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Best Laptops for Students Reviewed & Rated for Quality

last updated Apr 03, 2019

One of the most important things that you can buy before you go off to college, or for any other kind of school, for that matter, is a laptop. A laptop is a necessity on a campus these days. They're great for looking things up, taking notes in class, so they can all be in one place, and most importantly, for writing all those last minute assignments that are due at eight in the morning. This raises an important issue, how are you going to be able to afford a computer on a part-time job and some student loans. These laptops are all the best ones that you can find if you have budget in mind. They are designed for all of your needs, without all the extra features that bloat the price. They are all great value, and will do a good job of making school life real easy.

In a Hurry? The test winner after 13 hrs of research

icon
Huawei Matebook 13
98.6/100 our score
Effectiveness
99
Portability
98
Battery Life
99
Comfort
98
Value
99
Huawei Matebook 13
Why is it better?

Powerful processor

Easy to carry around

Thin bevel on display

Advanced cooling technology

In a Hurry? Editors choice:
Huawei Matebook 13
Test Winner: Huawei Matebook 13
Amazon Link
Researched Sources
15
Researched Sources
Reviews Considered
1010
Reviews Considered
Hours Researching
13
Hours Researching
Products Evaluated
10
Products Evaluated
Sorting Options
Effectiveness Portability Battery Life Comfort Value By Default
Rank
PictureProduct
Name
Rating
Shops
#1
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
98.6
Effectiveness
99 %
Portability
98 %
Battery Life
99 %
Comfort
98 %
Value
99 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (20.06.19)
Amazon Link
$999.00
#2
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
97.4
Effectiveness
97 %
Portability
98 %
Battery Life
98 %
Comfort
98 %
Value
96 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (20.06.19)
Amazon Link
$879.99
#3
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
95.2
Effectiveness
95 %
Portability
95 %
Battery Life
96 %
Comfort
95 %
Value
95 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (20.06.19)
Amazon Link
$929.00
#4
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
93.4
Effectiveness
94 %
Portability
93 %
Battery Life
93 %
Comfort
93 %
Value
94 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (20.06.19)
Amazon Link
$1,299.00
#5
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
91.6
Effectiveness
92 %
Portability
93 %
Battery Life
91 %
Comfort
91 %
Value
91 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (20.06.19)
Amazon Link
$208.76
#6
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
89.2
Effectiveness
89 %
Portability
89 %
Battery Life
89 %
Comfort
89 %
Value
90 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (20.06.19)
Amazon Link
$729.00
#7
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
85.2
Effectiveness
85 %
Portability
86 %
Battery Life
84 %
Comfort
85 %
Value
86 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (20.06.19)
Amazon Link
$736.32
#8
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
84
Effectiveness
84 %
Portability
84 %
Battery Life
84 %
Comfort
84 %
Value
84 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (20.06.19)
Amazon Link
$329.99
#9
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
82.8
Effectiveness
83 %
Portability
83 %
Battery Life
83 %
Comfort
83 %
Value
82 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (20.06.19)
Amazon Link
$2,799.00
#10
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
80.6
Effectiveness
81 %
Portability
80 %
Battery Life
81 %
Comfort
81 %
Value
80 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (20.06.19)
Amazon Link
$223.98
In Depth Review Top 10
  • Huawei Matebook 13 Huawei Matebook 13
  • HP Envy 13-Inch HP Envy 13-Inch
  • Dell XPS 13 Dell XPS 13
  • Microsoft Surface 2 Microsoft Surface 2
  • Acer Chromebook 3 Acer Chromebook 3
  • Lenovo Yoga 730 Lenovo Yoga 730
  • ASUS VivoBook S15 ASUS VivoBook S15
  • Acer Aspire E 15 Acer Aspire E 15
  • Apple Macbook Pro Apple Macbook Pro
  • HP Stream HP Stream
Table of contents
  • Criteria Used for Evaluation
  • Other Factors to Consider
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Sources

10 Best Laptops for Students

1. Huawei Matebook 13

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
98.6
Huawei Matebook 13
Amazon Link
Effectiveness
99
Portability
98
Battery Life
99
Comfort
98
Value
99
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$999.00
Pros:

Powerful processor

Easy to carry around

Thin bevel on display

Advanced cooling technology

Cons:

Might be too pricey

The Matebook is a very powerful and easy to carry around laptop that will make it very easy on you to get your schoolwork done.

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Portable and Powerful
Matebook is a great laptop to serve all your school needs. A laptop will probably end up being your only dedicated computer for those school years, so a powerful laptop like the Huawei is a good place to be for your college years. It has a very thin design in both the display and the rest of the book. It only weighs three pounds, which makes it easy to carry around.

Other Features
The Matebook will be great for keeping up with your studies while you are in school. That is because it has lots of great features that make it a good choice. It has a very quick processor that will make it easy for you to run any programs, including modern games. It is also designed with a powerful cooling system that will let you keep it going for long periods of study.

Cost and Value
The biggest issue about buying the Matebook is that it costs a bit more than you might be able to spend. If you have the money for it, the Matebook will do a great job of keeping up to your intensive studies, and just about any need that you might have during your college years. The Matebook is quite a deal for the price, so give it a thought if you have some money saved up.

2. HP Envy 13-Inch

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
97.4
HP Envy 13-Inch
Amazon Link
Effectiveness
97
Portability
98
Battery Life
98
Comfort
98
Value
96
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$879.99
Pros:

Powerful processor

Long battery life

Lightweight design

Lots of fast loading memory

Cons:

Screen gets some glare on it

This is another laptop that will do a good job of keeping up to all your needs in college. You can do just about anything on this bad boy.

Read more

Powerful Laptop
The Envy is a great choice for anyone looking for a laptop for these next important years, just because it has such high-quality specs. It has an i7 processor so that it can run just about anything that you could hope for. It also has an SSD for your memory needs. This means that it will hold lots of memory, and be able to load it up quickly.

Other Features
There are lots of other things to get excited about with the HP Envy. This is a great laptop in its physical dimensions too. It is very light and will work very well when you have to carry it all around town. It is also good for the high level of battery life that it has. The Envy should last for around fourteen hours on a single battery charge.

Cost and Value
Envy is another laptop that costs quite a bit more than you might hope to spend. If you are planning on doing anything more than writing papers on your laptop, the Envy is a good choice. It is the sort of laptop that you can use as your main computer if you want. The extra portability and power make it perfect for a mobile lifestyle.

3. Dell XPS 13

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
95.2
Dell XPS 13
Amazon Link
Effectiveness
95
Portability
95
Battery Life
96
Comfort
95
Value
95
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$929.00
Pros:

Receptive touchscreen

Backlit keyboard

Fast file transfer speeds

Modern processor

Cons:

Edges of screen are a little wider than usual

The XPS 13 has lots of more modern features in it that will make it a very convenient machine to use, no matter what your needs are.

Read more

Modern Laptop
The Dell XPS 13 has many features that put it closer to the more modern computers of the time. This includes its Thunderbolt port, that will ensure that you have the fastest file transfer speeds out of your computer that is possible. This is great for handing in that last minute assignment. It also has an eighth generation i5, which is the newest edition of the processor.

Other Features
The XPS 13 has tons of other features that come with that are sure to get you excited. It has a touchscreen, which is great for making your life that much more convenient. The added utility doesn't stop there, and it also comes with a backlight on the keyboard, so you don't have to worry about not being able to see the keys when it is dark in the dorms.

Cost and Value
This is another pricier laptop, but it has so many modern features that it really feels like a steal. This laptop will do a good job keeping up to any of your needs. The best thing about it is the high level of utility with it. It can be used just about anywhere, and it does all the most necessary functions about as well as you could hope for.

4. Microsoft Surface 2

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
93.4
Microsoft Surface 2
Amazon Link
Effectiveness
94
Portability
93
Battery Life
93
Comfort
93
Value
94
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$1,299.00
Pros:

Very lightweight

Low profile design

Microsoft suite

All the latest technology

Cons:

Fan will get loud when pushed

The Microsoft Surface is quickly becoming one of the more popular laptops, due to its very lightweight and portable nature.

Read more

Portable and Pretty
The Surface is a great laptop when viewed from a physical standpoint alone. It has a very thin design, which makes it very easy to fit in your bag will all your textbooks. It is also a very lightweight choice of laptop. It weighs the least of all the laptops on this list so far. This is a perfect laptop for taking on the road, due to its very long battery life.

Other Features
The Surface has lots of other things to help you get through the typical day at college. It has the latest in both its processor and with its OS. The Surface runs Windows. The best thing about this is that it makes it that much easier for you to be able to get all your daily tasks done. This is because it comes with the full Microsoft Office Suite, including Word and Excel.

Cost and Value
The Microsoft Surface is the most cutting edge computer on this list, so far. It packs a lot of power into its very skinny frame. This is a great laptop for anyone who is starting out at school. It is easy to carry around, it has long-lasting battery power, and it has the latest technology. It is the most expensive option on the list, though.

5. Acer Chromebook 3

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
91.6
Acer Chromebook 3
Amazon Link
Effectiveness
92
Portability
93
Battery Life
91
Comfort
91
Value
91
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$208.76
Pros:

Great price

Google OS

SD card reader

Lightweight design

Cons:

Not very good graphics card

The Acer Chromebook is a great choice if you need to buy a laptop that won't break the bank. The Chromebook will get the job done.

Read more

Budget Laptop
This part of the list begins to show you the laptops that you can buy when the money is tight. The Chromebook is still a good laptop at its price and will be able to do anything that you need for school. It has a large monitor, which comes in at fifteen inches across. It also sports a strong enough graphics card that you don't need to worry about the computer slowing down when trying to relax with some videos.

Other Features
Acer has lots of other things to get excited about. It is a very lightweight laptop, especially when considering how large the monitor is. It also comes with Google's own OS, which is a convenient choice that maximizes its ability to get your things done. It comes with an SD card reader too, which makes it a good choice for photos.

Cost and Value
The shining feature of the Acer is the fact that it costs a fraction that the other laptops on this list do. It is easy to afford, even if you don't have any money saved up. It is more than powerful enough to achieve the essentials, and it does a good job at being a lightweight and portable laptop that you can take around with you.

6. Lenovo Yoga 730

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
89.2
Lenovo Yoga 730
Amazon Link
Effectiveness
89
Portability
89
Battery Life
89
Comfort
89
Value
90
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$729.00
Pros:

Touchscreen design

Quickly loads

Great laptop

Secure design

Cons:

No CD drive

The Lenovo is a secure option that comes with lots of interesting features that might tickle your fancy. It is a good choice for anyone who wants a modern budget laptop.

Read more

Touchscreen Laptop
Lenovo is great because of the many modern touches that come when you buy it. It comes with a touchscreen, which adds a new layer of custom control over your laptop. Another great thing it has going for it is that it has a fingerprint sensor on it, which makes it a good choice for those who want to keep their things private in a public living area.

Other Features
Yoga comes with lots of other interesting features that should get you excited. It can be used as a tablet, too. This is because it can be flipped all the way around, which is useful for when you just want to access an app. It also means that this laptop can be used as its own stand by flipping the laptop around and setting it on your table.

Cost and Value
For a modern laptop, Lenovo is not very expensive. It is more expensive than the budget options on this list, but it comes with lots of features that immediately justify the price. It is quite powerful, and comes with quick-loading SSD memory. Lenovo is a good choice for anyone who wants something modern, but not too pricey.

7. ASUS VivoBook S15

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
85.2
ASUS VivoBook S15
Amazon Link
Effectiveness
85
Portability
86
Battery Life
84
Comfort
85
Value
86
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$736.32
Pros:

Comfortable typing position

Fast loading memory

Extra portable design

Nice sense of style

Cons:

Not as great battery life

The ASUS is a stylish laptop that is perfect for a long session of typing and scrolling, while also being at a more reasonable price point.

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Ergonomic Design
The VivoBook is great because it comes with some clever features that improve the comfort of your use. When the screen is lifted up and away from the keyboard, it actually makes a little space underneath the laptop. It lifts the keyboard slightly so that your hands are in a more comfortable position for typing and working.

Other Features
The VivoBook has some other clever features going for it, too. It has a very simple, but elegant style. It is both eye-catching and modern, with only the outside edge of the laptop designed with eye-popping color. This leaves the laptop feeling a little more professional. It also comes with an SSD so you don't have to worry about your hard drive taking too long to recover files.

Cost and Value
The VivoBook is not the cheapest option on this list, but it is also not the most expensive. This laptop comes at a reasonable price that can be afforded by those who have saved up a little money over the Summer. It does a great job at its price and is made for the prolonged comfort of your wrists. They will thank you come research paper time.

8. Acer Aspire E 15

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
84
Acer Aspire E 15
Amazon Link
Effectiveness
84
Portability
84
Battery Life
84
Comfort
84
Value
84
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$329.99
Pros:

Great price

Lots of memory

Durable case and design

Long battery life

Cons:

Weak graphics card

The Aspire is a great laptop is all you plan on doing with your computer is using it to work at schoolwork and browse those crucial websites.

Read more

Budget Laptop
The Acer Aspire is a very cheap laptop, and it does as much work as it can from that point of view. It is a durable, but simple laptop. It has a long battery life, a decent-sized screen, and it can come with the entire Microsoft of work programs for a small additional fee. This is a good choice if you don't have the money but need a laptop.

Other Features
This laptop has lots of other features to keep you working at a good pace at school. It has the most modern i3 on the market. This graphics card is enough to keep you up to date with streaming, but probably not gaming. One of the great things about it is that it comes with a good deal of memory, so don't worry about running out of space any time soon.

Cost and Value
The Acer Aspire is a good choice for anyone who is looking for a laptop that won't break the budget. It is an easy to use laptop. It has a durable thickness that makes it a good choice for those who will need to take it outside a lot. Acer's low price doesn't reflect the quality of the laptop that you are getting, and this is a great choice for any student.

9. Apple Macbook Pro

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
82.8
Apple Macbook Pro
Amazon Link
Effectiveness
83
Portability
83
Battery Life
83
Comfort
83
Value
82
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$2,799.00
Pros:

Tons of features

Lots of memory

Very fast processor

Easy to carry around

Cons:

Very expensive

The classic laptop for students everywhere, the MacBook is a sleek, functional, and easy to use laptop that will always do the right thing.

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The MacBook Pro
The MacBook is a staple of college and high school students everywhere. There is a good reason for it, too. The MacBook is designed to be very easy to use by just about everybody. On top of that, it is designed so that it has a sleek look that will last for a long time when it is brought out. The MacBook is very portable and has a long battery life.

Other Features
The MacBook makes it easy for you to do anything that you want. This laptop is filled with top of the line parts. It has a top of the line i7 processor so it will run very fast. It also comes with 500 gigabytes of SSD memory, so you can put everything that you need on a very fast loading hard drive. It is also packed with security features that will make you feel confident that your private files stay private.

Cost and Value
The MacBook comes with a very large caveat to all of these high-quality features. It costs multiple times more than the other options on this list. The MacBook has always been an expensive choice. If you have the money, this laptop will treat you very well when it comes to getting the top of the line components in just about every way.

10. HP Stream

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
80.6
HP Stream
Amazon Link
Effectiveness
81
Portability
80
Battery Life
81
Comfort
81
Value
80
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$223.98
Pros:

Very affordable laptop

Comes with lots of online storage

Comes with Office programs

Easy to carry around

Cons:

Only good for the basics

The HP Stream laptop is for those who only need their laptop for getting on the internet, and doing their homework. It does a good job at both.

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Streaming Laptop
The Stream has been designed for those who only want the minimum out of their laptop. It comes with an 11-inch screen that makes it very easy for you to carry it around to anywhere that you need to take it. This laptop comes with lots of cloud storage so that you have somewhere to put all your files, and Microsoft Office so you can get all your homework done.

Other Features
The HP Stream has lots of other great features to get excited about. It has a pretty good processor for a computer this small. A big advantage of owning this laptop is that it is so easy to carry around. This is the smallest laptop on this list. Having a small laptop is great for taking your laptop anywhere, from the library to the coffee shop.

Cost and Value
One of the big selling points of buying an HP Stream is that it costs much less than many of the other options on this list. It is actually the cheapest computer. There are a few sacrifices you have to make when you buy this laptop, but if you only want a laptop for the necessities, the Stream will do a good job of providing that for you at a great price.

Criteria Used for Evaluation

Effectiveness

When you are in school, you are not going to have time to wait around for your laptop to get booted up. This category is a rating of how quick your new laptop is going to be. This is mostly determined by the processor that is in the laptop. There are i3, i5, and i7 processors. All the laptops on this list use the newest generation of processor, but the higher the number, the faster it will be. You should be okay with an i3, but you won't be able to do anything extra demanding. It is all about picking the appropriate laptop for what you want to do. If you are the sort of person who is only planning on using your laptop to watch videos, and do homework, then this any of these options are totally fine, but if you plan on using anything other than that, such as games, then it might be a good idea to get a faster processor.

Portability

A big part of owning a laptop, especially as a student, is going to be taking your laptop around with you. It is useful to have the laptop in class for taking notes. It is also useful to bring your laptop along to the library so you can study. The two things that are going to determine your laptop's portability is its size, and weight. The smaller the laptop, the easier it is to bring it along with you. Most of the laptops on this list are around fifteen inches wide, which is a good sizer for carrying in a backpack or a sidebag. The smaller options on this list go down to eleven inches, which is small enough that you can just carry it in your hand. The other important factor is the amount that the laptop weighs. The lightest laptops on this list weight just under three pounds. This is a great weight for carrying your laptop around the campus. The rating in this category is about how easy it is carry your new laptop around.

Battery Life

Because your laptop will be spending so much time on the road, it is important that it has a long battery life. The advertised battery life of many of these laptops is over ten hours, but that is based off of the laptop spending a good deal of time in sleep mode. The best laptops will give you over three hours of charge on a single battery. It would be a good idea to bring your charger along with you everywhere that you go, even if it adds a little extra bulk. Think about trying to find a laptop that comes with an easy to carry charger. This category is a rating of how long the battery in your computer will last. Most laptops will also come with a battery saving mode that will slow down the laptop to make the computer last longer. This can be very useful if you forgot your charger at home.

Comfort

You are going to be doing a lot of typing when you go to school, so at the very least it should be as comfortable as possible. Laptops have attempted to be more ergonomic in recent memory, which is good on the wrists and fingers. There are laptops that have an angled keyboard that will put your fingers through less work as you type. This category is a rating of how long it will take you to get tired when you use your new laptop. There are other things that can help you to stay comfortable, too. Something like the ability to change the lighting settings on your laptop is an important thing to look into. Spending all day looking into a screen can be exhausting on the eyes, back, and wrists, so a comfortable laptop could be the difference between a relaxing study session, and a cramped one.

Value

The variety of prices among the laptops on this list is very wide, and for a reason. There are lots of different budgets for the people entering school. A laptop is arguably one of the most important investments you could make before you start school, but it is hard to save up to buy a Macbook, with all of those classes going on. All the laptops on this list are great choice if you want to just be able to browse the internet, and do your homework. The increase in price is all about the speed with which you will be able to do these things. The cheaper laptops can do just those two basic things, while the more expensive ones will come with tons of security features, extra memory, and a much quicker processing time. The rating in this category is an indication of how much value you are getting for your dollar.

Expert Interviews & Opinions

Most Important Criteria (According to our experts opinion)
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#1
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#5
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expert tips icon
Size Matters

There are a few different sizes on this list, and it can really change how easy it will be to navigate with your laptop. The smaller laptops are great for taking to school for note taking, but they also might cramp your hands with their smaller keyboards. It all depends on where you do your best work.

Get With the Program

Some of the laptops on this list come with options that come with Microsoft's Office Suite. This is very useful for having file extensions that are compatible with everyone else's computers. It is completely doable to use the free alternatives, but you might have some problems down the line when it comes to formatting papers.

Other Factors to Consider

Size

There are multiple types and sizes of memory that you should consider before you buy your laptop. The larger the memory, the more that you can fit on your laptop. This is important, because it will be useful to have all your old papers and things for down the line when you want to do some studying. One terabyte is a common choice for people. But if you only need to store papers, then 500 gigabytes is more than enough. There are also multiple kinds of memory that you can use. Traditional hard drives will usually give you more storage, but they are bulkier and take longer to load up the memory. If you want something quicker, think about buying a SSD drive laptop, which is quicker, and lighter. This will help you feel more productive.

Protection

You will probably be spending a lot of time in places that other people frequent, if you are going off to college. This might be living in the dorms with a bunch of people you don't know yet, or it might just be roommates in a house. Whatever the case, it can be a relief knowing that not just anyone can get into your computer. Laptops carry a lot of private things on them, so think about buying one of the laptops that come with lots of extra security features. There are tons of options in this case. There are more mundane methods, like password protection, but there are also more in depth cases, like using a fingerprint scanner, or facial recognition. These might be a bit much for some people, but that sense of security is important to keeping yourself at ease during your stressful school years.

Visibility

The screen for your laptop is very important too, if only because it might end up being your new television for the next little while. The better the screen, the more you can immerse yourself when you are relaxing. It is also useful for making sure that you can see your notes clearly. Some of these monitors are very high quality. There are also things to do with the screen that some people might find helpful. This includes something like buying a monitor that comes with a touchscreen. This is useful for having a more natural feeling way to use your computer, and for being able to use your computer as a tablet when you wish. The visual quality of the laptops on this list are all quite good, and you shouldn't have nay problems or complaints with what you find here.

Frequently Asked Questions

q: How do I make the battery last longer?

a:

One of the issues with batteries of this day and age is that they tend to degrade over time. There are a few ways to help deal with this. Many people buy a spare battery, which helps give your battery a break between charges. The constant charging is a big reason that laptop batteries die, so try to use the laptop without the battery, or without the charger, whenever you can.

There are also ways to help keep your battery percentage high, even without buying a new battery. Some helpful tips for making sure that your battery is going to last for a long time include dimming your screen, turing off your WiFi, and putting your computer into battery saving mode.

q: Can I change parts in my laptop?

a:

Laptops are much more difficult to switch parts out than with traditional PCs, but it is quite possible. Not all things can be replaced, but it is often easy to replace the graphics card or the storage. It might be a good idea to check how easy it is to do these things before you buy the laptop. There's a lot less room to play around with, so it is often the case that something can't be accessed, at all. There is also usually an option to buy the laptops with these parts already installed, especially with things like memory, so try one of the laptops on this list that come with multiple versions of their product.

q: How should I transport my laptop?

a:

Carrying your laptop loose across campus is probably not a good idea, because it might fall from your hands and break. The best thing to do is find something to transport it in. The most obvious choice is your backpack. Most laptops will easily fit in a laptop, but you might feel like there is something missing for protection. Many people buy small laptop cases that encase the laptop when you aren't using it for an extra layer or protection. This can be useful for keeping all the separate pieces of the laptop in one place, too. Some cases also come with extra layers of padding that make your laptop more protected from damage that comes from falling.