You see, computer science captures a wide range of topics and not all laptops are cut out for some of the tasks.
Sure, programming languages like Python are not resource-intensive but how will you tackle machine learning and other modules requiring higher specs if you made the wrong choice?
Complicating matters is the fact that the market has many varieties of student laptops and choosing one is like solving a brutally difficult algebra equation.
Fortunately, our team has been looking at the best computer science laptops and we have short-listed the 3 best laptops for computer science students.
We present them to you below together with the most important specifications to look out for when shopping for a laptop for a CS student.
|Acer Aspire E15 Notebook||6 GB||512 GB SSD||15.6 Inches||View|
|Microsoft Surface Book 2||8 GB||256 GB SSD||13.5 Inches||View|
|2018 Dell Inspiron 15 5000||8 GB||256GB SSD||13 Inches||View|
|Acer Aspire 5||8 GB DDR4||512 GB SSD||15.6 Inches||View|
|New Apple MacBook Pro||8 GB||256 GB SSD||13.3 Inches||View|
|Lenovo Legion Y740-15IRH||16 GB||256 GB SSD||15.6 Inches||View|
|XPC GF65 Thin by_MSI||32 GB DDR4||512 GB SSD||15.6 Inches||View|
- 1 Apple vs PC for Computer Science
- 2 Computer Science Laptop Buying Guide
- 3 Laptop Computers for Computer Science Students Reviews
- 4 Wrapping it up
Apple vs PC for Computer Science
We want to get the question that everyone asks out of the way first – which is better: A MAC or a PC for computer science studies?
Well, the short answer (and this is not what most of us wanted to hear) is it boils down to a heap of factors:
Perhaps the greatest advantage of a Windows PC is that it accepts nearly all software you’ll be using to learn different CS skills in your course with minimum fuss.
In contrast, an Apple MacBook won’t always allow you to install certain programs because some lack a MacBook version (MacBooks run on macOS operating system).
On the other hand, a Mac comes with the UNIX environment giving you a vast advantage if you’ll be specializing in app development- countless colleges prefer to teach programming on UNIX because its architecture doesn’t break easily.
Here is a quick comparison of the two rivals:
|Profile||Slimmer||A bit bulky|
|Gaming||No Mac versions for some prominent games.||Many games built for Windows|
|Weight||Exceptionally lightweight||Slightly heavier|
|Construction||Sturdier, more durable||Some are not that durable|
The good news is that there’s little to worry about whatever your decision: not only do the two work similarly but also there are ways of bridging Windows applications to Macs and vice versa (in most cases).
Computer Science Laptop Buying Guide
Now, what I want you to understand is that buying a laptop for a computer science course is much more work than, let’s say, a laptop for a business major.
Don’t freak out though- a little knowledge of the vital computer science laptop requirements goes a long way.
Here’s a rundown of the deal makers and deal breakers:
- CPU, RAM, and Storage for the best computer science student laptop
These three carry a lot of weight and you want to get the best specifications your money can buy.
Of course, there’s the bare minimum in each case for a computer science laptop so use the following table as a guide:
|CPU type||Core i3 (higher generations)||Core i5||Core i7 is an option if your budget allows it.|
|RAM||8 GB||16 GB||32 GB is a luxury|
|Hard disk capacity(storage)||256 GB||500 GB||128GB is usually sufficient for SSD although 256GB sounds great|
Note: Solid-state drives (SSDs) tend to be faster than regular hard drives as they have no moving parts.
- Display size
This is one feature you can play around with unless you’re a savvy gamer when out of class- in that case, you need large screen real estate (15.6” is the largest and it’s probably not enough).
That said, an 11” screen looks a bit small and the least we suggest is 13 inches.
On a personal note, as a CS student, I used to find the 15.6” more comfortable, especially during tasks that needed me to open several windows (think coding).
- The question of Graphics Card in a laptop for computer science student
This is not a necessity for CS lessons but it could be nice to have if you’ll be dabbling in tasks involving intensive graphics processing such as graphics design (you may learn this as a spare skill).
If that’s you, we would recommend picking up an external, dedicated graphics card (more expensive) or at least a laptop with a built-in graphics processing unit (GPU).
- Ports and the battery
The last pair of considerations is quite obvious: we all want to have all those cool ports for device interconnectivity and a long-lasting battery (go for 6 hours+).
It’s worth mentioning that the must-have ports are:
- HDMI/Mini HDMI port (Lightning port in Macs)- allows you to project stuff via a projector or to hook up a bigger monitor when needed.
- Network port– a Wi-Fi port will suffice.
Note: Other ports including the lighting fast USB-C can be added using a relevant adapter if not available from the word go.
Laptop Computers for Computer Science Students Reviews
At long last, here are the best 3 laptops that emerged tops in our analysis
As ever, we went through tons of options when compiling this list and we believe there’s no better deal for anybody pursuing computer science at college.
Leading the pack in our latest best computer science laptops reviews is the Acer Aspire E15 laptop with its extensively appealing features to go with a cute design.
For a great price, Acers offers a whole package in this all-rounded machine.
There’s an 8th-generation Intel Core i3 CPU which is designed to deliver powerful performances and smooth computing at all times.
In fact, the processor is backed by Intel’s Turbo Boost Technology (2.0) so the laptop produces an extra burst of intensity when you’re into most demanding applications such as computer-aided design (CAD).
You get impressive visuals too seeing that images are displayed in full HD (high definition) on the 15.6” widescreen display (backlit).
And with Acer’s innovative TrueHarmony technology integrated, movies, songs, and games have crystal clear audios (two stereo speakers added) and are full of life.
You can seamlessly connect to the Campus Wi-Fi via the 802.11ac wireless antenna (featuring MU-MIMO technology for signal consistency) while the USB Type-C port is handy for ultra-fast data transfers.
The other attractions are the HD Webcam for online classes/Skype, 1 TB hard disk, and the hard-to-beat 13.5-hours battery life.
- Budget pricing.
- Sturdy build.
- Easy to upgrade.
- A little heavy.
The stunningly thin and lightweight MacBook Air caught our attention with its magnificent performance, easy-to-bring-along design, and magical keyboard.
Trust me: this is as good as it gets for computer science students if you’re an Apple diehard.
From the arresting visuals powered by apple’s wonderful True Tone technology on the 13.3-inch Retina display and the Intel Iris Plus Graphics (renders HD quality even when playing games) to Apple’s famous Force Touch trackpad, this has it all.
The biggest winners are the Turbo-boosted Core i3 processor (you experience up to double regular CPU speeds), the super-fast SSD storage (256GB), and the stereo speakers (with their 25% more bass and volume).
And oh, the backlit keyboard is truly extraordinary- not only has it been redesigned to achieve a faster 1 mm key travel but the keys feel are extremely smooth to type on.
Apple’s trackpad has always been a trendsetter and the tradition has been maintained here with the Force Touch trackpad reaching a whole new level of precision and interactivity.
All the other basics are present including the increasingly popular USB-C ports (2) and a lasting battery (Apple promises 11 hours of battery run time with this).
- Decent 8GB RAM.
- Backlit Keyboard.
- High-quality speakers.
- Not the best webcam.
This 15-inch laptop delivers an exhilarating viewing experience, sensational processing speed, and a compelling lineup of options to make your time in a computer science class fun and fulfilling.
It’s been a favorite among some CS students for a long time and looking closely, you’ll understand why.
A monster core i5 processor (by students’ standards) which is quicker than core i7-7500U CPU by about 26% according to various tests makes this the crème de la crème of the lot.
Then, the large 15.6” Dell Full HD True-life LED-backlit display (with Intel 620 Graphics Integrated) serves as an eye-catching show of visuals, whatever coursework project you’re working on.
It goes toe to toe with its competition in terms of RAM and the hard drive, matching MacBook Air’s 8GB RAM and outgunning Acer by 2GB (though its 1TB SATA hard drive capacity equals Acer’s).
The keys feel okay not to mention that the backlit brings a pleasant contrast.
The same can be said of the Touchpad (the cursor moves seamlessly if you don’t want to use the touchscreen) and the audio quality (the sound is relatively balanced and the volume reasonably loud.
The construction quality is topnotch as well with the rigidity of the case material being above average and the matte gray finishing pretty eye-pleasing.
Overall, there’s little to fault Dell in this model as even portability is prioritized with the machine proving generally smaller and lighter largely because of its narrow bezels.
- Convenient touch screen.
- Everything is effortlessly upgradeable.
- Brilliant speakers.
- No USB type C port.
Wrapping it up
Choosing the right laptop for your computer science course is an important milestone as you prepare for life in the university halls.
We hope that our selection of the best computer science laptops and the accompanying tips will help you make an informed decision.
Over to you.