Notebookcheck

The Best Notebooks for Teenagers and University Students

Staff, 07/13/2017

September 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; ~$595) or “tight budget” is limited to notebooks under 500 Euros (~$595). Due to the small number of reviews available, the recently released competitors with "Bing Windows" - that is, devices under 290 Euros (~$345) 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 (~$357 to ~$476). We will devote a separate article to this new class in this aggressive price range.

Class 2 (500-800 Euros; ~$595-~$953) lists all-rounders and high-quality entry-level business notebooks between 500 and 800 Euros (~$595 to ~$953). 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; ~$953-~$1787) 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, ~$1191, 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 (~$595)

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%
407/2017
new!
80%Cube Thinker m3Cube Thinker m3
Intel Core m3-7Y30
Intel HD Graphics 615
8 GB Memory
14 mm1.7 kg13.5"3000x200073%91%76%80%
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 (~$595). 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 (~$594) 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 it 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 challenge 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

Cube Thinker
Cube Thinker

The exotic Cube Thinker requires that you are slightly capable of suffering: The device suffers from a strange keyboard with differently high keys and the lack of warranty. Why do we still add it to our top list? Individualists can impress with it in the classroom or auditorium: The device looks significantly more expensive than it is and comes with a fantastic display and very good features for its price.

Pricecompare

Thinker m3

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 (~$595 to ~$953)

Pos.DateRatingImageModelHeightWeightSizeResolutionKeyboardDisplayBatteryKeyboard, Display and BatteryBest Price
107/2017
new!
86%Dell Latitude 5580Dell Latitude 5580
Intel Core i5-7300U
Intel HD Graphics 620
8 GB Memory, 500 GB HDD
23.25 mm2.2 kg15.6"1920x108088%86%93%89%
203/201784%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%
302/201784%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%
401/201785%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%
501/201779%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%

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

Dell Latitude 5580
Dell Latitude 5580

The Dell Latitude 5580 is a classical business notebook, which can score points with a decent display, very good input devices, and decent Wi-Fi battery life of above 10 hours. The performance is sufficient for demanding tasks and the temperature remains in the normal range. A matte coating ensures that the display is legible outdoors. Several security features emphasize the business background. Moreover, the device has a good price-performance ratio. Those who are looking for a solid, yet not too expensive companion might find a good choice in the Latitude 5580.

Pricecompare

Latitude 5580

2nd

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 ($595). 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

3rd

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

4th

Lenovo ThinkPad E470
Lenovo ThinkPad E470

The ThinkPad E470 is an entry-level device in Lenovo's legendary business-notebook range. 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

5th

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

Top 5 notebooks for students over 800 Euros (~$953)

Pos.DateRatingImageModelHeightWeightSizeResolutionKeyboardDisplayBatteryKeyboard, Display and BatteryBest Price
106/201791%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%
206/201790%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%
407/2017
new!
89%Asus Zenbook UX3430UQ-GV012TAsus Zenbook UX3430UQ-GV012T
Intel Core i7-7500U
NVIDIA GeForce 940MX
16 GB Memory, 512 GB SSD
15.9 mm1.3 kg14"1920x108088%91%91%90%
503/201786%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%

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 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 more 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

Asus Zenbook UX3430UQ
Asus Zenbook UX3430UQ

Have you already been waiting for a slim, stylish subnotebook for a long time? If so, Asus might have the right offer for you with the Zenbook UX3430UQ: The 14-inch device is an excellent high-end business subnotebook with great input devices, excellent display, low emissions and long battery life of 8:47 hours. Moreover, it features a fingerprint sensor and TPM 2.0. However, the GeForce 940MX is dispensable. The iGPU variant for 1200 Euros (~$1430) might be the better choice for many users. It allows saving money and is certainly sufficient for everyday tasks.

Pricecompare

Zenbook UX3430UQ-GV012T

5th

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

Top 5 subnotebooks under 13-inch and 1,000 Euros (~$1191) for students

Pos.DateRatingImageModelHeightWeightSizeResolutionKeyboardDisplayBatteryKeyboard, Display and BatteryBest Price
108/2017
new!
89%Microsoft Surface Pro (2017)Microsoft Surface Pro (2017)
Intel Core m3-7Y30
Intel HD Graphics 615
4 GB Memory, 128 GB SSD
8.5 mm1.1 kg12.3"2736x182689%89%93%90%
211/201588%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%
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%
407/2017
new!
84%Acer Switch 5 SW512-52-5819Acer Switch 5 SW512-52-5819
Intel Core i7-7500U
Intel HD Graphics 620
8 GB Memory, 512 GB NVMe
9.6 mm1.3 kg12"2160x144088%81%88%85%
508/2017
new!
84%Acer Switch 3 SW312-31-P5VGAcer Switch 3 SW312-31-P5VG
Intel Pentium N4200
Intel HD Graphics 505
4 GB Memory, 64 GB SSD
9.95 mm877 g12.2"1920x120087%85%83%85%

1st

Microsoft Surface Pro
Microsoft Surface Pro

The newest Microsoft Surface Pro variant no longer carries a version number but is referred to by year. A cheap 2017 variant with Core m processor is available for significantly under 1000 Euros (~$1191). It is a great bundle: high-end build quality and a Wi-Fi battery runtime of above 11 hours convey a great deal. Moreover, its very good display and silent operation are big advantages. The system performance is sufficient for everyday tasks. The glossy display and the lack of a USB-C port are slightly disappointing. Nevertheless, the Surface Pro (2017) is a very good convertible which hardly shows serious weaknesses.

Pricecompare

Surface Pro (2017)

2nd

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

3rd

Asus Transformer Book T302CA
Asus Transformer Book 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 accurate and pressure-sensitive inputs.

Pricecompare

TransformerBook T302CA-FL010T

4th

Acer Switch 5
Acer Switch 5

The Acer Switch 5 costs just under 1000 Euros (~$1191). The convertible brings decent performance for its price, but you have to accept less-than-ideal battery life and temperatures. A keyboard dock with light and an input pen are included. Moreover, the input devices are of high quality and the build quality is good. The device cannot fully keep up with the Microsoft Surface Pro, but it is a good alternative for all those looking for high performance for little money.

Pricecompare

Switch 5 SW512-52-5819

5th

Acer Switch 3
Acer Switch 3

The Acer Switch 3 is a 12.2-inch convertible with pen input and Full HD display for under 500 Euros (~$595). This is in itself an achievement. In addition, the device is stable and light, features good input devices and it does not run too warm. Certainly, it is hardly apt for demanding tasks, but it is well suitable for everyday office tasks.

Cost cuts become obvious with the display. While it features quite a high resolution, its contrast is quite modest and it reflects heavily. Hence, it is difficult to work with it in bright environments. Furthermore, the storage capacity of only 64 GB is quite low.

Pricecompare

Switch 3 SW312-31-P5VG

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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: 2017-09- 6)