Top 7 Best Laptops for Computer Science Students – 2020

If you are planning on studying computer science major in your undergrad or masters, the first and most important purchase you should make would be a laptop. Any ordinary laptop won’t be of any good, which is why it is important to find the best laptops for computer science students.

Some of the existing or older laptop models might not be up to the mark as the technology development and innovations keep on coming, so finding the next big thing is the ideal option for a student. A laptop that is capable of handling all the basic day-to-day activities, programming, and other IT tasks that your course might demand should be your baseline criteria

Sometimes, a powerful laptop alone might not be the solution for a computer science student. There are a lot of leading laptop brands and each of them offers their own lineup of student-specific series of laptops and this growing number is only going to pose a challenge for a student.

We have reviewed some of the best laptops for computer science students and also given you a detailed guide on the various factors you need to look for in a laptop.

List of The 7 Best Laptops for Computer Science Students

ModelCheck Latest PriceProcessorRAMStorage
LG Gram 17” WQXGAIntel Quad-Core i7-8565U16GB256GB
Lenovo ThinkPad T490Intel Quad-Core i7-8565U16GB 1TB SSD
Dell XPS 15 7590Intel Core i7-9750H16GB256GB SSD
Apple MacBook Air10th Gen Intel Core i38GB256GB SSD
Acer Aspire 5Intel Core i7-8565U12GB512GB SSD
Asus VivoBook S15Intel Core i5-8265U8GB256GB SSD
Acer Spin 3Intel Core i7-8565U16GB512GB SSD
#1
LG Gram Laptop for computer science students

LG Gram 17” WQXGA

  • Intel Quad-Core i7-8565U
  • 16GB RAM
  • 256GB SSD

For computer science students who are in the market for a widescreen lightweight laptop, which is quite hard to find, the LG Gram would be the best pick. For a 17” IPS display screen laptop that also delivers high performance, a weight of 2.95 pounds is simply mind-blowing.

The LG Gram runs on the latest 8th generation Intel Quad-core i7 processor. This processor can deliver high-speed performance between 1.8 and 4.6GHz, which is more than enough for handling even some of the complex programming and IT tasks. This processor is well backed up with a 16GB RAM and 256GB SSD for maintaining optimum performance throughout.

The 72Wh Li battery pack powering the LG Gram WQXGA is one of the best, as it lets you operate the device for a whopping 19.5 hours on a single full charge, which is great especially for students.

Thunderbolt 3 interface is also available, which makes it a versatile and compatible laptop of the modern era. Along with this, there are a host of connectivity ports on offer, so students could connect any hardware accessory they might need. Windows 10 64-bit Home OS application comes as standard. This is one of the best laptops for computer science students without a doubt.

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Great battery pack
  • Multiple connectivity port options

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Older design
#2
Lenovo ThinkPad T490 - best laptops for computer science majors

Lenovo ThinkPad T490

  • Intel Quad-Core i7-8565U
  • 16GB RAM
  • 1TB SSD

ThinkPad T490 is a step ahead of both in terms of external and internal feature specifications. Lenovo has listened to its customers and has developed a slimmer model compared to the previous version; but, there is no denying that this unit is still bulky.

The T490 is a 14” FHD professional laptop from Lenovo and it surely does excel in terms of the performance and quality features that any buyer at this price point would expect. T490 uses a triple cell 50WH battery pack, which provides you with a run time of just under 12 hours, which is excellent.

Compared to other 4K resolution screens that are available for a similar price, the 1080p FHD resolution is a bit underwhelming. ThinkPad T490 clears all such niggles by delivering a solid performance.

Intel Core i7-8565U processor, along with 16GB RAM and 1TB SSD, is perfect for handling all your computer science programming courses. The Windows 10 Pro+ OS comes as standard, which is great for students. Other top-of-the-line features that make it rated as one of the best laptops for computer science students are: Thunderbolt 3 port, UHD 620 graphics card, multiple connectivity ports, backlit keyboard, and overall solid material construction.

Pros

  • Excellent battery
  • High-quality touchpad and keyboard
  • High-performance processor

Cons

  • Display resolution can be better
  • Bulky
#3
Dell XPS 15 7590

Dell XPS 15 7590

  • Intel Core i7-9750H
  • 16GB RAM
  • 256GB SSD

Dell has always been a brand related to manufacturing high-performance premium laptops for business professionals, tech guys, and engineers. The level of expectation of a computer science student is no different from that of any of those guys, and the XPS 7590 certainly lives up to those expectations greatly.

Its slim, modern, and solid design is one of the main highlights of this laptop. The 15.6” UHD 4K display resolution is simply mind-blowing. The infinity-edge anti-glare display will keep you glued to the screen all day long.

The latest 9th gen Intel 6 core i7-9750H processor, combined with 16GB RAM and 256GB SSD, is going to give you all the performance you’d ever need. Some of you might be missing a touch screen feature, but that shouldn’t be a huge concern.

The Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 graphics card allows you to enjoy playing your favorite games in the best quality possible. In terms of connectivity, a full SD card slot, Thunderbolt 3, etc. are standard, which is great.The 6-cell 97WHr battery pack is capable of providing a run time of just around 8 hours, which is partly due to the 4K resolution.

Pros

  • High quality 4K UHD resolution
  • Solid design and build
  • Perfect HD Webcam positioning

Cons

  • Audio quality is mediocre
  • Keyboard and touchpad quality
#4
Apple MacBook Air

Apple MacBook Air

  • 10th Gen Intel Core i3
  • 8GB RAM
  • 256GB SSD

Every student would love to own an Apple MacBook Air mainly because of the brand appeal and quality fit and finish. The level of detail in terms of design and construction is something hard to resist.

The 13.3” display might be smaller compared to other laptops we have discussed so far, but the Apple True Tone technology-based Retina display looks stunning from every angle. Intel i3 10th gen processor might be a little under powered, but should be able to give you all the performance you need for carrying out your student course. The 8GB RAM and 256GB SSD storage, coupled with the i3 processor, all deliver well-balanced performance.

Students can also opt for the 512 SSD storage version, which is a bit expensive. The trackpad, backlit keyboard, and touch ID are some of the highlights of this laptop. The speakers deliver premium stereo sound quality, and the laptop hardly gets overheated, which should be great for computer science students.

The 12 hours of battery life also make it great for studies. The 720p webcam quality is a bit low compared to the competitors. Similarly, you also do not have options in terms of connectivity ports which is a bummer.

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Premium fit and finish
  • High-quality trackpad and keyboard

Cons

  • Webcam quality can be improved
  • Lack of connectivity and ports


#5
Acer Aspire 5 laptop for computer science

Acer Aspire 5 Slim Laptop

  • Intel Core i7-8565U
  • 12GB DDR4 RAM
  • 512GB PCIe Nvme SSD

Acer is one of the leading brands in the laptop market and they are known for manufacturing affordable high-performance laptops for working professionals, businesses, and students.

Aspire 5 A515-54G-73WC is one of the slimmest 15.6” FHD IPS monitor-based laptops available for computer science students. The slim body is great, but in terms of design and build quality, the product is still outdated and needs improvement.

As far as performance goes, it comes equipped with an 8th Intel i7 processor along with 12GB DDR4 RAM and 512GB SSD storage. It comes pre-installed with Windows 10 Home OS, which is one of the user-friendly platforms available.

Computer science students can setup multiple applications on this OS and work seamlessly. Display graphics might not be the best you could find, but not a major concern. Aspire 5 can allow you to use it continuously for 9.5 hours on a single charge.

Although the design is basic, the keyboard and touchpad positioning is spot on. At 3.97 pounds, it might not be the lightest, but it isn’t the heaviest either. The addition of Thunderbolt 3 port should make it a complete modern laptop for any computer science student.

Pros

  • Great performance
  • Good Battery Life
  • Excellent Quality Keyboard

Cons

  • Display quality needs improvement
  • Lacks Thunderbolt 3 Port


#6
Asus VivoBook S15

Asus VivoBook S15

  • Intel Core i5-8265U
  • 8GB RAM
  • 256GB PCIe NvMe SSD

Asus has created the VivoBook S15 to be the choice for students and professionals who are looking for an affordable yet good performance-oriented, feature-rich laptop. This value for money laptop runs on Intel i5-8265U processor, 8GB RAM, and 256GB SSD storage.

The 15.6” NanoEdge full HD display looks good but is not the best. Considering the price tag, screen resolution is justified. The silver metal design and slim body structure make it look good. At 3.97 pounds, it is lighter, considering the 15.6” screen size and processor on board.

Windows 10 OS is pre-installed and the ability to use the modern Windows Hello voice activation for the fingerprint sensor is a neat addition. The keyboard is ergonomic and backlit, so working on it should not be a problem.

Apart from the popular Thunderbolt 3 port, which is non-existent, you literally have all other connectivity port options, so connecting external devices for your student program is a tick. You can charge the battery to reach 60% in under 50 minutes, which is amazing. Asus proprietary Sonic Master sound system delivers good audio output.

Pros

  • Slim and sleek design
  • Affordable
  • Fast charging feature

Cons

  • Average screen resolution
  • Battery life can be better


#7
Acer Spin 3 Convertible Laptop

Acer Spin 3 Convertible Laptop

  • Intel Core i7-8565U
  • 16GB DDR4 RAM
  • 512GB PCIe NvMe SSD

If you are looking for the best convertible laptop that could assist you in computer science study, then Spin 3 is your best bet overall. This 14” laptop comes with loads of buying options, so be sure to check it twice before making a deal.

The Full HD 14” IPS display is under-par for a convertible. The 8th gen Intel i7processor can deliver a boost performance of 4.6GHz, which is great.

Optimum performance is also guaranteed by the 16GB RAM and 512GB SSD. Spin 3 is also offered with an Active Stylus Pen, which is rechargeable. This will allow you to bring out the artist and works-man inside you.

In a single charge, the battery runs out only after 12 hours, which is great for a convertible. Multi-touch display and Active Stylus pen are some of the attractive features of the laptop.

The 0.78” thickness allows you to transform it into a tablet and make it look that way in reality. Considering all these features, Spin 3 is a great value for money proposition.

Pros

  • Convertible Design
  • Good Battery Life
  • Cooling Features

Cons

  • Build Quality
  • Screen Resolution


Buyer's Guide

Now that we have reviewed in detail about some of the best laptops for computer science, it is time for us to focus on all the different factors that you should focus on to find the model that best suits your requirements.

As we mentioned earlier, first and foremost, all the basic computer science-specific activities, such as coding, machine language, programming, project development, concepts, etc. should be supported by the laptop, along with some added features, which should keep you engaged and satisfied. 

Some might think that finding the best laptop might not be difficult, but actually, the process of finding the right match for your requirements is quite complicated and time-consuming.

The sheer number of laptop choices available on the market will make you confused and overwhelmed. That can be changed simply by going through this buyer’s guide. We are going to discuss in detail about everything a laptop for computer science should possess.

CPU

The processor used in the laptop is the number one factor that determines whether or not the laptop is capable of handling certain complex activities. Some might suggest that clock speed will give you an idea of the level of performance provided by the CPU, but that isn’t correct.

This was in the past, but with developments and advancements in processors, this has changed. In simple terms, even a lower clock speed-based processor could handle a lot of activities these days. 

Most laptops we have reviewed above deliver a clock speed of around 4.6GHz, which is more than enough for handling multiple activities, like coding, programming, concept development, project management, etc., all in one go. Processors are designed to run at lower speeds in order to improve the battery run time.

An Intel Core i5 or i7 processor should be sufficient for computer science activities. The AMD Ryzen processor-based laptop is also a good option and they perform at par with the Intel i5 and i7 processors.

RAM Performance

RAM storage is also one of the major factors that determine the level of performance a laptop can deliver. As a computer science major, you need to have a laptop that runs on 8GB RAM or above for optimum performance.

Make sure to find the appropriate RAM performance-based laptops in the first place because most modern laptops do not give you the option of adding external RAM. If you love MacBook, then be sure to buy the right spec one because it is expensive and almost impossible to add an external RAM to the machine.

Storage

Moving on from the age-old tradition of HDD storage, nowadays, every modern laptop comes with a reliable solid-state drive storage system. Every single one of the laptops we reviewed comes with SSD storage, which is kind of a norm.

Two major advantages of SSD storage are performance and lightweight characteristics, most crucial features that either force the buyer to make the purchase or move on to the next one. The downside, however, is the expensive price tag, and laptops that have SSD are pricey compared to the ones with HDD.

From a computer science student or professional’s perspective, it is better to buy a laptop that has at least 256GB SSD storage space. If you could afford, then opt for a 512GB one, which should give you super performance, especially when you are working on complex programming and coding solutions.

Display

For most computer science students or professionals, the display is everything. You work on programming, coding, and other IT solutions using the laptop and if you don’t have a laptop with good screen resolution, you will feel tired and disengaged, which is not what you need.

A minimum of 14” or 15” high-resolution display panels are mandatory. There are quite a few ones offering 4K UHD and other high-quality resolution in displays, touchscreens, convertible, and even one where you could use an active pen to write or work on the screen.

All these neat little touches here and there are only going to get you glued to the screen and start to love working on the laptop, so make sure to prioritize the display quality. Modern-day laptops that have a 16- or 17-inch display not only look stunning but are also lighter in weight, which would be perfect for many.

Keyboard and Trackpad

Every brand uses a different design language, so it is really hard to find a similar pattern on keyboard and trackpad in the market. Some of the best laptops that are tailor-made for computer science use are designed ergonomically.

Keyboard and trackpad need to be positioned in an ergonomic fashion in order to reduce the effort that the user will put in every time they work on them. The positioning of keyboard and touchpad is also key because, in some models, misalignment means trouble for the user.

An easy to control and manage keyboard design with good quality buttons and the backlit feature should be a perfect choice for any user, more so for a computer science student or professional.

OS

Windows 10 and Mac iOS are two of the widely used software platforms and they are even compatible with all the different computer science-specific applications and software. Make sure that you choose Windows 10 OS over others, as it is not only user-friendly but is also versatile and has loads of study-specific applications and tools, which are only going to make your job simple and efficient.

Apart from the OS on the laptop, you also need to have antivirus software, Microsoft Office, and other pertinent software applications installed and up and running.

Connectivity

Some of the connectivity ports you could find in a laptop are USB 3.0, 2.0, and 1.0. Thunderbolt is one of the modern connectivity ports that allows you to receive and transfer files at a lightning pace, which should be handy.

Bluetooth connectivity is used a lot these days for connecting to printers, TV sets, smartphones, tablets, etc. An SD card reader should be handy as well, especially a dedicated SD card slot.

Graphics Card

The quality of a graphics card will only determine how well you could run some of the high graphics-intensive applications. Make sure you know whether the laptop has an Nvidia or AMD Radeon graphics card because these two are the best high-performance chips in the market right now.

Brand and Pricing

These two factors might be based on the users’ perspective, but they make or break a purchase decision. Some of you tend to prefer a particular brand over another. If you are used to specific brand design and feel, then you’d try to buy a laptop from the same.

Some might not go for an existing brand they own and would opt for a different one. Some prefer MacBook over every other brand in the market. Every brand has its strengths and weaknesses; thus it is ultimately up to you to decide.

Pricing is a major factor when you are planning on buying a laptop for computer science. Some might go the affordable route, whereas some of you might go all-in and buy an expensive and fully-loaded laptop.

It is better not to opt for both of these directions, as they might not lead you to the most appropriate and perfect fit laptop you ever need. Make sure to evaluate all the different factors we have discussed so far and also take a look at the laptops we have reviewed here to gauge your expectations with that of the laptops available on the market.

DVD Drives

Most laptops do not come with a DVD drive, but for a computer science student, sometimes, it might come in handy. Few experts highly recommend buying a USB DVD burner for your laptop, because you never know what might come up during your future projects

Conclusion

We have finally come to the end of our discussion here and we hope all the information above is useful for computer science students and anyone working in the sector and looking for a good laptop.

Make sure to prioritize your requirements and the factors that your computer science study program absolutely needs and then arrive at a decision. There are highs and lows in every single laptop out there, so weigh them with your requirements, which should help you find the perfect match.

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