College student working on laptop

Will a Cheap College Laptop Get the Job Done?

Knowledge Base

Between research, taking notes, and keeping yourself organized, a laptop is essential to making the most out of your college experience. This leads most budget-conscious students to wonder if a less expensive notebook computer will suit their needs. Thankfully in most cases, the answer is yes! Keep reading to learn how to pick the perfect cheap laptop for yourself or the future college grad in your life.

Picking a Laptop for College

The secret of finding the perfect laptop is to align features with your particular needs. We list a few facts you may not have thought about yet.

Battery Life

If you’re stuck in class all day, there’s no guarantee you’ll be able to charge your laptop. Make sure the battery lasts long enough, so you’re not left without your laptop. Eight hours or more is impressive but make sure it’s possible even if you have Wi-Fi on at times.

Screen Size

A large screen is necessary if you need to look at videos a lot or if you need it to share images with others in a group or class. It helps when the design incorporates a high screen to body ratio so you can have a compact device but as large a screen as possible.

However, if your device is only for general typing—and if you have good eyesight—this feature shouldn’t be a deal-breaker. Just know the movies you view won’t be as impressive.

Screen Type

Is one really better than the other? Once again it’s about how you’ll use your laptop. A touch screen makes for easy browsing but if you’re already used to using a mouse it won’t necessarily make you work faster. A stylus with a touch screen is a nice extra but you’ll have to get used to it to optimize it. Don’t make this the deciding factor in your purchase.


The display may be something you can save some money on. But only if it won’t affect your work. The number of pixels is essential to view high-quality images. But if your course doesn’t prioritize this it shouldn’t matter. Just be prepared to view videos in slightly lower quality than you’ll see on your TV at home.

In contrast, if you’re studying arts, design or film this, of course, is paramount and you have to purchase the best possible option.

Size Portability

Where will you use your laptop? Ideally, your laptop should travel with you to each class and not be left in your room. If you’re studying online, this doesn’t matter because your laptop will probably remain on your desk most of the time.

But you don’t want to lug around too much weight on campus. In this scenario, a light model is essential. Also remember to make sure that it easily fits into your bag.


Before you spend your savings on the item you think is the perfect blend of features for a super low price, think ahead. Will the item you pick still be viable in two years?

Technology changes quickly, and you don’t want your college laptop to become obsolete. That will mean another unnecessary expense.

You need enough RAM to cope with the work you’ll be doing throughout your course. The ports should also be appropriate. A good example is how quickly CDs and CD drives went from a vital component to being obsolete. These days people only use USB drives, right? So make sure your laptop has the latest features for now and the future.

Storage Space

If you run out of storage space, your machine will become slower. If you want the laptop to perform better, get access to cloud storage or an option to upgrade the memory. An alternative is using an external hard drive or SD card to save your documents on.

Final Words

Have you identified your winning option? It pays off to vet these devices before you make your final pick. Why? Because indirectly, they’ll determine your performance and the outcome of your education. So start by making your list of requirements and then get shopping.