The best laptops for students — by a student

From MacBooks to a Lenovo Yoga, these are the best you can buy.

Brad LaPlante
5 min readAug 4


Shopping for a laptop can be one of the most stressful things you can do — especially if your learning includes a heap of online classes. As a college student (yes, I am still in college), I would like to think that I’m an “expert” in the subject.

Not every student is going to need the same laptop. And not every major requires the same operating system. Regardless, this guide will help you choose the right laptop for you whether you’re a first-year college student or if you’re about to graduate but just need to replace the current device you’re using.

Before I get started, it’s important to note that many colleges offer resources for their students. So before you make an expensive purchase, be sure to check if your college loans high-quality laptops for students. My community college loaned Chromebooks. In that case, a new computer is a wise investment. If you’re in a media arts school or engineering program, many of those will offer high-grade laptops such as MacBooks or top-notch Windows machines.

Be sure of what you need before buying and let me know your thoughts in the comments.

MacBook Air (M2, 2022)

For nearly a decade, Apple’s laptop lineup was pretty straightforward: the MacBook Pro sat at the top with high-quality machinery for those doing video editing, rendering heavy animations and just doing any heavy workload of any kind. The MacBook Air was around $500 less expensive and featured a smaller CPU with less cores for less multitasking.

In the last few years, Apple announced that it was ending its partnership with Intel in exchange for producing its own CPU — one that fits entirely on a single chip. This chipset became known as Apple Silicon (or M1, M2, M3, etc). The latest current generation is M2 and it is a game-changer.

In many ways, the majority of laptop users will never need a MacBook Pro.

Just look at me: I do use Adobe Premiere, Photoshop, After Effects and Illustrator on a regular basis. My M1 MacBook Air is the quickest laptop I’ve ever owned and has noticeably better performance than my 2017 Intel MacBook…