The 5 Best Laptops for Engineering Students in 2021

Computational software is no match for these powerful machines

The Ultimate Laptop Buying Guide
The Ultimate Laptop Buying Guide
Introduction

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The Rundown
Offering six hours of battery life that’s ready for multitasking, modeling software, and occasional gaming throughout the school day.
Jam-packed with specs that one wouldn't expect given the affordable price tag.
Small enough to carry from class to class...with 2GB of dedicated memory and a 2.6GHz Core i7 processor with 16GB of RAM for premium software output.
With up to 10 hours of battery life and a backpack-friendly size.
Best Splurge:
Dell XPS 15 at Dell
A blend between a powerful workstation and a multimedia laptop.

The best laptops for engineering students have hard drives that can support all of their needed software. Engineering students need to download many programs to be able to do their studies, meaning that their computers must have large memory storage and top-quality processors. You may need time to debate on the right core processor for you.

When searching for your new laptop, along with the processor, price and portability are key factors. You will want a lightweight laptop that you can carry while sprinting between classes on campus. Students may have a tight budget when it comes to buying tech supplies. A new laptop doesn't need to break the bank, but you should expect to pay around $1,000 for your new device.

Finding the best laptop for engineering students may need some research, but will help make your college experience great! Also, be sure to check out our constantly updated guide to the best laptop deals happening right now, for great machines at steep discounts.

Best Overall: Acer Predator Helios 300 Gaming Laptop

With the right mix of specifications and graphics card support, the Acer Predator Helios 300 is a mobile workstation that’s ideal for engineering students. The inclusion of a 10th generation Core i7 processor adds plenty of speed for CAD work, computation software and 3D modeling, while 16GB of DDR4 RAM and a 512GB SSD also help make the Helios 300 a standout choice for engineering tasks. The laptop's hardware is rounded out by a GeForce RTX 2060-6GB graphics card that’s VR-ready.

Weighing 5.07 pounds and measuring 1 inch at its thickest point, the Helios 300 offers six hours of battery life that’s ready for multitasking, modeling software and occasional gaming throughout the school day.

Best Value: Dell Inspiron i5577

Understated style and an attractive price make the Dell Inspiron i5577 a perfect option for engineering students. Best of all, the laptop is jam-packed with specs that one wouldn't expect given the affordable price tag. 

The Inspiron i5577 starts with a quad-core Intel i7 processor and base clock speed of 2.8GHz that Turbo Boosts up to 3.8GHz. The extra CPU boost will come in handy for memory-eating computational software as six megabytes of cache ensures even the most intense software runs smoothly.

With 16GB of RAM, the laptop is great for hardcore users and well-equipped when it comes to handling large data sets, playing games during downtime or tabbing between Photoshop and CAD. A 15.6-inch FHD display adds anti-glare for easy viewing in sunlight and a NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 dedicated graphics card with 4GB of RAM provides additional assurance that the Inspiron i5577 can handle CAD software without skipping a beat.

Best 2-in-1: Microsoft Surface Book

A highly functional, lightweight design makes the Microsoft Surface Book the best choice for a 2-in-1 machine. At just 3.38 pounds, the laptop is small enough to carry from class to class while still offering an Intel Core i5 processor and 8GB of RAM for premium software output. The machine works with a 256GB hard drive provides ample storage space for thousands of AutoCAD files and 17 hours of battery life ensures that if you ever skip a day of charging, you can make it through another without worry.

If you’re looking to mock up 3D designs, take notes or quickly navigate Web pages, the included Surface Pen works beautifully on the tablet-ready detachable PixelSense display. Add a pinpoint-accurate 3000 x 2000-pixel, 13.5-inch touchscreen display to the mix, and the Surface Book has everything an engineering student needs.

Best Portable: Razer Blade Stealth 13

Razer Blade Stealth 13

If you’re searching for a high-performance laptop that doesn’t sacrifice portability, the Razer Blade Stealth is a great option. Well regarded for its gaming strengths, the 13.3-inch Razer responds to the demands of computational software just as well thanks to a 1.8GHz Intel Core i7 processor that can Turbo Boost up to 4.0GHz. With a QHD+ display that has viewing angles up to 178 degrees, the 3200 x 1800-pixel touchscreen resolution makes things crystal clear, and a world-class keyboard makes typing comfortable for hours on end.

Weighing 2.98 pounds and measuring just half an inch at its smallest point, students will find the Razer’s 512GB of SSD storage plentiful and 16GB of RAM ensures that running multiple applications won’t bog things down. With up to 10 hours of battery life and a backpack-friendly size, the Razer is the ideal solution for staying portable.

"Unless you have tiny hands that rest entirely on the body of this diminutive laptop, your wrists will inevitably hang slightly over the edge when typing." — Jonno Hill, Product Tester

Best Splurge: Dell XPS 15

Dell XPS 15

If price is no object, the Dell XPS 15—a blend between a powerful workstation and a multimedia laptop—is an easy choice and one of the most functional, engineering-ready options around.

Weighing 4.5 pounds, the XPS 15 is a portable machine, and with 16GB of memory and a 1TB SSD software applications are quick to load. The quad-core Core i7 processor and NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 graphics card with 4GB of dedicated RAM also work to keep computational software, CAD programming and C++ working smoothly along with machine learning programs that are optimized to run with discrete graphics cards.

Apart from offering only six hours of battery life, online reviews speak highly of the laptop’s keyboard and trackpad calling them some of the best on a Windows 10 laptop. Dell’s 4K 3840 x 2160-pixel InfinityEdge display will also make your notes pop.

About Our Trusted Experts

David Beren is a tech writer with 10+ years' experience. He has written and managed content for companies like T-Mobile, Sprint, and TracFone Wireless.

Jonno Hill is a writer who covers tech such as computers, gaming equipment, and cameras for Lifewire and publications including AskMen.com and PCMag.com.

What to Look for in Laptops for Engineering Students

Price

As a student, you’re likely on a limited budget, but that doesn’t mean you have to settle for a sub-par laptop. While you might need to compromise on certain features, if you get your priorities straight, you should be able to find a laptop that packs impressive power without completely breaking the bank. Still, you should plan on spending at least around $1,000. Keep in mind, you'll want this laptop to last.

Portability

If you’re dashing between classes, you’ll want a laptop that you can easily toss in your backpack and that won’t weigh you down. We suggest looking for a laptop around 13 inches and 4 pounds—or better yet, a versatile 2-in-1 that converts into a tablet for easy note-taking.

Processing Power

When it comes to solving complex problems and writing involved algorithms, you want a laptop with a lot of processing power. The more cores, the better, as they let your computer work on multiple tasks simultaneously. There are two main players in the processor world—AMD and Intel—and these days, you’ll see Intel’s Core i7 or Core i9 or AMD’s Ryzen 3 or Ryzen 5 in most machines.

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