The best laptops for engineering students should be powerful enough to handle the computationally rigorous coursework that such programs need, while also being light and efficient enough to get you through a day of courses without dying in the middle of a lecture.
In past years, this used to be a difficult combination, especially at a reasonable price. But with the recent developments in mobile CPU and GPU technology, it is now easier to find laptops that are lightweight, long-lasting, and powerful enough to process most engineering tasks efficiently.
Most of the best gaming laptops are well-suited to perform engineering tasks because they have separate graphic cards, powerful CPUs, and enough RAM and storage. Of course, these laptops are specially designed to run the most recent games but they are more than capable of running modern technical programs.
So keep reading for our handpicked list of the best laptops for engineering students, which should help you make a more informed purchasing decision. But you should contact your school’s engineering department first to find out whey recommend for your curriculum and fields of study.
Which Laptops are the Best for Engineering Students?
As of now, we think the Dell XPS 15 is best for engineering students because it is powerful, slim, and lightweight yet capable of handling complex engineering programs. The battery of Dell XPS 15 lasts for at least 8 hours and the screen looks stunning because of the elegant InfinityEdge design.
Consider the Dell G5 15 SE if you want to spend less than the $1,000 – $2,000 that these two laptops cost. This 15-inch gaming laptop may appear simple, but it packs a Ryzen CPU and a separate Radeon GPU that should provide enough power to tackle your engineering courses. What’s the best part? This laptop costs a little over $1,000 in its most expensive configuration, although it is frequently on sale for less.
If you don’t mind bringing a gaming laptop to school, we also recommend the Asus ROG Zephyrus G14, which is powerful, long-lasting, and reasonably priced. The Zephyrus G14 is around the same price as the XPS 15, but it has superior battery life (up to 11 hours in our tests) and can be customized with a better discrete GPU than the XPS 15, allowing it to handle graphically demanding games and programs more effectively.
Mac fans should get a MacBook Pro 2021 with the greatest components. Upgrading to an M1 Ultra chip is well worth it, but even the M1 Max chip found in entry-level models performs admirably.
What are the Best Laptops for Engineering Students?
Dell XPS 15
The Dell XPS 15 is a true powerhouse, despite its small and attractive appearance. Its Intel Core CPU can easily handle many activities, and the optional Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 Ti GPU provides it with real CAD and gaming muscle. In our opinion, The XPS 15 is one of the best laptops for engineering students because of its powerful CPU, ultra-portability, super speakers, and breathtaking InfinityEdge display.
In our battery test, the 4K model lasted only eight hours, while the newer variant with a (beautiful) 3.5K OLED display lasted only seven hours. That’ll get you through a school day, but if you don’t need the higher resolution for your work, the XPS 15 with a discrete Nvidia GPU and an FHD (1,920 x 1,200) display is a better option, since it will last a little longer on a single charge.
SPECIFICATIONS – Dell XPS 15
|Display||15.6 inches; 1080p, 4K, or 3.5K OLEDCPU: 11th Gen Intel Core i7|
|GPU||Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 Ti|
Pros and Cons of Dell XPS 15
|3.5K OLED display impresses with beautiful contrasts||Battery life is not good|
|Remarkable performance||720p Webcam is disappointing, |
Delivers grainy washed-out images
|Spacious, comfy keyboard|
|The svelte chassis still looks great|
Asus ROG Zephyrus G14
The Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 is a powerful 14-inch laptop with an AMD Ryzen 9-4900HS processor and an Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 Max-Q GPU designed for gaming, but engineering students can put all that power to better use. When you’re not gaming, the Zephyrus G14 has an astonishing 11 hours of battery life, guaranteeing you can get through a day of courses without having to go for a charger.
The ROG Zephyrus G14 is also reasonably priced for a gaming laptop, with prices ranging from $1,049 to $1,999 — which is important for students attempting to keep costs down. This laptop is an outstanding choice for a student who needs a very powerful laptop for engineering tasks. The keyboard backlighting has some issues and you don’t get a webcam. But you can install a separate webcam for online classes.
SPECIFICATIONS – Asus ROG Zephyrus G14
|Display||14-inches, 1920 x 1080|
|GPU||4900HSGPU: Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060|
Pros and Cons of Dell XPS 15
|Great Performance||No webcam|
|Excellent Design, Display, and Audio||Keyboard has backlighting issues|
|Super-portable design paired with 11-hour battery life|
Microsoft Surface Laptop Studio
Microsoft’s latest laptop which is known as Surface Laptop Studio is Microsoft’s top-end laptop. This laptop is marketed as the best laptop for productivity, entertainment, and creative work for Windows 11.
For the most part, it is all of that: the Surface Laptop Studio’s 11th Gen Intel CPU and 16+ GB of RAM provide enough power to tackle most coursework, and if you opt for a variant with the discrete Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 Ti GPU, it can also be used for heavy-duty engineering work.
However, when fully configured, the Surface Laptop Studio is quite expensive, and despite its excellent components, it performs poorly when compared to similarly priced devices. Few computers, however, can equal the Studio’s unique sliding hinged display, which can be tented over the keys like an easel or dropped all the way flat to transform the laptop into a heavy tablet.
If your engineering department requires you to purchase a laptop with both a discrete GPU and an active stylus, the Surface Laptop Studio is the only laptop on this list that does so — albeit the Surface Slim Pen 2 stylus costs an extra $129.
SPECIFICATIONS – Microsoft Surface Laptop Studio
|Display||14.4-inch 120 Hz touchscreen (2400 x 1600 pixels)|
|CPU||11th Gen Intel Core i5|
|GPU||Intel Iris Xe integrated graphics / Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 Ti|
|RAM||16GB / 32GB|
|Storage||Storage: 256 GB – 1 TB SSD|
|Weight||3.8 – 4.0 pounds|
Pros and Cons of Microsoft Surface Laptop Studio
|Versatile sliding hinged display||Performance could be better|
|Great speakers||Ports are sparse and inconveniently placed|
|Bright, vibrant screen|
|Slim Pen 2 stylus works well|
|Good battery life|
MacBook Pro 2021 (16-inch)
The M1 Max CPU in the 16-inch MacBook is a beast, pushing graphics performance on the Mac to new heights. Furthermore, it is stunning revamp enhances its display, with narrower bezels than ever before, catching up to the Dell XPS InfinityEdge display.
The Screen is better than before, with mini-LED technology and improved picture quality thanks to amazing contrast and a 120Hz refresh rate for excellent smoothness.
SPECIFICATIONS – MacBook Pro 2021 (16-inch)
|Display||16.2 inches; 3456×2244 pixels|
|CPU||M1 Pro (10-core CPU) | M1 Max (10-core CPU)|
|GPU||Integrated 16-core GPU|
|RAM||16GB to 64GB|
|Storage||512GB to 8TB|
|Weight||4.7 pounds (M1 Pro) | 4.8 pounds (M1 Max)|
Pros and Cons of MacBook Pro 2021
|Beautiful Liquid Retina XDR display||The display is sub-4K|
|Incredible performance trounces the competition||Expensive, especially with M1 Max|
|Finally, more than USB-C ports|
Alienware m15 R4 (2021)
The Alienware m15 R4 is one of the greatest gaming laptops on the market since it has enough power to run any game you desire and it supports full UHD 4K. All of that muscle, as well as the stunning 4K display and great keyboard, should come in helpful during large engineering projects.
However, there are several shortcomings that prevent us from recommending this book to engineering students. The m15 R4’s battery life is particularly disappointing; in our battery test, it lasted only four hours on a single charge and considerably less during hands-on use. It also gets hot and loud under heavy loads, and it’ll set you back between $2000 and $3000, depending on how you configure it.
Still, if you can afford it and don’t mind lugging around a charger, the m15 R4 is a capable, well-built laptop that will serve you well in both work and play.
SPECIFICATIONS – Alienware m15 R4 (2021)
|Display||15 inches, 4K OLED|
|CPU||Intel Core i7-10870H CPU @ 2.20GHz, 2.21 GHz|
|GPU||Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070|
Pro and Cons of Alienware m15 R4 (2021)
|Sleek design||Fan gets very loud|
|Strong performance||Short battery life|
|Decent keyboard and touchpad|
Dell XPS 17
The Dell XPS 17 is ideal for engineering students since it can be configured with a Core i7 processor and a GeForce RTX 3050 graphics card, providing plenty of power for your complex engineering tasks. Dell XPS 17 is heavier, wider, and more difficult to carry than XPS 15 but its sleek design helps to reduce the burden.
Because it shares the same thin-bezel design as the rest of the XPS series, you should get the most out of the laptop’s stunning 17-inch display. However, tweaking this lovely laptop for top performance will set you back a pretty penny. But for that money, you get a machine that can be used for work, play, or anything in between. The XPS 17 is a superb laptop for engineering students, packing enough power to rival many gaming computers into a slim chassis.
SPECIFICATIONS – Dell XPS 17
|Display||17-inch, 1920 x 1200, 3840 x 2400|
|CPU||Intel Core i5 – i7|
|GPU||GeForce RTX 3050|
|RAM||16GB / 64GB|
|Storage||512GB / 2TB|
Pros and Cons of Dell XPS 17
|Stunning, immersive display||Can get very expensive|
|Impressive CPU and graphics power||Weak webcam|
|Attractive, slim design|
13-inch MacBook Pro with M1
The 13-inch MacBook Pro 2020 is a fantastic laptop thanks to Apple’s M1 chip, which provides significant performance and battery efficiency improvements. This laptop can run for more than 16 hours on a single charge, and the M1 chip is powerful enough to tackle most of the tasks you’ll encounter as an engineering student.
The M1 MacBook Pro’s Retina display is also bright and vibrant, so any images or videos you edit, as well as the next Netflix episode you binge, will appear great. We merely wish Apple would upgrade its design or add more Thunderbolt ports to the 4 USB-C port configuration, which is now only available on Intel-based MacBook Pros.
Still, it’s incredible to see how Apple’s own CPUs have surpassed the capabilities of its previous Intel-based MacBooks, making the 13-inch MacBook Pro one of the greatest laptops available.
SPECIFICATIONS – 13-inch MacBook Pro with M1
|Display||13.3 inches, 2560 x 1600-pixel|
|CPU||Apple M1 8-core CPU|
|GPU||Apple M1 8-core GPU|
|RAM||8GB to 16GB|
|Storage||256GB to 2TB SSD|
Pros and Cons of 13-inch MacBook Pro with M1
|Stellar overall and gaming performance||Not enough ports|
|Excellent battery life||Thick bezels|
Razer Blade 14
The Razer Blade 14 is a compact and lightweight Laptop that is best for engineering students. Because it has a powerful CPU and other components. The Razer Blade 14 is the first 14-inch Razer laptop in years, and its performance is exceptional. It could need a few extra connectors, and the keyboard is not very comfortable, but these are typical issues with slim 14-inch laptops.
The Razer Blade 14 is a good choice if you need a little laptop that can handle engineering work and play hard PC games. You may need to bring a power adaptor with you because it’ll only last for 6 hours for the typical user or 2 hours for a heavy-duty gamer on a single charge. The Razer Blade 14 can be one of the best laptops for engineering students.
SPECIFICATIONS – Razer Blade 14
|Display||14-inch, up to QHD, 165 Hz|
|CPU||AMD Ryzen 9 5900HX|
|GPU||Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080|
|Storage||1 TB SSD|
Pros and Cons of Razer 14
|Excellent performance||Cramped keyboard|
|Powerful components||Software oddities|
Asus ZenBook Duo 14
The Asus ZenBook Dua 14 is a very stylish laptop. It has a dual-screen and when it is properly configured it is a powerhouse for engineering students. The 12-inch touch screen above the keyboard gives this laptop a futuristic appearance, and it’s a surprisingly useful location to keep supplementary apps like Spotify and Discord. It can also be used by Adobe Creative Cloud programs, which have touch controls for convenient access.
Asus ZenBook Duo 14 comes with Intel 11th Generation IntelCore i5 & i7 CPU, separate GPU Nvidia MX450, and up to 32 GB of RAM. This should be enough for engineering students. The battery life is impressive, especially considering it has two display panels.
Furthermore, it performs well; you can get a ZenBook Duo 14 with discrete Nvidia MX450 graphics and up to 32 GB of RAM, which should be plenty for most engineering jobs. Plus, its battery life is impressive, especially considering it has two panels to illuminate. The only main disadvantage is uncomfortable typing because it does not have a wrist rest.
SPECIFICATIONS – Asus ZenBook Duo 14
|Display||13.4‑inch, 1920 x 1080 pixels|
|CPU||11th Gen Intel Core i5, i7|
|GPU||GPU Nvidia MX450|
|RAM||8GB to 32GB|
|Storage||512GB to 1TB|
Pros and Cons of Asus ZenBook Duo 14
|Useful ScreenPad Plus display||Ergonomically difficult|
|Snappy overall performance||The display could be brighter|
|Solid battery life|
|Accurate main display|
Razer Blade 15 Advanced
The Razer Blade 15 Advanced is everything you’d expect from a Razer laptop. It looks amazing, has plenty of ports, and runs games and other graphically demanding apps like a champ. The only drawback is the price of this laptop – a perfectly configured laptop could easily cost you $3000 or even more.
Obviously, this is out of reach for many engineering students, but it is equivalent to comparable laptops. For example, the Alienware m15 R4 is similarly priced and offers amazing performance in a tiny package. The Razer Blade 15 Advanced, on the other hand, is somewhat lighter and smaller than the m15 R4, and it lasts around an hour longer in normal use.
The Blade 15 Advanced’s keyboard and touchpad are not good. They’ll suffice for classroom use, but if you plan on typing a lot on this laptop. You should buy a separate keyboard.
SPECIFICATIONS – Razer Blade 15 Advanced
|Display||15.6-inch QHD, 240Hz|
|CPU||10th-Gen Intel Core i7-10875H 2.3GHz|
|GPU||Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080|
Pros and Cons of Razer Blade 15
|Sleek, lightweight design||Lackluster touchpad and keyboard|
|Great gaming performance||Convoluted screen options|
|Lots of ports|
How Do You Pick the Best Laptop for Engineering Students?
If you’re going to be studying engineering for years, you’ll need a laptop that can handle anything your professors throw at you. A modern mid-range CPU (Intel Core i5 or AMD Ryzen 5) and at least 8 GB of RAM are recommended, but if you can afford it, a laptop with better specs will pay off in the long run.
Graphics and gaming
While most gaming laptops come with discrete graphics cards to allow them to run the latest games, the same card can be equally crucial for engineering students who will be using CAD (computer-aided design) and 3D analysis programs. These apps benefit greatly from the processing capacity of a powerful GPU, so if you plan to perform any graphics or 3D work, a laptop with a discrete Nvidia or AMD graphics card is an excellent investment.
Laptops come with three operating systems
- Microsoft Windows
- macOS (MacBooks)
- Chrome OS (Chromebooks)
Chrome OS is limited to web browsing, file management, and light computing, therefore a Chromebook isn’t a viable choice for engineering students. A resourceful student, on the other hand, could install Linux on a powerful Chromebook and make it into a suitable laptop for engineering work.
Engineering students work with specialized and self-developed software, therefore Windows OS is preferably used over macOS because such software is comparatively easy to develop for Windows OS. Microsoft’s new edition of Windows also called Windows 11 is very fast and reliable. Windows 11 was first released in 2021 and right now Microsoft is working on the next version of Windows 11 also called Windows 11 2H22.
However, even Windows can obstruct serious technical work, which is why many engineering students purchase Windows laptops and install Linux OS on them, allowing them to dual-boot into either operating system.
How Do We Evaluate the Best Laptops for Engineering Students?
To discover the finest laptops, we put each one through a battery of benchmarks and real-world testing to see how well it will perform in everyday situations.
Using our in-house light meter and colorimeter, we determine the average brightness and color quality of each laptop’s display. We put our workstations through a variety of tests, including Geekbench 5 (CPU performance) and different 3DMark tests to assess graphics capability. We also run a file transfer test to see how quick a computer’s hard drive is, as well as a bespoke battery test in which the machine browses the internet over Wi-Fi until the battery runs out.
In addition, we conduct the graphics benchmark test in Sid Meier’s Civilization VI: Gathering Storm to see how effectively a laptop handles simple games. We perform benchmarks for titles like Shadow of the Tomb Raider and Far Cry: New Dawn when we test specialized gaming computers.
As previously said, check your lecturers and/or your school’s engineering department for more particular guidance on what you’ll need for your studies before making your purchasing decision. Whatever system you choose, it’s a good idea to couple it with the best mouse for your specific job.