Notebookcheck

The Best Notebooks for Teenagers and University Students

Staff, 07/13/2017

July 2017 update. Whether you are looking for a notebook that will not break the bank, a high-performance all-rounder, or a luxury laptop, here you will find relevant notebook recommendations from Notebookcheck for school-aged kids and university students.

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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.

As a rule, we stick to 13-inch to 15-inch devices, as these sizes constitute a good compromise between mobility and a reasonable display size for school work. 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 or AMD A8/A10 platform - otherwise it may not have enough stamina to remain useful over the coming years.

General guidelines for the size, features, etc. are available in this article: How to choose a laptop for college.

Class 1 (less than 500 Euros; ~$573) or “tight budget” is limited to notebooks under 500 Euros (~$573). Due to the small number of reviews available, the recently released competitors with "Bing Windows" - that is, devices under 290 Euros (~$332) that have Windows 8.1 with Microsoft Bing as the standard search engine preinstalled - are not yet on this list. In terms of hardware, these devices are generally equipped with Intel Celeron or AMD Beema processors and therefore fall more into the netbook category. As a result of Microsoft's subsidization, there is a hole in the 300 to 400-Euro price range (~$343 to ~$458). We will devote a separate article to this new class in this aggressive price range.

Class 2 (500-800 Euros; ~$573-~$917) lists all-rounders and high-quality entry-level business notebooks between 500 and 800 Euros (~$573 to ~$917). Some of these notebooks also have CPUs and GPUs with more processing power, which means that the computers can handle more-demanding applications - such as PC games.

Class 3 (800-1500 Euros; ~$917-~$1719) is comprised of more expensive devices that set themselves apart from the masses with features such as particularly high-quality materials and very good displays.

Class 4 (less than 1000 Euros, ~$1146, smaller than 13-inch) lists alternatives under 13-inches. We also include less powerful platforms such as Intel's Celeron.

Top 5 notebooks for students under 500 Euros (~$573)

Pos.DateRatingImageModelHeightWeightSizeResolutionKeyboardDisplayBatteryKeyboard, Display and BatteryBest Price
107/201683%Lenovo ThinkPad E560 20EV000MGELenovo ThinkPad E560 20EV000MGE
Intel Core i3-6100U
Intel HD Graphics 520
4 GB Memory, 500 GB HDD
27.1 mm2.4 kg15.6"1366x76887%75%90%84%
202/201779%Acer Swift 1 SF114-31-P6F6Acer Swift 1 SF114-31-P6F6
Intel Pentium N3710
Intel HD Graphics 405 (Braswell)
4 GB Memory, 128 GB eMMC
17.9 mm1.6 kg14"1366x76873%80%94%82%
305/201679%Acer Aspire One Cloudbook 14 AO1-431-C6QMAcer Aspire One Cloudbook 14 AO1-431-C6QM
Intel Celeron N3050
Intel HD Graphics (Braswell)
2 GB Memory, 32 GB eMMC
17.9 mm1.6 kg14"1366x76875%76%93%81%
408/201579%Fujitsu Lifebook A514Fujitsu Lifebook A514
Intel Core i3-4005U
Intel HD Graphics 4400
4 GB Memory, 128 GB SSD
30.9 mm2.2 kg15.6"1366x76877%78%87%81%
579%Medion Akoya S4219Medion Akoya S4219
Intel Pentium N3700
Intel HD Graphics (Braswell)
4 GB Memory, 128 GB eMMC
20.5 mm1.6 kg14"1920x108073%83%83%80%

Top 5 notebooks of the last 10 months at the time of writing, order based on NBC subratings "keyboard, display and battery life", current reviews first

Link: All reviewed notebooks under 500 Euros, order based on overall rating

1st

Lenovo ThinkPad E560
Lenovo ThinkPad E560

The Lenovo ThinkPad E560 replaces the smaller E460 at the top of the cheap notebooks for school and university. This is primarily because the smaller model is hard to find and always costs more than 500 Euros (~$573). If you are happy to search, you can find offers of the 15-inch variant with Core i3 or even Core i5 for 499 Euros (~$572) on the Internet. While the display is rather dark, you will get a very good keyboard and a great Wi-Fi battery life of 9:26 hours.

Pricecompare

ThinkPad E560 20EV000MGE

2nd

Acer Swift 1
Acer Swift 1

The Swift 1 is the entry-level model of Acer's Swift series. Acer has produced a cheap, slim, and compact notebook, which can convince with silent operation, a decent keyboard, and a matte display. However, the display is poor: It is dark, low-contrast, and even flickers at maximum brightness due to PWM, which might cause problems for sensitive users. However, it is good news that 100 GB of flash memory is available to the user.

Those who do not require high performance will get a good notebook in the Acer Swift 1.

Pricecompare

Swift 1 SF114-31-P6F6

3rd

Acer Aspire One Cloudbook 14
Acer Aspire One Cloudbook 14

Small internal storage capacity - storage space in the Cloud. This might summarize Microsoft's concept, with which the Redmondians want to fight Google's Chromebooks. The Acer Aspire One Cloudbook 14 is also based on this principle. It has only about 15 GB free for the user out-of-the-box, but it allows using Microsoft's online services OneDrive and Office 365, and microSD cards for expanding the storage capacity.

15 GB is usually sufficient for simple tasks. Those who only store their notes and presentations at university might get along well with the Acer Aspire One Cloudbook 14, since the notebook does not use a fan and features an enduring long-lasting battery. Moreover, we liked the matte display. However, it is a pity that it is not possible to open the case, eliminating the option to upgrade the system

Pricecompare

Aspire One Cloudbook 14 AO1-431-C6QM

4th

Fujitsu Lifebook A514
Fujitsu Lifebook A514

The Fujitsu Lifebook A514 for 500 Euros (~$573) is equipped with an Intel Haswell Core i3 processor and even an SSD. The business notebook can convince with a good battery runtime of 5:50 hours in our Wi-Fi test. The dark screen and the speakers on the other hand cannot convince us. The device is also pretty expensive compared with other notebooks. It is therefore a solid working device that has its strengths, but you will have to live with the high price as well as the dark display.

Pricecompare

Lifebook A514

5th

Medion Akoya S4219
Medion Akoya S4219

Medion competes with the Akoya S4219, an actually quite common 14-inch device. However, its IPS panel with Full HD resolution has impressed us, since you will seldom come across such in this category. In addition, we liked the 128 GB flash memory and the fact that you can add a 2.5-inch HDD or SSD.

While the Akoya S4219 will not win any prizes in terms of performance, it is sufficient for office applications and web-surfing. In addition, the keyboard is rather unsuitable for prolific writers. Annoying: the display flickers when you connect the device to the power adapter. Hopefully, Medion can fix this with a software update.

Overall, the Akoya S4219 certainly has its flaws, but you will struggle to find a Full HD screen for so little money.

Pricecompare

Akoya S4219

Top 5 notebooks for students from 500 to 800 Euros (~$573 to ~$917)

Pos.DateRatingImageModelHeightWeightSizeResolutionKeyboardDisplayBatteryKeyboard, Display and BatteryBest Price
103/201784%Fujitsu Lifebook A557Fujitsu Lifebook A557
Intel Core i5-7200U
Intel HD Graphics 620
8 GB Memory, 512 GB SSD
30.9 mm2.3 kg15.6"1920x108084%86%90%87%
202/201784%Lenovo ThinkPad E570-20H6S00000Lenovo ThinkPad E570-20H6S00000
Intel Core i5-7200U
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 950M
8 GB Memory, 256 GB SSD
25.4 mm2.3 kg15.6"1920x108087%84%90%87%
301/201785%Lenovo ThinkPad E470-20H2S00400Lenovo ThinkPad E470-20H2S00400
Intel Core i5-7200U
NVIDIA GeForce 940MX
8 GB Memory, 256 GB SSD
23.7 mm1.9 kg14"1920x108087%82%87%86%
401/201779%Dell Inspiron 15 5578-1777 2-in-1Dell Inspiron 15 5578-1777 2-in-1
Intel Core i5-7200U
Intel HD Graphics 620
8 GB Memory, 256 GB SSD
20.2 mm2.8 kg15.6"1920x108085%82%89%85%
511/201682%Lenovo Yoga 510-14IKBLenovo Yoga 510-14IKB
Intel Core i5-7200U
AMD Radeon R5 M430
8 GB Memory, 256 GB SSD
20.9 mm1.7 kg14"1920x108085%80%88%84%

Top 5 notebooks of the last 10 months at the time of writing, order based on NBC subratings "keyboard, display and battery life"

Link: All reviewed notebooks between 500 and 800 Euros, order based on overall rating

1st

Fujitsu Lifebook A557
Fujitsu Lifebook A557

The Fujitsu Lifebook A557 is unspectacular, yet reasonably priced. You have to do without many security features for the cheap price of just above 500 Euros ($573). However, many school children and university students will not need these anyway. It is a more serious problem that the interface layout is not sophisticated: For example, most of the USB ports are on the left side - which is quite inconvenient for right-handers who want to attach a mouse. Another reason not to buy this notebook might be that the keyboard lacks a keyboard light.

But enough of complaints: You will get decent system performance, good input devices and easy maintainability for little money. The Lifebook A557 is a good choice if you do not need a designer piece and are on a tight budget.

Pricecompare

Lifebook A557

2nd

Lenovo ThinkPad E570
Lenovo ThinkPad E570

Lenovo has upgraded its cheap E series, previously sold as Edge, and it has equipped it with a Kaby Lake processor and a powerful graphics card. While the GeForce GTX 950M appears slightly outdated, occasional gamers should get their money's worth and benefit from the good, yet not perfect input devices at the same time. The display is solid. Unfortunately, there are several disadvantages, ranging from the suboptimal interface layout, to the inferior chassis stability to the almost poor quality. In addition, the CPU throttles during the stress test. However, the Turbo clock can be maintained during normal load. Thereby, the 15-inch laptop always remains cool and quiet.

Pricecompare

ThinkPad E570-20H6S00000

3rd

Lenovo ThinkPad E470
Lenovo ThinkPad E470

The ThinkPad E470 is an entry-level device in Lenovo's legendary business-notebook ranges. This becomes particularly apparent with the heavy and quite bulky case and the very modest connectivity: For example, there is only a single HDMI port for connecting displays and only one headset audio port.

On the other hand, the build quality is all right and the keyboard is great. The laptop even features a dedicated graphics card, which, however, is only attractive to occasional gamers. Fast Wi-Fi connections and decent battery runtimes add to the overall good impression.

Pricecompare

ThinkPad E470-20H2S00400

4th

Dell Inspiron 15 5578
Dell Inspiron 15 5578

The Dell Inspiron 15 5578 is a 15.6-inch convertible. The 2-in-1 device even features a keyboard light beneath the good and quite large keyboard. Fingers or an input pen can be used as input devices via the touchscreen. The device is quite quiet and delivers very good battery runtimes at 6:34 hours. A fast SSD works inside. While we liked the wide viewing angles of the display, it is not so suitable for outdoor use due to its rather low brightness and glossy surface.

Pricecompare

Inspiron 15 5578-1777 2-in-1

5th

Lenovo Yoga 510
Lenovo Yoga 510

Lenovo's Yoga 510 is a 14-inch convertible. Chassis and input devices are definitely highlights of this system. The battery runtime of 6:13 hours in the WLAN test is good but not overwhelming for an ultra-portable device. The graphics card does not have many advantages, but the security features are okay, including a fingerprint scanner.

The display could be slightly brighter and there is also a slight blue cast; the Yoga 510 has the lowest display rating in our Top 5.

Pricecompare

Yoga 510-14IKB

Top 5 notebooks for students over 800 Euros (~$917)

Pos.DateRatingImageModelHeightWeightSizeResolutionKeyboardDisplayBatteryKeyboard, Display and BatteryBest Price
106/2017
new!
91%Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon 2017-20HR0021GELenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon 2017-20HR0021GE
Intel Core i5-7200U
Intel HD Graphics 620
8 GB Memory, 256 GB SSD
15.95 mm1.1 kg14"1920x108095%89%91%92%
206/2017
new!
90%Acer TravelMate P648-G2-M-73T0Acer TravelMate P648-G2-M-73T0
Intel Core i7-7500U
Intel HD Graphics 620
8 GB Memory, 256 GB SSD
21.2 mm1.7 kg14"1920x108088%89%97%91%
304/201787%Lenovo ThinkPad T570-20HAS01E00Lenovo ThinkPad T570-20HAS01E00
Intel Core i7-7500U
NVIDIA GeForce 940MX
8 GB Memory, 512 GB SSD
20.2 mm2 kg15.6"3840x216094%90%89%91%
403/201786%Dell Latitude 5480Dell Latitude 5480
Intel Core i7-7600U
Intel HD Graphics 620
7.9 GB Memory, 256 GB SSD
22.5 mm1.8 kg14"1920x108092%77%99%90%
505/2017
new!
87%Asus ASUSPRO B9440UA-GV0100TAsus ASUSPRO B9440UA-GV0100T
Intel Core i5-7200U
Intel HD Graphics 620
8 GB Memory, 256 GB SSD
15 mm1.1 kg14"1920x108091%84%91%89%

Top 5 notebooks of the last 10 months at the time of writing, order based on NBC subratings "keyboard, display and battery life".

Link: All reviewed notebooks over 800 Euros, order based on overall rating

1st

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon 2017
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon 2017

Lenovo has revised the compact ThinkPad X1 Carbon this year. The new case has an even smaller footprint and still houses a 14-inch display. Currently, the decent Full HD display is the only option.

The slim ThinkPad's input devices are excellent, but the thin case also has its disadvantages. First of all, cooling it is difficult. Therefore, the surface temperatures are high under load. In addition, the Core i7 processor cannot permanently keep up its high performance. The fan already turns on under short load peaks in real-world scenarios.

Pricecompare

ThinkPad X1 Carbon 2017-20HR0021GE

2nd

Acer TravelMate P648
Acer TravelMate P648

The second edition of the Acer TravelMate P648  features a significantly less spectacular design than for example Apple's MacBook Pro: It is rather a normal work device than a design highlight. At the same time, the carbon-fiber reinforced plastic and aluminum convince with stability. Moreover, the device is quite cool and quiet. The TravelMate P648 delivers good performance. However, you have to accept a slightly spongy keyboard. University students and schoolchildren will get a powerful notebook. The unspectacular look is a matter of taste.

Pricecompare

TravelMate P648-G2-M-73T0

3rd

Lenovo ThinkPad T570
Lenovo ThinkPad T570

The ThinkPad T570, probably the most famous business notebook series, is back with a new, more compact case, great input devices, long battery runtimes and it meets almost all of your requirements in terms of keyboard and battery life.

The third important aspect, the display, does not perform that well: It is slightly dark and its gamut is small - improvements are possible here. In addition, software problems literally slow down the ThinkPad T570. Apparently, the fan control cannot sufficiently cool the actually undemanding processor. Lenovo might be able to fix this with a BIOS update.

Despite its weaknesses, you cannot go wrong with the ThinkPad T570: You will get a robust companion with good features.

4th

Dell Latitude 5480
Dell Latitude 5480

Laptops from Dell's Latitude series are well established in the office and probably, in the near future, will also be in schools and universities. They are durable and stable with many interfaces and good input devices. Recently, Dell has divided its business notebooks into three series. The Latitude 14 5480 is mid-range, i.e. it offers a good compromise between price and performance.

The latest laptop of this business series actually convinces with a no-frills, yet stable case with excellent build quality, brilliant battery runtimes, and high performance. However, the keyboard and TrackPoint buttons fall behind our expectations for high-end office devices. In addition, the high performance sometimes comes at the expense of a loud fan noise.

Pricecompare

Latitude 5480

5th

Asus AsusPro B9440UA
Asus AsusPro B9440UA

Asus' AsusPro B9440UA is extremely slim and light. In return, you have to do without many usually available interfaces: Only two USB-C ports are available. The lack of a webcam and heavy throttling under load complete the list of the biggest disadvantages. In terms of the poor Wi-Fi performance we simply hope for a driver update.

Apart from this, the Asus B9440UA is a very solid and stylish device with great input devices and many security features. Thanks to its long battery runtimes, it is predestined for use in the lecture hall or classroom.

Pricecompare

ASUSPRO B9440UA-GV0100T

Top 5 subnotebooks under 13-inch and 1,000 Euros (~$1146) for students

Pos.DateRatingImageModelHeightWeightSizeResolutionKeyboardDisplayBatteryKeyboard, Display and BatteryBest Price
111/201588%Microsoft Surface Pro 4, Core m3Microsoft Surface Pro 4, Core m3
Intel Core m3-6Y30
Intel HD Graphics 515
4 GB Memory, 128 GB SSD
8.5 mm1.1 kg12.3"2736x182487%90%89%89%
205/201590%Apple MacBook 12 (Early 2015) 1.1 GHzApple MacBook 12 (Early 2015) 1.1 GHz
Intel Core M-5Y31
Intel HD Graphics 5300
8 GB Memory, 256 GB SSD
13.1 mm920 g12"2304x144085%90%89%88%
311/201683%Asus TransformerBook T302CA-FL010TAsus TransformerBook T302CA-FL010T
Intel Core m3-6Y30
Intel HD Graphics 515
8 GB Memory, 128 GB SSD
20.3 mm1.5 kg12.5"1920x108080%84%96%87%
407/201687%HP Spectre x2 12-a001ngHP Spectre x2 12-a001ng
Intel Core m3-6Y30
Intel HD Graphics 515
4 GB Memory, 256 GB SSD
13.1 mm1.2 kg12"1920x128090%84%88%87%
504/201782%Dell Latitude 3189Dell Latitude 3189
Intel Pentium N4200
Intel HD Graphics 505
4 GB Memory, 128 GB SSD
20.75 mm1.4 kg11.6"1366x76882%83%91%85%

1st

Microsoft Surface Pro 4
Microsoft Surface Pro 4

Microsoft has won many fans with the Surface tablets and the Pro variant is popular among businessmen. There is still not much to complain about with the fourth generation of the Microsoft Surface Pro 4: we would have wished for a few more fast USB ports, use on the lap is only possible with limitations, and the design does not allow maintenance and upgrades. But, with the Type Cover, you will get a keyboard that can keep up with Ultrabooks.

The Core m models do not have a fan and are silent. Build quality and design meet the highest standards, the display is great, and the battery life lasts for a medium-haul flight. Those who do not necessarily want a notebook will find a great alternative in the Microsoft Surface Pro 4.

Pricecompare

Surface Pro 4, Core m3

2nd

Apple MacBook 12
Apple MacBook 12

With the MacBook 12, Apple surprisingly launched a new product series last year. Since it has been reduced to the basic essentials, the 12-inch notebook weighs only 920 g (~2 lb) and is about 13 mm high (~0.5 in). Apple has split opinions with this device: With only a single USB 3.1 Type-C (Gen. 1) port, you have to make do with the flexibility of a smartphone. It is not possible to charge the device and connect a mouse at the same time - at least not without the optional adapter. The keyboard with its robust touch-sensitive keys is also debatable. Nevertheless, the MacBook 12 performs excellently in the core disciplines of a highly mobile notebook: realistic battery runtimes of over 7 hours, an excellent display, extremely light weight, low emissions (silent operation), and satisfactory performance.

Pricecompare

MacBook 12 (Early 2015) 1.1 GHz

3rd

Asus TransformerBook T302CA
Asus TransformerBook T302CA

The big highlight of the Asus Transformer Book T302CA is the excellent battery runtime of more than 13 hours in the Wi-Fi test. We like the design and glossy screen. The not so durable magnetic hinges are only minor drawbacks on the way to the perfect student laptop.

There is almost nothing to criticize in terms of input devices, and the keyboard enables comfortable typing, but there is no illumination. The touchpad could be bigger, but you get a precise touchscreen and a pen which can be used for precise and pressure-sensitive inputs.

Pricecompare

TransformerBook T302CA-FL010T

4th

HP Spectre x2
HP Spectre x2

HP also offers a competitor to the Surface Pro 4 for consumers. The handy Spectre x2 12 (see review) certainly delivers. It comes with a brand-new Core m3 or m7. Microsoft does not offer m5 or m7 variants.

Is the Spectre x2 12 therefore an option for those looking for the best possible performance without a fan? Unfortunately, the answer is a clear no: The m7 variant does not perform significantly better than the m3 model. Quite the reverse, the m3 edition even comes with a slightly faster SSD.

Nevertheless, the Spectre x2 12-a003ng achieved quite a good result and impressed the tester. However, the Real Sense camera had the smallest impact on this. We liked the extraordinary good concept of keyboard (backlight, good haptics) and tablet. The combination is actually subnotebook-like, allowing comfortable productivity.

Pricecompare

Spectre x2 12-a001ng

5th

Dell Latitude 3189
Dell Latitude 3189

Dell's Latitude 3189 has actually been specifically designed for the education segment. The convertible features an 11.6-inch touchscreen with a rather low resolution of 1366x768 pixels. The display is not especially bright, yet viewing-angle-independent and it can be used with an active input pen if desired. The battery runtimes of above 10 hours in the Wi-Fi test are particularly delighting thus, battery life should not even be an issue on long schooldays. The case is designed to be extraordinarily stable, in order to survive occasional accidents. With a price of just under 800 Euros ($917), the device is not a bargain. Due to its very balanced performance, it is still recommendable.

Pricecompare

Latitude 3189

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Archive of our own reviews > The Best Notebooks for Teenagers and University Students
Staff, 2017-07-13 (Update: 2017-07-16)