9 Best Laptops for Engineering Students in 2022
Students searching for the best laptops for engineering need a lot of power. But they need a few other things as well. Most matriculating minds on their way back to school need to find that sweet spot between performance and price and should look at laptops ideal for college.
Engineering students need serious power from their laptops to run essential 3D modeling, and video rendering software such as AutoCAD, MATLAB, and Solid Works in-between classes and lectures. And that means that an engineer’s laptop needs a robust core specs suite.
All that power needs to come in a reasonably priced package with excellent battery life and lightweight. While they might not compare pricewise to cheap laptops, they need to be within a college student’s budget. Additionally, the best engineering laptops should be able to last the whole day on a single charge and be easy enough to lug around from class to class.
1. DELL XPS 13 (9310)
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If you’re an engineering student and a Windows user, too, then the best laptop for you to buy is the Dell XPS 13. Every year the Dell XPS 13 wows us, and this year has been no exception, as evidenced in our Dell XPS 13 (9310) review. In the review, we discovered the XPS 13 to be everything an engineering student could wish for while taking notes in class or completing coursework in-between seminars – it’s powerful, portable, compact, and has amazing battery life.
It also comes equipped in its latest incarnation with the latest 11th-gen Intel processors installed and up to 16GB of RAM. As a result, everything from Netflix to intensive AutoCAD work is easily handled. The Intel Iris Xe GPU doesn’t give the same performance as a high-end Nvidia graphics card, but it still punches hard and complements the core specs well.
The XPS 13 doesn’t let the side down in terms of screen, either, with a 13.4-inch FHD display with the super-thin bezels looking stunning. Of course, if you’ve got deep pockets, you can spec the system out with a 4K screen, too. However, we think that the Full HD screen will be plenty for most engineering students. The colors are deep and vibrant, and the detailing is pin sharp. The whole screen is also coated with Corning Gorilla Glass, so it will not crack or scratch easily.
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- Superb looks
- Robust hardware
- Great display
- Speakers are average
- Limited ports
2. Apple MacBook Air (M1, 2020)
The latest MacBook Air is an absolute marvel of a machine and ideally suited to engineering students.
The real star of the show is the M1 processor, which is so ludicrously powerful and optimized that it crushes rival CPUs in benchmarks with ease. It also packs in some awe-inspiring graphics processing power, so right off the back, you’ve got a system here perfectly equipped for heavy modeling, editing, and rendering work.
You can also spec the MacBook Air at purchase with 16GB of RAM, meaning you’re covered in that department. So naturally, for a MacBook, you’ve also got a very tidy battery life, with this model stretching up to 15 hours in real-world use (although expect a little less with hardcore AutoCAD work.
Comfort and usability are top-notch, too – the keyboard and trackpad are excellent, it’s a great size and weight to be portable, and the all-aluminum build is solid and feels premium. The sharp screen is also a pleasure to use, with a good brightness level.
Apple’s MacBook Air ticks all our boxes for an excellent laptop for engineering students and comes with that premium Apple aesthetic.
- Astounding power
- Excellent build quality
- Sturdy, luxe design
- Giant battery life
- Very few ports
3. Dell XPS 15
The Dell XPS 15 is, without a doubt, one of the best laptops for engineering students to hit the PC market this year.
The Dell XPS 15 combines staggering power in a stylish thin and light chassis. In addition, this laptop doesn’t hold back when it comes to internals and features that improve your computing experience overall.
A gorgeous bright display with 500 nits of brightness, a remarkably comfortable keyboard, impressive speakers, and an excellent trackpad are unique features. We’re not saying that this laptop is perfect, but it’s undoubtedly the best laptop for engineering students.
- Amazing speakers
- Beautiful display
- Comfy keyboard
- GTX 1650 Ti is a little weak
4. Google Pixelbook Go
Google’s Pixelbook Go is the best Chromebook money can buy right now, and it’s also an excellent laptop for engineering students.
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Coming with a more affordable price tag than its predecessor, the Pixelbook, Google’s latest Chromebook still packs plenty of the premium features the original came with, including fantastic battery life and one of the best keyboards we’ve used on a laptop.
Sure, it doesn’t use Windows 10 – instead, it runs Chrome OS – but you can also install Linux on this thing, which makes it an even more versatile laptop.
It features some impressive specs for a Chromebook, ensuring that Chrome OS positively flies on this device and puts its performance on par with many of the more expensive Windows laptops and MacBooks.
- 11-hour battery life
- Excellent ‘Hush’ keyboard
- The best Chromebook
- No biometric login
- Chrome OS only
5. DELL XPS 17
If you like the Dell aesthetic but feel you need a larger, more robust system that takes the word premium to a whole new level, you’re going to want to check out the beastly Dell XPS 17.
At top spec, the XPS 17 delivers the best screen on any laptop ever, in the form of a 17-inch UHD+ (3840 x 2400 resolution) InfinityEdge Touch panel, which also comes with an Anti-Reflective coating. In partnership with tiny bezels, the screen means real estate is bountiful, and thanks to the Ultra HD resolution, everything on it is pin-sharp. It is truly a stunning display, and trust us when we say this; it will be ideal for engineering software usage.
The XPS 17 continues its dominance with a top hardware spec that will make any tech enthusiast drool. We’re talking a monstrous 64GB of RAM in conjunction with an insanely rapid Intel Core i9, which makes even 8K video editing and engineering rendering work an absolute doddle.
Need to spend time on your course, working in Photoshop? Well, you can edit substantial TIF files side-by-side without the Dell XPS 17 breaking sweat. And an Nvidia GeForce RTX2060 6GB ensures that modern AAA games are crushed while also providing loads of support grunt for rendering and processing.
This machine sports a fantastic fit and finish, excellent connectivity options, a built-in webcam and microphone, and a stereo woofer. In addition, the Dell XPS 17 has multiple speakers and a full-fat copy of Windows 10 Home 64-bit, and it becomes easy to see how this laptop will serve its engineering student for years to come.
- Large, top-tier screen
- Super powerful hardware spec
- Superb Dell fit and finish
- Very, very expensive
6. Asus Zephyrus G14
The Asus Zephyrus G14 may be designed like a gaming laptop, but it’s proven a more than capable all-around laptop.
Whether you are serious about your gaming or need a powerful laptop for productivity or content creation, this Asus laptop delivers incredible performance and amazing battery life, a fast screen, and a thin and light chassis that makes it super portable.
It’s not the cheapest option, but you have to pay a premium for quality. And, if you’re an AMD fan, you’ll undoubtedly appreciate the processor under its hood.
- Best battery life in a gaming laptop
- Excellent performance
- Thin and light
- No webcam
- Fans can get loud
7. LG GRAM 17 (2021)
Despite this laptop’s 17-inch screen, it weighs only 1,350 grams (that’s just under 3 lbs). It also measures super-thin (26.01 x 38.02 x 1.78 cm), making it incredibly portable.
It’s a portable superstar, but that doesn’t mean its hardware spec lets it down, with an Intel Core i7-1165G7 processor, Intel Iris XE graphics chip, 16GB of RAM, and a 256GB SSD onboard. The battery life is also impressive and is suitable for all-day study sessions and MATLAB work.
- Fantastic 17-inch screen
- Lightweight, stylish design
- Plenty of battery life
- Not a touchscreen
8. HP Spectre x360 (2021)
The HP Spectre x360 (2021) 2-in-1 laptop had a significant refresh for 2021, and the boost in specs, with 11th-generation Intel Core processors and Intel Iris Xe graphics, along with the impeccable 2-in-1 design and new gem-cut chassis, means that this version is at the top of our best laptops for programmers list.
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The HP Spectre line has always consisted of stunning devices. So, when we say that the Spectre x360 takes things to another level, that should mean something. This is one of the most beautiful laptops on the market right now – its gem-cut design and sleek profile are rigid on the inside.
HP fitted this with impressively long battery life, so you’re getting one of the best laptops on the market. As such, it’s also one of the best laptops for engineering students right now.
- Powerful Intel Whiskey Lake processors
- 12-hour battery life
- Thin, light, and portable
- More powerful than some users will need
9. Microsoft Surface Book 2 (15-inch)
What’s a better laptop for engineering students than one designed for it? Microsoft developed the Surface Book line with graphical design and creative tasks in mind.
Microsoft Surface Book 2 is built to support Surface Dial and Surface Pen to make your creative experience more effortless and more immersive. In addition, of course, this laptop boasts some pretty powerful specs, robust enough to support casual gaming, and a long battery life that will last you up to 17 hours on a single charge.
- Crazy long battery life
- Massively powerful
- Excellent cooling
- No up-firing base speakers
- Small trackpad
- Very pricey
How To Choose The Best Laptops For Engineering Students?
So, what exactly makes for the best laptops for engineering students? Since you’re likely to be running complex programs like AutoCAD, you will need a computer with enough power to run them.
We recommend a laptop with the latest Intel Core i5 or Core i7 chips, and at the very least, 8GB of RAM – though 16GB is even better.
Many of the programs engineering students rely on are graphically intensive programs – especially CAD, MATLAB, and Solid Works, used for 3D modeling and video rendering. This means that it’s crucial to have a laptop with a dedicated graphics card – rather than an integrated one powered by the processor