Choosing a new laptop can be tricky and time consuming, especially finding affordable laptops perfect for students.

If you’re not particularly tech savvy or you’re overwhelmed for choice, it can be hard to decide what laptop you want. You may not even know what you want out of a laptop. Great speakers? Bigger hard drive? Faster charging times? Finding the right laptop that covers all of the necessary bases and is also affordable, is no easy task. That is why I have compiled a short list of the essential laptops for students that will help get you through your terms. No more worrying about specs and price and usability.

So, here are the best laptops for students, no matter what subject they’re studying:

Apple MacBook Air (M1 2020)

Price: £899 (currently on sale, usually £999).
Perfect for: Everyone. A great all-rounder laptop.
Pros: Exceptional battery life (14 hours on average). Sleek design. Fast and responsive.
Cons: Steep price point. Touchpad could be cumbersome for some. Underwhelming webcam.

When it comes to fast, affordable laptops, the go-to brand is generally Apple. Their laptops are generally geared solely around making your work and life management experience an intuitive and easy one. With a fast and responsive operating system capable of launching apps in seconds. Including a diverse range of apps that suit various needs, coming free pre-installed with the laptop. With such an array of positives going for the MacBook, it’s hard not to just recommend it outright. However, Apple’s pricing is usually a sticking point for most people. The steep asking price of £999 (usually) can be hard to contend with. Though it is currently on sale for £100 off, it rarely goes further than this, even for older models. So, if you don’t mind the price point, the MacBook Air is an easy recommend.

Microsoft Surface Pro 7 

Price: £699 (usually cheaper depending on where you buy).
Perfect for: Light work (word documents, spreadsheets etc.), Netflix addicts.
Pros: Compact and portable. Good battery life (11 hours on average). Crisp screen and display.
Cons: Keyboard is sold separately. Speakers are underwhelming.

This may seem like deception, since the Surface Pro series is often advertised as a tablet. However, the Surface Pro 7 in particular is noteworthy since it has all the functionality and power of a laptop. Albeit, much more compact and even more portable. This is a perfect laptop for students who don’t feel like they want to break the bank, but want something fast and capable. While it may not be as powerful as a MacBook or as capable as any other kind of laptop, there’s still a lot you can achieve here. Much care and emphasis was put into making the Surface Pro 7 behave and function as closely to a conventional laptop as possible. If your work consists mainly of writing documents and simple, lighter work then you can do no wrong with the Surface Pro 7.

Acer Chromebook Spin 13

Price: £499.99 (£599.99 usually).
Perfect for: Focus on work, social media and Netflix.
Pros: Portable and versatile 360 screen. Extremely affordable. Touch-screen with stylus.
Cons: Average battery life (<10 hours on average). Heavier than most laptops. Not as powerful.

If you’re confident that you won’t be using your laptop much outside of work and media viewing, then the Acer Chromebook Spin 13 is just for you. With its incredibly affordable price point, you could comfortably invest in one without having to think twice. As work laptops go, it’s powerful enough to support most apps for use in and out of uni lectures. However, if you have plans for it outside of work and some Netflix-watching, like gaming or otherwise, then you’re better off going for a more expensive model. But, if you’re looking for a work-priority machine, then the Acer Chromebook Spin 13 may just be the one for you.