University season has descended upon us again. Many laptops for engineering students are required!
Whether you are just beginning your engineering education, or whether you are returning for another year, it is crucial to be adequately equipped to be ready for the exacting and multifaceted assignments which can be thrown your way.
One of the most critical pieces in the engineer’s arsenal is a high-functioning and up-to-date computer. In this regard, a suitable laptop for engineering students must provide adequate computing power and (usually) advanced graphical capabilities.
What to look for in an engineering laptop
Generally speaking, when searching for an ideal laptop as an aspiring engineer, you should consider several specific characteristics.
These include the size of the laptop, the quality of the screen, the CPU, the RAM, the amount of storage available (also if it is SSD or otherwise), and battery life. It is, of course, too essential to consider the accessories you will be using and whether there are appropriate ports on the laptop to accommodate these.
In terms of a “bare minimum,” the consensus seems to suggest:
- At least an i5 processor or better.
- At least 500 GB of storage space (and preferably of the SSD variety)
- At least 6 GB of RAM.
- A resolution of 1600×900 or better
- Ideally, a dedicated graphics card (especially if you are interested in doing some gaming as well)!
These specifications should be sufficient enough to run a variety of CAD and Analysis software, as well as Solidworks and MATLAB for iterative equation solving. These are all reasonably substantial programs to run on a laptop, and – if you want your work to move quickly – you will need to consider investing in some higher-end bare minimum specs.
Although most of the laptops in the following list come with Windows 10 Home (or Professional) Edition, you may also want to consider whether it will be more appropriate to have another operating system on your system.
The best ten laptops for engineering students in 2019
As you can see, it can be a tough slog to select the appropriate laptop for your needs, so here is a list of ten of the best laptops for aspiring engineers in 2019.
Of course, if you have the budget for it, you will likely want to purchase the best of everything. However, this means something different for everyone, and sometimes this is not even necessary. For this reason, some more budget-conscious selections are included here as well.
The Dell Inspiron 15 is an affordable option for engineering students who need to get some serious work done. It contains an Intel i5 Core with 8GB of RAM (with the option to add more, if necessary). It contains 128GB of SSD storage space in addition to 1TB of HDD storage space.
This represents a good balance between affordability and functionality. With a maximum screen resolution of 1920×1080, this is more than enough in comparison to the “bare minimum” specifications outlined above. With four USB 3.0 ports, you will also find that it has enough flexibility to accommodate any accessories you might need to use.
- Dedicated graphics card
- Also good for gaming
- The screen might not be sufficient for graphics-heavy work
- Battery life at high-performance tends to be low
This beast of a laptop represents one of the higher-end options on this list. If you are comfortable with the price, you are sure to find that this setup can even replace a desktop computer in terms of functionality. With an Intel i7 Core, 32 GB of RAM, 240 GB of SSD storage space, and a dedicated graphics card, this laptop will easily be able to run any software that is necessary to your success in the engineering field. Users report that it runs extremely fast, and booting it up only takes a matter of seconds.
Naturally, performing at this level comes with costs. Here, these costs are both explicitly financial and in terms of battery life. But you get what you pay for, and the Levono ThinkPad is certainly worth looking at.
- Higher-end specifications
- Most users report high satisfaction
- Physically heavier than other laptops
- Cost is prohibitive.
Marketed as a gaming laptop, this setup is a monster in terms of specifications but with a reasonable enough size to allow for portability. With a screen size of 17.3 inches, a maximum resolution of 1920×1080, and a dedicated graphics card, the Razer Blade Pro is sure to allow you to run any programs that you will encounter in the course of your engineering studies. As you would expect, it is also great for gaming as well.
In terms of specifics, it contains the higher-end Intel i7 processor, 16 GB of RAM, and 2000 GB of hybrid storage space. It is clear that this option stands out from the crowd. While some users report that the laptop becomes quite hot while in full operation, others suggest precisely the opposite. Overall, it is worth exploring this option if you have the budget.
- Extremely thin for its specifications
- Better specifications than a Macbook for the price
- The non-SSD drive runs slightly slower.
- Price may be prohibitive for most
This laptop is a good option for the more budget-conscious engineers out there. The Acer Aspire is certainly not to suggest that the Acer Aspire R 15 cannot perform as you need it to! It contains the higher-end Intel i7 processor, 12 GB of RAM, 256 GB of SSD storage space, and even a dedicated graphics card. It has only two USB 3.0 ports (but also a single USB 2.0 port), so if you need more accessories, this may not be your first option.
However, at the price for which this machine sells, it would be difficult to find similarly high specifications! While it has a touchscreen, some users report technical difficulties with this. Depending on your unique requirements, however, this may not be a concern.
- Great value for money
- The screen is also a touchscreen.
- Not sold as Best laptops under 600 dollars for gaming for good reason
- The touchpad can be tricky to use
5. ASUS Zenbook
Another reliable laptop for those who are more discriminating in terms of spending a great deal of money is the ASUS Zenbook. While retaining midrange specifications, this setup comes in at an affordable price. Containing the familiar Intel i5 Core, 8 GB of RAM, and 256 GB of SSD storage space, one of the only downsides here is the lack of a dedicated graphics card.
But with a maximum resolution of 1920×1080, the Zenbook looks sharp and users report that the display is high-quality. Battery life remains solid (depending on heavy or light use). All-in-all, this option is suitable for those who are not looking to replace their desktop, but for those who are often on-the-move and require flexibility.
- Lightweight (“Zen”)
- Good trade-off between performance and portability
- Users report some issues with battery after buying.
- Users report some issues with physical hinges of the laptop
6. HP Envy 17
The HP Envy laptop is brand-new on the market and seems to be causing quite a stir. Marketed to those who work heavily with advanced graphics utilities, the specifications for this marvel will likely actually make you the envy of your fellow classmates.
With an advanced Intel i7 Core processor, 16 GB RAM, and a staggering 1 TB SSD for storage space, this laptop already represents an excellent choice for all of your computing needs. But when you add in the dedicated 4 GB NVIDIA graphics card which is capable of providing real HD quality in terms of visualization, you can rest assured that this laptop is top-of-the-line for those looking for a mainstream desktop replacement.
- Excellent graphics specifications
- Brand new product (released recently)
- No-touch support
- Some users report issues with physical hinges of the laptop
This offering from Samsung is a two in one laptop/tablet combination. While it can function well for all of your traditional computing needs, it also features a built-in stylus pen (housed in its own spot within the body of the laptop) which does not have to charge and has highly accurate pressure sensitivity. This is perfect for note-taking or any more precise and detailed engineering work that needs to be done by hand.
The setup itself features high-end specifications, including an Intel i7 processor, 16 GB of RAM, and 256 GB of SSD storage space (which is upgradable to 1TB of SSD storage space for a little more money)! It also includes two USB 3.0 ports and is priced at a much better value for money than competing products like the Macbook Pro. Consider the Notebook 9 Pro if you require the type of two in one technology for your engineering studies.
- Good value for the price
- Aesthetically pleasing two in one design.
- The speakers could be located in a better place to make it sound louder
At a slightly higher price point than the laptop above, the HP Spectre also includes a responsive stylus pen/touchscreen (which could be used for specific engineering applications). If you have some extra money lying around and you like the idea of the Samsung Notebook 9, consider investing in this higher-end relative.
With the same Intel i7 processor (but with a faster processor speed of 3.1GHz), 16 GB of RAM, 512 GB of SSD storage space, and a dedicated graphics card, this laptop is a sturdier option to consider if you are interested (or need) to have the flexibility of using the stylus. This laptop also features many peripheral ports for any accessories you might need to use.
- Useful stylus pen; a 360-degree convertible hinge allows for flexibility in movement.
- The metal outer case gets quite warm.
- Stylus pen is battery powered (though in some cases this is rechargeable)
Numerous other reviews include the Acer Predator in similar lists and for good reasons! This beast is perfect for engineering students and is also suitable for gaming. With a 3.8GHz Intel i7 processor, 16 GB of RAM, and 256 GB of SSD storage space, AND 6 GB of dedicated graphics power, this laptop is one of the best you can find in its price range. For basic tasks such as internet browsing, word processing, and Excel analysis, this setup is extremely fast.
For a laptop, it is also excels at running the more heavy-duty and computing-intensive programs that are required in engineering. If you do not mind having a computer that looks like a gaming laptop, then the Acer Predator Helios is perfect for you.
- Reasonable price for excellent specifications
- Not a bulky build for its specifications
- Has been around for a while and has many positive consumer reviews
- Only one colour available for keyboard backing (red)
- Metallic casing shows fingerprints easily
At the top of the line, the Microsoft Surface Book represents the pinnacle of two in one technology. The specifications are familiar for this list: 16 GB of RAM, Intel i7 processor, and 512 GB of SSD storage space. This laptop/tablet comes with a stylus and uses “Windows Ink” technology, which claims to “naturally capture notes at the speed of thought,” which could be handy to jot down ideas in your engineering lectures.
Supporting a possible resolution of up to 3000×2000, the display for this setup is excellent. The price is high, but so is the performance. Depending on your needs, this could be a perfect option.
- Very aesthetically pleasing display
- Unmatched build and performance (hard to find any better on the market)
- Integrated graphics with entry-level (possible to buy a dedicated version)
- Battery life is claimed to be very long although many reviews say this does not hold up
So what’s the best laptop for an engineering student?
Well, as you can see from this list, in the ever-crowded market for laptops, some stand out from the crowd for engineering students. Make sure to consider your own needs and requirements before making a substantial investment in a computer.
Do some independent research of your own, read consumer reviews like this post, and always consider the general specifications of a setup in comparison to its price to find good value. Hopefully, this list can help you narrow down your search and ultimately allow you to perform well in class. Best of luck and enjoy your studies!
You might also want to read about other types of laptops, and if you’re an engineering student, then there are some crossovers from other lists we’ve done. You’ll find that for many reasons, good gaming laptops are also great for engineering purposes and vice versa: