Light. Cool. Powerful. Quiet.A good college laptop has those four key qualities. In other words, your kids want something that looks great, won't weigh them down, won't disturb the rest of the class while taking notes, and delivers the kind of performance that inspires envy in the tech geeks on their dorm floor. Why do we care what tech geeks think? Because this is Techwalla. Besides, nerds are in.
The Lenovo Yoga 900 looks great. This 13-inch laptop sports a two-tone look that will make your kid proud to take it out—and hopefully take care of it, too. Lenovo gives you three colors to choose from: Platinum Silver, Champagne Gold, or Clementine Orange (my favorite). The elegant watchband hinge is a style standout thatalso helps keep the Yoga 900 cool and quiet, thanks to specially designed vents. This laptop is a two-in-one, so you can bend it, flip it, or fold it and use it as a tablet. It weighs an airy 2.8 pounds, so your kid won't feel burdened while toting it between classes. And running Intel Core i processors up to sixth-generation i7s, it boasts plenty of power. Several models of the Yoga 900 are available, and their prices start at $1,050.
Inspiron 15 7000
The Dell Inspiron 15 7000 2-in-1 is a workhorse that won't break your tuition-dented bank. Yes, you want to give your kids the world, but you also want to be able to pay your electric bill. The Dell Inspiron 15 7000 offers a happy medium that doesn't involve any real skimping. The base model comes with a sixth-generation Intel core i5 and a 256GB solid-state drive—for an astonishing $750. That's not a good value, it's a great value. This laptop has four flexible modes, so it can be used as a tablet. Its brushed aluminum casing looks sharp, and a backlit keyboard and infrared camera for facial recognition come standard. Its weight is only so-so at 4.82 pounds. But if your kid complains about that, start reminiscing about how when you were in college you had to drag around 20-pound slide rules and 50-pound abacuses to do your computing on.
Surface Pro 4
Microsoft's Surface Pro 4 is a stylish tablet that most aficionados consider to be the best model to appear in the Surface line. According to fans, this is the iteration that really can replace your laptop, which has been Microsoft's goal all along. It looks good, with magnesium casing and a choice of colored Type Covers, from black to teal. (Bright Blue looks best.) Sixth-generation Intel Core processors and solid-state drives are standard. The drives start at 128GB and go up to 1TB. Given that the Surface Pro started life as a tablet, it's not surprising that the Surface Pro 4 is crazy light. Weight hovers between 1.69 and 1.73 pounds, depending on the processor. Earlier Surface products came with keyboards that a lot of people disliked. Not the Surface Pro 4. Its new Type Cover has been praised almost universally for its good ergonomics and comfortable feel. The Surface Pro 4 starts at $899. Microsoft is currently offering a $300 student discount for its i5 model.