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Best laptops for engineering students in 2024 – our top picks

Studying is already pretty difficult, but it’s even harder when you don’t have an effective laptop to study with.
Last Updated on January 10, 2024
best laptop for engineerin students

Choosing the best laptop for engineering can be difficult, but we’ve got your back!

Picture this, you’ve just started your engineering studies – you’re ready to equip yourself with all of that sweet, sweet knowledge. There’s only one problem. You’re stuck with a laptop that may as well have been made in the late 90s. It’s slow and difficult to use, making your studies that much more difficult.

In these situations, there can only be one solution. It’s time to invest in a new laptop for your engineering studies! The best laptops for engineering students are powerful, reliable, and have loads of storage for massive files. We’ve picked out what we think are some of the best around and have considered all budgets so you can find something that works for you.

Products at a Glance

How we picked

For this guide, we have looked at several laptops, compared them, and picked the ones that we think are the best for engineering students. The laptops have been selected based on several factors like performance, display size, portability, and more. Further, we are regularly adding new products to our guides to keep them up-to-date – so do check back in here again for new updates.

Our Recommended

Product Reviews

1
PROS
  • Lightweight and portable
  • Powerful performance
  • Great speakers
CONS
  • The graphics card could do with an upgrade

Ah, the Dell XPS 15. What can we say about this laptop? Let’s start off by saying one vital thing – this is the king of laptops. Indeed, this versatile laptop will serve you well in the classroom and beyond. It’s one of the most powerful 15-inch laptops on the market, and it’s certainly worth all of those hard-earned pennies.

Performance is hardly an issue with this laptop. It’s fast and reliable, allowing you to work efficiently in your studies. It features a sleek look that you can show off to all of your college pals. They will surely look at your laptop in total awe! It’s also lightweight, meaning that you can put it in your bag, and it won’t weigh you down as you walk to different classes. If you fancy listening to a little bit of music as you study, the laptop also has some powerful speakers to facilitate this.

As if all of this wasn’t already enough, the laptop also comes with an incredibly comfortable keyboard that you can use to type your notes. This laptop certainly isn’t the cheapest model out there, but it’s worth every penny that you spend on it. We have very few complaints about it, really. Perhaps the graphics card could do with some improvements, but it’s barely an issue.

2
PROS
  • Impeccable performance
  • Portable
  • 11 hours of battery life
CONS
  • Doesn’t come with a webcam

If you’re also interested in using your laptop for gaming, you are sure to love the ASUS ROG Zephyrus G16, which we think should be one of the best 16-inch laptops. This laptop runs on a super fast Ryzen Mobile CPU, so you can expect all of your applications to load up in seconds flat. Not to mention this laptop also has an attractive design that’s sure to wow all of your peers.

You are most certainly getting your money’s worth with this laptop. It’s very portable despite the fact that it’s a gaming laptop. It has a 15.6-inch screen, and it’s very thin. It weighs a mere 3.52 pounds in total, so you can carry it around campus without feeling like you’re carrying heavy dumbbells around with you.

The laptop also comes with a Full HD resolution, so you can see everything with perfect clarity. You’ll have a lot of ports to choose from for connectivity. You will even get impressive battery life. It doesn’t have a webcam, though, which can be rather annoying if you wish to video call with friends or family when you’re away from home in college.

3
PROS
  • Great battery life
  • Super versatile
  • 16GB of RAM and powerful AMD processor
CONS
  • Doesn’t have 4K display

There’s nothing quite like a 2 in 1 laptop when you want the ultimate versatility. That’s what makes the HP Envy x360 stand out so much. This laptop is ideal for casual use and for professionals and students looking for a high-quality machine.

Packing a Ryzen 7 CPU that should be able to handle most heavy-duty tasks with ease, this laptop should work well with your engineering studies – and keep you working efficiently without encountering too many delays. Combine all of this with a solid 16GB of RAM to keep everything running smoothly, and you’ve got something that’s affordable and well-suited to all your studying needs.

Much like some of the best lightweight laptops, this one weighs about 4 pounds, which should be portable for most people. To add to its portability, the laptop promises a long battery life, so you can expect at least 8 hours of usage.

Now the only slight drawback is that it doesn’t have a 4K screen – but thanks to the laws of pixel design, even FHD will look stunning on this 15.6-inch touchscreen.

4
PROS
  • Powerful M2 Max chip
  • Stunning display
  • Excellent battery life
CONS
  • One of the most expensive laptops out there

If you’re looking for the best Apple laptop for engineering students, we think you can’t go wrong with one of the latest MacBook Pros.

Sure, these are pricey, but they’re arguably some of the best laptops for professionals across multiple disciplines. For students, especially those working on projects that put a lot of strain on laptops, this is well worth considering if you’ve got the budget.

The M2 Max chip is a bit of a powerhouse, boasting 12 CPU cores, up to 38 GPU cores, and up to 96GB of unified memory. What’s interesting about this is that the advancements aren’t simply about power, but also concern efficiency too. In fact, this laptop is said to have up to 22h battery life – which is almost too good if you ask us!

You’re also getting arguably one of the best screens you’ll find on a laptop here. It has 1000 nit brightness and an impressive 1,000,000: 1 contrast ratio. While this may be good for engineer studies, let’s be honest – it’s better for creatives or those who simply want to kick back and watch a movie in amazing quality.

Packed full of features like TouchID, an HD camera, studio quality three-mic array, and everything from Thunderbolt 4 ports to an SDXC card slot – the MacBook Pro 2023 is the best Apple laptop you can get for your studies and beyond!

5
PROS
  • AMD Ryzen 9 processor
  • NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4080
  • 480Hz refresh rate
CONS
  • Expensive

If you’re looking for a big-screen laptop for your workstation, then we’d recommend checking out the Alienware m18, which we think is one of the best 18-inch laptops available out there.

To start with, the laptop packs in the latest hardware – AMD Ryzen 9 processor along with NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4080 graphics card, which is a powerful combo. So if you’re planning to run demanding software like AutoCAD, then you should be able to get lag-free performance from this laptop. Further, you get 32 GB RAM and 1TB SSD, which should give you faster loading times, better multitasking capabilities, as well as sufficient storage.

For better performance, the laptop features Alienware Cryo-tech – an advanced cooling system that promises to keep your device cool even under immense pressure.

On the outside, the laptop sports an 18-inch display, which is comparatively rare to find. You get an FHD resolution, which should deliver clear visuals on an 18-inch screen. But the highlight here is the 480Hz refresh rate, which is something that is hard to find even in the priciest gaming laptops.

Now, this laptop is clearly meant for desk use and is supposed to be your workstation. So if you’re looking for something portable that you can lug around, then this is probably not the best option.

Things to consider

Wait – don’t hit that buy button just yet! Take some time to consider these key characteristics before you choose your laptop.

There are a number of factors that go into choosing the best laptops for engineering students. You need to be able to effectively study using the laptop, but at the same time, you may also want to use the laptop during your leisure time. It’s important to find a balanced laptop that’s versatile enough that you can use it for all sorts of different things. In making this article, we’ve considered some of the most important criteria – the processor speed, the amount of storage, the operating system, and more.

Naturally, since you’re going to be taking your laptop to classes, we’ve also considered things that make the laptop more portable, such as the battery life and the physical size. In doing so, we’ve come up with a ranking of the best laptops based on their suitability for an engineering student.

Processor

As an engineering student, there is one thing that you definitely want to prioritize when you’re buying your laptop. That’s right, speed. You will want to get a laptop that can load up all of your applications and programs with ease while you’re studying. You will likely need to use programs such as AutoCad, which can be pretty difficult to run on an ancient laptop. To save yourself the heartache of waiting 90 years to issue a command, simply just get a laptop with a good CPU instead.

In order to do work with 3D objects easily, you should get an Intel Core i5 processor at the minimum. Of course, you may have a slightly better budget than that. If you want some serious speed, look for a laptop that has an Intel Core i7 processor or a suitable equivalent. With that in mind though, if you aren’t planning on using software that requires a lot of power to run, you don’t need to get a super powerful CPU.

Storage Space

You’re more than likely going to be putting a lot of stuff on your computer. You’re going to need various programs and you’ll also want to save your work onto the computer. Not to mention, your laptop’s basic functions can take up space on the laptop, as can things like games or other applications. For this reason, it’s important to get a laptop with decent storage space.

Of course, the type of storage can also be very important. Ideally you should be trying to get a laptop that has an SSD, since this will run significantly faster on your laptop. They’re also usually a lot more reliable too. With an SSD, you can have much better productivity as your applications will likely start up a lot faster.

It’s worth mentioning that SSDs are also quite expensive, so buying an SSD with a lot of storage space could cost you a lot of money. The solution? Get a joint HDD and SSD drive. You can often get laptops with 1 TB of storage space on the HDD and 256 GB of storage on the SSD. This gives you plenty of space, while also ensuring that your laptop works as quickly as you need it to.

Graphics Card

Sometimes you are going to need to run 3D software on your laptop when you are doing your engineering studies. For this reason, it’s worthwhile to think about the graphics card on your computer. You’re going to need a beefy graphics card to run programs such as MATLAB CAD or Solid Works.

If possible, you should be looking for at least a 2 GB DDR3 graphics card, possibly better than this. It’ll also be great for other things like gaming too, so it’s certainly worth investing in a laptop with a good graphics card.

RAM

RAM is another good thing to take into consideration when you’re buying a laptop for your engineering studies. The amount of RAM on your laptop can determine the amount of things that you can store on the laptop, and how quickly things will run. It works hand in hand with your storage in many respects. Ideally, it’s worth investing in a laptop with around 8 GB of RAM. If needed, you can also get laptops with around 12 GB and 16 GB of RAM, too.

Size

The size of your laptop will have a big impact on your productivity, but it can also affect how portable the laptop is. You don’t strictly need to have a large display if you’re studying engineering, but it can certainly be handy. On the flip side though, having a large screen can also mean that the laptop isn’t as portable, making it pretty hefty to carry around from one class to another.

So, what’s a student to do? It’s best to look for that middle ground between a screen that’s too big and too small. In the words of Goldilocks, you want something that’s just right. 15 inches should work just fine, but you theoretically don’t really need anything bigger than 13 inches if you do need to prioritize the portability of the device.

Battery Life

Having a heavy laptop is inconvenient when you’re a student and you’re moving around a lot, but it’s something that you can most likely live with. However, good battery life isn’t something that you should miss out on. You may not always have access to a charging point in your classes, so what are you going to do if your laptop dies after one hour of use in your lectures? Ultimately, it’s best to avoid having this situation occur in the first place. Instead, you should get a laptop that has impeccable battery life. Look for at least 6 hours of battery life if you can in order to make it more convenient for you to do your work. Ideally you will want more battery life than this, but 6 hours is a good starting point.

Operating System

The operating system that you choose will likely come down to personal preference. Are you a Mac kind of person, or a Windows sort of person?

Mac is a fantastic option, and laptops with this operating system are generally high quality. The display is usually rather impressive too. Of course, it’s not always the best choice for running engineering software, since not all programs are actually compatible with Mac OS.

As such, if you are an engineering student it’s probably a much better choice to opt for a Windows operating system instead. The vast majority of operating systems work with Windows anyway, so this is the better choice if you are going to be using engineering programs.

Other Considerations

There are a couple of other considerations that you may want to think about when you’re choosing the best laptops for your engineering studies, too. First of all, you will most likely want to consider a laptop that’s durable. If you’re traveling to your lectures and classes with your laptop in tow, you don’t want the laptop to get damaged because it’s been bashed around too much.

In addition to this, it’s also a good idea to think about the connectivity of the laptop. It’s good to have a couple of ports on your laptop for things such as USBs or for your headphones when you want some sweet tunes while you write your next essay.

Other useful features include backlit keyboards and touchscreens. They’re not entirely necessary, but they can certainly help in some situations.

Is a powerful laptop essential for engineering students?

We would say that it is essential, software used by engineering students can be very demanding and having the best hardware to handle it all is a priority.

 

Should I use a laptop or desktop for engineering?

Although both are great choices, we recommend that you use a laptop while completing your studies. Nothing can beat the portability of a laptop allowing you to complete your work wherever you may be!

What specs should engineering students look for in a laptop?

It is recommended that you have at least 16GB of RAM, 500GB of SSD space and an advanced graphics card. This will ensure fast speeds when completing your work.

Our Verdict

We think that for most engineering students, the Dell XPS 15 is the way to go, thanks to its powerful specs encased in a streamlined, lightweight build that will be great to take on the go around campus, work remotely, or travel home with. It’s an impressive offering that may hold more appeal than a gaming laptop or MacBook for most engineering students and should be able to handle practically anything you can throw at it. As far as value for money, sure it’s quite expensive, but this is a laptop that’ll last you well into your future engineering job and beyond – which makes it a great investment in our eyes.

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