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Need a Laptop for College? Here’s our Top Picks for 2016

by Gadget Review
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We get it – four years is a long time to have the same laptop, especially with all the upgrades and new models available today. If you need a new college laptop (or even your first), it’s important to pick a great computer that will last as long as you need it to…and that can handle your unique workload. Allow us to present a few of the greatest college laptops around, and what they are particularly suited for.

Key Features to Look For in a Top College Laptop

Display: you’ll want a bright and crisp display with a decent viewing angle.

Durability: It’s likely you’ll be traveling quite a bit with this laptop, so make sure you look for something well made and that won’t fall apart after a few trips from coast to coast.

Keyboard and Trackpad: You’ll likely be spending a lot of hours on your college laptop.  So pay attention to the keyboard and trackpad’s ergonomics.

dell_xps15_up_close_8zoom in

Dell XPS 15 – $1,000+

Great for: Affordable excellence, intense design or entertainment, jack-of-all-trades

We picked the XPS 15 for a couple reasons. First, that 15.6-inch screen is indeed 4K, which means your image will be so sharp you might cut yourself on it. Second, it comes with a big 1TB hard drive in addition to an SSD for extra storage at fast speed, which means holding all your work won’t be a problem. This is one of the best laptops for college on the market right now, and a strong pick if you like Dell computers.

However, if the XPS is a little too large or expensive for you, consider looking at the smaller XPS 13. It’s another very highly rated computer that can take care of all your needs, in a more affordable package.

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Surface-Bookzoom in

Microsoft Surface Book – $1,500+

Great for: Powerhouse workers, life after college, emptying your bank account

The Surface Book, with its 4K touchscreen and powerful specs, is one of the top laptops for college students on the market. That doesn’t mean it’s necessarily the best laptop for you – prices are very high, for one thing – but if you want a blazing fast business computer or graphic design machine (stylus included), this is your best option. The screen is only 13.5 inches, but inside the Book houses a i5 processor, 8GB of RAM, and 128GB of SSD storage…and those are just the starting specs. Upgrades can get you a much more powerful version.

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hp-stream-13zoom in

HP Stream 13 – $200

Great for: Saving money, cloud work, on-the-go business projects

The Stream 13 is a smaller, lighter, more nimble laptop. With prices that start at only a couple hundred bucks it is eminently affordable, too. The 13-inch screen is backed by 2GB of RAM and 32GB of SSD storage, putting this firmly in the “cloud-computing” range of computers, like Chromebooks. Expect to do a lot of work with cloud services like Office 365 – which is available with a free subscription when you buy this model.

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