If you are a college student pursuing a Computer Science major or degree, a good laptop is essential. Although most CS and IT students’ primary criteria would be coding, learning programming languages, concepts, submitting assignments on time, doing projects, etc., you might also want to take some extracurricular breathers such as occasional gaming.
Finding the best computer science laptop can seem easy at first. There is no shortage of options in the computer market. In fact, that is exactly what makes it a little difficult. To find the one that’s in your price range and tailored to your needs among the hundreds of options. The difficult task is not finding a good laptop but finding an appropriate one (the one which is neither overpowered nor underpowered.)
In this guide, we’ve considered different factors that will help you decide on a laptop that will suit your needs and requirements.
You might want to put together a checklist of your preferences before picking the best laptop for yourself. As an IT student, you don’t really need a beast-like, overpowered laptop that is suited for machine learning and data science, although it may seem like you do.
In most cases, a Computer Science student’s curriculum would require essential software for coding and debugging in Python, Java, C, C++, using PyCharm, Visual Studio Code, MATLAB, Octave, R Studio, Netbeans, etc. The software would obviously differ depending on the specialization but this list is good enough to help us draw an idea about the recommended system requirements.
- What to Consider When Selecting a Laptop for a Computer Science Student?
- 10 Best Laptops for Computer Science Students in 2021
- 1. Best 2-in-1 Laptop: HP Spectre x360 15T
- 2. Best 4K Screen: ASUS ZenBook 15
- 3. Best 17-inch Display: Dell Inspiron 17
- 4. Best Battery Life: Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5
- 5. Best For College Students: Acer Aspire 7
- 6. Best Value for Money: HP Pavilion 15
- 7. Budget Dell Option: Dell Inspiron 15
- 8. Budget School & Gaming Laptop: Asus TUF FX505DT
- 9. Best Battery Life: Microsoft Surface Pro 7
- 10. Best Budget Laptop For CS Major: Lenovo IdeaPad 3
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Should I get a gaming laptop if I’m not much of a gamer?
- What kind of laptop do I need as a Computer Science student?
- Should I go for an SSD or HDD?
- I like a laptop which is performance and feature-rich but it’s bulky, is it a worthy tradeoff?
- Do I need to get an external laptop cooling pad if I run heavy programs for extended hours?
- What’s a SoC, aka System On a Chip?
What to Consider When Selecting a Laptop for a Computer Science Student?
- CPU: Intel Core i7 and i5 would be the best bets if one is an Intel person. For those to prefer AMD processors, the same choices would follow suit i.e. Ryzen 7 and 5. Computer Science students require processors that have adequate processing power to compile code and handle demanding projects. Ideally, you should try and get the fastest processor you can afford.
- Display: This is probably the most important feature for a programming student, sometimes even more so than processing power and storage. You’ll be staring at the screen a lot. Especially after the first year because you’ll end up sitting in front of the screen for hours trying to figure out what’s wrong with your code. So you may want to take care of your eyes and prevent straining them.
So in such a case, full HD resolution or higher is recommended (1440 × 900 and above). Also, if possible, opt for matte displays. Matte displays help reduce eye strains and fatigue. And because you will be looking at the display a lot, why not get something easier on the eyes?
- RAM: 8GB is the bare minimum that you’ll require, given the fact that you will be keeping a lot of applications open and simultaneously running a lot of code. So you need enough RAM to be able to multitask. If you can afford more RAM, go for it by all means, but 8GB should be plenty in most cases.
- Graphics Card: A Computer Science student who uses the laptop strictly for school won’t need the fastest graphics card. Since most modern Intel and AMD hardware comes with integrated graphics that are more than good enough for anything you could possibly need for computer programming. However, if you like to game in your free time then we suggest a laptop with a dedicated graphics card. A dedicated graphics card could also come in handy if you decide to get into machine learning. But aside from that, an integrated graphics card does the job.
- Storage: If you can afford to get an SSD instead of an HDD, then do it, SSDs in Laptop speed up your workflow extensively. How? Searching through a bunch of files to reuse a piece of code will be several times swifter with an SSD compared to an HDD.
10 Best Laptops for Computer Science Students in 2021
|HP Spectre x360 15T|
|ASUS ZenBook 15|
|Dell Inspiron 17|
|Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5|
|Acer Aspire 7|
|HP Pavilion 15|
|Dell Inspiron 15|
|Asus TUF FX505DT|
|Microsoft Surface Pro 7|
|Lenovo IdeaPad 3|
Below you will find our selection of the best laptops for computer science students. The list starts with the high-end models that give you killer performance (for school and gaming) and gradually moves towards more budget-friendly notebooks. If you are not doing any gaming or photo or video editing, a mid-range to the budget laptop will do on our list below. If you are a computer science student looking for the absolute best, consider one of the first three recommendations.
1. Best 2-in-1 Laptop: HP Spectre x360 15T
We tested the HP Spectre x360 15T which comes with a 4K high-resolution touch screen, an Intel Core i7-10750H processor, 16GB RAM, and 1TB SSD accompanied by an 4GB NVIDIA GTX 1650 Ti Graphics Card.
The Envy line of HP laptops is known for its sophisticated and elegant looks and the new edition does justice to the existing lineup. The Envy can put almost any high-end laptop down when it comes to aesthetics. Weighing just about 4.24 pounds and having a thickness of just about 0.6inch, this laptop can compete with almost any portable laptop out there in terms of size and weight. And this portability especially comes in handy for students who like to travel light.
The 4K high-resolution gives out a very startling vibe. We especially were impressed with the sharp and bright colors. The 4K touch-screen is responsive and the feel of touch is vivid and it makes the whole experience of using stock drawing apps like Snip and Sketch a whole lot more exciting. This experience can come in handy if you’re using wireframing tools to plan the UI/UX of your application and don’t want to go through the hassle of using a pen tablet before you proceed to write code.
CPU, RAM and Storage
The mixture of an i7-10750H processor, 16GB SDRAM and a 1TB SSD can make your heavy-performance usage a cakewalk. You could be running a bunch of Chrome tabs while debugging and compiling code and watching your favorite movie in 4K all at the same time. All this maxed out with decent battery life, quality speakers and essential security features, this makes it a perfect choice for Computer Science students.
- Powerful graphics
- Elegant looks
- Good battery life
- Quality speakers
- 4K touch kills battery at an enormous speed
2. Best 4K Screen: ASUS ZenBook 15
The Asus ZenBook 15 is a reliable laptop for computer science students. While the notebook features several bells and whistles, it is also beefed up when processing components and firepower are concerned.
The ZenBook 15 houses an Intel Core i7-10510U processor, capable of assuming turbo clock speeds of up to 4.9GHz. As it is a low-power chipset, you can stop worrying about overheating and throttling effects.
Not just that, Asus also makes room for the GTX 1650 Max-Q graphics card, which is good enough for a majority of mid-range AAA games and graphics-intensive programming applications and games, as and when designed by budding software engineers.
RAM and Storage
In terms of system memory, you get 16GB of RAM to work with. Storage-wise, there is a 512GB SSD at Asus’s disposal, allowing computer students to manage most files, academic resources, applications, and games with seamless ease. Plus, the storage unit also loads the Windows 10 Operating System in virtually no time.
The 15.6-inch UHD display is a showstopper, courtesy of the slimmer bezels, wide viewing experience, and an overall resolution of 3840 x 2160 pixels. Other functional attributes for the computer science students include a standard backlit keyboard and a reliable 5.65-inch ScreenPad 2.0, which also doubles down as a reliable touchpad.
The reviewed variant of the Asus ZenBook 15 is pretty light at 3.6 pounds and even features the famous, ErgoLift technology. These physical enhancements add to the heat-dissipating and typing capabilities of this intuitive notebook.
As far as the connectivity suite is concerned, the ZenBook 15 brings forth Type-C, Type-A, HDMI, Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.0, and other innovative resources. Plus, the military-grade chassis also encapsulates a sizable battery module, capable of churning out close to 5.5 hours, on a single charge.
Overall, if you are looking for a performance-focused laptop, this concerned Asus ZenBook 15 is worth trusting, courtesy of the reliable processing consortium and a top-shelf display.
- Handles most programming interfaces like R Studio and Netbeans with ease
- Sharp display
- GTX 1650 graphics card manages most graphics-intensive apps like a pro
- High-speed RAM
- Innovative ScreenPad 2.0 for better task management
- Average battery life
3. Best 17-inch Display: Dell Inspiron 17
Better identified as a processing behemoth, the Dell Inspiron 17 is one of the more powerful and relevant notebooks in the market for computer science students and professionals.
While some might consider the Inspiron 17 as overkill of a laptop for computer science, programming, and even running hours’ worth of complex codes, the futuristic spec sheet easily covers you to even the most complicated and resource-intensive requirements. At the core, you have the Intel Core i7-1065G7 processor, capable of reaching maximum clock speeds of up to 3.9GHz.
The efficient, graphics-optimized chipset is perfectly complemented by the entry-level MX230 graphics card. This GPU is housed to ensure proper coverage, in case your programming tasks comprise graphics-intensive apps and processes.
Dell incorporates 32GB RAM, allowing you to handle multiple tasks, codes, and applications without slowing down the system. Plus, we tried using relevant applications like Octave, Netbeans, and MATLAB on this laptop and experienced top-notch performances.
We were equally impressed by the storage support with Dell offering a 2TB hard drive storage unit for the more static files followed by the 512GB SSD unit for the Windows 10 and the more demanding computer programming applications.
The 17.3-inch screen is big enough for most students who seek the perfect balance between power and portability. Plus, the 1080p panel assumes anti-glare support, making it one of the best resources for continued usage.
Productivity-wise, the Dell Inspiron 17 makes room for a standard, backlit keyboard, potent speakers, HD webcam, and a decent set of ports, comprising Type-C, USB 3.1 Gen 1, HDMI, and other resources.
Despite being a heavy notebook at 6.13 pounds, the Dell Inspiron 17 is still an effective computing resource, courtesy of Wi-Fi AC and BT 4.1 wireless standards. Plus, there is a standard battery module in play, allowing you to churn out close to 7 hours, on a single charge.
Therefore, if you are interested in purchasing a future-proof notebook that can help with academic and even professional assignments, the Dell Inspiron 17 is the perfect resource to consider.
- Sizable RAM allotment
- Massive storage capacity
- 10th gen, future-proof processor
- Anti-glare display
- Durable keyboard
- Obsolete connectivity standards
- Heavier than usual
4. Best Battery Life: Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5
The IdeaPad Flex 5 from Lenovo is arguably the most efficient Intel-powered notebook in the retail space, provided you are approaching the same as a computer science engineer. While most of the attributes are in line with your academic preferences, this laptop is also good enough for modulated professional usage, provided you know how to make the most of the resources in play.
At the core, there is an Intel Core i7-1065G7 chipset, plus, if you are deeply invested in the likes of Java, Python, C++, and other programming languages, this mobile SoC and the maximum clock speed of up to 3.9GHz is expected to come in handy. SoC is short for System-on-a-Chip. It’s the brain of a computer or smartphone. Combining multiple components, such as CPU, GPU, and a modem into a single chip.
GPU and RAM
The integrated Intel Iris Plus graphics takes care of the visuals and works in tandem with the existing processor. As far as the multitasking and programing responsibilities are concerned, the 16GB RAM comes forth as a handy ally.
Storage-wise, there is a standard 1TB solid-state drive to manage file retrievals with ease. Not just that, the existing high-speed SSD is also capable of booting up the pre-existing Windows 10 OS in a heartbeat.
The 15.6-inch touch screen display is loaded with possibilities, including slimmer bezels and an overall resolution of full HD 1920 x 1080 pixels. As a computer or software engineer student, the touch screen panel comes forth as an extremely handy feature, allowing you to interact with the developed apps and processes, as seamlessly as possible.
Apart from that, the IdeaPad Flex 5 also makes room for a reliable keyboard and standard webcam for helping you attend online classes without any issue, whatsoever. In addition to that, you also get access to a decent port arrangement, comprising Type-C, Type-A, and other relevant slots.
This notebook weighs a mere 3 pounds and comes forth as one of the more portable options in the market for an Information Technology student. The battery life also deserves a special mention as IdeaPad Flex 5 can easily last for up to 6 hours.
Overall, if you are in the market for a reliable and cost-effective option for your computer science coursework, the IdeaPad Flex 5 is one of the better options to invest in.
- Ultra-fast processor
- Excellent battery life
- Light and portable
- A sizable chunk of system memory
- Excellent key travel
- Heats up a fair bit
5. Best For College Students: Acer Aspire 7
The Acer Aspire 7 comes forth as one of the more complete laptops on the list, best suited for students, professionals, and even mid-range gaming enthusiasts. This laptop allows you to manage most academic and professional processes from home, courtesy of the inventive specs sheet. This mid-range machine brings a great balance between price and power.
At the core, Acer houses the Intel Core i5-9300H processor. The existing mobile chipset features quad-core architecture and allows you to manage single and multi-core processes with ease. Plus, this mobile SoC can also reach computing speeds of up to 4.1GHz, depending on the tasks at hand.
In addition to a 9th gen processor, Acer also incorporates a mid-range, GTX 1650 graphics card. The existing GPU allows you to run most AAA titles whereas the 4GB VRAM ensures that most graphics-intensive tasks are managed without bottlenecks.
RAM and Storage
You also get access to 8GB RAM for seamless multitasking followed by a 512GB solid-state drive. The existing SSD module loads multiple files in almost no time whilst booting up the Windows 10 Home OS at lightning speeds.
As far as the display is concerned, the Acer Aspire 7 makes room for a 15.6-inch screen, fortified with a cumulative resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels. Other resourceful attributes include a standard backlit keyboard, dual-band wireless support, Gig Ethernet port, interactive webcam, and a durable chassis with a 180-degree rotatable hinge to work with.
Coming to the heft, the Aspire 7 weighs 4.74 pounds, which is good enough for extensive WFH usage. Plus, the wide range of connectivity schemes followed by an 8-hour battery backup further the credibility of this efficient and functional laptop.
As a computer engineering student interested in academics and leisure, all the same time, the Acer Aspire 7 comes forth as one of the more all-inclusive computers to purchase.
- H-series processor that guarantees power
- GTX 16-series GPU for better graphics
- Sizable storage support
- Dual-lane SSD for faster file retrievals
- Stellar display
- Aesthetic design
- Lacks Wi-Fi 6 support
- Middling RAM support
6. Best Value for Money: HP Pavilion 15
HP’s Pavilion 15 series is known to all. They have maintained an undeterred reputation putting out power-packed machines over the years. The 2020 HP Pavilion is a serious performance-packed machine for under $1000. Without any doubt, the HP Pavilion is one of the best choices for programming students.
CPU and GPU
Since this laptop is built for heavy tasks like running computer science software and gaming, the specs are simply astounding. The Intel Core i7-1165G7 processor and Integrated Intel Iris graphics make this device a total beast.
One thing to keep in mind about this laptop is that it’s an entirely plastic body with no metal casing anywhere, so if you’re a regular user of MATLAB or VB Studio which are known to heat up most systems which do not use assisted cooling, this could be a point to vet over incessantly.
Although the HP Pavilion is not exactly portable because of its weight (3.86 pounds) and size (15.6-inches). This shortcoming can be traded off for all the other amazing specs.
RAM and Storage
With a massive 512GB SSD storage and 8GB DDR4 RAM, this computer science laptop perform day-to-day tasks with ease. The battery life on this machine is incredible too, HP claims to offer roughly 8 hours of battery life even when used substantially.
All in all, this is an affordable and powerful laptop that gets the job done smoothly for CS majors for sure.
- Great for multi-tasking
- Good battery life
- Edgy looks
- Lack of portability
- Plastic body
- Lack of SSD could make complex coding trickier
7. Budget Dell Option: Dell Inspiron 15
If you are interested in a good-looking laptop for your computer science studies that houses the latest processor and an updated connectivity suite, the Dell Inspiron 15 5502 is the notebook to consider.
At the core, Dell houses the high-end Intel Core i5-1135G7 processor. The existing mobile SoC is fast and features the octa-threaded architecture. Plus, the maximum turbo frequency of 4.2GHz empowers the Dell Inspiron 15 5502 to handle most applications and resources pertaining to computer science engineering with ease.
GPU and RAM
Plus, there is an integrated Iris Xe graphics co-processor at the helm, allowing you to manage most graphics-intensive apps and casual games, without lags. Despite being a mid-range notebook, Dell persists with a high-speed RAM module. The 8GB RAM processes data and cache at 3200MHz. Also, this attribute makes it one of the more dependable assets for multitasking.
As far as the storage support is concerned, there is a 512GB SSD to work with. Coming to the operating platform, the Dell Inspiron 15 5502 runs Windows 10, right out of the box. The featured OS is compatible with most applications and academically-inclined software solutions.
Coming to the display, you have a 15.6-inch panel at your disposal. Plus, Dell offers anti-glare support, making the screen worth using, for hours at a stretch. Also, the WVA display ensures that you do not miss out on the smallest of details.
Keyboard and Ports
The Dell Inspiron 15 5502 includes a standard keyboard, feature-packed webcam, and an interactive fingerprint scanner, meant for securing your data and resources. Plus, there are several Type-A, Type-C, and other relevant ports to rely on for pairing external devices and data repositories with ease. Not just that, you can connect to the fastest possible internet connections, courtesy of the Wi-Fi 6 support.
The 3.78-pound notebook is as portable as it gets. Also, the 6-hour battery backup lends additional credibility to the system. However, we expected an additional hour’s worth of autonomy but for the given price, the Dell Inspiron 15 5502 seems to be offering more than enough.
Overall, if you are more inclined towards aesthetics, the Dell Inspiron 15 5502 is one of the better bets to rely on.
- 11th gen processor is future-proof
- High-speed RAM
- A decent chunk of storage space
- Enterprising display
- Aesthetic build quality
- Wi-Fi-6 support
- Lacks a dedicated GPU
- Subpar speakers
8. Budget School & Gaming Laptop: Asus TUF FX505DT
The Asus TUF FX505DT is an affordable, AMD-powered notebook that brings in quite a few innovative and required attributes for aspiring computer science majors.
There is no shortage of processing power with the Asus laptop making room for the Ryzen 5 3550H chipset. Despite being slightly prone to heating, this mobile SoC is good enough for most applications and simulating resources like Android Studio, provided you take up one process at a time.
The existing processor assumes a burst clock speed of up to 3.7GHz, which is more than adequate for coding and software development. However, Asus still incorporates a GTX 1650 GPU, loaded with 4GB VRAM. The featured processing consortium, therefore, allows you to manage every app, task, and even mid-range games like Fortnite, WOW, etc, without breaking a sweat.
RAM and Storage
For the RAM fanatics, Asus introduces 8GB of system memory. However, our only gripe has to be the inclusion of a basic 256GB solid-state drive, which is slightly middling considering the diverse requirements of a computer science student. Still, the SSD is pretty fast and boots up the Windows 10 OS in virtually no time.
Next in line is the 15.6-inch 1080p screen. While the display doesn’t come with additional bells and whistles, it manages to offer a pleasing visual experience to the codes and programmers.
Keyboard and Peripherals
Other reliable peripheral-specific resources include a backlit keyboard; surround sound speakers, wide-angle webcam, and a rugged chassis. Despite the durability, the TUF FX505DT weighs slightly less than the 5-pound mark.
Not just that, you also get a pretty diverse connectivity suite, with Type-A ports, Wi-Fi AC, and BT 5.0 being the usual inclusions.
The battery life isn’t top-shelf and Asus only manages to offer 5 hours’ worth of autonomy, making it a dependable budget machine for a computer science engineering student.
- Reliable processor
- Mid-range graphics card for better performance
- Light yet durable
- Sharp viewing angles
- Chunkier than usual
- Middling battery backup
- Subpar storage support
9. Best Battery Life: Microsoft Surface Pro 7
The Surface Pro lineup of Microsoft convertible computers is one of the most sought-after devices when it comes to the detachable 2-in-1 laptop segment. The only issue that most people seemed to encounter with the older devices was that it had a terrible battery performance.
Still, most computer science majors probably understand that it’s difficult to pack good batteries in such a thin and sleek design. But with the new Surface Pro 7, Microsoft has seemingly surprised many by throwing that logic out the window.
The stellar battery life is definitely something to ponder upon, imagine 10.5 hours of sustained usage while outdoors on such a sleek device with an Ergonomic Keyboard, thanks to the 20% larger battery compared to the older models. The Surface pen on the device is fun to use too, with controlled sensitivity and pressure modulation, the laptop offers a top-notch stylus experience.
CPU, RAM, Storage
The latest edition offers an Intel Core i5-1035G processor with 1GHz combined with 16GB LPDDR3 RAM, 256GB SSD. Given the portability of the design, the device accommodates only a single USB 3.0 port along with a mini DisplayPort port as well as a microSD card reader. Although one can opt for an added-on USB-C adapter, it costs about $80, so it’s best to go for an aftermarket unbranded port.
The device offers a resolution of 2736 x1824 resolution on a 12.3-inch PIxelsense screen, which makes it a pleasant experience if you use your system for hours, whether for leisure or your college assignments.
The specs of the device in the context of this review are already mentioned above and the mixture of all the features can let you run IntelliJ, NetBeans, Eclipse and other such tools with ease.
- Excellent stylus discovered in the Surace Pen
- Great battery life
- Lightweight and portable
- Solid performance
- Too many add-on purchases
- Keyboard not too friendly for people with big fingers
10. Best Budget Laptop For CS Major: Lenovo IdeaPad 3
If you are a computer science student on a budget, the Lenovo IdeaPad 3 is easily the best laptop in the retail space to purchase. Although you do need to make a few display-specific compromises, the processing unit is quite efficient with IDE applications, such as Visual Studio Code, Code:: Blocks and other resource-intensive coding are concerned.
To start with, you get access to the power-efficient, Intel Core i5-1035G1 processor, featuring four cores and programmer-friendly Virtualization support. Furthermore, this chipset is easily the best budget-friendly resource for MATLAB users, courtesy of the single-core clock speed of up to 3.9GHz.
As MATLAB, a handful of compilation tools, coding platforms, Octave, Netbeans, and other applications are inclined towards single-threaded performance, the existing i5 SoC seems like a pretty good selection. Considering this to be an entry-level cheap laptop, the integrated UHD graphics seem like an expected inclusion.
RAM and Storage
The entire processing unit gets requisite levels of assistance from 12GB of on-board RAM, capable of processing data and files at 2600MHz. To be honest, our experts were pretty surprised to see 12GB of system memory on this sub-$600 budget notebook.
Then again, storage-specific arrangements are pretty bleak with the IdeaPad housing a basic 256GB SSD unit. The boot drive, despite the restricted capacity, can load several applications and the Windows 10 S Mode OS in a heartbeat. While Windows 10 S Mode is very restrictive, the good news is that you can switch out to Windows 10 Home for free. It’s important to note that once you do that, there is no going back to S Mode.
The 15.6-inch HD display isn’t the brightest kid on the block but is bolstered by the TruBrite technology. While the display resolution is pretty underwhelming at 1366 x 768 pixels, Lenovo makes up for this bottleneck with a touchscreen panel. Besides, the LED-backlit technology renders the IdeaPad 3 a power-efficient laptop.
Design and Peripherals
Productivity gets a significant boost with a full-sized keyboard, followed by the responsive trackpad, 720p webcam, and dual speakers with Dolby audio enhancement. Then again, the 180-degree hinge allows you to use the laptop as an extended tablet.
When it comes to structural relevance, the computer weighs close to the 5-pound mark but doesn’t compromise on the port arrangement with USB 3.0, USB 2.0, and HDMI being the standard inclusions. In terms of wireless connectivity, you get access to Wi-Fi 5 and Bluetooth support, precisely for establishing faster connections.
The battery life of up to 7 hours furthers the portability quotient whereas the numeric keypad ensures holistic functionality for aspiring programmers. Overall, the Lenovo IdeaPad 3 is a pretty well-balanced notebook for college students, provided aesthetics and display quality aren’t your priorities.
- 10th gen processor
- A sizable chunk of RAM
- Touch screen display
- Integrated numeric keypad
- Long-lasting battery module
- Restricted storage space
- The display isn’t bright enough
Frequently Asked Questions
Should I get a gaming laptop if I’m not much of a gamer?
You could opt for a gaming laptop even if you’re not a gamer solely for performance reasons since most gaming laptops are heavily equipped with solid specs. These machines can easily handle anything from your curriculum but if you’re keen on design, and looking for a lighter laptop then an outright gaming laptop might not suit you.
What kind of laptop do I need as a Computer Science student?
There is no one size that fits all when it comes to laptops. You need to zero in on a laptop after understanding your interests and usage needs. Go through the recommended specifications listed above to understand the purpose of different components of the machine.
Should I go for an SSD or HDD?
If you’re going to be compiling a lot of code and plan to use the laptop for machine learning applications like MATLAB in the future, then it’s best to go for SSD, in some cases a spec-rich laptop could lack an SSD, so make sure you pay attention to this aspect diligently. Still, confused? Read our detailed comparison about SSD vs HDD.
I like a laptop which is performance and feature-rich but it’s bulky, is it a worthy tradeoff?
Many performance and feature-rich laptops are a tad too heavy for some to carry, including some laptops in this list, that’s one of the trade-offs of getting a spec rich laptop at an economical price point, if you are unable to afford a spec rich laptop packed in a small chassis and can muster enough strength to move around with a bulky laptop, then do it for the specs. As a computer science student, you don’t know what interest you might develop tomorrow and where your journey of coding will take you.
Do I need to get an external laptop cooling pad if I run heavy programs for extended hours?
Vet this list thoroughly and you’ll find laptops that have efficient cooling as a benchmark feature. So if you know that you’re going to be running heavy programs or gaming for extended hours.
What’s a SoC, aka System On a Chip?
SoC is short for System-on-a-Chip. It’s usually used in mobile computing such as tablets, smartphones, smartwatches and netbooks. It’s the brain of a computer or phone or smartwatch. SoC combines multiple components, such as CPU, GPU, NPU (Neural Processing Unit), modem, etc. into a single chip.
So we reviewed the 10 best laptops we narrowed down after our intensive research for you guys. To choose the best laptop for computer science students would be to analyze what you’re looking to prioritize based on your requirements. Here are our quick suggestions:
- If you want a laptop strictly for school and to get through your CS and other courses, go for the budget-friendly options like Acer Aspire 7 or Asus TUF FX505DT.
- For senior CS students who are looking for a reliable option to use for their final year projects, internships and also for future jobs, we recommend investing in the Dell Inspiron 17 or HP Spectre x360 15T.
- If you’re also interested in designing and photo editing, consider the ASUS ZenBook 15 that comes with a 4k screen. Its performance-friendly processing unit also serves great for gamers.