Best Laptops For Computer Science Students
We have the experience and the know-how to help you select the perfect laptop for you. Our industry veterans know what they are talking about and how to cut through the jargon to make your job choosing the right machine as easy as possible. Read more
Ironically enough, computer science is one of the least demanding professions in terms of hardware requirements. But, finding the best laptop for computer science students can still prove to be a challenge.
There are a lot of things to keep in mind. Lots of pros and cons to consider. That’s why we decided to make the research for you and list some of the best options at the time of writing this article. So, without any further ado, let’s get right into it!
How We Picked
Before you choose a laptop, there are a few things to consider. Pros and cons can make a world of difference – depending on the person and his/her personal preferences. Understanding the importance of individual hardware components will help ensure that you make the right decision at the end of the day. With that in mind, let’s dive into what we’ve chosen as the best laptops for computer science students currently available.
Best Laptops For Computer Science Students
- Very cheap
- Touch screen
- Plenty of RAM for casual usage
- No dedicated graphics
- Thick bezels
- Mediocre battery
Dell Inspiron 15 5000
If you need something for as cheap as possible without it being a piece of garbage, then we’ve got to say that the Inspiron 15 5000 is a very solid choice!
The Core i5 in combination with the 12 gigs of RAM is just about enough to satisfy most computer science students without any issues. Not to mention that after buying it, there is the option of swapping out the 4GB RAM module for another 8GB one. This will give you the benefits of dual-channel memory and a total of 16 gigs of RAM!
The 15.6 display is a nice balance between portability and usability with the touch screen being a welcome addition (Definitely not a necessity, though).
Just do keep in mind that this laptop only comes with integrated graphics and that makes it a terrible choice for gamers. Unless you’re into older titles or non-demanding games like Don’t Starve Together.
- Thin bezels
- Looks and feels sturdy
- Storage and RAM barely meet the minimum requirements
Asus Vivobook S15 S512
Compared to the Inspiron 15 5000, this one sacrifices a bit of RAM and storage in exchange for better build quality, thinner bezels, and a bigger battery!
Of course, the touch screen is not present here. But, as we mentioned above, that has never been a necessity anyway.
Overall, it may be slightly more expensive while offering slightly less hardware. But, with a small RAM upgrade, you can easily turn this into the most complete budget option by far.
If portability takes priority for you, then the Surface Pro 6 is most likely your best bet. The tablet + laptop design along with its removable keyboard set it apart from the competition in terms of weight and overall portability!
The battery life that it offers can hardly be rivaled as well – especially for a Windows laptop.
Now, with that being said, the only way to achieve this level of portability is by making a couple of sacrifices. One of them is the relatively small display at 12.3 inches. Other than that, the removable keyboard may not feel as good as a “traditional” one to some people – and that’s especially true for heavy writers.
- Great battery life
- Very lightweight and portable
- Thin bezels and the high-resolution touch display are welcome additions
- Can be used as both a laptop and a tablet
- A bit overpriced for the hardware that it offers
- Barely meets the minimum requirements
- The display may feel small for some
Microsoft Surface Pro 6
As far as portability is concerned, nothing can beat a Surface Pro! The unique tablet + laptop design in 1 allows you to easily carry it around even in one hand while it’s just as powerful as any other mid-range laptop (If you make an exception for gaming).
As you’ve probably already noticed, this is a unique option. When the keyboard is attached to it, you can use it as a normal laptop. And when it’s detached, the touch screen allows us to use it as a Windows 10 tablet!
And it’s thanks to this design that this hybrid of a machine is so lightweight while also delivering great battery life.
Frankly speaking, it’s a bit overpriced for the specs that it offers. But, that’s the price to pay when getting a unique design like this one.
- Extremely lightweight
- Feels very snappy
- Great in terms of portability
- Sleek design
- Superb battery life
- Works well with Apple’s ecosystem
- Very expensive for the specs that it offers
- Barely meets the minimum requirements (Though its OS should require less RAM thanks to proprietary optimization)
Apple MacBook Air
There are tons of reasons to get a MacBook Air over a Windows laptop. Macs offer better integration with Apple’s ecosystem while their OS is extremely optimized and they also have an excellent track record of delivering quality products!
Some people may find it to be a bit overpriced – and rightfully so. After all, for almost twice the price of our cheapest pick, you actually end up getting worse specs.
However, don’t forget that macOS is generally much more optimized than Windows which makes Apple’s computers feel incredibly fast/snappy. Not to mention that the battery life is superb – especially if you take into account that this is a full-fledged laptop and not a tablet hybrid.
Last, but not least, this is also the most lightweight pick on our list. And, yes – even the Surface Pro is slightly heavier.
If there’s one downside, apart from pricing, then that’s definitely going to be the lack of normal-sized USB ports and the need for an adapter which annoys a ton of users.
Also, it goes without saying that this is not a good pick for gaming. You can use an external GPU with Thunderbolt, but that doesn’t change the fact that there are a ton of games that are not available for macOS.
- Very powerful
- Comes with 16GB of RAM out of the box
- High refresh rate display
- Suitable for gaming
- Good balance between raw power and portability
- Relatively heavy
- Feels a bit bulky
- Relatively expensive
- The single, 256GB SSD is nowhere near enough to store demanding games (But there are a couple of spare slots for inserting something bigger)
Acer Predator Helios 300
The Predator Helios 300 is by far the most powerful laptop in this list. And although all this extra power isn’t going to make a big difference for the vast majority of your computer science projects, it will allow you to play pretty much every game at 1080P!
For about the same price that you’d give for a Mac, you’re getting something that’s much more powerful. High refresh rate display, a Core i7 with a dedicated 1660 Ti, and 16 gigs of RAM!
However, at the same time, it’s nowhere near as sleek or lightweight and even under optical conditions, the battery life isn’t even half as good. As we mentioned in the beginning, it’s all about weighing pros and cons.
So, if you don’t care about gaming, then there’s no reason to get this since you’ll be carrying something heavier with worse battery life for no reason. But, truth be told, the extra RAM can prove to be useful under certain circumstances.
Now, for those who do want to game, the Predator is suitable for mid-range gaming – meaning that it should be able to run most games on 1080P at the medium settings with at least 60FPS. Of course, some very demanding titles, such as Control, may still drop below that.
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Given that this is the cheapest option in this list that gets the job done – and doesn’t particularly skip any significant corners, it’s an easy winner. It’s not the fanciest computer around, but will be perfectly adequate for the majority of computer science needs.