Budget laptop buying guide for students 2021

You’ll need the best laptop for college if you want to study well and stream TV or play video games while you relax. There are so many options and so many prices to choose from, so finding the best laptops for students can be challenging.

If you buy a laptop to use at school, ensure it has a long battery life and a fast CPU.  No matter what laptop you choose, you will need to purchase a few additional items such as a good mouse, a backpack, and a printer. Here are some of the top college laptops.

Which laptop is best for college?

The Envy 13 13 and Envy x360 13 are our top picks as laptops for college students. While not everyone has a budget to work with, most people will be trying to save as much as possible to pay down student loans. 

The Envy 13 or Envy x360 13 are great options for those who fall into this category. They offer premium specs and features at an affordable price of less than $1,000.

Although the Envy 13 is a notebook of mid-range price, it feels and looks more expensive than a comparable model. The Envy 13 is fast and powerful, thanks to 11th-Gen Intel CPUs. It also has a great screen and can be carried around campus easily. 

There’s also the Envy 13 x360 which has all these characteristics in a convertible chassis. AMD’s new Ryzen 4000 CPUs power it. Do you need a bigger screen? The HP Envy 14 is, as its name implies, a 14-inch version of the Envy 13.

Apple lovers who prefer macOS should choose the new MacBook Air and MacBook Pro. For those with limited budgets, the fanless MacBook Air without M1 is an option. However, the 13-inch MacBook Pro offers longer battery life and more sustained performance. 

The 16-inch MacBook Pro is an option for those with limited budgets, although it doesn’t have Apple’s custom chips. The Dell XPS 17 is the best 17-inch laptop available.

You don’t necessarily need a new notebook right away, so wait for the next generation of notebooks. We saw dozens of new models at CES 2021. 

Many of them will soon be on shelves. These include laptops with Intel 11th Gen Intel processors, AMD 5000-series chip, and Nvidia 30-series graphics cards.

1. Lenovo Legion 5 Pro

The Lenovo Legion 5 Pro is a great example of what can happen when opposing forces work together for the greater good. These forces are Nvidia and AMD, and the greater benefit is the gaming community.

The Legion 5 Pro comes equipped with the AMD Ryzen 7 5800 CPU and Nvidia GeForce GTX 3070 graphics. This gives gamers the power to play the most recent AAA titles at Ultra graphics settings.

It makes up for what it lacks in aesthetics with its 16-inch QHD display, a touchpad, and keyboard that are exceptional, as well as a multitude of ports and the outstanding performance of the Nvidia GPU and AMD CPU. The Legion 5 Pro has a respectable battery life, despite its power.


Bright 16-inch, QHD 165Hz display

Amazing keyboard with Numpad

High productivity and excellent gaming performance

Solid battery life


Bland and heavy chassis

Only four-zone RGB

2. Lenovo ideapad gaming 3

The Lenovo IdeaPad 3 is a great value laptop. It is lightweight, stylish, and doesn’t cost a lot. The IdeaPad 3 isn’t for everyone. The IdeaPad 3 is not for everyone. Some people want the most bang for their buck. All the rest will follow. The IdeaPad 3 laptop is very affordable and can do all your daily tasks.

This laptop is ideal for light web browsing and office work. It will be useful to have a dedicated battery-saving mode. There are many choices for specification configurations that can impact the price. No matter which model you choose, your 14-inch laptop will be reliable and attractive.


  • Attractive price point
  • Lightweight and fashionable
  • Mode to save battery


  • It could be brighter
  • Battery life average
  • Low power components

3. Stealth MSI

The MSI GS66 is a powerful and sleek machine. It isn’t Nvidia’s power without compromises. MSI had to be conservative with its power requirements to pack an RTX 3080 into an 18mm-thin box.

The top GPU is the 95W version, which barely surpasses a fully unleashed RTX3070. This type is found in the Gigabyte Aorus 15G XC.

All Nvidia MaxQ3.0 features are available to you. It can get very loud. If you want to remain stealthy, Whisper Mode 2.0 will lower the gaming volume to a whisper.

The GS66 has a stunning 240Hz panel at 1440p that matches the GPU’s power. The MSI GS66 Stealth gaming laptop, while you may have to sacrifice raw frame rates compared to the RTX3080 in a bulky computer workstation, is very slim.


  • It is powerful and sleek
  • Battery life is very long
  • Optional 1440p payment


  • The chassis is slim and compromises loud-Fps

4. ASUS Vivobook S15

Are you committed to Windows? The Asus VivoBook S15 Windows 10 laptop is the best value in its class. Despite its 15.6-inch screen, the Asus VivoBook S15 feels light.

It is stylish and has all the features you want in a laptop. The price is high, but you get a lot of value, including the 11th-gen Intel processors (i5 & i7). These chips are extremely efficient and won’t drain your battery.

Even if you don’t want to play 4K video editing or high-end gaming, this portable computer can handle all your needs. There are many ports, and the fingerprint sensor embedded into the trackpad makes it easy for you to log in to Windows.

The Asus VivoBook S15 laptop is a great choice. It combines a high-quality technology specification with a beautiful design at a reasonable price.


  • The amazing, bright 15.6-inch screen
  • Lightweight and fashionable
  • A comfortable, attractive keyboard


  • Screen stick to 1080p
  • Display 16:9 aspect ratio

5. Lenovo Flex 5

It isn’t easy to find the budget-friendly Lenovo Ideapad Flash 5 convertible. This is a great option if you are willing to spend 600-600 dollars. The Ryzen 5 400U can be purchased in a 2-in-1 version. 

This model is priced at 700 dollars for the Intel-powered version. The Hexacore processor has plenty of processing support thanks to its high clock speeds up to 4.0 GHz. Radeon Graphics cards are available. 

This card allows you to play casual games and perform basic editing tasks with precision. To multitask efficiently, you can access 16GB RAM and a solid-state storage unit of 256GB to load apps and the operating system quickly.

The bezels on Lenovo displays are slimmer and have a resolution of 1920×1080 Pixels. The IPS panel allows for more precise color reproduction and better editing. Dual modes are available for a backlit keyboard. A webcam with an integrated shutter and physical shutter is also available.

The Lenovo Flex 5 2-in-1 has a 360-degree hinge and supports the Active Stylus Pen. You can use this convertible as a tablet or a laptop. There are three types of USB ports available from Lenovo: Type A, Type C, and HDMI. Wi-Fi 5 also is available.

The laptop weighs in at 3.64 pounds. The laptop’s 10-hour battery life makes it stand out. Its portability and productivity are unmatched.


  • Hexa Core processor
  • RAM with a decent amount
  • Casual gaming is supported
  • The screen that accurately displays colors
  • Includes active pen support
  • Excellent battery backup


  • No Wi-Fi 6 support
  • Average acoustic output

6. HP Spectre x360 (2021)

The HP Spectre x360 laptop is a highly-rated model for many years. The 2021 model is no exception. The HP Spectre x360 (2021) comes with the 11th generation Intel Core processors. It also features superior integrated Intel Iris Xe graphics.

With its 2-in-1 design, new chassis, and excellent performance, the HP Spectre x360 (2021) is still the best laptop. It is expensive, but you get great extras such as Bang & Olufsen speakers, security features, and more.

If you care as much about performance and aesthetics as you do about overall quality, this laptop is the right choice.


  • Beautiful design
  • The battery life is great


  • High prices
  • Fans can be very loud

7. Asus F15

If the Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 is out of your budget, the Asus TUF Dash F15 will be a better choice. It can run the latest games and won’t break the bank. The reliability and value of the Asus TUF series laptops have been highly praised. 

This laptop is great for gaming. It is lightweight and thin, has excellent build quality, and has a powerful battery. Intel Tiger Lake processors, Nvidia GeForce 3000 Mobile GPUs, and a 240Hz 1080p LED.


  • Battery life is very long
  • Strong performances


  • There is no webcam
  • It is impossible to change the color of the keyboard lighting

8. Acer Swift 3 (2020)

The Acer Swift 3 (2020) is a great student laptop. It is affordable without compromises and powerful enough to handle daily tasks such as document creation and web browsing. This laptop is perfect for students.

The bag is lightweight and thin enough to be carried around campus or school. It also has a solid build quality that will not easily break. It has received some hardware upgrades that make it more efficient than ever. The battery life has also been improved.

Although it’s not the fastest laptop in the world and won’t run games, this laptop is a great choice for students looking for a reliable and affordable laptop.


Portable and easy to use

Excellent multitasker


Speakers are “meh.”

9. Acer Chromebook 314

Chromebooks are a popular choice for student laptops due to their great value. Chrome OS is less resource-intensive than Windows 10. Chromebooks can use less-powerful hardware while still offering excellent performance.

Chromebooks can be a lot more affordable than Windows 10 devices. The Acer Chromebook 314 is our top pick for students. It’s affordable, so you won’t have to spend your student loan on a laptop. 

However, it offers many great features, including a 14-inch display with vivid color and 12-hour battery life. This means you can use it for the entire school day and still have enough battery life.

It is also very comfortable. This is a great feature for students who will be typing a lot on the laptop. You can also use it as a media player, so you can access Netflix whenever you (or your student) need to unwind. All this for an affordable price.

Keep in mind, though Chrome OS may not run all the programs that you normally get on Windows 10, there are often great alternatives.


Outstanding battery life and performance

Bright and crisp screen


No touchscreen

No fingerprint reader

10. Microsoft Surface Go 2

If you’re looking for a student laptop that can also be used as a tablet, then the Microsoft Surface Go 2 is an excellent choice. The Go 2 offers a premium, stylish build quality that is comparable to other Surface products.

Although it isn’t as powerful as the Surface Pro 7 for students, it can still help them with their studies. The Surface Go 2 is an excellent choice for researching online, writing documents, or creating presentations in Microsoft Office. It runs Windows 10, which means you can access a variety of apps.

It’s a tablet that can be used to write down notes with a stylus or watch Netflix when you have downtime. If you purchase the keyboard attachment (which is highly recommended), you can also type whole essays from this device.


+Premium design


Full Windows 10 can be used


No stylus or touch cover included

The base model’s specifications are not strong

The bottom line

Laptops are essential for everyone, students and professionals alike. These suggestions should help you narrow down the list of laptops that meet your needs.

Which model did you find most appealing? These laptops can be purchased on Amazon by following the links provided in this article. This unbiased list has been carefully curated after extensive product analysis, deep research, and comparison. 

If you decide to buy one of these products, make sure to check the specifications to ensure that you are an informed buyer. Grab the best deal now! 

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