Home » Guides » Best HP Laptop for Students [2020 Review]

Best HP Laptop for Students [2020 Review]

If you buy something through a link in our posts, we may get a small share of the sale.

HP produces some of the best budget laptops in the computer industry. No wonder it has become one of the most preferred brands for budget buyers like students. That’s why we prepared this guide to help you find the best HP laptop for students. 

Our Top HP Laptops for Students

After plenty of research, reading customer reviews, and asking around for expert opinion, we have identified the following HP laptops to be the best options for most students. 

Brand
Best Overall
HP Spectre x360
Best for the Money
Omen by HP
Best Cheap Pick
HP Pavilion 2019
Product
HP Spectre x360 2019 GEM Cut 13.3" FHD Touch...
Omen by HP 17-Inch Gaming Laptop, Intel Core...
HP Pavilion 2019 15.6 HD LED Laptop Notebook...
Processor
Intel i7-8565U
Intel Core i7-8750H
Intel I5-8265U
RAM
16GB
12GB
8GB
Rating
Best Overall
Brand
HP Spectre x360
Product
HP Spectre x360 2019 GEM Cut 13.3" FHD Touch...
Processor
Intel i7-8565U
RAM
16GB
Rating
Price
Best for the Money
Brand
Omen by HP
Product
Omen by HP 17-Inch Gaming Laptop, Intel Core...
Processor
Intel Core i7-8750H
RAM
12GB
Rating
Price
Best Cheap Pick
Brand
HP Pavilion 2019
Product
HP Pavilion 2019 15.6 HD LED Laptop Notebook...
Processor
Intel I5-8265U
RAM
8GB
Rating
Price

Best Overall HP Laptop for Students: HP Spectre x360

HP Spectre x360 2019 GEM Cut 13.3' FHD Touch...

The HP Spectre X360 is 13-inch 2 in 1 laptop with an attractive design, spectacular battery life, full HD touchscreen, and powerful hardware. The 360 in the name is a reference to the hinges allowing you to rotate the screen all the way until it becomes a tablet. 

This model is also thin and light, so you can comfortably haul it around without feeling it weighing you down. Despite the laptop’s slight frame, it contains a generous number of IOs including a full-size SD card reader, two USB-C, and thunderbolt-3 port. However, it lacks an HDMI port.

The Bang & Olufsen speaker grill runs along the top of the keyboard, giving you subversive, loud and clear audio. A centralized edge to edge keyboard layout on the HP Spectre is excellent for fast typing.

Each key is large and has a good travel distance. The touchpad is big, with windows precision drivers working like a charm.

The build quality for this laptop is undeniable because of the rigid aluminum chassis and gorilla glass on the screen. The HP Spectre x360 looks unique because of how well the colors contrast with the edges on the frame and ultra-thin bezels surrounding the display.

Specs-wise, the HP Spectre contains a 10th gen core i7 processor, ships with 16 GB of RAM, and a 512 GB SSD for storage. These should be more than enough for everyday tasks, even juggling dozens of tabs on your browser.

However, this laptop lacks a dedicated graphics card, which you could, of course, counter with an external GPU through the thunderbolt 3 port. Still, Intel’s Iris + graphics manages to hold its own when playing games such as Overwatch and Minecraft.

A neat fingerprint reader along one of the laptop’s edges gives it a secure lock. You can also unlock this laptop using windows hello since HP was able to fit in an IR camera on the top bezel. A physical switch lets you disable the webcam, which is a thoughtful touch for added privacy.

Overall, HP’s Spectre x360 stylish and ultra-portable design is superb for students. It doesn’t sacrifice power or usability.

What We Like

  • Excellent build quality with diamond cut angular edges
  • Super portable (2.92 lbs.)
  • Fingerprint reader for secure lock
  • Gorilla glass full HD touchscreen
  • HP stylus included
  • Long battery life

What We Don’t Like

  • No dedicated graphics card
  • Runs hot with many workloads
HP Spectre x360 2019 GEM Cut 13.3" FHD Touch...
  • HP Spectre x360 13T Cutting Edge GEM CUT Design - 8TH GENERATION QUAD CORE CPU: Intel Core i7-8565U...
  • SUPERIOR SPEED and NETWORKING: Fast Data Access with 512 GB PCIe NVMe M.2 SSD Intel 802.11b/g/n/ac...
  • IMPRESSIVE HD PANEL with HD Active Stylus Pen and Thunderbolt Support: Experience exceptional colors...

Best HP Laptop for Students for the Money: Omen by HP

Omen by HP 17-Inch Gaming Laptop, Intel Core...

This HP Omen laptop is a beast. This powerful laptop is an excellent alternative for students working with graphical intensive software. An example of this is engineering scholars who want to work with CAD (computer-assisted drawing) programs such as AutoCAD or designers with photoshop.

Most people consider gaming laptops are sometimes an eyesore, with designers making them putting making usability a priority over form. However, HP’s Omen looks premium with its aluminum chassis, and tapered edges. The cooling vents on the back and sides are sure to turn heads because of their monstrous size.

They are designed to cool down this laptop’s powerful hardware, which makes light work of power-hungry programs.

Omen by HP blasts through every benchmark thanks to its Intel Core i7 processor, backed up with Nvidia’s GTX 1050 Ti graphics card, which gives 4 GB of dedicated memory. Remember, the graphics card is RTX, so not throttled because of temperature in max-q variants. You can even overclock this machine, making sure you stay ahead for longer than its competitors as other newer models phase them out.

This machine also ships with 12 GB RAM, 1 TB HDD, and 128 GB SSD, all of which you can easily upgrade. The laptop’s 17.3-inch screen is full HD, IPS, has a 120 Hz refresh rate, and is anti-glare.

This gaming PC has an ample range of ports as well, to connect all your peripherals. For a gaming machine, this laptop is relatively portable coming in at 8.33 pounds. All things considered, Omen by HP is worth a look if looking for high-end specifications on a big gaming laptop. However, students won’t appreciate the fan noise inside a library when the PC is on full throttle.

What We Like

  • Full HD 17-inch anti-glare display
  • Full-sized backlit keyboard
  • One panel access to the internals
  • Powerful Bang & Olufsen speakers
  • Light in weight considering specifications
  • 4 GB VRAM graphics card

What We Don’t Like

  • Short battery life
  • Loud fans
Omen by HP 17-Inch Gaming Laptop, Intel Core...
  • Processor: 8th Generation intel(r) core(tm) i7-8750H Processor, 6-Core, 2.2GHz up to 4.1GHz.
  • Video Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti (4 GB GDDR5 dedicated).
  • Display: 17.3-Inch diagonal Full HD IPS Anti-Glare WLED-backlit (1920 x 1080) with 120Hz refresh...

Best Cheap HP Laptop for Students: HP Pavilion 2019

HP Pavilion 2019 15.6 HD LED Laptop Notebook...

It’s understandable if students don’t have that much disposable income. However, as a student, you still need a functional laptop that’s enough to get you through school, yet affordably priced. HP's Pavilion line of laptops offers decent specs while being easy on your pockets.

Sure, this machine won’t blow your mind with sheer power, but it does more than makeup for it by being cheaper compared to alternatives with similar specifications. This laptop features a core i5 processor, ships with 256 GB SSD, and 8 GB of ram.

You can easily upgrade the latter two. Its specs guarantee enough power to blast through everyday tasks. Be that as it may, this laptop still lacks a dedicated graphics card- meaning triple-A games won’t work.

In terms of ports, the HP Pavilion laptop has plenty to offer. It contains two USB 3.1, USB-C, and an HDMI port. The full-sized keyboard feels great to type on, with each key having a suitable amount of travel. The key response is nice and snappy while the touchpad is large and responsive.

Students will equally love the fast charging feature, which fills up the battery 50 percent in about 45 minutes. With a full charge, you can expect the laptop to last more than 12 hours while being productive or entertained. Take the HP Pavilion everywhere because it is also ultra-portable, weighing in at just 3.84 pounds.

For budget laptops, you always expect a hideous design. However, the HP Pavilion laptop has a sleek design and feels premium. Even though the frame is plastic, it seems like it can take a beating, only inspiring confidence when handling it.

What We Like

  • Fast charging and long battery life
  • Ultra-portable design 
  • Numerous ports for external connection 
  • Comfortable keyboard

What We Don’t Like

  • Sub-average display (720p)
  • No dedicated GPU or thunderbolt support
HP Pavilion 2019 15.6 HD LED Laptop Notebook...
  • Powerful: newest Intel Quad-Core i5-8265u, up to 3.9GHz
  • Fast: 8GB DDR4 RAM and 256 GB PCIe NVMe M.2 Solid State Drive
  • Multi-functional: USB 3.1, USB Type-C, HDMI, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth

What to Look For in A Laptop As A Student

There are features in a laptop that are more important for students than anyone else. For instance, the laptops in this list are Windows 10 ready, which is by far the most common platform. As a student, don’t even think of getting a Chromebook. No need to use MS word online, when you know the internet isn’t readily available in a school setting. 

Student using an HP laptop

Now, underneath is what you should ideally focus on in your next laptop

RAM

A safe bet in today’s world is to have at least 8 GB of memory in your laptop. Don’t get a computer with too little ram like 4 GB, since you will find applications such as Google Chrome using it all up. You also don’t need too much RAM like 32 GB, which is only useful if processing multiple images, videos, and such kinds of tasks.

Storage

SSDs are all the rage nowadays. Sure, they are faster and quiet. However, they are more expensive, and their speed, one would say, is only suitable for fast boot times. What should matter most to you as a student is getting enough storage for all your documents and files. Therefore, have at least 1 terabyte of storage, or an external drive to store all your data.

CPU

The laptops in this list have capable CPUs, with the least having a Core i5 processor. For that reason, you have more than enough processing power to meet minimum requirements in most, if not all software you’ll use in school.

Features

Students have diverse needs for their laptop, depending on what their course entails. As a designer, you want a machine built for quick graphics processing.

An excellent choice for such students is Omen by HP, which has a dedicated graphics card.

If you are one to take notes on the go, the HP Spectre X360 will serve you perfectly as you can use a stylus to annotate quickly. These are niche applications that you should consider to get the perfect laptop for you.

Design

Person scrolling through a laptop with a pen and notebook beside it

Do you want a clamshell laptop like the HP Pavilion 2019 or something fancier such as the HP Spectre x360 that is 2 in 1? Needless to say, this will depend on your budget primarily, and what the PC you choose can do for you.

One thing’s for sure, fancy laptops are more expensive. And, even though they don’t have as much power as high-end clamshell types, they are catching up quickly.

Size

In general, the larger the laptop’s screen, the heavier it will be. 13-inch laptops are great for students who routinely carry them on their backpack for school. However, 17-inch laptops e.g. Omen by HP is quite heavy. 

HP laptop placed on a table

It contains powerful hardware since it can accommodate sophisticated equipment like a dedicated GPU. So, it’s usually a balance between power, portability, and price, with one generally getting two out of three.

Conclusion

For sure, buying a new laptop isn’t the easiest thing in the world since there are lots of factors to consider. Ensure you’re getting the right one for you and it’s good value for money. We make your search a little easier with this list of the best HP laptops for students in every category.

A lover of MacBook Air and the Dell XPS line of laptops, Liam has been researching and writing as a guest blogger for numerous websites for over 10 years. Now, he blogs about tech trends, PCs, laptops, gadgets, and other emerging gadgets on FancyAppliance.com.