IF YOU’RE ON a quest to pick up a new laptop or tablet for school, we’re here to make your decision a total cinch. Below are some of our favorite machines we’ve reviewed this year. These computers will help you slay your schoolwork.
Dell XPS 13
The winner of numerous “Best of Year” laptop awards, the Dell XPS 13 ($799) remains a favorite. While we can point to any one of its unique features—and we’d be remiss in not mentioning its practically bezel-free edge-to-edge display—its compact design and long-lasting battery make this Dell stellar for students.
HP Chromebook 13 G1
Most people who need a new computer really only need a Chromebook. So how about a Chromebook? HP’s $499 Chromebook 13 is, in many ways, the Chromebook you’ve been waiting for. It isn’t your normal, craptastic Chromebook by any means. Sure, it’s still student-friendly, but it also doesn’t skimp on things like a good screen and a comfy keyboard.
Apple iPad Pro (10.5-inch)
Apple laid lots of spec upgrades on the new 10.5-inch iPad Pro ($649), some important but invisible and others subtle but striking. The crisp, non-reflective screen is bigger and brighter, and its crazy fast guts got even faster. The $99 Apple Pencil also benefits from the improved hardware, feeling more like a real pencil on paper. It’s a terrific tablet, certainly the most versatile Apple has ever made. Add a Bluetooth keyboard (or Apple’s own Smart Keyboard) and it’s perfect for homework or hang time.
HP Spectre X2
HP’s latest version of the Spectre X2 ($1,299) is beating Microsoft’s Surface at its own game, offering more features for less dough. Like the Surface Pro, it is foremost a tablet by design. Its easel-like hinge bends back to 165 degrees, which is great for notetaking (or doodling) with the included pen. Unlike the Surface Pro, this HP also includes a keyboard in the box. Today the Spectre X2 is the 2-in-1 to beat—across the board in performance, usability, and price.
Courtesy of HP
Microsoft Surface Laptop
f you asked 1,000 people what they want in a laptop today and put it all in a $1,000 package, you’d get something like the Surface Laptop. It looks and feels fantastic, especially the fabric covering the keyboard and trackpad. It’s a terrific laptop, once you upgrade the hopelessly crippled version of Windows that comes installed. Its specs are good enough for lots of tabs and Word docs, but not so much when it comes to heavy gaming. When putting in hard hours cramming in the library, this Surface won’t let you down.
If you have a 5-year-old PC, the iPad Pro can make you overhaul how you tackle your classwork. If you want to make the transition, go ahead. There are many upsides. But if you want to upgrade your laptop, not completely blow up your computing life, this super-thin MacBook ($1,099) is the ultraportable upgrade you want. It’s faster than whatever you’re using now, guaranteed. It has a fantastic screen. It’s light enough to finally get you out of the chiropractor’s office and its improved keyboard is better than ever for typing papers.