Almost every science major student has asked themselves this question at some point: What is a good laptop for my studies? If this shoe fits, there's good news in that you really don't need to have a supercomputer to handle your daily school needs. We've put together an extensive list of the best laptops for science majors to help optimize your productivity in school and excel in your studies.
What Makes the Best Laptop for Science Majors?
A good laptop for a science major has powerful performance, reliable battery life, an excellent keyboard, great portability and an overall solid build and durability. Ultimately, the final choice depends on what else you'll do on the laptop, like gaming, photo or video editing. That being said, these are the minimum specifications we would recommend in the best laptops for college students:
- 8GB RAM
- 10th Generation Intel Core i5 or AMD Ryzen 5 CPU
- Nvidia GPU
- 500GB HDD or 256GB SSD storage
- 6 hours of battery life
- 1366 x 768 screen resolution
- Access to cloud services such as Google Drive, DropBox or OneDrive
With this picture in mind, let's jump right into our top picks for the best laptop for college students, particularly science majors:
1. Dell XPS 13
- 13.3" Touchscreen InfinityEdge Full HD (1920 x 1080) Display, Intel UHD Graphics
- 10th Gen Intel Core i5-10210U Processor, 8GB RAM, 256GB PCIe NVMe M.2 SSD
- 2x Thunderbolt 3 with PowerDelivery & Display Port, 1x USB-C 3.1, 1x MicroSD Card Reader
- Backlit Keyboard, Fingerprint Reader, Stereo Speakers with MaxxAudio Pro
- Windows 10 Home 64bit
The Dell XPS 13 is quite simply one of the best college laptops available on the market. For starters, it falls within a sensible price range that accommodates most student budgets. In fact, it's available in different specs to let in buyers who might have a lighter wallet.
The battery can last an incredible 12 hours on a full charge, enough to make it through even your most packed days in school. It has a super responsive backlit keyboard that allows you to type for long periods without hurting your wrists. The touchpad is equally responsive, with a nice clicky feel when you press the buttons.
The XPS 13 features a snappy Intel Core i5-6200U 2.5Ghz processor that can keep up with whatever you throw at it. The 8GB of RAM also allows you to multi-task between applications pretty smoothly. Moreover, it comes with a speedy 128GB SSD for fast boot speeds and superb responsiveness. These combined make this laptop a solid machine for science majors and just as great for computer science students.
The 13.3" display, with a 1920 x 1080 screen resolution, is great for schoolwork, with enough real estate for multiple windows side-by-side. And we can't forget the stylish silver aluminum brushed lid and base that blends really well with the carbon fiber keyboard and interior. To cap it off, it's super light, weighing just 2.8 lbs.
2. Apple MacBook Pro 13-inch
- 13.3-inch IPS Retina Display, 2560-by-1600 resolution / Intel Iris Graphics 6100
- This Certified Refurbished product is tested and certified to look and work like new. The refurbishing process includes functionality testing, basic cleaning, inspection, and repackaging. The product ships with all relevant accessories, a minimum 90-day warranty, and may arrive in a generic box. Only select sellers who maintain a high performance bar may offer Certified Refurbished products on Amazon.com.
- (FROM) 8 GB 1866 MHz LPDDR3 RAM / 512 GB Solid State Drive (TO) 8 GB 1866 MHz LPDDR3 RAM / 256GB Solid State Drive
- Fresh installation of MacOS 10.12 Sierra / 85W-2 MagSafe Adapter
- 2.7 GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 processor (Turbo Boost up to 3.1 GHz) with 3MB shared L3 cache
If your studies rely heavily on crisp images and intricate detail, it's vital to have a display that matches the requirements. The Macbook Pro retina display, with 2560 x 1600 resolution, is exactly what you need for such tasks. According to Apple, it can squeeze well over 4 million pixels into the display, without a doubt bringing a whole new dimension of realism to images.
The Macbook Pro comes with an Intel Core i5 2.7GHz processor and a modestly sized 256GB of SSD storage. It also has 8GB of RAM, all these combining for snappy processing and smooth multitasking. On top of that, macOS is superbly optimized to ensure that you're well covered as far as performance goes, making it a good choice for computer science students as well.
Its 10 hours of battery life will definitely get you through your usual days. However, some applications, such as Photoshop, tend to drain the battery, so it would be wise to bring a charger just in case. And since it only weighs 3.5 lbs, you won't have any issues carrying it around.
The Macbook Pro design has remained unchanged for the most part, but it still looks sleek in this day and age. You'll probably also like the Force Touch trackpad that gives you access to various menus and options by simply pressing down harder. Apple truly brings productivity to a whole new level.
3. HP Pavilion 15
- INSTANT GRATIFICATION – Experience a laptop with premium performance, so you can spend less time getting more done; it’s like a small PC that’s compact enough to go where you go with a long-lasting battery to power you through your day
- EPIC ENTERTAINMENT – With audio by B&O, a larger screen-to-body ratio, and a 15.6-inch Full HD micro-edged screen to maximize your view, entertainment on your laptop feels like bringing the theater home (1)
- IMPRESSIVE GRAPHICS – The Intel Iris Xe Graphics gives you a new level of graphics performance with crisp, stunning visuals, plus the convenience of a thin and light laptop (2)
- UNSTOPPABLE PERFORMANCE – Get things done fast with the 11th Generation Intel Core i7-1165G7 processor, which delivers instant responsiveness and best-in-class connectivity (3)
- MEMORY AND STORAGE – Enjoy up to 15x faster performance than a traditional hard drive with 512 GB PCIe NVMe M.2 SSD storage (4) and experience improved multitasking with higher bandwidth thanks to 16 GB of RAM
The HP Pavilion 15 is probably the best laptop you can get for schoolwork and gaming, thanks to its top-level specs. Underneath the hood, it comes with an 11th gen Intel Core i7-6700HQ 26GHZ processor, coupled with 16GB of 2133MHZ DDR4 RAM. This is undoubtedly more than sufficient for any college work and handling the latest games.
Unlike your run-of-the-mill college laptop, the Pavilion 15 features a dedicated graphics card, the Nvidia Geforce GTX 960M, meaning you can play games on high/ultra settings with superb FPS. Additionally, the 15.6" Full HD display with an IPS panel further gives you enhanced viewing angles for an overall better visual experience.
This laptop comes with 128GB of SSD storage that can be paired with up to 1TB 7200RPM HDD. Therefore, you can have your OS and games on the SSD to speed up load times and running while saving your other larger files on the HDD. Such a configuration helps get around 5 hours of battery life with video playback or 10 hours with mixed usage, fairly decent for a gaming laptop.
The build quality is just as remarkable, with a silver case that contrasts quite well with the black deck design. This is further accentuated by the backlit keyboard. It's also just 0.94" thick and weighs 4.8lbs, so you won't have problems carrying it around to, from, and around the school.
4. Microsoft Surface Book 3
- Most powerful Surface laptop yet, with quad-core powered, 10th Gen Intel Core processors. More than 50% faster than Surface Book 2 13.5”.
- Power when you need it. Up to 15.5 hours battery life  — plus improved standby that extends battery life when you’re away.
- The connections you need, including USB-A, USB-C, and full-size SD card slot.
- High-resolution PixelSense touchscreen display. Also available in 15”.
- Free Upgrade to Windows 11 when available (see below).
The detachable setup is exactly what makes the Surface Book 3 stand out for Science degrees. You can use it as an ordinary laptop or tablet, making it easy to draw up diagrams and formulas with the included Surface pen. Furthermore, the impressive 13.5" touchscreen display has a 3000 x 2000 resolution, thus delivering outstanding pixel clarity and the ability to make images 'pop'.
It packs an Intel Core i5 2.1Ghz CPU and 8GB of RAM, allowing you to multi-task efficiently. The 128GB SSD storage means you also get quicker read and write speeds. And since it's a Microsoft laptop, it conveniently comes with Windows 10 Pro pre-installed. It's also well-optimized in terms of performance, where you can expect an incredible 12 hours of battery life- despite the detachable screen!
It's worth noting the 'Surface' and the 'Book' have their own separate batteries, with the tablet lasting around 3 hours on its own. In addition, the backlit keyboard will definitely make it much easier to work in dark conditions. Just as key, the Surface Book only weighs 3.5 lbs, hence it's pretty easy to carry around.
5. Lenovo Thinkpad P53
- 【Upgraded】 Seal is opened for Hardware/Software upgrade only to enhance performance. 15.6" Full HD (1920x1080) 60Hz IPS Display; Wi-Fi 6E AX210 Wifi, Bluetooth 5.1, Ethernet LAN (RJ-45), Integrated Webcam, Fingerprint Security System, Keyboard, .
- 【Powerful Performance with Intel Core i7-1165G7 Quad Core】 11th Gen Intel Core i7-1165G7 2.80GHz Processor (upto 4.7 GHz, 12MB Cache, 4-Cores) ; NVIDIA Quadro T500 4GB GDDR5 Dedicated Graphics, .
- 【High Speed and Multitasking】 16GB DDR4 RAM (16GB Onboard + 0GB SODIMM); 65W Power Supply, 3-Cell 57 WHr Battery; Black Color, .
- 【Enormous Storage】 1TB PCIe NVMe SSD; USB 3.1 Gen1, 1 HDMI, SD Reader, Headphone/Microphone Combo Jack., Windows 10 Pro-64., 1 Year Manufacturer warranty from GreatPriceTech (Professionally upgraded by GreatPriceTech)
- Includes Dockztorm USB Hub(Special Edition Portable Docztorm Data Hub;Super Speedy Data Syn Rate upto 5Gbps)
If you want a laptop that can cope adequately with intense CAD and modeling applications, then you should consider the Lenovo Thinkpad P53. It's a classic Lenovo machine, therefore built to military-tested specifications. Even more important, it features the Nvidia Quadro M1000M GPU, specifically built for intense modeling software.
The P53 has a similar design to most other laptops from Lenovo; the distinct matte black aesthetics. This one comes with a powerful and snappy Intel Core i7-10510U CPU and 8GB of RAM to ensure all programs, heavy or not, run smoothly. The Full HD 15.6" display gives you an accurate view of the modeling designs, enhanced by the 1920 x 1080 screen resolution with great clarity.
The laptop manages a stunning 13 hours of battery life, and it weighs only 4.1 lbs, hence perfectly suited for a college laptop. The keyboard is just as impressive as we've come to expect from Lenovo; backlit, spill-resistant and an absolute delight to type on. The P53 is a solid choice for any Science major who wants a well-built, powerful and reliable laptop.
Factors to Consider in The Best Laptops for Science Majors
A laptop's processor largely determines the level of peak performance you can expect. Generally, Intel Core i5 processors are an excellent starting point for a college laptop, thanks to their value-for-money performance. However, if you usually multi-task CPU intensive software, like Premiere, CAD software or Photoshop, then you're probably better placed going for an Intel Core i7 processor with hyper-threading
Typically, 8GB RAM is the sweet spot for a college laptop. This allows you to multitask smoothly between programs without throttling your machine. If you use intensive applications routinely, say CAD software, we recommend at least 16 GB of RAM.
If you mostly use your laptop to take notes and watch lectures, getting a dedicated graphics card might not be necessary. However, students who use higher intensive tasks with plenty of graphical output will definitely need a capable GPU on their laptops. For instance, if you plan to game or edit photos and videos, you'll certainly need a dedicated graphics card on your machine.
Storage is another aspect that largely depends on what your need to get out of your laptop. Traditional hard drives typically offer more storage capacity but also tend to be slower. Conversely, Solid State Drives are faster- in terms of boot times and quick applications- but then have less storage space.
Unless you specifically require high resolutions for your schoolwork, an HD or Full HD display is more than adequate to get you by comfortably. As far as size goes, the ideal display ranges anywhere between 11.6 to 13.6 inches. This size ensures that you can fit enough windows side-by-side while also allowing great portability and decent battery life.
If your major entails plenty of drawing, you might want to consider going for a touchscreen or tablet display. Recently, laptops with detachable displays are becoming increasingly popular for such kinds of studies. So, if the idea of a 2-in-1 laptop appeals to you, you might as well have a look at them.
6. Battery Life
Most college students spend 2-8 hours a day at school. Therefore, it's important to choose a laptop on the higher end of this range to get you through an entire school day. Fortunately, most college laptops these days can easily deliver 8+ hours of running time.
7. Build and Portability
You're probably looking for a machine that can well last you through the entirety of your studies. Therefore, it's incredibly important to get a laptop with a solid construction that can withstand constant usage and moving around. The secret here is to go for trusted brands that have a long-standing reputation for producing well-built laptops.
Portability is just as key since you'll have to carry around your laptop between lectures all day. So it needs to be lightweight, or you otherwise risk sore arms and shoulders at the end of the day. Ideally, go for a laptop that weighs 5 lbs or less.
There's plenty of typing to contend with in college, making the keyboard one of the most important elements to consider in a laptop. You'll want one that is easy to type on, with reasonable travel distance, for both efficient typing and avoiding wrist injuries. More so, you'll also need a backlit keyboard if you regularly work at night or in dark conditions.
9. Operating System
Every mainstream OS will suit your college needs, so it all depends on your personal needs and preferences.
Windows OS is arguably the most popular and user-friendly. It gives you more possibilities when it comes to software and usability.
MacOS offers higher security and performance. However, it's also the most expensive since it's only accessible on Apple laptops.
c). Chrome OS
Chrome OS is pretty lightweight and equally easy to use. It's also the cheapest option, but you can't use it for intensive work or gaming.
Why Do You Need a Good Laptop in School?
1. You'll always have your notes, schoolwork and references wherever you go, including eBook versions of your textbooks.
2. Taking notes electronically is faster and more convenient than writing notes on paper.
3. You can work on your school and personal projects whenever an opportune window opens up.
4. You'll have constant access to online libraries and book sites.
5. You can also put in some part-time work during class/school breaks.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)on the Best Laptops for Science Majors
1. What should I choose: HDD or SSD?
On most days, SSD wins the battle against HDDs. Solid State Drives boost your laptop's overall read and write speed and consume less power, thus the battery lasts longer. We recommend looking out for at least a 256GB NVMe-type SSD in your ideal laptop.
2. What should I choose: PC or Mac?
It depends on what you want out of your laptop. If you want a significant blend of specs at a reasonable price or a touch-screen laptop/tablet, go for a Windows-based laptop. However, if you prefer working on the Apple ecosystem, then a Mac is the straightforward option. That said, both Operating Systems offer the performance and flexibility required to ace your studies.
3. What's the best laptop for computer science students?
The Dell XPS 13 is possibly the best laptop for computer science students because it offers:
- Extended battery life for full-day classes and late-night coding sessions.
- An excellent backlit keyboard
- Full HD display with a superb resolution that allows opening multiple windows side-by-side.
- Remarkable portability, weighing just 2.8 lbs
Image Source: flickr.com