The 11 Best Laptops for Computer Science Students

Only the Top 4 Laptops are displayed here – check out our entire list for all the others!
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If you’re a student looking for the best laptop for computer science or are a parent shopping for the best laptop for a computer science student, there are several things you need to be aware of before you put that laptop in your shopping cart. 

Below, we list our top eleven choices for the best laptops as well as covering the most significant considerations to make before selecting a computer.

If you’ve got other questions, don’t worry we’ve got you! In our frequently asked questions sections we share all our advice you may be curious about!

Here are our picks for the best 11 laptops for computer science students.

We based these selections on a number of the most significant factors concerning laptop specs including overall performance, storage capacities, battery life, RAM, CPU specs, and other important aspects.

Let’s check them out!

Best Overall: DELL Inspiron 15

13 INCHES

8GB DDR4

128GB SSD/1TB HDD

WINDOWS 10 HOME

10 HOURS

4.45 LBS

The newest Dell Inspiron 15 is our top pick for laptops for computer science students. This choice is made based on several important features.

The powerful machine comes with the latest 10th generation Intel Core i3 processor with a 4MB cache and Intel Turbo Boost Technology. In addition, the 8GB 2666MHz DDR4 RAM ensures smooth multi-tasking.

There are few laptops more suitable for students and professionals alike.

Even more impressive, the laptop comes with a 15.6-inch 10-finger multi-touch display and Intel UHD graphics with shared memory. It also has an enormous 1TB HDD and 128GB SSD storage space.

As far as connectivity goes, this new Dell doesn’t disappoint. It comes with Qualcomm 802.11 WiFi, Bluetooth 4.2, USB 3.1, USB 2.0, HDMI, RJ-45, card reader, and headphone and microphone jacks.


KEY FEATURES

● 10th Generation Intel Core i3-1005G1 Processor
● Intel UHD Graphics w/ shared Graphics Memory
● 15.6” (1366 x 768) Touchscreen LED-Backlit HD Display


Pros
  • Large screen with 10-finger multi-touch control
  • Diverse connectivity options including Bluetooth, WiFi, Qualcomm 802.11, RJ-45 and more
  • Largest amount of storage on our list
  • Weighs under five pounds
  • 10th generation Intel Core technology with turbo boost
Cons
  • The i3 processor with turbo boost could be upgraded to i5 or i7 CPU

Runner-Up: HP Pavilion

15.6 INCHES

12GB RAM

512 GB SSD

WINDOWS 10 HOME

10 HOURS

4.08 LBS

HP’s newest Pavilion is our runner-up pick for best overall laptop for computer science students. In fact, if not for having half the storage space of our number one pick, it may have ended up as the top pick itself.

Equipped with a 15.6-inch Micro-edge 1080p display, this laptop is multi-touch enabled and extremely easy to navigate. The processor is a quad-core 10th gen Intel Core i5 with a 6MB smart cache.

It comes with 12GB of high-end RAM for even better processing abilities as well.

Memory, while only half of our main pick, is still quite a lot (512GB SSD). And, the machine has all the connectivity options you could need or want; Bluetooth, HDMI, card reader, USB 3.1, and more.

The laptop also comes with Intel UHD graphics, backlit keyboard, and built-in speakers, microphone, and HD webcam. Windows 10 Home 64-bit is the standard OS.


KEY FEATURES

● 10th Gen Intel Core i5-1035G1 1.00GHz Quad-Core CPU with 6MB Intel Smart Cache
● Intel UHD Graphics
● 15.6” (1080p) BrightView Micro-edge WLED-backlit Touchscreen Display


Pros
  • Powerful 10th gen processor with plenty of RAM
  • High-end HD cam, mic, and sound system
  • Half a TB of SSD storage space
  • Large 1080p screen with multi-touch controls
Cons
  • Could be a bit more power than some students actually need in a laptop

Best Performance: Acer Nitro 5

15.6 INCHES

8GB DDR4

256 GB SSD

WINDOWS 10 HOME

9 HOURS

5.07 LBS

The Acer Nitro 5 is one of the smoothest performing laptops for computer science on our entire list thanks to a powerful i5-9300H Quad-Core 9th generation processor with 8GB of dedicated memory and an additional 8GB of CUE upgraded DDR4 memory.

Storage space on the machine is an adequate 256GB SSD. High-quality graphics are supported by the computer’s NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 card with 4GB of dedicated GDDR5 VRAM.

One of the unique features that helps boost performance of this machine is it’s Acer CoolBoost Tech with dual fans and exhaust ports.

As far as the display goes, it doesn’t get much better than this laptop’s 15.6-inch full HD 1080p widescreen and LED-backlit IPS display without being a full 4K display.

Connectivity is also superb including everything from Type-C, 3.1, 3.0, and 2.0 USB ports, to HDMI, HDCP, WiFi, Lan, and Bluetooth.


KEY FEATURES

● 10th Gen Intel Core i5-1035G1 1.00GHz Quad-Core CPU with 6MB Intel Smart Cache
● Intel UHD Graphics
● 15.6” (1080p) BrightView Micro-edge WLED-backlit Touchscreen Display


Pros
  • Superior connectivity options
  • 1080p full HD screen with backlit-LED IPS Display
  • Powerful cooling unit with dual exhaust and dual fans
  • Powerful 9th Gen Intel Core Processor with extra dedicated memory
Cons
  • Weighs over 5 lbs
  • Costly compared to other laptops on our list

HP Envy

17.3 INCHES

16GB DDR4

1TB SSD

WINDOWS 10 PRO

10 HOURS

6.14 LBS

Another exceptionally-well performing laptop for computer science is the HP Envy. From it’s 17.3-inch FHD anti-glare 1080p multi-touch edge-to-edge display to it’s massive 1TB SSD storage space, the Envy is truly a powerful computer.

The laptop is powered by a quad-core 10th gen Intel Core i7 with an 8GB smart cache and an additional 16GB of DDR4 RAM. It comes with a touch-screen, Windows 10 Pro, and custom HP sound system built-in as well.

Aside from it’s high-end specs and faultless performance, the HP Envy is also downright sleek in appearance. WiFi, LAN, USB, Bluetooth and other state-of-the-art connectivity options also come with the laptop.

To top it all off, the battery-life of this beast is 10 full hours.


KEY FEATURES

● 10th Generation Intel Core i7-10510U CPU with 8 MB smart cache and 4 cores Processor
● NVIDIA GeForce MX250 (4 GB GDDR5) Graphics
● 17.3” FHD Anti-Glare WLED UWVA (1080p) Multi-touch edge-to-edge Glass Display


Pros
  • 10th Gen Intel Core Processor with 8GB of dedicated cache memory
  • Top-of-the-line 16GB DDR4 RAM for smooth operations
  • Stunning design appearance
  • Long lasting battery life
  • Impressive range of connectivity options
Cons
  • Weighs over 6 lbs
  • Could use CUE upgraded RAM

Best Budget: Lenovo IdeaPad 3

14 INCHES

8GB DDR4

256 GB SSD

WINDOWS 10 PRO

8 HOURS

3.3 LBS

One of the best laptop manufacturers currently on the market, Lenovo’s IdeaPad 3, is surprisingly one of the most affordable picks for a great laptop for computer science students.

The machine is equipped with an AMD Ryzen 5 3500U processor, 8GB of DDR4 SDRAM, a Radeon Vega 8 graphics card, and a 14-inch FHD display with tight side bezels.

The laptop’s smooth Q-Control allows for quick and effortless operations. Bluetooth, WiFi 5, multiple USB ports, and HDMI keep you connected with networks, teachers, students, and other devices.

In addition, the computer comes with a built-in mic, sound system, and a webcam with a shutter for your privacy and convenience. For the price, and the impressive specs, it doesn’t get much better than the Lenovo IdeaPad 3.


KEY FEATURES

● AMD Ryzen 5 3500U CPU Processor
● Radeon Graphics Vega 8
● 14” Full HD resolution Display


Pros
  • Extremely lightweight
  • Versatile connectivity options
  • Built-in sound system, mic, and webcam with privacy shutter
  • Great overall specs for the price
  • Smooth Q-Control for easy operations
  • Very fair price range for specs
Cons
  • Only 14-inch Display
  • AMD processor (if you prefer Intel Core)

Acer Aspire 5 Slim

15.6 INCHES

8GB DDR4

256 GB SSD

WINDOWS 10 HOME

5 HOURS

5.63 LBS

Our second pick for the best budget laptop for computer science students is the Acer Aspire 5. Not only is this laptop aesthetically pleasing but it packs a powerful punch as well.

The Aspire 5 comes with a 10th gen Intel Core Processor and 8GB of DDR4 which makes computing of any sort super smooth. And, with its 15.6-inch full HD IPS backlit display with thin bezel, your screen gives you the clearest imagery possible. 

The computer is also equipped with BlueLightShield which protects your eyes from strain when working long hours on the computer.

In addition, the machine is also one of the most secure of its class. It comes with a fingerprint scanner built-in for easy access.

Acer True Harmony sound comes preinstalled with the laptop, giving you the bass and treble other computers tend to lack. And, the Aspire 5 also included WiFi 6 (based on 802.11ax) for superior wireless connectivity.


KEY FEATURES

● 10th Gen Intel Core i5-10210U CPU Processor
● Intel UHD Graphics 620
● 15.6” Full HD Backlit (1980 x 1080) Display


Pros
  • BlueLightShield Display
  • Fingerprint Scanner for Security
  • 10th Gen Intel Core processor
  • Acer True Harmony Sound System
  • New WiFi 6 connectivity
Cons
  • Weighs almost 6 lbs
  • Battery life is practically half of other laptops

Ultra Thin Pick: ASUS ZenBook 15

15.6 INCHES

16GB RAM

1TB SSD

WINDOWS 10

15 HOURS

3.68 LBS

The Zenbook 15 Ultra-Slim is our top pick for ultra thin laptops for computer science students, not only for its obvious super-thin design, but for its powerful components and high-end performance as well.

Unlike many thin laptops, the Zenbook 15 Ultra-Thin comes with a 15.6-inch interactive touch screen trackpad for multitasking and smart control. The display is a full HD 15.6-inch 4-way NanoEdge bezel wide-screen.

An 8th gen Intel Core i7 Quad-Core processor with 6MB cache, 16GB of LPDDR3 RAM, and an entire TB of SSD storage make the computer both powerful and stable enough to multi-task and work with even the most demanding programs.

The 71Wh 8-cell lithium-polymer battery runs on a 120W adapter and lasts for nearly 15 hours when unplugged from an outlet.

Graphics are crisp and high-end as well with the laptops NVIDIA GeForce GTX1650 Max-Q card. Also, the laptop comes with an IR camera built-in for easy facial recognition sign-in ability via Windows Hello.

And, last but not least, connectivity is top notch with HDMI, USB, WiFi 5, Bluetooth, Micro SD reader, and more.


KEY FEATURES

● 8th Generation Intel Core i7-8565u Quad-Core 6MB smart cache Processor
● NVIDIA GeForce GTX1650 Max-Q Graphics
● 15.6” wide-view full HD 4-way NanoEdge bezel Display


Pros
  • Big screen with Touchscreen Trackpad
  • Built on a durable Metal Chassis
  • Super-fast SSD storage
  • Lightweight design (under 4 lbs)
  • Charges fast and has a battery life of approximately 15 hours
Cons
  • Doesn’t have the greatest built-in Cooling System
  • WiFi 5 could be upgraded to WiFi 6

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

15.6 INCHES

16GB RAM

256GB SSD

WINDOWS 10 HOME

10 HOURS

4.14 LBS

Another excellent and ultra-thin laptop for computer science activities is the MSI GS65 Stealth THIN. This bad boy comes with 1080p resolution on a 15.6-inch FHD wide-view ultra-thin bezel display and runs on Windows 10.

The computer is powered by a new Intel Core i7-8750H2.2 with six cores and 16GB of DDR4 RAM. That said, there are enough sockets to add another 16GB of RAM as well.

As far as storage goes, the G265 Stealth THIN comes with a 256GB SSD as well as the connectivity options to plug up an external HD if desired.

Thin, durable, and more than capable of running computer science programs, this laptop is also VR and Thunderbolt 3 ready. It is charged with a 180W slim AC adapter.


KEY FEATURES

● Intel Core i7-8750H with 6 Cores CPU Processor
● NVIDIA GeForce GTX1060 6G GDDR5 Graphics
● 15.6” Full HD and 4.9mm Ultra Thin Bezel Anti-Glare Wide View Angle (1080p)


Pros
  • Barely 4 lbs
  • Durable and thin Design
  • Fast charging and versatile connectivity options
  • VR and Thunderbolt 3 ready
  • Powerful and smooth Intel Core i7 with 6 Cores
Cons
  • Could include optional HDD or extra SSD storage space

Best Touchscreen: Dell XPS 15 7590

15.6 INCHES

16GB RAM

256GB SSD

WINDOWS 10 HOME

10 HOURS

5.51 LBS

The Dell XPS 15 7590 is one of the hottest touch-screen laptops on the market for students of computer science. Its impressive 15.6-inch screen is 4K UHD and comes with OLED and InfinityEdge.

The machine itself is equipped with a 9th Gen Intel Core i7 with six cores and a 12MB cache, 16GB of DDR4 RAM, and 256GB of SSD storage.

Graphics are amazingly clear and colorful thanks to a NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 card with 4GB of dedicated GDDR5 memory. And, as far as connectivity goes, the laptop comes with SD card reader, USB ports, and is Thunderbolt ready.

The computer runs on a 97Whr 6-cell integrated battery for a longer life. The operating system that comes pre-installed is Windows 10 Home 64bit, making it easier to run just about any computer science programs out there.


KEY FEATURES

● 9th Gen Intel Core i7-9750H CPU Processor
● NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 4GB GDDR5 Graphics
● 15.6” 4K UHD OLED InfinityEdge Display


Pros
  • Beautiful large 4K UHD OLED InfinityEdge Display
  • 9th Gen Intel Core i7 with Six cores and impressive smart cache
  • 64bit Version of Windows 10 Home
  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX Graphics Card
  • Plenty of connectivity Options
Cons
  • Weighs well over 5 lbs
  • High-dollar price tag compared to other laptops on our list

ASUS VivoBook S13

13.3 INCHES

8GB LPDDR4X

512GB SSD

WINDOWS 10

8 HOURS

2.6 LBS

Asus’s VivoBook S13 is an incredible little touch-screen laptop for computer science students. The only reason it was our runner-up, rather than best touchscreen pick, is due to its 13.3-inch screen.

That said, the screen is still quite impressive with its FHD capabilities and NanoEdge bezel display.

Inside the laptop is a top of the line i5 Intel Core processor with a 6MB smart cache of dedicated memory, 8GB of LPDDR4X RAM, and a more than adequate 512GB of SSD storage.

Even more, this nifty laptop is equipped with a 15mm z-height metal chassis for longer-lasting durability. It also comes with many comprehensive connection options including USB 3.2 Type-C, 3.2 Type-A, and 2.0. And it doesn’t end there – HDMI port and WiFi 6 are also built-in.

For those with a desktop to work on at home, this touchscreen laptop may be an excellent alternative to larger and more expensive laptop.


KEY FEATURES

● New i5 Intel Core Processor with a 6MB smart cache CPU
● Intel UHD Graphics
● 13.3” (1080p) Full HD and NanoEdge bezel Display


Pros
  • Impressive RAM, Storage and Processor specs
  • Fingerprint reader for higher security
  • Loads of connectivity options including new WiFi 6
  • Touchscreen controls for easier navigation and control
  • High-end metal chassis (lightest laptop on our list)
Cons
  • Screen could be bigger
  • Only 8 hours of Battery Life

Best Gaming Pick: Dell G5 15

15.6 INCHES

16GB DDR4

256GB SSD/1TB SATA

WINDOWS 10 HOME

8 HOURS

3.79 LBS

For gamers who are studying computer science, few laptops are as impressive as the Dell G5 15 Gaming Laptop. Not only is it very good-looking, but it comes with a dual-fan cooling system built-in, anti-glare effects, and entirely beefy specs in general.

The processor is a new 9th gen 6-core Intel Core i7-9750h with a whopping 12MB smart cache. There is 16GB of DDR4 RAM. And, gamers will love the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 with 4GB of GDDR5 graphics card.

Speaking of gamers, the 15.6-inch 1080p resolution LED backlit IPS display is also perfect for high-end gaming.

All in all, if you play games, and study computer science, few laptops will serve you better. If you happen to be looking for a laptop for Gaming under $500, check out our list!


KEY FEATURES

● 9th Gen Intel Core i7-9750H Processor
● NVIDIA GTX 1650 Graphics
● 15.6” (1080p) Full HD LCD Screen


Pros
  • Large 1080p Display (LED IPS backlit)
  • Perfect for gaming and coursework with demanding programs
  • Built-in dual fan cooling system keeps system from overheating
  • Powerful 9th Gen i7 Intel Core 6-core with 12MB smart cache
  • Weighs under 4 lbs
Cons
  • More expensive than other suitable laptop options
  • For the price, could have multi-touch controls as well as better battery life

Minimum Requirements for a Laptop for Computer Science

Now that we’ve discussed the best choices, let’s have a look at some of the minimum requirements for computer science laptops that you should be aware of.

Without a sufficient amount of processing power, storage space, and a clear display, you’ll be returning your computer or purchasing a new one before you can take on a computer science workload.

RAM

The amount of Random Access Memory (RAM) that a computer is equipped with determines how much memory it has dedicated solely to the Computer Processing Unit (CPU, or Processor).

Aside from the processor itself, the RAM is one of the top considerations to look out for when picking a laptop for computer science students. Without adequate RAM computer science programs will be laggy or unable to run at all.

Anywhere from 8GB to 16GB is enough RAM for processing even the most demanding programs.

PROCESSOR (CPU)

The power and ability of a laptop’s processor are one of the single-most determining factors in the “smoothness” of the machine’s overall performance.

Computer Science students need laptops with at least 7th generation, 8th generation, or i5-class processors.

That said, machines with 9th generation, 10th generation, or i7-class and higher put out an even higher-end performance.

GRAPHICS

The graphics are another feature to consider while shopping for a laptop to take onto campus.

For most students, the NVIDIA GTX series 1070 or higher will do the trick.

But, for students with other demanding computer programming/design coursework, the new RTX cards from NVIDIA are a more powerful choice.


STORAGE

How much storage space comes with a laptop is another of the utmost important factors to look at.

For students, 128GB to 256GB of SSD should be sufficient in most cases though 512GB and 1TB are the most preferred.

However, machines with additional HDD storage are even more attractive. Many laptops have both SSD and HDD.

DISPLAY / RESOLUTION

Resolution and display size are also critical essentials. If you are trying to run programs with a lot of detail, large displays with a resolution of 1080p or higher (1400p up to 4k) are highly recommended by other students (and teachers/schools).

In addition, touchscreen laptops are also suggested for those who like a literal hands-on approach to their display.

BATTERY LIFE

The battery life of a computer is a crucial consideration to take into account prior to purchasing.

This factor determines how long the laptop will remain in function after being unplugged from a charger or other power sources.

The type of battery that powers the laptop is a big factor in how long the battery life is once unplugged. Lithium-polymer batteries and multi-cell batteries are preferred.

WEIGHT / PORTABILITY

How much a laptop weighs, and how portable it is, can be another important factor to consider.

For computer science students, lightweight and highly portable laptops are easier to carry while traveling to and from classes, work, and home.

That said, keep in mind that a laptop weighing under 5 pounds is considered lightweight. 

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Still have questions about laptops for computer science?

Here are  few of the most frequently asked questions that other computer science students have:

Is SSD or HDD better for Storage?

Solid State Drives (SSD) and Hard Disk Drives (HDD) are equally useful at storage. SSD is thought to be quicker and more efficient speed-wise. Other than speed, there isn’t much overall difference between SSD and HDD.

Here is a helpful short video:

Which Operating System is Best?

There is no one operating system that is “best” for laptops for computer science.

That said, Windows 10, OS x10, Ubuntu 14, or any other Linux Distro OS are suggested for optimal performance.

Is a Touchscreen Laptop easier to use?

Not necessarily. In fact, for many CAD programs and other advanced programs, there isn’t much need (or support) for touchscreen controls.

But, if you use your laptop for more than school, touchscreen controls are rather beneficial in regards to overall ease-of-use.

How important are Connectivity Options?

As a student, connectivity is crucial. You’ll more than likely have classes to attend in several locations.

There will also be the need to connect with other students’ and professor’s devices, for sharing notes, schoolwork, and giving presentations.

WiFi, HDMI, HDCP, USB, Bluetooth, and card readers are the most common connectivity options on today’s laptop market.

Should I worry about battery life or weight?

Yes, if you’re a student that carries their laptop to school, work, and home. Battery life varies from half an hour to half a day depending on the make and model of the laptop and battery.

Likewise, the weight of a laptop ranges anywhere from barely over a single pound to five pounds or more.

What kind of Software will I need to run?

Your school/professors will inform you about the required software(s) for your classes.

That said, Java, Adobe Flash Player, Adobe Reader, VLC Media Player, and Microsoft Office 2016+ (which is usually included with tuition) will likely be on the list of minimum requirements for any computer science courses you take.

What kind of hardware does my laptop need?

Aside from the basics that come built-in, and a good pair of headphones, a decent stand-alone microphone and webcam may be required for some classes as well.

Again, you will need to check with your professors/school about these requirements.

Will a laptop be required to take classes?

Yes, you will need a laptop for computer science classes.

Check with your school or professor(s) for specific requirements and recommendations.

Many schools offer/sell particular models of laptops through their own on-campus and online stores. That said, these computers may be marked up in price.

OUR VERDICT

Hopefully our list of the best laptops for computer science students helps you select a machine for you and your studies.

From budget-friendly laptops and lightweight ultra-thin machines weighing under three pounds, to high-end performance and gaming computers, we made sure to add something for everyone.

Are you a computer science student using a laptop other than the ones mentioned here on our list? If so, we’d love to hear from you!

Happy Laptop Shopping!