Best Laptops For Grad School Students 2021

If you have stumbled upon this article, it means you either want to pursue grad school, or you are in grad school. Either way, it is not new news that grad school can be uber expensive, so if students are looking to get a new laptop, it should be the finest and most suitable one, regardless of price.

In this article, we have collected a list of laptops that are suitable for grad students. But since there are so many different majors and varying requirements, the list holds a wide variety of laptops instead of sticking to a particular type.

The best laptops for grad school can be anything from a Chromebook to an ultra-powerful device, and it all depends on what you need from the laptop.

If you take a look down below you will find a basic guideline to laptop specifications, and you can use this to find one suitable for your major.

List Of Top Laptops For Grad School

 List Of Top Laptops For Grad School
List Of Top Laptops For Grad School

Comparison Chart For Top 10 Laptops For Grad School

Acer Spin 7 14-inchFull HD 7th GenerationIntel Core i7-7Y75 256GB SSD
MicrosoftSurface Pro 6 12.3-inchPixelSense 8th GenerationIntel Core i7 1TB SSD
ASUS VivoBook S 15.6-inchFull HD 7th GenerationIntel Core i7-7500U 128GB SSDand 1TB HDD
Acer ChromebookR 13 13.3-inchFull HD MediaTekMT8173C 32GB
ASUS ZenBook 13 13.3-inchFull HD 8th GenerationIntel Core i5-8265U 512GB PCIeM.2 SSD
Acer Aspire 5 15.6-inchFull HD AMD Ryzen 33200U 128GB PCIeNVMe SSD
HP Chromebook 14.0-InchHD SVA Intel CeleronN2840 16GB eMMC
ASUS ZenBookUX303UA 13.3-InchFull HD 6th GenerationIntel Core i5-6200U 256 GB SSD
Dell i5378-3031GRY-PUSInspiron 13.3-inchFull HD 7th GenerationIntel Core i3 7100U 1TB HDD
AcerChromebook 14 14-inchFull HD Intel CeleronN3160 32GB

Best Laptops For Grad School Reviews

1. Acer Spin 7 | Best Laptops For Graduate Students

The Acer Spin 7 is known as the world's thinnest convertible, making it a good choice for students who want a lightweight and convertible laptop for classes. It comes with a 14-inch full HD touch screen that is spacious enough for all kinds of work.

Also Read: Best 4K Laptops

Moreover, it has 10-point touch, meaning you can use up to 10 fingers at once. While you might not actually do this, it simply provides more flexibility on how you can use the touch display.

With Acer's Color Intelligence Technology, the saturation and gamma are adjusted on the screen to create a bright and vibrant display with optimized saturation.

Internally there is the Intel Core i7-7Y75 processor, a 256GB SSD, and 8GB of RAM. These features together create a device with good processing speeds thanks to the clock speed of 3.6GHz (maximum), provide ample storage, and allows for easy multitasking.

With the 360-degree hinge, the laptop can be used in a tablet, tent, or display mode depending on how you need it.

Taking it to class without a charger is no issue either since it packs 8 hours of battery life.

For audio, you have the Dolby Audio Premium. Now, this is great on its own, but you also get Acer TrueHarmony to further enhance the audio quality for an unmatched experience.

Acer Spin 7, 14
Acer Spin 7, 14" Full HD Touch, 7th Gen Intel Core i7, 8GB LPDDR3, 256GB SSD, Windows 10, Convertible, SP714-51-M4YD

Highlighted Features

  • 7th Generation Intel Core i7-7Y75 processor
  • 256GB SSD plus 8GB RAM
  • Battery life is 8 hours from average usage
  • Intel HD Graphics 610 integrated graphics unit
  • 360-degree convert hinge allows for multiple modes

2. Microsoft Surface Pro 6 | Best Laptop For Phd Students

Surface Pro 6 by Microsoft is one of the more popular choices amongst professionalsand grad students alike and well known as the "Ultra-light and versatile" laptop. As one of the slimmest and most portable laptops that carry impressive features, this is a must check out for all.

The screen can be detached and you can add on more accessories to it for a personal touch if you want. All of this creates a flexible laptop that can be used in class, at home, and work and in a different mode everywhere as needed.

It comes with the Core i7 8th generation processor for smooth operations. We especially love the 1TB SSD storage which not only provides an incredible storage space, but also impeccable speed along with it. And let us not forget the 16GB RAM too, which makes multitasking simpler and without lags.

Even though this is a slim and lightweight device, the battery is powerful and provides 13.5 hours of usage. It will get you through work and class simultaneously, and you will not need to carry a charger either.

Microsoft Surface Pro 6 (Intel Core i7, 16GB RAM, 1TB)
Microsoft Surface Pro 6 (Intel Core i7, 16GB RAM, 1TB)

Highlighted Features

  • 8th Generation Intel Core i7 processor
  • 1TB SSD plus 16GB RAM
  • Battery life is 13.5 hours from constant video playback
  • Intel UHD Graphics 620 integrated graphics unit
  • Can be used in laptop, tablet, and studio mode

3. ASUS VivoBook S | Best Laptops For Grad Students

The ASUS VivoBook S claims to be thin, light, and portable, and it matches up to all three words. It might carry a 15.6-inch display but does so with a 0.7-inch thin body and slim 0.3-inch bezels which create an 80% screen to body ratio.

Thanks to this you get a 178-degree viewing angle allowing every bit of the screen to be true even if you view it from extreme angles.

The laptop also has ASUS's Splendid visual optimization technology. It creates four separate display modes because ASUS knows that long time exposure can be hard on the eyes. You have the normal mode, the Eye-care and Vivid mode which lets you switch between them during work and leisure.

For the processor, you have the Intel Core i7-7500U which provides a good performance and 2.7GHz clock speed that can go up to 3.5GHz with a turbo boost. The processor also makes sure to not delegate too much power at once which saves battery life and provides 7 hours from a single charge.

We especially love the storage space on this. You get a 1TB HDD plus a 128GB SSD. Having both not only provide a higher space but higher speeds too for smooth performance.

Grad school entails a ton of writing research papers. This model has a backlit keyboard that lets you work in any environment, lighted or not, so you never fall back on deadlines.

ASUS VivoBook S 15.6” Full HD Laptop, Intel i7-7500U 2.7GHz, 8GB RAM, 128GB SSD + 1TB HDD, Windows 10, Fingerprint Sensor, Backlit Keyboard.
ASUS VivoBook S 15.6” Full HD Laptop, Intel i7-7500U 2.7GHz, 8GB RAM, 128GB SSD + 1TB HDD, Windows 10, Fingerprint Sensor, Backlit Keyboard.

Highlighted Features

  • 7th Generation Intel Core i7-7500U processor
  • 128GB SSD and 1TB HDD plus 8GB RAM
  • Battery life lasts up to 7 hours on average
  • Intel HD integrated Graphics unit
  • The backlit keyboard makes typing easier in all environments

4. Acer Chromebook R 13 | Best Laptop For Graduate School

The Acer Chromebook R 13 is a good choice if you need a simple and lightweight laptop for classes only. This has been made with portability in mind and is not suited for heavy-handed work. But it makes the perfect device to replace pen and paper and complete assignments on the go.

You get the MediaTek MT8173C processor, 4GB memory, and 32GB eMMc storage. As you can see, all the specifications are made for light-hand usage. But for web browsing and simple reports, this device can prove to be more than useful.

The laptop is convertible as well, so you can use it as a tab in class for notes and proceed to type when needed. The screen is also a good size. 13.3 inch is pretty spacious for a portable device, and it has a full HD resolution too.

Since it does not dish out a lot of power, it can hold onto the battery life for a good 12 hours. You can throw this in a bag and work on the go, move from office to class or vice versa and still have charge left.

The Chromebook has two stereo speakers built-in as well for equal sounds all around. For the times you do not want to use earphones, let those speakers' blast.

Acer Chromebook R 13 Convertible, 13.3-inch Full HD Touch, MediaTek MT8173C, 4GB LPDDR3, 32GB, Chrome, CB5-312T-K5X4
Acer Chromebook R 13 Convertible, 13.3-inch Full HD Touch, MediaTek MT8173C, 4GB LPDDR3, 32GB, Chrome, CB5-312T-K5X4

Highlighted Features

  • MediaTek MT8173C processor
  • 32GB eMMc plus 4GB RAM
  • The battery lasts up to 12 hours of usage
  • Integrated Imagination PowerVR GX6250 Graphics unit
  • Can be rotated 360 degrees for different mode usage

5. ASUS ZenBook 13 | Best Laptop For Postgraduate Students

The ASUS ZenBook 13 aims to "Create at the speed of light" and taking a look at its specifications, you will see how it is in fact true. It has a 13.3-inch full HD display that creates a small and portable device, great for taking to class.

Internally there is the Intel Core i5-8265U processor with an impressive clock speed that goes up to 3.9GHz for effortless processing, and hence lower loading times.

You get the 512GB PCIe M.2 SSD, which is one of the finest out there even in terms of SSD categories. Plus, the storage space itself is high too.

The battery life is one of the key highlights here. You get an incredible 14 hours of usage. And even if it drains, it only takes 49 minutes to get to 60% of charge. If you are in a rush, quickly plug it in and then continue using it for a day straight.

We love the Harman Kardon-Certified Audio. This has low distortions and can amplify volumes smartly for the right kind out audio output.

ASUS ZenBook 13 Ultra-Slim Laptop, 13.3” Full HD WideView, 8th Gen Intel Core i5-8265U, 8GB LPDDR3, 512GB PCIe SSD, Backlit KB, Fingerprint, Slate Gray, Windows 10, UX331FA-AS51
ASUS ZenBook 13 Ultra-Slim Laptop, 13.3” Full HD WideView, 8th Gen Intel Core i5-8265U, 8GB LPDDR3, 512GB PCIe SSD, Backlit KB, Fingerprint, Slate Gray, Windows 10, UX331FA-AS51

Highlighted Features

  • 8th Generation Intel Core i5-8265U processor
  • 512GB PCIe M.2 SSD plus 8GB RAM
  • The battery lasts a whopping 14 hours of usage
  • Intel HD Graphics 620 integrated graphics unit
  • Includes a backlit keyboard for a better typing experience

Laptops For Grad School Buying Guide


One of the first things to sort out is the display. Do you want a heavy-duty laptop that will stay at home? Or do you prefer one that is lightweight and only used for classes?

If you want portability, then look to laptops that have 13-14-inch displays. These are usually under 4 pounds in weight and can be carried to class. If you prefer a little bigger than the 15-17-inch screens are a good choice.

15-inch is the right option for users who are unsure if they require portability or not. This has a perfectly spacious screen and is not too big either so can be carried to class with a little effort when required.

Display resolution is another key point. For the average student, a Full HD 1080p resolution is a must-have. Do not settle for anything lower.

Students whose work revolves around the screen a lot, such as architects, designers, engineers, and artists, try to go for a 4K resolution if possible since it provides a lot more details.


The best grad school laptop should carry an Intel Core i7, regardless of what the student is majoring in. This is one of the fastest and most-loved processors out there today, and can undoubtedly handle any sort of work pressure.

It is specifically suitable for students who require high processing power, like engineering students who work with 3D designs or IT students who require heavy use of applications.

That being said, unless you belong to any such category of student, you can go for the Intel Core i5 processor. This is the middle ground which is suitable for all and is more affordable than the i7 as well.

Intel Xeon is a rare processor only chosen by professionals in the engineering field who work with high-grade 3D models and design. If you want a laptop that does well in class and work simultaneously, then this the processor you should look for.

Memory And Storage

These two factors help to make the laptop speedy and allow effortless multitasking. When it comes to memory, look for at least an 8GB RAM for a good performance. And for storage opt for a 256GB SSD.

If your majors require more power from the laptop, a 512GB SSD and a 16GB RAM will be a good option. And if you are still unsure, then look for a laptop where these factors can be upgraded, so you can change them when required.

Graphics Unit

Not every grad student will need a dedicated graphics unit. This is needed by users who work and study 3D modeling and rendering, design, architecture, or students who want a gaming device alongside a good study laptop.

For users who require medium-level power, look to the MX line from Nvidi. The GTX line has graphics units for heavy-handed users.

If you do not fall into any of these categories, then the integrated graphics units will be more than enough.


When you are spending so much on a degree, you want to get the most out of it. And the laptop plays a crucial part in every education system today.

Based on the major and work, you should choose a laptop that can serve you well for the next few years without trouble.

When you are looking for the best laptop for grad school, focus on the subjects first and find out the qualities you require. Using this find the right match. Our article covers a broad range of laptops, so finding the right one will not take you long.

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