10 Best Gaming Laptops For College

When most people think of gaming, they think of powerful desktops and expensive game consoles. However, as laptops become more powerful, many people are switching to gaming on laptops.

For college students, laptops that can be used for gaming are particularly useful.

College students often don’t have the space to keep a large desktop.

They also often move around a lot, switching between apartments, dorm rooms, and their family home, making a desktop gaming computer inconvenient.

In this article, we will explore 10 of the best gaming laptops for college students.

What To Look For In College Gaming Laptops

There are a number of things you should look for in a laptop if you want to use it for gaming. If you are a college student, there are a few additional things you may want to consider as well.

Following are eight things to look for:

1. Pricing

Pricing is obviously one of the top things college students think about when looking for a gaming laptop.

While some college students can afford expensive machines, many have a small budget and only a little bit of savings to go on.

Obviously, the larger your budget is, the more likely you are to find a powerful gaming laptop that fits your needs.

However, in this guide, we will also explore less costly options that will fit the budgets of most college students.

While some of these lower-priced options may not have all of the power that higher-end laptops do, we will also discuss some tips for how you can still have a quality gaming experience even on lower-end machines.

2. Portability and Size

Size is also a major issue for college students. Many students, even if they stay at their own apartment or their school’s dorm, go home on weekends or at other times or even switch apartments regularly.

Heavy laptops can be inconvenient for those moving around a lot. We will explore some light options on this list as well.

3. Battery Life

Long battery life is also one of the top things college students should look for. A laptop with a low battery life can be very inconvenient.

When you’re in a college, you often don’t have a set desk or space for your laptop.

Instead, you sometimes use it in the library, cafeteria, your dorm room, or wherever you can, making battery life an important factor to consider.

4. Graphics and GPU

In order to have a high-quality gaming experience, it is important to have a laptop with a high-quality graphics card. The graphics card also contains the GPU.

A good GPU is important, as most games require it. Consider looking for a laptop with GTX 1050 or 1050ti graphics, at the minimum.

5. Display

Besides having a good graphics card, you’ll also want to make sure that you have a high-quality display. Otherwise, what’s the point of a good graphics card?

Your laptop’s screen is going to determine how well you see your games, as you probably won’t be connecting it to a monitor most of the time when you are in college.

In general, aim for a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels at the minimum. For your refresh rate, look at a 60hz display at the minimum.

Screen size is also something to consider. You can get anything from 14-inch screens to 18-inch screens.

Keep in mind that while larger screens can offer a better gaming experience, they can also decrease the portability of the laptop. Try to find the right balance that fits your needs.

Avoid touchscreen laptops if you are particularly focused on gaming.

While they can be useful for your other college needs, such as studying and using apps, they can distract from the quality of gaming and decrease your battery’s lifespan.

6. RAM

The amount of RAM will directly affect your gaming experience. The more RAM you have, the more applications you will be able to run at the same time.

While 16GB will be ideal, many college students will be able to do just fine with 8GB RAM.

You may also be able to upgrade your laptop’s RAM.

7. Storage

Having the right storage on your laptop is important as well. Many people are switching to SSD (solid state drive) storage laptops as they are cheaper.

In terms of actual gaming performance, standard HDD (hard drive) storage will be just as fine as SSD storage. However, SSD storage does have some advantages for gaming.

For example, games stored on computers with SSD storage will typically boot much faster than those with a traditional hard drive.

If you can find a laptop with both SSD and HDD storage within your price range, that would be the best solution.

You can store your games on the SSD and the rest of your stuff (such as photos and documents) on your hard drive.

If you can only find laptops with HDD, try finding one with at least 1TB of hard-drive storage.

8. CPU

Some games require a lot of CPU. While an Intel Core i7 CPU would be ideal, most college students will be just fine with a regular Intel Core i5 processor.

9. Audio

While you can get a headset, it’s even better if your laptop itself has a great audio solution.

10. Cooling

College students will often use laptops on the bed or on their laps. Therefore, it is important for your laptop to have a thermal cooling system, as gaming can heat up your laptop.

Tips for College Laptop Gaming

Some of the laptops listed below will be the only ones that fit many college students’ budgets, but they may not be your first choice for a gaming laptop.

Here are three tips to help improve your gaming experience on a laptop with less power.

Choose Your Games Wisely

Not all games need that much power. There are plenty of games that require less CPU, drain less battery, etc.

Choosing which games you play can have a major impact on your gaming experience.

If you sometimes have access to a more powerful desktop or laptop computer, such as if you go to your parents every weekend, consider saving your more high-powered games for then.

Clean Your Computer

Keeping your computer clean can help improve your gaming experience. Always clear up your storage space and get rid of unnecessary photos, documents, apps, and waste.

The same goes for your actual laptop. Clean it out, especially the fan, so that it stays cool and does not overheat.

Lower Your Resolution and Brightness

Another trick is to lower your resolution. While the graphics quality might not be the same, you may find that your overall gaming experience is smoother and faster, with fewer glitches.

Similarly, lowering your screen’s brightness can help extend the battery life. Move to a darker or shadier place or dim the lights in the room when you lower your brightness.

10 Best Gaming Laptops for College Students

Now that we have covered what to look for and how college students can improve their gaming experience on a low budget, let’s go over the top 10 gaming laptops for students, starting from the lower budget ones and going up to some pricier options.

1. Acer Aspire 1

Acer Aspire 1 A114-32-C1YA, 14" Full HD, Intel Celeron N4000, 4GB DDR4, 64GB eMMC, Office 365 Personal, Windows 10 Home in S mode
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The Acer Aspire 1 is one of the most budget-friendly laptops a college student can get. Right now, it is being sold on Amazon.

This laptop runs Windows 10 in S mode.

It has a 14-inch display, making it small and compact for college students. It only weighs 3.64 pounds, making it light and easy to carry in your backpack as well.

The screen resolution is 1920 x 1080 pixels, which is the minimum that we recommended.

Unfortunately, this laptop runs short on our other requirements. It has an Intel Celeron N4000 processor, which is not very powerful.

Its battery life is 6.5 hours on average, which seems solid but will usually be less when you are running games. It also only has 4GB RAM.

Thus, you will only be able to run basic PC games on this computer. It is being included on this list due to its extremely affordable price; some college students simply will not be able to afford any laptop over $250.

Check current availability and price on Amazon

2. ASUS VivoBook F510UA

Asus Vivobook 17 F712FA Thin and Light Laptop, 17.3” HD+, Intel Core I5-8265U Processor, 8GB DDR4 RAM, 128GB SSD + 1TB HDD, Windows 10 Home, Transparent Silver, F712FA-DB51

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The ASUS Vivobook F510UA is another laptop that currently sells, affordable for many college students.

It is thin and light, weighing only 3.7 pounds and being only 0.8 inches thick, making it ideal in terms of portability.

Although the ASUS Vivobook F510UA does not have SSD storage, it does have 1TB (1000 GB) of hard-drive storage. It uses an Intel Core i5 processor and has 8GB RAM.

It is 15.6 inches long, and it has a display of 1920 x 1080 pixels. It has four display modes (normal, vivid, eye-care, and manual).

Unfortunately, the ASUS Vivobook does fall short in a number of areas. Its battery life is the shortest we’ve seen so far, with an average lifespan of only five hours.

In addition, it can be a bit slow, according to Amazon reviews. However, by purchasing a separate SSD and installing it in addition to the HDD, this can be improved.

Overall, it’s a solid laptop for its price.

Check current availability and price on Amazon

3. HP Pavilion Gaming Laptop

HP Pavilion Gaming Laptop 15.6" Core i5-8300H 15.6-inch Diagonal Full HD IPS Anti-Glare WLED-Backlit Display(1920 x 1080) with 8GB RAM + 1TB HDD Storage

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This budget-friendly laptop was specifically designed with gaming in mind. It is 15.6 inches wide, weighs less than five pounds, has a 1920 x 1080 display, runs on an Intel Core i5 processor, and has 8GB RAM.

It has an estimated average battery life of 7.5 hours and 1 TB hard-drive storage. It uses NVIDIA GeForce GTX graphics.

When you purchase it from Amazon, you can currently get a bonus Intel software starter pack that includes Cuphead, Dungeons 2, Gas Guzzlers Extreme, Last Tide, Total War: Warhammer 2, World of Tanks, and World of Warships.

Check current availability and price on Amazon

4. Dell Inspiron 15 Gaming Laptop

Dell Inspiron 15 7567 Laptop: Core i5-7300HQ, 256GB SSD, 8GB RAM, GTX 1050Ti, 15.6inch Full HD Display

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The Dell Inspiron 15 is another laptop that is great for gaming. It has Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050ti graphics to improve your gaming experience.

It is 15.6 inches wide, has a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels, runs on a 3.5 GHz Intel Core i5 processor, has 8GB RAM, weighs 6.61 pounds, and has 256GB SSD storage.

As it has solid state storage instead of hard-drive storage, it is likely to run a lot faster when playing games than the ASUS VivoBook.

Check current availability and price on Amazon

5. MSI GS65 Stealth THIN-05 Gaming Laptop

In the second half of this list, we’re getting into higher-powered gaming laptops. While they are quite a bit pricier than the ones featured earlier, they also offer a much better gaming experience.

This laptop is 15.6 inches wide, has a display of 1920 x 1080 pixels, weighs only 4.14 pounds, has 256 GB SSD storage, and is only 0.69 inches thick.

It uses NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 graphics, which is great for virtual-reality and is a step above what we saw before. The graphics card RAM size is 6GB.

Here are some other features that check the boxes on our list:

  • i7 Intel Core processor
  • 72% NTSC for more vibrant colors
  • Cooler Boost Trinity for enhanced cooling
  • Nahimic 3 advanced audio
  • Killer DoubleShot Pro for improved connectivity while gaming

Check current availability and price on Amazon

6. Alienware Gaming Laptop

Alienware Gaming Laptop, 15.6" Full HD, Intel Core i7-7700HQ, 16GB DDR4 RAM, 256GB SSD + 1TB HDD, GeForce GTX 1070, VR Ready, Silver AW15R3-7003SLV-PUS

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This gaming laptop has both 256GB SSD and 1TB HDD storage. It is 15.6 inches wide, has 16GB RAM, and has an Intel Core i7 processor.

It also has an advanced speaker system, an advanced lighting system, and a power-saving feature that lets applications run in the background.

It has NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 graphics, which is better than our previous listing.

Check current availability and price on Amazon

7. ASUS ROG Strix SCAR II Gaming Laptop

Asus ROG Strix SCAR II Gaming Laptop, 15.6" 144Hz 3ms IPS-Type, Intel Core i7-8750H Processor, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 8GB GDDR5, 512GB Pcie SSD, 16GB DDR4, RGB, Windows 10 Professional - GL504GS-XS76

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This 15.6-inch laptop has an Intel Core i7-8750H processor, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 graphics, 16GB RAM, and a weight of 5.3 pounds. It also has a lot of storage – 512GB SSD.

As you can see in the pictures on Amazon, this laptop is entirely designed for a high-quality gaming experience.

Everything, including the design, the displays, the keyboard, the processor, and the cooling system, was made with gaming in mind.

Check current availability and pricing on Amazon

8. MSI GT75057 TITAN-057 Gaming Notebook

This laptop is a bit bigger than most on our list – it is 17.3 inches wide.

It uses the 8th generation Intel Core i7-8850H processor, has 16GB RAM, uses NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 graphics, and has 1024 GB of hybrid (SSD and HDD) combined storage.

Check current availability and price on Amazon

9. Razer Blade 15 Gaming Laptop

This is the final and most expensive gaming laptop on our list, but it does offer a high-quality gaming experience.

It uses NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q Graphics and is only 0.70 inches thick.

It is 15.6 inches wide, uses an Intel Core i7 processor, has 16 GB RAM, weighs just 4.63 pounds, and has 512 GB SSD storage.

You can expand the system memory to up to 64GB and the storage to up to 2TB.

It has amazing graphics with a 144HZ refresh rate. The Vapor Chamber and Dual Fans system helps keep it cool.

The computer comes with zero bloatware to avoid slowing it down.

Check current availability and price on Amazon

10. Acer Aspire E 15 Laptop

The Acer Aspire E 15 Laptop is one of the best budget laptops for gaming. it checks many of our requirements.

It runs on an 8th Generation Intel Core i5-8250U processor. It also has 8GB of RAM.

It has a width of 15.6 inches, which will give you a solid gaming experience, but it is still compact and easy to fit in your backpack. The max screen resolution is 1920 x 1080 pixels.

It even has SSD storage, with 256 GB Flash Memory Solid State storage.

The Acer Aspire E’s average battery life is 15 hours, more than double that of the Acer Aspire 1. It weighs more though, at 5.27 pounds.

All in all, the Acer Aspire E is a great budget laptop for college students.

Check current availability and price on Amazon

Wrapping It Up

There you have it – the 10 best gaming laptops for college students.

Whether you have a lot of money saved up and can afford to get the best of the best or you are looking for a cheap laptop that fits your budget, you can find it on this list.

About Author

Tom loves to write on technology, e-commerce & internet marketing. I started my first e-commerce company in college, designing and selling t-shirts for my campus bar crawl using print-on-demand. Having successfully established multiple 6 & 7-figure e-commerce businesses (in women’s fashion and hiking gear), I think I can share a tip or 2 to help you succeed.