Life as an engineering student can be tough given the amount of academic work you have to put up with. For this reason, you need a reliable laptop computer that can keep up with your massive course load, while cutting down on the time you need to spend on academic projects. However, many of the laptops that provide the best computing power and performance are quite expensive. Not to worry though as there are still quite a lot of affordable laptops with more than capable specs in the market.
The best laptops for engineering students are those that can easily process Auto CAD, C++, Revit, Solidworks and other similar demanding programs. When not working with these engineering applications, it should still be capable of doing other functions such as playing movies, launching games, and connecting to the Internet.
Many engineering students are also gaming aficionados. After all, you need to have an outlet to relieve yourself after all that serious studying, right? The Acer Predator Helios 300 is every engineer student’s best friend in and out of the classroom. It is perhaps the most budget-friendly laptop in its class with a full HD screen. The Predator also has a sleek design and a backlit keyboard. You can squeeze out up to 7 hours of playtime with its advanced battery life. The motherboard and graphics specs also won’t disappoint, especially given its affordable price tag.
Processor: Intel Core i7-8800 HQ
RAM: 16GB DDR4 memory
Graphics Card: GTX 1060 6GB
Storage: 256GB SSD
Weight: 6 pounds
•Very affordable gaming laptop •Superb speakers
•Poor color accuracy •Small storage space
Overall, the Predator Helios 300 can handle a wide range of engineering related programs. It’s also a great gaming laptop that can play the latest games. It’s decent price tag even sweetens the pot.
Apple will always have its followers whether it’s in the professional and academic realms. Its products are sleek, top-performing and have that great ownership experience. The MacBook Air is an ultra- lightweight notebook that tends to personify these qualities. It’s super thin at just 0.7 inches and weighs only 4.4 pounds.
This laptop also has exclusive Apple technology such as utilizing a 128GB of flash storage replacing the more traditional hard drive. The AirDrop technology allows easy transfer of files wirelessly between computers. Battery life is quite acceptable at 9 hours of moderate usage.
•Some engineering applications are incompatible •Computing speed not as good as others on this list
The MacBook Air is a sexy piece of gadget given how thin it is. It also has quite a number of Apple-only technologies that give users a different experience. However, it’s incompatible with some engineering related programs. It’s also quite pricey, but definitely worth your money because of its high resale value.
Engineering courses often demand flexibility and what better laptop to address such need than the Ass 2-in-1 Convertible Pro laptop. With this hybrid device, you can enjoy a top performing laptop with the convertibility of the tablet packaged with some amazing specifications. The internal hardware is mated quite nicely with a 15.60-inch Full HD display which can fold back up to 180 degrees for that genuine touchscreen experience. With this feature, it can act as an alternative to the traditional pen and paper as you can directly write on the screen with a stylus. Moreover, it has a nifty video card that can help effectively run some of the most graphic-demanding engineering apps.
•Great for study and play •Cheaper than buying its two equivalent devices
•Shorter battery life •The mechanism that attaches and detaches the screen is prone to breaking
Overall, the ASUS Convertible Pro is the like having a laptop and tablet in one device. It’s decent enough to compete for the attention of engineering students, and any undergrads for that matter. However, there are also some downsides, including its vulnerability to breaking when poorly handled.
Yet another laptop which you can count on beyond your life as an engineering undergrad, the Dell Inspiron 15 doubles as your gaming buddy. But don’t let this blindside you, this laptop is every bit an essential tool to help you get that degree. The device has superb graphics that can easily fulfill tasks such as video rendering, 3D modeling and other complex programs. To kick it off a notch, this gaming laptop also has a big 15.6-inch screen with 1920 x 1080 pixels resolution with anti-glare technology. Its battery life is also quite stellar at six to seven hours of moderate usage. Dell also has tons of components you can configure with this laptop to better suit your needs. Moreover, its keyboard is LED backlit.
Processor: Intel Core i5 (7th Generation)
RAM: 8GB DDR4 RAM
Graphics Card: NVIDIA GeForce GT 750M 2GB
Storage: 1TB Hard Drive + 128GB SSD
Weight: 4.5 pounds
•Inexpensive gaming setup •Long-lasting battery life
•Touchy trackpad •A bit more expensive
Overall, the Dell Inspiron 15 Gaming Laptop does what its name suggests. It might be a gaming machine with all the bells and whistles to boot, but it does justice to being an engineering student laptop. If you have extra budget, then it’s worth spending it for the Inspiron 15’s balanced performance.
While there are two sizes for the HP Envy, a 15-inch, and a 17-inch, we went with reviewing the latter. If you need an affordable laptop with some extra screen area, then this one fits the bill perfectly. And have we mentioned its touchscreen? You could say that the main selling point is the laptop’s humongous display which can be vital for many of the Engineering programs. While more expensive than the bunch in this list, this is one of the few laptops in the segment that can let you experience full 2K HD Display. Graphics are also extra smooth with rendering at enviable HD quality. This unit also comes with subwoofer speakers, which is good when you are the type who plays a ton of playlists.
Processor: Intel Core i7 (7th Generation)
Graphics Card: NVIDIA 960MX with 4GB Maxwell
Storage: 512GB SSD
Weight: 6.6 pounds
Overall, the HP Envy is a great investment in achieving your end goal. On top of its display, it’s also got credible numbers in the specifications department. When taken with good care, this laptop will still be relevant even if you are getting your first job as a professional.
Great things come in small packages. Such is the case of the convertible Lenovo ThinkPad P40 Yoga, a laptop and a tablet in one. It’s one of the few 2-in-1 computing devices that has a 360-degree hinge which helps it transform from laptop to tablet and vice versa. It’s also the smallest in this list with a screen size of only 14.1-inches. But despite its size, it can go toe-to-toe with its larger counterparts. This laptop has some of the newest standard hardware when it comes to a portable workstation. It also comes with the Wacom Active ES pen, which is quite accurate in translating even the most minuscule of movements and even has tilt recognition. This workstation is great whether you are writing or drawing on its screen.
Processor: Intel Core i7-65OOU
Graphics Card: NVIDIA Quadro M500M
Storage: 256GB SSD
Weight: 4 pounds
•Very portable and easy to carry •Affordable and doubles as a tablet
•Graphics are not as solid as others on this list •A little outdated than those in this list Overall, the Lenovo ThinkPad P40 Yoga offers to things- it’s cheap and very portable. Plus it gives you an extra option of sketching or writing on the screen. However, many of its computing components are lacking and can pass up to doing basic AutoCAD and other undemanding programs. Still, a great buy if you are in your first couple of years in college.
You may be familiar with Microsoft as a software developer, especially their popular OS. However, the tech giant also has its line of PCs, laptops and other devices. The Microsoft Surface Book is one such example and boy does it leave a mark. The 2-in-1 gadget comes with tons of goodies including a 3,000×2000 PixelSense display over a 13.5-inch touchscreen. Weighing at just 3.6 pounds it can easily slid in any type of bag and is easy to carry. It also has a nifty storage space and is quite easy on the 3D rendering which just about sums up every engineering undergrad needs.
Processor: Intel Core i7
Graphics Card: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 965M
Storage: 512 GB Hard Drive
Weight: 3.6 pounds
•Lightweight and very portable •Crystal clear display
•Battery life falls below manufacturer’s promise •More functional as a tablet
Overall, the Microsoft Surface Book has opened up a lot of possibilities in this space given its futuristic design. It’s got the best display in the list and even beats gaming laptops. The tablet separation is also seamless. However, users may also need to wait for some major updates that may be brought in the near future.
When you think of the Razer brand, the first thing that comes to mind is gaming. Majority of the gaming laptops out there, however, are quite bulky but not the Blade Stealth 13.3. It weighs only a freaking 2.98 pounds, but it’s quite the heavyweight in terms of its performance. For the clincher, it has a 3200×1800-pixel touchscreen resolution QHD+ display that can be viewed at an angle of up to 178 degrees!
Throw in a processor that can Turbo Boost up to 4.0 GHz and you got one hell of a laptop. The keyboard on this thing is also comfortable and the keys are very visible. Moreover, it’s got an extended battery life of up to 10 hours. Whether you are playing games or working on your project, this baby right here is a reliable wingman.
Processor: Intel Core i7
Graphics Card: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 965M
Storage: 512 GB Hard Drive
Weight: 3.6 pounds
•Portable with a very thin profile •A dazzling 4K touch display
•Subpar battery life for an ultraportable •A bit expensive for a college student
When it comes to performance in its class, nothing can top-off the Razer Blade Stealth thanks to its Intel Kaby Lake processor. It also got that sleek and solid construction that gamers look for in their laptop. Resolution is also off the charts allowing you to tackle graphically demanding projects and games alike.
Additionally, prior to making a buying decision on which laptop you want to use, we recommend that you understand the following specifications and elements about your laptop.
Mac devices are well-designed, very functional, and have superb displays. However, it’s not as conducive as a workstation as Windows given that majority of computer users are more familiar with the latter. Not to mention, OSX has restrictions on several engineering programs. But, if you have the money and can put in extra effort to familiarize with Mac, then there is no stopping you from choosing it.
CPU Processor Speed
Many of the engineering related programs require fast computing speed – especially AutoCAD. Simulation software like Excel and ANSYS are also quite taxing. We recommend going for at least an Intel Core i5 series (or AMD Ryzen 5) or better.
Random Access Memory or RAM is another factor that affects your laptop’s speed. If it’s anything lower than 8GB, it can seriously slow down your computer’s speed. It’s also better if you can get your hands on or upgrade to a 12GB or 16GB unit.
The larger the screen resolution the more area you could work with. We highly recommend that you get a laptop with 1920 x 1080 pixels as it brings out 1080p true HD quality which is great for displaying your tasks and watching videos.
Dedicated Video Cards
RAM and video cards go hand-in-hand especially when you’re working with exhaustive programs like MATLAB, Solidworks, and AutoCAD. Thus, you need at least a 2GB DDR3 video card to run these programs smoothly. If you want some gaming done in your laptop as well, then go for DDR5 graphics such as the NVIDIA GTX series.
It goes without saying that a larger hard disk drive memory is always better. The bigger it is the more files and programs you can store in it. To get the best value, you should go for 500GB or more.
Often, you will be working with your laptop while it’s unplugged. You need to have a battery that can power your laptop for at least 6-8 hours straight. You also want the battery to charge fast and have a longer lifespan. Hence, we recommend you read the laptop’s reviews and specs on battery life prior to purchasing.
Lastly, you want your laptop to connect fast to the Internet and other networks. Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are therefore required. Fortunately, almost every latest computer is equipped with both.
Engineering is one of the most demanding courses there is whether you are in civil, mechanical, chemical, industrial, and any other of its branches. As an engineering student, your work will revolve not only on lectures but also on the applications of your lessons.
For this reason, you want the best laptop by your side at every step of the way. Whether you are doing reports, designing templates, or complying with other academic requirements, it’s good to have a reliable laptop that can support you every step of the way.
We hope this guide was able to help you decide your laptop for your engineering courses as you go on to the next stage of your life.