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Best Laptops for Students in 2017: 8 laptops for basic work and media production


7 / 7

Reviewed by Aatif Sulleyman

18 March 2015

HP Stream 11

Read full HP Stream 11 review

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Key features:
  • 11.6-inch, 1,366 x 768 display
  • Free Office 365 Personal subscription
  • Excellent speakers and battery life
If you’re on a really tight budget and don’t want a Chromebook, you can’t go wrong with the HP Stream 11. It’s a Windows 8.1 laptop that costs less than £200, which is astonishing. It also comes bundled with a one-year subscription to Microsoft Office 365 Personal worth £59.99 and 1TB of OneDrive cloud storage, where you can stash all of your files and photos.
Unusually for a machine this cheap, it doesn’t look like a piece of slate was used as the Stream’s main design influence. Instead, it comes clad in either bright blue or pink plastic, resulting in a bold, eye-catching look. It’s also slim and light enough to fit easily into any messenger bag or rucksack, and comes with a wide selection of ports.
The only real sticking point is the display, which is a grainy 11.6-inch, 1,366 x 768 affair. It’s not terrible, but you won’t be able to watch Full HD movies on it. The DTS stereo speakers are nice and loud, however, so music sounds great, and the HP Truevision HD webcam is good enough for Skype video calls.
Performance, powered by a 2.16GHz (2.58GHz with burst) Intel Celeron N2840 processor and 2GB of RAM, is suited to light activities like word processing and browsing the web, but it can handle HD videos too. The battery will typically provide eight hours of mixed use, which should just about get you through a heavy day of lectures.

Buy Now at Amazon.co.uk from £171 | Amazon.com from $179.99
At time of review the HP Stream 11 was available for £179.99 / $199.99.

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September 5, 2013, 9:51 am

You have to be kidding.

Most students want a relatively cheap machine that won't kill their bank account if it gets stolen. A selection of £1,000 machines and a token Chromebook completely misses the mark.

Eric Sutton

September 11, 2013, 9:09 pm

Have to agree with dourscot, the selection is not for students, and the only one affordable is the Chromebook, problem with that machine is the lack of windows and Microsoft office, students need these tools, while google drive/docs is good for everyday common use write a letter, do a simple spreadsheet, it wont meet the benchmark for a university students needs. This review needs to go back to the drawing board and look at machines that are around the £200 to £400 mark with there needs took into account.


September 12, 2013, 6:30 am

Thanks for your comments. We totally agree and we will be adding some cheaper models very shortly. We're testing them now.


September 24, 2013, 11:55 am

just use zoo office or microsoft outlook on a chromebook if docs not for you.


October 17, 2013, 9:32 am

My daughter's needs at university are not governed by weight - she wanted a big clear screen, and leaves the laptop in her room, not carries it around. She also wanted a dvd drive to watch dvd box sets in down time. Seems to me you can't lump all students together for a suitable laptop - her brother has completely different student needs .... get some students to do some reviews for you!

alex stuart

November 5, 2013, 10:54 am

Your daughter needs a desktop then; a laptop should be portable and weight is an important part of that.


November 28, 2013, 10:24 am

If she is anything like my daughter she needs a laptop. It has to go back and forward between university and home every term and occasional weekends, so it needs to be transportable. Plus she watches DVDs and does lots of work curled up on her bed or a sofa and wants a computer she can use in that position.


November 28, 2013, 10:34 am

So if this is a group of best laptops, where is the list? Frankly, sites that make me work through every page of a group review rather than presenting the list with links on page one are pain in the posterior and a waste of time. I usually resolve to avoid them as much as possible in future.


January 6, 2014, 5:11 pm

These aren't all suitable for students - not all courses are identical (mine requires me to run programmes like AutoCAD and Google Sketch-Up), these aren't as easily run as Microsoft Office, and why are the majority of the laptops listed approximately £1,000? Surely that's too much money to be paying if you're a student or a student's parent?

IDK MAN 1000 is worth it

January 10, 2014, 9:22 pm

I agree and disagree. I agree that all courses aren't the same but the price mark at around 1000 seems pretty good. You pay for things like portability, battery life and an SSD for fast boot-up times.

When you factor in the key essentials, enough processing power and ram to browse, open big PDFs and run the latest MS Office or Open Office, we're looking at an entry level ultra-book.

It's worth paying 1000~ for something that will run well for 8 hours+

Having a machine that instantly boots up is also very beneficial, having an SSD instead of a hybrid or HD means that your laptop boots up instantly in a lecture.

Also - How long will a student own this machine? One year? Two years?

So many decisions.


January 25, 2014, 6:42 am

Most of these laptops are either to expensive or just not powerful enough. As a student, what I look for in a laptop are:

Brands - Lenovo, samsung, asus, sony (for sound)
Processor - Intel core i5 3rd gen or higher or amd a8 or better
Bluetooth connectivity ( for my beats )
Battery - Atleast 5 hours of battery life (six cell batteries or better)
Screen size - 15 inches or more
Storage - 500gb HDD or more
Memory - 8 gb of ram or higher
Price range - ${ 400..600 } (roughly 300 - 400 pounds)

Last but not least, don't be afraid to buy refurbished laptops. Before you buy, make sure you find a website where people who have bought that same laptop have left some reviews. Remember to use Ebay!


February 6, 2014, 6:47 pm

I agree....just give us the list with pros and cons


March 12, 2014, 5:25 am

What laptop do u prefer


March 12, 2014, 4:55 pm

I prefer a laptop that meets all the requirements I need from a laptop. Right now I have a Lenovo G510. 1Tb HDD, Intel core i5 4th gen, 8 GB ram. Price: ~$500. Although it is a bit bulky, but I don't mind because I usually don't carry it around anyway.


March 12, 2014, 8:33 pm

Currently, I own a Toshiba Satellite E55t. 500GB HDD, i5-4200U Haswell 1.6ghz, 4 gb ram, touchscreen 1366x768. It is one of the lighter 15 inch laptops at 4.7 pounds. I got it for $799 in a tablet bundle at bestbuy. the included tablet is a toshiba encore 32gb which has an intel processor and runs win8.1. the laptop alone would cost $629.


March 26, 2014, 7:37 pm

I wish that I had that option for the bundle I could have easily used both this last quarter. happen to know if they're still running this special and if so where?


April 8, 2014, 11:32 am

I really want a laptop that is good for Minecraft and is cheap. Any suggestions?

Lai H.

April 9, 2014, 4:14 am

Thanks for the list. Even I'm not a student lol


April 9, 2014, 10:14 am

Ok Thanks!

Daniela Menendez

May 21, 2014, 12:01 am

I want a laptop that sounds great for music and has a long battery life. Some suggestions? Thank you!


June 14, 2014, 10:45 pm

Don't ever buy a sony! My Vaio case started cracking within weeks and is literally taped together. I have a new Dell but still use the Sony for backup. It hasn't been abused in anyway-- just the cheapest plastic case that cracked when I opened it, cracked somewhere else when I lifted it up--crazy. Too many other nice laptops out there to risk it falling apart on your desk. I cannot imagine if I traveled with it?

i <3 Haters

July 14, 2014, 9:17 am

u kidding right? just re-read what you wrote. you'll never find such laptop with 300-400 price range, this is amusing.
If you do however, and I am wrong, then do post here your brand and model, I am very curious

i <3 Haters

July 14, 2014, 9:24 am

As a student, I can advise MacBook Pro 13-15" (2010 and above, non retina, i5-i7, 250-500GB, 2.33-2.66 GHz) that will cost you 400-500 pounds if you find good deal. it is perfect , just PERFECT for everything that students do. You can install full Microsoft Office (paid for free from torrents) you can use any software that universities will require (most of them also have web-versions, so no problem) and you can also install Windows 7 (8 not sure) via BootCamp or Parallels.
I can tell you long stories why Mac is better than PC but let's leave this.
Mac for university = perfection


July 15, 2014, 10:00 pm

I know nothing about laptops but I am looking for one for college. I saw one in the costco ad:
intel core i5 processor
8gb memory
1tb hard drive
Dell Inspiron 3000 15.6" Laptop


July 25, 2014, 1:39 pm

asus x552cl even has a graphics card

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