Best laptops for students (up to April 2013)
Who said laptops are all about fun, and distractions for anyone who wants to do serious work? Ask any student, and they will say that these machines can be very useful when you want to get some serious work done. Or when you have just 12 hours to finish the assignment, the one you completely forgot about!
However, based on the reader queries that we get, a lot of students are slightly confused about which laptop to buy, and which one suits their usage pattern. As we always say, there really is no difference between a student’s usage, and the usage of a person on a typical day at work. What you need to make sure of, is that your laptop has adequate processing power, a good display, decent battery life to get you through at least a couple of hours on a single charge, and a comfortable keyboard that makes typing a hassle-free exercise.
So, before your new session begins at college, do take a look at these student laptop options, listed in order of ascending price. We have kept a glass ceiling for Rs. 45,000, in order to cover more affordable laptops and keep this list very relevant.
1. HP Pavilion Sleekbook 14-b012au(C7D88PA)
AMD Dual-Core E1-1200 @ 1.4GHz, A68M chipset, 2GB RAM, 500GB hard drive, 14-inch display, Windows 8 (64-bit) preloaded
The Pavilion Sleekbook is a brilliant machine worth considering. For a bit more than Rs. 20,000, you get a full-fledged laptop with a 14-inch display. The Sleekbook offers a slightly bigger hard drive than the Samsung 300 series notebook, and a build quality that it also carries forward to its more expensive siblings. The Sleekbook at 1.8kg weighs less than the Samsung 300 series, which tips the scales at 2.3kg. We would recommend this for the excellent keyboard, which is just worthy enough of a laptop a lot more expensive. Consider this if you are on a stiff budget.
Market price: Rs. 22,000
2. HP Pavilion G6-2301ax
AMD Quad-Core A8-4500M @ 1.9GHz, 4GB RAM, AMD Radeon HD 7640G/7670M Dual GPU (2 GB DDR3 dedicated), 500GB hard drive, 15.6-inch, Windows 8 (64-bit) preloaded
This was truly a surprise, offering the kind of performance it showed put most rivals in the category in the shadow. The excellent gaming performance adds to the overall value of the product. The HP Pavilion G6-2301ax has very good battery life, and a build quality that is much better than what you would expect for around Rs. 30,000. If you are on a tight budget, this is the machine to consider. If you can extend the budget a little bit, you can also consider the Intel Core i3 powered HP Pavilion G6-2227tu. These two machines are the standout performers in this crowded category!
Market price: Rs. 29,990
3. Lenovo Ideapad S300 59-355929
Intel Pentium dual core B987 @ 1.5GHz processor, 2GB RAM, 500GB hard drive, 13.3-inch display, Windows 8 (64-bit) preloaded
Along with the HP Sleekbook, this is one of the slimmest laptops in this price category. The display is very good, and the build quality is more than acceptable. You will take a little time getting used to the keyboard, but once you do, it should be fun to use. But this if you want to carry around a laptop that looks a lot more expensive than it actually is, and somehow pander to the perception that Intel processors are the only ones you want. The processor is an older generation one, but should be more than enough if your usage pattern will be the typical basic one – web browsing, document typing, music and movies and floating amidst Excel worksheets! Why we recommend this over the HP Pavilion G6-2301ax is because of the slimness and weight advantage.
Market price: Rs. 27,500
4. Acer Aspire V5-571-323c4G50Makk
Intel Core i5 – 3217U @ 1.8GHz processor, 4GB RAM, 500GB hard drive, 15.6-inch display, Windows 8 (64-bit) preloaded
Weight is always a concern, as these machines need to be lugged around quite often. In this respect, the Aspire V5 makes a lot of sense, featuring a slim, ultralight design, and very good build quality. The performance is fairly good throughout, but do not expect this to do any gaming. The bright display with crisp rendering will make text readability easier. Worth considering, if this is within your budget.
Market price: Rs. 35,000
5. Samsung NP300E5C-U01IN
Intel Core i5 – 3210M @ 2.5GHz, 4GB, 1TB hard drive, Nvidia GeForce GT620M, 1TB hard drive, 15.6-inch display, Windows 7 (64-bit)
For what the Samsung NP300E5C offers at this price tag, it can be considered a steal of a deal. If portability is your primary concern, and you don’t need the graphics card anyway, go for the Acer Aspire V5. Otherwise, this machine is one that will allow you to sneak in a light gaming session in the midst of the assignment submission madness. There are some rough edges to the build, but it surely will not fall apart. The keyboard isn’t one that you will get used to immediately, mostly because of the slightly soft response while typing.
Market price: Rs. 37,500
6. Asus VivoBook F202E-CT148H
Intel Core i3 – 3217U @ 1.8GHz, 4GB, 500GB hard drive, 11.6-inch touchscreen display, Windows 8 (64-bit) preloaded
Among all laptops that we tested, the VivoBook is a refreshing change. The very good quality 11.6-inch touch display also means it is compact, light and portable. The build quality is worthy of a much more expensive machine. We found the keyboard to be surprisingly comfortable to use, and precise. Yes, the Core i3 processor means it is not setting the test score sheets on fire, but is more than enough to not hamper your work at all. We would recommend this to anyone who needs a light and easy to carry around machine for basic computing tasks. And it does not cost a bomb.
Market price: Rs. 39,990
7. HP Envy 6-1011TU Sleekbook
Intel Core i3 – 3217U @ 1.8GHz processor, 4GB, 500GB hard drive, 15.6-inch display, Windows 7 (64-bit)
The HP Envy 6-11001TU has been around for a few months now, but we recommend this still because it offers very good battery life, and fairly consistent performance. The build quality is very good, and again, the keyboard is very good. Worth considering, if you want a stylish laptop that also performs well. This is the closest a laptop has come to an ultrabook’s dimensions and design.
Market price: Rs. 43,000
8. Lenovo Ideapad U310 (59-341070)
Intel Core i3 – 2365U @ 1.4GHz, 4GB RAM, 500GB hard drive + 24GB SSD, 13.3-inch display, Windows 7 (64-bit)
This is an ultrabook that you can buy at this price, particularly if battery life is a huge concern for you. The IdeaPad U310 offers very stable performance, with excellent battery life. Built well, and the slimness and lightweight chassis making it easy to carry around. When an ultrabook comes out of your bag in the classroom, or outside when with friends, no will actually dare ask “how much is it for?”!
Market price: Rs. 43,000
9. Lenovo Ideapad Z580 ( 59-333347)
Intel Core i5 – 3210M @ 2.5GHz, 4GB RAM, Nvidia GeForce GT630M, 500GB hard drive, 15.6-inch display, Windows 7 (64-bit)
The Ideapad Z580 has been around for quite a while, but is still as good a deal as ever. The Core i7 version of this laptop offers almost 200 minutes in the stressful battery life tests, which is an illustrative example of how good the battery life on the slower-clocking Core i5 would be. It is built well, and has various colour options available. The display is slightly on the dimmer side, something you would notice when using this outdoors with brightness below 40%. All in all, it is a very good performer, and totally worth every penny.
Market price: Rs. 45,000
10. HP Envydv6-7206tx
Intel Core i7 – 3630QM @ 2.4GHz, 8GB, Nvidia GeForce GT630M, 1TB hard drive, 15.6-inch display, Windows 8 (64-bit) preloaded
This is the laptop that you will get if your daddy is buying the laptop for you, and is in a good mood. And if you are lucky enough to get this, thank your stars and pray twice a day, daily. This packs in a Core i7 processor, and that is helped along by 8GB of RAM. If that is not enough power, the Nvidia GeForce GT630M graphics card will let you game at fairly close to the higher end of the settings spectrum. We love the keyboard on the ENVY dv6, and anyone who has to write anything more than 100 words a day should be careful of the keyboard comfort and response. This laptop tick marks all the right boxes. But it does cost a lot of money.
Market price: Rs. 66,800