Best Laptop for Engineering Students

Today, I’m going to help you pick the best laptop for engineering students. Why? Because as an engineering student, you’ll need to be versatile and adaptable in your approach to work. That’s why you’ll need a trusty and powerful laptop to assist you with your studies and eventually your career. I know this from experience while studying electrical engineering at Georgia Tech.

Don’t worry, we get as a student you’ve got enough work to be getting on with, so we’ve saved you the time of looking all over the internet and picked our 5 best laptops for engineering students so all you have to think about is picking one.

We’ve also included a buyer’s guide and frequently asked questions after the reviews to help you navigate what requirements your new laptop will need.

In a rush?

We may have saved you some time but we haven’t cut corners in our research, here’s our top choice for the best laptop for engineering students for every area of engineering: The Acer Predator Helios 300

Here are a few reasons why it’ll work great for you:

  • Runs Windows 10
  • Backlit keyboard
  • Advanced battery life
  • Comes with a 6GB graphics card
  • 16GB RAM
  • Comes with Nexigo free wireless mouse
  • 256GB SSD
  • 1 TB HDD

Our Best Laptop For Engineering Students Reviews

1. Acer Predator Helios 300

Acer Predator Helios 300 Gaming Laptop, Intel Core i7-9750H, GeForce GTX 1660 Ti, 15.6' Full HD 144Hz Display, 3ms Response Time, 16GB DDR4, 512GB PCIe NVMe SSD, RGB Backlit Keyboard, PH315-52-710B

The Acer Predator Helios is a beast and will prove so reliable throughout your duration at college with its huge 256GB SSD to keep all your CAD assignments, music, and software on there without maxing out the storage, you’ll also have even more reassurance with the extra 1 TB HDD as well.

Along with its 16GB RAM, which will run your computer smoothly without glitches and long loading times.

The wide 15.6” display is perfect for intricate engineering software, writing extensive assignments, and even just watching some Netflix in your downtime.

The backlit and colorful keyboard is not only easy on the eye but also functional for all-nighters at your desk, avoiding having to use bright lights just to see what you’re typing.

It comes equipped with the latest Windows 10 installed, so will be compatible with all your required software needed to undergo your degree.

Predator Helios 300 also comes with a free Nexigo free wireless mouse so you’ll be able to navigate and create with complete ease and freedom.

Helios 300 has you covered with the full range of ports including an HDMI port for any presentations you’ll need to do in class or even just transferring your movies onto your bigger television.

It also comes with an ethernet port so you’ll be able to connect to the local network in your dorm or college house, and also a Type-C gen 2 port so you’ll be able to transfer all the data you need at a higher rate.

It also comes with the standard USB port to plug in any external hard drives, phone charges, etc.

The NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti graphics card enables smooth graphics regardless of if you’re watching your favorite films or working on a hefty design program for a project.

It comes with a 4th Generation Aeroblade 3D fan to keep the performance up and stop the laptop from getting too hot when it’s running for a long time.

The battery will last you 6-7 hours on average, depending on how you’re using the laptop, which is about average for most laptops of this power and generation, so great for those days spent cramming in the library.

The only downside we’ve found with the Acer Predator 300 is that long use of the laptop all day has been known to make the fan loud

Pros

  • Runs Windows 10
  • Backlit keyboard
  • Advanced battery life
  • Comes with 6GB graphics card
  • 16GB RAM
  • Comes with Nexigo free wireless mouse
  • 256GB SSD
  • 1 TB HDD
  • 15” display

Cons

  • Fan can get loud

2.Microsoft Surface Pro 7

Microsoft Surface Pro 7 2 in 1 12.3' (2736 x 1824) Touchscreen Tablet Black, Intel Core i5, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD, Webcam, Win 10 w/Type Cover, Mytrix_USB-C Hub - Black

The Microsoft Surface Pro 7 is one of the most popular amongst engineering students for its sleek and compact design, which makes it a great portable option if you’ll need to take it everywhere with you.

This laptop has got so much versatility with its keyboard attachment and tablet all in one allowing you to draw, touch, create, type, and play with complete ease.

The Surface Pro 7 comes with the Intel Core i5 processor giving it a rapid performance rate while increasing memory speed and the overall performance of all your applications.

It also comes with 25GB of SSD storage to hold all your personal and academic files and also 8GB RAM so you’ll have no issues having multiple applications open while working on your assignments.

The display is slightly smaller than the others we’ve recommended with its 12” touchscreen, however, the versatility to detach it from the keyboard and also the less than 2lb weight of the laptop proves itself to be a great fit for any engineering student in every setting.

The Surface Pro 7 has the long-awaited upgrades that its predecessors lacked with the USB-C port which will increase data-transfer speeds.

The fully adjustable hinge on the back of the laptop is great for note-taking, drawing, or even just watching moves in bed.

It comes with up to 10 hours of battery life and is perfect for those who have busy schedules and will need to be out all day while using their laptop.

It is sleek, modern design will no doubt have no your classmates gawking out who high-tech it looks  

Due to its fanless design, the performance can be known to drop over time.

Pros

  • 8GB RAM
  • 256GB Storage
  • Hybrid keyboard and tablet
  • Lightweight
  • Modern design
  • Rapid Intel i5 Processor

Cons

  • Fanless design

3. Microsoft Surface Book 3

Microsoft Surface Book 3 - 15' Touch-Screen - 10th Gen Intel Core i7 - 32GB Memory - 512GB SSD (Latest Model) - Platinum, Model Number: SMN-00001

The Microsoft Surface Book 3 is built for performance being 30% faster than that of its predecessor Surface Book 3, so you can work on your large CAD files, listen to music and stay on top of your emails all at the same time.

The Microsoft Surface Book 3 boasts a battery life of up to 17.5 hours, with even improved stand-by mode that extends battery life even when you’re away from your screen.

The Intel i7 processor is perfect for engineering students who use design software like CAD or MATLAB, managing to achieve high clock speeds while doing more tasks simultaneously.

The 15” display is great for design work, benefited by the powerful graphics processor as well and high-resolution display.

You’ll have more than enough room to store everything you need and more with the 256GB storage which is supported by the 32GB RAM to help everything run smoothly.

The Surface Book 3 comes with Microsoft Office already installed, so you’ll have no excuses to not be getting on with your assignments.

The versatility of this laptop offering the tablet and keyboard offers the ability to work from a desk, from your lap, or even the comfort of your own bed whether you’re writing, drawing, or reading. You’ve also got the added bonus of wireless connectivity for both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, reducing the number of wires you’ll need.

It’s great for capturing moments on the move or staying in touch with your family back at home on video calls, with the 1080p HD video with both the front and rear-facing camera.

PROS:

  • 256GB storage
  • Intel i7 processor
  • 15” inch display
  • High-resolution display
  • Powerful graphics processor
  • Dual 1080p cameras
  • Good Configuration options

CONS:

  • Keyboard adds weight to model

4. Dell XPS 15

New Dell XPS 15 9500 15.6 inch UHD+ Touchscreen Laptop (Silver) Intel Core i7-10750H 10th Gen, 16GB DDR4 RAM, 1TB SSD, Nvidia GTX 1650 Ti with 4GB GDDR6, Window 10 Pro (XPS9500-7845SLV-PUS)

The Dell XPS 1 carries the up-to-date Intel i7 processor along with a powerful graphics processor (NVIDIA GTX 1650Ti) so all your programs will run efficiently and all design software you have will look amazing on the  15” 4K Display.

You can choose your RAM size between 16GB and 32GB dependent on your needs.

The solid build and design will withstand time and use along with a decent battery life that lasts up to 8.5 hours even when using various applications

The soft-touch finish of the keys will make typing long extensive essays a much comfier experience for your wrists.

Dell XPS 15 comes with integrated blue light technology to protect your eyes, this is especially good if you will spend a large amount of your course working from your laptop.

There are two minor cons to the Dell XPS 15 which may not even be a problem for some people.

There is a slightly smaller bezel around the screen compared to most generic laptops, which as a result of this, there is no room for the webcam at the top of the screen so it is placed at the bottom.

It’s better than not having a webcam at all, however, whoever your video-calling with has a lovely shot of your nostrils.

Pros

  • Intel i7 processor
  • Powerful graphics processor
  • Solid build and design
  • Good battery life
  • Good keyboard and trackpad
  • 15” display
  • Blue-light technology

Cons

  • Webcam at bottom of screen

5. Asus Zenbook 13 Ultra Slim

ASUS ZenBook 13 Ultra-Slim Laptop 13.3” Full HD NanoEdge Bezel, Intel Core i7-10510U, 16GB RAM, 512GB PCIe SSD, Innovative Screenpad 2.0, Windows 10 Pro - UX334FLC-AH79, Royal Blue

The last on the list is the Asus Zenbook 13 Ultra Slim, it’s placing doesn’t do the laptop justice and is not one to be underestimated. It’s a thin compact laptop that has great portability due to only weighing less than 3lbs.

The battery life is better than some of its competitors lasting over 12 hours with even continuous web-browsing.

It offers a solid 512GB SSD and also 16GB RAM, which should be more than enough to guide you through your years as an undergraduate without any issues.

It’ll be able to keep up to speed with all your applications, ensuring quick start-ups and ease of flicking through multiple browsing tabs, software and documents all simultaneously

It comes with a great nano-edge bezel around the 13” touch-screen, which even has a webcam incorporated. 

All the ports will satisfy all the needs you have when it comes to maximizing the use of your laptop, it comes with an audio jackhole to bop to your music while writing reports and even a MicroSD card reader. 

The Zenbook 13 Ultra Slim features the up-to-date USB-C to ensure the quickest transferring of data and an HDMI port for connecting your laptop to bigger screens for either presentation purposes or recreation.

We found the keyboard slightly more difficult to type with than its competitors, as it is on the smaller side, however, this would only take a short period to get used.

We also find the lid of the laptop to be very prone to smudging and leaving fingerprints, so not ideal for the clean freaks among us.

Pros

  • Good portability
  • Decent battery life
  • 13” display
  • Solid performance
  • 16GB RAM
  • 512GB SSD
  • Nano-edge

Cons

  • Slightly cramped keyboard
  • Finger-print prone lid

Best Laptop For Engineering Students Buying Guide

Size & Weight

While the more powerful laptops tend to be on the larger and heavier side, you’ll want to stay away from anything too heavy because you’ll need to carry your laptop around campus for taking notes in lectures and anything too heavy will take its toll on your body after time.

Most undergraduate degrees will not require you to have an industry-level powered laptop for your studies, because you’ll either be writing assignments or creating small projects. Around 3lbs would be a recommended comfortable weight to carry every day.

Display

You’ll need an adequate display size to make life a little easier as an engineering student as some toolbars for software and applications take up a lot of screen space so you’ll have barely any room left to write.

Smaller displays do tend to be lighter in weight, so if this is a priority for you then you’ll need to sacrifice the ease in utility.

We recommend a 15-inch display for any engineering student, it’ll suit most software you may across in your college career.

Connectivity

Wi-fi comes as standard on most modern-day laptops and will be essential for research and writing assignments on your course.

You may want to consider getting a Bluetooth function to be able to send and share files with other people with ease instead of putting them on portable flash drives.

Unless you really want a CD/DVD port for personal use, then there is no need to get one as an engineering student.

Some laptops will come with a disc reader as standard but others will not as we now live in an age where CDs and DVDs are slowly fading and it’s deemed as a wasted function on a laptop now. Plus, disc readers make laptops super heavy.

You’ll want to make sure that your laptop comes with more than one USB port as you may need to connect various things at the same time while doing assignments.

We recommend using a plug-in mouse for design assignments instead of the mousepad on the laptop. You may need to have an external hard drive plugged into work from and then even charge your cell-phone at the same time.

You can buy USB port extenders which will allow you to have a few extra ports at the same time, but that would be another purchase on top of your laptop and would be also something extra to remember to carry around.

Keyboard

You may want to consider getting a backlit keyboard for all those late nights studying or writing assignments, it’ll make it a more comfortable environment to work in when you don’t have various lights on just to see what you’re typing.

A full-sized keyboard may be needed if your course requires you to log and analyze numerical data, however, most full-sized keyboards are associated with larger and heavier laptops so would affect portability.

Graphics Card

If your course requires you to run 3D software, you may want to think about getting yourself a graphics card, this may apply if you are an aerospace or mechanical engineering student or use the software, CAD.

If this applies to you then a 2GB of VRAM graphics card should be enough.

Storage

Most engineering degrees will have computer labs where students can readily access software and also work on big subject projects that require lots of memory to store, so it would be a very rare scenario for you to have the software on your own laptop and save the files on there.

However, 256GB is more than enough for any engineering student, even with your own personal photo and music files.

You’ll want to keep an eye out for laptops that have an SSD built-in, it’ll allow your laptop to run quickly and won’t take ages for applications to load or large files to save.

Having a fast-running laptop will completely change your college experience, as assignments are not fun at the best of time especially if you’re waiting minutes for a single application to load up.

SSD cards in laptops can boost the price of laptops in comparison to conventional hard drives but they are definitely worth it.

We also recommend getting yourself an external hard drive to back up all your work on to avoid mid-term meltdowns.

They are fairly inexpensive these days and are recommended by most college professors as you’ll be surprised by how many students lose their work.

Windows or Mac?

Windows is no doubt the ‘go-to’ operating system for engineering students and the software they use. Nearly every engineering application or program is compatible with a Windows laptop.

While Mac tends to be the more sleek and idolized laptops, there are only a few engineering software programs that are supported by Mac.

However, you can always put Windows on your Mac as well so you won’t have any compatibility issues in the future, this may prove time-consuming and a bit annoying to use both Windows and Mac at the same time.

That’s no to say that a Mac isn’t a good option for any engineering students, you’ll have to take into consideration all the advice given in the buyer’s guide to think about what you need in a laptop for your degree.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are 2-in-1 laptops good for engineering?

A 2 in 1 laptop is beneficial for writing your own notes during class instead of typing them out, this is especially useful if you are very visual with how you learn.

You can also have AutoCAD and other engineering software on them, which can make the use of this software a lot easier. We don’t think they are essential for an engineering student, but they definitely do have some great benefits.

Is the MacBook Air good for engineering students?

As long as you get one with enough storage, it will be sufficient however with all the software engineering degrees required we’d recommend just biting the bullet and upgrading to the MacBook Pro instead to ensure everything runs quickly and efficiently.

I hope this engineering laptop review post and buyer’s guide has been helpful. You may also like our best laptops for architects article.

About Chris Craft

Hi! I'm Chris(topher) Craft. I'm a believer, husband of an amazing woman (Wanda), and father of three talented kids (Naomi, Maria, and Elijah). I love writing, making music, learning about God's Hand in History, entrepreneurship, and basketball. Thank you for reading my stuff! ❤️ Connect with me on Twitter @CraftWrites.