CSN Student Laptops

Student Laptops

Laptops provide significant advantages for students at every level of education. Students are looking for laptops that can be moved, put away, and travel with them to wherever they have to go – another class, a quick trip to an extracurricular obligation, or back to their dorm or apartment.

Easy collaboration

Laptops should allow students to communicate and collaborate more easily both in class and outside of school. The fact that the laptops are portable and powerful will enable students to collaborate with other students more seamlessly. Whether it is a high school assignment or college research, student laptops make it easier to communicate and work together as a team.

Easy research

Laptops and the internet provide students with access to an enormous wealth of educational resources, Internet libraries, and other learning materials. It also allows them to research more efficiently and conveniently.

Efficient note-taking

Taking and sharing notes is vital for any student. Laptops give students a fast and efficient note-taking alternative to traditional pen and paper. Some student 2-in-1s can be paired with a stylus, which can encourage both creativity and collaboration.

Essential skills

Working with a laptop allows students to develop skills that will serve them well as they move on to higher education and the workforce. A student embracing a laptop’s features can be a massive ”head start,” especially for those in K-12 education. It can help them understand research and collaboration on a deeper level and at an earlier age.

The best laptops for college students

The new school year is almost upon us and that means it’s a great time to upgrade your hardware with a college-ready laptop to help you ace the upcoming term. Whether you’re just starting out or you’re heading into your final year, you’re going to need a good laptop for college. But with so many different options out there, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed.

Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. The PCWorld team has curated a comprehensive list of the best laptops for college students to help you finally make that coveted deans list. We’ve thoroughly tested and reviewed all of these picks in our ongoing quest to find the best laptops for everyone.

All of the recommendations on this list are outstanding productivity machines, but we’ve also included picks for gamers and options for a variety of price points. And if you’re looking for a great deal, be sure to take at look at our daily roundup of the best laptop deals for some low-cost gems.

Also, the back-to-school sales are on, but they won’t last much longer—check out our back-to-school deals highlighting the best seasonal sales on Chromebooks, MacBooks, iPads, and more.

Updated 12/09/2022: Check out our latest review of the Acer Chromebook Vero 514. It’s made from post-consumer recycled material and impressed our reviewer with its great battery life and affordable price tag.

Lenovo IdeaPad Slim 7 Carbon – Best overall laptop Pros 2.8K OLED display is gorgeous

Booming audio

Quiet operation

Strong application and multimedia performance Cons So-so keyboard

Lid is so thin it flexes a bit too much

Below-average battery life Best Prices Today: From zippy multimedia performance to punchy audio, the Lenovo IdeaPad Slim 7 Carbon has a lot to offer at a reasonable price point. The real star of the show is the 14-inch 2880×1800 OLED display. According to the reviewer, “the contrast is outstanding, with the deepest blacks and brightest whites.” As for colors, they’re “accurate and noticeably vibrant.” In addition to its stunning panel, the laptop also weighs just a little over 2 pounds, making it a capable travel laptop. There are a few minor shortcomings, though. The keyboard isn’t the best and battery life is less than stellar. But in the end, the pros really outweigh the cons here. Read our full Review Lenovo IdeaPad Slim 7 Carbon Acer Aspire 5 – Best budget laptop Pros Affordable price

Rugged build

Great keyboard

Good selection of ports Cons Subpar webcam

Annoying bloatware comes pre-installed

Touchpad is a little hard to use Best Prices Today: With its affordable price point, decent performance, and robust build, the Acer Aspire 5 is a good budget option for most people. While the color scheme is a little boring, the build is surprisingly rugged. Our tester was surprised by its “solid, durable feel.” The keyboard is nice, too. It has a spacious layout, which is perfect for longer typing sessions. Performance is fast enough for general-use tasks like writing emails and browsing the web, but that’s about it. If you’re shopping around for a solid everyday laptop that won’t break the bank, the Aspire 5 is definitely worth a look. Read our full Acer Aspire 5 review Acer Chromebook Spin 713 – Best Chromebook Pros Strong performance

Good build quality

Nice selection of ports

Beautiful display

Solid battery life Cons No privacy shutter on the webcam

Boring design

Fan noise is a bit loud Best Prices Today: If you’re looking for a great convertible laptop, the Acer Chromebook Spin 713 will surely fit the bill. You can either prop it up like a tent or flip the screen around and use it like a tablet. We were also impressed with its vibrant display, all-day battery life, and diverse selection of ports. The design is a little utilitarian, but this is the kind of machine that favors function over aesthetics. The build is robust and there was hardly any flex in the keyboard tray. There are a couple of downsides like the loud fan noise and the lack of a physical privacy shutter on the webcam, but these issues are relatively minor. Overall, the Spin 713 is a solid convertible laptop that performs well. HP Chromebook x2 11 da0023dx – Best folio-style Chromebook Pros Gorgeous 2K touchscreen

Solid performance

Excellent battery life

Robust design Cons Trackpad is too sensitive at times

Light on ports Ah, folio-style laptops. While some may find them cumbersome to deal with, our reviewer really liked this one. The HP Chromebook x2 11 is one of the best 2-in-1 laptops you can buy. The tablet’s aluminum chassis feels rugged and like it’ll last quite a while. The detachable keyboard took some getting used to, but ended up being fine for long typing sessions. The rear plate, which transforms into a kickstand that holds up the tablet, connects to the back of the tablet via magnets. The reviewer found the connection to be both clean and strong. As for the performance, it’s about what you’d expect out of a Chromebook. It’s zippy enough for everyday tasks like browsing the web and so on. Read our full Review HP Chromebook x2 11 Asus ROG Strix G15 Advantage Edition – Best budget gaming laptop Pros Outclasses every CPU in competing laptops

Radeon RX GPU outclasses similarly-priced GeForce GPUs in conventional gaming.

Surprisingly good audio quality Cons No webcam

Very bulky 280-watt power brick

Nvidia GPUs outclass Radeon in ray tracing and content creation. If you’re serious about gaming, the Asus ROG Strix G15 Advantage Edition is one heck of a powerhouse. The review unit we tested had an 8-core AMD Ryzen 9 5900HX processor, an AMD Radeon RX 6800M GPU (with 12GB of GDDR6), 16GB of memory, and 512GB of NVMe SSD storage. You can play older titles on high to very-high graphics settings and newer games on medium. There are a few shortcomings, though. Battery life is lackluster and it’s pretty darn heavy. That said, poor battery life and a clunky form factor isn’t unusual for a gaming laptop, and if you’re looking to play some games when you aren’t busy working on assignments, this powerhouse offers much more value than most of its rivals. Looking for something a little more robust to fulfill your gaming needs? Check out our other picks for best gaming laptops. Read our full Review Asus ROG Strix G15 Advantage Edition XPG Xenia 15 KC – Most portable gaming laptop Pros Very light

Very quiet

(relatively) very fast Cons Subpar RGB

Just barely adequate audio

SD card reader barely adequate Best Prices Today: When it comes to gaming laptops, many if not most of them are pretty bulky and heavy, often tipping the scales at five or six pounds. Well, that’s not the case with the XPG Xenia 15 KC. It weighs a little over four pounds, which is fairly lightweight for a gaming laptop. Plus, it runs very quiet. According to our review, it “rarely makes noise under normal use.” That’s impressive, as most gaming laptops tend to sound like a rocket blasting off. If you’re looking for something that’s both quiet and portable, the Xenia 15 KC is an excellent choice. Read our full Review XPG Xenia 15 KC Swift X (SFX14-41G-R1S6) – Best for content creation Pros Stellar ultraportable performance.

Sneaky gaming laptop with RTX 3050 Ti graphics.

Impressive battery life considering high-end parts. Cons Display feels cramped for creative work.

Fan gets loud during heavy workloads.

Poorly placed Pg-Up and -Down buttons. Best Prices Today: From stellar performance to the lightweight form factor, the Acer Swift X has a lot to offer. In addition to handling content-creation tasks, it can also run a few lightweight games as well. However, its biggest strength is its battery life. Despite the power-hungry internals, the Swift X’s battery lasted more than 12 hours in our tests. Depending on your use, you won’t need to go hunting for an outlet all that much. It’s perfect for college students. Read our full Review Swift X (SFX14-41G-R1S6) Samsung Galaxy Book Pro 360 5G – Best coffee shop laptop Pros Gorgeous OLED screen

Simply outstanding battery life

5G option for mobile work

Terrific inking experience, and the pen is included

Decent value Cons Poor performance in places

Slow, laggy SSD

Almost out of date The Samsung Galaxy Book Pro 360 5G offers a gorgeous OLED screen, superb battery life, and an excellent inking experience. It also has a 360-degree hinge, which means you can fold it into a tent or swing the display around and use it like a tablet. It’s very versatile, which may appeal to students or business professionals. In our review, our tester described it as “an excellent coffee shop PC.” The only drawback is the slow SSD. That said, those issues have been common with Windows 11. Read our full Review Samsung Galaxy Book Pro 360 5G Acer Swift 3 SF316-51 – Best big screen laptop Pros Solid chassis and build quality

Large, attractive 16-inch 1080p screen

Enjoyable keyboard and touchpad

USB-C with charging and DisplayPort Cons Webcam, microphone, and speakers don’t impress

Intel processor falls behind AMD alternatives

Disappointing battery life

Lots of bloatware Best Prices Today: If you’re a college student working with a modest budget, the Acer Swift 3 is a fantastic option. It features an attractive 16-inch 1080p display, a solid chassis, and an enjoyable keyboard and touchpad. However, battery life is subpar, so you’ll want to keep the charger on hand. This is rather unfortunate, as the Swift 3’s slim profile makes it a capable laptop for travel. If you don’t mind the lackluster battery life, this is a great laptop for watching movies and streaming video on. Read our full Review Acer Swift 3 SF316-51 Asus Zenbook Pro 14 Duo OLED – Best dual display Pros Stunning primary display and easy to see secondary display

Excellent I/O options and wireless connectivity

CPU / GPU power meets the needs of content creators Cons The battery life is lacking for a productivity laptop

The trackpad is small and awkwardly placed

Rear orientated ports can be hard to reach Best Prices Today: Why have one display when you could have two? The Asus Zenbook Pro 14 takes the regular laptop display and doubles it. It comes with a 14.5-inch 4K touch OLED main panel and a unique secondary 12.7-inch 2880×864 screen located above the keyboard. Since the second display is recognized by Windows as a second monitor you can use it to help boost productivity, such as using it as another trackpad or to display touch controls for apps. With a Core i7 processor, RTX 3050 graphics, 16GB of DDR5 RAM, and a 1TB NVMe SSD the Zenbook Pro 14 also comes with some solid hardware. All of these great features put quite a strain on the battery though so it doesn’t have the best battery life. However, the Zenbook Pro 14 Duo OLED is basically a mid-range workstation complete with two high quality displays and enough punch to support you through all of your educational and personal tasks. Read our full Review Asus Zenbook Pro 14 Duo OLED

How we tested

The PCWorld team puts each and every Windows laptop through a series of benchmarks that test GPU and CPU performance, battery life, and so on. The idea is to push the laptop to its limits and then compare it against others we’ve tested. Chromebooks, on the other hand, go through a series of web-based tests. It wouldn’t be fair or possible to run the same kinds of tests on a Chromebook, as they’re Chrome OS-based machines. Below, you’ll find a breakdown of each test and the reasons why we run them.

Windows laptops

PCMark 10 : PCMark 10 is how we determine how well the laptop handles lighter tasks like web browsing, word processing, spreadsheets, and so on.

: PCMark 10 is how we determine how well the laptop handles lighter tasks like web browsing, word processing, spreadsheets, and so on. HandBrake : HandBrake is more intensive than PCMark 10. It basically measures how long a laptop’s CPU takes to encode a beefy 30GB file.

: HandBrake is more intensive than PCMark 10. It basically measures how long a laptop’s CPU takes to encode a beefy 30GB file. Cinebench : Cinebench is a brief stress test of the CPU cores. It does this by rendering a 2D scene over a short period of time.

: Cinebench is a brief stress test of the CPU cores. It does this by rendering a 2D scene over a short period of time. 3DMark : 3DMark checks if 3D performance remains consistent over time by running graphic-intensive clips.

: 3DMark checks if 3D performance remains consistent over time by running graphic-intensive clips. Video rundown test: To gauge battery life, we loop a 4K video using Windows 10’s Movies & TV app until the laptop dies.


CrXPRT 2 : The CrXPRT 2 benchmark tests a Chromebook’s battery life.

: The CrXPRT 2 benchmark tests a Chromebook’s battery life. Speedometer 2.0 : This test determines a Chromebook’s web browser performance. It simulates this by adding, completing, and removing a to-do list.

: This test determines a Chromebook’s web browser performance. It simulates this by adding, completing, and removing a to-do list. Basemark Web 3.0 : This benchmark gauges how well a Chromebook can handle web-based applications.

: This benchmark gauges how well a Chromebook can handle web-based applications. Kraken 1.1 : Kraken 1.1 is a JavaScript performance benchmark.

: Kraken 1.1 is a JavaScript performance benchmark. Jetstream 2: Jetstream 2 is a combination of WebAssembly and JavaScript benchmarks. This is a way to gauge how well a Chromebook runs advanced workloads.

What to look for in a laptop for college

The first thing to consider is budget. How much are you willing to spend on a laptop? If you’re working with an inflexible budget, Chromebooks are a good option. They’re affordable and designed to handle everyday tasks like writing papers, working on spreadsheets, and so on. Chromebook prices can range anywhere from $200 up to $1,000. If you want to spend a bit more, laptops with convertible touchscreens (otherwise known as 2-in-1s) offer a great deal of functionality. You can flip the screen around and use it like a tablet or prop it up like an easel for watching movies.

If you’ve got a jam-packed schedule, you’ll probably be running from class to class with very little downtime in between. That’s why we recommend a laptop with a long-lasting battery. We recommend something that’ll last 7 to 10-plus hours on a single charge, unless you want a notebook that can play games on the side—gaming laptops are notorious for their shorter endurance, even during everyday tasks. That 7 to 10 hours is a good figure if you plan on taking your laptop with you everywhere.

Things like navigating your e-mail or watching Netflix will require more RAM. We recommend springing for 8GB of RAM or more. 4GB of RAM is fine and good for web browsing and basic office work, but 8GB is better for having more tabs open and whatnot. Plus, applications like Google Chrome and Spotify tend to eat up a lot of RAM. Most people can get by with 4GB in a pinch if you’re on a tight budget, but you won’t be able to multitask as much.

The final thing is a decent keyboard. In college, you’re going to be spending a lot of time typing. Depending on your personal preference, you may want either a full or short travel keyboard. Mechanical keyboards, for example, normally have longer travel. This helps prevent accidental keystrokes. The keys also give a lot of tactile feedback, as they bounce back after they’re pressed down.

For more specifics regarding the hardware you want inside your laptop, be sure to check out our comprehensive guide on how to buy a budget laptop without getting screwed, as well as our broader cheatsheet on what to look for in a laptop CPU and GPU.

CSN Student Laptops

In CSN’s continual efforts to help our students succeed, a set of notebook computers for CSN students were procured. These are intended to help those students without the proper technology to be able to graduate, transfer, and prosper.

Obtain a Laptop

Step 1

Check your eligibility. To be eligible, students must be enrolled in the current semester, have paid for their classes or have a payment plan in place, and have no outstanding issues with their account or student status. To check if you currently qualify, please click the button below or log in to GoCSN and click on the Laptop Eligibility tile. One laptop per student.

Check Eligibility

Step 2

Attend a Handout Event or Book an appointment

Handout Events

OTS will be available at the below events handing out laptops to enrolled students who have not already received a laptop. We will update the events list as they are scheduled.

More events coming soon

Book an appointment

If you are unable to attend one of the handout events listed above, book an appointment with our team. Campus and hours are very limited. All appointments can be made using the button below. Use the link in your appointment confirmation email to reschedule your appointment if needed. Changes in available appointments will be reflected on the booking site.

Book An Appointment

Hunter Jones

Hunter Jones

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