If you’re just getting ready to launch your engineering education, congratulations! Engineering is one of the most in demand and high paying jobs around, and the surprisingly high amount of creative and puzzle solving involved in it can be a lot more exciting than you think. But the days are long past when engineers rely on graph paper and complex field tools to get the job done.
Carrying a quality engineering laptop can significantly strip down the amount of gear you need to take with you, but you might not understand what you may need if you’re just starting your engineering education.
That’s why we’ve decided to highlight 10 of the best laptops for engineering students. We’ll make sure that you have a rundown of all the important specs and provide you with sensible shopping advice.
Be sure to check back on our list for upcoming Black Friday and Cyber Monday 2020 deals!
10 Best Laptops for Engineering Students - Fall 2020:
- HP Spectre x360 2019 13T Gemcut Laptop
- Razer Blade Pro 17 Laptop
- Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon FHD Laptop
- Apple MacBook Pro
- Acer Aspire VX 15 Gaming Laptop
- Microsoft Surface Pro 7
- Acer Predator Helios 300 Gaming Laptop
- Samsung Notebook 9 Pro
- Dell i5577-5335BLK-PUS Inspiron Laptop
- Acer Spin 3 Convertible Laptop
1. HP Spectre x360 2019 13T Gemcut Laptop
The Spectre X360 isn't just among the best laptops for engineering students. It's among the best laptops period. For a very reasonable thousand dollar asking price you get a practical machine that makes the most of its specs and offers a consistent level of consistency. An efficient 8th gen Core i7 serves as the beating heart here, and it's matched with a nice memory capacity and sizable amount of storage space. The sense of balance here is really some of the best around.
But HP has clearly put a lot of attention into more immediately practical considerations as well. The keyboard itself will feel good underneath your fingertips and provide reliable performance even to fast typists. But this laptop offers one key advantage that the traditional laptop doesn't: a responsive touchscreen that can provide you with a more intuitive way to design and engineer.
2. Razer Blade Pro 17 Laptop
The Spectre x360 is undoubtedly a workhorse, but if you want a racehorse, make an upgrade to the Razer Blade Pro. The central processor here is one of the most powerful Intel offers - combining high power graphical performance with all the perks of the ninth generation technologies. This laptop is definitely designed for the needs of professional gamers, but those same features place it among the best laptops for engineering students also.
Compensating for that powerful processor is a pretty substantial vapor chamber cooling system and an aluminum body that's lightweight, sturdy, and designed to slough off heat like a champ. Another gaming feature that will be useful to engineers is the color reproduction which promises 100% coverage of the SRBG gamut. And while this laptop stuffs in some of the best high end specs we've seen anywhere, it's also designed to support some pretty hefty upgrades.
3. Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon FHD Laptop
For less money, the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 offers a generational upgrade on the Razer Blade Pro's processor. The tenth generation Core built in here is tuned towards low power performance, so this is a laptop that can provide you with the performance you need without just immediately sucking all the life from your battery. In fact, there are a few things here that are a better choice for engineers. This is one of the few laptops to pack in a full terabyte solid state drive so you don't have to choose between performance or capacity.
All the latest connections are supported on the Lenovo Thinkpad as well. You can expect compatibility with all USB protocol as well as Thunderbolt 3.0 and HDMI, so this laptop offers the best options around for everything from uploading massive chunks of data to showing presentations in class, and these features will continue to be useful as you move into the field.
4. Apple MacBook Pro
Apple has always been willing to deliver some of the best results to consumers with their MacBooks, for a price. That's still the case. While you won't get the most bang for your bucks with the specs on the MacBook Pro, you will get access to an operating system interface that many engineers consider the best around. And if you're going to spend hours a day deep in windows and complicated software, that sort of intuitive design is worth a few extra bucks.
There's a lot to love here also. The new Retina display promises a resolution well above the average, and the hardware at work is still pretty impressive. This is a laptop with a 10 hour battery life, so what it's lacking in raw performance it makes up for in stamina. And as you might expect from a Mac, it comes already equipped for Thunderbolt 3 connectivity.
5. Acer Aspire VX 15 Gaming Laptop
The designers don't perform miracles with the Acer Aspire VX 15, but they do make some clever adjustments to help users get the most out of the specs available. Set next to the comparably priced MacBook Pro, it's a laptop that favors raw horsepower in favor of elegant design. By opting for a seventh gen Intel design, they manage to make an upgrade to an i7 chip, and that also provides the leverage to build in a discrete graphics card. That can be a big deal when trying to run rendering software.
And if you want a laptop that looks cool, you'll find it in the Acer Aspire. The red backlighting and sleek design are clearly built with gamers in mind, but it will look just as cool at an engineering student's desk. Meanwhile, a dual fan system ensures that your productivity doesn't lead to overheating or damage to internal components.
6. Microsoft Surface Pro 7
Microsoft has jumped to the front of the gates in the past few years with their Surface Pro series. This breakout laptop set the bar for two in one designs. The Pro 7 doesn't feature the heftiest specs we've seen, but its portability, flexibility, and lightweight construction mean you can work comfortably just about anywhere. And with the ability to deliver those results for right around $700, it's one of the best budget level laptops for students available.
In a nice touch, Microsoft has included the latest 10th generation Core processor, and that's somewhat a salve for the fact that there's only an i5 at work beneath the hood. But with the latest Bluetooth compatibility and ports for both USB-A and USB-C devices, it's ready to interface with any device you might need. An eyebrow raising 10.5 hour battery life rounds out the pros in a laptop just filled with them.
7. Acer Predator Helios 300 Gaming Laptop
With a name like "Predator", you can guess that this laptop is built with the needs of gamers in mind. But the same values that make it great for gaming also make it one of the best laptops for engineering students. The graphical and central processing are both great, and Acer has packed in a hefty amount of both memory and storage. It's a whole lot of power for slightly under a thousand bucks.
And there are plenty of options here to tune your laptop to match your engineering needs. The PredatorSense interface gives you an up close and personal look at all the important performance metrics you should be paying attention to, and it can provide you with an early warning system if your engineering software causes it to run a little hot. And the ability is there to easily upgrade your storage or memory.
8. Samsung Notebook 9 Pro
The Samsung Notebook 9 is a more personable alternative to the Galaxy. This laptop may look cute, but it has the hardware to get everything you need to get done done. That includes an 8th gen i7 chip that's been specially tuned to offer great performance without being much of a drain on your battery. And that also allows Samsung to promise a battery life of over half a day on a single charge.
But as we said, this is a laptop that's cute also. The touchscreen display can flip and rotate up to 360 degrees, providing you with a whole range of different configurations that are more adaptable to your lifestyle than the traditional laptop is. This laptop even comes with its own S-pen for more precise and nimble navigation. And configuration with Turbo Boost technology lets you get more juice out of the hardware than you'd otherwise have.
9. Dell i5577-5335BLK-PUS Inspiron Laptop
This Dell Inspiron is another gaming laptop that's also in contention for the best laptop for students in engineering programs. This isn't a laptop that does anything especially exceptional, but it provides the benchmarks you should expert for a best laptop for engineering at a price that's one of the best deals around. The seventh gen i7 Core is well matched to the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050, and while they aren't the best specs by any margin, they complement each other very well.
Where the Dell Inspiron really sings for engineering students is how modular it is to your needs. This laptop stuffs a whole array of ports into its slender frame, and there's plenty of storage available in the quarter terabyte solid state drive. And the seven hour battery life should easily last you through all of your classes and your extended late night study sessions.
10. Acer Spin 3 Convertible Laptop
Acer brings an eminently affordable two in one laptop to the table with their $800 Acer Spin 3. It's a stiff competitor for the best in class Microsoft Surface Pro and a respectably balanced machine even without accounting for the fun and flexibility that comes from being able to slip between tablet and laptop mode on the fly. The included stylus is fully rechargeable too, so you won't have to worry about the hassle of swapping out batteries every few months.
Acer has put some pretty practical hardware inside this machine. The eight generation i7 anchors the experience. While the lack of a dedicated graphics card instead of an integrated one might be a problem for serious gamers, it's one of the best decisions a manufacturer could make when creating a laptop built with engineering students in mind. If you need a laptop cheap, this is one of your best options.
|+ HP Spectre x360||13.3-inch FHD||Intel Core i7-8565U||Integrated Intel HD||16 GB DDR4 RAM||512 GB SSD|
|+ Razer Blade Pro||17.3-inch FHD||Intel Core i7-9750H||GeForce RTX 2070 Max-Q||16 GB RAM||512 GB SSD|
|+ Lenovo ThinkPad X1||17.3-inch FHD||Intel Core i7-9750H||GeForce RTX 2070 Max-Q||16 GB RAM||512 GB SSD|
|+ Apple MacBook Pro||13-inch Retina display||Intel Core i5||Intel Iris Plus 645||8 GB RAM||128GB SSD|
|+ Acer Aspire VX||15.6-inch FHD display||Intel Core i7-7700HQ||NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti||16 GB DDR4||256GB SSD|
|+ Microsoft Surface Pro||12.3-inch 2736 x 1824 display||Intel Core i7-7700HQ||Intel Iris Plus||8 GB RAM||128 GB SSD|
|+ Acer Predator Helios||15.6-inch FHD display||Intel Core i7-8750H||NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 6GB||16 GB DDR4||256 GB SSD|
|+ Samsung Notebook 9||15.6-inch FHD display||Intel Core i7-8550U||NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 6GB||16 GB DDR4||256GB SSD|
|+ Dell i5577-5335BLK-PUS Inspiron||15.6-inch FHD display||Intel Core i5-7300HQ||NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050||8 GB DDR4||256 GB SSD|
|+ Acer Spin 3||14-inch FHD display||Intel Core i7-8565U||Intel UHD Graphics 620||16 GB DDR4||256 GB SSD|
Laptops for Engineering Students Buyer’s Guide
The design of a laptop that’s best for engineering and a laptop that’s best for students is often at odds with one another for one primary reason: price. Being a student often means operating on a tight budget, but learning and then practicing engineering requires a relatively powerful laptop.
Our hope with this guide is to carefully thread the needle between affordability and performance. The reviews above cover as broad a price range as possible while still meeting the needs for engineering software. Below, we’ll let you know what your benchmarks should be when shopping for the best laptop for engineering students. We’ll even provide you with some answers to the most common questions regarding engineering student laptops.
Befitting the complexity of an engineering program, the best laptops for engineering require pretty sophisticated brains. We’ve spoken in many of our guides about how important a good processor is for gaming, but complicated engineering software like Matlab and ANSYS can be just as resource intensive as the latest Call of Duty.
What does that mean? It means you’re going to want an Intel Core processor. These represent the pinnacle of performance in this range at this point. In terms of specific models, a professional i7 processor is ideal for engineering students who want something that will continue to be by their side in the deep end of the curriculum; but if you’re working on a budget, an Intel Core i5 should be equipped to handle it. You might just experience a little more slowdown when doing some serious multitasking.
In terms of generations, the Core is now on its tenth generation. We generally recommend investing in no less than two generations back, but if you’re a more budget conscious shopper, you could probably get by with a seventh generation. Some manufacturers strategically employ seventh gen i7s so that they can give their users more juice for a much lower buy-in price.
The one big question you need to ask yourself when considering what video card you need is whether or not an integrated card is enough to meet your needs. An integrated card is built right in with the CPU. That means that both processors need to share the same memory pool, and that can be a problem for more graphically resource heavy programs like Matlab and CAD.
That said, a dedicated graphics card can add a significant amount to your ticket price. But since they have dedicated VRAM, the two can work in conjunction without interrupting one another. If you do decide to get a laptop with a discrete graphics card, you don’t have to worry too much about going with the highest performance. 2GB of storage in the DDR3 format should be quite enough even for professional engineers.
We should clarify. having a decent level of memory in your laptop is absolutely essential for an engineering student. That said, if a particular model doesn’t come with exactly the amount of memory you need, there are some easy ways around that. As the short term memory of your machine, the RAM plays a critical job speeding up the thinking process of your central processor. You should make sure to get at least 8GB of RAM if you’re serious education, but 16GB RAM is the sweet spot for engineering laptops in general.
That said, it doesn’t need to be your number one priority when shopping for laptops. Laptop manufacturers recognize the inherent value that comes from producing cheaper laptops with the potential for expansion, so you can usually upgrade the existing memory pretty easily (and cheaply). If the laptops you’re looking at aren’t quite up to speed in the memory department, pay closer attention to how easily they are to expand and what the maximum RAM capacity is.
As with memory, storage is something that’s easy to replace, and many modern laptops are specifically built with the option for expanding the hard disk in place. But there are even more convenient remedies for storage than there are for memory. An external hard drive can help you maintain access to a larger storage pool without even having to open up your laptop, and some models even come with external hard drives packaged in as part of their selling value.
When you’re looking for a hard disk drive, you’ll have to choose between a solid state drive or a traditional hard drive. Solid state drives have no moving parts, and that allows them to be both sturdier and faster than traditional hard drives. The downside is that you can expect to pay significantly more. A 256GB SSD is often priced equivalent to a hard drive with four times that capacity.
1080p Full HD is the standard for most laptops in this price range, and most users don’t need to look at anything beyond that. A good engineering machine doesn’t need an especially vibrant or high resolution screen, but it can be of value if you intend to use your laptop for watching movies or playing games.
Importance: Very Low
Some level of connectivity is important for any laptop you’re going to use, since any decent laptop is going to require Wi-Fi connectivity, but beyond that, any additional bells and whistles aren’t that big of a deal. Native Bluetooth connectivity can help simplify your life by offering more seamless connectivity between your different devices, but it’s hardly a necessity.
More importantly, make sure that it has the ports you need to connect to anything you might use. The ability to project your computer on a screen and hook up a fast flash storage device can be of critical value in an engineering program.
Frequently Asked Questions
Which Laptop Brand is Best for Engineering Students?
There are too many quality laptop manufacturers on the market to pin down just one as the best. But if you’re an engineering student and you’re short on cash, you may want to opt for a machine that runs on Windows rather than Apple. The designs tend to be a little less elegance, but you can get significantly more horsepower for a lower price, and intrepid students can always transition to the Linux operating system if they get curious.
What Laptop Do Engineering Students Need?
The main thing to pay attention to when looking for laptops for engineers is the CPU. Beyond there, things become a bit more complicated. Check out our guide above if you’re curious about the specifications most worthy of consideration when shopping laptops for engineering students.
Which Laptop is Best for B Tech Students?
If you need a laptop to help pursue your bachelor of tech degree, your main consideration should be finding a laptop that’s no nonsense and can deliver results, but it also needs to fit comfortably in your lifestyle. Check our reviews above where we highlight everything from heavyweight gaming rigs converted for engineering to playfully but heftily specced two in one converters.
If you’re looking for the best laptop for engineering, our guide is just scratching the surface. While we think each model we’ve outlined above is a contender for the best laptop for engineers and tuned for software like AutoCAD, there are countless laptops that include the best engineering demands. Want a budget laptop that offers similar capabilities to the MacBook Pro? Check out the MacBook Air.
Wherever you decide to hunt for your computer engineering machine, we hope you’ll also take the lessons you learned here with you. This guide – along with the rest of our guides to photography, computer, gaming, and audio gear – is designed not just to point you to solid products but to make sure your knowledge is good enough to shop confidently on your own.If you liked our article on laptops for engineering students, please share and comment below what your favorite product is.