In a time of online classes and distance learning, no other equipment will get you through the semester than a reliable laptop. However, it’s no secret that laptops are very expensive—especially if the specifications you’re looking for are on the higher end of the spectrum.
Our list of eleven good laptops for online college majors covers the spectrum from powerful high-end computers to ultralight portable tablets.
The majors include computer science, architecture, law, film, animation, mechanical engineering, programming, web design, civil engineering, nursing, and medical students.
Select a major that closest fits your area of study to find the best laptop for online majors.
Best Laptop for Computer Science Majors
1. Acer Aspire 5 A515-55-56VK 15.6” i5 Laptop for Computer Science Majors
CS majors work with many heavy programs like Python, Java, and R Studio that require a powerful laptop to calculate computations quickly. The Acer Aspire 5 is an affordable, all-around performing laptop that can handle nearly every application you throw at it.
Though it’s one of the category’s pricier models, it’s already equipped with a 10th gen i5 quad-core CPU and 8GB of RAM. It even has backlit keys for those all-night programming sessions and an extra RAM slot in case you’ve saved up enough money for an upgrade.
- Up to 8 hours of battery life
- Fingerprint reader
- Sizeable 15.6” full HD & IPS screen
- Multiple ports including USB 3.1 Type-C, USB 3.1 power-off charging, USB 2.0, an HDMI port with HDCP support
- Lightweight 5.74 pounds
- Wireless WiFi 6
- 1-year warranty from defects
Best Laptop for Architecture Students
2. Acer Aspire E 15 15.6” Laptop for Architecture Students
Architecture students need to use robust computer-aided design (CAD) and modeling software. Therefore, you’re looking for a laptop for architecture students with a powerful GPU and a moderately sized RAM. The Acer Aspire E 15 already has a dedicated 4GB of DRR4 RAM and Intel HD Graphics 620 GPU blended with 256GB of SSD power.
Due to the sheer number of components needed to support most modeling software, it has a bulkier build than alternative laptops. For the price, budding architects won’t find a better deal.
- 15.6” Full HD widescreen LED screen
- Up to 12-hours of battery life
- 1 TB hard drive
- Fast 802.11ac wireless
- Acer ColorBlast technology has more than twice as many colors as an average laptop
Best Laptop for Law Students
3. Acer Chromebook 15 CB315-1HT-C4RY Laptop for Law Students
Unlike most degrees on the list, law students don’t need a lot of computing power or high-end graphics due to their intended profession’s documental nature. As such, a laptop with decent CPU power and battery will be more than enough.
An Acer Chromebook 15 will be the perfect laptop for law students. It has 4GB of RAM, an Intel HD GPU, and 32GB of storage. Note, however, that it’s a Chromebook, so it runs on Chrome OS as opposed to your usual Windows. Chrome is designed for faster processes in exchange for limited features.
- 15.6” Full HD IPS
- Touch display
- Up to 13-hours of battery life
- Two full-sized speakers built-in the monitor
- Weighs 5.84 pounds
Best Laptop for Film Students
4. HP Omen 15-ax250wm Laptop for Film Students
Much like architectural students, film students also need a laptop with a powerful GPU to edit, render, and export videos quickly. A film student needs to pay attention to their display specifications for quality viewing.
The HP Omen 15 has an i7 CPU, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti, and a full 15.6 inch of anti-glare IPS display. If you weren’t aware, IPS is the ideal display standard that gives you full RGB coverage. Most budget laptops come in TN (whose color isn’t very good), so Omen 15 is your best bet.
- 12GB of RAM DDR4-2400 SDRAM
- 1 TB hard drive
- Bang and Olufsen audio
- Red backlit keyboard
- 12.3 ounces
- 1-year manufacturer warranty
Best Laptop for Animation Students
5. Razer Blade 15 Laptop for Animation Students
Animation laptops are some of the most expensive computers and for a good reason. Not only do they need a very powerful and fast GPU and CPU to render projects efficiently, but an exemplary RGB display and a massive storage capability.
The Razer’s Blade 15 is a true bargain given it’s loaded with technology. It has an i7 CPU, 16GB of RAM, 256GB of SSD, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660, and a 15.6-inch FHD edge-to-edge display.
The Razer Blade is a more affordable laptop for animation students than many $2,500 options because of its shorter battery life at six hours max. Good thing designing and creating animation doesn’t require students to be on the move.
- .78 inches thin
- Ultralight 4.7 pounds
- Anodized with CNC Aluminum
- WiFi 6
- Gigabit ethernet
- Thunderbolt 3
- Ports: HDMI, USB type-A and type-C
Best Laptop for Mechanical Engineering Students
6. MSI GF63 Thin 9RCX-615 Laptop for Mechanical Engineering Students
Mechanical engineering students use processor demanding CAD software for much of their work. They can offset some of the cost by getting a laptop that doesn’t need the biggest and heaviest battery since they use it as a desktop alternative. Much of the creation, presenting, and submitting work is done at home or in the office. An engineer probably doesn’t need a travel laptop for on the go. Therefore, your options are a little broader. This can save money for those frugal consumers.
The MSI GF63 MSI GV62 is a multipurpose laptop that can be used for gaming, CAD design, and even coding. The battery life is only around 7ish hours, but the laptop easily compensates with a 15.6” inch IPS, 8GB RAM, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050Ti GPU, and 515GB solid-state storage.
- Ultra-lightweight 4.10 pounds
- 0.85 thin
- Optimized to run noticeably cooler and quieter
- Single-lit keyboard
- Brushed aluminum chassis
- 3D surround sound
Best Laptop for Programming Students
7. Lenovo Legion Y520 Laptop for Programming Students
For aspiring programmers, the most essential feature is CPU power and speed. The higher your CPU, the more processes you can run at a time, making it ideal for coding.
The Lenovo Legion Y520 touts an impressive i7-7700HQ CPU, 16GB DDR4 RAM, and NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 GPU. They’ve included a fast 512 GB SSD storage drive.
Its only downside is how the colors aren’t 100% accurate, especially on more high-resolution images, but you don’t need that for programming.
- Anti-glare LED-backlit full HD display
- Backlit keyboard
- WiFi AC
- Weighs 5.2 pounds
- 3 USB ports (2 on the left side and one on the right side)
- 1-year manufacturer warranty
Best Laptop for Web Design Students
8. Asus ZenBook 13” Ultra-Slim UX325JA-DB71 Laptop for Web Design Students
Web designers need laptops that combine an animator’s GPU requirement (though not as intensive) and a programmer’s CPU. Designers use graphic software like Adobe to create your UI and programming software like Atom to write code.
The Asus ZenBook 13 is the best of both worlds. It is equipped with the latest i5 Intel processor, 8GB DDR4 RAM, and 512GB SSD based storage. All the graphics on the system are handled by the built-in Intel HD 620 GPU, which uses device memory as video memory to make graphics-intensive processes go much faster.
The Asus ZenBook 13-inch is so light and portable that it will fit in almost any rolling tote or cart for teachers or students.
- Ultra-lightweight 2.62 pounds and 13.9mm thin
- Up to 22 hours of battery life
- Fast charge: Charge up to 60% in 40 minutes
- WiFi 6
- Built-in IR camera for facial recognition
- Ports include Thunderbolt 3 USB-C, USB Type-A and MicroSD, and HDMI
Best Laptop for Civil Engineering Students: Dell XPS
9. Dell XPS 15 7590 Laptop for Civil Engineering Students
Any civil engineering laptop for students needs powerful specifications to run CAD software used for designing public structures. It also needs to have a lasting battery so students can carry it with them to eventual on-site projects.
Aside from a 9th generation i7 Intel processor, and NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 GPU, this laptop’s power delivery system design is built with multiple transistors. The transistors allow the machine to operate at different voltages. This means that depending on the power the software needs, the laptop will draw the right amount of voltage to keep itself at an optimal charge.
- 15.6 inch OLED screen
- 256GB solid-state drive
- Weighs only 5.51 pounds
- Ports: Thunderbolt, two USB 3.0, SD card reader
- 802.11bgn wireless
- 90% of the laptop can be reused or recycled
Best Laptop for Medical Students
10. HP Pavilion x360 14” 2-in-1 Touchscreen Laptop for Medical Students
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A medical student’s needs are similar to a law student’s. They don’t need high specifications to do their college work. However, it’s ideal to buy a laptop for medical students that are portable as well. It may need to be used in a lab or while showing as a resident.
The HP Pavilion x360 14” 2-in-1 touchscreen laptop is multifunctional. It’s built with a sturdy but flexible hinge that allows it to be folded outward to look like a tablet. The x360 is lightweight and weighs around 3lbs, and is ultra-thin.
- Weighs only 14 ounces and is 0.71 thin
- 256GB PCIe solid-state hard drive
- 801.11ac wireless
- Fingerprint reader for security
11. Best Laptop for Nursing Majors
Lenovo Chromebook Duet 2-in-1 Laptop for Nursing Majors
Nursing majors need a laptop with two features for their profession: reliable battery life and portability. They take their laptops everywhere they go, whether that’s around the campus or tasked to observe and take notes in a medical facility.
We recommend the Lenovo Chromebook Duet 10.1”. It’s one of the lightest laptops in the market at less than 2 pounds. The Chromebook Duet is extremely portable with a screen size of 10.1 inches and a battery life lasting 10 hours to run applications like Microsoft Office and nursing programs. Some additional features include WiFi, Bluetooth, webcam, and a backlit keyboard.
- Ultraportable thin and lightweight laptop
- Touchscreen w/USI pen compatibility
- 10.1 FHD IPS display
- Solid-state hard drive
Good Laptops for Online College Summary
There is a good laptop for online college majors, no matter your specialization. You just have to consider the tasks that you need to perform, the necessary specs, and, of course, its price. Do your research, and you’ll choose the right one.
Alternatively, while in college, you can use the laptop to make extra money at home by selling crafts, online tutoring, and other activities to help pay for college—just an idea for those closet entrepreneurs.