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Best Laptops for College Students from HP®

Linsey Knerl & Daniel Horowitz
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Students today need a laptop that can keep up with their increasingly busy lifestyles, and our top picks have something for every major, interest, and life goal.
Selecting the right model from this list of the best HP laptops for college students may be the easiest thing they do to prepare for their next semester. HP laptops are versatile, rugged, and innovatively designed without sacrificing quality.
Whether you are looking for all the bells and whistles to study engineering or graphic design, or simply need to write papers and research online, the varied HP laptop families have what you need to get the best laptop for you as you make the leap from high school to college.

HP student discounts

If you’re shopping for cheap laptops for college students, make sure you check with your college. Some schools work with computer companies like HP to provide purchasing deals for students.
You may be able to use your student discount, too, so it might be worth it to look into the models your school bookstore offers or programs such as HP’s UNiDAYS. You can also subscribe to get updates on laptop deals, like HP weekly deals and annual sales.
Now, let’s get to our list of best affordable laptops for college students.

1. HP Pavilion laptops

The HP Pavilion series of laptops combines functionality with a classic design while providing plenty of power and space on a student’s budget. You also have the option of adding a touch screen and a choice in color, with either silver or navy blue available.

HP Pavilion 15z Laptop

For a budget-friendly laptop that can do it all, nothing beats the HP Pavilion 15z with touch screen. It offers more than enough power to get standard student tasks done with its AMD Ryzen quad-core processor and 8GB RAM, and it can be upgraded to a full 16GB for heavy use.
One of the best features is its slim frame, which makes it easy to slip into a backpack. But don’t worry, you still have a full-sized island-style keyboard and a generous 15.6-inch diagonal back-lit touch screen to see every project with perfect clarity.

HP Pavilion x360 Laptop

For more versatility, you can opt for the HP Pavilion x360 15t laptop. This convertible laptop is highly portable, just what you need to cart across campus. The strong hinge makes the convertible options easier than ever to use and the touch-enabled micro-edge Full High Definition (FHD 1920 x 1080) display just might be the best HP Pavilion touch screen laptop.
Weighing only 4.24 lbs and measuring 0.78 inches thick, the HP Pavilion x360 is super-compact and comfortable to use in any format. Use the traditional laptop option for typing and getting work done, or fold the keyboard back and turn it into a high-powered tablet.
For the most performance, you can choose up to an 8th Generation Intel Core i7 processor, as much as 2TB HDD and 512GB of solid-state drive (SSD) storage, and up to 16GB of RAM.
For a combination of good specs and pricing, the HP Pavilion x360 15t perfectly balances a big display with performance.
And with up to 10 hours and 45 minutes of battery life and a variety of ports, this ranks highly as one of the best laptops for students.
Additional features:
  • ENERGY STAR® certified; EPEAT® Silver registered
  • HP Audio Boost with dual speakers tuned by Bang & Olufsen
  • Supports battery fast charge to approximately 50% in 45 minutes

2. HP ENVY family of laptops

With so many options to customize the specs and display, you have plenty of choices when it comes to choosing the right HP ENVY for you. All of the laptop models include an Intel Core processor and a 1-year warranty from HP®, which provides customer support for all of your technical needs.
How much storage you would like is up to you, but you can customize your device up to 2TB. Opt for the fingerprint reader for an easy, secure login, and take advantage of HP BIOS to keep your computer safe from hackers.
Best of all, most models include an NVIDIA® GeForce® graphics card, which makes sure you can play your favorite games.

HP ENVY x360 laptop

One of the great things about the HP ENVY x360 touch laptop is how it delivers amazing graphics in such a small package.
Available in 2 different screen sizes (13-inch and 15-inch), students can find the option that best suits them and what they need from their laptop. It also includes a touch screen, so it can be used for multiple purposes.
This computer also boasts up to 10 hours of battery life for long nights spent typing papers or binge-watching the latest “it” show. You also have HP Fast Charge so you can get back to work quickly, even if you run down your battery watching old reruns of Friends. Microsoft also offers a discount for its Home & Student suite of applications for HP ENVY owners.
Additional features:
  • Intel Core i7-10510U CPU
  • Up to 1TB hard drive (PCIe NVMe M.2 SSD)
  • Full-size island-style backlit keyboard

HP ENVY x2 detachable laptop

There is something to be said for endurance. And with today’s college student experiencing long days of studying, working, researching, and relaxing, the ideal laptop should be ready to deliver.
That’s why some students are turning to the HP ENVY x2, an amazingly versatile machine with up to 22 hours of battery life.
Take this lightweight machine (just 2.67 lbs with keyboard) to all the classes, games, and study groups you want. It’s equipped to run on WiFi or 4G LTE all day long, and it’s ready to recharge when you are.
The magnetic hinge and Corning® Gorilla® Glass makes it easy to transport your device without worrying about damage. And the 12.3-inch touch screen, which is compatible with the optional HP Pen, lets you get hands-on with your latest class project.
The HP ENVY x2 includes 1 USB Type-C port, a micro SD slot, and the option to add a SIM card. And with up to 256GB of storage, you’ll have plenty of room to store photos and documents from your assignments. The Intel Core i5 processor gives you the power you need in order to turn everything in on time.
Additional features:
  • Windows 10 Home 64 operating system
  • Integrated: Intel HD Graphics 615
  • Stylus included in the box

3. HP Spectre series of laptops

HP Spectre x360 laptop

While it may seem like a bit of an investment for a student, the HP Spectre x360 laptop comes with a solid warranty and plenty of features to keep you happy through four or more years of college, plus give you a jump on your post-graduate career. With the choice between an Intel Core i5 or i7 processor, this sleek computer can handle almost anything you throw at it.
It also includes HP’s Fast Charge feature, making it simple to achieve 90% battery life between classes. The fingerprint reader and IR security camera add an extra layer of security for peace of mind, and the touch screen allows for an interactive experience for those who like to go hands-on for completing projects and writing notes.
Like our other convertible laptops, the HP Spectre x360 gives you plenty of options for every class project. Use the clamshell for typing papers with the full-sized island-style keyboard, then flip to stand mode for project presentations or to tutor fellow students.
Additional features:
  • HP TrueVision FHD IR Camera with dual array digital microphone
  • Fingerprint reader and webcam kill switch for extra security
  • Bang & Olufsen quad speakers with HP Audio Boost 2.0

HP Spectre x2 Laptop

The HP Spectre x2 laptop offers all the basics that a student needs while also offering a full entertainment system. But instead of flipping the keyboard out of the way like the x360, you can completely detach it for a convenient tablet experience.
The touch display can be used with your fingertips or with the included stylus, and the Intel Core i7 processor offers power that many detachable laptops lack.
This petite laptop is made for notetaking and offers the ideal writing angle. Students can decide whether they feel like using the included keyboard or if they would prefer to write directly on the stunning screen. It’s also a great option for art students who may need a laptop that supports graphic design.
Additional features:
  • Integrated Intel Iris Plus graphics 640
  • Included active stylus compliant with Microsoft Ink
  • 12.3-inch diagonal 3K2K IPS WLED-backlit multitouch-enabled edge-to-edge glass

4. HP OMEN family of laptops

Gamers don’t stop gaming when the school year starts, and students wanting the best of all worlds will want a model that can handle work and play. That’s why the HP OMEN laptop is a popular back-to-school shopping pick, earning it a top spot as one of the best HP gaming laptops for college students.

Go beyond gaming

But the power that lets you game is also useful for those students whose majors require processor-intensive work. Engineering students, design students, and those who need to produce video content all will benefit from the impressive 9th Generation Intel Core i5 or i7 processor.
The NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 prevents unnecessary lag in gameplay, but also lets you render school projects seamlessly. And because it comes standard with Windows Office software, up to 2TB HDD and 256 SSD storage, along with over 8 hours of battery life, this machine is poised to handle any homework you need it to.
Additional features:
  • Intel Core i5, i7, or i9 CPU
  • Full-size island-style dragon red legend backlit keyboard with numeric keypad and 26-key rollover
  • Windows 10 Home or Pro 64

5. HP ZBook Studio mobile workstation

Film, art, and other creative students need a laptop that doubles as their vision station, which is where the HP ZBook studio comes in as a winner. Trusted by professionals but simple enough for beginners to master, it’s a sleek mobile tool that’s undergone 120,000 hours of testing to prove it can handle whatever today’s inspired student can put it through.
The HP ZBook comes standard with the industry’s best tools, too, and boasts Windows 10 Pro, NVIDIA Quadro M1200M graphics, and dual Thunderbolt 3 ports.
Additional features:
  • 9th Generation Intel Core i7 processor
  • 256GB PCIe NVMe SSD
  • Robust security management software

Best entry-level college laptops for students

Every college student is unique, so your computing needs will be vastly different from anyone you know.
Today’s HP laptops are designed to grow with you (or your student, for parents who may be reading on your child’s behalf) and many are easily expandable to give you more storage, power, and accessories when you need them most. For those who just aren’t sure where to start, there are a few basic models available that can help a student grow into the idea of using a laptop at school.

6. HP Chromebook notebook

An all-around good choice for any student is any of the HP Chromebooks. These are designed specifically for the student who wants to minimize electronic clutter.
The series runs on the Google Chrome OS and integrates seamlessly with existing Google accounts (such as YouTube, Google Drive, and Gmail).
With a choice between 11-inch or 14-inch screen sizes, there’s a good chance that this affordable, yet powerful, notebook will be the favorite thing in your backpack this year. A student favorite, an HP Chromebook is lightweight and does it all starting at under $200.
Additional features:
  • AMD dual-core A4-9120C APU
  • dual speakers by B&O Play
  • Full-size island-style keyboard

7. HP Chromebook x360 notebook

For students who need versatility in their laptops and want a Chromebook, the HP Chromebook x360 is for you. It also boasts features that promote creativity such as the touchpad with multi-gesture support. Add and options HP pen to allows students to take notes by hand. It has a full island-style keyboard and easy-to-use 360-degree hinge that can turn your device into a multi-functional tablet.
The HP Chromebook x360 has plenty of battery life to last through work and play, too, and packs a surprising amount of power into a small device. It’s also light at 3.48 lbs so students will easily slip it in their bag without worrying about it weighing you down.
Additional features:
  • Chrome OS operating system
  • Integrated: Intel® UHD Graphics 600
  • 14-inch diagonal HD SVA micro-edge WLED-backlit multitouch-enabled edge-to-edge glass display

8. HP Stream 11 Laptop

The HP Stream 11 is an ideal entry-level notebook for all the requirements of college life at a price that parents and students can feel good about. Write, research, take notes, stream, and communicate effortlessly with all the perks of one of the best laptops for college students.
The included Intel processor (Celeron, Atom or Pentium depending on the model you choose) can handle all the jobs of a classroom, with a vivid 11.6-inch HD display that keeps movies and web browsing easy on the eyes.
Additional features:
  • 200 nits 11.6-inch diagonal HD SVA anti-glare WLED-backlit display
  • 4GB DDR3L-1600 SDRAM
  • Up to 9 hours and 15 minutes video playback battery life

9. HP Notebook

Sometimes, you just want the basics. The HP Notebook offers simplicity for those who need a functional, affordable computer with plenty of power to accomplish basic homework assignments. Its compact design means you can take it anywhere.
It also includes an Intel Pentium processor and FHD IPS micro-edge display, which offers students a chance to unwind by making their favorite TV shows look great.
The battery will keep you powered on for hours and HP’s Fast Charge technology lets you can get back to your papers after a short period of downtime. The included USB-C port keeps this laptop up-to-date, too, because more accessories are using this technology.
Additional features:
  • Integrated Intel UHD graphics 605
  • ENERGY STAR certified; EPEAT Silver registered
  • Measures 2.76 x 8.89 x 0.78 inches and weighs 3.16 lbs

Conclusion

Having a good laptop for your college student, even if that student isn’t quite sure what they will be studying, is a valuable step as they pursue their higher education. Look for the laptop that will fit them now, and that can grow with them during their studies.
These versatile devices combine power and battery life without sacrificing portability, and with a wide range of price points and components, there is something to meet your needs within your budget.

Popular HP Student Laptops

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