When you’re looking to buy a new laptop for college, there are several brands to choose from. And within each brand, there are dozens of models ranging from slim and light 2-in-1’s with touchscreens to bulky gaming laptops/ workstations with the best processors and graphics. So, how do you choose? We know many among you reading this article are avid gamers. We are gamers ourselves, and a lot of the work we do is centered around gaming hardware.
However, should you take your gaming with you to college? More importantly, is a gaming laptop even suitable for a college environment? We shall answer those questions in this article so you can make the decision once and for all, purchasing a machine that will last you through 3 to 4 years of your studies. While budget is surely one of the factors we consider before recommending a laptop, this is more of a generalized take on whether gaming laptops are worth considering for college students.
There are expensive non-gaming laptops too, such as Apple’s MacBooks and Dell’s XPS lineup. We feel there are other reasons why gaming laptops aren’t traditionally considered for students, and price is just one of many factors. Weight, portability, battery life, etc. are equally important deciding factors.
What Kind Of Laptop Should You Get For College?
Ideally, one that has at least 8 to 10 hours of battery life and weighs under 5lbs. The display should be in the 13 to 15.6” range, and you can even get a 2-in-1 with a touchscreen and pen if you’re into creative stuff like art design, photo-editing, etc. The laptop shouldn’t have to be expensive, although you certainly can get a premium machine if your budget permits it.
Buying a premium laptop means you can get more years out of it, and the resale value will also be higher after 3 or 4 years. A Dell XPS, Apple MacBook, or HP Spectre will last longer compared to an Acer Aspire or HP Pavilion. They are built from better materials and feature faster processors. Depending on what you’re studying in college, you might need a laptop with a dedicated GPU.
If you’re in need of a laptop with a dedicated GPU, a gaming laptop is an excellent choice. Any laptop with a dedicated GPU is destined to have lower battery life than a standard laptop, simply due to the fact that dedicated GPUs eat up a lot more power than some ultra low power APU or CPU. So you might as well get a laptop that goes all the way, plus gaming laptops these days aren’t nearly as bulky or gaudy as they used to be just 3 or 5 years ago.
Do Gaming Laptops Work As Student Laptops?
Yes, they certainly can. But if you really don’t NEED a dedicated graphics processor and all the extra horsepower of a 6 or 8 core high-power laptop processor, you should consider getting a regular thin & light model instead. If you’re going to dabble in CAD, machine learning, simulation, rendering, etc. you can definitely benefit from a gaming laptop. Check out the Acer Predator and Nitro series, as well as the ASUS ROG and Strix series of gaming laptops.
We hope this article gave you some insight into whether or not a gaming laptop is right for you. Here’s a tip- if you want a computer that can game but don’t wish to carry around an 8lb beast of a laptop with you at all times, try buying a cheap 14” notebook. One that is slim and light, with good battery life for classes. Then, using the money you saved, you can build a custom desktop.
Building your own desktop saves a ton of money compared to buying a laptop of equivalent processing power. When you’re at home or in the dorm, you can use your desktop for hardware-intensive tasks like gaming, video editing, machine learning, simulations, etc. In class, you can use your laptop for taking notes and browsing the web.