Best Laptops for Engineering Students in 2021 – Ultimate Buying Guide

best laptops for engineering students

Is your engineering school just on the horizon and you still haven’t decided on which laptop to get?

Time is indeed running short but don’t panic this article has just the information you need. Laptop recommendation for each engineering major, frequently asked questions, buyer’s guide, and 15 laptops for engineering students you name it this article has got it all.

It is crucial to get the proper laptop for engineering because during the duration of your engineering courses, you will get to experience exciting programs like AutoCAD, SolidWorks, MATLAB, and ANSYS.

These programs open new horizons to act upon and allow you as a student to create and render graphics and visualization like never before.

But when it comes to running these programs smoothly a normal low-powered laptop is just not up to the task. Therefore, as an engineering student, you need raw computational power and performance to run these applications without a hitch.

When it comes to buying a powerful laptop many things need to be factorized in to get the best deal.

The availability of a plethora of options in the market does not help either in this regard and further confuses the student.

But you should not worry after all I have done the hard work for you. Coming up next are carefully picked laptops that not only offer beastly performance but are fun to carry around and use.

In a Hurry? A Quick Look at Our Top Picks

Coming up next is the preview of the best engineering laptops featured on this list. For the full reviews refer to the detail section below.

Do Engineering Students Really Need a Powerful Laptop?

If you are looking for a quick and simple answer then yes engineering does require powerful laptops.

On the topic of why let’s briefly analyze what engineering and study you will conduct during the duration of your degree program.

Irrespective of the field you go in engineering courses will require you to work with a plethora of different programs or software.

These programs are there to aid you in various problem-solving situations and more often than not you will be building or rendering something on these programs.

Examples of such programs include AutoCAD, SolidWorks, MATLAB, and ANSYS. Manipulating graphical resources to come up with a model or a figure of something is quite an intensive task.

Since you will be doing these intensive tasks over and over again therefore a powerful laptop is required. A laptop that has enough power to handle 3D modeling and rendering.

Otherwise, if you opt to run these programs on simple laptops then I am afraid you won’t have a good time. The programs will stutter and often freeze and hence investing in a powerful laptop is an absolute necessity if you are planning on getting that degree in engineering.

Laptop Recommendation for Each Engineering Major

In the engineering discipline, there are many fields in which you can major in. All these fields have specialized software that you will learn to use. Throughout your journey, you will get to use a plethora of different which may sometimes overlap.

Since you are going to use these softwares a lot in your respective major hence you should get a laptop that caters to the required specifications. The list of the commonly used programs is as follows.

Computer/Software Engineering

Commonly used software: MATLAB, Visual Studio, Eclipse (for Linux), RStudio, C++, JAVA, PYTHON.

Required specification: 4 core Intel i5 or AMD Ryzen processor, 8GB RAM or higher, no dedicated graphic card required.

Recommended laptops: Microsoft Surface Laptop 4, Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5, MacBook M1 Air.


Electrical Engineering

Commonly used software: MATLAB, Simulink, LabVIEW, PSPice, Keil uVision, ETAP, ECAD, C++, JAVA, Python.

Required specification: 6 core Intel i7 or AMD Ryzen, 8GB RAM, Dedicated graphics card is a plus but not required.

Recommended laptops: Dell XPS 15, LG Gram 17, Acer Swift X.


Mechanical Engineering

Commonly used software: SolidWorks, AutoCAD, CATIA, ANSYS, COMSOL, HyperMesh, MATLAB, JAVA, Python.

Required specification: 8 Core Intel i7 or AMD Ryzen processor, 16GB RAM, Dedicated 4GB Nvidia graphics card or higher.

Recommended laptops: Asus Zephyrus G14, MSI GS66 Stealth.


Chemical Engineering

Commonly used software: Aspen, ChemCAD, ANSYS Fluent, COMSOL, Microsoft Excel.

Required specification: 6 core Intel i7 or AMD Ryzen, 16GB RAM, Dedicated 2GB Nvidia graphics card or higher.

Recommended laptops: MSI Stealth 15M, HP Envy 14, Acer Aspire 7.


Civil Engineering

Commonly used software: STAAD Pro, SAP2000, 3D CAD, Revit Structure, Autodesk Maya, Microsoft Excel.

Recommended specifications: 6 core Intel i7 or AMD Ryzen, 16GB RAM, Dedicated Nvidia graphics card.

Recommended laptops: Acer ConceptD 3 Ezel.


Aeronautical/Aerospace Engineering

Commonly used software: CATIA, Inventor, Solid Edge, SolidWorks, FLUENT, OpenFOAM, ANSYS, Unigraphics.

Recommended specification: 8 Core Intel i7 or AMD Ryzen processor, 16GB RAM, Dedicated 4GB Nvidia graphics card or higher.

Recommended laptops: Razer Blade 14, Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Xtreme.

In-Depth Reviews

With the brief overlook done, let’s get to the in-depth review of each of the products and see what they have to offer for an engineering student.

Best Overall

1. Dell XPS 15

Dell-XPS-9510

The Dell XPS 15 is arguably the best high-end Ultrabook you can get for the money. Hailed as the closest competitor to the MacBook Pro 16 this laptop will surely impress you with its sleek design that hides a powerful core underneath. In such a slim chassis Dell has managed to pack an 8 core Intel processor and an Nvidia RTX 3050ti.


Reasons to Buy

  • Sleek and gorgeous design
  • Lightweight chassis for a 15inch laptop
  • bezel-less display
  • OLED panel offers fantastic color accuracy
  • Good battery life
  • Rich and detailed speakers
  • 8 core Intel i7 processor
  • Nvidia RTX 3050ti graphics card

Reasons to Avoid

  • Limited port selection
  • Build quality has some quality control issues
  • Non-user upgradeable RAM

Design and Overview

This is a stunning-looking laptop, especially in the arctic white colorway. The white carbon fiber chassis of the laptop is something to drool upon and it also sets the laptop apart from other 15-inch Windows notebooks.

One aspect of the design we all can truly appreciate is the slimness of the chassis. Despite a 15-inch screen at the helm, the laptop just weighs 4 lbs. To achieve this slim chassis a sacrifice in the port department had to be made.

As a result, this laptop gets rid of all the other ports in favor of 3 USB-C ports and a full-size SD card slot. All three USB-C ports support Thunderbolt 4 connectivity.

Dell however is kind enough to include a USB-C to USB-A and HDMI adapter in the box for the students who would like to access these legacy ports.

Features and Functionality

The keyboard of the laptop is very comfortable to type on as it features decent travel with a crisp upstroke. This makes typing long essays or documents a non-issue.

As far as the trackpad is concerned the Dell XPS features the best trackpads on the windows platform. The trackpad here is large and precise with a smooth surface.

Moving onto the speakers next and these sound exceptional. The amount of bass these speakers can splurge from such a thin chassis is surprising. The treble range is also detail and revealing.

Going against the norm the Dell XPS 15 has a somewhat decent webcam compared to the competition. The quality of the webcam is such that you will encounter no problem when attending video calls.

Display and Battery Life

It is hard to express how good the screen of the Dell XPS 15 is in words. All the effort of shrinking down the bezels has paid off with the result being a glorious 93% screen-to-body ratio.

This gives rise to the 16:10 aspect ratio which on a 15-inch panel provides more screen real estate to work with.

With this aspect ratio, you will be able to see more vertical pixels which become apparent when you are browsing through web pages and navigating through a word document.

The icing on the cake is the 3.5K OLED panel with excellent color accuracy. Being OLED, the screen has deep black levels and crisp clear imaging. Watching movies on this bezel-less color-accurate screen is simply breathtaking.

Despite having a high-resolution display and a dedicated Nvidia graphics card Dell XPS 15 still manages to deliver a battery life of 7-8 hours.  

This is of course with the brightness turned down and the laptop being used for basic everyday tasks like browsing the web, working on MS office, watching Netflix and YouTube, and working on university assignments.

Specifications and Performance

This area is one of the key highlights of the Dell XPS 15. Powered by the Intel i7 11800H and an Nvidia RTX 3050ti which laptop delivers beastly performance.

The i7 featured here is an 8 core 16 thread variant and hence you can perform any CPU-intensive task you want without much worry. Running programs like AutoCAD, SolidWorks, and MATLAB smoothly is a child’s play for this processor.

The newly released RTX 3050ti is a great step up in terms of an entry-level graphics card and will not only play games at handsome framerates but will also assist in graphics bound applications like adobe photoshop and premier.

To maintain fluidity across the board the M2 SSD installed on this laptop is fast and provides great read and write speeds. You can configure the laptop with a maximum of 4TB drive, but I recommend opting for a 1TB variant as there is an empty M2 slot that you can use to expand storage.

In this way by adding an SSD yourself you get to save some money and as we all know in college every penny counts. Similarly, the Ram is also not soldered onto the motherboard which is a great plus since it will allow for easy upgrades later on.

As for the preinstalled memory capacity, you get dual-channel 16GB RAM clocked at a very fast speed. Overall, this laptop is fast, fluid, and powerful hence it flies past any task or workload you throw at it.

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Best Value

2. Acer Swift X

Acer Swift X

The Acer Swift X is the closest you will get to a mid-range laptop done right. For the price of around $1000, this laptop offers so much freedom and flexibility without compromising on essential aspects. Featuring an 8 core Ryzen processor and a dedicated Nvidia GTX 1650 graphics card, this laptop combines performance and portability in a well-rounded package that carries a bargain price tag.


Reasons to Buy

  • Decent build quality for the price
  • Built-in Alexa integration
  • Good color accurate 1080p screen
  • 8 core AMD Ryzen 5800u processor
  • Dedicated Nvidia RTX 3050ti 4GB graphics card
  • Excellent 10-hour battery life

Reasons to Avoid

  • Bland and generic design
  • The WiFi connection drops signals randomly
  • The two bottom-firing speakers sound tiny
  • 512GB might be insufficient if you store a lot of stuff

Design and Overview

The design of the Acer swift x is nothing to write home about. It has a dated generic-looking chassis with a prominent plastic bezel around the screen.

The plastic bezel around the screen cheapens the overall perception of the laptop and the silver color of the laptop does not help either in this regard. The dated design somewhat puts a dent in the otherwise good build quality of the laptop. 

The plastic construction of the laptop has one major advantage and that being the weight of the chassis. The Acer Swift X roughly weighs 1400 lbs. To put into perspective the 13inch MacBook Air weighs about the same.

Despite the slim and lightweight design, it is relief to see that this laptop has a proper I/O. All the ports that you will frequently need in college are present here. From the right to the left the ports that are present include barrel-type power in, USB-C, HDMI, 2X USB-A, Kensington lock, and a 3.5mm combo Audio/Mic jack.

The single USB-C port of the laptop also supports charging. This is a very convenient feature to have as it allows the student to carry a single charger for all the devices hence reducing clutter and weight of the backpack.

Features and Functionality

Acer has honed down the core functionality of this laptop. Everything you interact with works and functions great without any fuss.

The keyboard is great and offers a comfortable typing experience. It also has a multistage backlight that allows you to get work done at night. The trackpad also works as intended without botching any gestures.

If you do not want the hassle of opening stuff yourself or are in a tight spot then simply ask Alexa to execute the command for you. Yes, you heard it right there is built-in Alexa integration in this laptop.

For an engineering student, a webcam is an integral part of the daily routine. More often than not most of your days will be spent on Xoom calls hence the need for the webcam.

Finding a decent camera on a $1000 laptop is rare let alone a good one. Unfortunately, this laptop is also not here to break any mold. The included 720p webcam on the Acer Swift X has a grainy picture quality and lacks any background noise suppression.

The next negative of the laptop comes in the form of bad WiFi connectivity. The WiFi of the Acer Swift X tends to disconnect by itself randomly. The problem is not bad as it sounds, and disconnections are far from frequent.

Display and Battery Life

The gorgeous 14-inch 1080p screen of the Acer Swift X makes it stand out from the competition. The color accuracy and the contrast ratio of the panel are top-notch. As a result, movies and pictures look fantastic on this panel.

Due to the high peak brightness value, the screen is also legible in bright sunlight. The auto-brightness mode appropriately adjusts brightness according to the situation and hence is quite well-calibrated.

The Acer Swift X achieved a 10-hour battery backup time. Albeit the 10-hour figure was with the brightness turned to low and the laptop being used for light tasks browsing the web, writing basic code, watching movies and videos, and working in MS office applications.

Nonetheless, still mighty impressive for a 14inch notebook let alone one with a powerful processor and a dedicated Nvidia graphics card.

Specifications and Performance

Putting a Ryzen 5800u was the best decision Acer made for this laptop. The 8 core 16 thread Ryzen 5800u processor is miles ahead of its Intel counterpart when it comes to performance.

With the Ryzen 5800u processor, you can shave down your 3D modeling and rendering time by up to 30% in comparison to an Intel processor.

This beastly processor is paired with the Nvidia GTX 3050ti graphics card. Simply put the GTX 3050ti is the best graphics card you can get at this price and will serve you well in CAD, CAM, and FEA applications.

With this graphics card, you can also play games on the laptop. The flexibility and the capability this graphics card brings to the table are a big plus for any engineering student.

The laptop also fares quite well in the memory and the storage department. It has 16GB dual-channel RAM that has a fast clock speed of 3200Mhz.

The SSD drive you get with this laptop has a capacity of 512GB and has fast read and write speeds. It is also upgradeable and not soldered onto the motherboard which is always ideal.

Overall, this laptop is ideal for any engineering student as it has enough power to run any task or program that you may encounter during the duration of your course.

Best Under $2000

3. Asus Zephyrus G14

Asus Zephyrus G14

Asus Zephyrus G14 simply put is the best slim and powerful gaming laptop one can buy. Although being made primarily for gaming its use extends to other heavy tasks like productivity and rendering. Given its lightweight nature and high-performance output, this laptop is a great pick for engineering students.


Reasons to Buy

  • A gaming laptop that is easy to lug around
  • Comfortable keyboard to type on
  • Very good trackpad for a gaming laptop
  • Plenty of ports
  • Good battery life of 7-8 hours
  • 8 core AMD Ryzen processor
  • Nvidia RTX 3060 graphics card
  • Easily upgradeable internals

Reasons to Avoid

  • Subpar standard build quality
  • The speaker quality is horrible
  • No webcam

Design and Overview

The Asus Zephyrus G14 has an understated and clean design. This is unlike games laptops which favor a flashier approach but for college purposes, this simple approach works like a charm.

For a gaming laptop, the chassis of the Asus Zephyrus G14 is quite slim. Although you cannot compare the thickness of this laptop to something like a Dell XPS but still having a depth of 0.78 inches is mighty impressive. 

To reduce the weight of the laptop Asus has resorted to a magnesium alloy construction. As a result of this material, the curb weight of the laptop is 3.7 lbs. 

While this magnesium build does achieve its purpose of reducing weight but the in-hand feel of the laptop suffers. No problem with the solidity though and this magnesium alloy chassis is robust and solid.

Since the Asus Zephyrus G14 is a gaming laptop with plenty of room in its internal bay port selection here is a non-issue. The laptop includes a plethora of various ports that include HDMI, 2x USB-c ports, 2x USB-A ports, Kensington lock, 3.5mm combo Audio Mic-in, and a barrel-style power port.

Features and Functionality

Gaming laptops tend to have comfortable keyboards that one can use to type long essays or documents on and this Asus Zephyrus G14 is no exception. The keys here have great tactility and the per-key travel is also good.

The trackpad on the other hand is far from the best. For starters, it is relatively small and the issue is further worsened with the uncalibrated surface. Although it gets the job done often hiccups can be experienced when using gesture navigation.

The speakers also echo the same story and are mediocre at best. They lack low-end bass and the treble clarity is also not the best.

Another shocking surprise this laptop has in store is the omission of a webcam. Like common guys, a webcam is necessary on a laptop especially in times like these where we mostly rely on video calls.

Therefore, in the functionality is cannot help but digress by the opportunities Asus has missed to market their laptop to a broader audience that involves engineering students.

Screen and Battery Life

Being a gaming-oriented laptop, the 14-inch screen of this laptop supports a refresh rate of 144hz at 1080p resolution. Now you have to decide on whether the 144hz refresh rate adds value to your experience or not, but one thing is for sure you will get a smoother experience here

The panel technology used here is IPS. Unfortunately, it still runs in the default 16:9 aspect ratio which is fine for content consumption or gaming but hinders the productivity experience somewhat.

The color and picture quality metrics of the panel however are good. I did not expect a gaming laptop to deliver an SRGB coverage of 100%. Rest assured movies, pictures, and media will look great on this panel.

Since the Asus Zephyrus G14 is a gaming laptop one cannot expect it to deliver an all-day battery life, but it still manages to hit a decent figure. With light usage, you can expect this laptop to last around 8 hours which is quite impressive for a gaming laptop.

Specifications and Performance

The performance that the Asus Zephyrus packs for the size can be best described in a single word that being mind-boggling. Ryzen 9 5900hs is an 8 core 16 thread processor from AMD is truly a gift for laptop enthusiasts.

This processor besides owning its competitors in performance offers excellent thermal efficiency as well.  This processor along with the Nvidia RTX 3060 makes this laptop a deadly vice for any application or program.

CAD programs like AutoCAD-no problem, rendering with blender-easy, using other 3D applications and programs-a breeze. What I want to iterate is that this laptop will power through any task you throw at it.

When not running through the intensive application you can sit down for a gaming session on this laptop and rest assured it will manage to play any modern AAA title with ease.

This laptop has also got you covered in the memory and storage front. It has 16GB Ram which will be plenty for running heavy applications as well as for multi-tasking.

The preinstalled M2 NVME SSD of this laptop although not the fastest offers a compelling 1TB storage space. There is also a vacant M2 slot on the motherboard which can be accessed to expand the storage space of the laptop.

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Best Performance

4. Razer Blade 14

Razer Blade 14

Thin, light, and powerful. These characteristics define the new Razer Blade 14. With the new 8 core AMD Ryzen processor and an Nvidia RTX 3070 graphics card the Razer Blade 14 is quite simply the best portable banger you can get hands down.


Reasons to Buy

  • Lightest 14-inch gaming laptop
  • Great keyboard and trackpad
  • The speakers can get pretty loud
  • Mesmerizing 1440p 165Hz display
  • Excellent cooling for such a slim chassis’
  • 8 core AMD Ryzen 5900HX processor
  • Nvidia RTX 3070 graphics card

Reasons to Avoid

  • Subpar battery life
  • There are cheaper laptops available with the same specification

Design and Build Quality

The design is typical Razer. The matte black chassis made out of metal with a clean silhouette and a green Razer logo is the trademark design of the brand.

The most innovation in this new Razer blade 14 has been in the weight and thinness department. This laptop just weighs 3.9 lbs which is on the lighter side compared with similarly specced gaming laptops.

The chassis also comes in at just 0.7 inches in width making this laptop quite portable for daily carry around school.

As for the ports you are getting here an HDMI port, 2X USB-A ports, 2X USB-C ports, and a 3.5mm combo Audio/Mic jack.

Unfortunately, the USB-C ports do not support thunderbolt connectivity but then again this is the case with all AMD laptops so nothing to blame Razer for.

Features and Functionality

Razer is master when it comes to functionality and in this laptop, they have integrated everything they have learned over the years. 

This laptop offers the best-in-class keyboard and trackpad experience on a gaming laptop. It has a comfortable and tactile keyboard that is satisfying to use. And a trackpad is big, well-calibrated, and has a smooth surface.

Due to the need of the time, Razer has also fitted the laptop with a good quality webcam so you can take your video calls without any problem.

The WiFi connectivity is also fantastic. Being powered by the latest WiFi technology this laptop never dropped signals or provided a bailed on low transfer speeds.

The only area which can see further improvement is the speakers of the Blade 14. The sound signature of this laptop consists of lackluster lows and diluted highs.

Display and Battery Life

The screen of the Razer Blade 14 is quite well rounded for being a gaming laptop. The 14-inch panel here supports a refresh rate of 165Hz at 1440p resolution.

The display metrics of the panel are on point and this screen has good color accuracy with a sharp and vivid picture.

As a college student, this screen will fulfill all your needs. The high refresh will be great for weekend gaming or word-related applications like MATLAB, CAD, etc.

While the good picture quality will make for a great movie watching and content consumption experience.

If you are thinking that all the performance and the screen goodness comes at the cost of battery life, then worry not. This laptop is very efficient and manages a battery timing of 6-7 hours on web browsing and doing light tasks like taking notes.

Specifications and Performance

To put it simply the performance of the Razer Blade 14 is brilliant. This laptop might be the closest thing we have to as being a full-blown desktop replacement in a slim and compact chassis.

The Ryzen 5900HX powering the laptop is the best processor AMD has released so far and it reigns supreme as the fastest 8 core 16 thread processor money can buy. When you pair this mighty to a processor to the Nvidia RTX 3070 it works wonders.

This deadly duo produces a performance that is capable of toppling most all heavy workloads that include AutoCAD, SolidWorks, Matlab, ANSYS with ease.

You will also be able to play games at native 1440p resolution while easily managing 100+ FPS in most games.

If your workload requires an extensive RAM capacity and a fast SSD then you will be delighted to know that the Razer Blade 14 comes in with a 16GB dual channel ram clocked at the speed of 3200MHz.

The 1TB SSD used also provides the best in class read and write speeds. This not only helps in compiling code or other similar tasks but also makes for a very fluid and slick feeling laptop.

Hence it enhances the overall user experience which is already quite good, to begin with.

Best Under $1200

5. Apple MacBook M1 Air

Apple MacBook M1 Air

Hold on, a MacBook Air in the list of engineering laptops you ask? Well, then I assume you have not heard about the Apple M1 chipset. This remarkable feat of engineering has taken the laptop industry by storm. Spoiler alert the new MacBook Air M1 is an extremely fast and capable machine while retaining the portability and ease of use the series is known for.


Reasons to Buy

  • Slim and lightweight chassis coming in at just 2.8 lbs
  • The premium all-aluminum chassis is very durable
  • The large and precise trackpad is a delight to use
  • 2x thunderbolt ports
  • Front-firing speakers are clear, rich and produce loud audio
  • Chart-topping battery life
  • Best in class CPU performance

Reasons to Avoid

  • The shallow keyboard is not the most comfortable
  • Lack of frequently used ports becomes a hassle
  • Not all third-party apps work on the new Apple M1 chip

Design and Overview

There is no point in beating a dead bush as the design of the new MacBook Air M1 is unchanged from the previous generation.

It is still the single block aluminum construction we have come to love and adore from Apple. The design of the Air is clean, minimal and the chassis is very slim almost too thin really.

This clean and thin design fits the bill when it comes to university. The lightweight nature of the laptop helps to lug the laptop around campus. The support for fast USB-C charging is also a fantastic feature of the MacBook Air.

As a student having the convenience to carry a single cable that fits all the devices and gadgets takes out a lot of hassle away from the daily routine.

On the topic of USB-C ports, two ports are all you are going to get on this laptop. Both the ports support thunderbolt connectivity. Besides these dual USB-C ports the only other port connectivity of the laptop comes in the form of a 3.5mm audio jack. 

Features and Functionality

Apple has finally replaced the butterfly switches of the previous generation with the more traditional ones for this year’s MacBook Air increasing the functionality of the laptop twice fold.

All you need to know in terms of this year’s keyboard is that is comfortable to type on if you like a shallow travel tactile keyboard. The consistency of the white backlighting of the keyboard is next to none. 

The other things you interact with on daily basis are phenomenal. The trackpad, the speakers, the webcam, and the WiFi and Bluetooth connectivity are all outstanding and best in class.

The biggest hurdle when it comes to the functionality of the MacBook Air is not because of its hardware but rather because of the new M1 chip.

Not all applications are optimized for this new M1 chipset and hence the availability of natively optimized applications for the new platform is scarce.

Before jumping on board the M1 MacBook Air make sure the programs and applications you are going to use throughout your engineering course are optimized for this new M1 platform.

Display and Battery Life

The MacBook M1 Air triumphs in the Display segment. It features a 13 inch IPS display with a resolution of 2560 x 1600. You are still getting the rest of the Apple display shenanigans like the Truetone color display.

With the peak brightness of 400nits and color accuracy that is amazing out of the box the display of this laptop is a contender for the best screen in a sub $1200 laptop.

Apple has quite simply nailed it this time around with the display and streaming content on this laptop is a sight to behold. Everything on the screen looks sharp and vivid without the oversaturation that may come with other badly calibrated panels.

The biggest ace of the MacBook Air is not the display, or how slim the chassis is but rather the battery life. You would be hard-pressed to know that this laptop easily lasts for 13-14 hours with a day’s worth of normal usage.

This usage includes casual browsing the web, watching Netflix and YouTube, navigating socials, and doing some Microsoft office-related work. I suppose this is what they call a revolution in terms of battery life.

Specifications and Performance

The new Apple is a beast of a chip and provides performance that beats the existing Intel I9 MacBook. This tiny little device stands toe to toe with the bulkier gaming notebooks featuring new AMD Ryzen 9 processors.

A surprising fact about the MacBook Air is that despite having such good performance figures the MacBook M1 Air lacks a physical fan. The chip here is so efficient that even without any internal fan the temperatures stay within the thermal limit.

This is big for any student as with this laptop you can work with all your engineering programs like AutoCAD, Solidworks, and MATLAB without being disturbed by any fan noise.

In typical Apple fashion, the RAM and SSD are soldered onto the motherboard. The capacity this time around is good that being 8GB for the RAM and 512GB for the SSD.

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6. MSI GS66 Stealth

MSI GS66 Stealth

Fancy a gaming laptop but do not want the flare and attention that comes along with it? If that is something you are after, then MSI GS66 should be your first contender. It has amazing performance tucked inside a clean-looking industrial chassis.


Reasons to Buy

  • The matte black paint job is quite is pleasing to look at
  • Comfortable keyboard with multizone RGB lighting
  • The best trackpad on a gaming laptop
  • 1080p 240Hz display with good color accuracy
  • Intel i7 6 core processor
  • Nvidia RTX 2070 graphics card
  • Easily upgradeable memory

Reasons to Avoid

  • A little on the heavier side
  • Not the best sounding speakers
  • The fans get loud when doing heavy workloads

Design and Overview

Being stealthy is a form of art and the MSI GS66 does it masterfully. It has a matte black chassis that does not scream attention but looks quite pleasing when it meets the eye.

The matte black theme here continues to the branding and other inlays as well. Due to the slim chassis and its muted color, one also cannot distinguish that this is a gaming laptop.

The MSI GS66 is built for rough and tough usage. The chassis having been made entirely of metal is strong enough to survive a few tumbles.

Coming around the chassis we get to see the wide variety of ports it houses. They encompass the likes of HDMI port, 2x USB-C ports, 3X USB-A slots, ethernet jack, 3.5mm Audio/Mic jack, and a barrel-style power in port. 

Both the USB-C ports of the laptop have support for thunderbolt connectivity and can also be used to charge the laptop albeit with a limited speed.

Features and Functionality

The keyboards on all MSI laptops are more of the same meaning that the laptop in question here also has a comfortable and tactile keyboard.

Being a gaming laptop how could this laptop have forgone RGB lighting. Here you are getting the full suite of per-key RGB lighting from MSI that can be controlled and configured in the laptop’s software.

The trackpad is also quite good to use and picks up the actions of the fingers well. The surface of the trackpad is precise, and the large size of the trackpad also makes for very comfortable scrolling.

Moving onto the speakers next and the puny two-speaker setup of this laptop is miserable to hear. The sound coming from the speakers lacks any bass or depth and is not enjoyable to listen to at all.

Display and Battery Life

The MSI GS66 is a gaming laptop hence it will be no surprise to you when I say that this laptop has a 15.6 inch 240Hz refresh rate display capable of 1080p resolution.

Technical stuff aside the picture of the panel is very good and anti-glare coating puts the icing on the cake for enjoying movies and video content on this screen.

If you do want to watch movies on this laptop then prepare to charge it quite often because the battery life of this laptop is not quite good. It can only get you through half a day of use as stated battery backup here is 6 hours.

That too is when using the laptop on low brightness. For heavy workloads, you can expect a further 2-3 hour drop in the stated battery life. Charging the completely diminished battery, however, is super quick and takes minimal time. 

Specifications and Performance

If high-end performance is something you are after, then the MSI GS66 stealth won’t disappoint. The laptop has a 6 core 12 thread Intel i7 processor and an Nvidia RTX 2070 graphics card.

Both of these components fall under the high-end category. Needless to say, the combination of these two nets a great result when it comes to performance.

You can pretty much run any program or game without having to worry about whether the laptop meets the required specifications for the program or not.

Having so much horsepower also leads to much quicker operations. You will see this effect in applications like AutoCAD, Solidworks, and MATLAB which will execute actions much quicker and smoothly as well.

Another great aspect of the laptop is its multitasking capability. The multitasking is made possible by the dual-channel 16GB RAM that is also upgradeable.

The only thing lacking in this laptop is ample storage. The 512GB SSD storage drive installed in the laptop is not enough to house all the files, media, and games a student will store during the duration of his engineering degree program.

But then again, the SSD is upgradeable and there is a vacant M2 SSD slot in the motherboard bay as well which can be used to add another drive.

7. Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Xtreme

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Xtreme

The ThinkPad X1 Xtreme line from Lenovo has long been hailed as the king of productivity. Students and professionals who need heavy work done tend to resort to these laptops over the competition. The reason for this being the hefty performance and the excellent keyboard that the laptop has to offer which you can use for hours without feeling tired.


Reasons to Buy

  • Clean and minimal design
  • Lightweight and portable chassis
  • Best keyboard in the industry to type long essays on
  • Healthy port selection with support for frequently used ports
  • Seamless WiFi and Bluetooth connectivity
  • Good battery life of around 10 hours
  • Dedicated Nvidia GTX 1650ti graphics card

Reasons to Avoid

  • Not the most premium device for the price
  • The trackpad is quite small and cumbersome to use

Design and Overview

Lenovo does not like to play much with the design of the ThinkPad laptops. These laptops are built for a purpose and hence do not need to be flashy.

The moto of simplicity has been carried on generations this year’s Think Book also gets the same clean and simple design with a matte black chassis.

In the pursuit of functionality over form, Lenovo has also retained some bulk in the chassis. The hefty construction involving metal results in a solid and sturdy chassis.

Being bulkier leaves a lot of empty room to house ports. The ports present on this laptop include HDMI, full-size Micro SD card slot, 2x USB-A, USB-C, Kensington lock, and a combo 3.5mm Audio/Mic jack.

While having all these ports and a strong chassis to boot the laptop still manages to be plenty portable for carrying around the campus on daily basis. This is reflected with the chassis weight of only 4 lbs.

Features and Functionality

Since Lenovo is heavily advertising this product as a function first form later machine you better hope this stand firm to their belief.

Happy to report that Lenovo has nailed the functionality aspect of the laptop. This laptop is a joy to use. It has a comfortable keyboard that you can type on for hours without feeling tired.

The trackpad also behaves well and has precise controls. It picks up gestures scrolling without any fuss. The only slight hurdle this trackpad poses is its small size which can be a bit of an issue for some folks.

The webcam installed on this laptop is best in class. It has a solid 1080p resolution with good picture clarity. In times like these having a good webcam is a godsend for students who primarily spend their time on video calls.

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Xtreme features the latest WiFi 6 technology and Bluetooth version 5, so connectivity is also a non-issue. The connection here is fast, stable, and reliable and this is exactly what you want as a student.

Lastly, let’s move to the laptop speakers. Many people look up to laptops that have good speakers and keeping that in mind the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Xtreme won’t disappoint you.

It has front-firing two speakers that get adequately loud and have decent bass and depth.

Display and Battery Life

With the ThinkPad X1 Xtreme, you are getting the best 15.6-inch 1080p screen Lenovo has in their arsenal. Although not containing anything fancy like a high refresh rate or stretched aspect ratio the screen of this laptop does quite well when it comes to screen metrics.

The panel featured here has very good color accuracy and consistency. Due to the high contrast of the panel pictures and movies pop out and look quite sharp. This makes for not an enjoyable movie-watching experience but also a pleasant work experience.

Powering this amazing screen is an 80Wh battery. This massive size battery provides an excellent screen time of 8-9 hours with the screen set too low brightness and the laptop being used for light everyday tasks.

Specifications and Performance

Since the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Xtreme is designed from the ground up to cope with heavy workloads performance is of no concern. This laptop packs beefy specifications underneath the skin.

At the heart of the laptop is an Intel i7 10th generation 6 core 12 thread processor and an Nvidia GTX 1650ti graphics card.

These two have great performance capability and hence will be able to run any programs like AutoCAD, SolidWorks, and MATLAB with ease.

The laptop also has sufficient power to execute graphics-intensive tasks like 3D rendering and graphics designing. 

The Nvidia GTX 1650ti is also a great gaming graphics for playing casual games. This graphics card can run most modern games smoothly without any lag.

Talking about things that run smoothly this laptop has a very smooth multitasking experience. Aided by the high-speed 32GB RAM you can run multiple applications together on this laptop which will boost your productivity and allow you to get work done quicker.

The Ram as well as the storage drive here are user upgradable. The factory M2 SSD drive that comes equipped with the laptop has a storage capacity of 1TB. The drive also boasts very fast read and write speeds hence opening and closing programs on this laptop is quite snappy.

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Best Under $1000

8. Acer Aspire 7

Acer Aspire 7

Acer Aspire 7 is the definition of a value for money machine. It proves that one does not need to spend a whole lot of money to enjoy a nice laptop. Priced at just $850 the Acer Aspire 7 offers class-leading performance and the inclusion of a dedicated Nvidia graphics card is very beneficial for any engineering student working with heavy programs.


Reasons to Buy

  • Good build quality
  • A full-size keyboard that includes a number pad
  • Good battery life
  • Plenty of ports
  • The 6 core Ryzen 5500U is the best entry-level laptop processor
  • Dedicated Nvidia GTX 1650 graphics card

Reasons to Avoid

  • Bland design
  • The speakers are not the best
  • Mediocre screen
  • 8GB RAM is not sufficient for heavy tasks

Design and Overview

The Acer Aspire 7 is not the best looking in its class. Acer had to cut costs somewhere and they choose this segment.

The laptop has a quite bland and generic design. This design language has been replicated in every other entry-level laptop hence the design has become rather boring.

Regardless, it would be harsh to label this laptop as a complete design flop because buried beneath that generic design is pure functionality.

The chassis of the Acer Aspire 7 although made primarily from plastic is bolted on quite well. There are no panel gaps, and the hinge area is well reinforced.

Since plastic is lighter than aluminum the laptop, therefore, is also quite light compared to other laptops. It has a total weight of 4 lbs making for a very portable and easy-to-carry laptop.

Acer has also not compromised on the daily use aspect of the laptop and given the laptop the full treatment when it comes to ports.

Starting from the left side include an ethernet port, full-size HDMI, and dual USB-A ports. While the ports on the right side of the laptop include USB-A and a 3.5mm combo Audio/Mic jack, USB-C, and barrel-type power in slot.

Features and Functionality

The Acer Aspire 7 has a keyboard with ample key travel hence the keyboard here is quite comfortable to type on and you can churn out whole essays in one sitting without feeling fatigued.

Unfortunately, I cannot say the same for the trackpad. The trackpad here suffers from the same mediocrity factor as other laptops in this class.

Despite lacking in some aspects the trackpad at the end of the day does get you through a full day’s worth of use. 

The speakers are another downfall of this laptop. The two bottom-firing speakers on this laptop do not produce any bass and lack audio depth as well.

Besides a little stumble in the trackpad and speaker department, the other functionality of the laptop is spot on.

The Acer Aspire 7 has a good webcam, a stable WiFi connection that supports high data speeds, and a reliable Bluetooth connection.

Display and Battery Life

The 15.6-inch screen of the Acer Aspire 7 is decent. I have certainly come across screens way worse than the Acer Aspire 7 in the $850 price range. Truth be told for the price this is exactly what I expected.

Decent colorful accuracy and adequate brightness for outdoor legibility are the hallmarks of this screen. The panel used is also IPS, so it is good to see Acer has not cheapened out in this regard. The only aspect which needs some improvement is the contrast of the panel as this panel looks rather dull when watching movies.

Moving onto the battery life next and to put in simple words the battery life of the Acer Aspire 7 is remarkable for a laptop with a dedicated graphics card. Acer claims a battery backup time of 10 hours which is close to the real-world figure you are going to see when using this laptop.

The battery of this laptop can be topped up via the barrel-style power connector as well as the USB-C port. USB-C charging comes in very handy when you are on campus with no access to the bulky barrel pin charger.

Specifications and Performance

The performance you are getting in the Acer Aspire 7 is the best you can get for $850. For such an entry-level price this laptop has a dedicated Nvidia GTX 1650 graphics card which is mostly seen on laptops that are twice the price of this machine.

It is not like Acer skimped on the processor as well. This laptop is powered by the Ryzen 5 5500U. This efficient but equally powerful processor is the best entry-level processor you can get that satisfies one’s performance craving.

Having a 6 core 12 thread processor in the form of Ryzen 5500u is quite beneficial and that coupled with the Dedicated Nvidia graphics card is great for accelerating the tasks that are graphics bound like rendering a model of a building or a car.

Due to the dedicated graphics card, you can also fire up some games on this laptop and it will play most of the games adequately with decent settings and frames.

The only negative in terms of performance is that this laptop only comes with 8GB RAM.

8GB RAM capacity will be a hindrance as it won’t allow for a smooth operation of some heavy programs.

Fortunately, the RAM of this laptop is user upgradeable and hence an extra module can be added later on with ease.

The storage is also somewhat limiting with this laptop only featuring a 512GB SSD drive. The M2 SSD provided with this laptop is also not the fastest. It will get the job done but I recommend upgrading to a more spacious drive later on.

9. Asus ZenBook 15

Asus ZenBook 15

Asus ZenBook 15 is a unique laptop among the plethora of other 15-inch notebooks. This laptop incorporates some truly unique features we have not seen before in any device and also housing exceptional performance at the core. If you are tired of all the generic offerings in the market, then this laptop should satisfy your appetite for something new.


Reasons to Buy

  • Gorgeous bezel-less display
  • Dazzling blue color chassis
  • Innovative touchpad surface with a built-in screen
  • 9-10 hours battery life
  • Good port selection
  • Intel 6 core i7 processor
  • Nvidia GTX 1650ti graphics card

Reasons to Avoid

  • Lackluster sound output from the speakers
  • The touchpad can become unresponsive sometimes

Design and Overview

The royal blue color Asus that has come up with on this laptop looks aesthetically amazing. Among the slew of black, silver, and grey laptops this color is a breath of fresh air and truly makes the laptop stand out from the crowd.

The finish on this laptop is something I would expect on a more expensive notebook so props to Asus on bringing something new to the market.

The build quality of the Asus Zenbook 15 is also second to none. The chassis is made from aluminum and hence is quite solid. There is no flex to the screen or the keyboard deck and the hinge of the laptop is also very sturdy.

On the portability front, you will have no problem lugging the Asus ZenBook 15 around since the laptop weighs just 3.68 lbs. This makes for a great daily companion one you can take with you anywhere and everywhere.

Looking at the port situation and a student you will greatly appreciate the options Asus is providing you with. In the quest for a sleeker and slimmer chassis, Asus, fortunately, has not compromised on the ports.

Most of the ports are found on the right side of the laptop and these include barrel-style power in, HDMI port, USB-A slot, USB-C slot, and a full-size SD card slot.

While the ports on the left side include a 3.5mm combo Audio/Mic jack and a USB-A slot. All the USB ports support the USB 3.1 Gen 2 interface

Features and Functionality

The keyboard of the Asus ZenBook 15 is downright the best to use in the 15-inch notebook class excluding gaming laptops. Both the layout of the keyboard and the key feel is amazing.

The keys here feel comfortable to type on for longer sessions which is an important factor for any laptop which is going to be used by an engineering student.

The trackpad on the Asus Zenbook 15 is not your regular one. They have fitted a screen in place of a regular surface for the trackpad. This screen now doubles a trackpad as well as a secondary display for common actions.

The secondary display is fully customizable, and you can configure your commonly used shortcuts.

This reconfigurability comes in quite handy for any engineering student as put commands that you frequently use in AutoCAD or other similar software into a one-tap screen shortcut.

Display functionality aside when it comes to trackpad use the screen is quite glitchy. Most notably the trackpad often gets stuck and fails to load up.

The other negative I see in terms of the basic functionality of the laptop is that the speaker of this laptop is quite subpar compared to the competition.

All the other aspects you interact with frequently like the webcam and the WiFi work great without posing any issue.

Display and Battey Life

Asus ZenBook 15 is among the few laptops that feature an infinity-edge bezel-less screen. This laptop covers a screen-to-body ratio of more than 90%. Besides the Dell XPS 15, there is no other laptop on this list that has such a high screen-to-body ratio.

In terms of what the 15.6-inch screen is like to use, I would rate it in the mediocre category. Although it is good for watching movies or viewing pictures it lacks the punch provided by some other high-end laptops.

The peak brightness of this panel is also not sufficient for outdoor direct sunlight use hence as a student this can backfire if you are on the move a lot. 

The next thing on the chopping block is the battery life. Given the specifications, I was amazed by the 9-hour runtime the battery provided.

While this may not be the longest battery life of any laptop but is truly impressive when we factor in that this laptop has a large 15-inch display and a dedicated Nvidia graphics card.

Specifications and Performance

The performance is the segment where the greatest strength of this laptop lies. For the price of $1500, that has an Intel i7 10th generation H series processor and dedicated Nvidia GTX 1650ti.

Needless to say then, the 6 core Intel i7 and the Nvidia GTX 1650ti make short work on any application you throw at them. Solidworks AutoCAD, CATIA, MATLAB, and other 3D rendering and modeling applications are no challenge for this duo.

The dedicated graphics especially help here to accelerate the time needed to complete a task. Just think about it in some applications, this time can be reduced by up to 50%.

As for the other specifications you are getting 16GB dual-channel RAM. The RAM however is soldered onto the motherboard and hence cannot be upgraded later on.

For the storage, the is a single M2 socket is populated by a 1TB M2 SSD drive. The read and write speed of the drive is top class and one of the fastest in the game. Hence you are not going to have any trouble with the laptop slowing down here.

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Best Under $1500

10. HP Envy 14

HP Envy 14

The envy line from HP has long been considered the best for midrange laptops as the laptops in this series combine a good bit of functionality aspect with the performance. As of writing this the HP Envy 14 represents the best overall package in the manufacturer’s lineup.


Reasons to Buy

  • Clean and minimal design
  • Fantastic build quality
  • Thin and lightweight chassis
  • Comfortable and tactile keyboard
  • Great screen to consume content on
  • Touchscreen enabled
  • Dedicated Nvidia GTX 1650ti graphics card
  • 8 hours battery life is great considering the specifications

Reasons to Avoid

  • The trackpad is not the best
  • The fans can get loud on heavy workloads
  • The speakers can see some improvement

Design and Overview

The HP Envy 14 has an industrial and muted design. It has that slab of metal with straight cuts and lines.

The silver color also somewhat steers the laptop into the boring professional laptop crowd and if you do not want your laptop to stick out this one certainly does the job.

Being made entirely of metal the laptop has a hefty and premium feel in the hand.  On the whole, this is a very well-built machine with a refined chassis.

Given the 14-inch form factor, the laptop is also quite portable for everyday carry. The dimensions are also reasonable with the laptop just weighing 3.3 lbs

Despite the slim form factor, the HP Envy 14 has a proper I/O which I know many students will love and appreciate.

This laptop has two USB-A and USB-C ports. Only one port however supports thunderbolt. These ports are flanking the USB ports are HDMI, a Micro-SD card slot, and a 3.5mm combo Audio/Microphone jack.

Features and Functionality

HP Envy 14 has a comfortable keyboard with a good layout. The keys contain a good amount of travel with a tactile bump. The trackpad is also responsive enough that it gets the job done with any drama.

The bang & Olufsen tuned speakers of the HP Envy 14 are not impressive. They lack any substantial bass or clarity. Although one thing I have to give to LG is that these speakers get screechingly loud.

In terms of the other basic functionality like WIFI connectivity and webcam use this laptop scores full marks. The HP Envy 14 is a rather trouble-free laptop in which you won’t encounter any hiccups or flaws.

Display and Connectivity

HP has graced this laptop with a fantastic 14-inch panel. The panel has great color reproduction, and the accuracy is on point.

The contrast ratio also comes in at a respectable figure while the 400 nits peak brightness is plenty sufficient for both indoor and outdoor use.

The aspect ratio of the screen is also 16:10 which makes for a great productivity experience. With a 16:10 aspect ratio more of the screen is displayed in your peripheral vision hence increasing the efficiency at which you can digest information.  

Given that this laptop has discrete Nvidia graphics and a 400 nit screen one would not expect good battery life. But on the contrary, the laptop still manages it anyway.

You can get an average battery backup of around 8-9 hours during light usage which involves the likes of web browsing, taking notes, using the MS office suite, and other similar tasks.

Specifications and Performance

The performance is the main reason this laptop was chosen over other similar Ultrabooks to be included in this list.

This is because the HP Envy 14 offers the best price to performance ratio of any similarly equipped laptop. It offers a dedicated Nvidia GTX 1650ti graphics card.

This entry-level graphics card combined with the 4 core Intel i5 processor is very beneficial for tasks like rendering, CAD, 3D modeling, and video editing.

For the other specifications, this laptop has 16GB of RAM. Unsurprisingly the RAM is not user upgradeable. Therefore, get the laptop with the correct configuration, or inconveniences may occur.

The M2 SSD however is upgradeable but there is no extra slot like in some other laptops.

The SSD capacity of this laptop is 256GB SSD. This might not be enough if you store a lot of local files so keep that in mind.

Overall, the HP Envy 14 is a great all-rounder, and it is a perfect choice for an individual who needs a laptop that can run through his college years without any fuss and will be able to handle anything you throw at it.

11. Acer ConceptD 3 Ezel

Acer ConceptD 3 Ezel

A laptop with a true tablet experience and the power of an entry-level gaming laptop. Yes please, any student would droll over this laptop right since it strikes the perfect balance of productivity, performance, and entertainment. The best thing though you get all this for around $1500 in the form of the Acer ConceptD 3 Ezel.


Reasons to Buy

  • A unique design execution
  • Ezel functionality is very handy in school
  • Premium look and feel
  • Plenty of ports
  • Comfortable keyboard to type on
  • Great performance
  • Dedicated Nvidia GTX 1650ti graphics card

Reasons to Avoid

  • The speakers need improvement
  • Lowest storage space in the segment

Design and Overview

The Acer ConceptD 3 Ezel is a conversation starter. People will be tempted by the unique design of this laptop and ask you what it is.

The ceramic white finish of the laptop also helps in this regard as it looks and feels premium and high-end

For a laptop with a free-moving screen, the hinge needs to the solid and sturdy and that is exactly what you get here. Once the screen is adjusted into a position it stays locked into it.

The only negative that comes with this design approach is that there is an additional metal piece holding the screen. This metal piece not only looks obtrusive but also adds bulk to the chassis.

Due to all the reinforcements to the design, the laptop is not lightweight. It weighs 4.85 lbs which is heavier than expected from a 15inch chassis.

This heft brings some positive things as well and that being the port selection. The Acer ConceptD 3 Ezel contains a plethora of ports that you will frequently require.

Features and Functionality

The biggest elephant in the room in terms of the functionality of this laptop is the hinge. Unlike traditional laptops with a clamshell design, the screen of this laptop can be placed in the orientation you like.

Hence can use this laptop in a plethora of different modes that include Ezel mode, tablet mode, or traditional laptop mode.

This feature of the Acer ConceptD 3 Ezel can either be a big positive in your book or quite redundant. So, give a thought about this before buying the laptop.

As for the more traditional stuff the keyboard of the Acer ConceptD 3 Ezel is quite comfortable to type on and the key feel is excellent.

The keyboard also features static orange backlighting which is a first for this list. The trackpad fitted onto this laptop is also a nice one.

It is large, has a smooth surface, and tracks quite precisely. Gesture navigation also works flawlessly on this trackpad.

Moving onto the speakers and these are a letdown. From a laptop branded for productivity, I expected better.

Not saying the speakers are completely horrible but the oomph in the sound is just not present. The bass is lacking, and the overall sound signature is rather bland.

Display and Battery Life

To facilitate the flexible screen the panel of this laptop carries pen support and is Pantone validated. Therefore, drawing and taking notes on this screen works like a charm.

The 15.6-inch panel also has great color accuracy with a Delta E value of under 2. This makes for not only an enjoyable movie-watching experience, but the laptop is also capable of doing professional grade color-oriented work.

Although this is not a full-day laptop, and you will need to bring the brick charger around. Still, the battery life of 6-7 hours is not too shabby for a laptop that has a lot going on.

Specifications and Performance

The Acer ConceptD 3 Ezel is the fastest 2 in 1 laptop that you can get. It features a 6 core 12 thread Intel i7 processor that is all you would need for tasks like Auto work applications, Matlab, and rendering.

To provide an edge in graphical performance the 6 core Intel processor is paired with the GTX 1650ti. This dedicated graphics card is beneficial in accelerating any work that requires raw graphical power like 3D modeling and rendering.

If gaming is your thing, then you would be delighted to know that light gaming is also possible on this laptop. 

On the contrary, if you need a lot of memory, you are getting that here as well. The configuration we are reviewing has 16GB of dual-channel RAM.

The memory here is also clocked at 3200MHz hence providing you with just that extra when it comes to performance.

This laptop however has a limited 512GB storage SSD drive. Although the drive has good speeds, I find the capacity to be somewhat limiting for an engineering student.

Overall, this laptop provides a good mix of everything. The performance is definitely above par when compared to other laptops that offer pen support.

12. MSI Stealth 15M

MSI Stealth 15M

MSI 15M occupies that weird middle ground where it is not as powerful to be a fully-fledged gaming laptop nor suited to be a low-performance Ultrabook. Hence due to the laptop sitting comfortably in the middle of the laptop chain, it makes for a great back-to-school laptop as it has sufficient computing power and a chassis that looks premium.


Reasons to Buy

  • Premium look and feel
  • Simple and elegant design
  • Good keyboard and trackpad
  • Plenty of ports to choose from
  • 144Hz display with good picture quality
  • Nvidia RTX 3060 graphics card

Reasons to Avoid

  • Tiny sounding speakers
  • Suboptimal battery life
  • 4 core Intel i7 processor lags behind compared to the competition

Design and Overview

The design of the MSI 15M is unlike any other gaming laptop. Gaming laptops tend to embrace the flashy side more, but this laptop is as simple and clean as it gets.

Being simple does not however translate to the laptop being generic or boring to look at. On the contrary, this laptop looks and feels quite premium in the hand due to the all-metal construction of the laptop

Since the entire chassis of the MSI 15M is made from metal it is a durable and solid machine. This laptop will stand the test of time and won’t break down in a year or so. 

On the portability front, we have yet another winner on our hands. The laptop just weighs only 3.7 lbs. The chassis is also quite slim, so you don’t worry about that either.

Port selection is also quite good. Starting from the left side of the laptop we have an HDMI port, USB-A, and dual USB-C slots. Both the USB-C slots support thunderbolt 4 connectivity.

The ports that are located on the right side of the laptop include a power-in plug, Micro-SD card slot, USB-A slot, and a 3.5mm combo Audio/Mic input jack.

Features and Functionality

The keyboard and the trackpad of the MSI 15M are great. They work as expected and do not hinder your workflow. It is just a matter of getting familiar with the layout and after a week of use, you will find the keyboard and the trackpad to offer a very comfortable and compelling experience.

As for the speaker, unfortunately, it is not good at all. The bass is completely absent and there is no depth to the sound. Everything is pushed to the high-end which makes for tiny audio.

Speaking about the webcam the camera we have integrated on this laptop is a decent one. The picture and as well as the voice quality are good enough for Xoom calls.

Display and Battery Life

MSI 15M supports a high 144Hz refresh rate 15.6-inch screen at the resolution of 1080p. A high refresh rate makes the screen slicker and smoother.

Besides being fast to use the screen of the MSI 15M is quite good to look at. The panel that is featured here has good color accuracy and contrast ratio. Movies, videos, and pictures pop out on this panel and look very vivid and colorful.

Supporting a high refresh rate display and a dedicated graphics card it is fairly accurate to assume that this laptop will deliver a sub-optimal battery life. The real-world battery life of the laptop with only using light applications is around 6-7 hours.

This is a laptop for which you will need to carry the charger around. Luckily the charger of the laptop is not too big and the power in port is also situated away from any USB connection.

Specifications and Performance

MSI 15M stands tall in the performance department though do not expect this laptop to perform like a more traditional gaming laptop. The MSI 15M is a sort of hybrid between a gaming laptop and a high-performing Ultrabook.

The graphics card, RAM all check out for the laptop. The respective components included here for the two are of very high quality. 

The graphics card is the Nvidia RTX 3060. This latest mid-range graphics card from Nvidia is a fantastic performer when it comes to productivity tasks like 3D modeling, rendering, and CAD applications.

RAM here is 16GB, so you are not going to run into any problem with the RAM being the limiting factor. The one limiting factor I do see here is the processor. The Intel i7 11375H powering this laptop is only a 4 core 8 thread processor.

This is down 2 cores compared to the competition and as we all know more cores equal more performance. Having 4 core processor is not the end of the world but you will have to sacrifice rendering times.

The only thing left to discuss is the SSD which too is somewhat less here compared to the competition. Having a 512GB SSD just does not cut it anymore for an engineering student but since there is a vacant M2 slot in the motherboard bay extra storage drive can be added later on with ease.

13. Microsoft Surface Laptop 4

Microsoft Surface Laptop 4

The surface laptop 4 is the best laptop Microsoft has made so far. The clean design and focus on functionality is what make this laptop stand out. With the new AMD processors at the helm this laptop to ready to bring down any engineering software, you throw at it.


Reasons to Buy

  • Thin and ultra-portable device
  • Excellent build quality
  • Supremely comfortable keyboard to type on
  • Excellent color-accurate display with touch capability
  • 10-12 hour battery life
  • 8 core AMD Ryzen processor
  • Fast memory and storage

Reasons to Avoid

  • The speaker quality needs improvement
  • The trackpad is on the smaller side
  • Very few ports to choose from
  • The internals of the laptop are non-ser upgradeable

Design and Overview

Microsoft always favors reserved designs over flashy ones and the design of this laptop is an embodiment of that virtue. The laptop features a clean chassis with straight cut lines and a Microsoft logo in the middle.

In terms of the dimensions, all you need to know is that the chassis of this laptop is quite portable and thin.

The laptop just weighs around 2.84 lbs which means that you won’t even feel this laptop in your backpack.

As for the build quality, the Microsoft surface laptop 4 is built like a tank. It features an all-metal chassis that feels solid and dense.

Manufacturers have been removing ports to make their laptops skinnier. Unfortunately, Microsoft is also prone to that trend and as a result, this laptop has a limited I/O. 

What is left is a single USB-A slot, Micro-SD card reader, USB-C, 3.5mm combo Audio/Mic headphone jack, and proprietary Microsoft port for charging and docking.

Features and Functionality

The keyboard has always been a strong forte of the Microsoft surface laptop and hence this fourth iteration continues that path of success.

There is something about the keyboard here that despite not offering plentiful travel the keys feel very comfortable and satisfying to type on.

The trackpad on the other hand despite having a smooth and precise surface could use some work.

That work mainly being in the size department. The current size of the trackpad is quite small and hence it feels narrow and cramped when using.

The speakers are another area where some attention can be paid. The existing sound you get from the speakers lacks bass and is quite tiny.  

The webcam on the other hand is fantastic on the Microsoft surface laptop 4. It features decent image quality and an uninterrupted voice pickup.

The laptop also features quick Windows Hello unlock which is done through the webcam.

Display and Battery Life

Microsoft products are most commonly known for offering the best touch screen experience. Out of all the touch screen supported laptops in the market today the Surface Laptop 4 offers the best touch capability.

The laptop also supports the latest Microsoft pen technology but you have to buy a separate pen since there is none included in the box.

As for the picture quality, the 15-inch panel here covers the full spectrum of sRGB coverage. The brightness is also plenty sufficient for indoor as well as outdoor use and the crisp and vivid contrast ratio makes for a great movie watching experience

The battery life is another highlight of this laptop. To my surprise, this laptop delivers 10-12 hours of battery life in real-world testing scenarios.  

Specifications and Performance

Microsoft has upped its game in this regard. Incorporating an AMD processor in this laptop has paid a dividend in terms of performance.

The AMD Ryzen 7 4980U Microsoft surface edition 8 core 16 thread processor has adequate performance that can cope with tasks performed by engineering students.

The processor barely breaks a sweat with a session of AutoCAD or SolidWorks with music playing in the background.

The integrated AMD graphics however although fine for university tasks won’t play games that well if you are into that.

If you are all about running heavy workloads the fast 16GB RAM will also facilitate in this regard. The plentiful and fast nature of the memory makes for a quick and smooth operation.

To provide that sense of smoothness throughout the OS this laptop come with a 512GB M2 SSD. The read and write speed of the SSD is class-leading.

Looking at the bigger picture the Microsoft surface laptop 4 is finally a device that packs in enough power to be able to make it into the recommendation list for engineering students. Something which it struggled with since the previous three generations.

14. LG Gram 17

LG Gram 17

The LG Gram 17 fulfills all the requirements of an engineering student. It is light, portable, fast, and functional. These attributes are the foundation of any great laptop and with the sprinkle of some additional features, I think we might have a winner on our hands in the form of the LG Gram 17.


Reasons to Buy

  • Lightweight and portable chassis
  • Large 17-inch screen size
  • Full-day battery life
  • Color accurate display
  • Good port selection
  • 6 Core Intel i7 processor
  • 16GB fast dual-channel RAM

Reasons to Avoid

  • Not the most premium feeling laptop for the price
  • Lacks a dedicated graphics card
  • The performance is not optimal for graphic-intensive workloads

Design and Overview

Not every laptop needs to have a unique and tempting design sometimes simplicity is just the thing you need. If simplicity is something you want, then the LG Gram 17 is for you.

The chassis and the design of the LG Gram 17 are quite subtle and clean. There is no tacky frill on the exterior or the interior of the laptop and it is just a slab of metal with straight cutouts.

Staying true to its name the weight of the laptop is quite negligible. It weighs around just 2.9 lbs which is quite exceptional for a large 17-inch laptop.

Despite having a slim chassis, the laptop does not feel shallow at all. But rather the chassis feels quite dense and solid. The build quality overall of the laptop scores high marks.

The only slight downside of the LG Gram 17 is in the build department. The laptop does not feel as premium as its other high-end competitors.

It is quite welcoming to see that LG has not compromised on the port selection as well. Starting from the right to the left side the ports here include HDMI, 2X USB-C, 3.5mm combo Audio/Mic jack, Micro-SD card slot, 2X USB-A, and a Kensington lock.

Both the USB-C ports support Thunderbolt 4 and the laptop can also be charged via them. This is very convenient for a student since you can take a single USB-C charger with you for all your equipment.

Features and Functionality

Taking advantage of the space LG has included a full-size keyboard with a number pad on the Gram 17. The general layout of all the keys is also quite good.

The keys however are not the most satisfying to type on but you will get used to the way the keys feel eventually.

The trackpad however is very good. It is large and occupies a vast surface area hence making for a comfortable navigation experience.

The speakers on the LG Gram 17 are another point of contention. Although loud they lack the substance needed an enjoyable listening experience. The bass is a hit or miss and the treble is not detailed enough.

A nifty feature this laptop has is the support for Amazon Alexa. With Alexa, you can sync this laptop with other Alexa-supported products or just use Alexa as a personal assistant to execute various commands. 

Display and Battery Life

The LG Gram supports a 17-inch QHD IPS panel. This newer generation panel from LG still retains the 16:10 aspect ratio while shrinking the bezels even further to achieve a 90% screen-to-body ratio and improving the color accuracy of the panel significantly.

When measured this panel covers the full sRGB color spectrum while also providing 90% coverage of the DCI-P3 color space. The screen also has a peak brightness of 400 nits making it legible in direct outdoor situations which is a big plus as a student since you will be on the move a lot.

Hence it is no secret that the panel on the LG Gram 17 is not only a treat for watching movies and videos but also works wonders when browsing the web and working in MS Office.

The LG Gram 17 is riding on the newest Intel platform which is much more efficient than its previous counterpart.

Hence the increase in display fidelity does not affect the battery life at all but rather the laptop delivers a class-leading backup of 14-15 hours.

Granted this is with the brightness turned low and the laptop only running simple tasking like browsing the web, working with the MS office suite, taking notes, and a little bit of video consumption.

Specifications and Performance

The LG Gram 17 is built on the new Intel Xe platform and has the latest Intel 11TH generation i7 11675G processor.

This 6 core 12 thread processor from Intel provides considerable improvement over the previous generation and is fully ready for any heavy workload you throw at it.

The Intel Xe graphics is a great step up for an integrated graphics card and provides much greater performance than expected from an integrated chip.

If you are wondering if this laptop can run software programs like SolidWorks, AutoCAD or MATLAB then worry not as this laptop is fully up to the task.

If you are a student who stores a lot of files in the form of media or pictures, then you would be delighted to know that this laptop comes with 1TB storage on the base variant, and for just $100 you can step up to 2TB storage.

Both the SSD drives have amazing read and write speeds making for a quicky and snappy experience.

As for the memory, this laptop will provide you with 16GB dual-channel memory clocked at 4200MHz. The fast memory speed is great for performing memory-bound tasks like compiling code etc.

Overall, LG Gram 17 is a thin and light laptop with a large screen display. Although not the fastest and lacking and a dedicated graphics card this laptop still packs plenty of power to get you through any task with ease.

Budget Pick

15. Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5

Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5

Lenovo 5 nameplate has produced some of the best value to money offerings in the laptop industry. The IdeaPad Flex 5 marks the beginning of a whole new era of affordable laptops. This 2 in 1 laptop has great performance, well-built chassis, pen support, and most importantly a bargain price. What more would you want as a student.


Reasons to Buy

  • Great value for money machine
  • Sleek and minimalist design
  • Thin and lightweight chassis
  • 2 in 1 form factor
  • Good display with pen support
  • The 8 core Ryzen 5700U is a great performer

Reasons to Avoid

  • Not the most premium feeling
  • Tiny and lackluster speakers

Design and Overview

The design of the Lenovo Flex 5 is clean and minimal. Contrary to the traditional middle of the lid logo, the logo on this machine is recessed to the corner hence giving the lid a clean and uninterrupted silhouette.

In terms of the chassis, Lenovo has managed to craft a reasonably well-rounded one. Despite being narrow and slim the laptop still feels quite sturdy and solid.

The lid and the hinge area in particular is hefty and robust which gives a sense of quality.

That however is not true for all parts of the laptop and the bottom plastic panel is more reminiscent of the craftmanship you get in the sub $1000 laptops

The connectivity however is a strong suit of this laptop. The Lenovo Flex 5 has an ideal mix of ports that will assist you on daily basis. The ports here include HDMI, USB-C, full-size SD card slot, 3.5mm combo Audio/Mic port, and 2x USB-A ports.

Features and Functionality

If you are a frequent typer then you will be pleased to know that the keyboard on the Lenovo Flex 5 is pretty good. The keys provide decent travel without feeling mushy.

On the topic of the trackpad, Lenovo Flex 5 features a decent trackpad. It is nothing extraordinary but gets the job done.

The speakers are also decent. They get pretty loud but the actual sound quality is also adequate of a thin notebook.

The laptop overall hits a home run when it comes to functionality and there is nothing here that you will find obtrusive.

Display and Battery Life

Since the Lenovo Flex 5 is a 2 in 1 laptop its screen can tilt fully backward to enable the tablet mode orientation. The handheld orientation is quite useful when watching movies or browsing through web pages.

The touch and pen capabilities of the laptop provide an alternate way to interacting with the screen. This is especially handy when using excel or word where you can tap on a place you want to edit.

In terms of the actual picture quality, the 14-inch panel is pretty decent as well. The color accuracy of the panel is quite good and being IPS the panel has great viewing angles.

All in all, watching movies, YouTube videos, and streaming Netflix on this laptop is quite enjoyable due to the great screen.

The battery life is also quite decent for a budget laptop. With everyday tasks, you can get an average battery backup of 7-8 hours which although far from the best is not too shabby either.

Specifications and Performance

The performance is the area where this Lenovo Flex 5 blows other similarly priced laptops out of the water.

Having the Ryzen 5700U at the helm this laptop delivers mind-blowing performance for such a slim and budget-friendly laptop.

Although this laptop has no dedicated graphics the integrated Radeon graphics of the Ryzen 5700U are adequate for general use.

You can perform CPU and GPU-intensive tasks on this laptop, and applications like AutoCAD, Solidworks, and MATLAB will run fine on this laptop. 

The laptop can also run some light games like CSGO, Valorant at the lowest graphics preset. For an $800 laptop, not going to lie this is quite impressive.

The Ryzen 5700U processor is combined with 16GB Ram and 512GB SSD to provide a flawless user experience free from any slowdowns and hiccups.

This is a laptop that I can recommend wholeheartedly if you are looking for a machine that combines all the aspects of a good laptop. This jack of all trades laptop delivers a fantastic value for the price.


What to Look for in a Laptop for Engineering Students – The Buying Guide

Now that we have given you so many options in terms of which engineering laptop to buy it is our duty as well to advise you properly on how to make the best purchase decision. Hence the buyer’s guide.

CPU

The CPU is the brain of the computer and hence is responsible for executing all the commands that a person inputs.

Since we are dealing with engineering programs that are complex and multi-structured high computational power is required.

In our case, a 4 core Intel i5 processor is the absolute minimum you should aim for with the sweet spot being a 6 core i7 or an AMD Ryzen.

Better yet if you can afford it and want the smoothest experience going with AMD Ryzen 8 core processors is not out of the question.

The gist of it is that for engineering you should get a laptop that offers as many cores as possible in your budget. The more the cores the better the performance just keep this phrase at the back of your head.

RAM

The memory or the RAM of the computer is the temporary storage space for all the actions happening on the computer.

Since 3D programs like CAD, SolidWorks and MATLAB take up a lot of resources my recommendation RAM choice for you will be 16GB.

I would highly advise against going with 8GB RAM because it is the bare minimum requirement and hence with an 8GB laptop you won’t have much headroom to spare.

Also, look for laptops with user-upgradeable RAM. In this way, as things start getting more and more complex you can increase the RAM capacity to meet your requirement.

Graphics Card

The graphics card is really beneficial to have but only in certain programs. Not all programs that you will be working with take advantage of the extra graphical power.

If you want to game as well on your laptop then that is another case but for university, work a faster CPU and a higher RAM capacity should be favored more than the graphics card.

That being said the applications that do take advantage of the extra graphical power will net you amazing results with a dedicated Nvidia graphics card. One such application that comes to mind is Adobe Premier.

Battery Life

I would be lying by saying that battery life does not account for much and you can probably sacrifice it.

While in retrospect you can sacrifice on the battery life but let me tell you the experience with such laptop is not the best.

A laptop that does not last through a full day of college increases stress. Since the laptop is integral for any student you will always be checking on the remaining battery of your laptop and looking for places to sit with a nearby wall socket.

This is just not fun so I say skip the tension and get a laptop that lasts throughout your college hours.

Portability

No matter what others make you believe never skip on portability. A laptop that is bulky and heavy is cumbersome to carry around.

Most of your laptop time won’t involve you running through vigorous workloads so why buy a heavy laptop that is not convenient to carry around when you are not going to take advantage of that power all the time.

Thankfully, manufacturers are now starting to understand the need for thin and lighting laptops and hence they are many laptops available in the market that are both powerful and portable.

Storage Space

Most laptops have upgradeable storage drives so storage should not be high up the list of priorities. If you feel that a laptop is fulfilling all your other needs but lacks on the storage front then there is no wrong with buying that machine.

One thing you should make sure of is if the laptop has an SSD for storage. SSDs are absolutely vital for the smooth functioning of the laptop because they provide a quick and snappy experience due to inherit fast storage technology.

Design

The design is a highly personal affair so I won’t say much here but keep this one thing at the back of your head.

Don’t invest in tacky designs because although they might look appealing and tempting at first after a while get boring.

A simple, minimal laptop with an elegant finish never fails to impress today, tomorrow, or in the future.

Conclusion

A wise teacher once said to me, “A powerful laptop can only get you far if you know how to utilize that power.” This thing has really stuck with me and now I encourage everyone to get the best product they can for their needs.

As an engineering student, you should also apply the same formula. Do not go running after the most powerful laptop but rather look for the required specifications you need.

Most engineering programs irrespective of the university will provide you with a list of specifications that your laptop should meet. Double-check the list and from the laptop featured above get the one that matches your recommended specifications.

With that being said I hope you find the best laptop for your engineering and also good luck with the degree.

Before signing off let us know which laptop you bought and why. This will greatly help others on the verge of making a decision for a laptop.

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