The Best Affordable Laptops for College Students in 2021

As a college student, you need a reliable laptop that can handle everything from note taking to essay writing. Depending on your major, you might also need a machine capable of running photo and video editing software. In your downtime, you might be a gamer, which means you'll need a laptop capable of powering some of your favorite titles. Laptops come in at many different price points, but the average laptop for a college student will rest somewhere between $500 to $1,000.

These four laptops have been chosen for their wide range of features and flexibility for college students. If you're looking for ways to pay for your next laptop, you might consider taking out a private student loan. In addition to helping you cover the cost of tuition, you can borrow additional funds that go toward other expenses, like housing, food and essential supplies.

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Dell XPS 13 - $750

Windows gives you greater options for hardware than a MacBook. The MacBook’s high entry-level price point doesn't pack the same level of power that most students need, so they turn to alternatives that run on Windows 10. The standard 13-inch model comes in several flavors at different price points. Choose from 8 or 16 GB of memory, a 256 or 512 SSD and an Intel i3, i5 and i7 processor.

A three-sided Infinity Edge display makes the visuals stunning whether you're streaming video or playing a game. With vibrant colors and a sharp webcam, you'll find this laptop to be the perfect choice for anyone who streams, attends Zoom classes or likes to stay connected with friends and family through video chatting. Financing options are available through Dell's site to help make affording your ideal setup easier.

Google Pixelbook Go - $649

The Chromebook runs on Chrome OS, so it's not ideal if you need programs that require Windows or Mac. However, this is still a powerful budget-friendly laptop that can fulfill all your writing, studying and Netflix-binging needs with ease. The optimized battery life lasts for up to 12 hours, allowing you to easily transition from the classroom to the coffee shop without skipping a beat.

You can choose from 8 or 16 GB of RAM and to 64GB to 256GB of storage. With a 13.3-inch, 4k HD display, you'll be able to enjoy crystal-clear images and videos without a problem. Although Chromebooks won't work with programs like Photoshop or Microsoft Office, they're great choices for students who want fast performance and an uncluttered system that will last for years. Even if you upgrade to a Windows or Mac computer down the line, a good Chromebook is equipped with technology that will continue to deliver exemplary performance well after college.

HP Envy 13 - $849

For those who want a laptop capable of handling both work and play, the HP Envy 13 is the best choice. Multiple customization options allow gamers and editors to upgrade their device for several hundred dollars, but every model features an Intel CPU and Windows 10. The standard model's 13.3-inch display features a 1920 x 1080 resolution; other models are MultiTouch enabled and additional screen technology. At the time of publication, the standard model was eligible for a free upgrade that adds 16 GB of Intel Optane memory on top of its 256 GB.

HP Chromebook 14 - $250

For those with a tight budget, the HP Chromebook 14 offers decent storage, a strong battery life and reliable performance for a low price. Surprisingly, it has the largest screen out of this selection with a 14-inch display. Chrome OS comes complete with integrated Google Assistant technology, which allows you to start controlling your laptop with only your voice right out of the box. It features 4 GB of memory and 32 GB of storage, so you'll have plenty of space for all your papers, presentations and pictures. Being a Chromebook, it's optimized to run alongside G Suite, which is the best free alternative to Microsoft Office.

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