Every student needs a laptop, but not as important as how a computer science student does. As a computer science student or major, you do need a decent computer for coding, completing various projects and assignments.
Such a laptop doesn’t have to be overpowered, but still have some decent specs.
And with the vast options available in the market today, it could require an effort on your part to find a suitable option.
That’s why I have outlined some of the best laptops for computer science.
Best Laptops for Computer Science Students in 2020
1. Dell XPS 15”
Specifications – (CPU: Intel core i7 | GPU: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050Ti | Display: 15.6-inches (Full HD) | Hard disk: 512GB SSD | RAM capacity: 16GB)
The Dell XPS is a sleek and portable laptop with premium features, making it mobile for use by computer science students. An Intel Core i7 processor coupled with an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti effectively powers this laptop. The display is a 15.6-inch type with an Ultra-HD display, which depicts an image clearly and provides a profound gaming experience.
With 16GB RAM, you can open many programming software and many a few tabs on Google Chrome. It also comes along with 512GB SSD assures it of multitasking and smooth performance. All these hardware specs make this laptop the best for running coding or analytical tools like MATLAB, Intellij, and NetBeans. The only downside is a complaint made by users about how the webcam is placed, but overall, this laptop is the best fit to keep track of your computer science curriculum.
– Good quality display
– Well-graded GPU.
– Efficient performance.
2. Lenovo Yoga C930 2-in-1
Specifications – (CPU: Intel Core i7 (up to 4GHz) | GPU: Intel HD Graphics 620 | Display: 13.9-inches (4K display, touch screen) | Hard disk: 1TB SSD | RAM capacity: 16GB DDR4)
The Lenovo Yoga C930 is a convertible laptop that features a sophisticated hinge and decent display with powerful features all embedded in a thin and light design. As a computer science student, you will find this laptop highly mobile as you can use it to take notes in class, go for digital conferences. An Intel Core i7 processor, which runs at a speed of 4GHz, effectively powers this laptop and accounts for its peak performance.
Furthermore, the display comes at a size of 13.9-inches with the capacity to display 4K images and has touchscreen functionality with the use of a stylus pen. The presence of an Intel UHD Graphics 620 might not be the best for gaming; however, it will serve its best use for UI/UX design and development. The combination of 16GB RAM along with 256 GB SSD assures it of multitasking and smooth performance.
Also, there is the presence of a top-notch speaker that delivers high-quality sounds for the best music listening experience. To cap it all, the laptop features a stylus pen that comes handy for keeping notes while in a lecture room.
– Thin and lightweight design.
– Good quality speakers.
– Efficient multitasking ability.
– Low-end GPU type.
– No coverage for sRGB Gamut
3. Apple MacBook Pro
Specifications – (CPU: Intel Core i7 (up to 2.6GHz)| GPU: Intel UHD Graphics 630, Radeon Pro 560x | Display: 15-inch Retina Display | Hard disk: 256GB SSD | RAM capacity: 16GB)
Many a developer prefers having a MacBook for their programming projects due to its functionality. The MacBook pro works best for a computer science student keen on writing UNIX apps or for basic Android development. This laptop uses an Intel Core i7 Hexa-core processor for its smooth running.
Now, this processor comes coupled with two variants of graphics cards, which are Radeon Pro 560x and Intel UHD Graphics 630, for a better graphic interface. With the presence of a sophisticated 256GB SSD and heavy-duty 16GB of RAM, you can be assured of getting the best from the excess workload.
The MacBook comes with an extra layer of security in the form of a T2 chip that assures an encrypted storage capability. The laptop also features a large touchpad for easy navigation.
– Fast performance
– Presence of a thunderbolt three technology.
– Highly portable and flexible to use.
– Presence of a sophisticated SSD.
– Not the best for developing windows apps.
– Lack of usual USB ports.
4. Dell Inspiron 15
Specifications – (CPU: Intel Core i7 (up to 2.7GHz) | GPU: AMD Radeon R7 | Display: 15.6-inch (touchscreen, full HD) | Hard disk: 1TB SSD | RAM capacity: 16GB DDR4)
The Dell Inspiron 15 is a high-end laptop with a sleek aluminum body. It comes with a stellar performance due to the presence of an Intel Core i7 processor. In terms of display, this laptop has a screen display size of 15.6-inch, which display a 4K quality view and has touchscreen functionality.
Moving on, the laptop boasts of a massive 1TB SSD, which allows you as a computer science to store projects and file extensions in a large amount. The fact the hard disk is an SSD type will enable you to run your codes and transfer files at a fast pace. It also features a subtle AMD Radeon R7 graphics card for interactivity and active gaming.
With a RAM capacity of 16GB, you can always multitask from either debugging codes on Eclipse or PyCharm or developing a new experience for Microsoft Visual Studio. The keyboard is a backlit type allowing you to type codes even in low light conditions continuously; however, the keyboard is quite stiff to use compared to its similar counterparts. The battery that comes with this laptop isn’t the best of its type, as it can only last 4.5 hours on heavy usage.
– Sleek body build.
– Fast performance.
– Sharp display with touchscreen functionality.
– Rigid and stiff keypads on the keyboard.
– Dim display below 234 nits.
5. HP Envy 13
Specifications – (CPU: Intel Core i7 (up to 1.8GHz) | GPU: Nvidia GeForce MX250 | Display: 13.3-inch (4K display, Touchscreen) | Hard disk: 512 GB SSD | RAM capacity: 16GB SDRAM)
If you are looking for a portable laptop that comes with lots of high-end features, then the HP Envy will be your best bet. This elegant laptop only comes with a display size of 13.3 inches with 4K screen resolution and also has touchscreen functionality. The 4K touchscreen is quite responsive and comes handy when curating a UI/UX design with the use of drawing apps like Snip and Sketch for a web application.
As a good advantage, this laptop is powered by an Intel Core i7 processor for smooth performance. This powerful processor with other features like a 16GB RAM (for multitasking) and a 512 GB SSD hard disk accounts for its massive performance. That shouldn’t come as a surprise as the envy line of laptops has been known for its sophisticated and elegant looks.
The presence of a NVIDIA GeForce MX250 graphics card provides the best support for the 4K display. For an extra layer of security, this laptop comes with a fingerprint sensor to help create personalized access to your laptop. The laptop also features the best quality speakers that produce the best audio sounds for entertainment.
– Presence of quality speakers.
– Ergonomic design.
– Responsive 4K display.
– The Laptop is quite portable to use.
– Below-average battery life.
6. Acer Predator Helios 300
Specifications – (CPU: Intel Core i7 (up to 4.5 GHz) | GPU: GTX 1660Ti | Display: 15.6-inch (full HD, IPS display) | Hard disk: 256GB PCle NVMe SSD | RAM: 16GB DDR4)
The Acer Predator Helios comes with high-end specs at the price of a typical mid-range laptop. From the outlook, the laptop is quite aesthetic with a mix of metal and plastic casings. A typical Intel Core i7 processor powers this laptop to run at a speed of 4.5GHz for fast performance. It also comes with an attractive 15.6-inch display rated at 300 nits of brightness, allowing to use at any location and contributes to making your coding tasks fascinating to the eye.
If you are the type who codes for long hours, you will find the laptop appealing due to its efficient cooling system that prevents your lap from microwaving. The NVIDIA GTX 1660 Ti graphics card gives excellent support for high-end games and sophisticated programming tools like Tensorflow and Shogun. It is well backed with an Internal Hard disk of 256GB PCle SSD to help save micro-details of your coding projects.
A 16GB RAM capacity accounts for the laptop being able to multitask between 3-4 software without any form of lagging. With a laptop like this, you can play high-end gaming titles like Overwatch, Fortnite during spare time. However, this laptop comes with a battery that can only take 5 hours of heavy usage, which may not appeal well for long coding tasks.
– Swift performance
– It comes with an excellent cooling system.
– Comfortable to use the keyboard.
– Short battery life.
7. Microsoft Surface Pro 6
Specifications – (CPU: Intel Core i7 (up to 1.3GHz) | GPU: Intel UHD Graphics 620 | Display: 12.3-inches PixelSense | Hard disk: 1TB HDD | RAM capacity: 16GB)
The Microsoft Surface Pro 6 falls among the list of best convertibles with a thin and sleek design. This sleek laptop machine is powered by an Intel Core i7 processor and is suitable for students who like to work on the go. It comes with a 12.3-inch display with a PixelSense display technology offering 2736 x 1824 pixels of screen resolution for a clear view.
The presence of a massive 16GB RAM capacity and 1TB SSD hard disk account for its stellar performance. However, I found its sleek design to have a downside in terms of embedded ports; the device only features a single USB 3.0 port, mini display port, and microSD reader requiring you to buy an extra USB-C adapter. It features an intuitive stylus pen (for keeping notes) and an Ergonomic keyboard, which is quite comfortable to use.
Given the above specs, you can always run software like NetBeans, Eclipse, or other development tools. However, you can’t use this laptop for intensive debugging tasks as it can generate lots of heat to prevent damages to the motherboard.
– Top-notch battery life.
– Portable to carry.
– Presence of stylus for ease in taking notes.
– Not too friendly keyboard.
– Too expensive.
8. ASUS ZenBook 13
Specifications – (CPU: Intel Core i5 (up to 3.9GHz) | GPU: Intel HD Graphics 620 | Display: 13.3-inches Full HD wide-view | Hard disk: 512GB PCle SSD | RAM capacity: 8GB LPDDR3)
The Asus ZenBook 13 is best described as a budget type laptop with powerful features packed within a small chassis. It uses an Intel Core i5 processor coupled with an Intel UHD 620 GPU for smooth computer operation. The best part is the fact that the ASUS ZenBook comes with a decent battery able to operate under these powerful conditions for no less than 11 hours, which can see you through long hours of coding tasks.
When it comes to its display, this laptop features a 13.3-inch display with smaller bezels at the top and sides contributing to the laptop’s aesthetic look. The only par you will find in its display is that it only comes at 225-nit of brightness, which is somewhat dim for its price point. The presence of 8GB RAM capacity which can run software like MATLAB and Visual Studio code. This laptop also comes with about 512GB SSD of internal storage that guarantees faster performance and productivity.
However, I found its graphics card unappealing for use in playing high-end gaming titles. Also, the embedded speakers in this laptop don’t produce the best of all sounds. But above all, this laptop can see you through the tasks presented on your computer curriculum, and any software tool your college professor throws at you for practice.
– Thin and lightweight design.
– Great battery life.
– Less expensive laptop with premium features.
– Down-firing speakers.
– Dim-like display with a maximum of 225 nits brightness.
9. Acer Aspire E 15
Specifications – (CPU: Intel Core i5 (up to 1.6GHz) | GPU: NVIDIA GeForce MX150 | Display: 15.6-inch full LED HD | Hard disk: 256GB SSD | RAM capacity: 8GB)
The Acer Aspire E15 is one of the few budget-type laptops with top-end features well-engineered for programming. With a laptop, you can be assured of long hours of coding as it features a magnificent battery that could last for 11 hours for intensive tasks. The Acer Aspire E15 uses an 8th Gen core-i5 processor along with NVIDIA GeForce MX150 GPU for the smooth running of sophisticated coding tools.
There exist an 8GB of RAM for efficient multitasking abilities from which you can open many tabs on memory demanding chrome browsers and many complex programming IDE’s. The presence of 256 SSD internal storage provides the needed functionality for fast boot time and file storage. I would wholeheartedly recommend this laptop for students due to its impressive 15.6-inch HD display, comfortable and backlit keyboard.
– Massive battery life.
– Durable build quality.
– Quite heavy to carry.
– It comes with a Dim, dull display.
10. HP Pavilion
Specifications – (CPU: Intel Core i5 (up to 4GHz) | GPU: NVIDIA GTX 1050 Ti | Display: 15.6-inches (Full HD) | Hard disk: 1TB HDD | RAM capacity: 8GB DDR4)
The HP Pavilion gaming laptop is one of the few budget gaming laptops from the HP series that could be the best choice for a computer science student. It comes with astounding features, which is the best fit for gaming and the use of data science and analysis. A powerful Intel Core i5 processor, which runs at a speed of 4GHz, ensures the smooth running of this machine.
All parts of the laptop are made with a plastic casing, which I did recommend for running programs like MATLAB or VB studio that tends to overheat. In terms of display, the screen comes at size 15.6-inches, which is a full HD-type bringing out a beautiful quality view. This laptop also sports a massive 1TB HDD of internal storage for storing a mass amount of files.
With a RAM capacity of 8GB and an NVIDIA GTX 1050 Ti GPU type, this laptop can run graphically intensive software without any form of lagging. On the last note, the HP pavilion speaks of a decent battery able to run for 9 hours of intensive tasks.
– Excellent Battery life.
– Quite affordable.
– Best laptop for multitasking.
– Quite heavy to carry.
– Lack of SSD type storage makes it difficult to code efficiently.
Recommended laptop features for computer science
Being a computer science student, your curriculum will require you to make use of software like MATLAB, Python, Java, C, C++, R Studio, and the likes. It is only vital you get a laptop that supports these specs. With this list, you will gain an insight into the idea of laptop requirements for such software. They as follows;
1. CPU: There are two main processor type that is quite suitable; you can either opt for an Intel processor or AMD processor series. In all, I would recommend you get the processor type with fast processing speed. To help deploy, compile your codes faster and, at the same type, ensures smooth performance. In the instance of Intel processors, the likes of core i5 and i7 will be your best bet. While for AMD processors, you should go for Ryzen 5, 7, and above.
2. Display: As a computer science student, your area of specialization will demand a lot of screen time. It is only vital that you opt for a laptop with good screen resolution and possibly have an anti-glare functionality to reduce eye strains. So, in this case, I did recommend getting a computer with a full HD display from 1400 x 900 pixels of screen resolution and above to help support you when you use a computer for long hours.
3. RAM capacity: You will be running a lot of other applications as you are going through your coding tasks. For example, a typical web developer could open a notepad (for taking notes), an IDE (language support), browser (to test code and search for resources), and a code editor (for editing codes) simultaneously. Such a student could open a music player or a gaming app to reduce work monotony. Therefore, an 8GB of RAM capacity is required as the barest minimum.
4. Graphics card: As a computer science student who uses his laptop strictly for curriculum, you don’t need the fastest graphic card except you are gaming nerd. Any integrated graphics from Intel and AMD hardware that is good enough for programming. However, as a Machine Learning expert, you could opt for a laptop with a dedicated graphics card.
5. Storage: You need a decent amount of storage space to store numerous coding projects. Therefore, it’s up to you to choose your storage capacity option. However, I did recommend a storage capacity no lesser than 256GB for your best use. Also, when it comes to the internal hard disks, there are two variants known as the SSD’s and HDD’s. With SSD’s, you get an extensively fast workflow as you can effortlessly search through a cluster of codes faster for SSD than HDD.
If you vet through this list thoroughly, you will be able to get a laptop that could satisfy your programming and design needs. With this review, you could examine your options and choose a computer that is best suited for your computing needs as a computer science student.