There were only three things that kept me going through college; my friends, girlfriend, and trusty laptop.
To be honest, I have never been very good at academics, but I still flip through or rather browse through my college notes every now and then for referential purposes, which are still on that same laptop, by the way.
If you’re wondering, I got myself HP’s Pavillion dm4 Beats Edition, which set me back a hefty $900 back then. But it was college, I wanted to look cool, and I had a student loan, so I went for it. And I am glad that I bought what I bought. Yes, it was expensive for its time, looked a little plasticky and cheap even with the Beats logo, but it was and still is a rugged machine. It still functions pretty well. In fact, just to prove my point, I am writing this entire post on my old dm4, which was also an inspiration for this topic.
You see, ever since I started blogging about tech, which also began from college, I have realized that you don’t buy things like smartphones and laptops every other year, or at least, I don’t.
While financial constraints are also a part of it, but I wait to upgrade my gadgets until they really start to frustrate me, like the iPhone 6 that I changed late last year because it had become slow and unusable for me, and continuously tested my patience.
With all the time I have spent trying out and testing different techs, I have comprehended that investing once in a good laptop can provide you with peace of mind for many years to come.
List of Best HP Laptops for College Students
If you’re trying to find a good machine to take you through college (and then some), check out my top picks for the best HP laptops for college students below:
#1. HP 10th Gen Touchscreen Premium Laptop – Latest & Best
Starting off this list is one of HP’s premium offerings with a mid-range price tag, the HP 15 i5 2020 edition. Design-wise, the outer shell looks very similar to Macbooks, except the bitten apple emblem is replaced with a large HP logo. Once you open the lid, you’ll be surprised by an all-black interior with the exception of the grayish-silver hinge.
The lid houses a 15.6 inch, backlit WLED touchscreen display with very narrow side bezels. The top and bottom bezels are very noticeable, though. There’s also a full-sized chicklet style keyboard with key travel that can only be described as perfect. Accompanying the keyboard is a large plastic trackpad that’s just okay to use.
It runs on a 10th generation i5 processor and supports Intel’s Turbo Boost technology for increased power. For a snappier experience, faster loading times, and quick data transfers, HP has included a 512 GB NVMe SSD. To provide optimum performance, this specific variant of HP 15 i5 comes with 16 GB of DDR4 RAM.
The connectivity ports and options onboard are also on-point and support everything from the latest type-C ports to legacy USB and everything in between. You get an HDMI port for connecting an additional display, along with a Type-C port, 2 USB 3 ports, an SD card reader, and a 3.5mm audio/mic combination jack.
#2. HP Envy X360 – Budget Pick
If I had to describe this laptop in one sentence, I would say that it would make your college and classmates envious. This aptly named Envy X360 comes with a 15.6-inch FHD display that is touch supported and rests on a 360-degree rotating hinge. The full 360 rotation and touch support make it a perfect choice for you if you prefer taking handwritten notes during classes. You will, of course, need to buy a supported stylus for this purpose.
Apart from its sizeable, flexible screen, HP X360’s other highlighting features include its processor and RAM. This Envy variant is powered by AMD’s famous Ryzen 5 2500u. While I haven’t run any detailed tests regarding the processor, many online tech reviewers consider it more powerful compared to Intel’s i5 processors of the same generation. What I can say for sure is that the 2500u offers better clock speeds with the same number of cores and same TDP or heat generation.
Supporting the Ryzen 5 in delivering optimum performance is the 8GB of DDR4 RAM. For storage, you get a PCIe SSD with 256 GB of space. There’s also graphics support provided by the integrated RX Vega 8 from AMD’s Radeon division. While the Vega 8 delivers excellent clarity and color boost, don’t look forward to heavy gaming.
#3. HP Pavilion X360 – Best Laptop for College Students
The third entrant on this list is shares part of its name with the previously mentioned Envy. The Pavillion X360 comes from HP’s more popular and premium line-up of laptops. Since it’s in the name, it shouldn’t be a surprise to you that this one’s also a convertible. It sports a 14-inch touchscreen crisp display with 1080p resolution. And just like the Envy X360, Pavilion X360 also works flawlessly with a stylus, making it an ideal choice for college-goers, and my reason for adding it to this list.
It’s also among one of the very few laptops on the market that provide a wide-angle view from their webcams, adding a whole lot of fun to your video chats. Another one of its features that impresses me a lot is the speaker output. You will not need a headset or a pair of headphones to enjoy music or videos on the Pavillion X360 in your dorm, even with your nosy roommate constantly babbling.
And don’t get me started on its battery. You can easily squeeze 7 hours out of it with about 10% to 15% charge remaining. You can also easily charge it between classes too since it only takes about an hour or so to charge 50%.
Its metallic body and silver finish gives it a very premium look, justifying its price tag to a great extent. HP has also ensured that you always get fast booting times by installing two separate hard drives. That’s right. You get a 128 GB SSD to run the operating system and a 1 TB SATA hard drive with 5400 rpm, so you can store almost unlimited data. I can write a few more paras about this laptop, but I am unfortunately constrained for space. I will instead share more of its impressive features in the Pros section below:
#4. HP Core i5 HD Touchscreen – 10th Gen
If you’re interested in a laptop that performs well and runs on the latest tech, this 15.6-inch HP machine running on the 10th generation Core i5 is for you. From its design and looks to performance and internals, everything screams modernism. The rich HD display on it sports a 6.5mm micro-edge touchscreen that’s just a pleasure to navigate.
You already know about the 10th-gen processor, but it isn’t the only first-rate tech piece under the hood powering this machine. The 512 GB of SSD storage and 8 GB of DDR4 SDRAM contributes equally to this laptop’s overall performance. Oh! And can’t forget about its large battery. It can last well over 10 hours on moderate performance settings and comes with HP’s fast-charge technology, which allows it to go from 0% to 50% in less than 50 minutes.
Nothing seems to be compromised on the built-quality end as well. The silver-colored aluminum chassis looks impressive and feels sturdy to hold. Inside has a brushed finish and houses a full-sized chiclet keyboard with a numpad and a comfortably sized touchpad. NOthing’s missing on the connectivity side either. You get everything from a 3.5mm combo jack, SD card reader to HDMI port, USB 3.1, and USB Type-C.
#5. HP 15.6″ Touchscreen 10th Gen Intel Quad-Core i7
For those of you who like the looks of that last entrant but want a little more performance boost, this HP laptop is for you. But before I share where it outperforms the previous entry, let’s just take a quick look at what they share in common.
This one is also a 15.6-inch machine sporting the same large touchscreen display with multi-touch support for up to 10 fingers. A full-sized keyboard with Numpad is also present. Unfortunately, even the PCIe SSD comes with the same storage capacity, 512 GB, and there’s no upgraded RAM present here either. Yes, this one also has 8 GB of DDR4 SDRAM.
Also, everything is assembled inside the same silver aluminum chassis, so there are no changes in the available port selection either. By now, you’re probably wondering what is different in this laptop, right?
Well, the driving force behind this laptop is Intel’s new 10-generation Core i7 processor, namely the 1065G7. This processor alone gives a noticeably huge performance boost over the i5 powering the previous 15.6-inch machine. And you also get a 320 GB YZAKKA external drive with no additional charges.
#6. HP Pavilion 10th Gen Intel Core i5 + NexiGo Wireless Mouse
As we reach closer toward the end of my list of best HP laptops for college students, you’ll notice that I am focusing more on 10th-gen HP machines. Well, that’s because I believe laptops are something that people don’t upgrade as often as they do their smartphones. So, why not invest in something that can last you at least half a decade if not more. Hence, I am suggesting more 10th-generation laptops.
And this HP Pavillion is also reminiscent of that. Specs-wise, this laptop is just as much of a beast as you’d expect a 10th-gen machine to be. It carries the processing power of the 1035G1 Core i5 supported by DDR4 SDRAM with 8 GB capacity. Almost infinite storage space with 1 TB of onboard SSD storage.
A 15.6-inch display with HP’s Brightview micro-edge technology and multi-finger touch support perfectly complement the visual representation of all your data and media. A chiclet styled full-sized keyboard makes typing on this iteration of Pavillion laptops a breeze. Right under the keyboard sits a glass trackpad that’s just okay at best.
All this tech is nicely squeezed and fit into an aluminum body which holds a sleek and premium looking design. Also, all the standard ports you can expect to have, are present, so there’s no shortage of hardware connectivity options.
#7. Newest HP Envy 17t Touch – Best for College & Home
And last but not least, also one of my favorites on the list is HP’s Newest Envy laptop. If you’re wondering why I didn’t mention this model earlier in the list, well, it’s for two reasons. It’s one of the more pricier options, and my lists are never in any specific order.
The Envy 17t has a 17.3-inch gigantic micro-edge FHD touchscreen display. What makes content consumption on this display more impressive is the NVIDIA GeForce MX250 that comes with in-built dedicated 4 GB of GDDR5 SDRAM.
This powerhouse of a laptop runs on Core i7 from Intel’s 10-generation processors and boasts 16 GB of DDR4 RAM for unmatched performance. It’s also the only laptop on this list that comes with 16 gigs of RAM out of the box. For storage, you get 1 TB of NVMe SSD.
On the design front, you don’t get to see many curves or any curves for that matter. It’s a pretty boxy design that you will either love or hate at first glance. There’s no in-between. The laptop is very sleek and slim though, even when the lid is closed.
Contrary to what many of you might believe, buying a laptop isn’t rocket science. Neither does it require you to be very tech-savvy. All you need to know is what your requirements are, and based on that information alone, you can easily shortlist the specs that can help you get things done. Here are a few things that can help you reach a decision:
The Touchscreen Display
While most modern laptops boast a touchscreen display, it isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. In simple words, it just means that everyone doesn’t prefer having a touchscreen on their laptops.
Nonetheless, if you like to take notes by hand and are looking for a way to digitally replace pen and paper, a touchscreen display might be more up your valley.
Hinge Rotation Degrees
So, you’ve decided whether you need a display with multi-finger touch support or not, what do you choose next? You decide on the type of hinge you’re looking for in a laptop.
If you prefer a touchscreen display, precisely because you plan on taking handwritten digital notes, make sure you select a laptop that has a 360-degree rotation or a 180 degree at the very least. The rotatable display will help you take notes more comfortably during classes.
However, if you prefer more of a classic use case, then a laptop with a standard hinge should serve you well enough.
Battery life is another thing that you need to carefully look at before making a purchase decision. Carefully look at your daily class schedule to determine how many hours in a day you will be active and won’t have access to a power outlet. Depending on that information, you can establish an idea of the battery life you’ll require to last you through the day.
Please keep in mind that the information available on the vendor’s website regarding battery life is based on ideal and unrealistic usage data. So, whichever laptop you choose, make sure you read some reviews regarding its battery life under real-world conditions.
Performance & Processing Power
Okay, there’s no way to actually know how much processing power you’ll need to get you through college. If I am mistaking, you’ll mostly be using an office suite on your machine and a browser. Both of these can run pretty seamlessly on a mid-range device running on a Core i3, Core i5, or a comparatively same processor from other manufacturers, supported by a RAM capacity of between 4 GB to 8 GB.
But, if you know, you’ll be using your laptop for photo and video editing, or other graphics-heavy tasks, don’t settle for anything less than an i7 processor with a minimum 16 GB RAM capacity.
Size & Weight
And lastly, you should look for a right-sized laptop. If you plan to carry around the device the whole day, you should always opt for a lightweight machine. Larger laptops usually weigh more because of a larger chassis. However, lightweight laptops might also have a smaller screen size, battery capacity, and plastic built. With smaller laptops, you can also miss out on a full-sized keyboard with a separate Numpad.
If you believe that a larger, bulkier laptop will not become a drag to carry around, I suggest you go for it. But if you ask for my personal preference, I like to use laptops between the sizes of 12.5-inches to 14-inches.
When it comes to buying a laptop, there’s no one-size-fits-all formula that you can follow. It will always come down to everyone’s individual preference and usability. I did my best to add all the laptops, which I felt matched the most common college students’ preferences. So, if you’re in the market for an HP machine before you head out to college, I hope you’ll find something in this list of best HP laptops for college students, intriguing and worthy of your purchase. Until next time. 🙂