The best laptops and tablets for international students

best student laptop
Looking for the right device to support you in your studies? Here are our top picks. Source: Ethan Miller/AFP

As a student, it’s important to be equipped with the tools and devices you’ll need to be able to work effectively. From the best student laptop to tablet, these devices can do much to ease your working process at university, making it simple and effective for you to complete your assignments, study for exams, and more. 

In recent years, this has become more of a necessity than a benefit. Most assignments and tasks set by academics are conducted online, and if they are not, then the resources needed to complete them would be. The move towards virtual and distance learning over the course of the pandemic has only added to this, as well. 

Naturally, this over-reliance on technology has resulted in many students choosing to adopt at least one device at a minimum. In fact, research shows that the average 18- to 34-year-old college student in the US owns at least seven tech devices. Among these, the laptop is the most commonly owned (85%), closely followed by the smartphone or tablet (70%). 

By contrast, those who do not own an effective device reported experiencing troubles in their studies. “My laptop is very, very old, and it is extremely slow,” one student was reported saying in the same survey. “I have trouble opening up my classes, viewing lectures, downloading lectures or material, and can never hand my assignments in on time even if I finish them before the deadline because my laptop is so slow it takes forever to upload work.”

It can’t be stressed enough that you should invest in the right devices to support you in your studies.  Here are the best student laptops and devices you should be looking at: 

A proper student setup can do wonders in improving your work. Source: Ina Fassbender/AFP


Best student laptops and devices for a smooth learning experience

Laptop: Macbook Air

If you can afford to splurge a little, go for the best student laptop there is. With its light frame and easy-to-navigate system, the Macbook Air has become a favourite for students everywhere. 

More than that, it has been proven to run intensive tasks without any major setbacks. This, on top of its solid battery life and silent running use, makes it the ideal laptop for the all-round student experience. 

In 2022, the Macbook Air is priced at US$999 and above.

Laptop: Acer Chromebook Spin 311

While the Macbook Air is ideal for every student’s needs, there’s no denying that it is a very expensive option. For those on a budget, consider the Acer Chromebook Spin 311 — the best student laptop that is affordable without sacrificing quality. 

The most attractive aspect of the Acer Chromebook Spin 311 is its versatility. It has a good battery life, solid usability, and many ports, making it perfect for the occasional presentation. On top of this, it has a touchscreen display — giving it a tablet-feel that distinguishes it from other laptops. 

The only drawbacks, according to TechRadar, are that its battery power can sometimes be lacking and it suffers from low screen brightness. 

At the time of writing, the Acer Chromebook Spin 311 costs US$223.00 on Amazon

In recent years, it’s become almost essential for students to own their own laptops or smart devices. Source: Ethan Miller/AFP

Tablet: iPad Mini

Outside of laptops, tablets are extremely useful tools for students. This is particularly because of its light, portable nature, as well as touch screen which makes it easy to take handwritten notes, make notes while you’re reading, and come up with new designs. 

The iPad Mini does all of this and more. It is a suitable size to be carried around, being small enough to fit into your coat pocket without sacrificing battery life. On top of this, you can sync it with the Apple Pencil, making it suitable for just about any work or study task — from drawing and sketching to simple note-taking. 

The only drawback is its incompatibility with other devices — which means that you’ll only be able to utilise it to its full capacity if you already have a range of Apple products on hand. Other than that, it is a solid option for any student on the go. 

The iPad Mini starts at US$499

Tablet: Amazon Fire HD 8

If you’re searching for a suitable student tablet on a budget, look no further than the Amazon Fire HD 8. With this, you can expect a tablet that runs most apps that are available to you, from Microsoft Office to student planners and calendars. More than that, you can use your tablet for entertainment streaming, as well. 

The best part? The Amazon Fire HD 8 is directly compatible with all Amazon products. This is especially useful if you have a student Prime membership, or use its other apps like Audible, Amazon Fresh, and more. 

You can get the Amazon Fire HD 8 in a bundle from Amazon at US$114.99