TheMicro3D is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more.

Best HP Laptops for College Students in 2020 – Buyer’s Guide

Whether you’re a college student loyal to the brand or you’re in the market for an HP laptop due to the brand’s well-known and deserved reputation, you’ll find what you’re looking for on this list.

Generally, HP laptops are good for a wide range of uses. You can enjoy them to relax between classes, hold your online textbooks, run university software, or use word processors. In this article, I’ll list the best HP laptops for college students that you’ll find on the market.

Our Top Picks

LaptopProcessorStorageRAMScreen Size
HP PavilionAMD A61 TB8 GB15.6 inches
HP EnvyIntel Core i7512 GB16 GB13.3 inches
HP Spectre x360Intel Core i7512 GB16 GB13.3 inches
HP Chromebook 14Intel Celeron32 GB4 GB14 inches
HP EliteBook 840 G5Intel Core i7512 GB16 GB14 inches

The 5 Best HP Laptops for College Students in 2020

1. HP Pavilion 15.6″ – Best Overall HP Laptop for College Students

HP Pavilion 15.6"

The HP Pavilion 15.6″ is my most recommended option in the Pavilion series, and in HP’s laptops overall, if you’re a college student.

Its 15.6″ display is of 1366 x 768 resolution, which is pretty much the same as 720p. It does offer LED backlight technology, but no touch screen. In terms of compactness and portability, I think it hits the perfect combination between packing a screen that’s easy to view and a size that’s easy to pack.

Unlike most of the options on this list, it runs on AMD rather than Intel Core. It features 8 GB of RAM and has a 1 TB storage space -a combination that enables you to open as many tabs and applications as you like without experiencing lag and crashes.  

As for connectivity, the Pavilion comes with WiFi capabilities, two USB 3.0 Type-A ports, a USB 2.0 port, an HDMI port, and an RJ-45 port, besides the headphone and microphone ones.

It weighs only 4.41 pounds, which gives it the advantage of being portable as well. Combine this with good battery life, a multitasking capability, and various connectivity options, and you get one of the best HP laptops for college students out there.


  • Good battery life and low power consumption
  • Slim design
  • Applications perform well
  • Decent range of connectivity options
  • Great value for the price


  • Display is a little dark
  • Slow Ethernet connection
  • Can be unresponsive sometimes

Bottom Line

The HP Pavilion is a great choice for day-to-day use. If you’re looking for great value for the price, I’d highly recommend it for its great overall performance and sleek design.

2. HP Envy 13 – Best Convertible HP Laptop for College

HP Envy 13

I’d like to think of the Envy 13 as the fast, appealing, and affordable version of an Apple MacBook Air. It comes with an elegant design, a vivid and bright display, and superb speakers.

Mix that with decent battery life, a comfortable keyboard, and a reasonable price, and you’ll get why the Envy 13 is one of the best HP laptops for college students you can get.

Although it’s 8th gen-powered, its performance is still seamless and strong thanks to the 16 GB of RAM and 512 GB of storage space that allow you to multitask without experiencing stutters or lags. Have one tab open for the assignment research, one for YouTube music, and another for this site you’re too lazy to bookmark but still want to revisit? No problem, the Envy 13 can easily manage all of it.

However, the processor speed is limited to 1.8 GHz, which is a lot less than the average on the list.

It’s also not the most port-rich choice as it only comes with a drop-jaw USB 3.1 Type-A port on each side, a USB-C port, a headphone jack, MicroSD-card reader, and a power jack.


  • Appealing and lightweight design
  • Smooth performance
  • Bright and clear display
  • FHD mode considerably extends battery life
  • Powerful and crisp speakers


  • 4K mode drastically drains battery life
  • Lacks Thunderbolt 3 connectivity

Bottom Line

The HP Envy 3 would have been the perfect choice, ultimately, if it weren’t for its relatively subpar battery life and less-than-average connectivity options. Other than that, its performance is pretty powerful and smooth, and it’s the best convertible choice out there. 

3. HP Spectre x360 – Best Mid-range HP Laptop for College

HP Spectre x360

The HP Spectre x360 packs Intel’s 10th Gen processor and stunning performance thanks to its 16 GB of RAM.

Its design is pretty sleek, with a 360-degree screen rotation capability that gives you plenty of flexibility. It has a 13.3-inch screen, which isn’t that large but makes the laptop more compact and portable. And it’s not that much of an issue anyway because its bezels are quite thin.

To reach this slim-bezel design, the Spectre x360 didn’t compromise any quality. For one, it’s equipped with a great IR webcam (2.2 millimeters) that easily fits in its thin top bezel. Also, it uses an Ethernet-style drop-jaw mechanism to feature a full USB-A port and enlarged air inlets that enhance cooling.

Speaking of ports, it features a USB Type-A port and a drop-jaw port that expands in the case that you want to connect a USB 3.1 Type-A cable. You’ll have to lift your laptop a little off of the surface to play, but you wouldn’t need to use dongles.

There’s also a headphone and mic jack, two Thunderbolt 3 ports, and a microSD card slot.

Moreover, the screen is pretty vivid and clear. You can choose between a 1080p or 4K OLED touchscreen. Either way, you get a keyboard that’s very comfortable to write on.

Finally, the HP Spectre x360 can operate for around 13 hours on a single charge -which is plenty of time to last you throughout your day at university and even a bit more.


  • Sleek and ultraportable design
  • Great battery life
  • Clear and bright display with a thin bezel
  • Smooth performance
  • Comfortable keyboard


  • Sound quality is subpar
  • Not the best cooling system

Bottom Line

The Spectre x360 combines a gorgeous design with seamless performance and good battery life. It does run a bit warm sometimes, but it’s still a pretty solid choice for an HP laptop for college students.

4. HP Chromebook 14 – Best Budget Choice

HP Chromebook 14

In the market for an affordable Chromebook with a large display? The HP Chromebook 14 is an ideal choice. The Intel version has the edge over the AMD one in that it lasts all day on a single charge as well as a very comfortable keyboard.

At such a price point, the 1080p display is an amazing addition besides the satisfactory overall performance thanks to the 4 GB of RAM and 32 GB of storage space. However, I have to admit that the Intel Celeron CPU isn’t the best or quickest processor.

The white deck, keys, and bezels are pretty attractive and make it stand out. However, it does easily get dirty over time, so you should be a little extra careful with the cleaning and maintenance.

Being a budget option, the Chromebook 14 is made of plastic, yet it still feels rugged and durable. It can survive a drop or two, which isn’t something that many laptops under $500 can.

Moreover, it weighs only 3.3 pounds and is 0.7-inch thick, so it’s both compact and portable.

In terms of connectivity, it comes with a USB Type-C port, a USB 3.0 port, and a lock slot on the left side. On the right side, it comes with a microSD card slot, a headphone jack, and another pair of USB Type-C and USB 3.0 ports.

I absolutely loved how responsive the 4.5 x 2.3-inch touchpad and screen were in executing different gestures on Chrome OS like the three-finger swipe.


  • Very affordable price
  • Durable build
  • Responsive touchpad and touch display


  • Mushy keyboard
  • Substandard battery life
  • The display lacks vividness for productivity

Bottom Line

If you’re looking for a super budget option, I’d highly recommend the HP Chromebook 14. Although it doesn’t have a lot of great specs or features like other options listed here, it does give you a good bang for your buck and does the job.

5. HP EliteBook 840 G5 – Best 2-in-1 HP Laptop for Students

HP EliteBook 840 G5

The HP EliteBook 840 G5 is known to be a top-notch 2-in-one business laptop, but it works just fine for college students thanks to its productivity, security, and multimedia capabilities. 

It features a 14-inch 1920 x 1080 IPS LED display that’s both vivid and clear. The full aluminum exterior gives it a nice minimalistic finish that’s both attractive and durable.

Moreover, it runs on an 8th Gen Intel Core i7 processor and 16 GB of RAM that makes its operation fast and seamless. It also has a comfortable keyboard to maximize the speed of your workflow.

The speakers on the EliteBook 840 G5 are especially great. These Bang & Olufsen ones can make you feel like you’re at a concert with their crisp sound. Mix that with the bright, immersive screen, and you get your own private theater at home.

To connect to your EliteBook 840, you can use one of the two USB 3.0 ports, smart card reader, USB Type-C port with Thunderbolt, the UltraSlim dock connector, the RJ-45 port, HDMI port, and the headphone/microphone jack.

It only weighs 3.4 pounds and measures 12.8 x 9.2 x 0.7 inches, which is slightly bigger and heavier than the competition but still portable enough.

On a single charge, your EliteBook 840 will last an average workday.


  • Attractive design
  • Decent battery life
  • Smooth performance
  • Good range of connectivity


  • Display is a bit mediocre

Bottom Line

The HP EliteBook 840 G5 is a great mid-range option that packs the latest Intel technology in a premium package.

Why Pick an HP Laptop for College Students

HP is a well-known manufacturer because they produce laptops with an amazing performance at a more or less reasonable price. Their high-end choices, especially, deliver amazing quality and features.

Moreover, HP can employ clever design in which a device packs plenty of power and a smooth performance yet is lightweight and can easily be carried around from one place to another. This is besides being well-built with sturdy construction, as well as packing complete equipment. They come with two cable chargers, HDD existing recovery, CD/DVD Drive, a sharp and clear webcam, and an integrated mic with clear sounds.

How to Pick an HP Laptop for College Students

If you’re a university student looking to buy the best HP laptop for college purposes, there are a couple of things you should know about picking out an HP laptop in particular.

1. The Types

HP manufactures some types of laptops according to various main focuses. And these are as follows:

Spectre: These are lightweight laptops with a premium design and technology-integration that makes them both portable and powerful. This combination makes them one of the best HP choices you can make.

Envy: Envy laptops are the best choice for someone who’s looking for an attractive design, amazing performance, a vivid display, and great audio.

EliteBook: EliteBooks are HP’s business-focused models. They pack strong performance and IT support. They also provide good portability with a thin and light design.

ProBook: These are also good for business-related purposes, but don’t pack a premium price tag with them. If you’re looking for top-tier office productivity, I’d highly recommend the ProBook series.

Notebooks: An HP notebook is a pretty generic choice that suits anyone looking for a simple design and good day-to-day performance without breaking the bank.

Pavilion: Pavilion laptops are a combination of the budget-friendliness of Notebooks and the great performance of an Envy laptop.

Omen: HP’s Omen laptops are the gaming-oriented ones. They pack a lot of graphics power to deliver a great gaming experience at a more or less reasonable price.

Stream: If you’re looking for a vivid display on a budget laptop that offers Windows, go for a laptop in the HP Stream Series.

Chromebooks: A Chromebook is a pretty budget choice that runs on Google’s Chrome OS and is a very well-made device.

2. Design and Purpose

You have to know what you’re looking for out of your laptop very well before you make a purchase decision. Do you need something lightweight to carry around easily? Or do you want something bigger with extended flexibility for your office desktop? Will you need a lot of processing power to run multiple programs at the same time?

3. Size

If you’re looking for a laptop with a degree of portability, you should go for a model that’s between 12 and 13 inches. I wouldn’t recommend going for a smaller one as that would beat the all-around purpose of a laptop. The HP EliteBook x360 is a solid choice for this category.

On the other end, if portability isn’t that much of a concern to you, you can opt for a larger laptop of about 15 or 17 inches and packs more components to offer better performance.

Weight affects the performance as heftier laptops include more or better components like a high-quality fan to keep it running cool. However, you should bear in mind that this consumes battery life at a faster pace.

4. Processor or CPU

The CPU, or central processing unit, is the thing that controls all the processes and calculations your device needs to do to carry out its functions.

Its quality dictates the quality of your laptop’s performance, and what you need has to do with what you use your laptop for.

For most people, an Intel Core i5 will do the trick. But if you’re looking to use high-demand programs or play a lot of games, you might want to look into an i7 core.

Alternatively, you can go for a more affordable AMD. These can easily tackle functions like word processing, web surfing, and casual gaming.

5. Screen Quality

Since you’ll probably be using your laptop for extended periods at a time, it’s a wise decision to get a model that’s comfortable to view. Whether it’s long studying sessions, watching a show, playing games, or finishing what seems to be an endless assignment.

Touch screen laptops typically have glossy displays, so if reflections are a concern of yours, I’d recommend steering away from these and opting for a matte display model.

Moreover, resolution plays a role in how enjoyable the experience on your laptop is. While 1080p is good for most people, a 4K screen would be a better option for anyone who’s looking for the best photo and video viewing and editing. The latter does come at a higher price, however.

6. RAM

To run the most basic programs of this day and age, you’ll need a minimum of 4GB of RAM. However, this means your laptop will experience a drastic reduction in speed of operation if you have too many programs or tabs open at once.

So generally, for a little extra money, you should opt for an 8GB RAM laptop to enable you to browse and download with no change in speeds.

If you’re a super power user or a gamer, you should opt for a 16GB RAM laptop.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Is an HP or a Lenovo Laptop Better for a College Student?

For everyday use and general entertainment purposes, an HP laptop is better. It delivers better performance, good display, battery life, and better sound quality.

But if you’re looking for more value for your budget, a Lenovo laptop will provide you with CPU speed and graphics at a more affordable price.

Is HP Pavilion a Good Choice for College Students?

I think HP Pavilion laptops are one of the most solid choices for college students as they come at a reasonable price. You’ll definitely find a Pavilion of the size you need. While a Pavilion doesn’t come with bells and whistles, it offers great performance overall.

How Much Student Discount Does HP Give?

Coupon codes provide a discount ranging between 35 to 55% on different HP products, including laptops, printers, calculators, and others.

Final Thoughts

While any of the previously mentioned models can be considered the best HP laptop for college students, some of them beat the rest in certain aspects.

If you’re looking for the best choice overall, go for the Pavilion 15.6″. But if you’re looking for something more budget-friendly, opt for the Chromebook 14.

Finally, if you’re looking for something that’s a middle ground between affordability of price and reliable performance, the Spectre x360 would be a good choice.

Leave a Comment