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The Best Notebooks for School-Aged Kids and College Students

April 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
288.1 %86.5 %
10/2021
Huawei MateBook 16 R7 5800HHuawei MateBook 16 R7 5800H
AMD Ryzen 7 5800H
AMD Radeon RX Vega 8 (Ryzen 4000/5000)
16 GB Memory, 512 GB SSD
17.8 mm2 kg16.00"2520x1680
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
487.1 %86.4 %
10/2021
Lenovo Yoga Slim 7 14ITL05 82A300CNGELenovo Yoga Slim 7 14ITL05 82A300CNGE
Intel Core i5-1135G7
Intel Iris Xe Graphics G7 80EUs
8 GB Memory, 512 GB SSD
14.9 mm1.4 kg14.00"1920x1080
586.5 %84.9 %
05/2021
Honor Magicbook 14 i7-1165G7Honor Magicbook 14 i7-1165G7
Intel Core i7-1165G7
Intel Iris Xe Graphics G7 96EUs
16 GB Memory, 512 GB SSD
15.9 mm1.4 kg14.00"1920x1080
686.5 %86.3 %
05/2021
Lenovo IdeaPad 5 14ALC05 82LM005YGELenovo IdeaPad 5 14ALC05 82LM005YGE
AMD Ryzen 5 5500U
AMD Radeon RX Vega 7
16 GB Memory, 512 GB NVMe
19.1 mm1.4 kg14.00"1920x1080
786.2 %85.7 %
09/2021
Dell Inspiron 13 5310-NJ24JDell Inspiron 13 5310-NJ24J
Intel Core i5-11300H
NVIDIA GeForce MX450
8 GB Memory, 512 GB SSD
15.9 mm1.3 kg13.30"1920x1200
886.1 %86 %
08/2021
Lenovo IdeaPad 5 Pro 16IHU6Lenovo IdeaPad 5 Pro 16IHU6
Intel Core i5-11300H
NVIDIA GeForce MX450
16 GB Memory, 512 GB NVMe
18.4 mm1.9 kg16.00"2560x1600
985.6 %87.7 %
05/2021
New!
Dell XPS 13 9305 Core i5 FHDDell XPS 13 9305 Core i5 FHD
Intel Core i5-1135G7
Intel Iris Xe Graphics G7 80EUs
8 GB Memory, 512 GB SSD
16 mm1.2 kg13.30"1920x1080
1085.6 %86.7 %
08/2021
Dell Inspiron 16 Plus 7610Dell Inspiron 16 Plus 7610
Intel Core i7-11800H
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050 Laptop GPU
16 GB Memory, 512 GB SSD
18.99 mm2 kg16.00"3072x1920

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 – Huawei MateBook 16

Huawei MateBook 16
Huawei MateBook 16

The Huawei MateBook is a powerful all-rounder. Its fast Ryzen 7 paired with 16 GB of RAM offer plenty of oomph. Its webcam location inside the keyboard is suboptimal as its image results in what has been most commonly known as nose cam.

Without any major flaws and powerful performance the MateBook 16 is a versatile multimedia laptop.

Our only gripe was with its reflective display. In return, both performance and battery life were at a level compatible with school and university.

Huawei notebooks are not sold in North America.

Pricecompare

4th – Lenovo Yoga Slim 7

Lenovo Yoga Slim 7
Lenovo Yoga Slim 7

The Lenovo Yoga Slim 7 14ITL05 is a particularly compact 14-inch notebook with Intel Core i5 or i7, both of which offer a decent performance. In our review we praised its quiet fans, which did not exceed 30 dB(A) even under load, in particular.

Further benefits include a matte display, good connectivity, and a modern design. Both USB-C ports offer the same capabilities, which include Thunderbolt 4, USB 3, Power Delivery, and DisplayPort.

The Yoga Slim 7 14ITL05 is a well-balanced notebook.

The device is not sold in North America.

Pricecompare

5th – Honor Magicbook 14

Honor Magicbook 14
Honor Magicbook 14

Other than a new Tiger Lake CPU the MagicBook 14 remained largely unchanged. Its CPU performance is practically on a par with last year’s AMD Ryzen 5 4500U-equipped SKU, and both visually and in terms of connectivity it remained completely unchanged. Improvements can be achieved thanks to now 16 GB of onboard RAM and Intel’s Iris Xe Graphics G7 GPU, which helped boost both gaming and system performance slightly.

The Honor MagicBook 14 offers a slightly higher system performance than the AMD SKU but in return a shorter battery life.

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.

Pricecompare

6th – Lenovo IdeaPad 5 14ALC05

Lenovo IdeaPad 5 15ALC
Lenovo IdeaPad 5 15ALC

The Lenovo IdeaPad 5 14ALC05’s main benefits include a low power consumption and long battery life. Its CPU and GPU performance are on a par for a typical Ryzen 5500U system. Its matte 14-inch display offers wide viewing angles but suffers from color inaccuracies. Nevertheless, its low weight and thin design make this a great notebook for school.

Decent input devices, a bright and matte display, and long battery life turn the IdeaPad 5 14ALC05 into a decent allrounder.

Overall, the IdeaPad 5 14ALC05 showed only a few minor flaws and turned out to be a solid notebook for office, streaming, browsing the web, and more. Even occasional gaming is within the realm of its capabilities.

The 14-inch IdeaPad 5 is not available in North America.

Pricecompare

7th – Dell Inspiron 13 5310

Thanks to a powerful 35 W Intel H-class processor, a dedicated GPU, a matte FHD sRGB display, two Tunderbolt 4 ports, and a large 54 Wh battery the Dell Inspiron 13 5310 scored fairly well overall. Despite the fact that this small 13-inch laptop did get rather loud under load it can also run virtually silent if necessary. Its MX450 GPU should be good enough for occasional gaming albeit its cooling capabilities are rather limited overall.

Despite a low weight of just 1.3 kg (2.87 lbs) it manages up to 10 hours of battery life, and it is therefore an ideal companion if you are looking for something small and portable. It also allows for further expandability via an optional docking station.

The device can be purchased directly through Dell USA.

Pricecompare

8th – Lenovo IdeaPad 5 Pro 16ACH

Lenovo’s IdeaPad 5 Pro 16ACH is living proof that 16:10 displays are no longer relegated to high-end laptops only. Its 16-inch WQXGA display offers decent quality and fast response times and turns watching movies or playing games on this multimedia laptop into pure bliss. Gaming, in turn, requires powerful hardware, and thanks to AMD Ryzen processor and Nvidia GeForce GPU the IdeaPad can deliver. The AMD SKU is also significantly faster than Lenovo’s Intel SKU dubbed IdeaPad 5 Pro 16 IHU. The price for this extra performance: noise. The Intel SKU had fairly loud fans already, and they have gotten even worse on the AMD SKU. In return, the AMD SKU remains cooler and runs longer to boot.

Lenovo’s IdeaPad 5 Pro 16ACH offers a symbiotic combination of Ryzen 5000, 16:10 display, and a low price.

The RedmiBook Pro 15 with its 3:2 LCD can be a great alternative. However, unlike the IdeaPad it is not available outside of China and has to be ordered via Chinese retailers. Another fairly similar competitor is the Honor Magicbook Pro with its 16:9 16-inch LCD, which fares for movies but worse for office applications and browsing the web.

The IdeaPad 5 Pro is not available in North America.

Pricecompare

9th – Dell XPS 13 9305

Dell XPS 13 9305
Dell XPS 13 9305

The Dell XPS 9305 is one of the most affordable premium laptops in Dell’s XPS line-up. It features a very narrow display bezel as well as an overall very thin design, making this a good everyday companion. We found barely any flaws in our review yet plenty of pros, such as its battery life, its image quality, and its performance. Even current games will run smoothly with reduced settings.

The Dell XPS 13 9305 is an exceptionally powerful subnotebook.

Students will appreciate its very low noise emissions, its long battery life, and its above average speaker quality.

The device is available through Dell’s own webshop as well as the usual retail channels, such as Amazon. Prices start at just over $1,000.

Pricecompare

Size Comparison

356 mm / 14 inch 251 mm / 9.88 inch 18.4 mm / 0.724 inch 1.9 kg4.19 lbs355.28 mm / 14 inch 247.5 mm / 9.74 inch 18.99 mm / 0.748 inch 2 kg4.51 lbs351 mm / 13.8 inch 254.9 mm / 10 inch 17.8 mm / 0.701 inch 2 kg4.39 lbs321.57 mm / 12.7 inch 211.59 mm / 8.33 inch 19.1 mm / 0.752 inch 1.4 kg3.04 lbs323.3 mm / 12.7 inch 218.9 mm / 8.62 inch 16.55 mm / 0.652 inch 1.2 kg2.68 lbs322.5 mm / 12.7 inch 214.8 mm / 8.46 inch 15.9 mm / 0.626 inch 1.4 kg3.03 lbs320.6 mm / 12.6 inch 208.18 mm / 8.2 inch 14.9 mm / 0.587 inch 1.4 kg3 lbs302 mm / 11.9 inch 199 mm / 7.83 inch 16 mm / 0.63 inch 1.2 kg2.62 lbs297.2 mm / 11.7 inch 218.4 mm / 8.6 inch 16.5 mm / 0.65 inch 1.3 kg2.91 lbs296.8 mm / 11.7 inch 210 mm / 8.27 inch 15.9 mm / 0.626 inch 1.3 kg2.89 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, 2022-05- 3 (Update: 2022-05- 3)