Best Laptops for Grad School Students 2020

Dario Lemut Updated on September 15, 2020
Best Laptop For Grad School Students

How hard is your grad school? Would it be a bit harder if you didn’t have a decent laptop to help you out? We believe it would.

What matters the most for grad school laptops is the configuration. Type & screen size depend on the personal preference, while configuration is the heart of any laptop.

But there is no reason to stick with your old & slow laptop since you’re here with us now. How about we show you something special we prepared in this post that will help you graduate the grad school with ease.

Prepare yourself, because, in this post, you’ll learn how to know which laptop is great for grad school, but also which are some of our best picks. We’ve listed them in different categories so everyone can find something for their needs.

Recommendations for November 2020

Best Laptops For Grad School Students In 2020

Acer Aspire 5 – Cheap and Reliable

Acer Aspire 5 Slim Laptop
Students are often on a budget, and if that’s the case, Acer Aspire 5 offers a decent laptop for a very reasonable price. It features everything a grad student would require, yet it won’t break the bank.

For the cheap price Acer Aspire 5 is selling for, grad school students are still able to get a decent configuration and overall good laptop for their studies.

Acer Aspire 5 features the latest 8th generation of i5 processor, 8GB of RAM, and 256GB SSD.

It gets even better.

This budget laptop even has its own dedicated GeForce MX150 graphics card. That’s really surprising and it’s something that boosts the performance for the students.

The 15.6″ is pretty decent since it’s an LED display type and it offers the resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels.

Acer Aspire 5 might not be the thinnest or the lightest laptop out there, but for the price, it’s selling for, it’s pretty solid, with a beautiful obsidian black finish and a decent build

Hardware specifications for Acer Aspire 5

CPU: 10th Gen Intel Core i5-10210U  | Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics 620| RAM: 8 GB RAM | Screen: 15 6″ Full HD (1920 x 1080) widescreen LED-backlit IPS Display| Storage: 256 GB SSD | Operating System: Windows 10| Battery Life: 9 hours | Weight: 5.74 pounds

Lenovo Flex 14 – Slim and lightweight convertible

Lenovo Flex 14
If you’re looking to find your ultimate laptop that you can use in 3 different modes, take anywhere with you, and yet still see decent power – Lenovo Flex 14 is the newest model from Flex line that offers versatility and connectivity no matter what you do.

Lenovo Flex 14 is flexible in more than just design, offering the ability to work, play, and enjoy the power and 3 different modes of use anywhere you go.

With a screen that rotates 180 degrees and a battery that lasts long yet almost fully recharges in an hour – you get to experience the best of both worlds.

If you’re someone who’s always on the go and you’re always connected to the internet, paying attention to your privacy is never a bad idea.

Flex 14 comes with a TrueBlock privacy feature that allows you to physically shut the camera lid and never worry about anyone spying on you.

Even though Flex 14 is very slim, lightweight, and can be used any way you want – it still offers plenty of power.

Such a powerful configuration allows you to play games, do work, study, stream, or do almost anything even when you’re not at home.

Hardware specifications for Lenovo Flex 14

CPU: AMD Ryzen 7-3700U Processor at 2.3GHz, up to 4.0GHz | Graphics: Integrated Radeon Vega 10 Graphics | RAM: 12 GB RAM | Screen:  14″ Touchscreen LED-backlit IPS FHD (1920 x 1080) Display| Storage: 512 GB SSD | Operating System: Windows 10| Battery Life: 8 hours | Weight: 3.5 pounds

ASUS VivoBook 15  – Ergonomic keyboard 

ASUS VivoBook 15
The ASUS VivoBook 15 is an entry level pc that has decent specs and is very portable. What makes this laptop so good for grad students though is its ergonomic backlit keyboard that makes it easy to type. If you wanna keep up in class, then you might want to consider using a laptop like this.

Taking notes is never that easy especially if you’re in grad school because notes aren’t that clear anymore. It’s really hard to type in most laptop computers because they aren’t mainly built for ergonomic typing.

Thankfully the ASUS VivoBook 15 addresses the concern of college students and grad students when it comes to typing. It has an ergonomic design for improved typing position as well as backlit keyboard and fingerprint sensor to make it easier to type especially in dim lighting. 

Asus Vivobook 15 models either come with an AMD Ryzen Processor or an Intel Core processor. We’re suggesting getting the intel Core models since its cheaper and you really won’t be needing to run high-end tasks with a note taking laptop.

Lastly, the Asus Vivobook 15 has a long battery life of 8-9 hours so you don’t necessarily have to bring a charger when going to class.

Hardware specifications for ASUS VivoBook 15 

CPU:  10th Gen Intel Core i3-1005G1 CPU (4M Cache up to 3 4 GHz),  | Graphics: | RAM: 8GB DDR4 RAM| Screen: 15.6-inch, HD (1920×1080) | Storage: 128GB PCIe NVMe M 2 SSD | Operating System: Windows 10 S | Battery Life: 9 hours | Weight: 3.75 pounds

MacBook Pro – Smooth performance

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Apple MacBook Pro
MacBook Pro is a reliable laptop that offers the best when it comes to both design and performance. It’s a number one choice for many students especially because of the easy and fast Mac OS.

MacBook is often the first choice of students, and when it comes to grad school, MacBook Pro is the ideal laptop for students.

It offers incredible performance through the powerful specifications and the effortless operating Mac OS.

It’s incredible how Apple was able to design such a thin and lightweight laptop, place great components inside and still sort out the perfect cooling.

The latest MacBook Pro features a  9th-generation 6-Core Intel Core i7 Processor that comes with a Turbo Boost feature, 16 GB of RAM, and a 512 GB SSD storage. However, students who require even better specifications can opt-in for a better configuration which will cost a bit more.

Retina display is suitable for students who have to look at the screen for long. It goes easy on the eyes and the quality is amazing.

Hardware specifications for Apple MacBook Pro 16-Inch

CPU: Ninth-generation 6-Core Intel Core i7 Processor | Graphics: AMD Radeon Pro 5500M with 4GB of GDDR6 memory and automatic graphics switching, Intel UHD Graphics 630  | RAM: 16 GB | Screen: 16.0-inch (diagonal) LED-back display with IPS technology; 3072×1920 native resolution at 226 pixels per inch with support for millions of colors| Storage: 512 GB  SSD| Operating System: MAC OS | Battery Life: 11 hours | Weight: 4.3 pounds

Samsung Chromebook – Cheapest option

Samsung Chromebook
If price is a big concern for you or if you’re on a budget, then you might want to consider getting a Samsung Chromebook. This laptop is small and portable, having a screen of only 11 inches which makes it very reliable if you travel around a lot. It doesn’t have the best specs but it's sure has the best price on this list.

People who start grad school usually have a job on the side so they can afford pricier laptops. However not everyone is willing to pay a lot of money for a laptop that they’ll only use at school. 

So if you only want a cheap and portable gadget to store your notes in, then the  Samsung Chromebook is for you.

The laptop has an 11 inch screen and it weighs about 2.54 pounds making this laptop really light and portable. It also has fairly decent processing power and RAM for its price as it features a Intel Celeron N3060 and 4 GB of RAM.

The only downside of this laptop is its memory storage as it only has 16 GB for you to store your files in. So don’t expect more out of this laptop aside from casual browsing and note-taking.

Hardware specifications for Samsung Chromebook

CPU: Intel Celeron N3060  | Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 400 | RAM: 4GB LPDDR3 RAM | Screen: 11.6 inch HD Anti-ReflectiveLED Display (1366 x 768) | Storage: 16GB eMMC | Operating System: Chrome OS| Battery Life: 10 hours | Weight: 2.54 pounds

LG Gram – Powerful specs yet lightweight

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LG Gram
Large screen laptops are generally heavy and bulky which makes them very unportable. The LG Gram fixes that so that its able to provide you with high specs a large screen without sacrificing portability.

LG Gram provides you with powerful specs as you move on the go. It features an Intel 10th Gen Core i7 1065G7 CPU, 16 GB of RAM, and an Intel Iris Graphic card. These specs allow users to run most resource intensive programs smoothly and even on battery power. 

But what’s truly great about the LG Gram is its lightweight build. This is thanks to its amazing design which makes this 17 inch laptop easy to carry and easy to use. 

Students will now be able to run high-end programs without having to sacrifice portability like other high-spec laptops out there.

LG Gram also features an impressive screen size due to its size as well as a full sized keyboard that allows for easy typing as well as using a numpad. This helps people with big hands type much faster and uninhibited.

The LG Gram is an amazing innovation and its ideal laptop for students who want something light to carry yet have big enough to have powerful specs.

Hardware specifications for LG Gram 

CPU: Intel 10th Gen Core i7 1065G7 processor | Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics 620 | RAM: 16 GB RAM | Screen: 17″ IPS WQXGA (2560 x 1600)| Storage: 1TB M.2 NVMe SSD (512GB x2) | Operating System: Windows 10 home | Battery Life: 17 hours | Weight: 2.98 pounds

Lenovo IdeaPad 3 – Q-control feature

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Lenovo IdeaPad 3
Every second counts for a student who’s listening to their lecture. The Lenovo Ideapad 3 features a quick and quiet Q-control feature that allows the user to switch between max performance mode and battery saver. Now you won’t miss important points said by your professors.

The Lenovo IdeaPad 3 is a good entry level laptop that has powerful specs meant to handle everyday tasks.This means that this ideal for office workers and students who plan to use affordable laptops for note-taking and handling documents.

It features a AMD Ryzen 5 3500U Processor, 8GB  of RAM,  and a 256GB SSD. These specs allow the laptop to run smoothly despite running multiple programs at once. Its AMD Radeon Vega 8 Graphics also allows for some minor video editing as well.

Its 14 inch HD screen is just the right size for the student to see clearly what they are typing without hindering the product’s portability. The screen size is also a good fit for the student to enjoy watching movies or tv shows on their laptop while they wait for their lecture.

Lastly, the laptop has Q-control feature that allows the user to switch between max performance mode and battery saving mode. Now you can switch between modes  quickly during lectures so you don’t waste time navigating through your laptops interface to switch battery modes.

Hardware specifications for Lenovo IdeaPad 3

CPU: AMD Ryzen 5 3500U |Processor: AMD Ryzen 5 3500U Processor | Graphics: AMD Radeon Vega 8 Graphics | RAM: 8GB DDR4 RAM | Screen: 14.0″ FHD (1920 x 1080) | Display: | Storage: 256GB SSD| Operating System: Windows 10  | Battery Life: 4 hours and 30 minutes | Weight: 3.3 pounds

HP Spectre x360 – Touchscreen Stylus 

HP Spectre x360
Are your fingers tired of typing on your laptop to take notes? Well why not do it the old-fashioned way and write it down yourself? HP Spectre x360 features a touchscreen stylus that allows you to take down notes as if you were using a pen and paper.

The HP Spectre x360 is powerful, portable, and painless for your fingers. Some people experience pain or soreness on their fingertips from typing too much. Sadly students can’t help but type to get their notes or else they won’t be able to do well in grad school.

Thankfully the HP Spectre x360 features a touch screen and a stylus for all of your note-taking needs. Now you can write and draw as if you were using a pen and paper. This is advantageous especially since you can draw symbols on your notes to make it easier to understand.

Asides from that, the HP Spectre x360 also has excellent battery life and it features a backlit keyboard as well making it easier to use at night. 

Hardware specifications for HP Spectre x360

CPU:Intel Quad Core i7-1065G7 Processor (1.3GHz, up to 3.9GHz, 8MB cache, 4 cores)  | Graphics: Intel Iris Plus Graphics | RAM: 8GB DDR4 SDRAM | Screen: 13.3″ FHD IPS WLED-backlit multitouch-enabled IPS(1920 x 1080) Display | Storage: 512GB SSD with 32GB Optane | Operating System: Microsoft Windows 10 Home 64 Bit | Battery Life: 16 hours | Weight: 5.2 pounds

Picking The Best Laptops For Grad School Students In 2020

O.S

As a grad student, the first thing you should look at your laptop is the operating system. We highly recommend sticking with some of the most known operating systems which are Windows, Mac OS, and even Linux can be a good choice.

Other operating systems might not be compatible with every software and app you’re going to need for your studying and homework.

Also, if you’re on a very tight budget, you’ll want to make sure the laptop comes with an included operating system so you don’t have to take care of additional expenses. Believe it or not, an operating system such as Windows can be pretty pricey, even if you’re purchasing the Home edition, but you’re most likely going to need a Professional edition.

But the most important thing to do is to make sure your new laptop’s operating system is in place and is able to run any software you require for your schooling.

Keyboard

Taking notes on a laptop is way easier than taking notes using a pen and paper and we live in a modern age where 80% of students will rely on taking notes with the help of their laptop.

That’s totally fine, however, you have to make sure that the keyboard your new laptop includes is decent and will be worth your time.

Make sure you pay attention to the position of the keyboard, size of the keys, and key travel distance.

Even if you don’t plan to take notes using your laptop, there is nothing worse than having to deal with a keyboard that you don’t like or feel comfortable with.

While most students only make sure their keyboard sounds the way the like, it’s a totally wrong way to choose a keyboard. In fact, the keyboard sound is the least important thing to pay attention to.

Connectivity

To most students, a fully functional, quick, powerful, versatile & comfortable laptop is enough to take care of the most needs they have. However, not every grad student has the same needs, and that’s where connectivity comes in place.

You have to make sure that the laptop you’re choosing has decent connectivity and will be able to get connected both wired and wireless with other devices. The printer is just one of the most important things you’ll have to connect, but most students opt-in for a mouse, a set of noise canceling headphones, or even an additional keyboard.

A laptop that comes with plenty of USB ports, HDMI port, and a few other ports such as multiple card reader or even DVD/RW drive is useful to have. But the most necessary ports you should look for are USB ports and HDMI.

But other than paying attention to the ports, make sure that both wireless & Bluetooth connection offers a top-notch quality with a great range.

Performance

Nobody likes a slow laptop and having to deal with a slow and even faulty laptop as a grad school student is the worst case scenario you don’t want to deal with.

Even if you don’t know much about laptops and its components, making sure your laptop comes with a decent processor, plenty of RAM, large storage drive, and optionally a good graphics card processor are the most important things to look out for.

What else is going to depend on the performance is something we’ve already mentioned and it’s the operating system. But paying attention to the screen quality isn’t a bad idea either.

Looking for a combination of SSD type of drive and plenty of RAM is the best way to achieve quick performance levels.

But that doesn’t mean you should ignore the CPU since it’s the main component that provides the processing power.

Battery Life

Grad school students are most of the time on a go and it’s very rare that you will be doing homework, reading notes and studying right out of your dorm.

Using a library, having to take your laptop with you to the classes, and even working outdoors and in your favorite coffee shop is probably what a grad school student is going to rather do.

Therefore, making sure your laptop offers a decent battery that won’t slow you down is important. You don’t want to constantly look around for power plugs, yet focus on the work you’re doing without having to think about the laptop’s battery life.

Luckily, most modern laptops with modern batteries can last even for a whole day, and most of the laptops come with a quick-charging feature that will get your laptop ready in just an hour.

That’s exactly what you should be looking out for.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is graphic card important for a grad school student?

Not every grad school student will have the same requirements. For most grad school students, graphics card won’t be an important aspect of a laptop and integrated HD card will do just fine. On the other hand, if you’re going to use heavy video or photo processing software such as Photoshop or Sony Vegas – you’ll need a good graphics card.

What’s the best size for a laptop one grad school student will be using?

We find the most ideal laptop size for a grad school student to be between 13″ to 15″. Of course, you can go for smaller laptop models, but we find the efficiency to be the best with the earlier mentioned sizes. Going for larger laptops than 15″ is going to slightly improve the efficiency but you’ll have to risk versatility and portability.

Is touchscreen capability necessary for a grad school student?

The touchscreen isn’t necessary but is recommended since it allows users to take care of some tasks more efficiently and quickly. We believe that laptops which come with a touchscreen feature won’t need additional mouse accessories.However, if the touchscreen isn’t important to you, focusing on getting a quality display is the next thing to do.

Conclusion

The choice is endless, especially with the latest laptops that are released on the market. It can be a real hassle to find your next new laptop that will suit your needs and handle the everyday tasks.

However, in this post, you could find some of the top laptops for grad school students that won’t break the bank yet offer the best configuration possible in combination with the increased portability.

Dario Lemut
Article by:
Dario Lemut
Dario is a writer at NetbookNews.com. He is at the same time an avid technology addict that loves reviewing gadgets & devices, and then writing useful reviews.

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