Best Laptop for Computer Science Students

As a computer science student, you will know that the laptop for your studies needs to be a great one, yes?

There is a range of tasks and software programs you will be expected to work on throughout your studies, and you want a laptop that can do it all! 

Deciding which laptop to purchase, though, can be a difficult task, can’t it? There are so many on the market, all claiming to be the best for computer science students, it can be overwhelming to know which to purchase. 

That is where we come in, a white knight in tow, to save the day! We have found the best laptop for computer science students!

We have also added a handy buyer’s guide to help make the buying process plain sailing and an FAQ section to answer any questions. 

Whether it’s for yourself or a gift for a student, we have got you covered. 

Top Pick: 

In a rush? Check out our top pick to grab your laptop and get cracking!

OUR TOP PICK

New Apple MacBook Pro (16-inch, 16GB RAM, 512GB Storage, 2.6GHz Intel Core i7) - Space Gray

We couldn’t have a list of laptops without mentioning a MacBook, could we?

For the Apple lovers or soon to be converted in the room, a Macbook Pro is an excellent choice for your next laptop!

The new MacBook Pro features a 2.6GHz six-core i7 processor and 16GB of RAM to deliver you one of the most powerful MacBooks on the market.

The laptop is sure to handle multiple programs running simultaneously.  

The MacBook Pro features a stunning retina display across a 16-inch display, which features true tone technology for colors that will take your breath away.

The laptop is also available with a smaller 13.5-inch screen for those after a more compact version. 

If you are interested in coding for Windows specifically, then a MacBook is probably not the best choice for you.

It can be a tedious task to run your OS like Windows to test your program. 

However, if you are looking to create programs that can run on iOS apps or macOS, then a MacBook is your only choice.

It is worth considering the kind of programs and codes you will want to create or be asked to at school before making your choice. 

Some customers do not find the keyboard very comfortable to use, especially over long periods.

The keyboard features a backlit design, which adds an extra dimension to your laptop.

The added touch bar at the top of the keyboard comes as standard on Pro’s now and allows for a different control style. 

Though expensive, the MacBook Pro provides excellent power, can cope with multiple programs running, and offers stunning displays.

It is an ideal laptop for a computer science student! 

Pros:

  • 9th generation 6-Core Intel Core i7 processor 
  • 16-inch Retina display with true tone technology 
  • Touch Bar and Touch ID features
  • 10 hours of battery life 
  • Ultra-fast SSD storage of 512GB.

Con:

  • Not ideal for those solely wanting to work with Windows. 

More time to browse? Check out our other great recommendations below! 

EDITORS CHOICE

Microsoft Surface Book 2 13.5' (Intel Core i7, 16GB RAM, 512 GB)

Microsoft’s Surface Book 2 is an excellent choice for budding computer science students. It is on the pricier side but is a powerful machine that can help with your studies. 

The new Surface Book features an 8th generation Intel Quad Core i7 processor to deliver fast speeds, whatever the software is! You get 512 GB of storage and 16GB of RAM too. 

The laptop also boasts up to 17 hours of video playback, so it is excellent for any streaming or online lectures you will need to attend.

There is enhanced graphics performance combined with this, thanks to its NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 discrete GPU w/2GB GDDR5 Graphics Memory.

The graphics can be viewed on the vibrant pixel sense display, which clocks in at 3,000 x 2,000. It is available now with a 13.5inch touch screen.

You could purchase a surface pen separately if you wanted to take handwritten notes on the laptop or needed it for any graphics you may need to create. 

You would be hard-pressed to beat the display on this laptop.  The screen covers 130% of the sRGB gamut and clocks in at 374 nits of brightness. The pix

Dubbed as the fastest Surface Book yet, the Book 2 has twice the power of its predecessor and can run Windows 10 Pro like a breeze. 

What’s great about this laptop is its versatility. It features four modes of use and a USB-C port, allowing you to connect to various devices and streamline all of your files. You also get an SD card reader, which is a handy addition. 

Though expensive, this laptop offers great speed, can handle games and software programs, and has versatile ports. It is an excellent choice for students!

Pros:

  • Enhanced graphics performance makes it great for games. 
  • Fastest surface pro yet offering 2x the power. 
  • It features an 8th generation Intel Quad Core i7 processor 
  • 512GB of storage 
  • The USB-C port offers versatility. 

Con: 

  • Expensive. 

BEST VALUE

Acer Spin 3 Convertible Laptop, 14 inches Full HD IPS Touch, 8th Gen Intel Core i7-8565U, 16GB DDR4, 512GB PCIe NVMe SSD, Backlit KB, Fingerprint Reader, Rechargeable Active Stylus, SP314-53N-77AJ

Acer has created a laptop and tablet that we think would be great for computer science students!

The folding laptop will transform into a tablet, giving you real diversity when it comes to your studies!

It has an impressive battery life of 12 hours, which is sure to keep you going should you forget your charger on library day!

The machine also stays cool when running multiple programs, so you don’t need to worry about it overheating. 

The dual front-facing speakers provide excellent sound and outperform competing laptops. You get a colorful display with this laptop too.

Its display clocks in at roughly 237 nits of brightness. The screen is 14 inches and boasts full HD (1920 x 1080) of widescreen viewing, which has LED-backlit for an enhanced video experience. 

Thanks to its laptop-tablet hybrid, the screen is also a touch screen with either your fingers or the stylus. 

Acer’s Spin 3 is made from plastic instead of aluminum but still provides a sturdy and durable feel.

The flexible hinge, which allows you to convert from laptop to tablet, is very sturdy and converts easily. 

The laptop features an 8th generation Intel Core i7 8565U processor with a clocking speed of up to 4.6GHz; that’s a lot of power! You get 16GB DDR4 memory as well with this laptop. 

What’s great about the Spin 3 is that it comes with a rechargeable stylus, making taking notes or creating graphs a breeze. The diversity of this laptop makes it not one to miss! 

The drawback of this laptop is that it can be a little loud when the fans are running.

While that works to keep your laptop cool, it can be distracting, especially while working in the library. 

For those after an excellent laptop with a tablet’s versatility and stunning graphics, this beauty from Acer is the one for you!

Pros:

  • 14-inch Full HD Widescreen display with LED-backlit. 
  • 8th generation Intel Core i7 processor 
  • 16GB DDR4 Memory 
  • Rechargeable stylus 
  • Lightweight and thin design

Con:

  • It can get noisy when the fan is on.

RUNNER UP

Newest HP Spectre x360-13t Quad Core(8th Gen Intel i7-8550U, 16GB DDR4, 512GB PCIe NVMe SSD, IPS micro-edge Touchscreen Corning Gorilla, Windows 10 Ink)Bang&Olufsen 13.3' 2-in-1 Convertible - Dark Ash

For those who appreciate a good-quality, high-spec laptop, the Spectre from HP could be the one for you! 

In a stunning dark ash color, the laptop has a premium quality feel to it. The laptop is made from a single piece of metal to provide strength and durability to the machine.

The touch screen features Corning Gorilla Glass for added strength; you won’t need to worry about any cracks with this screen!

The Newest’s display is excellent, with a resolution of 1920x1080; the LCD touch screen has a display size of 12-inches, a great size for portability and working on.

The Intel UHD Graphics 620 coprocessor and integrated graphics description will allow for excellent graphics while you work or perhaps take a few minutes to play. 

The laptop features an Intel Core i7 processor with a speed of 4GHz, speedy to run your software, and some music in the background! It has a memory of 16GB and uses DDR3 RAM. 

It's an incredibly lightweight laptop and offers great ports for connectivity.

The laptop boasts an impressive 16 hours of battery life and fast charge technology so that you won’t be tied to a cable all day! 

Some customers reported the fan being loud when in use, which can be distracting while you are studying. 

For those after a laptop that boasts a touchscreen and fantastic speeds, and super-fast file loading, this one from HP is the one for you!

Pros:

  • Touchscreen screen
  • Lightweight and great for traveling with. 
  • It features an Intel Core i7 Processor with speeds of 4GHz
  • 16GB of RAM can cope with multiple programs running. 
  • Uses SSD memory for added speed when opening files.

Con:

  • Some customers found the fan loud.  

RUNNER UP

Acer Nitro 5 Gaming Laptop, 9th Gen Intel Core i5-9300H, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650, 15.6' Full HD IPS Display, 8GB DDR4, 256GB NVMe SSD, Wi-Fi 6, Backlit Keyboard, Alexa Built-in, AN515-54-5812

Technically a gaming laptop, but Acer’s Nitro 5 laptop is an excellent choice for gamer’s and computer science students alike!

The laptop boasts a stunning 15” Full HD widescreen with LED backlight for outstanding graphics. 

Those who will game and study on their laptop come with an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 Graphics with 4GB of dedicated GDDR5 RAM, allowing you to experience a new level of gaming. 

The laptop is reasonably priced compared to others on the list and suitable for a student's budget. Remember that this is an investment for the rest of your studying. 

Acer’s Nitro 5 has a backlit keyboard and features Acer’s Cool Boost technology with twin fans and dual exhaust ports to keep your laptop cool under pressure. 

The laptop uses an Intel Core i5 processor that can get up to 4.1GHz in speed for a quick launch of programs.

Teamed with 8GB of RAM, this lightweight laptop will have no trouble running your software and codes. 

The laptop is not as thin as others on the market, and some customers did find it a little bulky to travel with. However, if you're looking for a laptop that won’t be traveling far, it's an excellent option. 

You get 3 USB ports, 1 being a USB-C port to allow for diverse connecting. The battery life is excellent too, so you won’t need to worry if you forget your charger!

The laptop has fantastic specs, such as a built-in Alexa to keep track of appointments or connect to other Alexa devices in the house.

Acer’s Nitro laptop is an excellent choice for those who want to game and study on their laptops!

It’s fantastic speeds, and powerful CPU means you won’t be waiting for anything to load!

Pros:

  • Reasonably priced 
  • 15.6-inch Full HD widescreen with LED-backlit display. 
  • 9th generation Intel Core i5 processor with up to 4.1 GHz
  • 8GB DDR4 Memory 
  • Dedicated graphics card for enhanced gameplay

Con:

  • It is a little bulky compared to other laptops.

Best Laptop for Computer Science Students Buying Guide

Not too sure what you should look out for? Our buyer’s guide will help you there! 

Generally speaking, a computer science student will need a laptop that can cope with specific software running for codings such as Python, Java, Octave, and others.

There are some factors when purchasing your computer you should consider to ensure it can cope with these demands.

CPU: 

The processor is perhaps the most crucial thing to consider before making your purchase.

We would recommend getting the fastest processor your budget will allow, as this will enable you to run programs quickly and get on with your studies. 

If you are opting for an Intel processor, you don’t want to drop below an i5. An i7 processor is an excellent option to go for, providing you with exceptional speeds and the capacity to handle more than one program running. 

If you would rather an AMD processor, we would suggest the Ryzen 7 or 5, as again, they will be able to handle the demanding projects your studies will throw at you. 

All about that view:

The display can make or break a laptop. During your studies, and probably downtime, you will be staring at the screen a lot.

So poor graphics are going to be noticeable pretty quickly. Make sure when staring at a screen for a long time, your eyes are protected, and you are taking regular breaks. 

A full HD resolution, or higher, is an excellent option for outstanding displays. If you can, matte displays are worth considering too.

They help reduce eye strains and fatigue, which can impact your ability to study. 

RAM

When it comes to RAM, any less than 8GB and you aren’t going to get the performance needed for your studying. 8GB RAM, or more if you can afford it, will allow you to run programs simultaneously. 

Generally speaking, 8GB will be plenty, so don’t feel like you need to bust your budget for some extra RAM!

Graphics Card: 

If your laptop is only being used for your studies, then a graphics card won’t be too high on your priority list.

Most Intel and AMD laptops come with an integrated graphics card that will be more than suitable for any graphics used on your software. 

However, if you use the laptop for gaming, a dedicated graphics card will be an excellent option to consider.

It will be able to cope with the enhanced graphics modern games come with these days.

A dedicated graphics card can also be handy if you later are interested in machine learning. If this is not the case, an integrated graphics card will work well. 

Storage:

The storage on your laptop is another vital factor to consider when making your purchase. If you have the budget, opt for an SSD over HDD.

An SSD in a laptop will speed up your workflow dramatically. It will take far less time to search through files looking for a piece of code that can be reused on an SSD rather than an HDD. 

Size matters?

When it comes to choosing your laptop’s size, it's not just the size of the RAM you should consider.

Most computer science students will take their laptops to classes with them; often, it is a class requirement. Not just for taking notes, but for running programs and beginning to code. 

You may want to work in the library for some days, so your laptop needs to be easy to transport.

Look for a lightweight laptop that won’t weigh your bag down. We would recommend investing in a good backpack or laptop bag to transport the laptop securely too. 

The size of your laptop will depend on your preferences. Some people prefer a larger screen, opting for a 15-16 inch laptop for a widescreen that will allow for a great viewing experience and makes splitting your screen a breeze. 

Smaller sizes such as 12-13 inches are still an excellent option for working on and writing your codes. It is worth considering what size will work best for you and your needs.

If transportation is your primary concern, then a lightweight 13-inch laptop is your best bet. However, those who intend to use the laptop for gaming may wish to consider a larger screen. 

How much?

Deciding how much to spend on a new laptop, especially one for studying, can be tricky.

There’s a wide range available on the market these days, and knowing what is best can be challenging. 

We would recommend setting a budget and sticking to it as much as possible. Be sensible about what you can afford, as well as how long the laptop needs to last.

Ideally, you want it to get you through your studies at the very least. 

Remember that you don’t need to spend a fortune to get a great quality laptop that will get you through your studies! 

Frequently Asked Questions

Get any last-minute questions answered here!

Do you need a powerful computer for coding?

The short answer to this is yes. To code effectively, then a powerful computer or laptop is your best option.

The more powerful your laptop is, the quicker you will work through your coding.

If your laptop isn’t overly powerful, you can still run your software and code on, but this will take longer and may be prone to glitches and lags in the system, especially if multiple programs are open. 

A powerful laptop will run multiple programs without slowing down, allowing you to create your code and test your code without glitches or any lag. This is great for students who may have multiple programs running simultaneously. 

When we talk about power, we are referring to the speed and capacities of the laptop. To determine your laptop’s power, you will need to consider the laptop’s CPU, RAM, and memory. 

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