Top 5 Best Laptops For Computer Science Students 2020:
- ASUS ZenBook 13 UX333FA-AB77
- Dell XPS 15 7590 Laptop 15.6 inch
- ASUS ZenBook 13 UX331FA-AS51
- Apple MacBook Air
- Lenovo Yoga C930 2-in-1
In a couple of previous articles published on our website, we have, among other things, tackled the topic of laptops for nursing and engineering students. These were excellent opportunities to go through some very punchy, versatile, and, in most cases, affordable devices that can be used for a whole slew of different student activities.
This time though, we are coming to the crux of the whole story – laptops for computer science students. Every single device you have in the house, ranging from remote to the PC you use to read this article, uses the knowledge acquired on these studies.
But, as it naturally goes, before you earn your degree in computer science, you will need to plow your ways through millions of demanding projects and assignments. Let us take a look then at a couple of popular products and try to find the best laptop for computer science students.
Like always, our roundup consists of five popular contenders.
5 Best Laptops For Computer Science Students In 2020: Detailed Reviews
1. ASUS ZenBook 13 UX333FA-AB77 – Best Laptop Overall
When it comes to affordable and mid-range laptops, Asus is an absolute behemoth. So, it shouldn’t be that big of a surprise that this laptop met our high expectations and even offered a couple of treats we weren’t expecting.
Seriously, there are very few things not to like here, starting with the specs. The device packs a rock-solid 8th generation Intel Core i7-8565U processor, 16GB of RAM and 15GB SSD. Sure, the storage is not quite ideal if you try to dual boot some build of Linux, but the whole configuration more than holds up if you keep the things within the Windows boundaries.
Keeping that in mind, we tried firing up all sorts of development tools with servers firmly running in the background, and everything felt nice and buttery smooth.
But, that’s not all – the device features a slim and bezel-less design that keeps the weight firmly under 3 lbs, battery life that soars up to 13 hours of continuous use and dual-function touchpad that allows you to turn this component into a number pad for speedy data entry.
When it comes to the screen, things aren’t bad either – 1080p resolution combined with a 13.3-inch display provides satisfying pixel density, and the viewing angles are great. Throw into the mix the extreme durability, and you will get a device that leaves very few things to be desired.
Well, except for a better keyboard. Until you get the gist of the thing, the layout will feel cramped.
- Good price-value ratio
- Excellent compact design
- Great specs
- Top-notch autonomy
- Keyboard layout
2. Dell XPS 15 7590 Laptop 15.6 inch – Best Premium Laptop for Computer Science Studies
Now let’s get one thing straight from the get-go. This laptop costs a small fortune. It probably may be out of the average student budget. But, if you are ready to go with it, you will be rewarded with a genuine piece of premium portable tech.
And you don’t even have to look further than the specs to see that we are talking about the real deal here. The device packs 9th generation Intel Core i7-9750h processor (six cores, up to 4,5GHz), and 16GB of 16GB of DDR4 RAM are all you need for smooth Windows 10 sailing even when you overload the system with various development tools.
We have to mention, though, that the hard drive with only 256 GB on disposal leaves a lot to be desired. Still, if you don’t dual boot the device and limit your multimedia consumption to streaming, you will be able to get away with it.
But, what it lacks in storage Dell XPS 15 7590 more than compensates in other areas. For instance, you get a huge screen with 15.6 inches in diagonal combined with the sweet 4K UHD resolution (3840 x 2160) that provides one very pleasing viewing experience. Oh yeah, we forgot to mention – the screen is OLED.
And then, there is Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 graphics card (Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650) that allows seamless casual gaming.
Unfortunately, the battery will hold up only 6-8 hours when unplugged, which is not great, but we can live with it.
- Crystal-clear screen
- Excellent performance
- Good for gaming
- Great build quality
- Underwhelming battery life
- The hard drive could be better
3. ASUS ZenBook 13 UX331FA-AS51 – Best Affordable Laptop
And we are going back to Asus, which means you can put your budgetary concerns to rest. If you felt that the previous two laptops were a bit too expensive, this one will certainly put a smile on your face. Of course, without sacrificing too many essential features along the way.
But there are some compromises.
Namely, we are talking about only 8GB of DDR3 RAM and 512GB of storage. Don’t get us wrong; these components are perfectly acceptable, and they will be able to fire up all the apps and tools you are going to use throughout your studies. You will, however, need to wait a bit longer for things to lead when you hit the F6 button.
Still, the more than competent Intel Core i5-8265u processor (up to 3.9GHz) makes sure that things will fly when you finally load all the routines.
And we can’t say that ZenBook 13 fails to impress in other, equally important areas. For instance, the 13.3-inch display features Full HD resolution and some pretty lovely viewing angles, the body measures only 2.5 pounds of weight, and the build quality is not that bad either.
Of course, the laptop features all the small touches like HDMI ports, USB type C port, precise tracking pad, and obligatory Micro SD card reader. Overall, you do get a lot of goods for the price you pay.
- Affordable price
- Solid specs
- Reasonable build quality
- The screen is easy on the eyes
- Not quite the RAM monster
- Average hard drive
4. Apple MacBook Air – Best Apple Laptop for Students
And finally, we have an opportunity to lay our hands on a piece of that sweet and, admittedly overpriced, Apple tech. And what to say – the Cupertino giant really delivered with this one. But, there are a couple of drawbacks we want to point out to.
But, let us first cover the positives. In terms of Apple ecosystem, MacBook Air is more than a reasonably powered, neat little device. What you get in the package are the 10th generation Intel Core i3 processor, 8 GB of RAM, and 256GB hard drive – more than enough for a hiccup-free and smooth Apple development sailing.
Of course, these specs are far from pristine, but venturing into the higher product segments would cost you tons of money, so we will keep the things on the acceptable level.
But, we can’t say that the laptop doesn’t offer some small touches to keep the overall experience refined and elevate this product above the average. The 13.3-inch Full HD retina display is just as great as always, and high-quality stereo speakers, HD FaceTime camera, and up to 12 hours of battery life are really something to look forward to.
So, we can sum this up by saying that Apple does what Apple does. If you buy this unit, you will get a great mid-range device with a lot of small tweaks that make it feel more premium than it actually is.
Knock yourself out if you have enough funds.
- Incredibly refined product
- Rock-solid specs
- Excellent display
- Powerful speakers
- Underwhelming storage
5. Lenovo Yoga C930 2-in-1 – Best Laptop with Touchscreen
Lenovo Yoga lineup was always known for its excellent design, pristine build quality, and an incredible level of convenience. However, the specs were never one of its strongest points. Well, at least if you don’t want to burn the pile of money to get the best of both worlds.
This device, however, manages to check all the essential boxes and offer something for everyone. The price is high but not outrageous, the specs are more than reliable, and the design retains all the things that made the series so famous.
So, let’s take a peek under the hood. Lenovo Yoga C930 runs on 8th Gen Intel Core i7-8550U processor, as much as 12GB of RAM, and packs a decent 512GB of storage. All these things make for seamless Windows 10 experience even when you are using demanding development tools.
As you would expect, the screen is also pretty darn good. At first glance, 13.9 inches combined with Full HD resolution may not look overly spectacular. Still, LED technology and LED backlight do improve the overall impression. And the option to roll out the display and use the device like a tablet is as convenient as it gets.
So, what’s wrong with this one? Well, let’s take into account that for the same money you can buy a lot more capable traditional laptop design. Or that for the device you are supposed to use in your bed, the ergonomics feels pretty poor (e.g., sharp metal edges).
Even so, if you value this type of device, you will hardly find a better product than this one.
- Great performance
- Dolby Atmos Audio
- Versatile, sharp screen
- HD webcam
- A bit pricey
- Average ergonomics
Things You Should Consider While Checking The Best Laptops For Computer Science Students
And now that we’ve taken a look at some of the most popular devices competing for the title of the best laptop for computer science students currently on the market, let’s see what makes a good CS laptop in the first place.
We had to choose our top picks based on some criteria, right?
But, we are also here to bring some good news and lighten up the mood – computer science studies are not exclusively about projects, coding, and tough assignments. You will get a fair share of spare time to kill as well. Therefore, we will also look back at a couple of features that are not so essential for earning you a degree, but certainly can make your college years more fun and laid back.
So, let’s see what the things you should take into consideration to get the best possible CS laptop suited to your personal needs are.
1. Native OS
When we are talking about student laptops, we usually like to start our buying guides with the consideration of available operating systems and the tools you can find in their stores. This time, our breakdown will be a bit shorter – app development requires the use of some highly-specialized tools that can’t be used on casual devices like Google’s Chromebooks.
So, your options will basically boil down to three choices:
- Apple iOS – Apple’s iOS is one incredibly streamlined, polished, and lightweight platform with an excellent selection of development tools (all major apps have their iOS release). However, this refinement comes at a price, and Apple’s laptops are often quite heavy on the wallet.
- Microsoft Windows – Microsoft Windows is yet another industry behemoth. Unlike iOS, however, the system is more demanding and feels somewhat quirky. But, these things can, to no small extent, be counterbalanced with powerful configuration.
- Linux – This popular OS is light, efficient and allows you tons of adjustment options to play with. Since you are enrolling in CS studies, this is precisely what the doctor prescribed. But, the devices that come with pre-installed Linux are few and far between, so you will most likely have to force it upon your Windows laptop. Dual boot is an option, but you need a spacious HDD for that.
Moving on to specs. All the platforms we covered above have their specific hardware requirements. Still, since you are going to run a bunch of servers and development tools that devour RAM, probably at the same time, we will raise these requirements by a notch.
- Apple iOS – As we already mentioned, iOS is a highly optimized platform that easily runs even on weaker configurations. Therefore, if you want to successfully develop apps, you will probably be able to get away with Pentium N4200 CPU, GB of DDR4 RAM, and 128GB of storage.
- Windows 10 – We’ll just use the latest iteration of this operating system since previous versions are rapidly using support. Since we are talking about a slightly heftier platform, your projects will require Intel i5 Quad-Core processor, 12GB of RAM, 512GB HDD.
- Linux – Linux can become as optimized as you are willing to tinker the system. So, these recommendations are pretty arbitrary. The one thing that’s for sure that dual-booting requires a bigger hard drive, so here you go – Intel quad-core Pentium N4200 CPU, 6GB of DDR4 RAM, 1TB HDD.
3. Battery Life
- Computer science projects require a lot of time to be finished. In some cases, you will need to tackle these chores on-the-go without a power socket in sight. In circumstances like this, you need to squeeze every bit of autonomy you can get. We would say that 9 hours of battery life meets this criterion.
4. Resolution And Screen Size
- There is a great debate about what is more important, bigger screen or higher resolution. Spend a couple of hours behind the screen, and you will see that resolution is more than an obvious answer. The diagonal of your screen may be as big as you want, but staring at the grain-size pixels will induce you some severe headache sooner than later. Also, oversized screens damage the unit’s portability.
- But, going too small for the sake of pixel density is not the perfect solution, either. So, we recommend that you aim for 14 inches combined with Full HD resolution (1920 x 1020 or 1080p) for the optimal affordable experience.
5. Additional Features
Additional features are all those small things that are not essential for smooth laptop experience but make life a whole lot easier. We are talking about things like:
- OLED screens that optimize battery consumptions and eliminate annoying glare
- A backlit keyboard that allows you to work in the dim light
- Precise tracking pad with scrolling feature
- Competent graphics card for casual gaming to kill the spare time
- HDMI ports that give you to option to stream the video content to bigger screens
- Touchscreen – it makes the use of some apps far more intuitive
Final Thoughts And Recommendations
And now, it’s finally the time for us to reveal what is our pick for the title of the best laptop for computer science students. Of course, as much as we tried to base our opinion on hard facts and real-life experience, there is a chance that, for a number of reasons, you won’t agree with our choices.
If so, hit the buying guide just above and see if something suits your needs better. With that off the table, here are our top three picks:
Best laptop overall: ASUS ZenBook 13 UX333FA-AB77
- Asus had to earn this one. Seriously, the competent mid-range devices are the company’s bread and butter. So, it shouldn’t be that big of a surprise that this unit successfully combines efficiency with appropriate pricing and creates the best pick computer science students can imagine.
Best premium pick: Dell XPS 15 7590 Laptop 15.6 inch
- Dell XPS 15 7590 is not that much a laptop for students as it is a genuine tool for professional developers. Of course, that level of power comes at a cost, and you will have to spend a hefty sum of money to get this bad boy. But rest assured – the price is warranted.
Best affordable laptop: ASUS ZenBook 13 UX331FA-AS51
- And once again, we have Asus, this time hitting the lower price segments. What’s so great about this laptop is that its performance doesn’t suffer that much from the necessary budget cuts. Sure, some apps will take more time to lead. But at this price point? That is something we can live with.