Looking for a great laptop deal is a lot more challenging than it used to be, especially with the market awash with models that differ slightly, specification-wise, but sell for almost the same price. This situation makes shopping for a laptop for college students is a grueling task as they seek to get the best in performance to handle the numerous research tasks, durable to make it through the campus life without a need for replacement, and with multimedia functionality for recreational activities. All these features need to be considered in light of the limited financial resources most students have to live with. With that in mind, below is a list of some of the best college laptops this year.
Top 6 Laptops for College Students
Toshiba Portege U945-S4140
In an age where ultra-books are hip and happening, ultra-portables can seem somewhat old-school. This latest model from Toshiba proves that an ultraportable can also be hip and happening, and still deliver performance, value and convenience. For starters its light enough, weighing in at about 4.1 pounds, to forget it’s in your bag. In terms of performance features, the laptop comes with an Intel Core i5 processor running at 2.7 GHz, teamed with a 500 GB 5400RPM hard drive and 6GB of RAM. In regards to multimedia functionality, it has an Intel HD Graphics card and an Intel Wireless Display (WiDi) for users who need to stream video to an HD TV set. Other salient features include a 9-hour average battery life, DVD and RW drive, VGA and HDMI ports, two USB 2.0 ports, a touch pad and keyboard, and built-in stereo speakers.
Lenovo IdeaPad Y480
Typical of Lenovo, its plain look masks its heavy performance features. It flaunts Intel’s new “Ivy Bridge” quad core i7 processor that runs at 2.3 GHz, coupled with an 8GB DIMM RAM. In addition, its NVidia GeForce GT640M LE graphics gives it the capability to handle the most demanding games. It comes with a removable battery rather than the common one that is sealed in the case. The five-hour battery life, though not exceptional, is still acceptable. Other features include a 14-inch screen, a 750GB 5400RPM hard drive, DVD RW optical drive, 802.11n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, WiDi for beaming HD video and a SD/MMC card slot. Given that chipset technology is moving in the “Ivy Bridge” direction, the Lenovo Y480 IdeaPad provides a new benchmark for budget laptops.
HP Envy 4-1030us
The HP Envy 4-1030us model is part of HP’s Envy line of premium laptops that are rapidly dominating the ultrabook category. It’s an ultrabook with the distinct Envy trimmings: backlit keyboard, Beats Audio, the new Intel third generation Core i5 2.6GHz processor, and a stylish look. The red and black color scheme makes it stand out, especially in a market segment that is heavily dominated by the bare aluminum look of the Apple MacBook. To spice it up, HP has added additional texture with a wood-grain finish that gives it a stylish and soft-touch appearance. It’s also equipped with HDMI output, two USB 3.0 ports, one USB 2.0 port, a built-in SD/MMC card reader, an Ethernet port and Intel’s Wireless Display Technology (WiDi 2.0) that can stream HD video to any TV set via an adapter. To provide storage capacity and facilitate faster boot-time, the HP Envy is equipped with a 500GB 5400RPM hard drive with a 32GB flash cache.
Sony VAIO E Series
For those looking for a reasonably priced laptop that fits the intersection of affordability and usability, the Sony VAIO E15 (SVE15135CXS) is formidable option. This entry level desktop replacement laptop comes with a ledger full of excellent features. It has a third generation Intel Core i5 processor coupled with Turbo Boost Technology to boost your performance. Borrowing from Sony’s HDTV screen resolution technology, the 15.5-inch wide screen is top notch and features an LED backlight that delivers a bright display while still saving power. With internet connectivity being a vital laptop feature, Sony VAIO E15 comes with an 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi that facilitates ultrafast connectivity to campus and any other network. In addition, it also features Bluetooth 4.0 and a gigabit Ethernet. Other key specifications include a 1 TB SATA hard drive that runs at 5400RPM, 6GB DDR3 RAM, Intel HD Graphics 4000 graphics card, built-in stereo speakers, a CD/DVD drive, and a standard lithium ion battery.
The ASUS U56E-EBL8 picks up where its predecessor, the ASUS U56E-BBL7, left off by offering cutting edge features and unmatched performance that’s rare to find in the budget laptop segment. It comes with an Intel Core i5-2430M processor that runs on a 2.4GHz memory. This processing power is supported by an 8GB DDR3 RAM and a 640 GB SATA 5400RPM hard drive. This guarantees a great multitasking experience and multimedia performance. Despite having all these great features, it’s just over an inch thick, and lightweight, weighing in at about 5.6 pounds, making it ideal for both work and play environments; i.e. college life. Portability is a crucial factor to consider for this type of laptop, and with a battery life of nine hours, it’s entirely possible to work remotely. Other outstanding features include a three-in-one memory card reader (Audio, Integrated Video and Audio), an Intel GMA HD for graphics memory, Intel WiDi, a wireless webcam, an 8-cell lithium ion battery, 15.6 inch display, one USB 3.0, two USB 2.0 and an HDMI port.
Acer Aspire V3-551-8469
The Acer Aspire V3-551-8469 is a budget laptop with very few compromises. It comes with a 15.6 inch display, multi-touch track pad, dual-band Wi-Fi, one USB 3.0 and HDMI. It gives value minded users all the features they require to work both online and off at a reasonable cost. In terms of performance, it offers users more than they bargained for – an AMD A-series quad-core A8 1.9 GHz processor, 4GB SD-RAM, a 500GB 5400RPM hard drive and AMD Radeon HD 7640G graphics. The processor and graphics power enables users to multi-task modern applications easily, use multimedia features, and browse the internet. The system isn’t the fastest on the market, but for normal day-to-day use it works just fine. The Acer Aspire V3-551-8469 is a good deal, minus the battery life, as it offers everything anyone would want in a laptop below the $500 price point.