Best Laptops for Grad School Students 2020

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 top 5 picks. We’ve listed them in different categories so everyone can find something for their needs.

Editor’s Choice


Macbook Pro

Powerful performance & sturdy design

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.

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Budget Choice

Acer Aspire R 15

Acer Aspire 5 Slim Laptop

Budget & dependable

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.

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The Lineup At A Glance

1. Huawei Matebook X ProBest Lightweight Laptop For Grad School


When you’re looking to combine both portability and performance, there are only a few laptops that can achieve that and Huawei Matebook X Pro is one of them. It’s very thin, lightweight, and powerful.

  • Amazing display
  • Very portable and versatile
  • Quick booting
  • A lot of ports
  • Reasonable price
  • Fingerprint sensor
  • Privacy camera
  • The fan can get noisy

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Huawei Matebook X Pro looks very much like a MacBook Pro, and even though it has some similarities, it’s a completely different laptop that offers the best portability and versatility.

What we really liked is that it features one of the best displays on the market, yet it’s super-thin. It’s a 13.9″ laptop that offers 3K touchscreen with a resolution of up to 3000 x 2000 pixels.

Inside the thin yet durable body, powerful components are smartly packed inside. Huawei Matebook X Pro features the latest 8th generation of i7-8550U processor, 16GB of RAM and 512 GB SSD.

But here comes the best.

Inside the 0.57-inch thin body, Huawei was able to place the NVIDIA GeForce MX150 dedicated graphics card.

In just 8 seconds, grad students are able to boot this laptop and be ready for any type of tasks thanks to the one-touch power button.

Hardware specifications for Huawei Matebook X Pro
ProcessorIntel i7-8550U, 8th generation
Storage512GB SSD
GraphicsGeForce MX150
Display13.9”, 3000 x 2000 pixels
Operating SystemWindows 10
Battery LifeUp to 14 hours
Weight2.93 lbs
Other Features3K touchscreen, fingerprint scanner

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2. Acer Aspire 5Best Budget Laptop For Grad School

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.

  • Great specifications
  • Offers value for the price
  • Affordable price
  • Amazon Alexa enabled
  • Quick loading speeds
  • The touchpad isn’t very precise

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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 quality.

Hardware specifications for Acer Aspire 5
ProcessorIntel i5-8250U, 8th generation (up to 3.4GHz)
Storage256GB SSD
GraphicsGeForce MX150
Display15.6”, 1920 x 1080 pixels
Operating SystemWindows 10
Battery LifeUp to 7 hours
Weight4.41 lbs
Other FeaturesAmazon Alexa, easily upgradeable

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3. Lenovo Flex 14Top 2 in 1 Pick

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.

  • Long battery life with quick charging
  • TrueBlock privacy camera shutter
  • Full HD touchscreen ability
  • Great connectivity
  • Lacks a bit of memory

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Key features & details


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.

Online Privacy

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.

Power on the Go

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
ProcessorAMD Ryzen 5 3500U
Storage256 GB SSD
GraphicsRadeon Vega 8
Display14” Full HD touchscreen display
Operating SystemWindows 10
Battery LifeUp to 8 hours
Weight3.52 lbs
Other Features3 modes of use

4. HP ProBook 450 G6With Professional Option

HP ProBook 450 G6 is a laptop you’ll take on any business trip, to work, to school, and even have a lot of joy using it at home for work/business purpose. It’s very slim, lightweight, yet quick and powerful laptop that offers incredible reliability.

  • Newest generation components
  • Powerful and quick performance
  • Slick and thin design
  • Includes great number of ports
  • Reliable experience
  • Great value for the price
  • Can get quite hot

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Key features & details

Reliability Everywhere

Not only HP ProBook 450 G6 laptop offers a stylish and durable design, but what struck us the most is the immersive experience that any user who plans to use a laptop for the professional purpose would expect.

However, what’s even better yet is the simplicity of this laptop when used for conferencing or simply doing a Skype video call.

Never Lighter Before

No matter what business you’re in, this laptop will bring a stylish and yet attractive design thanks to its ultraslim chassis with a new natural silver finish.

On the other hand, you shouldn’t mistake its lightness for a weakness. It’s made of durable premium stamped aluminum that will take care of your laptop wherever you go.

Security Lock Slot

Love working on different spots yet hate leaving your laptop unanttended or feeling the need to pack it with you even if you’re just going to the toilet?

What most modern laptops miss, yet Lenovo introduced it with this laptop is the security lock slot. All you need is a Kensington lock slot and your laptop’s protection is increased instantly!

Hardware specifications for HP ProBook 450 G6
Processor8th Generation, Intel Quad-Core i7-8565U, 1.80 GHz
Storage250 GB SSD
GraphicsIntel UHD Graphics 620
Display15.6” Full HD anti-glare LED display
Operating SystemWindows 10
Battery LifeUp to 7 hours
Weight4.41 lb
Other FeaturesFingerprint sensor

5. MacBook ProBest Mac Laptop For Grad School

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.

  • Retina display
  • Powerful performance
  • Amazing design and body
  • Two Thunderbolt 3 ports
  • Innovative cooling
  • The keyboard requires getting used to

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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 thin and lightweight laptop, place great components inside and still sort out the perfect cooling.

The latest MacBook Pro features dual-core Intel i5 processor that comes with a Turbo Boost feature, 8GB of RAM, and a 128GB 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 MacBook Pro
ProcessorIntel i5, 7th generation (up to 3.6GHz)
Storage128GB SSD
GraphicsIntel Iris Plus 640
Display13”, 2560 x 1600 pixels
Operating SystemMac OS X
Battery LifeUp to 10 hours
Weight1.94 lbs
Other FeaturesRetina display, 2 x Thunderbolt 3 ports

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Criteria used for evaluation


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.

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