The time for back to school is inching ever closer and with it, our annual buyer’s guide on the best laptops is here.
There are lots of different laptops to choose from these days whether you want something simple with great battery life or something powerful to handle all your PC needs and then some. You name it, we’ve got it here.
That being said, the best laptops for back to school are not going to be the same for everyone. So we’ve rounded up a good range of laptops with some variety in specs and purpose of use to cover everyone’s bases.
|Laptop||Cost||Where To Buy|
|Dell XPS 15 (2020)||$1,679||Amazon|
|Razer Blade 15 Advanced Edition||$2,599||Amazon|
|Acer Swift 3 (2020)||$679||Amazon|
|Microsoft Surface Book 3||$2,582||Amazon|
|Dell Latitude 9410||$1,983||Amazon|
|Microsoft Surface Go 2||$519||Amazon|
|Apple MacBook Pro 13-Inch||$1,799||Amazon|
|HP Spectre x360||$1,349||Amazon|
|ASUS Chromebook Flip C434TA||$599||Amazon|
When it comes to getting the best laptop overall for your back to school needs, Dell has your number as the XPS 15 continues to be one of the best laptops period.
This new 2020 version has a number of key highlights that make it a worthy successor. Not to mention a worthy laptop for all your classwork.
It’s got stellar battery life which means you can rely on it to do work for you all day. Bring the charger or don’t, because it should be fine without being plugged in until you get home.
Of course it’s also got one of the best looking displays on of any laptop on the market. Not just in this price range but in general.
With the Dell XPS 15 (2020) you’re getting a 15.6-inch screen with 4K UHD resolution and it’s nearly edge to edge. It’s also powered by a 9th-gen Intel Core i7 CPU, and it has a GeForce GTX 1650 GPU so it’ll even handle some gaming. Though there are better laptops for that.
You’re also getting plenty of RAM with 16GB, and plenty of storage with a 256GB SSD. It only weighs 4 pounds too. Definitely light enough to carry around all day.
Razer is the king of gaming laptops with its Blade line for numerous reasons. And one of those is the extreme portability thanks to its sleek and slim design.
If you’re a gamer headed back to school and you want one of the best laptops that allows you to do everything you need plus play games at peak levels, there’s no better option than the Blade 15 Advanced.
It comes with an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 Super GPU so you can max out your settings on most games. All while keeping a relatively stable frame rate.
This particular model of the laptop also comes with 16GB of RAM (plenty for most of your gaming habits) and 512GB of storage. Though you can get get more in both of those areas for more money.
There’s even the RTX 2080 Super model which comes with a 4K OLED display. Any way you slice it, this is a laptop that is perfect for any student who also plays games. It’s your catchall laptop.
Not everyone is a gamer or has the extra income to blow out on a top-tier laptop for school. And while it is nice to have those things, it’s not really necessary.
If you just need a good laptop for back to school that allows you to complete your work, then the VivoBook from ASUS is your best option if you’re on a budget.
It costs $249. So the entry point isn’t much, and it comes with a respectable set of hardware specs for its intended purpose. It’s got 4GB of RAM, 64GB of internal flash storage, up to 10 hours of battery life, and it runs on Windows 10 so it’s compatible with a wide array of software.
Did we mention it’s extremely portable? It weighs about 2.2 pounds and has an 11.6-inch screen. So it’s not only lightweight but it fits easily into most bags or backpacks.
You aren’t going to be getting an absolute powerhouse here. But if that’s what you need then there are other options on the list for that. This is definitely a great option for anyone who just needs a simple laptop that can do the basics.
If you’re looking for something a little more in the middle of the pack, the Acer Swift 3 2020 model is an option you should consider.
It comes with 8GB of RAM, a 512GB SSD, Wi-Fi6, and a nifty backlit keyboard for when you’re up late working on coursework that needs to be turned in by 8am.
It also comes with integrated Ryzen graphics which is capable of playing games, but it is integrated graphics so you won’t be turning all your graphics up on games to max. One neat trick that this laptop offers that others don’t is the built-in Alexa support.
You can talk to Alexa right through the laptop with its integrated capabilities. Which means if you have other devices powered by Alexa around your room, apartment, or home, you can easily manage it by speaking to Alexa through the laptop.
The battery life is pretty decent as well at 11.5 hours. So you could keep it on the charger if you wanted to but you wouldn’t need to as it should last you all day (basically through all of your classes).
Lastly it only weighs 2.65 pounds so it’s not too heavy. Which means it’s easy to cart around and one of the best laptops for back to school.
This is the perfect laptop for creators. Whether your schooling deals with video production, music production, web design, or digital art, this will be powerful and versatile enough to handle everything.
When it comes to the performance, it has an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660Ti GPU powering the graphics, and it comes with 32GB of RAM. That’s more than enough to multitask and take care of all your applications.
This model comes with 512GB of storage, though you can bump that up if you need more.
One of the more useful functions is the ability to detach the display from the keyboard. In doing this you can use the laptop display like a tablet. Or you can detach the display and simply turn it around before attaching it again. This allows you to use it more like a touch display without having to hold it.
Microsoft says it has up to 17 hours of battery life. Which is definitely on the higher end of most laptops on this list. Basically, it’ll last a long time.
If your main concern is battery life, then this is the laptop you want. It’s rated to last up to 27 hours on a charge.
That’s an astounding amount of time for a machine with the specs that this laptop offers. Not to mention it can essentially last you two full days of use and then some if you were using it for about 10 hours a day. Or one full day if you used it for 24 hours straight.
Keeping that in mind, the battery life will certainly vary depending on how you use it. But however you use it, it’ll still last longer than any of the other options on this list.
Battery life aside, the Dell Latitude 9410 also comes with 8GB of RAM, up to 2TB of hard drive space, a 14-inch screen, and it weighs about 3 pounds. This is a 2-in-1 laptop as well. So if the need arises you can flip the screen around and use the laptop in tent mode where you interact with just the touch display.
If you want a full Windows 10 laptop option that’s as light as it gets and is ultra portable, look no further than Microsoft Surface Go 2. Going back to school, you want something light and this is one of the best laptops for that. In fact it is the best option for portability.
Technically, this is a tablet PC and not a laptop. But because you can pick up the Surface Go 2 with the Type Cover keyboard dock (which is excellent by the way), and it comes with full Windows 10, it works like a laptop.
The screen is 10.5-inches. So it’s small enough to fit in just about any bag pocket you would fit a school book in. Best of all, it only weighs about 1.25 pounds. Maybe a touch more with the Type Cover but still well below 2 pounds.
That makes it the lightest and therefore the most portable laptop option on this list. So if you’re really looking for something that is easy to carry with you anywhere to the point that you can forget you have it, this is it.
This particular model comes with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of internal storage space, and is Wi-Fi only. An LTE option is available as well at a bit more money. The Type Cover also comes separate from the Surface Go 2, so that’s worth keeping in mind.
So all of the laptops on this list have been Windows so far, but not everyone uses Windows PCs. If you’re invested in the Apple ecosystem, then this is the one of the best laptops for you for back to school.
The most recent MacBook Pro with a 13-inch screen is pretty lightweight at just 3.1 pounds and it’s just 15.6mm thin. And because of the 13-inch screen it’s not very big either. Making it easy to stuff into a backpack or bag.
The display comes at a resolution of 2560 x 1600, with the laptop sporting a 10th-gen Intel Core i5 CPU. This particular laptop model also comes with a 1TB SSD for loads of internal storage, as well as 16GB of RAM for plenty of memory.
You can however dump the storage down to 512GB if you want to save a couple hundred bucks. It’s also carrying Intel Iris Plus graphics, the backlit magic keyboard, the Touch Bar and Touch ID, and a battery life of up to 10 hours.
In short it can handle your school work and last for about a day off the charger, play some games, stream your movies and music and more. It’ll be a solid choice with al of your favorite Apple services too.
2-In-1 laptops can be highly underrated, but they’re definitely worth your consideration because of their versatile configurations.
Use them like a regular laptop, or use them like a touch display with a kickstand. You can even flip the keyboard all the way back onto the back of the display and use the laptop like a tablet if you prefer.
So it more or less conforms to fit your needs instead of the other way around. The HP Spectre X360 is the best 2-In-1 around and aside from its versatility when it comes to configurations, it’s pretty powerful too.
You get a 10-gen Intel Core i7 CPU, Intel Iris Plus graphics, 8GB of RAM, 512GB of storage via the SSD, a 13.3-inch display with a Full HD resolution, a fingerprint reader, and a battery life of close to 10 hours. It weighs just under 3 pounds (2.87 pounds), so it’s fairly portable as well.
This is an all around great laptop and packed with nifty features if you need something that can be used in numerous configurations.
Chromebooks have come a long way over the years and are very capable laptops now. They were still decent in their infancy, but now they’re much more equipped to be a solid replacement for something running on Windows or MacOS.
The ASUS Chromebook Flip C434TA sits at the top of the Chrome OS pack. And is available in multiple variations to fit your personal needs. The $599 model comes with 64GB of internal storage space, 8GB of RAM, a 14-inch display with Full HD resolution, and a pretty stellar battery life of up to 10 hours.
It’s running an Intel Core m3 CPU, and although it can’t play PC games traditionally, it can play games through Stadia. So this is still technically a good gaming machine if that’s how you access your games.
This is also a 2-In-1 with a 360-degree hinge, and a touch display so you can use it like a tablet. Lastly it only weighs around 3 pounds. So while it isn’t the lightest laptop of all the ones we’ve picked for this list, it’s still very light and portable.
Making this one of the best laptops for back to school and the best Chrome OS option.