The best laptops and tablets for international students

best student laptop
Looking for the right device to support you in your studies? Here are our top picks. Source: Ethan Miller/AFP

As a student, it’s important to be equipped with the tools and devices you’ll need to be able to work effectively. From the best student laptop to tablet, these devices can do much to ease your working process at university, making it simple and effective for you to complete your assignments, study for exams, and more. 

In recent years, this has become more of a necessity than a benefit. Most assignments and tasks set by academics are conducted online, and if they are not, then the resources needed to complete them would be. The move towards virtual and distance learning over the course of the pandemic has only added to this, as well. 

Naturally, this over-reliance on technology has resulted in many students choosing to adopt at least one device at a minimum. In fact, research shows that the average 18- to 34-year-old college student in the US owns at least seven tech devices. Among these, the laptop is the most commonly owned (85%), closely followed by the smartphone or tablet (70%). 

By contrast, those who do not own an effective device reported experiencing troubles in their studies. “My laptop is very, very old, and it is extremely slow,” one student was reported saying in the same survey. “I have trouble opening up my classes, viewing lectures, downloading lectures or material, and can never hand my assignments in on time even if I finish them before the deadline because my laptop is so slow it takes forever to upload work.”

It can’t be stressed enough that you should invest in the right devices to support you in your studies.  Here are the best student laptops and devices you should be looking at: 

A proper student setup can do wonders in improving your work. Source: Ina Fassbender/AFP

Best student laptops and devices for a smooth learning experience

Laptop: Macbook Air

If you can afford to splurge a little, go for the best student laptop there is. With its light frame and easy-to-navigate system, the Macbook Air has become a favourite for students everywhere. 

More than that, it has been proven to run intensive tasks without any major setbacks. This, on top of its solid battery life and silent running use, makes it the ideal laptop for the all-round student experience. 

In 2022, the Macbook Air is priced at US$999 and above.

Laptop: Acer Chromebook Spin 311

While the Macbook Air is ideal for every student’s needs, there’s no denying that it is a very expensive option. For those on a budget, consider the Acer Chromebook Spin 311 — the best student laptop that is affordable without sacrificing quality. 

The most attractive aspect of the Acer Chromebook Spin 311 is its versatility. It has a good battery life, solid usability, and many ports, making it perfect for the occasional presentation. On top of this, it has a touchscreen display — giving it a tablet-feel that distinguishes it from other laptops. 

The only drawbacks, according to TechRadar, are that its battery power can sometimes be lacking and it suffers from low screen brightness. 

At the time of writing, the Acer Chromebook Spin 311 costs US$223.00 on Amazon

Laptop: Microsoft Surface Laptop Go 2

If you are on the hunt for a laptop that works great and is budget-friendly, then look no further than the Microsoft Surface Laptop Go 2

This sleek machine is not just a pretty face; it packs a punch with a strong Intel Core i5 processor and a generous 8GB of memory, ensuring it can tackle all your academic tasks effortlessly. 

And with a spacious 256GB SSD, you’ll have ample storage for all those lecture notes, research papers and assignments.

What sets the Microsoft Surface Laptop Go 2 apart is its commitment to quality. Weighing in at just 2.48 pounds (1.13 kg), it’s the perfect laptop for your on-the-go lifestyle. You can easily slide it into your bag to take for classes and study sessions.

Don’t be fooled by the ‘budget’ label – this laptop doesn’t skimp on the essentials. The 12.4″ touchscreen display is clear and easy to use. 

Say goodbye to constantly looking for plug points as this laptop has 13.5 hours of battery life.

Sure, the limited ports can be a slight issue, but in the grand scheme of things, it’s a minor trade-off for the portability and performance you’re getting. With a USB-A, USB-C, headphone jack and charging port, you have enough to cover the essentials.

The Microsoft Surface Laptop Go 2 is currently priced at US $329.98 on Amazon.

In recent years, it’s become almost essential for students to own their own laptops or smart devices. Source: Ethan Miller/AFP

Tablet: iPad Mini

Outside of laptops, tablets are extremely useful tools for students. This is particularly because of its light, portable nature, as well as touch screen which makes it easy to take handwritten notes, make notes while you’re reading, and come up with new designs. 

The iPad Mini does all of this and more. It is a suitable size to be carried around, being small enough to fit into your coat pocket without sacrificing battery life. On top of this, you can sync it with the Apple Pencil, making it suitable for just about any work or study task — from drawing and sketching to simple note-taking. 

The only drawback is its incompatibility with other devices — which means that you’ll only be able to utilise it to its full capacity if you already have a range of Apple products on hand. Other than that, it is a solid option for any student on the go. 

The iPad Mini starts at US$499

Tablet: Amazon Fire HD 8

If you’re searching for a suitable student tablet on a budget, look no further than the Amazon Fire HD 8. With this, you can expect a tablet that runs most apps that are available to you, from Microsoft Office to student planners and calendars. More than that, you can use your tablet for entertainment streaming, as well. 

The best part? The Amazon Fire HD 8 is directly compatible with all Amazon products. This is especially useful if you have a student Prime membership, or use its other apps like Audible, Amazon Fresh, and more. 

You can get the Amazon Fire HD 8 in a bundle from Amazon at US$114.99

Tablet: Samsung Galaxy Tab S9

The Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 is an excellent choice if money isn’t an issue. What’s great about this tablet is the range of sizes available. It comes in 11,12.4 and 14.6 inches, allowing you to choose whichever size fits you best. 

The best part is that each comes with an S Pen stylus which is great for taking notes in class and drawing maps as you study. 

The Galaxy Tab S9 series boasts a boost in RAM and processing power. Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chip and a generous 12GB of RAM provide a seamless experience for all your work. 

The Galaxy S9 Tab is not just your average tablet – they’re IP68-rated for water and dust resistance. So you don’t have to worry about it getting wet in the shower or if you accidentally spill your coffee on it. 

The quad AKG system takes the audio to new heights, so enjoy your music and videos directly from the speakers. Its features include a 12MP camera on both ends, 4K recording, and a nine-microphone system.

Sure, it comes with a hefty price tag, but consider it an investment to help you study and complete your work.

On Amazon the Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 currently retails for US $699.99.