Best Laptops For Computer Science & Engineering Students (2020)

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Pursing a degree in today’s time without a laptop is nearly impossible, especially for computer science students. With all the coding and programming tasks, each student needs a good laptop for computer science day to day assignments and tasks.

Sounds like an easy thing to do, right? But unlikely it is not as easy as it seems. Finding the best laptops for computer science majors can be a daunting task with numerous options available in the market. Students need to ensure that they are investing in a device that is neither overpowered nor underpowered for their educational and entertainment projects.

So to help you out and make the buying process easier for computer science and engineering students we decided to do some research of our own. After hours of research, we came up with a list of the best laptop for college computer science students, along with a detailed buyer’s guide to help you choose the best device out of all. So continue reading to find out more.

Minimum and Recommended System Requirements For CS Students

Before you move on to the in-depth reviews of the best laptops in the market, you need to understand what system requirements a laptop should have in order to meet your computer science and engineering majors assignments. So here is the list of the minimum and recommended computer science laptop requirements that students should look for before making the purchase.

Minimum System Requirements

  • Processor: Intel Core i5
  • Display: 13 inches FHD IPS
  • RAM: 8GB
  • Storage: 256 GB
  • Battery: 6 Hours

Recommended System Requirements                                      

  • Processor: Intel Core i7 or higher
  • Display: 15 inches touchscreen UHD
  • RAM: 16 GB or Higher
  • Storage: 512 GB or Higher
  • Battery: 8 Hours or Higher

Remember, these are only the minimum and the recommended specs that we believe laptops should have in order to deliver the performance that you require. You won’t be able to find a device with the exact specs so go for a combination that offers the best specs in your range.

Windows VS Mac OS – Which Is Better For CS Students?

When buying a laptop, most buyers tend to forget that the operating system has the same importance as the hardware installed in the device. At present, four different operating systems are popularly used in the industry, but out of all Windows and Mac OS are regarded as the best when it comes to computer science students.

Both the operating systems have their own set of benefits to offer to the users, but many believe Mac OC to outperform Windows when it comes to programming. The reason being, Mac OS is UNIX based which means that you can easily run most of the developing software on the system without any setting up requirements since UNIX based system is most commonly used in the industry. Furthermore, the system also allows you to install Windows using Parallel or Bootcamp software to enjoy both.

On the other hand, Windows OS comes with its own set of benefits as well, such as Windows devices are much more affordable for students and also allow you to set up dual-boot. Since it is not UNIX based therefore you will need to install Linux in order to use a UNIX system and run most programming applications.

So both the systems have their own set of perks and drawbacks to offer. The one that you choose depends on your personal preferences and the budget. But we suggest that you try and invest in a Mac OS as it delivers a smooth and less complicated work experience.

Best Laptops For Computer Science/Engineering Students

Choosing one out of hundreds can be an intimidating choice. Therefore, to make your research easier, here is the list of the best laptops for computer programmers recommended by professionals and students like you for computer science and engineering courses. So, let us go ahead and review them in detail, so get a better understanding of what they have to offer to you.

1. LG Gram Laptop (Best Laptop for Computer Science Students)

In terms of a powerful processor and long battery life, the LG Gram Laptop is one of the best options for you on the list. The system is designed to meet the needs of individuals who need to run a powerful application such as Java, Python, and Netbeans with ease and utmost comfort.

To deliver high-end processing power, the device comes with Intel 10th Generation i7-1065G7 CPU, which is paired with the powerful Iris Plus graphics card to cater to both your demanding and graphical needs. To support the processor, the system comes with 16 GB DDR4 memory which not only allows you to multitask but also ensures a smooth work experience all day long.

The highlighting feature of the device is 1TB M 2 NMVe SSD storage. Rarely devices in this price range come with such an amount of storage. This means that you get to store all your data and previous files on your device without having to worry about investing in an external storage device. Overall, the laptop delivers a stunning performance which is unparalleled by most devices in the market.

Features;

  • CPU: Intel Core i7-1065G7
  • Display: 17″ WQXGA (2560 x 1600) IPS LCD
  • RAM: 16GB
  • Storage: 1TB SSD
  • GPU: Iris Plus graphics
  • Battery: Up to 17 hours

Pros;

  • Excellent battery life
  • Fingerprint reader
  • Lightweight and portable

Cons;

  • None

2. Apple MacBook Pro (Best Laptop for Computer Engineering Students)

For the Apple fans out there, looking to enjoy a UNIX based system for their day to day programming and coding assignments, the Apple MacBook Pro is the best and the most affordable choice out of all for the computer science students. The device delivers everything from a sleek design to a reliable performance which makes it worth the investment.

To cater to your processing needs, the system comes with a 9th generation 6-Core Intel Core i7 processor, which is paired with 16 GB built-in RAM to deliver powerful and responsive performance to all users. Along with that, the system comes with high-end graphics which are supported by AMD Radeon Pro 5300M Graphics with GDDR6 memory and Intel UHD Graphics 630 graphics card to deliver a stunning visual experience on the  16-inch Retina display embedded with True Tone technology

Not to forget that the system comes with built-in ultra-fast 512 GB SSD storage which is more than enough to store all your work paper files. Also, you get to enjoy online iCloud storage in case you need additional storage for personal needs. Other than that, the device also comes with a touch bar, Touch ID technology, and a six-speaker system with force-canceling woofers to enhance the overall functionality.

Features;

  • CPU: 2.6GHz Intel Core i7
  • Display: 16-inch Retina Display
  • RAM: 16GB
  • Storage: 512GB SSD
  • GPU: Radeon Pro 5300N, Intel UHD Graphics 630
  • Battery: 10 hours

Pros;

  • Sleek design
  • Great battery life
  • Super-fast processing

Cons;

  • Limited connectivity

3. Microsoft Surface Pro 7

Talking about multitasking, one often needs a device that is not only powerful but highly flexible to meet a diverse range of needs. If you are looking for a similar device, then the Microsoft Surface Pro 7 is one of the best options for you on the like. With its enhanced features and convertible design, it is equipped to handle every project that you throw its way.

The laptop is packed with the latest 10th generation Intel Core i7 processor, which is paired with 16 GB RAM, 256 GB storage space, and integrated graphics card to meet all your computing and processing needs. Plus, with multiple connectivity ports and 10.5hour-long battery life, the device allows you to enhance its functionality by connecting other devices and has enough power to run all day long.

But the best feature of the device is that it comes with a 360 degree hinged screen that allows you to instantly transform the device based on your needs. From laptop to tablet to portable studio, you can use it as you like to enhance your experience to the utmost level. Plus, it is compatible with Surface Pen and Surface Arc Mouse, which allows you to express yourself completely.

Features;

  • CPU: Intel Core i7
  • Display: 12.3-inch Touchscreen Display
  • RAM: 16GB
  • Storage: 256GB SSD
  • GPU: Intel HD Graphics 615
  • Battery: 10.5 hours

Pros;

  • Sleek design
  • Great battery life
  • Multiple processing modes

Cons;

  • Limited storage

4. Acer Spin 5

Acer is one of the leading laptop manufacturers in the market, especially when it comes to designing dedicated devices to meet the needs of professionals and students. Out of all, Acer Spin 5 is one of the best laptops for college programming. It is equipped with powerful features that allow you to run demanding applications and cater to all your codding and programming needs.

The laptop comes with the 10th Generation Intel Core i7-1065G7 processor which boost up to 3.9 GHz of clocking speed and is paired with 16GB LPDDR4X memory to cater to your demanding and processing and multitasking needs. Along with that, the system also comes with an in-built 512 GB storage space which is more than enough for computer science students.

Not only that, but to deliver stunning graphics on the 3. 5″ Acer VertiView 2K 2256 x 1504 resolution, Widescreen IPS LED-backlit touch display, the system comes with an integrated Intel Iris Plus Graphics card. Also, you get to enjoy multiple connectivity ports, a backlit keyboard, an integrated fingerprint reader, and 15 hours of battery life to enhance the overall experience.

Features;

  • CPU: Intel Core i7-1065G7
  • Display: 13.5 inches Touchscreen display
  • RAM: 16 GB
  • Storage: 512 GB SSD
  • GPU: Intel Iris Plus Graphics
  • Battery: 15 Hours

Pros;

  • 2-IN-1 design
  • Backlit keyboard
  • Fingerprint reader

Cons;

  • Plastic touchpad

5. Acer Aspire 5

If you are looking for a multi=functional laptop to meet your day to day programming needs, then the Acer Aspire 5 is one of the best laptops for programming student out of all. The laptop comes with technologically advanced features at the most competitive rates to deliver excellent performance to college students.

The device is packed with the powerful AMD Ryzen 7 3700U dual-core processor which boosts up to 4.0 GHz to deliver responsive performance. To support the processor in terms of multitasking, you will find 8GB DDR4 memory which takes your processing performance to a whole other level.

Not only that, but you also get to enjoy immensely 512 SDD storage which is fast and highly responsive when it comes to storing your program files on to the system. Also, with this device, you get to enjoy multiple connectivity ports, a Backlit keyboard, built-in Wi-Fi technology, and an 8-hour battery life to enhance your overall experience.

Features;

  • Processor: AMD Ryzen 7 3700U
  • Display: 15.6 inches IPS display
  • RAM: 8GB
  • Storage: 512 GB
  • GPU: AMD Radeon RX Vega
  • Battery: 7.5 Hours

Pros;

  • Backlit keyboard
  • Multiple connectivity ports
  • IPS display

Cons;

  • None

6. HP ENVY 13

If you are looking for a highly powerful, compact computing device, then the HP ENVY 13 is the best laptop computer for programming. For fast and demanding processing requirements, the laptop comes with an 8th Generation Intel Core i7-8565u quad-core processor with 8 MB Cache and 1.8 GHz Base frequency that boots up to 4.6 GHz with Intel Turbo Boost Technology.

Furthermore, to support the processor and equip the device for multitasking needs, 16 GB DDR4 RAM is added to the system to smoothen your processing performance. Also, the fast and highly reliable 512 GB SSD storage comes in handy when saving large files on your system.

Not only that, but you also get to enjoy a 13.3-inch diagonal 4K-IPS micro-edge WLED-backlit touchscreen with durable Gorilla Glass which delivers 3840 x 2160 pixels to your screen supported by the powerful  NVIDIA GeForce MX250 Graphics card. So what are you waiting for? Get your device now and enjoy everything from fast processing to stunning display.

Features;

  • CPU: 1.8 GHz Intel Core i7-8565U
  • Display: 13.3-Inch 4K Touchscreen
  • RAM: 16GB SDRAM
  • Storage: 512GB SSD
  • GPU: NVIDIA GeForce MX250 Graphics
  • Battery: 8 Hours

Pros;

  • Excellent sound quality
  • Portable design
  • Powerful processor

Cons;

  • Battery drains quickly

7. ASUS ZenBook 13

If you are looking for a sleek, powerful yet affordable device, then the ASUS ZenBook 13 is the best computer for IT students. The laptop is packed with a powerful and responsive Intel Core i5-8265u processor which is paired with fast 8GB DDR4 memory and 512SSD storage to deliver you a complete basic package for your codding needs.

Along with the processing specs, the laptop also comes with an integrated Intel HD Graphics 620 graphics card which delivers stunning visuals on to the 3.3-inch wide-view Full-HD NanoEdge bezel display. Furthermore, the system is constructed using aluminum which makes it highly sleek and lightweight for portability.

Features;

  • Processor: Intel Core i5-8265u
  • Display: 13.3″ FHD
  • RAM: 8 GB
  • Storage: 512 GB SSD
  • GPU: Intel HD Graphics 620
  • Battery Life: 12 hours

Pros;

  • Remarkable specs
  • Excellent battery
  • Durable build

Cons;

  • No physical trackpad

Buyer’s Guide – Best Laptops For Computer Science/Engineering Students

Buying a laptop for your specific majors in college isn’t an easy task and definitely not a quick one. Remember, if you rush into the process, you will end up investing in the wrong device, which will cost you in the long run and will impact your performance. So in order to find the most suitable device for your needs, you need to look at the following major features before making a decision.

  1. Processor: The processor is the brain of the laptop, so in order to enjoy a powerful and fast processing experience; you need devices that come with the latest and the most powerful processors. We suggest that you go with i5 or i7 processors with multiple cores and increased cache.
  2. RAM: In order to run your demanding applications and enjoy multitasking with ease you need a minimum of 8 GB RAM. But if you are planning on setting dual-boot and running UNIX software, then we suggest that you go for 16 GB or 32 GB for best performance.
  3. Storage: When it comes to storage, you need to consider the type and the amount. Your device will either come with HDD or SDD storage. We suggest that you go with SDD storage as it is faster and much more reliable. In terms of amount, 512 GB is the most suitable for computer science students.
  4. Graphics Card: For a student who is going to be using the device purely for studying purposes, GOU shouldn’t be a problem. Most high-powered devices come with built-in integrated Intel and AMD hardware which is more than enough for computer science students.
  5. Display: Since you will be staring at your system’s screen a lot, therefore, you need a device that comes with high resolution and built-in eye-straining prevention technology, preferably blue light that helps keeps your eyes healthy throughout processing.
  6. Battery: As a student, you will spend most of your time moving from one class to the other with no access to power outlets. Therefore, it is best to invest in devices that come with a battery life that exceeds 8 hours to enjoy a wire-free experience.

Frequently Asked Questions

1.      Are gaming laptops good for computer science students?

There is a misconception that gaming laptops are only designed for gamers; thus, they are the only ones that can operate them. That is not true. The thing about gaming laptops is that they are packed with solid specs that are powerful and highly customizable to tackle high-end processing. For computer science students learning various programming languages, running codes all day long, gaming laptops can be a great fit.

2.      Is 8BG RAM enough for computer science students?

The amount of RAM that a computer science student requires depends on his or her requirements. First-year students are only dealing with the basics; therefore, they aren’t required to run multiple powerful and dedicated programming applications on their devices.

For them, 8 GB RAM is more than enough. But if you want to get a device that is future proof, we suggest that you go with at least 16 GB RAM to enjoy a smooth and hassle-free coding and programming experience throughout college and professional life.

  1. Do computer science students need a powerful laptop?

Yes, as the name of the degree suggests, students studying computer engineering or computer science have the day to day tasks linked directly to computer systems. Their assignments are based on designing and programming different computer applications, developing UI and UXI, and so much more. In order to smoothly perform all such tasks, they need a powerful system that is equipped with everything from a high-end multicore processor and multitasking RAM to an immense shortage of space and multiple connectivity ports.

4.      What is the importance of the cooling system in powerful laptops?

When the processing hardware of the laptop is all powered up, it eliminates a ton of heat similar to all other electrical components. The accumulation of heat in the system can lead to windows failure and also affects the durability of the hardware. Therefore, in order to keep the system cool while you run the most powerful applications in it, you need a device that comes with a built-in advanced cooling system with multiple fans, heating ducts, and vents to dissipate heat faster.

5.      Is MacBook a good choice for computer science students?

In most cases, MacBook isn’t the best choice for students but not with computer science. The reason being, most dedicated programming software runs on the UNIX system, and the courses of the curriculum are also majorly taught on UNIX systems which makes Mac OS a great fit for students. But at the same time, it is much more expensive than Window’s systems so you might need to rethink your budget for that.

If you are an Apple fan and need a MacBook for your computer science studies, then we suggest that you go with the MacBook Pro as it is equipped with the features that you need and comes in various hardware combinations so you can choose the one that best fits your needs. Furthermore, it is quiet.

Final Words

The key to finding the right laptop for your college students is to prioritize your needs. Make a list of the system requirements that you believe that you require and compare them with the list of specs of the laptops to find out which one of them offers the more powerful and flexible specs to meet your computing needs. All the laptops mentioned above are the best laptops for computer programming. We hope that you find the one that suits your needs the best.

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