When it comes to choosing a laptop for an engineering student, several factors come into play. This is mainly because engineering students are required to run numerous software as a part of their studies. Whether you are pursuing electrical, mechanical, computer, civil, software, chemical, aeronautical, or even aerospace engineering, you would end up downloading and using much software before you finish your grad studies.
Depending on the field of studies, the laptop choices will vary. If you are an electrical or computer engineer, you will mostly be dealing with programming languages such as C++ and circuit simulators which most modern laptops in the market can handle with ease. In case you chose mechanical or civil engineering as your specialization you will be running CAD & CAE software on your computer. Along with these factors, you should also remember you will be sitting through long hours of classes and figuring out a way to solve tasks set by your professors. This means your computer will have to take the pressure of being at work round-the-clock.
Many of you might be thinking that you would need a powerful laptop with the best graphics card and processor to handle all the demanding tasks of your studies. This would mean that you will have to spend a good sum of money to get your hands on an expensive laptop packed with the latest graphics card and processor for all the heavy computational tasks.
But, what you have to truly focus on, is buying a portable laptop that gives you long battery life. These two factors are important because an engineering student will find himself/herself carrying her computer most of the time. So, a heavy laptop can be difficult and one with less battery life means that you will have to carry the charger everywhere too.
If you are a student who has opted for courses involving heavy use of CAD/CAE software, then you would require a laptop with good specs especially a dedicated GPU. Processor intensive tasks that are assigned for the other engineering courses can be easily handled by most modern-day laptops.
Here are some of the best laptops for engineering students that can effortlessly help you get through your daily processor-intensive tasks.
1. Dell Precision 5530
Advertised as Dell’s lightest, thinnest, and smallest 15.6-inch mobile workstation, the Precision 5530 sports an Intel Xeon processor and Nvidia Quadro graphics. Weighing about 4 pounds, this is the first laptop to feature a six-core “Coffee Lake” Xeon chip. This laptop doubles up as a tablet and features the Wacom pen technology.
Fitted with 16GB of 2400MHz DDR4 memory, this laptop does a great job at handling 3D CAD. It features an Intel ‘Kaby Lake G’ processor, which combines an Intel CPU with an AMD Radeon Pro GPU on a single piece of silicon. This processor is built to handle all the processor and graphic intensive tasks that you will come across during your course.
Dell has equipped the computer with a 15.6” UltraSharp IGZO4 4K Infinity edge display bringing the machine to the forefront of the competition. The display is bright, contributing to CAD models looking incredibly sharp with vivid colors. Storage is a standard single NVMe SSD.
What We Like About Dell Precision 5530
The Precision 5530 has a MagLev keyboard design to help reduce the thickness of the machine. Besides, MagLev uses magnets instead of rubber domes to get the keys to bounce back.
What We Don’t Like About Dell Precision 5530
A major gripe about this laptop is it sometimes faces overheating issues.
11 hours of battery life
Great for CAD software
2. Microsoft Surface Pro 7
The Surface Pro 7 is the first one among the Surface Pro series to use Intel’s new 10-nanometer processors across all specifications. With the Surface Pro 7, you can expect a device that is faster at processing both everyday tasks and graphic-intensive tasks. The strong graphics potential is owed to the Intel Iris Plus graphics processor. This also contributes to impeccable game and media streaming with high-resolution rates.
The Microsoft Surface Pro 7 packs a punch with 10th Gen Intel performance and a USB-C port that was missing from its predecessors. The laptop has Core i7, i5, and i3 variants as well as 4GB, 8GB, 16GB memory capacity variants. Moreover, the SSD drive storage capacity ranges from 128GB SSD to 1TB SSD.
Besides, the Battery life is disappointing compared to the Surface Pro 6. However, the responsive instant wake feature compensates for the lack of long hours of battery life. If you are browsing on Google Chrome, looking through your Twitter feed, writing a paper on Microsoft word, or if you happen to be doing all this at the same time, the laptop would last about 8 hours on a single charge. If you are trying to work on some processor-intensive and graphic-intensive tasks, Surface Pro 7 would last for 6 hours.
What We Like About Microsoft Surface Pro 7
The instant wake feature helps the laptop to resume the moment you start setting up the kickstand.
What We Don’t Like About Microsoft Surface Pro 7
With only USB-C, USB-A port for additional connectivity and the lack of a Thunderbolt 3 port, you may find yourselves short on connectivity options.
| Instant wake |
|Keyboard is sold separately|
3. ASUS ZenBook Flip 14 Ultra-Slim Convertible Laptop
The ZenBook Flip 14 (UM462) was introduced along with the ZenBook 14 (UM431) in November last year. The ZenBook Flip 14 (UM462) can be considered as the hybrid equivalent of the latter with an optional processor upgrade. The latter hosts an AMD Ryzen 7 3700U chip with up to 4.0GHz of boosted clock speed while retaining the same four-core eight-thread setup as its sibling. ZenBook Flip 14 is a speedy, convertible laptop equipped with a 14-inch FHD display and boasting long-lasting battery life great for an engineering student for everyday tasks.
Armed with the modern AMD processor with 8GB of RAM, the computer houses PCIe NVMe solid-state drive. The integrated 2GB Nvidia GeForce MX150 GPU is the powerhouse of graphics processing. This dedicated graphics processor can effortlessly handle your difficult Mathematics computations while playing your games lag-free with the best graphics.
At a glance, the vibrant, colorful screen you notice on this laptop is a result of Nvidia graphics. The screen can reproduce 100 percent of the colors to create the perfect image. The colors look natural and well saturated. The screen is visible even under sunlight, allowing you to work even in the comfort of a park. Also, you can tilt the screen to a maximum viewing angle of 178 degrees.
What We Like About ASUS ZenBook Flip 14 Ultra-Slim Convertible Laptop
Even if you are working on multiple software at a time, the laptop can handle it effortlessly without lag.
What We Don’t Like About ASUS ZenBook Flip 14 Ultra-Slim Convertible Laptop
The colors are slightly muted on the display.
2GB Nvidia GeForce MX150 GPU for lag-free performance
|Stylus is not too responsive|
4. Surface Book 3
If you want a laptop that can get everybody envious and easily carry in your hands around college, the Surface Book 3 is for you. Available in variants of Quad-core Intel Core i5 or i7 (10th generation), the laptop is stutter-free. The screen is crisp, bright, and beautiful adding to the appeal of this machine from Microsoft.
The Surface Book 3 houses 16GB RAM, although there is an 8GB variant. The storage capacity ranges from 256 TB to 1TB. The laptop has two dedicated graphics processing units including Intel Iris Plus and Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650. The combination of these processors makes it a great laptop for creative professionals and computer electrical, chemical engineers, and the like.
Since this doubles over as a tablet, the tablet mode is greatly reliable for drawing and also draws less power. The battery life can last you an entire day. It can last up to 8 hours on a full day of movie viewing. It gives you up to 10 to 12 hours if you are trying to work on different applications at the same time.
What We Like About Surface Book 3
The speakers are loud and clear. The mics and camera possess good quality is great for video conferencing.
What We Don’t Like About Surface Book 3
The screen wobbles a bit if you try moving it when the device is in the laptop mode.
| Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 discrete GPU|
Portable and great battery life
|Screen is not stable|
5. Razer Blade Stealth 13
Game enthusiasts will immediately be all ears when they hear Razer being mentioned. This gaming hardware giant is renowned in the gaming arena for its excellent gaming-oriented products. If you have been looking around for a high-quality laptop you would have definitely come across the Razer Blade Stealth series.
Razer Blade Stealth series is a product line up that contains four different editions of the laptop. All of them are specifically aimed at gamers. The unique design coupled with a powerful GPU and better graphics performance won its first version the CES 2016 Best Laptop Award.
The Razer Blade 13 houses a fast processor, a new option for a discrete graphics card, and up to 16GB of RAM making it a great tool for engineers. This provides optimal performance for CAD/CAE software and other hardcore 3D software that you might come across during your studies.
The laptop features an 8th generation Quad-Core i7-8565U for faster processing of heavy computational tasks. Besides, the 16 GB RAM isn’t upgradeable. There is a 256GB SSD for storage that can be upgraded to 512GB. Moreover, the laptop is fitted with a GeForce MX150 graphics card that helps with the RAM usage when engaged in graphics-intensive tasks like deep machine learning.
The Blade Stealth 13 accompanies an accurate touchscreen display along with a 1080p resolution. You can now configure the Blade with a 120Hz panel making your gaming experience faster and realistic. This is the best laptop to run the processor and graphic-intensive operations all at the same time. The computer is built to handle a heavy load without any lag. Also, the stutter-free experience makes it a perfect laptop for engineering students.
What We Like About Razer Blade Stealth 13
The laptop features excellent build quality and is lightweight, making it easily portable.
What We Don’t Like About Razer Blade Stealth 13
This falls into the expensive category of gaming laptops.
| Powerful gaming specs with a 120Hz screen|
6. MacBook Pro
MacBook Pro is portable and has the power to keep up with intense workloads. An Apple laptop is always a symbol of prestige plus you don’t have to worry about Windows 10 ad notifications. Released in 2012, the tech giant has added some major upgrades. This is a greatly durable machine and you might end up having it for the next 4 years. Besides, the MacBook Pro 13-inch is a great addition to the Macbook Pro line of laptops.
The noteworthy feature of the MacBook Pro is its M1 chip. This chip offers drastically improved performance and battery life while being able to run existing Mac apps, brand-new ones, and iOS apps alike effortlessly. Furthermore, the M1 chip is built to provide faster performance and graphics allowing the Pro to operate more like an iPhone or iPad.
The laptop springs to life once it is switched on. Besides, the apps also open quickly and you can switch between them almost instantaneously. It supports the P3 wide color gamut excellent for color reproduction. This is a great feature for photographers and video editors, who need true-to-life colors. In addition, the battery life can last a full 10 hours on a busy day.
What We Like About MacBook Pro
The M1 chip lets the computer flawlessly handle all processor-intensive tasks with ease.
What We Don’t Like About MacBook Pro
The MacBook Pro has fans and they start rotating faster if you put your machine under some strenuous work and it might make some noise. The back of the laptop also gets rather warm at times.
| Bright and vibrant display|
Excellent battery life
7. Asus Rog Strix Scar III
Aimed at the higher end of the gaming spectrum, this laptop is a serious contender when it comes to processor and graphic-intensive tasks. Coupled with a high frame rate and vibrant display, this laptop is the right machine for your heavy-duty tasks and software. The sophisticated design with a sleek and slim body makes it easily portable, favoring college-going students.
Equipped with an Intel i7 processor and a base spec of 16 GB of RAM, the laptop can take on any computational task you throw at it. Boasting 1TB NVMe PCIe storage and 16GB RAM with an extra 2.5-inch drive bay, the laptop can quicken the pace of your tasks and reduce heat.
The ROG Strix Scar 3 has an excellent cooling solution that dissipates interior heat so that it never becomes uncomfortable to use. Besides, the thermal management system ensures that the device keeps on performing without any throttling.
Moreover, the 240Hz display of the Strix is great for multiplayer gaming. Coupled with a 15.6-inch full HD screen and 144Hz refresh rate, your images will load faster with less screen flickering. This also makes a good computer to play most modern-day games without lag.
What We Like About Asus Rog Strix Scar III
The device features a powerful configuration with great performance.
What We Don’t Like About Asus Rog Strix Scar III
Battery life isn’t impressive. The 66WHr, 4-cell Li-ion battery can handle browsing and other small tasks for up to 4 hours.
| 240Hz display with thin bezels|
High frame rate
| Unimpressive battery life|
Screen doesn’t support Nvidia G-Sync
8. HP Spectre x360
College is a time where you will find yourself roaming around the campus a lot because classes are being conducted in different buildings. Under these circumstances, you would probably be better off with a thin laptop to handle your homework and that is easily portable. So if you are looking for a laptop that doesn’t tire your hands, then consider the HP Spectre x360. Though it costs more than other laptops in its range, this laptop features an all-day battery life and has impressive results for performance benchmark tests.
Powered by the Intel Core i7 – 8550U, the quad-core processor gives a considerable 30 percent performance boost compared to the older versions of Spectre x360. Coupled with 16GB DDR4 RAM the machine can easily run more than two dozen Chrome tabs, stream music, copy data, and download apps all at the same time without any lags.
Coming to the display, the laptop has a 1920 x 1080p touchscreen display. The display is color accurate with decent viewing angles. Moreover, fitted with the Sure View technology, this laptop allows the users to hide the display content from prying eyes with the click of a button. The technology helps the display look washed out to anyone who is not sitting right in front of the laptop.
Also, the laptop packs a punch with an admirable battery life that can run up to 8 to 9 hours every day. The 60Whr battery will help you run it continuously for an entire day of CAD rendering.
What We Like About HP Spectre x360
The laptop promotes excellent battery life and color fidelity.
What We Don’t Like About HP Spectre x360
There is only a single USB3.0 port that you could use for your audio interface or MIDI controller.
| Excellent battery life|
| Trackpad is slow |
You should at least get a laptop that houses 8GB RAM. This will prevent any lag situation if you are running any software and you have several open web pages. However, 16 GB RAM can give you extremely smooth performance In case you have to work on hardcore 3D software, you might have to upgrade to 32GB RAM.
Intel Core i5/AMD Ryzen Chips and above are recommended for all types of engineers. If you want the laptop to be affordable you can also settle for core i3 and other AMD processors.
The main reason to look for a laptop with a powerful SSD is the battery life and durability. Attending classes would mean that you are jotting down copious notes on your laptop, so it is important to have one that has good reading/writing speeds. Besides, SSDs contribute to speedy reading and writing tasks. They make actions such as loading and saving programs and files much more responsive.
Only students who want to work with 3D software and other graphic intensive programs need to worry about GPU. Any GPU with 2GB VRAM would be enough for most graphic-intensive tasks.
A 1080p display is enough for engineering students to provide workspace area and scale accurately with any software. Since you are going to be staring at the screen for days get at least a 13-inch display that has a night mode so that no harm comes to your eyes.
Since you will be lugging the laptop around the whole day for your practice as well as theory classes, your laptop should be light. Get a computer that is around 3 to 4lb, but remember, the lighter it is the more expensive it gets.
When it comes to choosing a laptop generally for grad studies, another factor to keep in mind is the number of multiplayer games you will be playing with your new-found friends. Therefore, finding a device with the best price to spec ratio is important. Also, remember that a desktop is far better at handling heavy computational tasks than a laptop. Don’t forget to use the desktop computer resources in your library to learn all the software better.
So if you are looking for the best laptops for engineering students, we hope our reviews help shed some light on what you could buy.