Best MacBook for students in 2021

Best MacBook for students in 2021

(Image credit: Future)

Though there are less expensive options out there, the best MacBook for students ticks quite a few boxes as a learning device. The best laptops for students shouldn’t cost too much, which is why student Chromebooks are so popular. And, while Apple’s offerings can’t compete in terms of price, they are still worth taking a look at thanks to a few things they bring to the table like their portability.

The best MacBook for students is most certainly going to be something that’s thin and light. It’s going to be something that’s easy to take on the go, especially when you have to run from one class to the next. Don’t be fooled by the size – MacBooks pack a serious punch, able to handle everything necessary for you to finish your classwork. With one of these machines, you also get fantastic battery life, letting you cart it around on a single charge. And, macOS offers an incredibly smooth user experience which has only improved with the newest iteration, macOS 11 Big Sur.

Price will still be a hurdle as Apple’s laptops always seem to come at a premium. But, it’s not impossible to find some cheaper options, whether it’s looking at entry-level models or refurbished ones. To help you find the right device for you, we took power, portability, and price all into consideration to find the most appropriate devices. So, read on to find the best MacBook for students in 2021.

MacBook Air (M1, 2020)

(Image credit: Apple)

1. MacBook Air (M1, 2020)

The best Apple laptop for students

Specifications

CPU: Apple M1 chip with 8‑core

Graphics: Integrated 7-core – 8-core

RAM: 8GB – 16GB unified memory

Screen: 13.3-inch 2560 x 1600 Retina display

Storage: 256GB – 2TB SSD

Reasons to buy

macOS Big Sur is fast and responsive Battery life is great Silent in use

Reasons to avoid

Fanless design could impact performance

Apple topped last year off with a bang, rolling out their much-talked-about M1 silicon chip that’s so far been a real game-changer. And, the first laptop to receive it is the company’s thinnest and lightest, putting it on the list of the most exciting Apple laptops of recent years. With this new chip, the MacBook Air is better than ever, touting excellent performance alongside its brilliant battery life – without raising the price to keep it (fairly) affordable still. That makes it the best MacBook for students in 2021.

Read the full review: MacBook Air (M1, 2020)

MacBook Pro 13-inch (M1, 2020)

(Image credit: Apple)

2. MacBook Pro 13-inch (M1, 2020)

Apple’s little MacBook Pro gets a big refresh

Specifications

CPU: Apple M1 chip with 8‑core

Graphics: Integrated 8-core

RAM: 8GB – 16GB

Screen: 13.3-inch 2560 x 1600 LED-backlit Retina display

Storage: 256GB – 2TB SSD

Dimensions (H x W x D): 30.41 x 21.24 x 1.56 cm

Reasons to buy

Huge battery life Great performance Can run iOS apps

Reasons to avoid

Still lacks ports

The MacBook Pro 13-inch (M1, 2020) may not have gotten a massive design overhaul, but what it lacks in that department, it makes up for big-time in performance and battery life. Thanks to Apple’s groundbreaking M1 chip, the new MacBook Pro 13-inch delivers excellent performance and exceptional battery life. Its performance is so impressive, in fact, that it can easily handle 4K – and even 8K – videos. Whether you’re in high school or in college, this is the best MacBook for you if you’re looking for a powerful laptop that keeps things small and lightweight.

Read the full review: MacBook Pro 13-inch (M1, 2020)

MacBook Air (2020)

(Image credit: Apple)

3. MacBook Air (2020)

New and improved

Specifications

CPU: Intel Core i3 – i7

Graphics: Intel Iris Plus Graphics

RAM: 8GB – 16GB

Storage: 256GB – 2TB PCIe-based SSD

Dimensions: 30.41 x 21.24 x 1.61 cm

Reasons to buy

Lower price of entry New 10th generation processors Improved keyboard

Reasons to avoid

Screen colors a little mutedBattery life only OKWebcam still just 720p

Apple’s thinnest and lightest MacBook is back in 2021 with a vengeance. Not only has it fixed a lot of the complaints with its predecessors – namely, that problematic keyboard is now gone, replaced by a drastically improved keyboard. But it also comes with new and more powerful internal components, even more storage space options, and a lower price of entry. There are a couple of things we’d do better, like the muted screen and the average battery life, but this model of the MacBook Air is better than anything we’ve seen from the line so far. And, it’s definitely among the best MacBooks to date.

Read the full review: MacBook Air (2020) 

MacBook Pro (13-inch, 2020)

(Image credit: Apple)

4. MacBook Pro (13-inch, 2020)

Worth the upgrade at the highest configuration

Specifications

CPU: 8th-generation Intel Core i5 – 10th-generation Intel Core i7

Graphics: Intel Iris Plus Graphics 645

RAM: up to 32GB

Screen: 13-inch Retina display with True Tone

Storage: 256GB – 4TB SSD

Dimensions (H x W x D): 30.41 x 21.24 x 1.49cm

Reasons to buy

Improved specs (on some models) Larger capacity SSD for starting model New keyboard is great

Reasons to avoid

Entry-level model still has 8th gen Intel CPUYou still only get Thunderbolt 3 ports

The MacBook Pro (13-inch, 2020)’s entry-level model may miss out on some of the lineup’s new toys. However, going for the higher-end configurations will get you new (and powerful) Intel processors and improved RAM speeds for better performance, all packed in the 13-inch incredibly svelte body. Apple rounds it all out with that incredible Magic Keyboard from the new 16-inch, finally getting rid of that problematic keyboard. Even if you don’t go for the 10th-generation Intel Core configurations, you might still appreciate the fact that all models come with more storage capacity for the same price as their predecessors.

Read the full review: MacBook Pro (13-inch, 2020)

MacBook Pro (16-inch, 2019)

(Image credit: Apple)

5. MacBook Pro (16-inch, 2019)

Best MacBook for creative students

Specifications

CPU: 9th-generation Intel Core i7 – i9

Graphics: AMD Radeon Pro 5300M – Radeon Pro 5500M

RAM: 16GB – 64GB

Screen: 16-inch Retina display with True Tone

Storage: 512GB – 8TB SSD

Reasons to buy

Stunning 16-inch screen New and improved keyboard

Reasons to avoid

ExpensiveLimited to four Thunderbolt 3 ports

While we are sad that Apple has retired the 15-inch MacBook Pro, we’re more than happy to see the MacBook Pro (16-inch, 2019) hit the shelves. As thin, light and sleek as ever, this doesn’t feel like a 16-inch behemoth. If you’re worried that this was going to be bulky and awkward to use, don’t be. Yet, despite its svelte frame, you’re still getting that extra real estate on that stunning display, as well as the latest and greatest components behind it. Apple then rounds those out with amazing (and loud) speakers and a much, much better keyboard. This is truly the best MacBook for film, design, and photography students.

Read the full review: MacBook Pro (16-inch, 2019)

February 5, 2021
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