numpad in a rather compact build. All the keys are accessible within hands, and there’s an ample gap between each key. The trackpad is responsive and features a fingerprint scanner on it.

It features 3 USB 3.1 ports, one USB Type-C port, HDMI port, SD Card Reader, and a headphone jack. It supports up to 4K 60Hz when using the HDMI port for display.

It features 10th Gen Intel i3 CPU, Intel UHD Graphics, 8GB of RAM, and 128GB SSD. Performance-wise, the laptop is snappy and responsive. For most day to day tasks like taking notes and doing assignments, it is more than enough.

You can easily expect a battery timing of 8-9 hours using this laptop with moderate usage.

ASUS VivoBook 15 comes with the latest generation of Intel Core i3 CPU and offers robust performance. It is meant for typing assignments and taking notes on the go, making it a perfect fit for college students.

Pros
  • Sleek Design
  • 10th Gen Core i3 CPU
  • Long Battery Backup
  • Fingerprint Scanner for Security
Cons
  • Low Storage Capacity

9. Lenovo Chromebook Flex 5

Lenovo Chromebook Flex 5 features a very sharp design that is reminiscent of early business laptops. The hinge on this laptop can be folded by 360-degrees, essentially making it function as a tablet computer. This Chromebook is carved out of high-grade aluminum, which makes it really lightweight. It runs ChromeOS and can run Android apps as well.

Flex 5 features a 13.5inch Full-HD touchscreen display with stereo speakers on both sides. The keyboard is great on this Chromebook. You will love taking your notes on it. Furthermore, the trackpad is also nice and responsive.

This Chromebook features 2 USB Type-C ports, 1 USB-A port, and a headphone jack. You can connect it to external monitors by using an appropriate dongle. 

It comes with 10th Gen Intel Core i3 CPU, which is really efficient and runs spectacularly well under ChromeOS. It also features 64 GB of eMMC storage and 4 GB of DDR3 RAM.

The web browsing experience is great on this Chromebook, and it can handle the heaviest excel files on Google Sheets easily. It can easily provide you with a battery backup of up to 10 hours easily.

Lenovo Chromebook Flex 5 is a great laptop to consider if you’re looking to buy one for college. It can handle Google Docs, and Google Slides really well, which are mostly used in colleges for tasks and presentations.

Pros
  • Aluminum Casing
  • 10th Gen Core i3 CPU
  • Solid Battery Backup
Cons
  • RAM and SSD can’t be upgraded

10. Google Pixelbook Go Chromebook

Google kept it real simple with this PixelBook. It follows the traditional sleek laptop design with a plastic body and a large screen. It is one of the flagship tablet-laptop hybrids presented by Google. It is targeted towards college students and hobbyists who like to take notes on the go.

It features a 13.3inch touchscreen. It has excellent viewing angles, and you’ll enjoy watching movies on it. It features a backlit chiclet keyboard. Keys are comfortable in use and don’t strain your hands for long typing sessions. The trackpad is also huge and offers great accuracy. 

This laptop features a single USB Type-C port and a headphone jack. You can buy a separate dongle to connect other devices with this Chromebook.

It comes in three variants, Intel Core m3, m5, and m7, with two RAM configurations; 8GB and 16GB. Storage options include 64GB as the baseline and 256GB as top-end. 

This Chromebook is fairly responsive and handles the daily tasks exceptionally well; you can run Google Docs and Google Sheets without any limitations at all, and they all function like native apps.

Battery life is amazing on this Chromebook. A single charge can last you up to 12 hours with moderate usage. It also offers quick charge capability, and can easily power the device for 2 hours with 20 minutes of charging.

Google Pixelbook Go is an excellent choice if you’re starting your life in college. It has all the necessary tools to help you with your college tasks. The battery lasts nearly forever, and the keyboard is brilliant for typing.

Pros
  • Amazing Battery Backup
  • Google Play Store Support
  • Quick Charge gets you up and working in no time
Cons
  • RAM and SSD can’t be upgraded

11. Huawei MateBook X  

Huawei has done serious work in the design department of this laptop. The lightweight aluminum build with its stunning looks, surely makes it an excellent package. The design looks inspired by Apple’s MacBook lineup. However, there are some fundamental changes to it, such as the new color scheme. The entire laptop weighs in around 3lbs.

Huawei went with the unconventional 3K 13.9inch touch screen, which is in a league of its own. The screen is vivid and sharp as compared to other displays on our list. There are virtually no bezels present on this laptop; it has a 91% screen-to-body ratio. This screen is designed to take advantage of High-definition media.

There’s a MacBook inspired chiclet keyboard that is backlit and works reasonably well. The trackpad covers a large surface area and is very responsive.

It features compact Mate Dock 2.0: USB-A port, USB-C port, HDMI port, and VGA port for wired connectivity.

It also features 802.11 ac Wi-Fi and the latest Bluetooth 4.1 technology.

It features 7th Gen Intel Core i7 CPU and Nvidia Geforce MX 150 as the GPU.

It performs exceptionally well, and the entire bootup sequence only takes 8 seconds. The GPU can handle casual games and video editing reasonably easily.

It also features 16 GB of RAM and 512 GB SSD. The SSD works phenomenal in this laptop; the read and write speeds are fantastic. It is best suited if you’re transferring large video files from your camera to your MateBook X.

The discrete card setup makes the laptop battery efficient, and you can expect a battery backup of about 8-10 hours with moderate usage. However, services like Dolby ATMOS Sound on this laptop might consume more battery.

Huawei MateBook X is innovative at its peak. It features security measures like a fingerprint scanner and offers a boot time of only 8 seconds. This laptop is a serious performer when it comes to video and photo editing, if you’re a college student and want a machine that can handle your daily media assignments, then this might be the one for you.

Pros
  • Sleek Design
  • Geforce MX150 GPU
  • 512 GB SSD for Storage
  • Fingerprint Security
Cons
  • RAM and SSD can’t be upgraded

Buying Guide

The need for a new laptop cannot be denied with a new school year. It is indeed a tough job to find the perfect model for yourself. Your mind is probably bombarded with questions like: how much horsepower do I need? Should I go for a MacBook or the Chromebook will do the job? How much should you or your parents spend on buying a laptop? 

Don’t worry, even with hundreds of laptops available in the market, picking the best laptop for college students is simple if you follow the below-mentioned guidelines:

Operating System and Hardware

Different students have different needs when it comes to computing. It all depends upon the degree program you’re enrolled in. You will be able to get your hands on a system that is less expensive. Something that is proficient at basics like web browsing, email, and word processing. 

If that is all you want and your college does not specifically want you to own a Windows or Mac system, then you can go for a Chromebook. You can get that system because it runs quickly and does not have any hassles like blue screens or viruses. 

However, if your degree plans need graphics-intensive work, for example, CAD, video editing, drawings, and 3D modeling, then you must go for the laptop with a higher-end processor and plenty of RAM. Moreover, you need an SSD and a dedicated graphics card in your laptop to make sure it functions up to the mark.

Screen Size

For college students, a 13-inch screen is the right size. Make sure to take the screen size into your consideration because it decides the overall weight and size of the laptop. A screen size larger than 15.6 inches won’t fit inside your backpack at all. On the other hand, a small screen size, let’s say 13.3 inches, might be too compact for comfort. Whatever size you may decide to buy, don’t forget to check the weight of the system. A machine that weighs more than 4-5 pounds will be too uncomfortable to carry around the campus the whole day

Storage

There was a time when the only rule for buying a laptop was to get the system with the largest hard drive you can buy. But nowadays this rule has changed. Now people prefer speed over capacity. 

But the question here is will you really get on with 256GB or 128GB storage. Because that is what you are most likely to find in an affordable Laptop. But don’t forget we are now living in a cloud-based world. Many students stream movies and movies from services like Netflix and Spotify, which is why they do not need a huge local storage for the multimedia stuff. School papers and other documents don’t take much space, and most probably, they will be stored in office online, or Google Drive anyway. 

Battery Life

No student likes a laptop dying midway of taking notes. Always make sure to get the laptop that guarantees the best battery life. Avoid gaming laptops at all costs, because they consume hefty amounts of power and drain the battery fairly quickly. Getting a Chromebook would be the best choice if battery timing is your biggest concern. However, you can try various tips online to conserve the battery capacity of your laptop.

FAQs

What is the best laptop for college students in 2020?

The best laptop for a college student would be MacBook Air with the 10th generation Intel Core i3 processor. The reason why it is the best laptop for college students is because of its simple design and long-lasting battery, thanks to the efficient 10th Gen CPU. It can easily provide a battery backup of more than 6-8 hours with moderate use. It delivers the best laptop experience with its sleek design and ergonomic build. The on-board SSD has a league of its own and promises the fastest file transfer speeds as compared to any other laptop on our list.

How much storage does a college student need on their laptop?

As laptops are getting thinner and thinner, the storage choices are reducing as well. The best storage option for a college student would be a 256 GB SSD. However, there are more storage options available in the market. The student can always use an external hard drive to increase its storage capacity. 

Which is the best affordable laptop for a college student?

The best affordable laptop for a college student on this list would be ASUS VivoBook 15. It runs Windows 10 in S mode and can be switched to normal Windows 10 easily. It has all the features that a college-going student needs, such as an excellent keyboard and battery backup. It’s great for note-taking and doing assignments. 

Are Chromebooks good for college students?

Chromebooks are really good for college students because they are relatively lightweight as compared to other laptops. They run a streamlined operating system called ChromeOS, which is developed by Google. Apart from running web applications, Chromebooks can also run Android apps, which can be installed from the Google Play Store. Chromebooks run smoothly because there is no clutter from useless files at all.

Which Apple laptop is best for college students?

Apple MacBook Air is the best laptop for college students. It offers great technical support from Apple, and macOS runs very smoothly. As compared to Windows 10, macOS features additional software suites like Apple Keynote and Apple Pages; both are extremely useful in the college environment.

What is a good Chromebook for a college student?

Google Pixelbook Go Chromebook is the best choice for college students. It has all the necessary tools to help you with your college tasks. The battery backup on this Chromebook is really great and offers around 12 hours of battery timing. Note-taking is a delight on this laptop with its chiclet keyboard.

Is MacBook Air or Pro better for college?

It entirely depends on the use case scenario. For media students, MacBook Pro might be a better choice, but for the regular college student, MacBook Air is a perfect choice. It offers all the features that are required by a college student. macOS runs smoothly, and it can handle video editing tasks as well.

Is a MacBook Pro worth it for college?

Honestly, a MacBook Pro isn’t worth it for the college students. It has features that a college student might never utilize. It is meant for professionals who like doing their work wherever they go. A better choice would be to consider buying a MacBook Air. It offers portability and features along with a reasonable price.

Conclusion

Laptops were once thought to be phased out by the rising trend of tablet computers once; however, they resurfaced again, and now they’re more important than ever. You can’t even pass a single semester in college, even if you’re studying an arts degree, you’ll still need a laptop. It is up to you to make a choice for a laptop that suits your needs.

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