College Laptop Buying Guide

Laptop Buying Guide 
In this guide, I will attempt to provide a laptop to fit into major budgets for the active student for high school as well as college.  The elements that I considered were processor, memory, storage, screen size, battery life, and build quality. 
I can't stress enough that research is key.  Windows laptops come in hundreds, if not thousands of variations of make, model, and quality.  I pulled much of my understanding from laptop ranking guides and reviews.  I believe the most up to date and informative website is  This guide provides far more price brackets and options than I have, and is worth taking a look. 


ASUS Laptop F554LA-NH51 $375 
I consider this laptop to be a steal at this price-point, and does a great job to be an all-around multipurpose machine.  This computer can tackle all of your basic needs, and can be expected to do the same for upwards of 3 years.  For the price, you get an Intel i5 and 4GB of RAM which is very respectable for a laptop of this budget.  The sacrifices is this category are battery life, only producing 4 hours of active use per charge, and screen-size.  At 15.6 inches this laptop may require another bag to carry it in, due to its large size and backpacks relatively narrow pockets 


Dell Inspiron 15 i5558-5716SLV $518 
The Dell Inspiron 15 is a reasonable step up from the Asus in virtually every way, with a marginal price increase.  This laptop offers 7 hours of battery life, twice the memory, twice the storage, and an HD screen.  The only foreseeable sacrifices here are again size, and for its competition, the hard drive speed is going to become the limiting factor.  

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ASUS ZenBook UX305FA-USM1 

This Asus is what is called an ultrabook, a highly portable and highly efficient laptop.  Although a notable downgrade from the Dell is going to be the processor, however, it is not lacking in productivity.  Those who can spare the raw performance can benefit from this laptops 10hr battery life, portable 13.3” screensize, and fast Solid State Drive (fully electronic storage device). 

Dell XPS 13 $800, $950 
The Dell XPS 13 has been rated by many sources as the best laptop of 2015, and for good reason too.  This laptop features the highest build quality of Windows consumer laptops, and rivals that of MacBooks.  The changes to this laptop are the available options for processors, memory, storage, and display.  The prices on specific configurations vary with specific sales and retail options, but the higher price tag is justified by the incredible build quality and efficiency.  Like the Asus, this is another ultrabook, designed to be highly portable and to have a long lasting battery, upwards of 10 hours on a charge.  If you consider yourself a light user, web-browsing, note-taking, music-listening, then the $800 model will fit your needs well.  On the other hand, if you anticipate the need to develop software, edit video, play games, the i5 model for another $150 is well worth the money.  This laptop will definitely last you throughout 4 years of college, and possibly beyond depending on the rigor of your daily use. 

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