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Back to school: The best laptops for students in 2023

5 minute read
Image: Shutterstock

Creative students require laptops that can handle resource-intensive tasks such as graphic design, video editing, and 3D modeling while providing a seamless and efficient workflow. Whether it's designing captivating visuals or editing breathtaking videos, let's look at the best laptops that empower creative students heading to school or college for the 2023/2024 academic year.

While some countries' schools and colleges are still hard at it and haven't broken up for the summer in the northern hemisphere, elsewhere the holidays have been going on for weeks already and the marketing campaigns are already kicking in as people look ahead to a new academic year. So, given that a new laptop for the next academic year is an appreciable part of many people's budget, we thought we'd research and write this sooner rather than later.

Performance and processing power

For creative students, a laptop needs to have solid performance and processing power. Creative tasks such as graphic design, photo editing, video editing, and 3D modeling often require intensive software and demand a responsive and capable system. A laptop with a powerful processor, such as an Intel Core i7 or AMD Ryzen 7, is recommended when working with complex tasks. Additionally, a sufficient amount of RAM, preferably 16GB or more, enables smooth multitasking and efficient handling of large files.

A dedicated graphics card, such as an NVIDIA GeForce or AMD Radeon, is beneficial for accelerated rendering and improved performance in graphics-intensive applications. Overall, a laptop with robust performance and processing power allows creative students to work seamlessly, achieve faster rendering times, and unleash their artistic potential without being hindered by hardware limitations.


AMD Radeon and NVIDIA RTX, Photo credit Shutterstock

Additional tips for creative students

In addition to the power of the laptop, think about the specific software and tasks you'll be using for your creative work. Different creative disciplines have varying hardware and software requirements, so understanding your needs will help you choose a laptop that can handle them effectively. 

Consider the amount of storage you'll need for your projects and files. Solid-state drives (SSDs) are faster and more reliable than traditional hard drives and provide a better performance, so opt for a laptop with ample SSD storage or a combination of both.

Consider the battery life of the laptop, especially if you'll be working on the go or in situations where access to power outlets may be limited. Look for laptops with long-lasting batteries to ensure you can work uninterrupted.


ASUS ProArt Studiobook 16 OLED running Maya. Photo credit ASUS ProArt

ASUS ProArt Studiobook 16 OLED - For visual artists

  • Operating System: Windows
  • Key Features: OLED Display, powerful performance, extensive connectivity ports, and professional-grade software support
  • Ideal for: Graphic design, photography, video editing, and other visually demanding creative tasks
  • Price: $1,899 (DISCOUNT until 22nd of July)

The Studiobook 16 OLED has a 16-inch OLED display with exceptional color accuracy, deep blacks, and vibrant visuals. This makes it a great choice for creative professionals who require precise color representation. It is equipped with high-performance components, such as Intel Core i7 or i9 processors, NVIDIA GeForce RTX graphics, and RAM, allowing you to multitask and handle intensive creative tasks like video editing and 3D rendering. Despite its powerful hardware, the laptop remains relatively lightweight for students who need to work on the go or in different locations.

Its connectivity options include USB-C, HDMI, Thunderbolt, and an SD card reader, so you can connect it with various peripherals and external devices. ASUS has collaborated with software developers to optimize the ProArt StudioBook series for professional software applications commonly used in creative fields, ensuring smooth and efficient performance such as Adobe Creative Cloud.

MacBook Pro - For Apple ecosystem

  • Operating System: macOS
  • Key Features: Powerful performance, stunning Retina display, long battery life
  • Ideal for: Graphic design, video editing, photography, digital art
  • Price: starting from $999

The MacBook Pro is equipped with powerful hardware components, including high-performance processors, ample RAM, and fast storage options. This allows creative students to run resource-intensive applications smoothly, such as graphic design software, video editing tools, and 3D modeling applications. With its high-resolution Retina display you get excellent color reproduction and wide color gamut. This ensures that visual projects, such as photo editing and graphic design, are displayed accurately and with great detail, helping students produce high-quality work. Apple's macOS operates seamlessly with other creative software such as Adobe Creative Cloud which has been optimized for macOS. New M2 based machines stick around $300 on the price but represent a huge increased in processing power over the first M1-based generation of Apple silicon.

Well-known for its sleek and lightweight design, making it easy for students to carry it around campus or between classes. Apple's ecosystem bridges across to iPads and iphones and offers seamless integration across multiple devices. This can be advantageous for creative students who wish to transfer files, collaborate with others, or access their work from different Apple devices.

ASUS ROG Zephyrus G16 - For gamers

  • Operating System: Windows
  • Key Features: Powerful performance, high refresh rate, cooling system, and battery life
  • Ideal for: Gamers and other tech enthusiasts working on the go
  • Price: starting from $1,649.99

All work and no play etc etc. The ASUS ROG Zephyrus G16 combines power, portability, and versatility. With its powerful processor and dedicated NVIDIA GeForce graphics card, the G16 dominates the latest AAA games by allowing students to handle demanding tasks such as video editing, programming, or running resource-intensive software while running games. Its 16-inch display offers a high-resolution visual experience, making it ideal for content creation. With support for up to 48GB of RAM and up to 2TB of SSD storage, the G16 can store your entire game library and easily keep background apps running smoothly as you play.

The G16's compact and lightweight design makes it highly portable, allowing students to easily carry it between classes. The laptop also boasts a long battery life, ensuring uninterrupted productivity throughout the day. Furthermore, the G16 features an extensive range of connectivity options, including multiple USB ports, HDMI, and an SD card reader, making it convenient for students to connect peripherals, transfer files, and present their work.

ASUS Zenbook Pro 14 Duo OLED - For multi-taskers

  • Operating System: Windows
  • Key Features: Dual OLED screen, ScreenPad Plus, performance, connectivity
  • Ideal for: Professionals, content creators and digital artists
  • Price: starting from $1,369.99

Standouts from the rest are the Zenbook Pro 14 Duo OLED with its dual-screen design. The primary display is a 14-inch OLED panel that pushes the visuals with deep blacks, vibrant colors, and exceptional contrast. But what sets this laptop apart is the ScreenPad Plus, a secondary touchscreen, just above the keyboard. This 12.6-inch touchscreen helps to multitask and enhance workflow. Whether you're editing videos, designing graphics, or managing multiple windows, the dual-screen setup gives you the flexibility to work more efficiently and creatively. It is powered by 12th Gen Intel Core i9-12900H processor that is paired with the studio-grade NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050 Ti graphics.

Zenbook Pro 14 Duo OLED remains highly portable. The laptop features a slim and lightweight design, making it easy to carry on the go. It also boasts a comprehensive selection of ports, including Thunderbolt 4, USB 3.2, HDMI, and an audio jack, offering seamless connectivity for peripherals and external displays.

Acer Aspire 5 - For the budget-conscious

  • Operating System: Windows
  • Ideal for: Budget-friendly laptop for tasks such as graphic design, photo editing, web browsing, document creation, and multimedia consumption.
  • Price: $500 to $800

The Acer Aspire 5 comes with a range of configurations, but for creative work, it's recommended to choose a model with at least an Intel Core i5 or AMD Ryzen 5 processor, and 8GB to 16GB of RAM. This ensures smooth multitasking and efficient handling of creative software. The laptop features a 15.6-inch Full HD display with good color reproduction and clarity. Some models of the Acer Aspire 5 come with dedicated graphics cards, such as the NVIDIA GeForce MX150 or MX350.

The Acer Aspire 5 is relatively lightweight and portable, making it convenient for creative students who need to carry their laptops on the go. The Acer Aspire 5 comes equipped with various ports, including USB Type-A, USB Type-C, HDMI, and an SD card reader, enabling easy connection to peripherals and external devices. 

Going back to school

By understanding your needs and preferences, you can make a decision that aligns with your creative goals and enhances your overall productivity. The perfect laptop is the one that empowers you to unleash your creativity and reach your full potential as a student. Good luck!

Tags: Production Laptops Education