Best Laptops for Computer Science Majors – Reviews and Buyer’s Guide

By: Nootan Kumar

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I hope you’ll agree with me when I say: an engineer’s life is not possible without a good laptop.

Well, there is only a problem, finding the best laptops for computer science majors in 2022 is not an easy job, because nowadays there are tons of options are available, which could be a bit confusing.

Most incoming computer science students make the mistake of buying an overpowered laptop, and they may not find as useful.

If you’re in a hurry, check out our top choice MICROSOFT SURFACE PRO 6 View at Amazon.

Also, read: best monitors for programming in 2022

To simplify this process, I visited the Indian Institute of Technology New Delhi, with my friend Ranjeev. I want to tell you Ranjeev is a final year CS student when I am writing this post.

We talked with more than 251+ students to know what they are looking for in a laptop.

We asked some questions to all of the students.

For example –

  • Which software programs are they using?
  • What are the minimum requirements of these Programs?
  • Which OS is more convenient and useful?
  • Which screen size is suitable?
  • How much battery-backup is sufficient?
  • Do they play games on notebooks? If yes, then how much time they spend?

Finally, we came up with some valuable information through our research; I hope it will help to choose the best laptop for cs students and professionals.

If you go through this whole article, I promise you will get your perfect laptop, or at least you will be aware of the facts which are essential before choosing a cs laptop.

Besides our recommendations for the best laptop for cs majors in 2022, this article will also tell you exactly, what specs are crucial which you should take into account. If you finish this article, you won’t need to read elsewhere for more info.

For those who already know how much “horsepower” they need or don’t have enough time to read the whole article, can go through my recommendations first. However, you can jump to our buyer’s guide section any time by sidebar or navigation link.

So, without further ado, let’s check out my list of the best computer engineering laptops of 2022.

QUICK OVERVIEW

Top Rated Laptops For Computer Science Majors in 2022

Acer Aspire E 15

Cheapest

  • i5-8250U 3.4GHz
  • 8GB
  • 256 GB SSD
  • MX150
View at Amazon
ASUS VivoBook
  • i5-8250U 3.4GHz
  • 8GB
  • 128GB SSD+1TB HDD
  • UHD 620
View at Amazon
Acer Predator Helios 300
  • i7-7700HQ 3.80 GHz
  • 16GB
  • 256 GB SSD
  • GTX 1060
View at Amazon
HP Spectre x360
  • i7-8550U 4.00 GHz
  • 16GB
  • 512 GB SSD
  • UHD 620
View at Amazon

Microsoft Surface Pro 6

Editor’s Choice Windows

  • i7-8650U 4.20 GHz
  • 16GB
  • 1TB NVMe
  • UHD 620
View at Amazon

Apple 15″ MacBook Pro

Editor’s Choice Mac

  • i7-7820HQ 3.90 GHz
  • 16GB
  • 512 GB SSD
  • Radeon Pro 560
View at Amazon
Asus ROG G703GI
  • i7-8750H 4.10 GHz
  • 32GB
  • 2x PCIe 500GB SSD (RAID 0) + 1TB
  • GTX 1080
View at Amazon

 

Best Laptops for Computer Science Students in 2022 – Reviews

 1. Acer Aspire E 15 (Most Affordable Laptop for CS Students)

5.27 lbs | i5-8250U | MX150 | 8GB | 256 GB SSD | 15.6″ 1920 x 1080 | 15-hours | Win10 Home 

The Acer Aspire E 15 is the most affordable and good laptop for computer science students you can get on the current market. This laptop almost fills all the blank which you’ll need for your programming study.

First of all, this inexpensive laptop comes with the best mid-range 8th generation Intel Core i5-8250U processor, which is quite powerful and consume less power. That’s why it is offering a long battery life which can last up to 15 hours on web browsing, pretty amazing!

Moreover, the 8GB of RAM and 256 GB of storage are not terrible in this price range; these are sufficient for a light user. If you don’t have an extensive collection of video and music and don’t go above more than 1-3 tabs on chrome, it is pretty sufficient for you.

Despite budget laptop, it still provides a full HD 15.6 Inch IPS panel, which is excellent for programming or watching videos.

Also, keep in mind, this is a heavy laptop, and you might slightly get fatigued when carrying it all day around.

Surprisingly, this low-price laptop is also offering a dedicated MX150 dedicated graphs chip. However, it’s not very powerful but allows you to play some light games.

Overall Acer Aspire E 15 is the most inexpensive laptop for computer science majors, which is offering a justify performance, longer battery life.

If you are looking for some extra storage and a beautiful design at this price range, then you’ll like our next laptop.

View at Amazon

PROS

  • Most affordable
  • Brilliant battery life
  • SSD is available
  • Good performance
  • Good display resolution

CONS

  • Heavy
  • Only 8GB of RAM
  • Less storage capacity, but upgradable

 2. ASUS VivoBook (Affordable Slim and Beautiful Laptop for CS)

3.7 lbs | i5 8250U | UHD 620 | 8GB | 128GB | SSD+1TB HDD | 15.6″ 1920 x 1080 | 5-hours | Win10  

The Asus VivoBook is another entry-level laptop on our list. Unlike our previous laptop, it has better storage; you are getting 1TB HDD and 128GB SSD of combination – SSD for performance and HDD for your extra data storage.

This laptop is fueled by Intel Core i5 processor and 8GB of DDR4 RAM, which allows doing most of the programming task without a problem.

The display quality is also excellent; it’s backed with a full HD 15.6-inch screen.

Aesthetically, this laptop looks gorgeous due to its thin bezel and compact body. Keep in mind; there is a massive cut off in the battery life as compared to the previous laptop, it is only 5-hours on web browsing.

Also, keep in mind, there is no dedicated GPU installed so it could be harassed by graphics-intensive applications easily.

However, from the design aspect, it is great deals, because it’s quite slim and compact and has less weight. Therefore, it won’t break your back while hovering in campus and classrooms.

Finally, the Asus VivoBook is also an affordable laptop for cs students, which offers a stunning design, compact body, large storage capacity, fingerprint sensor, and excellent performance.

Mind you, this laptop is not useful for heavy graphics work and has less battery life.

View at Amazon

PROS

  • Affordable
  • Lightweight and slim
  • Thin bezel beautiful design
  • Excellent combination of SSD and HDD
  • USB Type-C available
  • Fingerprint supported
  • Nice display quality and performance

CONS

  • Struggling with battery life
  • Average quality keyboard

 3. Acer Predator Helios 300 (Best Computer Science Laptops for Mid-Range)

5.95 lbs | i7-7700HQ @3.80 GHz | GTX 1060 16GB | 256 GB SSD | 15.6-inch  1920 x 1080 | 7-hours | Win10  

The Acer Predator Helios 300 is one of the best mid-range laptops for computer science majors, which can check all requirements boxes. Probably, you’ll rarely find a computer with such an excellent performance at this price range.

First of all, this laptop comes with an i7 7700HQ processor, which is a quad-core processor and can achieve 3.80 GHz of clock rate. Extra cores are beneficial for multitasking. Moreover, there is an Nvidia GTX 1060-6GB dedicated GPU is available, and it’s quite powerful to handle most of the graphics-heavy task or high-end gaming.

In terms of memory and storage, there is a 16 GB DDR4 RAM, and 256 GB of SSD are available, those are going to make your programming experience smoother.

Keep in mind; this laptop has only 256 GB of SSD installed. However, this storage is enough for storing your windows, Linux, and your project’s files. If you want to upgrade you can get a Seagate Firecuda 2 TB SSHD and you can install by yourself easily. Thanks to the extra 2.5-inch hard drive slot, which is easily accessible.

There is a new feature called PredatorSense is available, which allows controlling system temperature, gaming feature along with CPU and system fan speed. Moreover, you are also getting USB Type-C support and backlit keyboard.

The build quality of this laptop is just amazing; the metal chassis and sturdy build ensure exceptional reliability.

Overall, the Acer Predator Helios 300 is best laptop for computer science students in the mid-price range, which is very powerful and can handle all critical tasks and high-end gaming.

Also, remember It’s a desktop-replacement level high-performance laptop, resulting it is heavy and offers average battery life, not suitable for on-the-go users.

View at Amazon

PROS

  • Powerful performance
  • Reliable build quality – Metal chassis
  • Pretty much memory
  • SSD supported
  • An extra slot for 2.5″ HDD
  • Powerful GPU for smooth graphics
  • Backlit keyboard

CONS

  • Average battery life
  • Heavy construction

 4. HP Spectre x360 (Best Portable and Convertible Laptop for CS)

3.28 lbs | i7-8550U | UHD 620 | 16 GB | 512 NVMe | 12-inch Touch 1920 x 1080 | 16-hours 45-min | Win10  

The HP Spectre x360 is a bit different laptop of our list; it’s offering a convertible design with robust performance. Additionally, the battery life of this laptop is also great, which is quite useful, especially if you’re a student.

The HP Spectre is a 13.3-inch laptop with the full HD resolution, which can deliver an impressive image quality. You can do multitasking easily despite having a small screen; it’s another benefit of the high-resolution display.

Additionally, the convertible design is even more useful; you can use it for taking notes, watching movies, or use as a powerful workstation.

In the performance department, this convertible laptop is fueled with the Intel latest i7-8550U processor, and paired with 16 GB of memory and 512 GB of storage capacity. It means it has enough capability for handling all of your computer science workload.

As I already said above, its battery life is quite long, which can last up to 16-hours 45-min on the web browsing, fantastic indeed!

If you are looking for a portable laptop with higher processing power, then the HP Spectre X360 could be a perfect choice for a mid-range price.

View at Amazon

PROS

  • Great performance
  • Amazing battery life
  • Convertible design – 2-in1 touch laptop
  • Lightweight and portable – 13.3-inch
  • 512GB of SSD storage
  • 16 GB of memory

CONS

  • No dedicated GPU
  • Not upgradable
  • Sometimes audible fan noise

 5. Microsoft Surface Pro 6 (Overall Best Windows Laptop for CS)

1.73 lbs | i7-8650U @4.20 GHz | UHD 620 | 16GB | 1TB NVMe | 12.3-inch touch 2736 x 1824 | 13.5-hours | Win10 Pro 

On the update of this article, the Microsoft Surface Pro 6 has taken the place of its previous version Microsoft Surface Pro 5th gen, which was cheaper around $500. There are many upgrades that we can see in this latest release. It has the better 8th gen Intel Core i7 processor (i7-8650U) which is capable of delivering 4.20GHz of clock rate. Notably, the 1TB SSD storage and 16 GB of RAM are amazing for smoother working.

The display quality is beyond expectation. This tablet cum laptop is offering a 12.3-inch Pixel Sense screen with 2736 x 1824 pixels of resolution, which can deliver highly accurate colors with excellent brightness.

As you know, the surface series is well known for its detachable keyboard design, which is very useful for taking notes in the class on-the-go. Most of the students prefer the SurfaceBook laptop, especially for the notes-taking feature.

Some users like to work with a big screen, and sadly there is no bigger variant of Surface Pro 6. In this case, you need to see Microsoft Surface Book 2 , which is also a top laptop for computer science majors. It has even high processing power along with portability.

The best thing about the Surface series is – you can customize your machine according to your requirements. It’s available from Intel Core i5 8GB memory, and 256GB SSD to Intel Core i7, 16 GB memory, and 1TB SSD.

This latest model has around 13.5 hours of battery life on video playback and also has enhanced camera performance.

Overall, the Microsoft Surface Pro 6 is one of the best laptops for computer engineering students and professionals in 2022 which is featuring robust performance, most vibrant display quality, gorgeous design, and longer battery life along with the higher durable body.

Note: If you want to play some game or do some graphics-intensive tasks along with your programming work, then you might need to think about the Microsoft Surface Book 2 version.

View at Amazon

PROS

  • Most lightweight and portable
  • Top display quality and color accuracy
  • Beautiful and durable design
  • Best performance in Windows laptops
  • Great battery life
  • Touch display
  • Available in different variants
  • 1TB NVMe storage for faster performance

CONS

  • Expensive

 6. Apple 15 MacBook Pro (Overall Best Mac Laptop for CS)

1.06 lbs | I7-7820HQ | Radeon Pro 560 16GB| 512 GB SSD | 15-inch 2880×1800 | 10-hours | MAC OS X  

Apple products always considered as the most reliable and high-performance machine, and that should be. Arguably, Mac OS X has a lack of applications as compared to Microsoft Windows, but for programming, MacBook is also the best options itself.

This MacBook Pro 15 that I am talking about is coming with the Quad-Core Intel Core i7-7820HQ processor with has max 3.90 GHz of clock speed. It’s pretty much for computer science needs, however. Moreover, 16 GB RAM and 512 GB of SSD storage also enough for Mac OS to perform outstandingly.

In terms of display quality, durability, or battery life, the MacBook Pro doesn’t need any evidence, which is well-known. In facts, MacBook Pro is not just a purchase; it’s a wise investment in the laptops like your study.

However, if you do it once, you don’t need to think of anything. An average MacBook can last more than five years without any issue. This MacBook model has a Radeon Pro 560 dedicated graphics chip inside, which has 4GB of VRAM capacity and allows you to do most of the graphics related task easily. Overall, the MacBook Pro 15 is the best Apple laptop for a computer science student. So it can perform all of your programming tasks without any issue.

Is this the best laptops for computer science students, if I can spend more than $3,000 or even more? Surely not, the latest MacBook Pro model is offering even more robust configurations, you can also go with that.

View at Amazon

PROS

  • Optimum performance
  • Top-quality Retina display
  • Powerful top-notch performance
  • Extremely lightweight despite 15-inch size
  • Dedicated 4GB Radeon Pro GPU
  • Pretty enough memory
  • Touch Bar and Touch ID for faster navigation and security
  • Good battery life
  • Brilliant build quality

CONS

  • Expensive

 7. ASUS ROG G703 (Desktop Replacement Laptop for CS majors)

10.35 lbs | i7-8750H @4.10 GHz | GTX 1080 | 32GB | 2x PCIe 500GB SSD (RAID 0) + 1TB | 17.3-inch 1920 x 1080 | 4-hours 30-min | Win10 Pro     

If you prefer portability or longer battery life, then forget this laptop. Whether it’s about running multiple programs or playing the latest graphics-oriented games, nothing can’t stop it. the Asus Rog G703 is the most capable computer laptop for engineers.

Because it comes with Intel i7-8750H processor and can be overclocked up to 4.10 GHz; moreover, the Nvidia GTX 1080 8 GB graphics card is a powerful option to handle graphics processes.

When we talk about the storage capacity, you are getting multiple options – 2 SSD of 512 GB has arranged with RAID 0, and 1TB space is also available additionally.  So, there is no need to worry about that. The 32 GB of RAM is the norm for this type of high-end laptops, which is quite much for doing anything whether we talk about working with a large project or playing an advanced game.

This massive machine has a wide range of input and out ports. These ports are – Thunderbolt 3, HDMI 2.0, mini DisplayPort 1.4, and USB 3.0. Moreover, the backlit keyboard, inbuilt Xbox wireless controller module, and Gigabit Wi-Fi – these are some extra options than you can take advantage while gaming.

Because it is a desktop replacement laptop, so it not suitable for carrying. However, if you are professionals who are looking for a stable setup, then it likely can’t be ignored.

Overall, the Asus ROG G703GI is the ultimate solution for all programming and gaming-need. If you are a student or who prefer the portable and lightweight laptop, then you need to skip this.

View at Amazon

PROS

  • Desktop replacement
  • Ultimate performance
  • Ultimate display quality
  • Vast storage capacity multiple drives
  • Pretty much memory
  • High-end graphics card
  • ThunderBolt 3 Supported
  • RGB customizable keyboard
  • Extensive connectivity option

CONS

  • Very Expensive
  • Noisy fan
  • Most heavy

Best Laptops for CS Students and Professionals in 2022 – Buyer’s Guide

As we said earlier, some peoples think, choosing an overpowered laptop may solve all problems, but it’s not merely right. Many factors should keep in mind before selecting the best laptop for computer engineering students. After spending much money, you may not want to felt cheated.

Below you can find exactly, which features you should look into and how much specification is sufficient?

So, what is the best laptop configuration for computer science student?

microprocessor

Which processor is good for CS students?

As a computer science student, probably you do coding in several languages like Java, Python, PHP, Ruby, Prolog, Haskell, C, C++, Objective – C, and many more.

Do you know that? For this programming load, you don’t need an ultra-fast processor. Because, a coding assignment, in particular, is unlikely to cross more than 1000 lines. However, a project in the workspace area can take several thousand of line, and a modern laptop can compile that code in seconds.

According to my advice, an Intel Core i5 processor is perfect (an Intel Core i3 even work for you, but you might face some performance problem, so I don’t recommend). If you specialize in other areas like such as 3D Modeling, Animation, Parallel Computing, then you should need to move your needle toward Intel Core i7.

Remember, a powerful processor increases productivity and makes you a better programmer. The laptop is a one-time investment and processor probably is not upgradable in most of the modern laptops (directly soldered on the motherboard instead placed in a socket), so make sure before choosing.

computer memory RAM

How much RAM is sufficient for CS students?

RAM requirement depends on the user’s behavior, I mean some user’s do multitasking, and most of the stack always remains open. So, they need a large amount of RAM. In these cases, 12 GB of RAM works well. There are a few rare instances in which you might need 12+ GB of RAM.

Finally, 12 GB of RAM works well in most of the cases, but if you rarely go above 10 tabs on chrome and your budget is below $900, then it’s not necessary to go above 8 GB of RAM.

There is another essential thing that you should consider, make sure the laptop is upgradable concerning the RAM. Moreover, RAM types also matter – in the same size as the DDR3 and DDR4 RAMs, the DDR4 performs a bit better.

hdd vs ssd

As a CS student, you don’t need capacious storage until you haven’t a big video or music collection. A 500 GB HDD is sufficient to store your project files. There is another option; you can use an external hard drive to save some extra files.

However, most of the laptops come with 1TB of storage. So, that is not a big problem.

Now, let’s talk about technology – everyone knows that SSD is always a better option than HDD.

Here are some final options,

  1. If you choose HDD, then make sure get a 7200 RPM hard drive, which performs about 33% faster than 5400 RPM hard drive, and storage depends on your needs.
  2. There are some hybrid options also available. I mean, some laptops come with both types of hard drives combination. In this combination, the manufacturer provides SSD for windows or other OS installation, and for storing other project files and media, they attach HDD for that. So, this way you can get both performance and storage in some less price.
  3. At last, if you can choose a laptop with SSD only, that is the best option. This selection provides the maximum performance, but it is something costly. However, if you pick an external drive, instead of a big inbuilt SSD. It might save some money.

That’s it; you have all the options, now you can choose storage according to your budget and need.

If you can afford a MacBook (Which is the viable option) then, this point is not for you. OSX and Linux work equally well for CS students, so it’s a personal preference. The Apple OSX based on a variant of BSC Unix accessible under the terminal, so it is quite handy. Moreover, OSX is very popular among students and professionals; you can see many shining logos of apple if you go to the CS conference.

For the CS students, the laptop should be compatible to run some Linux distro: Ubuntu, Fedora, Mint, Arch, Debian, and other. However, that’s not a big deal, because most of the laptops work efficiently and flawlessly with Linux.

In general, still many people are comfortable with the windows, and you might need a dual boot setup environment. Then, in this scenario, you should pick a laptop with 500 GB of SSD or at least 250GB of SSD + 1TB.

Do I need a laptop with a dedicated graphics card as a computer science student?

It’s not the most crucial requirement, but it also matters if you also play games on your notebook.

First of all, we have to know which types of gamers are you. I mean, how much time do you spend to play games on the laptop and which kinds of games do you like (ultra-high graphics or light)?

If you always be excited to try the newly launched games, you should pick the laptop with graphics cards like GTX 1080M, 1070M, 1060M. However, if you are a casual gamer then Nvidia GTX 960M, 970M or 1050M works fine.

As a concern of memory of the graphics card, 2 GB is ideal for 960 M and 1060M in typical cases. For the advanced gamers, at least 4GB memory is strongly recommended, that allow playing High-quality games such as Monster Hinder, Far Cry, Fallout, and Vampire.

How much battery backup is good for CS students?

This factor is also essential if you use to carry your laptop for the whole day. A lightweight notebook allows you to code anywhere and anytime.

Even a single pound extra weight can affect too much if you use laptop longer in your lap or carry it all day, so, try to pick a computer as much as possible lightweight. However, if you need a high-end laptop (if you’re doing Animation additionally), then it might not possible.

In the end, additionally I want to tell, you should also keep in mind, and lightweight laptops always suffer from the restrictive airflow that makes them difficult to clean. Moreover, the thin laptop with excellent performance not cheap at all.

So, if you want a slim laptop, then you have to sacrifice performance or pay more for it.

The best battery can juice up your whole laptop day. Whether you are working in the computer lab of the university or a coffee shop, you don’t need to worry about the charging points.

I recommend, choose a laptop that offers at least 6+ hours of backup so that it lasts to your whole day for all lecturers.

Technically, how can we judge the battery life of any laptop?

Manufacturers provide the battery runtime value according to their test. This test depends on how long last the laptop on browsing the web over the Wi-Fi connection. Here is a catch; they reduce the brightness of the screen to extend their rating.

While, practically when we use our laptop, we approximately set the brightness level at least 40 to 80 percent or even on 100 percent (in bright sunlight). That’s why the value that is provided by the manufacturer for the battery runtime differ from real life.

How much difference is that?

You can get some idea with the following table that how much difference can be between the

Manufacturer rating and practically in life.

 Battery run-time cheat-sheet

Test Results Practically Backup Our Grade
Manufacturers Specs 6-hours 4-hours 30-min Average
Wi-Fi benchmark 3-hours 2-hours 30-min Bad
Wi-Fi benchmark 7-hours 45-min 6-hours 440-min OK
Wi-Fi benchmark 11-hours 25-min 10-hours Best

General FAQs

Which laptop processor is good for CS students?

Usually, an Intel Core i5 processor works great, even in some cases, Intel i3 could work. But I strongly recommend at least Intel Core i5 chip. Additionally, if you’re into 3D modeling, parallel computing, or Animation, you might need to go with Intel Core i7 as well.

How much memory should we choose as computer science students?

Select at least 8GB memory. If you’re a crazy multitasker or Chrome user, you should grab 12GB or even 16GB memory in your laptop. Nowadays, computer memory isn’t much costly, so going with higher would be a smart choice.

Is a dedicated graphics card needed for CS majors?

As long as you’re not into gaming or 3D modeling or anything graphics-heavy, you don’t need any discrete GPU in your laptop. In most cases, a dedicated GPU won’t be needed.

What is the advantage of having an SSD on a laptop?

An SSD can drastically enhance computer performance. If you can afford it, you should go with a Solid State Drive; however, nowadays SSD is getting cheaper but still a far expensive than standard HDDs.

Is a MacBook is good for programming?

Of course, OSX works pretty well for CS students, even better than Windows, but you know it’s not for everyone because of the higher price.

Conclusion

I want to say, don’t stress out about your laptop – make sure that matches your needs and style of usage.

If you’re always on the go, don’t buy a big heavy laptop like 17″. On the other hand, if you are looking for the powerful gaming rig into the compact body, don’t think about the small laptops like 13″ or 14″.

If you have any questions about these laptops, comment down below for me, I’ll get back to you quickly.

Thank you very much!

10 thoughts on “Best Laptops for Computer Science Majors – Reviews and Buyer’s Guide”

  1. Agree! Acer Predator really provides the amazing performance, my friend purchased this laptop recently. And the gaming experience is beyond expectation. I am also planning to buy one. Thanks

    Reply
  2. Which best laptops for video conferencing you would recommend for me. Ideally, I would be able to do Word Processing, online Practice Management (email, billing, etc.), and critical video conferencing without a hitch and have high-quality video conferencing. My download speed is 22.25 mbps and upload is 2.3 mbps. Thank you!

    Reply
    • Hi, Olivia First of all, sorry for the late reply. We have a separate article for video conferencing laptop, you can check this out below. I hope that will help you. best laptop for video conferencing Thank you very much!

      Reply
  3. Good explanation, keep it up! especially the battery backup time concept is impressive. I actually was thinking about that, why is this difference between the practically backup and manufacturer backup time. This table is not the pin-point exact but represents the valuable information. Weldone!

    Reply

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