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The Best Notebooks for School-Aged Kids and College Students

December 2022 Update. When looking for a laptop for school the requirements can be numerous. The following list contains our Notebookcheck laptop recommendations for K12 and college students, whether you’re looking for a laptop that won’t break the bank, a high-performance all-rounder, or a high-end premium luxury device.
The Best Notebooks for School-Aged Kids and College Students
The Best Notebooks for School-Aged Kids and College Students

From our point of view, notebooks designed for educational purposes need to meet very specific requirements. These include things such as a certain degree of mobility, an ergonomic design and solid input devices.  It is unusual for these qualities to be adequately addressed by a pamphlet at a store or a manufacturer's website. To assist you in the decision-making process, we have looked back over our huge data collection compiled from the many notebooks we have reviewed, and we will make recommendations split into three different price ranges. The display should have an ergonomic, matte surface, and the notebook's performance should be on par with at least that of an Intel Core i3 platform - otherwise it may not have enough stamina to remain useful over the coming years. 

The following table contains notebooks and convertibles priced between 500 and 1,500 Euros ranked by weighted scores in the display, keyboard, and battery life categories. Many OEMs offer educational discounts for students and require proof of school or college enrollment. These prices are often noticeably lower than street prices and will thus allow you to save quite a bit of money. Keep in mind that our automatically updated price comparison cannot take educational discounts into account.

The Best Laptops for School-Aged Kids and College Students

Position
Weighted Rating
Total Rating
Date
Image
Model
Height
Weight
Size
Resolution
188.4 %88.2 %
02/2022
Acer Swift 3 SF314-511-54ZKAcer Swift 3 SF314-511-54ZK
Intel Core i5-1135G7
Intel Iris Xe Graphics G7 80EUs
16 GB Memory, 512 GB SSD
16.55 mm1.2 kg14.00"1920x1080
288.3 %84.8 %
01/2022
Dell Latitude 14 5420-D2G5WDell Latitude 14 5420-D2G5W
Intel Core i5-1135G7
Intel Iris Xe Graphics G7 80EUs
8 GB Memory, 256 GB SSD
20.9 mm1.5 kg14.00"1920x1080
388.1 %88.8 %
02/2022
Huawei MateBook 13s i5 11300HHuawei MateBook 13s i5 11300H
Intel Core i5-11300H
Intel Iris Xe Graphics G7 80EUs
16 GB Memory, 512 GB SSD
16.5 mm1.3 kg13.40"2520x1680
487.9 %85.7 %
09/2022
Lenovo IdeaPad 5 Pro 16ARH7Lenovo IdeaPad 5 Pro 16ARH7
AMD Ryzen 5 6600HS
AMD Radeon 660M
16 GB Memory, 512 GB SSD
18.4 mm1.9 kg16.00"2560x1600
587.9 %87.8 %
01/2022
New!
Lenovo ThinkBook 13s G3 20YA0005GELenovo ThinkBook 13s G3 20YA0005GE
AMD Ryzen 7 5800U
AMD Radeon RX Vega 8 (Ryzen 4000/5000)
16 GB Memory, 512 GB SSD
14.9 mm1.3 kg13.30"1920x1200
687.7 %87.6 %
06/2022
Lenovo Yoga Slim 7i Pro 14IAP G7Lenovo Yoga Slim 7i Pro 14IAP G7
Intel Core i5-1240P
Intel Iris Xe Graphics G7 80EUs
16 GB Memory, 512 GB SSD
14.6 mm1.3 kg14.00"2880x1800
787.4 %85.9 %
11/2022
Acer Swift X SFX14-51G-5876Acer Swift X SFX14-51G-5876
Intel Core i5-1240P
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050 Laptop GPU
16 GB Memory, 512 GB SSD
18.3 mm1.4 kg14.00"2240x1400
886.9 %85.6 %
08/2022
HP Envy 14-eb0252ngHP Envy 14-eb0252ng
Intel Core i5-1135G7
Intel Iris Xe Graphics G7 80EUs
8 GB Memory, 1024 GB SSD
17.9 mm1.5 kg14.00"1920x1200
986.5 %86.5 %
10/2022
Lenovo ThinkPad L14 G3 21C50030GELenovo ThinkPad L14 G3 21C50030GE
AMD Ryzen 5 PRO 5675U
AMD Radeon RX Vega 7
8 GB Memory, 256 GB SSD
19.83 mm1.6 kg14.00"1920x1080
1086.4 %85.9 %
11/2021
Asus VivoBook 15 Pro M3500QC-L1062Asus VivoBook 15 Pro M3500QC-L1062
AMD Ryzen 5 5600H
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050 Laptop GPU
16 GB Memory, 512 GB SSD
19.9 mm1.7 kg15.60"1920x1080

The table above contains an overview over the best notebooks between 500 and 1,500 Euros reviewed by Notebookcheck over the course of the past 12 months as well as still relevant and available older products. In cases of identical score the more recent device is listed first. All prices in above table and price comparisons are updated daily and can thus differ.
Link: all devices in this class reviewed

1st – Acer Swift 3

Acer Swift 3
Acer Swift 3

The 14-inch Acer Swift 3 fits perfectly inside a backpack and offers a slim metal case for extra protection. It also offers an incredible battery life of up to 12 hours.

This 14-inch notebook is able to squeeze out more performance out of Intel’s Core i5 than many bigger notebooks.

Thanks to Thunderbolt 4 it supports external docking stations for additional connectivity. Its matte display with good color accuracy is another plus.

The device starts at slightly over $600 and is available among others on Amazon.

2nd – Dell Latitude 14

Dell Latitude 14 5420
Dell Latitude 14 5420

The Dell Latitude 14 is a powerful and versatile laptop that leaves nothing to be desired in terms of security and connectivity. If the WLAN is too slow for you at school or university, you can retrofit an LTE modem here. None of the essential components are soldered here, so you can give this computer some upgrades in the long run. The Dell Latitude 14 5420 manages the balancing act between balanced performance, long battery runtimes and low emissions from the fan. Only the input devices are not up to par. ClickPad and keyboard can be described as haptically unsatisfactory.

A similar configuration of the reviewed Dell Latitude 5420 is currently available from Amazon for around $600.

Pricecompare

3rd – Huawei MateBook 13s

Huawei MateBook 13s
Huawei MateBook 13s

As a 13.4-inch laptop, the Huawei MateBook 13s is a particularly compact laptop. The subnotebook with Intel Core i5 and 16 GB working memory has enough computing power for more than just everyday tasks. It is also very stable thanks to its aluminum casing. However, the small size also requires some sacrifices in terms of the available ports, which are rare on the MateBook 13s.

The subnotebook can primarily convince with a high-quality impression without any major flaws and with a lot of computing power. 

Huawei's devices are not sold in North America.

Pricecompare

4th – Lenovo IdeaPad 5 Pro 16ARH7

Lenovo IdeaPad 5 Pro 16ARH7
Lenovo IdeaPad 5 Pro 16ARH7

With the Lenovo IdeaPad 5 Pro 16ARH7 we could test the nine AMD Ryzen 5 6600HS for the first time. This has an integrated Radeon 660M. It offers comparatively much performance. Thanks to the RDNA-2 architecture and AMD's high driver compatibility, this graphics chip can also support many programs that are not 3D applications. The computing hardware is packaged here in a chic case with a high metal content. A bright screen with a matte surface, good input devices and a lush battery life can contribute to productivity.

The IdeaPad 5 Pro 16ARH7 is a reliable generalist that always does well in applications that do not require 3D graphics.

However, due to the AMD processor, you have to make do without Thunderbolt on the IdeaPad 5 Pro 16ARH7. This reduces the connectivity compared to many other notebooks in our top list.

The Lenovo IdeaPad 5 Pro 16ARH7 is available for example from Amazon for $1,169.

Pricecompare

5th – Lenovo ThinkBook 13s G3

Lenovo ThinkBook 13s G3
Lenovo ThinkBook 13s G3

The latest generation of the ThinkBook 13s is the fourth. However, this makes the third with Ryzen 7 5800U and 16 GB LPDDR4X cheaper. Meanwhile, the strong laptop costs considerably less than 1,000 Euros. You get a good and above all matte 16:10 screen, an aluminum casing and long battery runtimes for that. Lenovo's ThinkBook 13s is a high-quality and compact subnotebook with enough ports. Only Thunderbolt has to be omitted here due to AMD. You might also be interested in the model with the Ryzen 5 5600U, which offers a bit less performance, but is also cheaper.

The ThinkBook 13s G3 is again a convincing notebook. The AMD Ryzen-5800U offers a lot of multi-core performance. However, you only get a Thunderbolt 4 port in the Intel model. 

The Lenovo ThinkBook 13s G3 (Ryzen 5 5600U, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD) is available on Amazon US for $552.8.

Pricecompare

6th – Lenovo Yoga Slim 7i Pro 14IAP G7

Lenovo Yoga Slim 7i Pro 14IAP G7
Lenovo Yoga Slim 7i Pro 14IAP G7

At 1.5 kg (including the power adapter), the Lenovo Yoga Slim 7i Pro is quite a light laptop. Thus, the Yoga Slim is easy to transport. Equipped with Intel's Core i5-1240P, 16 GB of working memory and a very good screen with a high resolution, the ultrabook can convince. Criticisms are mainly found in the connectivity and the short battery runtime under load. 

The CPU in Lenovo's Yoga Slim 7i Pro shows the strength of Intel's Alder Lake generation. The Intel Core i5-1240P can outperform last year's i7 processors and does not have to hide from AMD's competition.

The display offers decent color space coverage and higher brightness but lower contrast and higher black level in return. In addition, battery life has been reduced significantly. Potential buyers are thus stuck between a rock and a hard place when choosing between last year’s and this year’s model. Both are decent notebooks but differ significantly in various aspects.

At the time of writing, the Lenovo Yoga Slim 7i Pro 14 G7 did not appear to be available in the US.

Pricecompare

7th – Acer Swift X SFX14

Acer Swift X SFX14
Acer Swift X SFX14

The Acer Swift X 14 is a small price tip in our comparison. You get a laptop with a proud system performance for under 1,000 euro. We are also convinced by the build quality of the light metal case. Unfortunately, the test showed that the laptop has its problems in battery mode. The Acer Swift X 14's good runtimes away from the mains are bought with a drop in graphics performance. 

A matte 16:10 display, Thunderbolt 4 and a dedicated graphics card are often not found in the price range of up to 1000 Euros. The Acer Swift X 14 delivers a strong package here.

Another drawback for use at school or university is the high noise level that the laptop can generate. In return, the laptop is very light with only 1.4 kg, when compared to other notebooks of the same size and performance class.

Currently, Amazon US offers Acer Swift X SFX14-51G-71Y1 (Intel i7-1260P, NVIDIA RTX 3050) for around $1,230.

Pricecompare

8th – HP Envy 14

HP Envy 14
HP Envy 14

For well under 1,000 euro, the HP Envy 14 is quite a laptop. The excellent 16:10 screen should be emphasized here. It delivers a true color image at a bright 458 cd/m². With its matte surface, it also performs optimally in outdoor use. 

The slim 14 inch laptop offers a good computing performance and long battery runtimes in addition to a large screen.

The HP Envy 14's performance is also otherwise adequate for a laptop for studying. The Intel Core i5 provides enough performance for some 3D applications even without a dedicated graphics card.

At the time of writing, the configuration of our HP Envy 14 review unit (Core i5-1135G7, 8 GB RAM, 1 TB SSD) doesn't seem to be available in the United States.

Pricecompare

9th – Lenovo ThinkPad L14 G3

Lenovo ThinkPad L14 G3
Lenovo ThinkPad L14 G3

ThinkPad is Lenovo's brand when it comes to laptops as workhorses. The L-series is the budget version of the laptops. Thus, the robust case is mainly made of plastic. In return, the inner values are good. The AMD Ryzen 5 Pro 5675U is bursting with computing power, but is slowed down by the somewhat low working memory configuration. Lenovo has only installed an 8 GB RAM stick. But the laptop can be upgraded well. Lenovo relies on modularity in the ThinkPad L14 G3. Thus, two RAM slots, a plugged Wi-Fi module, a free M.2 slot for WWAN and a swappable SSD are on the list of upgrade options.

If it's a budget ThinkPad you're after, the L14 G3 is definitely an option. Input devices, screen and build quality are on the typical high level of all ThinkPads.

Some AMD variants of the Lenovo ThinkPad L14 are available on the manufacturer's online store, starting from $1,053.

Pricecompare

10th – Asus Vivobook Pro 15

Asus Vivobook Pro 14
Asus Vivobook Pro 14

The Asus VivoBook Pro 15 is a small insider tip in terms of price-performance ratio. It delivers excellent computing hardware, long battery runtimes, an appealing case with a metal lid and, above all, an almost perfectly matched screen. The laptop's Full HD display is Pantone Validated. The only drawback of the screen is its glossy surface. 

With the VivoBook Pro 15, Asus offers a computer at a mid-range price, which partly has flagship qualities. 

Nvidia Studio drivers ensure the smooth use of professional programs for 3D editing. Many current games run smoothly even in high resolutions thanks to the installed RTX 3050.
The Asus VivoBook Pro 15 OLED (Ryzen 7 5800H, RTX 3050) is now available on Amazon US for around $1,092.

Pricecompare

Size Comparison

359.8 mm / 14.2 inch 235.3 mm / 9.26 inch 19.9 mm / 0.783 inch 1.7 kg3.69 lbs356 mm / 14 inch 251 mm / 9.88 inch 18.4 mm / 0.724 inch 1.9 kg4.29 lbs325.4 mm / 12.8 inch 217 mm / 8.54 inch 19.83 mm / 0.781 inch 1.6 kg3.45 lbs321 mm / 12.6 inch 212 mm / 8.35 inch 20.9 mm / 0.823 inch 1.5 kg3.4 lbs323.3 mm / 12.7 inch 218.9 mm / 8.62 inch 16.55 mm / 0.652 inch 1.2 kg2.68 lbs312.9 mm / 12.3 inch 214 mm / 8.43 inch 18.3 mm / 0.72 inch 1.4 kg3.09 lbs313 mm / 12.3 inch 224 mm / 8.82 inch 17.9 mm / 0.705 inch 1.5 kg3.21 lbs312.4 mm / 12.3 inch 221.4 mm / 8.72 inch 14.6 mm / 0.575 inch 1.3 kg2.92 lbs299 mm / 11.8 inch 210 mm / 8.27 inch 14.9 mm / 0.587 inch 1.3 kg2.79 lbs297.2 mm / 11.7 inch 218.4 mm / 8.6 inch 16.5 mm / 0.65 inch 1.3 kg2.91 lbs297 mm / 11.7 inch 210 mm / 8.27 inch 1 mm / 0.03937 inch 5.7 g0.01257 lbs
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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Archive of our own reviews > The Best Notebooks for School-Aged Kids and College Students
Florian Schmitt, 2022-12-30 (Update: 2022-12-30)