Best Laptops For UK Students 2022

With tons of laptops out there, where do you begin? Get the best student laptop in this guide.

Looking for your next student laptop but don’t know where to begin? With tons of laptops, specs, and far too many technical terms, it can be pretty overwhelming. Fortunately, we’re going to make things a lot easier for you.

We’ve reviewed some of the top student laptops, as well as pointers on what to look for when you’re on your laptop hunt. Whether it’s budget, versatility, high performance, or just a bog-standard laptop you’re after — we’ve got something for everyone.

You can get ahold of these laptops for less too! Check out our laptop student discount page and second hand laptop deals with Student Beans!

Best laptops for students

Here’s a snapshot of the best student laptops out there:

  • Apple MacBook Air (2020)

  • Dell XPS 13 9310

  • Microsoft Surface Go 2

  • Acer Chromebook Spin 713

  • Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3i

  • Asus VivoBook M413

Now let’s go into more detail about each of these laptops below!

1. Apple MacBook Air (2020) – The Best MacBook for Students

The M1 chip in the 2020 MacBook Air range makes it possible to run both legacy apps, M1-optimized apps, and iOS apps. It has incredible battery life (lasting around 15 hours) and an 8-Core CPU, so you know this laptop is going to be speedy and worth the price tag.

While this laptop is a great choice for those who need a MacBook, there’s also a higher-spec model of the same name, but with ​​an additional 8-core GPU, 8GB of RAM and 512GB of storage instead.

You’ll be pleased to know this laptop comes with an audio jack and two Thunderbolt 3 ports which can be used to power external monitors and transfer data at incredibly fast speeds of up to 40Gb/s. All in all, it’s a good MacBook for students considering one for their studies.

Apple MacBook Air (2020) key specs:

  • Processor: Octa-core Apple M1

  • RAM: 8GB

  • Storage: 256GB SSD

  • Screen size: 13.3in

  • Screen resolution: 2,560 x 1,600

  • Weight: 1.29kg

2. Dell XPS 13 9310 – The Best Windows Laptop for Students

The Dell XPS 13 9210, despite its super high spec – is also one of the first ultraportable laptops with one of the latest CPUs from Intel. Weighing around 1.2kg, it has a great feel to it and a decent 13.4-inch display.

It’s a great alternative to a MacBook and comes in two different colours: Platinum Silver with a black carbon-fibre palm rest or Frost White with an Alpine White composite-fiber palm rest.

The laptop offers both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 5 connectivity, making it great for hooking up a wireless keyboard and mouse when working away or at the library. Plus, with around 15 hours of battery life, you won’t be in too much trouble if you forget your charger.

The only reason not to get this laptop would probably be for some heavy gaming that requires maxed graphics. Otherwise, this Dell model can handle pretty much anything you throw at it. Essentially, it’s a multitasker’s best friend.

Dell XPS 13 9310 key specs:

  • Processor: 11th Generation Intel Core i3, i5 or i7

  • RAM: 8GB

  • Storage: 256GB

  • Screen size: 13.37-inch

  • Screen resolution: 3840 x 2400

  • Weight: 1.2kg

3. Microsoft Surface Go 2 – Most Affordable Microsoft Laptop For Students

The Microsoft Surface Go 2 has all the premium features at a very reasonable price tag. It’s probably one of Microsoft’s most affordable student laptops. It runs Windows 10, has 4GB RAM and 64GB storage.

While this may be enough for some, you may want to think twice if your course requires a lot of imagery, video and big files all round (though you could always invest in a hard drive).

Its processor is quite old in comparison to some of the latest laptops out there, but again, consider what you need to use this for and it may well just be enough for what you need.

If you’re getting turned off by its low spec, then perhaps this will make things up to you. You can invest in its built-in LTE equivalent model, which lets you use your SIM card for cellular data.

This is great if you’re not able to get to a Wi-Fi hotspot or can’t find one secure enough to connect to. As long as your signal is strong enough, you can power through your studies on the go.

Microsoft Surface Go 2 key specs:

  • Processor: 8th Gen Intel Core m3

  • RAM: 4GB-8GB

  • Storage: 64GB

  • Screen size: 10.5-inch

  • Screen resolution: 1980 x 1280

  • Weight: 544g

4. Acer Chromebook Spin 713 – The Best ChromeBook for Students

The biggest selling point of the Spin 713 is that it’s Evo-certified, meaning it’s passed a number of tests set by Intel (basically – it’s a good thing). Equipped with an 11th gen i5 CPU and 8GB of RAM, you’re going to get some serious speed when running this laptop.

Plus, for such a small laptop (in comparison to the majority in our round-up), its whopping SSD of 256GB is more than perfect for those in need of a lightweight device to work from with tons of storage.

Equipped with Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5 as standard – you can hook up wireless devices in a flash. Plus, despite how thin the Chromebook is, it comes with various ports such as USB Type A, a microSD slot and two USB C ports with Thunderbolt 4 – meaning you could even charge multiple devices at once!

Visually, it’s not the prettiest Chromebook out there, and it lacks a webcam cover. The latter is nothing that can’t be solved and its aesthetic is a small price to pay with the amazing specs it offers.

Acer Chromebook Spin 713 key specs:

  • Processor: Intel Core i5

  • RAM: 8GB

  • Storage: 256GB

  • Screen size: 13.5-inch

  • Screen resolution: 2256 x 1504

  • Weight: 1.45kg

5. Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3i – The Best Student Laptop All-round

If you need a laptop that’s a good all-rounder for studies, streaming, editing and even gaming – then look no further than the IdeaPad Gaming 3i.

Let’s face it — games are a great way to unwind and keep things interesting. But the Lenovo IdeaPad is a great student laptop because its large 15.6-inch screen, high refresh rate and strong CPU means you can enjoy tons of shows and games on a big screen with decent performance.

As it’s a budget laptop (especially in the gaming world) – it’s not the smoothest when it comes to some of the newer games out there. Whilst it can run most games, you may need to scale back some of the graphics, brightness and FPS.

All in all, it’s still far more optimised for gaming than most of the other laptops on this list. It also weighs over 2kg, which is pretty hefty considering the other laptops on this list. But if this doesn’t bother you, then it’s well worth the investment.

Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3i key specs:

  • Processor: Intel Core i5

  • RAM: 8GB

  • Storage: 128GB

  • Screen size: 15.6-inch

  • Screen resolution: 1920 x 1080

  • Weight: 2.2kg

Get Lenovo discounts with Student Beans!

6. Asus VivoBook M413 – Best Laptop For Students Under £500

The Asus VivoBook M413 is one of the best budget laptops on the market right now. Priced under £500, it also comes in different colours to suit your taste: black, grey, purple and pink.

Powered with a Ryzen 5 processor, 256GB of internal storage and 8GB of RAM – you’ll be able to browse to your heart’s content and enjoy streaming content thanks to its Full HD screen. One of the main benefits the ASUS has is its ability to add 4 lots of storage upgrades too!

In terms of connectivity ports, you’re covered for additional devices you want to plug in. It comes with its charging plug, an HDMI 1.4 connector, a USB Type-A 3.2 port, USB Type-C 3.2 port, and an audio jack.

On the right side of the laptop you’ll find two USB Type-A 2.0 ports and a MicroSD card reader too – just in case you need even more storage.

Asus Vivobook M413 key specs:

  • Processor: AMD Ryzen 7 4700U, 2.0 GHz/4.1 GHz

  • RAM: 16GB

  • Storage: 1TB

  • Screen size: 14-inch

  • Screen resolution: 1920 x 1080

  • Weight: 1.4kg

7. HP Spectre x360 14 – Best HP Laptop For Students

The HP Spectre x360 is definitely on the higher end in terms of price, but its robust hardware and unmatched performance explain why. It’s an incredibly lightweight laptop, very portable, and comes with a sleek design that’ll make your peers pretty jealous.

The HP Spectre is convertible too, meaning you can use it as a tablet then open it back up into a notebook.

Its speed is unmatched, thanks to its 8th Gen i7 processor and 16GB RAM, so you can enjoy streaming, editing, multitasking and the works. Plus, its visual display is stunning thanks to its near-borderless HD display complete with Gorilla Glass for extra protection.

Its battery life is estimated to last around 12.5 hours, giving you tons of power for note-taking in lectures and working on your assignments on the go without the urgent need for a power outlet. If you’re looking for a laptop that lasts, then this is probably it.

HP Spectre x360 14 key specs:

  • Processor: 11th Gen Intel Core i5/Core i7

  • RAM: 8GB-16GB

  • Storage: 256GB/512GB/1TB

  • Screen size: 13.5-inch

  • Screen resolution: 1920 x 1280

  • Weight: 1.4kg

Get an HP laptop discount with Student Beans.

How much should I spend on a laptop?

This fully depends on your budget and needs in a laptop. The laptop market is fairly slow in comparison to say the Smartphone industry, so features and upgrades are by default slower to come by.

It does make sense to invest a decent amount into your new laptop so that it lasts and reduces the chance of needing a replacement.

This would mean spending roughly £500+ on your new laptop. But if you only need it for basic note-taking, then you could get away with a student laptop for under £500.

Plus, cheap laptops these days are still pretty powerful, so you won’t be compromising a great deal on performance.

How much storage do I need?

Again, this highly depends on your needs. If you’re on a creative course, such as the arts, design, or a course that requires specialist software, then you may need to invest in as much storage as possible.

The standard is 256GB at the least, but even if you can only afford 64GB, you can invest in an external hard drive or microSD (if your laptop has a slot) to make up for the lack of hard drive space.

Do I need a fast processor or big RAM?

Is it better to have more RAM or a faster processor? This is a genuinely good question — let’s give you a clearer picture of what you might need.

Think of RAM as short-term memory. It holds data temporarily before dispersing it elsewhere. The rule of thumb is, the bigger the RAM is in GB, the faster the processing speed.

The very least you should look for is 4GB for basic usage, but around 8-16GB for heavier use e.g. editing software or multi-tasking.

So, do you need a faster processor or bigger RAM? For true performance, you’ll want to balance both RAM and processing speed.

However, it’s far more costly to upgrade your CPU than RAM. In fact, in most laptops and PCs, you can keep adding more storage to your RAM as and when you need it (depending on the model).

All in all, RAM lets you “do more†and the processor increases the speed at which it’s done. So again, it’s really down to your individual preferences.

What should I consider when buying a laptop for university?

You could spend a lifetime reading into this topic. But for now, here are some of the things you should consider before buying a laptop for university.

Are you an Apple, Windows, or Google person?

You’ll have a preference in an operating system, usually. If you’re not sure what to go for, here’s a quick snapshot of how Apple, Windows and Google-based operating systems work.

  • Apple (Mac OS X): This runs on Apple laptops and computers only. They’re popular amongst people in creative studies and industries

  • Microsoft Windows: This is probably the most popular and what you used as a kid. If you don’t like change and prefer apps like Word and Excel, this is probably for you

  • Google (Chome): These work by using Google services as opposed to actual software. If you prefer working online and maximising your storage space then a Chromebook may be one to consider.

Will I be carrying my laptop around?

You’ll need something lightweight if you’ll be carrying your laptop all around campus. Trust us — there’s nothing worse than lugging an extra few kilos in your carrier bag!

You may want to compromise on things like SSD storage, battery life (though most modern-day laptops have a decent amount of these and are still lightweight).

Will I be multitasking?

Will you be using multiple apps and tabs at once? Then processing speed and RAM are going to be your priority, though mainly the former. This is to prevent the likelihood of your student laptop crashing, but also keep your productivity up with seamless switching between windows and tabs.

What kind of software do I need?

On a creative course or one that needs specialist software? Then you’ll need a powerful student laptop to accommodate. This means looking into things like CPU, RAM and even GPU a lot more closely.

If you’re on a visually-based course, then good screen resolution will also be extremely important to ensure your visuals look spot-on. You may even want to take this further and invest in a dual-function laptop that can convert into a drawing tablet!

Will I be streaming Netflix or gaming?

Let’s face it, you probably will. You’ll need to factor in screen size in your next laptop, as well as resolution (e.g. Full HD, 4K etc).

Still unsure which student laptop to buy? Read our post on how to buy a laptop that will last. If you’re looking for student laptop deals and more — don’t forget to check out our Black Friday deals!

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