A typical student laptop packs a lot of features generally. It helps for research work, creating documents, watching movies, or playing games. Many would point at the Apple MacBook Air, but it is expensive and not really wholesome. Thankfully, there are ample Windows laptops and Chromebooks out there that are not as expensive and lets you go about your job seamlessly.
Performance is not the only factor to consider when picking a laptop for a student. It should both have long battery life and be portable. And hey, build quality is also an essential factor, especially if you are thinking of using it until the next chapter starts.
So, if you are in the market looking for some well-performing student laptops under $700, here are our recommendations.
If you can spend a bit more than $700, the Ryzen 5-4500U-powered HP Envy x360 is a clever pick. This one is touted as an able performer for many reasons. For one, the AMD Ryzen chipset is fast and responsive. And it can zip through everyday work without heating and lags. Secondly, a solid build backs the chic look and can easily last you through your college days easily.
And it's not just the performance that drives this laptop. The display is clear and crisp on the 1080p display. You will see accurate colors, and the stereo speakers ensure that you can easily binge-watch your favorite series without any issues during your breaks. It's worth to be noted that the Envy x360 comes with Bang & Olufsen audio center.
Apart from that, you get the option of connecting an MPP 2.0 stylus, should you want to indulge in a little digital sketching. And the 2-in-1 design is the cherry on top.
The battery life is decent and you should get a day's worth at average brightness.
2. Acer Swift 3
Weight: 2.65 pounds | Display: 14-inch FHD
Ports: 1 x USB-C, 1 x USB 3.2 Gen 1 port, 1 x USB 2.0, 1 x HDMI, 1 x 3.5 audio
Acer brings a practical set of features with the Swift 3 laptop. It doesn't bundle fancy features like a convertible build or a fancy touchscreen. But the good news is that it brings you practical features such as an FHD screen, a long battery life, and a solid build. It's powerful enough to run several Chrome tabs together easily.
It weighs 2.65 pounds and you can easily carry it in your backpack. The 14-inch FHD screen helps to make the text and visuals appear crisper. That said, the screen isn't exactly too bright and you'll have to stuggle if you plan to work outdoors in the day.
As noted earlier, it can effortlessly multitask, whether it's running a boatload of Chrome tabs together or switching between two or more apps. And this has been backed by quite a few authoritative reviewers. The seamless performance is backed by long battery life.
The Acer Swift 3 has its limitations like the speakers aren't too loud and you'll have to use wireless earphones for a video calls.
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3. Lenovo ThinkPad C13 Yoga
Weight: 3.30 pounds| Display: 13.3-inch FHD
Ports: 2 x USB 3.2 Type-A, 2 x USB-C, 1 x HDMI, 1 x MicroSD card reader, 1 x 3.5 audio
The Lenovo ThinkPad C13 Yoga has many good things going for it. For one, this Chromebook has all the signature Thinkpad features, right down to the red TrackPoint at the middle of the keyboard. On top of it, it brings in some practical features such as a bright and sharp display, long battery life, a built-in stylus, and a handy 2-in-1 design.
And it's the stylus that comes in handy for many reasons. For one, you can jot down quick notes and reminders, apart from using it occasionally for illustration purposes.
The ThinkPad C13 Yoga is powered by AMD's 3000C-series processor, though there are a few Ryzen variants. The 3000C-series processor is fast and can easily handle anything you throw at it without going warm or slowing down. The battery life is decent for Chromebooks.
Of course, the battery life depends on the intensity of your work. And more power-intensive work will tend to drain the battery faster. Nevertheless, the folks at The Wired managed to eke out around 9 hours during their battery tests.
Not long ago, Chromebooks were often ridiculed for their functionality, rather limited functionality. Thankfully, things have changed for the better with devices like the C13 Yoga.
Another Chromebook that you can check out is the Google Pixelbook Go M3. While it has an impressive battery life and comes in a chick package, the 8th-generation Intel Core M3 processor can at times be laggy.
If you can extend the budget, you can check out the Intel Core i5-8220Y powered Google Pixelbook Go. Though it's a tad expensive, this Chromebook is often touted to fly through everyday tasks with ease.
4. Acer Chromebook Spin 713
Weight: 3 pounds | Display: 13.5-inch, 2256 x 1504
Ports: 2 x USB-C, 1 x USB 3.0 port, 1 x HDMI, 1 x 3.55 audio, and microSD slot
Another Chromebook that you can have a peek at is the Acer Chromebook Spin 713. The highlight of this Chromebook is the 3:2 aspect ratio, unlike the 16:9 aspect ratio of the above Chromebooks. Naturally, the 3:2 aspect ratio makes it easy to run two windows side by side. At the same time, the Intel Core i5-10210U processor zips through everyday work with ease. There's no lag and it can easily run several tabs without slowing down.
The folks at Laptop Mag could run 20 tabs together without any issues. Interestingly, seven of those tabs had YouTube videos running. The battery life is not bad either. On average, it should last you around 10 hours.
As noted earlier, you get the advantage of added vertical height. There's less amount of scrolling involved when reading and browsing online.
It's slim and can be carried conveniently in bags. Interestingly, it's certified (MIL-STD 810G) against drop and temperature changes. Cool, I'd say.
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5. Microsoft Surface Go 2
Weight: 1.2 pounds | Display: 10.5-inch 1920 x 1280
Ports: 1 x USB-C, 1 x Surface Connect port, 1 x Surface Type Cover Port, 1 x MicroSD, 1 x 3.5 mm audio
The Microsoft Surface Go 2 makes for a good pick if you are wary of spending upwards of $500 on a laptop. It's a mid-range laptop in a tablet form and runs Windows. An Intel Pentium Gold CPU powers the base variant and is ideal for basic daily use. Apart from the decent processing speed, the highlight of the Surface Go 2 is the form factor and performance promise.
It's the convertible design that adds to its versatility. Be it fitting into a small space or using it as a book to go through your notes; the convertible design amplifies its usability. And hey, you get neat specs like a touch screen display in a neat 3:2 aspect ratio panel. Whenever you need it, you can prop it up in a kickstand position.
Owing to the form factor, you can expect some tradeoff, and for this option, it's the battery life which lasts around 5 hours. It's on the shorter end, and you'll have to ensure that the battery is topped up daily.
Note that Microsoft ships a higher variant of the Surface Go 2. This one packs the top-end Intel M3 processor and naturally costs a lot more than this one.
Last but not least, we have the Lenovo Chromebook Duet. This one is the cheapest laptop on this list. However, it still manages to pack a decent performance for the price. The feature that helps it stand apart from the rest is its long battery life. On average, it can last more than 12 hours, and that's a huge plus.
Naturally, you won't get a snappy performance, but the Chromebook Duet manages to get the work done. And the 2-in-1 design proves to be immensely convenient to use on the go. Furthermore, the display delivers vivid colors, and you can use to watch the occasional videos from time to time.
Laptop or Chromebook
While laptops are the foremost pick for the lot of us, finding the right combination of specs and battery life usually translates into a high price tag. Thankfully, Chromebooks help to bridge the gaps with their able specs and impressive battery life. And with the advent of web-based tools like MS Office and Excel, you can almost cross the bridge with the minimum hurdles.
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