12 Best Laptops for Computer Science Students in 2021

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As we all know, a college student pursuing a major or a degree in Computer Science cannot get by without a good laptop. Although most students’ primary criteria would be coding, learning programming languages, concepts, submitting assignments on time, doing projects, etc., the students could also do some extracurricular breathers such as occasional gaming.

Finding a laptop can seem easy at first, but with so many options in the market. It becomes a little difficult in finding the one that is tailored to your needs. The difficult task is not finding a good laptop but finding an appropriate one (the one which is neither overpowered nor underpowered.)

With, a plethora of options available in the market today, the task could seem highly daunting but in this guide, we’ve considered all the possible factors that’d help you decide on a laptop that will suit your needs and requirements.

Before you finalize on a laptop, you need to understand and create a mental checklist of things to consider before deciding upon the best laptop for yourself. As a computer science 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 demand the usage of some essential software for coding and computing in Python, Java, C, C++, DAQ Board Software, 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.

Things to Consider & System Requirements

  • 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 computer science 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 because in most cases after the first year you’ll end up sitting in front of the screen for hours trying to figure out what’s wrong with your code you will be looking at the display all day. So 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 run to be able to multitask. If you can afford a faster 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 the curriculum might not be in need of 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 programming.
    However, if you like to game in your free time then we suggest you go for 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.

Best Laptops for Computer Science Students in 2021

ImageNameFeaturesCheck Price
Dell XPS 15 9500
  • CPU: 2.6GHz Intel Core i7-10750H

  • RAM: 16GB

  • Storage: 512GB SSD

  • Display: 15.6-inch FHD+ IPS (1920 x 1200)

  • GPU: 4GB NVIDIA GTX 1650 Ti

  • Battery: Up to 12.5 hours
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Lenovo Yoga C930
  • CPU: 2.6GHz Intel Core i7-8550U

  • RAM: 16GB

  • Storage: 1TB SSD

  • Display: 13.9-inch 4K UHD Touch (3840 x 2160)

  • GPU: Intel HD Graphics 620

  • Battery: Up to 10 hours
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HP Envy 13
  • CPU: 1.8GHz Intel Core i7-8565U

  • RAM: 16GB

  • Storage: 512GB SSD

  • Display: 13.3-inch 4K Touch (3840 x 2160)

  • GPU: 2GB NVIDIA MX250

  • Battery: Up to 5 hours
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Acer Predator Helios 300
  • CPU: 2.6GHz Intel Core i7-9750H

  • RAM: 16GB

  • Storage: 256GB SSD

  • Display: 15.6-inch FHD IPS (1920 x 1080)

  • GPU: 6GB NVIDIA GTX 1660 Ti

  • Battery: Up to 5 hours
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HP Pavilion
  • CPU: 2.3GHz Intel Core i5-8300H

  • RAM: 8GB

  • Storage: 1TB HDD

  • Display: 15.6-inch FHD IPS (1920 x 1080)

  • GPU: 4GB NVIDIA GTX 1050 Ti

  • Battery: Up to 9 hours
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ASUS TUF FX505DT
  • CPU: 2.3GHz AMD Ryzen 7 R7-3750H

  • RAM: 16GB

  • Storage: 256GB SSD + 1TB HDD

  • Display: 15.6-inch FHD IPS (1920 x 1080)

  • GPU: 6GB NVIDIA GTX 1660 Ti

  • Battery: Up to 5 hours
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Dell XPS 9570
  • CPU: 2.2GHz Intel Core i7-8750H

  • RAM: 16GB

  • Storage: 512GB SSD

  • Display: 15.6-inch FHD IPS (1920 x 1080)

  • GPU: 4GB NVIDIA GTX 1050 Ti

  • Battery: Up to 10 hours
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Apple MacBook Pro
  • CPU: 2.6GHz Intel Core i7 (9th Gen)

  • RAM: 16GB

  • Storage: 256GB SSD

  • Display: 15-inch Retina (2880 x 1800)

  • GPU: 4GB Radeon Pro 555x

  • Battery: Up to 10 hours
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ASUS VivoBook S
  • CPU: 1.8GHz Intel Core i7-8550U

  • RAM: 8GB

  • Storage: 256GB SSD

  • Display: 14-inch FHD NanoEdge (1920 x 1080)

  • GPU: 2GB NVIDIA MX150

  • Battery: Up to 8 hours
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Microsoft Surface Pro 6
  • CPU: 1.3GHz Intel Core i7-3960X

  • RAM: 16GB

  • Storage: 1TB

  • Display: 12.3-inch PixelSense (2736 x 1824)

  • GPU: Integrated Intel UHD 620

  • Battery: Up to 13.5 hours
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Asus ZenBook 13
  • CPU: 1.6GHz Intel Core i5-8265U

  • RAM: 8GB

  • Storage: 512GB SSD

  • Display: 13.3-inch FHD (1920 x 1080)

  • GPU: Integrated Intel HD 620

  • Battery: Up to 11 hours
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Lenovo IdeaPad 3
  • CPU: 1GHz Intel Core i5-1035G1

  • RAM: 12GB

  • Storage: 256GB SSD

  • Display: 15.6-inch HD LED (1366 x 768)

  • GPU: Integrated Intel UHD

  • Battery: Up to 8.5 hours
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  • CPU: 2.6GHz Intel Core i7-10750H
  • RAM: 16GB
  • Storage: 512GB SSD
  • Display: 15.6-inch FHD+ IPS (1920 x 1200)
  • GPU: 4GB NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 Ti
  • Battery: Up to 12.5 hours

As a seasoned computer science student, you would want to invest in display-centric, portable, and adequately powered notebooks. Considering the more aesthetic proclivities, the Dell XPS 15 seems like the best laptop to invest in.

At the core, Dell houses the high-end Intel Core i7-10750H chipset. The hexa-core CPU clubbed with HyperThreading support and Turbo Boost technologies, is one of the most holistic processors for handling 3D modeling applications like MATLAB, AutoCAD, JDK, Kerberos, and more. Needless to say, the turbo clock speed of up to 5GHz ensures exceptional single-core performances, which is more than adequate for high-end compiling, running CPU-intensive codes, and other processes.

This mobile SoC also accommodates Intel’s Virtualization support and 12MB of cache memory; resources that can be of assistance to the programmers. Assisting the CPU is the GeForce GTX 1650 Ti graphics card. Clubbed with 4GB of VRAM, this GPU is more than capable of supporting the chipset during computationally intense coding. Furthermore, as a student with leisure gaming tendencies, the GPU is powerful enough for mid-range titles like GTA V, Fortnite, PUBG, Minecraft, Fifa 21, and more.

What works well for computer science students is the availability of 16GB Dual-channel RAM. As you might be tempted to open several applications and coding interfaces at once, the existing chunk of system memory, capable of processing data at 2933MHz, is expected to come in handy. Date retrieval is probably the fastest on the Dell XPS 15, courtesy of the 512GB SSD unit. The NVMe-compatible solid-state drive boots up the Windows 10 OS in virtually no time.

Nonetheless, our experts were astounded by the FHD+ display. The 15.6-inch InfinityEdge screen is all about brightness and clarity, courtesy of the display resolution of 1920 x 1200 pixels. Besides, the Dolby Vision display is exceedingly color accurate and comes with anti-glare, EyeSafe support. You can also dig deep into the standards set by the DisplayHDR 400 technology and the widest possible color palette to work with.

The Dell XPS 15 is a haven for the productivity fanatics with computer science students capable of benefiting from the hardened display, sizable yet smooth trackpad, backlit keyboard, and high-fidelity speakers based on the Waves Nx audio enhancement. Regardless, nothing beats the structural brilliance exhibited by this metal-clad notebook that also weighs a respectable, 4.5 pounds.

Despite the sleekness, you get a futuristic thermal setup, comprising dual heat-dissipating pipes, a reliable hinge with strategically placed vents, and symmetrical fans. As far as the connectivity suite is concerned, you get access to 2 Thunderbolt 3 slots for connecting ultrafast data repositories and external devices, followed by the Type-C port with DP compatibility, SD card reader, USB charging support, and Wi-Fi 6 standard for establishing blazing fast internet connections.

In terms of autonomy, this is the perfect student-centric notebook, considering the 12.5 hours worth of battery backup. However, the USB charging support is yet another addition to its cap, best suited for the forgetful student. Overall, if you are an expressive computer science student with a reliance on an all-inclusive laptop, the Dell XPS 15 certainly fits the bill.

Pros
Pros
  • Future-proof processor
  • Enthralling aesthetics
  • Immersive acoustic setup
  • Efficient Turing-based GPU
  • Advanced thermal setup
  • Long-lasting battery
Cons
Cons
  • Middling keyboard travel
  • Not enough legacy ports
  • CPU: 2.6GHz Intel Core i7-8550U
  • RAM: 16GB
  • Storage: 1TB SSD
  • Display: 13.9-inch 4K UHD Touch (3840 x 2160)
  • GPU: Intel HD Graphics 620
  • Battery: Up to 10 hours

The Lenovo Yoga series has managed to create a reputation for itself with its sophisticated hinge, quality display, and good battery life. The series managed to break new ground for Lenovo originally with Lenovo Yoga 920 and with the new Lenovo Yoga C930, the brand has managed to maintain the reputation for the series.

One thing that makes the new edition stand out is the in-built slot for stylus and a webcam cover which enhances privacy. If you’re a computer science student who likes to take down notes by hand instead of typing it, this could be a good added feature for you.

The newly implemented soundbar speaker on a gunmetal body that is sleek and rigid is something that one can’t ignore, the cylindrical surface is marred with a bunch of tiny holes that make the dual-speakers of the C930 a treat to your ears by providing the best music listening experience.

The C930’s 13.9-inch, 1080p display covers 100% of the sRGB color gamut which is decent but compared to its competing laptops in the same segment, it’s a bit lackluster since most cover 110% of the sRGB color gamut. If you’re a student who’s big on classy 4K displays, then you might be a little bummed out.

The combination of Intel Core i7-8550U CPU, 12GB RAM, and 256GB PCIe NVMe SSD makes the C930 an excellent performer, our test with 12 Chrome tabs running 1080p videos and MATLAB at the same time didn’t phase the Yoga C930, making it a stellar reliable machine.

If you’re not a gamer, then this machine is perfect for you a computer science student, since the integrated Intel UHD Graphics 620 GPU is not the best option for new gaming titles.

Pros
Pros
  • Sleek practical design
  • Outward speakers and the soundbar
  • Gunmetal body
  • Portable
Cons
Cons
  • Small SSD for the price
  • Weak GPU
  • Lack of coverage on sRGB color gamut
  • CPU: 1.8GHz Intel Core i7-8565U
  • RAM: 16GB
  • Storage: 512GB SSD
  • GPU: 2GB NVIDIA GeForce MX250
  • Display: 13.3-inch 4K Touch (3840 x 2160)
  • Battery: Up to 5 Hours

We tested out the HP ENVY 13 which comes with 4K high-resolution touch screen, an Intel Core i7-8565U processor, 16GB RAM, and 512GB SSD accompanied by an NVIDIA GeForce MX250 Graphics Card.

The Envy lineup 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 top-end laptop down when it comes to plain aesthetics. Weighing just about 2.8 lbs and having a breadth of just about 0.6inch, this laptop can compete with almost any portable laptop out there in terms of size and weight, this portability especially comes in handy for students who like to travel light.

The 4K high-resolution gives out a very startling vibe with sharp and bright colors oozing out of the screen. 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.

The mixture of i7-8565U processor, 16GB SDRAM and a 512GB 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.

Pros
Pros
  • Elegant looks
  • Portable
  • Strong performance
  • Quality speakers
Cons
Cons
  • 4K touch kills battery at an enormous speed
  • CPU: 2.6GHz Intel Core i7-9750H
  • RAM: 16GB
  • Storage: 256GB SSD
  • GPU: 6GB NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti
  • Display: 15.6-inch FHD IPS (1920 x 1080)
  • Battery: Up to 5 hours

Owning a powerful laptop with high-end specs could seem far-fetched to a computer science student because of its escalated price, but with Acer Predator Helios 300 series in the scene, that won’t be the case anymore. This is a powerful machine at the price of a mid-range gaming laptop.

The back panel of the screen is metal, as is keyboard and palm-rest area, the screen bezel and bottom are plastic. This makes the laptop look aesthetic and since it’s a high-performance machine, it keeps the bottom from microwaving your lap. The display, on the other hand, is enough to wow anybody! The screen is rated at about 300 nits. It’s perfectly visible outside in daylight, the contrast and color gamut is very effective and pleasing to the eye. So if your assignments require you to code for long hours at a stretch, at least you won’t have an unpleasant experience.

This machine is capable of running high-end games such as Civilization 6, PUBG, Fortnite, Overwatch, and the software both at the same time, complex programming with tools such as TensorFlow and Shogun run smoothly, thanks to the 256GB PCIe NVMe SSD on this machine, allowing you to save the micro-details of your precious project.

The GPU can take just about everything you can possibly throw it at it on the most insane settings and you won’t notice any performance problems. You can try your luck with the most insane game or programming setup and it won’t fail to astonish you.

One of the highlights of this laptop is that it’s not entirely plastic and metal components moreover it has an excellent cooling system that lets you do your work for hours together without having to worry about it overheating. However, the shortcomings though is that this laptop has a very short battery life on heavy usage, it manages to sustain for barely 5 hours on continuous usage, so if you’re looking at extended hours of portable usage, this might not be your best bet.

Pros
  • Powerful processer
  • Amazing display
Cons
  • Battery life could have been better
  • CPU: 2.3GHz Intel Core i5-8300H
  • RAM: 8GB
  • Storage: 1TB HDD
  • GPU: 4GB NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti
  • Display: 15.6-inch FHD IPS (1920 x 1080)
  • Battery: Up to 9 hours

HP’s Pavilion Gaming series is known to all. They have maintained an undeterred reputation putting out power-packed machines over the years. The 2018 HP Pavilion is a serious performance-packed machine for under $800. Without any doubt, the HP Pavilion is one of the best choices for computer science students.

Since this laptop is built for heavy tasks like running computer science software and gaming, the specs are simply astounding. With a massive 1TB HDD storage, 8GB DDR4 RAM and a CPU of Intel Core i5-8300H, the GTX 1050 Ti 4GB GPU, this laptop comes off as a total beast. The battery life on this machine is incredible too, HP claims to offer roughly 9 hours of battery life even when used substantially.

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 (5lbs) and size (15.6-inches). This shortcoming can be traded off for all the other amazing specs. All in all, this is an affordable and powerful laptop that gets the job done smoothly for computer science majors for sure.

Since this laptop is built for heavy tasking like running computer science software and gaming, the specs are simply astounding. With a massive 1TB HDD storage, an 8GB DDR4 RAM and a CPU of Intel Core i5-8300H, the GTX 1050 Ti 4GB GPU, this laptop comes off as a total beast. The battery life on this machine is incredible too, HP claims to offer roughly 9 hours of battery life even when used substantially.

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 (5lbs) and size (15.6-inches). This shortcoming can be traded off for all the other amazing specs. All in all, this is an affordable and powerful laptop that gets the job done smoothly for computer science majors for sure.

Pros
Pros
  • Great for multi-tasking
  • Good battery life
  • Edgy looks
  • Affordable
Cons
Cons
  • Lack of portability
  • Plastic body
  • Lack of SSD could make complex coding trickier
  • CPU: 2.3GHz AMD Ryzen 7 R7-3750H
  • RAM: 16GB
  • Storage: 256GB SSD + 1TB HDD
  • GPU: 6GB NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti
  • Display: 15.6-inch FHD IPS (1920 x 1080)
  • Battery: Up to 5 hours

TUF series in ASUS laptops is the brand’s starting range of gaming laptops that fair below their flagship ROG series, the TUF series targets gamers and heavy-duty laptop users on tight budgets. The ASUS TUF FX505DT focuses extensively on value and makes it obvious that the company wants users to not expect luxurious features that a premium laptop would otherwise offer.

Overall, the ASUS TUF FX505DT is undoubtedly one of the more powerful AMD-powered laptops out there. Powered by the AMD Rhyzen 7 3750H integrated with GeForce GTX 1660 Ti graphics card and 16GB DDR4 RAM.

Although the RAM on board is 16GB, it’s expandable up to 32GB, but it goes without saying that 16GB DDR4 RAM is more than sufficient to carry out the most demanding tasks and tools like PyCharm and IntelliJ IDEA run like breeze even while developing serious and high-processing applications, the 512GB PCIe NVMe SSD storage just aids the process further. This could give you an edge over your classmates who are just simply buying high-end laptops off the shelves without taking into account these aspects.

The only shortcomings are the mediocre battery life of fewer than 5 hours and an all-plastic body and these things are expected given the price point and the number of other features that the laptop packs. Our overall verdict is that this laptop can handle almost everything one throws at it and if you need a powerful machine you can go for this.

Pros
Pros
  • Rich specs
  • Powerful AMD processor
  • Good integrated GPU
Cons
Cons
  • Mediocre battery life
  • Non-premium build
  • CPU: 2.2GHz Intel Core i7-8750H
  • RAM: 16GB
  • Storage: 512GB SSD
  • GPU: 4GB NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti
  • Display: 15.6-inch FHD IPS (1920 x 1080)
  • Battery: Up to 10 hours

The XPS lineup of Dell Laptops are synonymous with everything gold, premium and high-end for the brand and the latest Dell XPS 9570 lives up to the hype that has been generated around the flagship brand over the years. The XPS 9570 is undoubtedly one of the most powerful laptops out there today, thanks to its 8th Gen Intel Core i7-8750H CPU, 16GB RAM, 512GB SSD and a capable GPU that is GeForce GTX 1050 Ti.

Not to forget the fact that it’s also extremely aesthetic with its catchy, modern and industry 4.0 oriented design, sleek bezels and a magnificent 4K display. The only thing that people have been complaining about with respect to the looks is the weirdly placed webcam, which can be considered negligible if you’re not crazy about minute details of aesthetics. This laptop can go toe-to-toe with any formidable laptop out in the market today.

After testing out the XPS 9750 with 4K touch screen, 1080p non-touch screen and Ultra HD touch screen, we were amused to look at the deep, rich colors and amazingly sharp detail in the beautiful matte 1920 x 1080 display. After watching the trailers of a few upcoming movies, we were not sure whether we enjoyed the trailer or the experience of looking at the most miniscule details of elements on the screen. So as a computer science student, when you are craving a study break, streaming content on Netflix is just going to be a much better experience than ever before.

For a system this sleek, the XPS 9750 is a shocking beast on the inside, the 8th Gen Intel Core i7 combined with all the hardware specs listed above will let you watch your favorite show on 1080p with MATLAB, IntelliJ and NetBeans running their courses in the background. This kind of setup is perfect if you’re a student planning to digress from your curriculum because you’ve become smarter than your professors and your peers together at once.

The 5GB SSD to top it all will let you duplicate your large files in the span of a few seconds, how does that sound? Also, the GeForce GTX 1050 Ti combined with the 400 nits display will make your gaming experience so profound that you will never opt for an external monitor again regardless of how hardcore a gamer you are. All in all, if you’re a proper student with the youth as well as the responsibility to stay on track with your curriculum, this is a perfect machine for you.

Pros
Pros
  • Astonishing overall performance
  • Elegant display
  • Top-notch cooling system
  • Brilliant battery
Cons
Cons
  • Weird placement of the webcam
  • CPU: 2.6GHz Intel Core i7 (9th Gen)
  • RAM: 16GB
  • Storage: 256GB SSD
  • GPU: 4GB Radeon Pro 555x
  • Display: 15-inch Retina (2880 x 1800)
  • Battery: Up to 10 hours

As we all know Apple’s MacBook is a household name when it comes to functionality. If you’re looking for a powerful laptop for programming, especially if you’re developing software for macOS, you’re undoubtedly going to be looking at MacBooks. We consider it one of the best machines for computer science students.

The new MacBook Pro, with its 2.6GHz 6-core i7 hexa-core processor and heavy-duty 16GB RAM, is hands-down the most powerful MacBook that Apple has ever come up with. No matter the intensity of your workload or the complexity of the code of the program that you’re trying to develop, you’re going to be able to get it done on the new MacBook Pro, thanks to its sophisticated 256GB SSD. Also, if you’re a computer science student who likes to be extra secure about his codes then you’re in luck because the T2 chip serves as an added security by the means of enclave coprocessor and encrypted storage capability.

If you’re keen on developing and writing programs that are meant for Windows, then a MacBook might not be the best choice since settling for aftermarket hacks and loopholes to be able to run an OS like Windows and test the appropriate code can become a tedious task, it kills the purpose of having a MacBook itself. But if you want to write programs like iOS apps or MacOS apps or even watchOS or tvOS apps, then you have no choice but to resort to a suitable Mac device. The MacBook also performs well if you’re keen on writing Unix apps or developing Android apps, the MacBook delivers just fine.

The laptop does falter when it comes to a few things such as keyboard comfort, a lot of users have complained about lack of comfort with the keyboard, creating a dissatisfying experience when typing for extended hours. The absence of USB ports except for Type-C doesn’t help much either. But barring these miniscule setbacks, the new MacBook Pro is a stellar machine, to say the least. If you have the budget for it, go for it by all means.

Pros
Pros
  • Portable and easy-to-carry
  • Super-fast computing and processing
  • Sophisticated SSD for smooth caching for a variety of projects
  • Great battery
  • Thunderbolt 3 technology
Cons
Cons
  • Absence of normal USB ports
  • Roadblock with Windows programming projects/assignments
  • CPU: 1.8GHz Intel Core i7-8550U
  • RAM: 8GB
  • Storage: 256GB SSD
  • GPU: 2GB NVIDIA GeForce MX150
  • Display: 14-inch FHD NanoEdge (1920 x 1080)
  • Battery: Up to 8 hours

Rarely do we see bold colors and fun looking laptops these days, thanks to Asus VivoBook, there’s something slightly different in the market now. With a range of color choices and highlights that make it different from a plethora of mainstream laptops, the Asus VivoBook S is a sleek, portable and classy laptop that would be almost perfect in the hands of students. Given the price and the funky looks, you might think that Asus is lacking in terms of features to make up for the aesthetics but that’s not at all the case.

The laptop is available in several colors but our focus here is on performance for the students, so here goes. The VivoBook S is essentially an Intel Core i7-8550U, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD, GeForce MX150 variant is packed inside a measly 3.2 lbs chassis, making it one of the most powerful yet portable machines available in the market today. Moreover, the VivoBook S comes with a very unique ErgoLift hinge design which was first seen in ZenBook SUX391, this basically lifts the keyboard of the laptop by a few degrees once opened and not to forget thin bezels which just adds to the attractiveness of this laptop.

The reason that this machine is so attractive for computer science students is because its a perfect combo of good looks plus substance, imagine running Eclipse, NetBeans and Visual Studio at its peak performance on this cute little machine, you’re bound to catch your classmates’ attention.

The only drawback that we encountered with this laptop was its battery life, it runs for barely 2 hours when running heavy programs, making it an annoyance for those who prefer to use laptops with no plug points in sight.

Pros
Pros
  • Beautiful machine with a variety of colors to choose from
  • Sleek and portable,
  • Unique ErgoLift hinge
Cons
Cons
  • Poor battery life
  • Could’ve had a better GPU
  • CPU: 1.3GHz Intel Core i7-3960X
  • RAM: 16GB
  • Storage: 1TB
  • GPU: Integrated Intel UHD 620
  • Display: 12.3-inch PixelSense (2736 x 1824)
  • Battery: Up to 13.5 hours

The Surface Pro lineup of Microsoft laptop-cum-tablet devices has been one of the most sought after devices when it comes to the detachable 2-in-1 laptop segment for a while now, 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 would probably be smart enough to reason with the shortcoming since unlike non-tech-savvy audiences, they know that it’s not possible to have the best battery in such a thin and sleek design. But with the new Surface Pro 6, Microsoft has seemingly surprised many by throwing that logic out the window.

One thing to keep in mind is that the Surface Pro 6 and the Surface Pro series, in general, is segmented for people who want to work on the go, so if you’re a Computer Science student who likes to enjoy some travels or outdoor activities and leisure along those lines, this 2-in-1 lightweight laptop is precisely meant for people like you. Since the new model comes with enough processing and performance power to handle heavy programming software and other multitasking utilities.

Moreover, the stellar battery life is definitely something to ponder upon, imagine 8 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 Surace pen on the device is fun to use too, with controlled sensitivity and pressure modulation, the laptop offers a top-notch stylus.

The latest edition offers an Intel Kaby Lake Refresh processors with 1.3GHz i7-3960X combined with 16 GB LPDDR3 RAM, 1TB 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.

Given the specs on the Microsoft Surface Pro 6, you can expect a substantially heavy performance from it compared to any high-end laptop which is not as portable, barring gaming, it’s not advisable to play the latest 3D computer games on the maximum settings on this lightweight device since it doesn’t have the most efficient cooling systems compared to a bulkier device.

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, but it’s advisable to not let the system overheat in case of intensive debugging. To top it the device offers a resolution of 2736 x1824 resolution on a 12.3-inch screen, which makes it a pleasant experience for you if you use your system for hours together, be it for leisure or your college assignments.

Pros
Pros
  • Excellent stylus discovered in the Surace Pen
  • Great battery life
  • Lightweight  and portable
  • Solid performance
Cons
Cons
  • Expensive
  • Too many add-on purchases
  • Keyboard not too friendly for people with big fingers
  • CPU: 1.6GHz Intel Core i5-8265U
  • RAM: 8GB
  • Storage: 512GB SSD
  • GPU: Integrated Intel HD 620
  • Display: 13.3-inch FHD (1920 x 1080)
  • Battery: Up to 11 Hours

The best way to describe this laptop would be that it’s everything premium packed in a chassis for hundreds of dollars less than its competitors, it’s almost surprising that it doesn’t burn a hole in one’s pocket.

The Asus Zenbook 13 comes packed with an Intel Core i5-8265U processor integrated with Intel UHD 620 GPU, 8GB LPDDR3 RAM, 512GB PCIe SSD, these specs are enough to let you run software like QuickBooks, MS Excel and entire Microsoft Office. The battery life of this machine is magnificent, offering you potentially 11 hours of undeterred heavy-duty usage, making it a very viable option for those who hate plug points and love writing code wirelessly at a spot of their choice.

The laptop comes with a 13.3-inch IPS display and the display has smaller bezels at the top and the sides, giving the laptop an aesthetic and a premium look. The entire panel is glossy but at 225-nit, the brightness at the peak is lackluster and dim, making it an issue at this price point, since some laptops from this segment touch almost 375nits.

Lack of a dedicated standalone graphics card also makes it somewhat of an unappealing proposition for computer science students who turn into hardcore gamers after hours of programming and writing code during their class hours. Also if you love blasting music during breaks, the Zenbook 13 doesn’t have the best speakers. For such an audience, we suggest they go through the other options given in this list.

Pros
Pros
  • Premium laptop at a budget
  • Astounding battery life
  • Lightweight
Cons
Cons
  • No dedicated graphics card
  • Average speakers
  • Lackluster display
  • CPU: 1GHz Intel Core i5-1035G1
  • RAM: 12GB
  • Storage: 256GB SSD
  • Display: 15.6-inch HD LED (1366 x 768)
  • GPU: Integrated Intel UHD
  • Battery: Up to 8.5 Hour

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, without giving any second thoughts. Although you do need to make a few display-centric compromises, the processing conglomerate is quite efficient when mid-level applications, MATLAB usage, and resource-intensive coding are concerned.

To start with, you get access to the power-efficient, Intel Core i5-1035G1 processor, boasting four cores and programmer-friendly Virtualization support. Furthermore, this chipset is easily the best budget-centric 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 laptop, the integrated UHD graphics seems like an expected inclusion.

The entire processing conglomerate 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-centric 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.

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 middling 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.

Productivity gets a significant boost with a full-sized keyboard at the helm, followed by the responsive trackpad, 720p webcam, and dual speakers with Dolby audio enhancement. When it comes to the structural relevance, the gadget 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. Then again, the 180-degree hinge allows you to use the laptop as an extended tablet.

In terms of connectivity, you get access to Wi-Fi 5 and Bluetooth support, precisely for establishing faster connections. The battery backup of up to 8.5 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 computer science students, provided aesthetics and display quality aren’t your priorities.

Pros
Pros
  • 10th gen processor
  • A sizable chunk of RAM
  • Touch screen display
  • Integrated numeric keypad
  • Long-lasting battery module
Cons
Cons
  • 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 to let you throw anything from your curriculum at it but if you’re keen on design value, 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 the 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.

Verdict

So here we come to the end of an exhaustive list of 12 best laptops that have been narrowed down upon after 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 usage requirements. And then choose a laptop that matches the specifications of your usage.

Freedom 251 Staff

1 thought on “12 Best Laptops for Computer Science Students in 2021”

  1. Being a student of science I’ve been looking for a laptop with high-end specs and I just came across this article, it really helped me in understanding what exactly to look for before buying a laptop as I was not aware of these tech specs much.

    I’m getting the Dell XPS machine with 16GB RAM.

    Thank you Freedom251 staff for putting everything in a detailed manner so that beginners like me can understand everything from scratch.

    Reply

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