Best Laptops For PhD Students 2021 – Reviews

In this post, we take a look at the top laptops for PhD students in 2021. I’ll be comparing the top laptops for Ph.D. students that would be ideal for any student in higher education.

Ph.D. is the abbreviation of Doctor of philosophy. This degree program requires a lot of focus and hard work as they are designed for people who would like to conduct research, study, and teach at the college or university level.

Hence the students pursuing this course should have an excellent academic standing, good academic writing skills, and an open mind to learn. You can pursue this degree at any age, but you should have a proper plan to complete this program successfully.

best laptop for Phd students

There are numerous reasons why someone would want to buy a laptop for a Ph.D. student. First and foremost, they’re often away from their home computers and home office for long periods of time, so it’s important to have a laptop that’s easy to get to, easy to use, and affordable. In this guide, we’ll take a look at some of the best laptops for doctoral students.

10 Best Laptops For PhD Students 2021

Since the popularity of the internet and the availability of computers has greatly increased, PhD students are having a tough time finding a laptop that fits their needs. Specifically, most PhD students want to be able to do their research on their own computer (just like everyone else). While most people are willing to buy a laptop just because they want to work on the internet, there are more high-end laptops that can be had that are more durable, as well.

The best laptop for a PhD student is the one that suits their needs best. That’s why getting the right laptop for your work — and more importantly, your studies — is not as easy as it sounds. We have reviewed the best PhD laptops for students.

Best laptops for phd students

Best Laptops For PhD Students 2021

1. Microsoft Surface Pro 7 – Best Over All

Best Laptops For PhD Students 2021
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Microsoft’s Surface Pro is our top choice for the best laptop for PhD students currently available on the market. This versatile machine can be used as a tablet, laptop, or in a studio thanks to its adjustable kickstand and detachable keyboard accessories. It offers an excellent battery life which should get you through even the longest of all-nighters.

The compact and lightweight Surface Pro 7 is the latest generation of Microsoft’s most popular tablet PC. It brings a powerful performance for everyday use and is designed for mobility. With its 10-inch touch screen, Surface Pro 7 lets you do more without weighing you down. It is one of the best laptops for Ph.D. students in the year 2021.  

Windows 10 Home operating system, it’s a great way to make quick work of everyday tasks, while its optional Surface Pen adds a whole new level of creativity.

The Surface Pro 7 brings the power of Windows to your fingertips and gives you amazing performance. With a stunning 12.3-inch PixelSense Display and Intel Core i7 processor, this is designed for the individual seeking to experience the best of what Windows has to offer.

Designed for mobility, this is the most powerful Surface yet. The Surface Pro 7 features a lightweight magnesium casing with a silver finish that provides a premium appearance.

Surface Pro 7 is the thinnest and lightest Surface Pro yet. This 10th generation laptop features a 12.3″ PixelSense Display, with more than 43% more pixels to deliver even sharper images than Surface Pro 6. Plus, it features the 16GB Memory – 256GB SSD, advanced security technologies, improved 802.11ac Wi-Fi, up to 10.5 hours of battery life, and other features that make it ideal for work and play.

The Surface Pro 7 is the same as last year’s Surface Pro 6. It’s not cheap, but the Surface Pro 7 is the best Windows tablet you can buy.


  • Screen: 12.3in LCD 2736 x 1824 (267 PPI)
  • Processor: Intel Core i3, i5 or i7 (10th generation)
  • RAM: 4, 8 or 16GB
  • Storage: 128, 256, 512GB or 1TB
  • Graphics: Intel UHD (i3) or Intel Iris Plus (i5/i7)
  • Operating system: Windows 10 Home
  • Camera: 8MP rear, 5MP front-facing, Windows Hello
  • Connectivity: Wifi 6, Bluetooth 5, USB 3.0, USB-C, headphones, TPM, microSD
  • Dimensions: 292 x 201 x 8.5 mm
  • Weight: 775 or 790g (i7 version)
  • Attractive look
  • Fast processor
  • Vastly improved performance
  • USB-C finally
  • Now with Wi-Fi 6
  • Bright and colorful display
  • Excellent optional keyboard
  • Good webcam
  • Thick display bezels
  • USB-C isn’t Thunderbolt 3

2. HP Pavilion 15 Laptop – Best functional laptop

Best Laptops For PhD Students
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This laptop comes with an Intel Core i7 processor. It has 16GB RAM and a 512GB SSD which is easily expandable if required. Full HD IPS micro-edge display makes surfing and watching movies a pleasure. Windows 10 Pro gives you free updates for the life of your computer.

The latest generation of HP’s legendary audio technology powers through any situation with powerful surround sound. With up to 8 hours of battery life.

HP 15 boasts a generous 15.6 inches sharp, responsive, full HD (FHD) IPS micro-edge display. A powerful processor and smart technology mean you’ll be able to multitask effortlessly between work, social media, family time, streaming videos, and more.

Get everything you need in an affordable laptop with the HP Pavilion 15 Laptop. Get multitasking performance for your everyday tasks and play up to 15x faster than previous models with innovative new technology. Its sleek, compact design makes it the perfect laptop to take with you wherever you go, making it ideal for daily tasks at home or on the go.

This laptop offers a great future, the laptop is perfect for Ph.D. students. The display has a screen-to-body ratio of 81. which absorbs the visual experience. HP has made sure that this budget purchase is also very mobile. It weighs just 3.86lb and is 0.7 “thick. A quick-charging battery can power up to 50% in 10 hours and 45 minutes.

Work comfortably with a full-sized keyboard, integrated numeric pad, and a Precision Touchpad. Enjoy a smoother wireless experience with Wi-Fi 6 (2×2) (8) and Bluetooth 5.0 combo (9), all your connections are solid and up to 3x faster file transfer speeds than Wi-Fi 5.

  • Equipped with full HD micro-edge display that offers theater-level entertainment
  • Comes with iris Xe graphics that offers high performance for editing and gaming
  • Core i7-1165G7 processor that allows multi-tasking and high-speed to the laptop
  • Affordable
  • External supplies need to be bought separately.
  • Some features are unavailable on all versions of windows.

3. Lenovo Flex 5 14″ 2-in-1 Laptop

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A flexible laptop that fits comfortably in your backpack or messenger bag. Its 2-in-1 capabilities are designed to offer the convenience of a traditional laptop and the versatility of a tablet. This is one of the recommended laptop for Ph.D. students and researchers.

The lightweight design is an ideal choice for students, road warriors, and commuters who need computing power on the go. An AMD Ryzen 5 4500U processor gives you ample power for everyday tasks.

It comes with a touch-enabled, full HD screen that has a resolution of 1920 x 1080. It also comes with 16GB of RAM, 256GB SSD storage, and AMD Radeon Graphics to help bring the images from your movies and games to life. Plus, it’s thin and lightweight so you can take it anywhere you go.

The Lenovo Flex 5 14″ 2-in-1 laptop is designed with a 14.0″ screen and weighs only 3.64 pounds. It’s soft and comfortable to the touch and perfect for use on the go.

The lightweight 2-in-1 is both an ultra-portable laptop that can be powered by USB-C and a tablet that can be used with Microsoft’s Windows 10 OS. The sleek design offers an excellent all-around PC experience without sacrificing performance or battery life.10 hours of battery life, plus quick charge to 80% in just 1 hour.

  • IPS touchscreen offers accurate color from all viewing angles
  • Thin and light in weight that makes it easy to carry
  • Long-lasting battery that gives a longer time of usage
  • The fingerprint reader is a plus
  • Built-in plasticAverage Graphics card.
  • Cooling fans make noise.

4. Apple MacBook Pro

Best Laptop For PhD Student
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Best Mac for PhD students is fast and portable and provides an excellent user experience. That allows for multitasking and more. it features a sleek design and is easily one of the most powerful machines on this list. It would undoubtedly make an excellent choice for anyone doing serious academic work or research.

Apple’s MacBook Pro with Intel Processor is a powerhouse workhorse. With the durability and weight you expect from Apple, it’s built for you to take on any project. The light styling of this notebook blends perfectly into modern spaces with its sleek design.

The incredibly thin and light chassis allows for ultraportable productivity. This MacBook Pro model features a quad-core Intel Core i5 processor that delivers up to Turbo Boost up to 3.8GHz speed so you can do your work quickly and efficiently.

This stylish and stylish laptop is a must-have for any creative professional. The powerful 13-inch, quad-core Intel Core i5 processor allows users to utilize the latest software and switch between open apps more quickly.

Seamless integration with your favorite Apple products gives you easy access to information, apps, content, and files. This ultraportable notebook comes equipped with a brilliant Retina display that boasts True Tone technology for accurate colors that look great at any angle.

its others features include Tenth-generation, Four Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) ports, and Up to 10 hours of battery life. The Magic Keyboard has an improved scissor mechanism with 1mm travel for a responsive, comfortable typing experience.

  • Scissor keyboard more comfortable than previous butterfly keyboard
  • Standard configuration now has 16GB of RAM
  • Increase in SSD storage for standard configurations
  • Average Graphics card.

5. Acer Aspire 5 Slim Laptop

Best Laptops For PhD Students 2021
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An excellent laptop with decent features without damaging your pocket, as your PhD needs may seem unrealistic. Acer’s Aspire 5 is a sleek and stylish laptop that can easily fit in any bag. This laptop is slim and compact but doesn’t sacrifice too much performance.

The Aspire 5 has a 15.6″ Full HD IPS display with a ‎4.2 GHz Intel Core i5-10210U processor which provides ample power for everything you need to do. This laptop handles all your everyday work tasks with ease and includes 8GB of DDR4 RAM to keep your system running smoothly.

Acer Aspire 5 slim is an elegant and sophisticated design that you can take anywhere as it has the ability to be taken everywhere thanks to its thin and light feature.

its other Features include 10th Generation, 256GB PCIe NVMe SSD, Intel Wi-Fi 6 AX201 802.11ax, Fingerprint Reader, and Backlit Keyboard. It’s an amazing budget machine for students and business people with an excellent keyboard.

Work comfortably in any environment with a backlit keyboard. The built-in fingerprint reader provides easy, secure access with just one touch.

  • 10 gen of I5 Intel
  • Top IPS screen
  • Easily upgradable
  • Incredibly stylish look
  • Easy to carry
  • Lacks back-lit keyboard.
  • Discharges battery quickly.

6. ASUS VivoBook 15 15.6 Inch FHD 1080P Laptop

Best Laptop For PhD Students 2021
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The VivoBook 15 15.6 Inch FHD 1080P Laptop is an ultra-slim touchscreen laptop for on-the-go productivity with AMD Ryzen 3 3200U processor. It has a 15.6-inch FHD screen so you can do your work on the go with reduced eye strain and the AMD Radeon Vega 3 graphics built in to provide smooth, efficient performance.

Ideal for video editing, web browsing, music production, gaming, and more, this laptop has everything you’d expect from an ultra-modern notebook. It has a stunning FHD display to help see things clearly. It comes with Windows 10 Home out of the box and offers great GPU performance through its Radeon Vega 3 graphic card. The 16GB RAM ensures your programs load quickly and smoothly.

Be ready for anything with the ASUS VivoBook 15 15.6 Inch FHD 1080P Laptop, which is packed with powerful hardware and features that will keep you connected and productive.

For standout performance, it boasts an AMD Ryzen 3 3200U processor paired with 16GB DDR4 RAM to boost multitasking ability and speed up various tasks. The 256GB SSD keeps the operating system and other data files at a safe and speedy pace. 1-Year UpgradePro Limited.

The Vivobook 15 packs the latest springs overall so that any student will feel happy without getting in their pocket.

  • Built-in stereo speakers offers clear audio output
  • Backlit keyboard makes keys visible in low light environment
  • Built-in high-bandwidth RAM helps to smoothly run multiple applications and browser tabs
  • Does not have DVD/CD drive

7. Google Pixelbook Go – Lightweight Chromebook Laptop

Best Laptops For PhD Student

This cute ASUS VivoBook 15 15.6 Inch FHD 1080P Laptop is an ideal choice for the busy professional. It’s sleek, stylish, and packed full of convenient features to keep you productive and on-task. It’s the perfect laptop for any business professional that wants to stay on top of the workload while on the go. The powerful processor lets you multitask between different tasks without slowing down.

There’s no need for a desktop when you have the ASUS VivoBook 15. It’s an ultra-slim laptop that delivers plenty of power in a stylish and portable design. Its slim profile allows it to slip easily into a backpack or purse.

It’s powered by AMD’s latest Ryzen processor which delivers powerful performance and efficient energy usage. Its 12 hours of battery life means you’ll be able to enjoy uninterrupted entertainment on the go. A long-lasting 3000mAh lithium-ion battery gives you.

The backlit keyboard and hash keys make the Pixelbook Go comfortable to use. The touchpad is spacious and accurate so you only need to use a light touch. The fan-less design stays cool so you can use it comfortably on your lap.

With a stunning 13.3 “HD touch screen display and dual stereo speakers, you get amazing pictures and sound for watching movie editing, or video chatting. It comes with 16GB RAM, 256GB SSD, and Core i7. This laptop is easily carried around anywhere.

Overall, there’s very little about the Pixel Book Go that we don’t like. It is lively, beautiful to use, and looks great, it is fast and has a battery that runs half-day without effort. It supports all your applications with excellent quality output, exactly what a PhD student would want.

  • Lovely design that’s lightweight and attractive
  • Speedy performance
  • Not as pricey as previous Pixelbooks
  • Great keyboard
  • Android app support is still ropey
  • Trackpad isn’t the best

8. Lenovo Legion with NVIDIA GTX 1660Ti – Comes with Real Power

Best Laptops For PhD Students 2021
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Lenovo is a promising brand. The Lenovo Legion is an all-rounder laptop with all the features of a PhD student.

The Legion is a gaming laptop built for professionals and gamers who prefer the fastest, most reliable hardware available. Powered by the latest AMD Ryzen 7 processor with Radeon™ graphics, the Legion is capable of wide-ranging tasks at an incredible speed.

The Legion TrueStrike keyboard with soft-landing switches delivers hair-trigger inputs so you can go from competing on your eSports team to editing photos in a flash.

Gaming laptops are typically designed to meet the needs of serious gamers. The Legion features a powerful AMD Ryzen 7 4800H processor, so you can play most games at 1920×1080 resolution at medium to high settings with crisp and brilliant graphics.

The Legion TrueStrike keyboard with soft-landing switches delivers hair-trigger inputs that respond instantly, making it easy to strike the right key at any moment. The 144 Hz refresh rate ensures smooth gameplay even during fast-paced action sequences.

The Legion TrueStrike keyboard with soft-landing switches delivers hair-trigger inputs and precise key action. Redesigned with RGB lighting that’s customizable to your heart’s content. Create your own color scheme and sync it to adaptive backlighting so you can see it on the screen or in person.

TrueStrike features 100% anti-ghosting and soft-landing switches with 1.5mm key travel that leverage a second-transition design, meaning you get deeper stroke with equal force in every strike for an improved input experience.

Talking about the menu and storage option that is available with Lenovo Legion, its’ 16 GB 3200 MHz DDR4 RAM and 512 GB 2 NVMEPCISD users Provides a fast and shutter-free experience.

  • Enjoyable keyboard
  • Outstanding performance
  • Strong gaming performance
  • Bright 144Hz display
  • Plenty of ports, including USB-C
  • The touchpad has an odd shape.
  • Heats up quick.

9. Razer Blade 15 – Laptop 2021 for Heavy Use

Best Laptops For PhD Student
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The razer blade 15 is the best choice for a PhD student. This laptop easily handles any task without any hassle. But this laptop is expensive.

The Razer Blade 15 is simply the most portable and versatile laptop you can find, featuring a fully self-contained Chroma™ RGB keyboard that lights up in sync with your Razer Chroma enabled gaming peripheral, allowing you to play and compete in style.

This new generation is 0.78″ thinner than previous versions, lessening the weight and size of the laptop. The advanced cooling system is also available on all models, allowing the Razer Blade 15 to run cooler for longer periods of time compared to the previous razer laptop.

A Razer laptop is the ultimate gaming machine. It’s designed to support the ultimate gaming experience through cutting-edge hardware, software, and cooling technology, all built by Razer. The latest 10th gen Intel Core i7 processor delivers a smooth visual experience. NVIDIA GeForce RTX graphics delivers a stunning gaming experience and notable performance boost.

It also has 16GB DDR4 RAM, GeForce RTX 3070, 512GB SSD storage, and a huge 15.6″ QHD screen with a full-sized keyboard, edge-to-edge glass touchpad. Fully loaded with Wi-Fi 6, Gigabit Ethernet, Thunderbolt 3, USB Type-A and Type-C ports, and HDMI, for a desktop-class experience

  • Same excellent built quality
  • Fantastic keyboard and trackpad
  • The QHD display looks excellent
  • Solid graphics performance
  • Colorful 1440p panel
  • Smooth glass touchpad
  • GeForce RTX 3070
  • Port selection isn’t as good as the Advanced model
  • Pricey

10. HP Newest Spectre x360 13.3 Inch FHD Touchscreen 2-in-1 Laptop

Best Laptops For PhD Students 2021
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A lightweight, powerful computer that’s perfect for students and travelers. This latest version of the Spectre x360 has an all-new full HD display and a super-fast latest Gen Intel Core i7 CPU for performance that’s up to 40 percent faster than the previous generation. Plus, you’ll never miss a beat thanks to a stunning Bang & Olufsen BeoSound Pro audio system.

Get the best computing experience from this sleek 2-in-1 computer. Boasting a high-resolution display, it’s the perfect size for when you’re on the go. With its state-of-the-art technology, it’s super responsive.

The touch screen makes it easy to browse, search, and stream compatible videos with minimal effort. When you’re looking for a desktop replacement that works well as a tablet or laptop, this PC is a great choice for home or work.

The Spectre x360 is the thinnest convertible laptop notebook in the world. The x360 is designed to feature the ultimate expression of design, performance, and power. The Spectre x360 features a beautiful, virtually borderless 13-inch edge-to-edge display with a subtle inclination to give you more usable screen space.

It comes with Intel Core i7-8565U 4.60 GHz, 8GB DDR4 RAM, 256GB PCIe SSD, Bluetooth, Backlit Keyboard. Now trimmer and lighter, HP’s Spectre x360 15 is a top-of-the-line convertible 2-in-1 that excels in just about every area.

  • Handsome design
  • Comfortable keyboard
  • Perky performance
  • smaller footprint

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Best Laptops For PhD Students Buying Guides

Best Laptops For PhD Students Buying Guides

Choosing the right laptop is not an easy task, especially if you are a PhD student. If you’re looking for one that will help you carry out your research and studies effectively, then read this buying guide below. Listed here are some of our top choices in terms of features and specs that suit the needs of a hardworking PhD student.

What to look for when buying a laptop for PhD studies?

OS and Processor

The first thing to consider is the Operating System (OS) you are comfortable with using. To help decide which one to buy, here’s a comparison of Windows 10 vs Mac OS on laptops. Next up is your choice for the processor. For a PhD student, it’s best to choose one that can handle your workload and is future-proof for when you need an upgraded model in the near future. Check out the Intel Coffee Lake Core i5 vs Core i7 processors here.

Screen size

PhD students usually sit close to their laptops while studying or doing research. Therefore, it is important to choose a laptop that has a large screen size for better viewing of textual contents and diagrams. You can refer to our laptop buying guides here on what are the most ideal screen sizes for you in terms of activities and portability ( 5 inches vs 14 inches).


PhD students need to bring their laptops on the go for research or fieldwork. It’s best to go for a lighter laptop that offers better portability and comfort too. With the increasing popularity of 2-in-1s, this hybrid is worth considering too as it has both a touch screen and a laptop.

Memory and Storage

For greater productivity, it is best to have sufficient RAM for faster memory access while working on your laptop. It’s also great if you can upgrade your storage with the use of an external hard disk or flash drive. This way, you won’t lose valuable data should the laptop’s internal storage get filled up. I would recommend at least 8 GB of RAM, and at least 256 GB of hard drive space.

Battery Life

Having a laptop that has a long battery life is important as many PhD students will need to be working on the go and away from the comfort of their home or study room. To determine if the laptop battery life is worth it, see how long the models listed will last under standard use. I would recommend at least 8 hours of battery life.

Screen Resolution and Graphics Card

It’s also important for you to work on high-resolution images as this usually comes with your day-to-day research activities. To determine if a laptop has a good screen resolution, check out the pixel density of the model you are interested in. It’s recommended to have a screen resolution of at least 1366 x 768 pixels if you usually work on high-resolution images.

A screen that has a resolution of 1920 x 1080 (a popular resolution often known as 1080p or Full HD), can display 1,080 pixels vertically, and 1,920 pixels horizontally.

For a better multimedia experience when watching movies or editing videos, it is best to choose a laptop that has a dedicated graphics card with 4GB memory and above.

Connectivity Ports and Extras

With the different types of ports, you can connect your laptop to various devices like a printer, external monitor, or hard drive. This will allow you to access all these essential data in one place. It is also great if the model has built-in Bluetooth technology so that you can transfer data easily to your other mobile devices.


In terms of cost, it is best to spend less than $1,500 for a PhD student as this will already suffice when you need to buy your research equipment and software at the same time. See more on how to save money on tech accessories here. To make the most out of your laptop, check out our laptop buying guides which will help you determine the right specifications and price range to work within.


Lastly, it’s important for you to have a good idea about what you are going to use the laptop for before choosing one model over the other. It is best if you can specify your needs like do you need a laptop that you can use to write your thesis or do graphical designs.

To top it all off, get a reliable warranty from the manufacturer so that your laptop is protected against defects and malfunctions. Click here for more information on the best brands. If you have any questions about choosing the right laptop, feel free to leave us a comment below.