The best laptops for college students in 2024


Why we picked this:

All work and no play makes college an absolute slog, but the budget-friendly Acer Chromebook 516 GE will help you do both. This affordable gaming laptop promises its users a fantastic cloud-based PC gaming experience and the ability to stay on top of schoolwork. After taking it for a spin, we can say that it definitely delivers.

At this price point, great gaming laptops are hard to come by, but the Chromebook 516 GE breaks that mold by offering top-notch performance during gaming and general use, a beautiful display, killer perks, and more for just $649 (we’ve even seen it on sale for only $499). During our testing, every game we booted up ran smoothly, save for a slight loss in fidelity (which is extremely common with cloud gaming). We experienced zero input lag or stuttering.

While we used Xbox Game Pass to test out the cloud gaming features, that’s not your only option. Along with your purchase, you can redeem three free months of NVIDIA GeForce Now at the Priority level, which grants you access to NVIDIA’s high-end cloud servers with enhanced resolution and frame rate. You get other perks, too, including three months of YouTube Premium, a year’s worth of Google One cloud storage, and a month of access to Boosteroid.

The Acer Chromebook 516GE is also a solid general-use laptop that’ll serve you well throughout your college career. The build quality feels durable and sturdy and features a nice RGB keyboard with anti-ghosting tech that’s ideal for taking notes, editing documents, and performing everyday tasks. You’ll also get a bevy of ports, including USB-C, HDMI, and Ethernet. But, the real showstopper is the laptop’s display. The 16-inch, 1600p screen looks fantastic and boasts clear, bright, and vibrant colors, and it supports a 120Hz refresh rate.

The only knock we have against the device? The battery life. It lasted around six hours for us (while using it heavily for gaming, so your mileage may vary).

Who it’s for:

Students who have hobbies outside of schoolwork (which we assume is most of you) will appreciate the Acer Chromebook 516 GE’s equally great gaming and general-use features. It comes in at a budget-friendly price and goes on sale often, so if your budget is tapped out after purchasing your textbooks, this may be your best bet (you’ll save even more money once you redeem those membership perks we mentioned above).

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