Congratulations on clearing your masters! Good luck with your PhD journey. Are you here for a reason, which is to find the best laptop for PhD student? Or want to gift it to your siblings or a friend? Whatever query brought you here, we have the answer.

We know that what requirements of a PhD student could be, that is why we chose these top 7 laptops after immense research.

The List of Best Laptops for PhD Students and Researchers

These 7 picks feature all up-to-date internals and features that are capable of assisting you in your student life.

So, without any further ado. Let’s dig into the list.

#1. HP Pavilion 15 11th Gen Intel Core i7 Laptop – Best Overall

HP Pavilion 15 has got to be your pick if you want an all-rounder device. It is one of the best laptops for PhD students in the year 2021.  With this device you can get more done in lesser time, making you more productive. It is a compact device which lasts the whole day.

The HP Pavilion 15 is capable of keeping you in pace with the advancing world, the laptop features an 11th generation Intel core i7 – 1165G7 processor. It gives you a maximum turbo frequency of 4.7 GHz which is way faster than what you get on other laptops. Responding in microseconds will be a game-changer for you.

The highly impressive Intel Iris Xe graphics card which comes with this laptop will give you a whole new experience of stunning and crisp visual which you have never experienced before. Name any high maintenance software or program in terms of graphics, all of them are supported with this GPU.

HP guarantees 15x faster performance with the 16 GB RAM making sure you and your work are unstoppable. The 512 GB PCIe NVMe M.2 SSD storage has been used to ensure a lightning-fast user experience and no storage problems. SSD is known for its speed and this something that should always be checked before purchasing laptops or computers.

Edge to edge 15.6” full HD IPS micro display screen gives you a higher screen to body ratio. It provides a theatre-like visual experience. The screen resolution is 1920 x 1080 which more than enough for all sorts of visuals.

The solid connections include speedy WiFi 6 2×2 and a Bluetooth 5.0 combination, guaranteeing lighting fast transfer of files at a rate 3.5x higher than any other device.

A full-sized keyboard enables you to work with ease and comfort. Its integrated number pad is also finger-friendly and smooth. The touchpad is built with high precision do you will be able to get things done on your fingertips quite literally.

All of this falls under the $1000 budget. Although it is built with the most advanced features there may be a difficulty in connecting it to other devices. For that additional parts must be bought, but that is still a decent deal.

Pros
  • Easy on the pocket
  • Excellent battery life
Cons
  • External supplies need to be bought separately.
  • Some features are unavailable on all versions of windows.

#2. Lenovo Flex 5 – Best Laptop for Research

Lenovo Flex 5 is powered by AMD Ryzen 5 4500U. It has a base processing speed of 2.1 GHz and can boost it up to 4.0 GHz on full load. The user can get all their tasks done without any sort of inconvenience when it comes to processing speed and power. If you’re looking for the best laptop for researchers that is portable, lightweight, and budget-friendly, you can go for Lenovo Flex 5.

It is built with an AMD Radeon graphics card. We know it is not the most impressive graphics card but it’s still good enough for basic PhD subjects. If you are studying advanced subjects in  PhD and using high-end software that requires good graphic cards, this laptop may not be the device for you if you. The rest of the features Lenovo flex 5 possesses, cover up for not having an exceptional GPU.

Its super-sensitive 14” touch screen displays amazing visuals. It gives the user a resolution of a 1920 x 108 FHD IPS display. Additionally, it is a touch screen laptop. Its screen can be rotated 360⁰ allowing the users to use it in laptop, tent, tabletop, and laptop mode. Moreover, it comes with a complimentary digital pen.

Talking about its storage capacity, it comes with an outstanding 16 GB DDR4 RAM. DDR4 is known to give at least a 50% increased performance than other memory types. This will make sure you keep on working and progressing without lags. The 256 GB SSD ROM can speed up your work up to 6 times.

Lenovo Flex 5 features exceptional capability when it comes to connectivity. It is built with 2×2 WiFi 5 and Bluetooth 4.2. It offers its users a range of USB ports which include 2 USB type A and 1 USB type C port, in addition to an HDMI port.

The keyboard is built with a sleek design. It has backlighting options for an improved user experience. It also has a fingerprint reader. The separate numeric keypad is absent.

It is an all-rounder laptop. It is thin, sleek, lightweight, and extremely easy to carry. It has a battery life of up to 10 hours which may reduce after usage. For this price, it is an excellent option unless the user requires additional features.

Pros
  • The fingerprint reader is a plus
  • Expandable storage
Cons
  • Average Graphics card.
  • Cooling fans make noise.

#3. ASUS Zen Book 15 10th Gen – Most Recommended Laptop for PhD Students

A notebook that gives new horizons to traditional computing experience making you feel you are in a new technological world where stopping isn’t an option is what ASUS Zen book 15 aims to provide its users. It is one of the recommended laptops for PhD students and researchers.

This laptop comes with an up-to-date 10th generation Intel core i7-10510U processor. It has a base frequency of 1.8GHz and can be boosted to a turbo frequency of 4.90 GHz. This gives the user a smooth computing experience and gets all your work done at maximum speeds.

It is built with the best graphics card for all high-end software. NVIDIA GTX 1650 which has 4 GB RAM will ensure accelerated rendering of graphics for all applications such as machine learning etc.

The laptop has a widescreen of 15.6” with a 4K UHD 4-way NanoEdge bezel display giving you an exceptional visual experience. The screen has an optimum resolution of 1920×1080 pixels. The 92% screen to body ratio is perfect for you to visualize and analyze on-screen activities.

The super-fast storage and memory are formed by 16 GB DDR3 SD RAM and 512 GB PCIe NVMe SSD ROM. The NVMe is exceptional in performing tasks without shutters. This allows the user a lag-free multitasking experience. The storage capacity is decent but if your work mainly depends on storage at some point you’ll have to look for upgrades or other options.

Asus Zen Book 5 gives you extensive connectivity as it comes with multiple ports to cater to all the needs. It has one HDMI, one USB type C, and one SD card reading slot. It gives a high USB transferring speed to and from the device. It has Bluetooth 5.0 and WiFi 6 for wireless connections.

The keyboard of Asus Zen book 15 has a stylish backlit keyboard and soft-touch keys. The keyboard gives a very easy and comfortable typing experience and is great in style.

Moreover, it has a built-in camera for facial recognition and a face lock option. The laptop interacts with its users with the Amazon Alexa voice. With some unique features, it is one eye-catching device that is suitable for your PhD work requirements.

Pros
  • Long-lasting battery
  • Sleek design
Cons
  • Not so sturdy design.
  • High reflecting screen.

#4. Apple MacBook Pro 10 Gen 13-Inch Variant – Best Mac for PhD Students

The best Mac for PhD students is lighting fast and portable with outstanding connectivity and memory. It gives an overall perfect user experience allowing multitasking and much more.

Displaying a commendable processing power of up to 3.9 GHz, the MacBook Pro is powered by core i5 10th-generation quad-core processor giving a powerful boost in the execution of all sorts of programs.

The Intel Iris plus graphics card 645 which comes built-in with the Apple MacBook Pro which proves to be a decent graphics card and shows efficiency while rendering images to your screen, hence supports all software and applications which may be used in studying your major.

Apple gives you a 13” outstanding LED-backlit retina display which is famous for creating eye-friendly visuals without distortions. Its true tone display technology will please the users by creating natural-looking images.

Keeping in mind the amount of data Ph.D. students carry in their devices, it has 512 GB of ultra-fast SSD storage. Its fast speed gets more work done in lesser time with that support speed.

MacBook gives us some great connectivity options such as WiFi 802.11ac and Bluetooth 5.0. it also has 3 USB type C thunderbolts for charging and transferring files up to 40 Gbps and a USB 3.1 gen 2 port that supports up to 10 Gbps.

The device comes with a user-friendly and highly comfortable butterfly-shaped keyboard. Apple follows its traditional approach of 1mm key travel while in use for a smooth typing experience. The backlit feature enables the user to work in dim lights easily.

There may not be any better option than the Apple MacBook pro if you are looking for comfort. Although the price is a constraint, you just cannot resist buying it with some of its extraordinary features.

Pros
  • Excellent storage up to 4TB
  • 10th generation processor
Cons
  • A pricey laptop.
  • Average Graphics card.

#5. Lenovo Legion with NVIDIA GTX 1660Ti – Comes with Real Power

Lenovo is a promising brand. Lenovo Legion is an all-rounder laptop that has all the features a PhD student needs.

Featuring the AMD Ryzen 4800H processer, which is a recommended processor for working purposes. The processor has a base processing speed of 1.8 GHz which can be boosted to a maximum of 4.2 GHz. This is a decent processing power that can handle multiple tasks and numerous tabs at a time.

An exceptional graphics card, NVIDIA GTX 1660Ti is capable of handling all the high end software prodcuts efficiently without any distortion. It supports all your applications with superb quality output, exactly what a PHD student would want.

This laptop allows you to enjoy exclusive colorful visuals on the 15.6” FHD IPS display screen. It has a good screen to body ratio with a resolution of 1920×1080 pixels giving you a pleasing and clear on-screen experience.

Talking about the memory and storage option that are available with Lenovo Legion, its’ 16GB 3200 MHz DDR4 RAM and 512 GB M.2 NVMe PCIe SSD gives the users a speedy and shutter free experience.

Wireless connectivity options include WiFi 802.11 ax and Bluetooth 5.0. In addition to that, it has 3 USB-A Gen 1, 1 USB Type C gen 1, and HDMI 2.0 ports for speedy sharing of files.

Lenovo guarantees the smoothest keyboard experience with backlit LED lighting and hair-triggered sensitive input. The user has the option to choose between plain white backlights or four-zone RGB lights for a fancier look.

This phantom black laptop is durable and has a long-lasting battery of up to 9 hours. A user-friendly design and heavy-duty performance device are just what fits the requirements. The best part is that it falls below the $1000 mark.

Pros
  • Enjoyable keyboard
  • Outstanding performance
Cons
  • The touchpad has an odd shape.
  • Heats up quick.

#6. Acer Aspire 5 10th Gen Light Laptop with Fingerprint Reader

Put your worries to the side. A great laptop with decent specifications without hurting your pocket, for your PhD requirements may sound unrealistic. Not when you have the option for Acer Aspire 5.

Acer will not make you compromise on the quality of the processor. It delivers you the 10th generation core i5 10210U, a high-powered quad-core Comet lake processor, the high end CPU makes sure that you get your work done no time. It has a base processing frequency of 1.6GHz which can be boosted to a turbo performance of 4.2 GHz.

The integrated Intel UHD 620 graphics card will work perfectly for regular software. If your work depends more on visuals and graphics, there will be a need for a high-end graphics card to execute your complex programs.

It efficiently visualizes all your graphics with a decent resolution of 1920×1080 on its 15.6” LED screen. It is very hard to get a full HD display at this price but Acer does that for you.

The 4 GB DDR4 RAM is constantly making sure that all your programs run smoothly and processing power is handled efficiently. It is quite surprising to see 1 TB original storage capacity which will save years and years’ worth of data in one place.

The WiFi 6 AX201 802 11ax and Bluetooth 4.2 give the laptop exceptional wireless connectivity. Alongside it has 2 USB 3.1 Gen 1 ports, 1 USB 2.0, and 1 HDMI port making sure users get a wide range of options and speedy data transfers up to 5GBps.

Talking about the keyboard it has a stylish backlit keyboard which is a very attractive feature and a compact separate number pad too. The keys run smoothly and give the user a comfortable typing experience.

This is a perfect device for a low budget.

Pros
  • Incredibly stylish look
  • Easy to carry
Cons
  • Lacks back-lit keyboard.
  • Discharges battery quickly.

#7. MSI GL65 Leopard 10th Gen Thin Bezel Laptop for Heavy Use

Multitasking on a slow device would be a nightmare. Especially when you are pursuing a heavy degree, you need a heavy-duty device. The powerful MSI GL65 leopard caters to those queries with its irresistible features and reasonable price.

High processing power is required when you have to work with tons of applications all at once. MSI GL65 comes with the latest 10th generation core i7-10750H Hexacore processor which takes your work to a whole new pace. Its base frequency is 2.6 GHz which can be boosted to a maximum of 5.0 GHz with a cache memory of 12 GB for its users to experience the smoothing browsing experience.

This device is built with the new jet fast NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 8G GDDr6 is the king of GPUs and it will ensure crisp images on your screen supporting up to 60 frames at a time.

With an incredible full HD display screen of 15.6” and an on-screen resolution of 1920×1080 pixels, this laptop shows the tiniest details on the screen. It produces high-resolution images that are highly eye-catching. The users will experience a seamless on-screen visual experience.

Talking about the memory and storage that come with this heavy-duty laptop is commendable. It has two sticks of 8Gb DDR4 2666MHz so the total memory is 16 GB and it can be upgraded to a maximum of 64GB which is more than enough for all sorts of heavy programs running at the same time. The 512 GB NVMe SSD of MSI GL65 Leopard is quite decent. SSD is known for its speed and this helps in getting things done in the blink of an eye.

Nothing beats this exceptional device when it comes to connectivity. For wireless connections, it is built with WiFi 6 AX201 2×2 ax and Bluetooth 5.1. In addition to that, it contains 1 USB 3.2 Type-C Gen 1, 3 USB type A 3.2 Gen 1 USP ports. It also has one HDMI and 1 mini display port to give you access to connect it to all kinds of devices.

Its body is completely black and it comes with a backlit keyboard. This enables the user to work with ease in a low-lighted environment and adds attraction to the design.

It is perfect for all sorts of tasks. It is more than a general-use laptop. It is efficient durable and has a long-lasting battery too. There aren’t many options that will offer you everything up-to-date at such a reasonable price.

Pros
  • Individually backlit keys
  • Quality hardware
Cons
  • No fingerprint sensor.
  • Fairly poor IPS display.

Final Verdict

Pursuing a Ph.D. degree is not easy. Selecting the right college and subjects is a tough task indeed. The cream of the crop has been shortlisted for all the energetic students out there who plan on buying a durable long-lasting and loyal device that will take them through their journey.

After thoughtful evaluation of the processors, GPUs, Storage options as well as connectivity, and looks of suitable laptops, we hope this article was informative enough to help you choose the desired device right away.

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About the author

Lisa Scholfield

Lisa Scholfield is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of "The Digital World". Her books have received starred reviews in Publishers Weekly and Booklist.

Lisa lives in the Rocky Mountains with her husband, a medium-sized dog, and an attack cat. Before she started writing "The Digital World", she experimented with various occupations including, Computer Programming, Dog-Training, Scientificating, & Traveling.