Hey there, engineers. Looking for the best laptops for engineering students? Look no further.
You’re diving into a world that’s as exciting as it is demanding, and you’re gonna need a trusty sidekick to tackle all those heavy-duty tasks - yep, I am talking laptops and ultrabooks. Now, before you rush to grab the first shiny thing you see, let's get something straight: all laptops are not created equal.
Sure, if you're into writing essays or binge-watching YouTube & anime, a basic Chromebook might do the trick.
But let's get real: as an engineering student, you’ll be neck-deep in hardcore software like AutoCAD, which gobbles up about 2-4GB of RAM alone, and MATLAB, which recommends a staggering 8GB. These software babies are power-hungry, and you need a laptop that can keep up without crashing.
But hey, we know the student life – pizza, late nights, and, ahem, tight budgets. The thing is, finding that sweet spot between price and performance is like finding a needle in a haystack.
But don't worry; there’s hope! Laptops are now more rightly priced than they ever were, and the performance of those is getting really good.
In 2021, Apple’s M1 chip smashed performance records and changed the game. And by the end of 2022, NVIDIA’s mobile GPUs have gotten almost 70% faster than their predecessors in just three years. Plus, there are artificial intelligence and machine learning tools powering laptop processors now, making everything more effective.
I have been using laptops and computers for over 20 years now and I have seen and followed everything that has happened in computing industries in all these years. Based on those experiences and the talks I had with my engineering friends, I have compiled this list of the best laptops for engineering students.
If you don't want to read the whole article, here are the options for you:
Need a complete laptop that does everything?
Buy a laptop with 4060+ RTX graphics, a Core 7 Intel Processor, 16GB RAM and 1TB SSD and you are all done. You will be able to code, write, game, create, modulate and whatever you desire on this. But the price will be exceeding high.
Here are two options that you have:
Don't play games but do everything else?
Buy a MacBook Pro or Air - any configuration with an M1/M2 Chip will do.
Tight on budget? Or have fewer needs than usual, like just certifications and courses on ExamLabs, Coursera, etc.?
See these options and no, you don't need any cheaper items than these:
- 【High Speed RAM And Enormous Space】32GB high-bandwidth RAM to smoothly run multiple applications and browser tabs all at once;...
- 【Processor】12th Generation Intel Core i5-12450H (8 Cores, 12 Threads, 12MB Smart Cache, Base Frequency at 2.0 GHz, Up to 4.4...
- 【Display】15.6-inch diagonal, FHD (1920 x 1080), 144 Hz, 9 ms response time, IPS, micro-edge, antiglare
- Upgraded to 16GB RAM & 1TB PCIe SSD: Upgraded RAM for fast processing and gaming, smoothly run your games and photo- and...
- Intel Core i5-10300H: 4-core 2.5 GHZ based, up to 4.5GHz. With the 10th Gen Intel Core i5-10300H processor, your Nitro 5 is packed...
- GeForce RTX 3050: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050 (4GB dedicated GDDR6 VRAM) is powered by award-winning architecture with new Ray Tracing...
- 10th Generation Intel Core i5-10300H Processor 2. 5GHz with Turbo Boost Technology up to 4. 5GHz, 4-Core, 8-Thread with 8MB Smart...
- 【Customization】 Upgraded to 16GB DDR4 SDRAM, 1TB NVMe m.2 Solid State Drive
- 15.6-inch FHD (1920 x 1080) Anti-Glare IPS LED-Backlit 144 Hz Narrow Border Display, Ray-Tracing Latest Generation NVIDIA Geforce...
- 【Smooth Display】 15.6" FHD (1920*1080), IPS-Level 60Hz 45%NTSC Thin bezel design allows for easy portability, Non-Touch...
- 【Powered Up】 Equipped With The Most Powerful and Fast 10th Gen Intel 4-Core i5-10300H (Base Clock 2.5GHz, Max Boost Clock Up...
- 【Graphics】 NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 Max Q graphics backed by 4GB GDDR5 dedicated video memory for fast, advanced GPU to fuel...
Now let's see the 5 best options overall.
5 Best Laptops for Engineering Students
Let’s now go through my picks for the five best laptops for engineering students in the market currently.
1. Apple MacBook Air (M2, 2023)
- IMPRESSIVELY BIG, IMPOSSIBLY THIN — The 15-inch MacBook Air makes room for more of what you love with a spacious Liquid Retina...
- SUPERCHARGED BY M2 — Get more done faster with a powerful 8-core CPU, 10-core GPU, and up to 24GB of unified memory.
- UP TO 18 HOURS OF BATTERY LIFE — Go all day with the power-efficient performance of the Apple M2 chip. (Battery life varies by...
Many users consider the Apple MacBook Air (M2, 2023) one of the best laptops Apple has ever produced. You’ll be delighted to know that it is also one of the best laptops for engineering students. Although it does not feature a robust AI-assisted GPU, Apple's own silicon offers formidable competition in the lightweight laptop arena.
By virtue of its revolutionary ARM-based Apple M2 chip – a significant upgrade from the previous M1 chip - the new MacBook Air is a truly stunning product, offering excellent performance and incredible battery life. Efficiently managing more than 11 hours on a single charge, it is a lightweight laptop (just 11mm thick and weighing 2.7 pounds) that students can easily carry around on their college campus. Its screen is stunning, and the new-and-improved keyboard allows you to work for hours comfortably.
The laptop also features MagSafe charging, two Thunderbolt ports, and a 3.5mm headphone jack for people who prefer non-Bluetooth headphones and headsets. The standard base model includes a 30W charger, which you can upgrade to a 67W adapter with two ports that simultaneously charge your iPhone, iPad, or other devices.
Overall, the newly designed MacBook Air is an excellent product with a larger screen size, more robust features, and a thinner and lighter build.
2. MacBook Pro with M2 Pro
- SUPERCHARGED BY M2 PRO OR M2 MAX — Take on demanding projects with the M2 Pro or M2 Max chip. M2 Pro has up to 12 CPU cores, up...
- UP TO 18 HOURS OF BATTERY LIFE — Go all day thanks to the power-efficient design of the M2 Pro or M2 Max chip. And the MacBook...
- FULLY COMPATIBLE — All your pro apps run lightning fast — including Adobe Creative Cloud, Xcode, Affinity Designer, Microsoft...
The MacBook Pro is an excellent laptop for engineering students because it includes Apple's M1 chip, delivering impressive performance and battery efficiency boost. It is a long-lived laptop that can last more than 16 hours on charge. Likewise, the M2 Pro is the best out there and more than enough to handle most of the work you need to complete as an engineering student.
Since the MacBook Pro's Retina display is bright and colorful, any photos or videos you edit will look visually stunning — as will the movies or TV shows you watch. However, it would’ve been nice if Apple had updated its design or provided more Thunderbolt ports because the 4 USB-C port configuration is currently limited to Intel-based MacBook Pros.
3. Asus ROG Strix SCAR G834JY
- THE PINNACLE OF PERFORMANCE - Dominate the battlefield with Windows 11 Pro, a 13th Gen Intel Core i9-13980HX processor, and NVIDIA...
- BLAZING FAST MEMORY AND STORAGE – Multitask swiftly with 32GB of DDR5-4800MHz memory and speed up loading times with 2TB of PCIe...
- ROG NEBULA DISPLAY – The Nebula standard guarantees a premium display with high specs in all fronts for the best visuals no...
Newly released in 2023, the Asus ROG Strix SCAR G834JY has an impressive roster of specs that will make it one of the top choices for engineering students and hardcore gamers. Although it has been designed with gamers in mind, it is built strongly enough to smoothly handle processor-intensive and GPU-intensive workloads, such as those students encounter in engineering classrooms.
The G834JY has a state-of-the-art 13th Gen Intel Core i9-13980HX processor and an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4090 Laptop GPU. The RAM is 64 GB of DDR5-4800 MHz memory, and the laptop includes 2 TB of PCIe 4x4 configured in RAID 0.
Moreover, it features an expansive 18-inch QHD+ 16:10 (2560 x 1600, WQXGA) Dolby Vision HDR screen with a 240 Hz refresh rate, Pantone Validation, and 100% DCI-P3 color gamut. With its dynamic four-speaker Dolby Atmos sound system, you’ll have a powerful system for intense gaming sessions during your free time.
Some students might find the Asus ROG Strix SCAR G834JY lacking enough connectivity. Unfortunately, it has only one Thunderbolt 4 port and one USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C port. However, it does offer two USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A ports, HDMI 2.1 FRL, 2.5G LAN, and a 3.5mm Combo Audio Jack.
I should mention that the G834JY’s remarkable speed and viewing experience come at the cost of its portability. Weighing in at 6.83 lbs for the laptop itself and almost 2.5 lbs for the 330W power brick, this powerful machine weighs more than 9 lbs when moving around the college campus. It’s not an issue if you plan to leave it at your desk, but it can be inconvenient to carry from class to class.
4. Dell XPS 17
Despite being a 17-inch laptop, the Dell XPS 17 (2022) is surprisingly thin and light. That’s especially remarkable when you consider that it has powerful specs to deliver the high-quality performance that engineering students require. It can more than carry out demanding tasks such as 3D renders and video encoding.
The Dell XPS 17 is ideal for students looking for a laptop with a large screen. It has a splendid 17-inch display in FHD+ and UHD+ flavors, excellent battery life that will last you the entire day, and a beautiful design on top of everything else. Although the higher-spec laptop models are relatively expensive, the price is reasonable considering their performance.
The 2022 model features an Intel Core i7-12700H CPU, an Nvidia RTX 3050 or 3060 GPU with a 12th gen Intel processor, 32GB of RAM, and 1TB of SSD storage. That’s a lot of memory and storage and comes in handy if you’re using many resource-intensive programs. It delivers a robust performance that can handle almost anything you can imagine.
However, the XPS 17 is quite bulky, weighing over five pounds. Its keyboard is disappointing because the keys feel shallow, and the bottoming action is too springy. If you don’t mind these minor flaws, the XPS 17 is an outstanding choice.
5. Lenovo Legion 5 Pro
The Lenovo Legion 5 Pro is renowned for offering exceptional gaming performance, a diverse range of port options, a sturdy design, and much more. Its pricing is quite competitive, and it can smoothly handle your college work and late-night gaming sessions. The laptop features an Intel Core i9-13900H CPU, an Nvidia GeForce RTX 4070 GPU, 16GB of RAM, and 1TB of SSD storage space..
The laptop’s 16-inch display has a resolution of 2560×1600 and a maximum refresh rate of 240Hz. Although the screen is pretty bright, it’s not as vibrant as other models in this list. Nevertheless, the Legion 5 Pro’s wide range of connectivity, excellent keyboard, 16:10 display, and good battery life will appeal to many students. It’s a great option for literally everything. If you want a versatile laptop that can efficiently handle both work and play, look no further than the Legion 5 Pro.
What should you look for in a laptop for engineering students?
The most important qualities you should look for in a laptop for engineering students are:
- Performance – To spend years studying engineering, you require an efficient laptop with enough power to handle anything college throws at you. I advise you to choose a model with at least a new mid-range CPU (Intel Core i5 or AMD Ryzen 5) and at least 8 GB of RAM. It will benefit you in the long run if you can afford to spend more on a product with better specs.
- Graphics and gaming – Gaming laptops usually have discrete graphics cards to run the latest games well. However, the same card can be equally valuable for engineering students who need to use CAD (computer-assisted design) and 3D analysis programs. Such applications benefit from the power of a good GPU, so you should invest in a laptop with a discrete Nvidia or AMD graphics card if you will be doing any graphics or 3D work.
- Operating system – Laptops generally come in three flavors – Windows (most mainstream computers), macOS (MacBooks) and Chrome OS (Chromebooks). Chrome OS isn't useful for anything other than web surfing, file management, and soft computing; therefore, Chromebooks aren’t recommendable for serious college work. However, a skilled student can install Linux on a high-powered Chromebook and turn it into a decent laptop for engineering work.
Also, many engineering students spend much time working with specialized or self-developed software. Therefore, Windows is usually preferable over macOS because it causes fewer problems when using such tools. However, even Windows can sometimes interfere with serious engineering work, which is why many students buy Windows laptops and install Linux on them, which allows them to dual-boot into the either operating system.
Every engineering student must have a proper laptop with enough power and appropriate features. In this guide, I have described the five best models for students available currently. Before making a purchase, you should consult your college's teachers and engineering department for more sound advice on what you'll require for your studies. Also, you should pair your chosen device with the best mouse for your particular work situation.
Last update on 2024-02-25 using Amazon Product Advertising API.