When competitors increase, so does confusion. And that precisely describes the state of the laptop industry these days.
More so if you are a computer science majors student, because you look to invest in the right laptop to help you for the long academic journey and the host of options leave you scratching your head.
After all, managing your finances is an integral part of student life! The job becomes even harder when you’re searching for the best laptops for computer science because then you need to ensure specific essential technical requirements are being fulfilled.
Since 2020, the world’s colleges and universities have shifted to an online teaching mode due to the covid-19 pandemic. This makes finding the best laptop for computer engineering students a must, simply because their subject revolves around it!
Now, let us make it easy for you. We know that not everyone will like to read the entire guide for picking their laptop.
You need to buy a laptop that can run programming languages, perform coding, have adequate memory, etc., and, put it plainly, do all the heavy lifting.
But apart from academic needs, you should also be able to indulge yourself. The occasional movie nights, gaming face-offs with friends, or video calls; all this should be a cakewalk for your laptop.
Right? But the sheer number of options available may intimidate you. We have prepared a checklist that you should keep with you while laptop-hunting. So let’s dive right into our definitive guide to the 9 best laptops for computer science majors in 2021.
Table of Contents
- 1 Recommended System Requirements
- 2 9 Best Laptops for Computer Science Majors in 2021
- 3 Best Laptops for Computer Science Majors
- 3.1 Best Overall – Asus ZenBook 15
- 3.2 Pros & Cons
- 3.3 Best 15-inch Laptop – Dell XPS 15 7590
- 3.4 Pros & Cons
- 3.5 Best For Gaming – MSI Leopard GL65
- 3.6 Pros & Cons
- 3.7 Best On A Budget – Lenovo Legion 5
- 3.8 Pros & Cons
- 3.9 Best Battery Life – Dell XPS 13
- 3.10 Pros & Cons
- 3.11 Premium Mac – Apple MacBook Pro 16
- 3.12 Pros & Cons
- 3.13 Best entry-level Mac: Apple MacBook Air M1
- 3.14 Pros & Cons
- 3.15 MSI Creator 15
- 3.16 Pros & Cons
- 3.17 Razer Blade 15
- 3.18 Pros & Cons
- 3.19 Frequently Asked Questions
- 3.20 Conclusion
Recommended System Requirements
It is observed that when computer science majors go finding laptops for themselves, they look for overpowered laptops. This isn’t necessary as your needs may differ from those pursuing data science and machine learning.
The needs may vary slightly depending on the course you are pursuing, but we can still chalk out the minimum requirements you will need on your laptop.
- Processor: There is no hard and fast rule as to which chipset brand you must opt for; it’s primarily about your preference. If you are comfortable working with Intel CPUs, then the Core i5 or i7 would be the best choice. When talking of AMD processors, consider the Ryzen 5 or Ryzen 7. The best laptops for computer science students will need to have a powerful processor to perform complex coding operations that are required by the subject core.
- RAM: This is a vital hardware component in your case, as you’ll have numerous applications, tabs, and software running at the same time. Choose a laptop with 8GB RAM at least so that multitasking wouldn’t be a problem. If you have the resources, feel free to buy laptops with a higher RAM.
- Graphics Card: Now, this is a very personal requirement and will depend on what you like to do apart from studying. If you stick to using the laptop for your academic use, you can settle for the integrated graphics with Intel and AMD processors. They offer more than sufficient support for your coding and developing needs.
- Display: To ensure minimizing the damage to your eyes, you must pay extreme attention while choosing the correct display. Opt for an FHD display or higher, and try to find a matte one because it is best to eliminate the screen’s glare. If not, we suggest you invest in a matte protective film to do the job.
- Storage Capacity: SSDs are more power-efficient than HDDs. So if you can, go for SSD. We know that HDDs cost less, but with careful searching, you may find an SSD that fits your budget. In case you want to find an old coding file you worked on, it is much faster on SSD.
9 Best Laptops for Computer Science Majors in 2021
MSI Creator 15
CPU: 2.6Ghz Intel Core i7-10750H RAM: 16GB DDR4 Storage: 512GB NVMe SSD Display: 15.6-inch (1920x1080) GPU: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660Ti Battery Life: Up to 10 hours
Apple MacBook Pro 16
CPU: 2.6Ghz 6-core Intel Core i7 RAM: 16GB Storage: 512GB Display: 16.0-inch LED-backlit IPS display (3072x1920) GPU: AMD Radeon Pro 5300M with 4GB of GDDR6 memory Battery Life: Up to 11 hours
Apple MacBook Air with M1 Chip
CPU: System on Chip (SoC) Apple M1 chip RAM: 8GB Storage: 512GB SSD Display: 13.3-inch LED-backlit IPS display (2560x1600) GPU: Apple 8-core GPU Battery Life: Up to 18 hours
Dell XPS 13
CPU: 4.7Ghz 10th Gen Intel Core i7-10710U RAM: 16GB LPDDR3 Storage: 512GB SSD Display: 13.3-inch FHD InfinityEdge Non-Touch display (1920x1080) GPU: Intel UHD Graphics Battery Life: Up to 19 hours
Dell XPS 15 7590
CPU: 4.5Ghz 9th Gen Intel Core i7-9750H RAM: 8GB Storage: 512GB M.2 PCle NVMe SSD Display: 15.6-inch FHD InfinityEdge display (1920x1080) GPU: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 GDDR5 Battery Life: Over 8 hours
Asus ZenBook 15
CPU: 4.9Ghz Intel Core i7-10510U RAM: 16GB SDRAM Storage: 512GB PCle NVMe SSD Display: 15.6-inch UHD 4K NanoEdge display (1920x1080) GPU: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 Max-Q Battery Life: Up to 5.5 hours
MSI GL65 Leopard
CPU: 10th Gen Intel Core i7-10750H RAM: 16GB DDR4 Storage: 512GB NVMe SSD Display: 15.6-inch FHD IPS display (1920x1080) GPU: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 Battery Life: Up to 4 hours
Lenovo Legion 5
CPU: 2.9Ghz AMD Ryzen 7 4800H RAM: 16GB DDR4 Storage: 512GB SSD Display: 15.6-inch FHD IPS display (1920x1080) GPU: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660Ti Battery Life: Up to 5 hours
Razer Blade 15
CPU: 10th Gen Intel Core i7-10750H (Max Turbo up to 5Ghz and 6-cores) RAM: 16GB DDR4 Storage: 512GB SSD Display: 15.6-inch FHD display (1920x1080) GPU: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 Battery Life: Up to 6 hours
Best Laptops for Computer Science Majors
Best Overall – Asus ZenBook 15
Before discussing anything else about the Asus ZenBook 15, we should talk about the ScreenPad 2.0.
If you’ve used the Lenovo ThinkPad and found the TrackPoint to be extremely useful, then this is even better!
This intelligent touchpad acts like a secondary touchscreen for more accessibility with features like app navigator, handwriting, number key, mode switch, etc. It makes life much more accessible and is a great geek conversation starter.
The laptop’s chassis is aesthetically very pleasing, with Asus’s signature concentric-circle pattern in Icicle White. The chassis is made of aluminum and gives sufficient sturdiness to the laptop.
Another aspect of this laptop is its compactness. It weighs 3.7 pounds and is lighter than an Apple MacBook Pro 16!
The laptop’s excellent 4K display, portability, strong build quality, and power-packed hardware are what make it one of the best laptops for computer science students.
The display has super-slim bezels, not more than the Dell XPS 15. The backlit keyboard is well spaced out and has a convenient number pad.
The new Intel chipset has significantly enhanced performance, especially the heavy computing you would encounter in your field of study.
Best 15-inch Laptop – Dell XPS 15 7590
Among its competitors, the Dell XPS 15 7590 makes a case for itself as the best laptop for computer science students. The 4.5Ghz 9th Gen Intel Core i7-9750H processor combined with 16GB RAM will take care of all your power-intensive coding and development work.
The 15.6-inch full HD display with slim bezels and Dell’s CinemaStream (which modifies saturation, white balance, and contrast using presets to enhance your video streaming and make it buffer-free) offers a grand visual experience.
Plus, the screen comes with an anti-reflective coating to keep your eyes free from strain. The NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 GPU accelerates your workflow, and if you enjoy it, game broadcasting too.
It can run GPU-intensive apps and intense coding languages smoothly. Be it modeling apps like AutoCAD, Kerberos, MATLAB, etc., video editing, gaming, or submitting your assignment while working on twenty other tabs, it is all a cakewalk for this graphics processor.
Another handy feature for computer science students who are constantly working (yes, we’re talking about the all-nighter you just pulled off to finish work!) is the external battery indicator. It doesn’t sound fancy, but it is much easier to check battery percentage at a glance than having to look for it on screen.
The backlit keyboard is sturdy and fares well in tactile feedback. The precision trackpad sits in the center of the lower lid and is the same Windows Precision pad seen in previous versions. The Dell XPS 15 7590 is quite portable, weighing just 4 pounds (1.8kg).
Best For Gaming – MSI Leopard GL65
This laptop is a gaming beast! If you’re into games and like incredible graphics to go with them, the MSI Leopard GL65 is a perfect choice!
Its 10th Gen Intel Core i7-10750H processor combined with the GeForce RTX 2070 GPU packs it with immense power, so nothing really slows this beast down.
There is real-time Ray Tracing in games and AI-enhanced graphics. So the next time you play Battlefield V, you’ll have one hell of a gaming experience!
It isn’t the lightest gaming laptop, but the hardware more than makes up for it. It has 2 fans and 7 heat pipes to cool down the laptop after your long and intense computing work.
The GL65 looks similar to the GS75 Stealth, but the latter series is much thinner and lighter. The chassis’s fierce black color with a flaming red MSI logo seems super cool and fits the gaming laptop cliché.
The most attractive feature of this laptop is the per-key backlighting. The touchpad is spacious and works fine, barring the noisy button clicks. The battery life is like most gaming laptops, short.
There are sufficient ports on either side of the laptop; USB 3.2 Type-A, USB Type-C ports, an HDMI port, a Mini DisplayPort, an Ethernet jack, alongside a headphone and microphone jack.
Best On A Budget – Lenovo Legion 5
Whatever CPU-heavy workload you may have, the Lenovo Legion 5 is ready for it. Plus, it is ultra-thin and faster than before. The laptop is perfect for performing day-to-day tasks as well as all your coding and development assignments.
The AMD Ryzen 7 4800H processor delivers smooth running, and the three thermal profiles let you choose between Quiet, Balance, and Performance mode. The fan noise is minimum in the first mode.
The chassis is built out of plastic, Phantom Black in color, with a bold Legion logo on the lid. The lid is matte and claims to be fingerprint-resistant, an excellent quality to have when you are a computer science student constantly on your laptop. The laptop has excellent build quality, but the rubber interiors are prone to chipping.
So if you manhandle your laptop, do be gentler! The white-backlit keyboard has been laid out pretty well with large keys. The tactile response isn’t great, but it types quietly.
The 15.6-inch FHD IPS display with a 1920×1080 resolution produces a vivid and colorful image. The display specs are top-notch given the price of the laptop, and it offers amazing viewing angles.
The 720p webcam with a privacy shutter is advantageous because when attending online classes, you may be worried about your privacy.
For gaming and other GPU-intensive tasks, the display may be more bright than comfortable for the eye. We suggest buying a blue light protective film to reduce eye strain.
Best Battery Life – Dell XPS 13
The main highlight of this laptop is all on the inside. The 4.7Ghz 10th Gen Intel Core i7-10710U chipset makes the Dell XPS a high-performing laptop. It is the perfect companion when it comes to multitasking.
And that is something you would often have to do as a computer science student. This chip packs more power than most 13-inch laptops and excels in compiling code and extremely complicated functions.
The chassis is lightweight at just 2.7 pounds. But because of that, whenever GPU-intensive tasks are being performed, it cannot maintain expected speeds.
It simply doesn’t have enough cooling capacity. The battery life of this laptop is excellent. Dell claims that you can get up to 19 hours of battery life using productivity applications such as Microsoft Word on an FHD model. But in real life, you should expect 10 hours of battery life with normal to moderate usage.
Dell has worked to make the display progressively better. The 13.3-inch FHD InfinityEdge Non-Touch display having a screen resolution of 1920×1080 makes for stunning visuals.
The bezels have been significantly downsized when compared to previous versions, though the bottom bezel could still be thinner. The keyboard is backlit, perfect for those late-night work assignments. It handles multitasking very well, with no lag in switching between tabs and running background apps.
Premium Mac – Apple MacBook Pro 16
The one thing loyal Apple fans were most delighted to know was when Apple launched this MacBook and did away with their controversial butterfly keys. The mechanism just didn’t work well and made typing difficult and noisy.
They’ve switched to the more traditional scissor mechanism that comes in the Magic Keyboard. The keys are well lit, and the light doesn’t spread out from underneath them. The TouchBar is a valuable feature if you’re looking for powerful shortcuts.
The two other very crucial changes to the keyboard make it an integral part of the best laptops for computer science; a physical ESC key that aids switching between modes and tabs and inverted-T arrow keys that are a must-have when you’re navigating through rows and rows of code, or gaming.
The trackpad is enormous, but the palm rejection is excellent. You get a Touch ID for the privacy and security of your data.
The laptop gives up to 11 hours of battery power when browsing the web, streaming videos, and performing other non-intensive workloads. The webcam is still subpar; at 720p, it is not up to the mark.
There is another highlight of this laptop that you must know if you are a music lover or a fan of exceptional auditory experiences; the six-speaker sound system. It consists of two force-canceling woofers that eliminate each other’s vibrations.
Best entry-level Mac: Apple MacBook Air M1
This new launch from Apple has focused on internal changes. From the outside, it looks like a spitting image of the Intel-based Apple MacBook released last year. The same 2560×1600 screen, 400 nits of brightness, and the signature MacBook wedge shape. The lightning-fast brand new M1 chip that was launched in the previous year has set the ball rolling. The homegrown M1 chipset is a change from the last Intel-powered models.
The laptop’s performance is phenomenal with the powerful M1 chip, and the 16GB RAM only adds to the magic. The native chipset exceeds almost all expectations; one of them is eliminating the loud fan noise that was associated with MacBooks in the past.
This is because the Intel chip is more power hungry and so your laptop heats more, and the fan needs to overwork to cool it down. Instead of this noisy fan, Apple has switched to a more efficient aluminum heat spreader that is as silent as a laptop can be!
The camera lags at a 720p resolution and the real-time image processing taken from the iPhone only makes it worse. Apple has also done away with its controversial butterfly mechanism for the scissor mechanism in the Magic Keyboard.
Two plastic pieces forming an X are which the individual keys are attached to, and the increased travel time makes typing smoother and error-free. As Universal versions of Intel apps haven’t been released yet, macOS uses Rosetta 2 to convert and run them. They work without any hitches.
The innovative prowess is at its best with the Apple MacBook Air, and if you’re looking for the best laptops for computer engineering students on a budget, this is a great option.
MSI Creator 15
As you can tell from the name, this laptop is a powerhouse for not just coding and development but other creative pursuits you might have too. It is an excellent choice for computer science students, gamers, and creatives alike.
For the number of features it offers, the laptop has an excellent 10 hours of battery life. The touchscreen is an upgrade from MSI’s GS66 Stealth, making it easier to use and efficient.
Another feature that you usually identify an MSI laptop from is their RGB-rainbow colored keyboard backlights. Still, they decided to do away with them and use all-white backlighting instead.
The body looks classy and is made entirely of metal. The lid is foldable to 180 degrees, giving you more comfort when propping up the screen for another round of fault-finding in your code.
Plus when you’re using the laptop via the touchscreen, folding it all that way is very convenient.
Despite the big screen that comes packed with the MSI Creator 15, it still remains a portable laptop. The laptop is heavy when compared with others on this list; it weighs a solid 4.63 pounds.
The 15.6-inch display is stunning with a 3840×2160 resolution that produces crisp and stunning visuals. The keyboard is island-style with backlit keys that are well spaced out. But it isn’t very responsive.
The wide trackpad is buttonless and works noise-free. The variety of ports available is commendable, but the quantity is what pulls it back.
You get one USB 3.2 Type-C, one USB 3.2 Type-C, an SD card reader, an HDMI 2.0 port, and one USB 3.2 Type-A port, and an audio jack.
Razer Blade 15
Razer Blade 15 hasn’t changed or corrected much from their previous versions. The CNC aluminum unibody chassis looks and feels the same and remains a magnet for fingerprints.
The 10th Gen Intel Core i7-10750H processor offers powerful performance (up to 5.0Ghz Max Turbo and 6-cores) to enable your computing needs. The GPU can’t overwork because of how thin (0.78″) the laptop is, but that doesn’t make it lousy computing or gaming laptop. It is loaded with features fit to suit your requirements.
The 144Hz 15.6-inch FHD display offers picture clarity and bright colors (up to 100% sRGB colors). Choosing the right display ultimately helps you to prevent your eye from straining too much.
The slim bezels around the laptop except for the bottom bezel, are a visual treat. Razer’s Blade 15 lacks a fingerprint ID which isn’t convenient at all. You have to log in or physically enter your password every time. Not cool, Razer!
This competent laptop has a great configuration with NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 GPU. It works noiselessly and can multitask pretty well.
The 65Wh battery will give you around 6 hours of battery life after the first charge. You can perform both coding-centric and gaming-centric work on this beast! The GeForce RTX 3060 GPU fares well in high-quality display testing.
Frequently Asked Questions
Which way should I go? SSD or HDD?
SSD is always the best option when it comes to laptops for computer science because they are swifter and more power-efficient than HDDs. HDDs are cheaper, and that is a fact. But if you can, then opt for the SSD. When you wish to perform complex coding assignments, SSD will significantly help.
What type of laptop do I buy if I’m a computer engineering student?
No one size fits all. Research well. Weigh all the options, the pros, and the cons. Decide your budget. Confirm your requirements and other interests before making the purchase.
Are cooling pads required?
Not necessarily. If the laptop you opt for suffices the cooling operation with its heat dispersion mechanism, then there is no need at all. If the benchmark isn’t fulfilled, do invest in a good cooling pad.
You must be tired of the various parameters that need to be checked out before deciding which laptop fits your needs. So take your time. This guide of the 9 best laptops for computer science majors in 2021 will help you a lot. Happy laptop hunting!
Abhishek Jariwala is the Founder, Editor and Owner of LaptopsMatter.com. He is a passionate geek who loves to tinker around with the latest phones, tablets and laptops as soon as they launch. He also loves to help people pick up their best laptops for their purposes which is also the reason why this site was made.