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Gone are the days of just books, pencils, and paper. These days, one of the most crucial learning tools for students is a good laptop.
But with so many options out there, it can be scary to pick to right one to fit your needs and, more importantly, budget. And maybe even scarier if you’re getting a laptop for both school work and gaming.
Which is what brings us to the main question we will be answering in this article, which is: Are gaming laptops good for school?
The answer to that, like most things in life, is a little more complicated. But, we’ll make sure that at the end of this article, you’ll have all the knowledge to pick the best laptop for your situation, whatever it may be.
Let’s dive right into it.
Are Gaming Laptops Good for School?
Why Gaming Laptops Aren’t Good for School
At first glance, gaming laptops seem ideal for school. They can do just about anything a desktop can do. So they must be good for school, right?
Once you start digging deeper, you realize they are just too OP and cumbersome to carry to class on a daily basis.
Gaming laptops are made for gaming first, and everything else is secondary. Due to this, they are typically much larger in comparison to standard laptops in order to fit high-powered components such as a dedicated GPU.
To keep everything from burning up, they require fans and heat sinks, which not only make them heavier but make them louder when the fans spin up. You don’t want to disturb the class or have your fans be audible during video calls.
Additionally, the battery life is lower because it has to power a machine that was meant for gaming. Even if you adjust the power usage settings, you’re unlikely to get it up to par with laptops meant to last all day on one charge.
Lastly, most gaming laptop keyboards are made for, you guessed it, gaming. So the layout, spacing, or key sizes might not be ideal for typing essays or taking notes.
The only times we’d recommend a gaming laptop for school is to student gamers who plan on using their laptop for both school work and gaming, or to students who will be working with video graphics, rendering, etc.
Otherwise, you’ll be getting an overpowered laptop and won’t even reap the benefits of actually gaming on it.
What Makes a Laptop Good for School?
A lot of what makes a laptop good for school depends on what classes you plan on taking. Most students will be fine with a good, normal laptop.
But If you’re taking graphical arts, or something else requiring a decent amount of computing power, then you’ll want one with beefier specs, like a gaming laptop.
So, what makes a laptop good for school?
There are multiple factors that come together to make a good school laptop, and here we will break them down into a few main points.
You want a laptop that’s lightweight and portable. You wouldn’t want to be lugging around a heavy laptop to and from classes all the time.
If you’re attending classes in person, getting a compact laptop that you can carry around with ease would be your best option.
For portability, we would recommend the 2.48 lbs Microsoft Surface Laptop Go 2 (view on Amazon).
Besides its lightweight design, it comes equipped with a 12.4-inch touchscreen, 8GB of RAM, an i5 Intel CPU, a fingerprint scanner for privacy, and a battery life of 13.5 hours.
Unfortunately, it only comes with a maximum of 256GB of storage and does not have a built-in webcam. But if portability is your main concern, the Go 2 is a top choice.
Probably the second most important aspect of a good school laptop would be the battery life, especially if you’re attending on campus.
Nothing can be more frustrating than being in the middle of class and hearing your laptop beep at you as the screen dims. If you aren’t able to plug it in, then you’re SOL.
To minimize the chances of your laptop dying inconveniently, the best thing to do is to preemptively buy a laptop with long battery life.
One of the more affordable and longest-lived laptops to date is the MacBook Air M1 (view on Amazon), which is the cheapest option from the Apple family.
It features a 13-inch retina display, good-performing hardware, and a comfortable TKL keyboard and boasts an almost equal 18-hour battery life compared to its larger and newer cousin, the MacBook Pro 16 M2 Max.
However, if you’re taking classes online, then battery life won’t be as big of an issue as long as you’re near a power outlet.
Next, you want to consider the performance of a laptop. When shopping around, you need to look for a newer CPU so you know it’s up to par with today’s applications.
Additionally, make sure it has plenty of RAM and storage space–We recommend at least 8GB of RAM and 512GB of fast SSD storage, just to be on the safe side.
Typically more is better. This is so the laptop can handle multiple applications or browser windows for studying, class work, and other tasks. But keep in mind the more you get, the more you’ll pay.
For those of you looking for JUST a school laptop, then in most cases, you won’t need a GPU. The integrated graphics will do just fine for work, movies, video calls, etc.
If you do plan on gaming on your school laptop, then you’ll probably want to get a laptop with a dedicated GPU.
At this point, you might want to consider a budget gaming laptop, something like the Acer Nitro AN517 (view on Amazon).
It comes equipped with a huge 17-inch FHD display, an RTX 3050 dedicated GPU, 16GB of fast RAM, a full-sized backlit keyboard, and a 12th gen i5 processor.
It’s fast, able to play the latest games, and can multitask with the best of them. However, the main drawbacks are its size, weight, and roughly 8-hour battery life–and yes, that’s without gaming.
Keyboard and Connectivity
For most people, keyboards are an afterthought. But if you plan on taking notes and writing papers on a laptop, such as students do, then you want to make sure it’s a good one.
It can be hard to tell the quality of the keyboard without hands-on experience. Our best advice is to get a laptop with a full keyboard, not one full of clunky Fn functions.
If typing experience is your number one priority, the best thing you can do is to check our list of the top 8 laptops with the best keyboards.
Connectivity options are another major consideration. You’ll want a laptop with high-speed WiFi, Bluetooth, and enough USB ports to accommodate all your needs. You could always use a Bluetooth dongle and a USB hub, but why make that an afterthought?
All of that’s fine and dandy, but you need to ensure you balance what you need with what you want.
Sometimes, you might need to sacrifice some features like the amount of storage, the amount of RAM, or things like touchscreen abilities to balance it out.
Many places, Amazon included, offer payment plans. So if you can’t find a balance in your budget, but you can make payments, then you can get what you want without paying everything upfront.
This option can even allow you to upgrade, rather than downgrade, and get a laptop that’s even better than you originally wanted.
If you’d like to start shopping around for a laptop, we suggest that you check out our list of the 12 best budget laptops for students in 2023.
Until you stop and think about it, gaming laptops seem like great laptops to do all your schoolwork on. While that may be mostly true, they will be overpowered and simply not worth it for most students.
Unless you are taking some kind of graphical arts, or plan on using your laptop for both heavy gaming and school, then a gaming laptop isn’t the way to go.
You are better off buying a laptop with a good keyboard that’s compact, lightweight, and has a long-lived battery. No sense in carrying around a power-thirsty desktop replacement unless you have to.
This concludes our article. We hope you found it helpful, and if you did, consider sharing it with your family and friends on social media.
If you have any questions or feedback, feel free to shoot us an email or leave it in the comment section below.
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