For students entering college, a laptop computer is no longer a luxury. In today's mobile world, students will fare best with a laptop that's small enough for travel, but powerful enough to handle the tasks associated with high-level academics. Two considerations – budget and durability – remain important for consumers to determine which computer will survive four years of dorm life.
The data experts at SpecOut, a consumer tech research site powered by Graphiq, developed a list of the top 25 laptops for students entering college in 2016. To make the list, computers must weigh five pounds or less, have a battery life of six hours or more, a screen size of 15.6 inches or less, at least 128 GB of storage and at least 4 GB of RAM. Every entry on the list is a current model.
Analysts considered different budget considerations and broke the list down into price categories of less than $500, $500 to $800, $800 to $1,100, $1,100 to $1,400 and more than $1,400. It is important to note that a student's major will play a role in his or her choice of laptops. An English major who surfs the web and writes a lot of papers, for example, will have completely different storage, graphics and RAM requirements than an engineering student who runs powerful design software.
In each price category, the laptops are ranked by Smart Rating, a ranking system based on specs, expert ratings and display and dimensions considerations. In the case of a tie, the computers are listed according to price.