Heading off to high school? A laptop is one of the primary things you’ll need to make the most of your studies. But as you probably already know, not all machines you’ll find on the market have what it takes to put up with the demanding nature of high school studies. And with major brands like Microsoft, HP, Apple, and Acer on the market, hunting down the best deal when you’re limited on time can be a real pain.

We have, therefore, taken the initiative to list some of the topmost alternatives worth considering. From traditional clamshell-styles to sleek ultraportable laptops, there is definitely something for everyone in these reviews.

Laptop ModelWeightStorageScreen Size 
Apple MacBook Air2.96 lbs128 GB13.3 inches
HP Touch4.52 lbs2 TB15.6 inches
Dell XPS2.7 lbs256 GB13.3 inches
ASUS ZenBook2.6 lbs256 GB13.3 inches
Acer Aspire E5.27 lbs256 GB15.6 inches

1. Apple MacBook Air Core i5 13.3-Inch

As a student, you often have to switch classes in between the day and even make several trips to the library and back. For that reason, you’re better off buying a laptop that’s highly portable. But portability often means that the machine has to be tiny. So, how does the MacBook Air compare in that regard?

Well, the good thing about the MacBook Air is that despite its (seemingly) small size, it has all the features needed to offer a great performance. For instance, it boasts an excellent battery life. Its keyboard, also, is quite well-made and has all the keys well laid out for easy use.

On top of that, this under 1000 laptop for students is powered by a fifth generation, Intel processor (Core i5). What’s more? You can either choose to settle for the 2015 model which offers a 128GB storage capacity or the 2017 model which offers 256GB.

It’s worth noting that you can always upgrade the onboard storage to a maximum of 512GB by purchasing additional storage from Apple. But generally, if you’re planning to use this for storing videos, images, music and school documents, you may not really need to upgrade the memory capacity.

This is a powerful machine and it packs so much power within such a tiny body. Think of it this way, this machine comes with a built-in Intel HD Graphics 6000 chip. That’s pretty much all you need to load heavy graphics, fast.

And to make sure you’re never left behind, the MacBook Air comes with two USB 3 ports, one Thunderbolt 2 port, MagSafe 2 power port, 5mm jack and an SDXC card slot.


  • High-quality screen with an excellent pixel density
  • Reasonably priced
  • Tiny in size and highly portable
  • Fantastic battery life


  • The screen isn’t as smooth as the Retina screen which comes with MacBook Pro

2. HP 2018 Touchscreen Laptop for Intel Core i5-8250U

The MacBook Air may offer great specs but its small size might prove a bother for some. This is where the HP 2018 flagship laptop comes in handy. With a huge 15.6 screen which is equipped with an easy-to-use touchscreen display.

This handy screen may come in handy during discussion sessions or classroom presentations. What’s more? If you’re studying a course that involves graphics design, the fact that this machine comes with a UHD card means it can provide you with the performance boost you need to excel.

Another major advantage of using this system is that it comes with an Intel Core i5-825OU processor. That’s an 8-th generation processor which, as you can tell, is quite advanced and powerful. In fact, you can always upgrade its speed from 1.60 GHz to 3.4GHz thanks to a built-in turbo-charge feature.

Interestingly, despite the machine being reasonably large and feature-packed, it weighs a paltry 4.52 pounds. That’s light enough and convenient for carrying on a day-to-day basis. And of course, the machine offers you huge swathes of real estate meaning that even the keyboard has more than enough space for all keypads to be adequately spaced.

Last but not least, we liked the fact that the 2018 HP comes with a 3-cell Li-ion battery. The battery is reasonably powerful and can last for 7 hours or thereabouts.


  • Easy to use touchscreen display
  • Powerful quad-core processor Core i5, 8-th generation
  • 2TB HDD storage plus 128GB SSD storage
  • Light in weight
  • Powerful 3-cell Li-ion battery
  • Full-sized backlit keyboard
  • Generously sized display with 15.6-inch diagonal display
  • Reasonably priced


  • Its case seems cheaply built with some cheap looking plastic

3. Dell XPS Core i5-8250U Intel Core FHD Touchscreen

It would not be controversial to state that the XPS 13 from Del is the best laptop for high students. The ultra-thin machine combines portability with versatility and power. Picture this – it comes with an Intel Core i5-8250U processor which makes it a superb performer.

On top of that, the machine boasts a Turbo Boost of up to 3.60GHz alongside a generous 8GB RAM. So, you’d never need to doubt its power even when faced with a long list of class assignments.

Its 13.3-inch display, though tiny, looks quite awesome. In fact, the laptop comes with an extra-thin bezel which provides for a perfect edge-to-edge look and feel. That’s in addition to the fact that the display touchscreen comes with a 10-finger multi-touch support.

For all your accessories, the XPS comes with a Thunderbolt 3 port alongside a USB-C 3.1 port along with a headphone output combo and LAN port.

What if you forgot to carry your charger to class? Well, the good news is that this machine comes with a 4-cell battery. As long as it has a full charge, it can provide you with up to 15 hours of run-time.
And what about portability? No other machine in this list can beat the XPS at that. That’s because it weighs 2.70 lbs only. That’s close to 50% of the HP 2018’s weight.


  • It’s a 2-in-1 machine meaning it can be converted into a notebook
  • A machined aluminum case for a classy look and feel
  • Light in weight and, therefore, highly portable
  • Unbeatable battery life
  • Comes with a backlit keyboard


  • The vertical spacing between keypads has been reduced to accommodate all the keys on the tiny space

4. ASUS ZenBook

The ASUS ZenBook is another great computer with all the basic features needed by high school students. Featuring a durable aluminum alloy construction, the machine is extremely lightweight for comfortable portability. In addition to that, it boasts an ultra-sleek and slim design so it can fit easily in any backpack.

Powered by an i5-8250U 8th Generation Intel Core processor clocked at 1.6GHz, the computer starts up in seconds. In addition to that, it employs a powerful 8GB RAM and offers a generous 256GB worth of SSD storage capacity.

For high schoolers, the memory and SSD storage is exceptionally fast to handle any kind of schoolwork and anything from browsing to note-taking.

Another important feature of the ASUS ZenBook is its ergonomic full-size keyboard. Basically, the keyboard is backlit to allow students to work comfortably in dim lit conditions. Also, it has a responsive and very wide touchpad along with a rubberized palm-rest that offers incredible typing comfort hours on end. Similarly, the touchpad is integrated with a fingerprint sensor and Windows Hello for fast and easy log in.

Surprisingly enough, the computer houses a huge number of ports including one USB 3.1 Type C and three USB 3.0/micro HDMI ports despite its slim design. The USB 3.1 Type C allows for a fast transfer of files. Also included is one USB C port that allows up to 50% faster charging even when the PC is shut down. More importantly, it features 802.11ac WiFi connectivity along with an SD card reader to let you expand its memory.


  • Anti-glare FHD display with wide view angle for stunning clarity
  • Solid build and superior hardware
  • Incredible sound
  • Long battery life for all-day performance
  • Fast storage, memory, and processor


  • The fan is a little bit noisy

5. Acer Aspire E 15, E5-576G-5762

If you want the power and portability of a high-end PC but would like to keep the cost down, this Acer Aspire E 15 is an excellent choice. It is powered by an i5-8250U 8th Gen Intel Core processor that can boost up to 3.4GHz for fast and efficient performance on the go.

As far as memory and storage are concerned, the computer boasts 8GB of Dual Channel RAM and 256GB of SSD. As such, when it comes to multi-tasking and fast start-ups, it does not disappoint. And you know what’s the best part is? Both the memory and Hard Drive can be upgraded at any time thanks to the laptop’s built-in convenient compartment door.

Additionally, the Acer Aspire E 15 is fitted with the latest 802.11ac WiFi that provides users with up to 3X faster connection speeds compared to previous generations. Similarly, it includes quite a good number of ports including two USB 3.0 ports, USB 3.1 Type C Gen 1, one HDMI port and one USB 2.0 port. Consequently, you can quickly transfer data and even charge other devices.

As if that’s not enough, the PC runs on a 2800 mAh six-cell Lithium-ion battery that is reported to last up to 15 hours on just a single charge. This means you have nothing to worry in case you forget to carry a charger with you to school.

Last but not least, the Acer Aspire E 15 is integrated with solid stereo speakers that utilize Acer TrueHarmony technology to ensure incredible sound. The speakers deliver a wide array of bass while limiting audio distortion.


  • Allows upgrades for fast performance
  • Decent amount of ports
  • Energy efficient and fast processor
  • Built-in graphics card for some light gaming
  • Excellent battery life for all-day use


  • Might overheat when running multiple programs

Final Words

So, if you’re looking for a cool laptop that doesn’t require you to splurge, we think each of the 5 options discussed above would be worth trying. If you have a budget of more than $1,000, we’d recommend going for the Dell XPS. It’s portable, powerful, and reliable. However, if you’re on a really tight budget we’d suggest going for the HP 2018 Touchscreen Laptop for Intel Core i5-8250U. Despite its cheap looking case, it offers quite a number of great features.