Electrical engineering involves lots of programming and simulation of software; therefore, a laptop that can handle this should always be a priority. Besides, as an electrical engineering student, you’ll need to cope with long studying hours and lectures and you’ll need a portable machine with good battery life. All in all, the best laptops for electrical engineering students maintain a fine balance between these factors without compromising your budget.
Luckily, we have narrowed down the vast amount of available student laptops and made a comprehensive list of the 7 best laptops for electrical engineering students.
Let’s get down to it.
|best overall||Dell XPS 15||
|Budget Pick||Acer Predator Helios 300||
|Mac Pick||MacBook Pro||
|Dell G5 15||
|Acer Aspire E 15||
|MSI GV62 8RD-200||
|Dell Inspiron 15 5000||
1. Dell XPS 15 7590 – Best laptop for electrical engineering students
CPU: 9th Gen Intel Core i7 9750H, 2.6 GHz | GPU: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 | RAM: 16GB DDR4 | Storage: 1TB SSD | Display: 15.6” 4K UHD 3480 x 2160p | Weight: 5.5lbs | Battery Life: 8 hours
This has a jaw-dropping silver build, discrete graphics unit, and impressive 4K display. Dell couldn’t make the XPS 15 any better. Compared to previous models such as the XPS 13, this Dell not only has a smaller chassis and a larger touchpad and keys, but also a narrower Infinity Edge bezel which allows for its 4K display.
Dell has fitted the XPS 15 with a 9th Gen Core i7 processor and a 16GB RAM on its thin chassis, which makes it ideal for gamers as well as being one of the best laptops for electrical engineering students. With its processor clocking at 2.6 GHz, you can open multiple programs at once – be it CAD Software or MATLAB simulation – without any lag in performance.
The XPS 15 also provides 1TB SSD storage. This is enough storage for your lecture documents and creative apps for coding. Similar to the XPS 13, this Dell also comes with an NVidia GeForce GTX 1650 unit with dedicated 4GB RAM – a perfect fit for the laptop’s 15.6″ 4K UHD display. This ultimate display means that you can easily switch from your routine engineering work to some high-end gaming.
The XPS 15 has a great 720p webcam on its upper bezel which is sharp enough for video conferencing. The keyboard is also backlit.
Unlike most current laptops, the XPS 15 has legacy ports, including an SD Card reader, USB Type-C port, 2 Thunderbolt 3 ports, and an audio port. In addition, it has an impressive battery life (lasting about 8 hours) which is something you don’t generally associate with most 4K display laptops.
One major drawback with the Dell XPS 15 is that it overheats when under too much load. Also, with a weight of 5.5lbs, it is not one of the most portable on this list of the best laptops for electrical engineering students. That being said, if you are willing to loosen your purse strings for a powerful premium machine, the Dell XPS 15 is worth every penny.
2. Acer Predator Helios 300 – budget Pick
CPU: 7th Gen Core i7, 3.8 GHz | GPU: NVidia GeForce GTX 1060 | RAM: 16GB DDR4 | Storage: 256GB SSD | Display: 15.6” FHD IPS 1920 x 1080p | Weight: 5.95 lbs | Battery Life: 5 hours
While it doesn’t have a standout design, the Predator Helios 300 has tapered edges and a gun-metal finish which give it a gamer aesthetic.
Similar to the XPS 15, the Helios 300 has a sturdy metal chassis with thin bezels which are designed for gaming. However, with an Intel Quad-Core i7 and an impressive 3.8 GHz clock speed, the Helios 300 will serve your electrical engineering needs perfectly.
In addition, Acer has incorporated a turbo boost button which allows the laptop’s powerful and overclockable NVidia GeForce GTZ 1060 GPU to run VR-based applications. Alongside the 7th Gen processor, this predator has 16GB RAM, which is upgradable to 32GB and a 256GB SSD storage for effortless multitasking.
It has a comfortable blue-backlit keyboard for typing code while its touchpad is smooth and responsive. With these features, you are not only all set for trivial coursework but also for any 3D rendering and software simulation projects you might need.
The Helio’s 300 IPS 15.6″ FHD 1080p – although not in the 4K range – supports a 144Hz refresh rate and maintains high image quality, even at wide view angles.
This Acer Predator G3-571-77QK series comes with a variety of ports; an Ethernet port, USB Type-C, HDMI, SD card reader, and a USB 3.0 port. Acer have also included an extra 2.5″ HDD slot for external memory in case you need it.
The Acer’s Achilles heel is a below average battery life, which lasts approximately 5 hours when video streaming. Furthermore, its big and bulky design – it weighs almost 6lbs – means it is not particularly portable.
However, despite these drawbacks, this Acer Predator Helios 300 packs a high-end 7th Gen processor, has a powerful NVidia GPU, and comes at an affordable price. It also has a dedicated key on the right-hand side for launching Acer’s PredatorSense software which controls audio profiles, fan speed, and power plans. This makes it one of the best laptops for electrical engineering students.
3. New MacBook Pro – Best performance for a Mac user
CPU: 8th Gen Intel Core i5, 1.4GHz | GPU: Intel Iris Plus Graphics 645 | RAM: 8GB | Storage: 256GB SSD| Display: 13.3” Retina 2560 x 1600p IPS display | Weight: 3.1 lbs | Battery Life: 10 hours
This MacBook Pro upholds Apple’s tradition of rock-solid sturdy designs and keyboards. It is not only more resistant to physical damage, but it has magnet-like ports for its chargers so there will be no more tripping over your charger cables anymore.
The new MacBook Pro comes with an 8th Gen Core i5 and an integrated Intel Iris Plus Graphics 645, which can handle lightweight software simulation and gaming. It is also equipped with 256GB PCle based SSD storage and 8GB RAM which can be increased to 32GB. In addition, you have the option of installing a core i7 10th Gen Intel processor, but this will obviously eat into your budget.
While it isn’t an essential feature for an electrical engineering student, this Mac Pro comes with a Touch Bar and Touch ID feature. It also features a Magic Keyboard which has compressible rubber domes and a scissor mechanism for a much quieter typing experience.
You don’t want to spend long hours in front of a screen that’s punishing on your eyeballs. Luckily, this MacBook Pro’s 13.3″ 1600p IPS retina display ensures text and colors appear sharp. In addition, the True Tone technology makes it an ideal laptop for outdoors. The 720p webcam offers marginal video quality, but this is to be expected in a laptop camera.
The MacBook Pro is also quite lightweight (3 lbs), which makes it an ideal student laptop due to its portability. When it comes to connectivity, it has 2 USB Type-C Thunderbolt 3 ports but lacks the traditional USB 2.0 port.
The lack of a dedicated graphics chip as well as the 8th Gen Core i5 in this MacBook are major drawbacks, particularly considering other laptops in this price range, such as the Dell XPS 15, offer 9th Gen Core i7s. However, its processor provides enough power to run multiple apps while also browsing without any lagging. It has a 10-hour battery life while browsing the web.
Although it is a bit expensive and lacks traditional USB ports, this new MacBook Pro is one of the best laptops for electrical engineering students due to its portability and sturdy build.
4. Dell G5 15 G5587-7866BLK Gaming Laptop – Affordable and excellent build quality
CPU: 8th Gen Intel Core i7 8750H, 2.20GHz | GPU: NVidia GeForce GTX 1050 Ti | RAM: 16GB DDR4 | Storage: 256GB SSD + 1TB HDD | Display: 15.6” FHD 1920 x1080p | Weight: 6.8 lbs | Battery Life: 7 ½ hours
The G5 15 is part of the Dell G series of gaming devices. Dell went with an all-plastic body and soft finish lid and smooth edges for this G5. The deep-space black hood, single hinge in the middle, and glossy red Dell logo all look decent.
However, it has thick bezels and gray vents at the back. It is a top pick for gamers thanks to its Core i7 processor and discrete GTX 1050 Ti graphics card, so it should perform superbly with software simulation and other electrical engineering projects.
The 16GB RAM and 4GB of the GPU guarantees adequate productivity for a comparatively lower price. It also has a dual-storage drive with 256GB SSD and 1TB HDD, which is enough for your personal notes and programs.
In addition, its 15.6″ FHD 1080p has an anti-glare panel which will keep your eyes safe. The G5587 also uses an IPS display, which unlike cheaper TN panels, allows for wide viewing angles. However, its display is a little bit dim. Furthermore, the 720p webcam provides blotchy and grainy images, and you might need an external webcam if you want to participate in a video conference.
On the other hand, this G5 includes the Waves MaxxAudioPro which eliminates any sound distortion in your music for clearer sound output.
For optimal performance, this G5 has a dual-fan cooling system which is supported by two heat pipes to avoid overheating when running heavy programs. It also has good connectivity options: a Thunderbolt 3 USB port, RJ45 port, three USB 3.0 ports, an audio jack port, and an HDMI port.
The G5587 has a remarkable battery life – about 7 ½ hours – compared to other laptops in the same price range, such as the Acer VX 15 and MSI GV62. However, weighing in at about 6.1 lbs, this Dell is quite thick and heavy compared to other laptops on this list.
This Dell G5 15 has combined affordability, excellent battery life, and discrete graphics, which makes it not only a good option for midrange gamers, but also one of the best laptops for electrical engineering students.
5. Acer Aspire E 15 – Great battery life and budget laptop
CPU: 8th Gen Intel Core i5-8250U, 3.4GHz | GPU: NVidia GeForce MX150 | RAM: 8GB DDR4 | Storage: 256GB SSD | Display: 15.6” FHD 1920 x 1080p | Weight: 5.25 lbs | Battery Life: 9 hours
The Aspire E 15 had to make this list as it offers great value for money, particularly for students who are not against forking out a thousand dollars for a laptop.
Although its 8th Gen Intel Core i5 is not at the same level as the i7s, this Acer’s processor has 4 cores and 8 spreads, so it performs decently with most mid-range activities. This should save you from frustration caused by lagging in the lower end processors such as the Celeron or Core i3s.
In addition, with its 8GB DDR3 RAM, you can enjoy streaming sessions while multitasking without any lag in performance. Also, the Aspire E 15 only has a SATA III 256GB SSD, which is much lower than the latest PCle SSDs. However, it is still much faster than traditional hard drives.
Furthermore, it has a decent GPU – the GeForce MX150 graphics card – which allows you to run low levels of 3D modeling or software simulations at a relatively decent FPS. Its 15.6″ screen has a matte finish IPS panel, which allows wide-angle viewing without any image reflection. The E 15’s backlit keyboard has a number pad and provides a comfortable typing experience.
Most of its ports are on the left side: a pair of USB 3.0 port, HDMI port, VGA, Ethernet port, and a USB Type-C port. It also has an SD card reader, optical drive, and audio jack on the right side.
Acer estimates that the E 15’s battery lasts about 15 hours, but various tests show that it reaches about 9 hours while web surfing on low brightness. This Aspire weighs approximately 5.25 lbs and is slightly bulky. However, its slim build means it easily fits into a backpack, which is a key feature for the best laptops for electrical engineering students.
The Aspire’s E 15 major cons are its dim display and bloatware. However, with an 8th Gen Core i5 processor, 256GB SSD, and 1080p display, it’s difficult to find similar features on any other laptop in this price range. It’s an affordable laptop for your living room.
6. MSI GV62 8RD-200 – Affordable and powerful laptop
CPU: Intel Core i5-8300H, 2.3GHz | GPU: NVidia GeForce GTX 1050Ti | RAM: 8GB DDR4 | Storage: Intel Optane 16GB +1TB HDD | Display: 15.6” FHD EDP 1920 x 1080p | Weight: 4.80 lbs | Battery Life: 4 hours
MSI has a good track record of providing affordable gaming laptops with great graphics and display. The MSI GV62 is no different – it has a built-in steel series backlit keyboard and anti-ghosting key
The MSI GV62 8RD-200 has a plastic body and the lid has a smooth matte finish. While the body is not as sturdy – you can see the lid flex under pressure – the keyboard deck and chassis are quite solid and sturdy.
Under the hood, this MSI comes with an 8th Gen Core i5 which is supported by an 8GB RAM and has two sockets for upgrading it to 32GB. The 8th Gen processor ensures faster clock speeds and better hyperthreading than the 7th Gen processor on the MSI GL62. While not high-end, this Core i5 should be adequate for most electrical engineering tasks.
Rather than a pure SSD, MSI added a 16GB Optane Memory to this GV62 in order to boost the performance of the 1TB HDD. While it doesn’t perform as well as an SSD, this memory will help get the maximum power from the 1TB hard drive, so you’ll get fast boot and load times while multitasking.
In addition, this MSI GV62 comes with a GTX 1050T1 graphics card which ensures smooth gaming or running of graphically-demanding programs. Furthermore, this GPU is energy efficient, so your PhotoShop and AutoCAD software can run seamlessly.
It also has a 15.6″ FHD EDP 1080p display which renders at 120Hz within its moderately thin bezel. Its color accuracy and images are above average. The screen uses In-Plane Switching made from TN panels, so it only offers wide horizontal viewing angles.
This MSI GV62 offers a variety of ports. On the right side, it has an SD card slot and a USB 2.0 port while the left side has an RJ45 port, two USB 3.0 ports, two audio jack ports, and a Mini DisplayPort which can support 4k display.
In an attempt to keep the GV62’s weight down – it weighs about 4.8 lbs – MSI added a 41 WHr battery, which is quite small for it 15.6″ display and processing unit. This explains its poor battery life of around just 4 hours. This is way below the 10-hour battery life of the Dell Inspiron 15 or Razor Blade.
If you can see past the poor battery life, the MSI GV62 is quite light and durable. It generally has positive reviews. While it’s an excellent entry-level gaming laptop, it competes well with other best laptops for electrical engineering students in the same price range.
7. Dell Inspiron 15 5000 – Great design and performance
CPU: 8th Gen Intel Core i7-8565U, 3.9 GHz | GPU: NVidia GeForce MX250 | RAM: 8GB DDR4 | Storage: 128GB SSD + 1TB HDD | Display: 15.6” FHD IPS 1920 x 1080p | Weight: 6.24 lbs | Battery Life: 5 hours
Unlike the 7000 series, this Dell Inspiron 15 has a plastic body with metal coverings on the palm rests. It has a quality slim build with narrow bezels. Despite this, the chassis is rigid, and the single hinge is quite strong.
Dell Inspiron 15 comes with an 8th Gen Intel Core i7 and 8GB DDR4 RAM which is quite fast and can handle demanding programming and video streaming. In addition to the 128GB SSD, this Dell Inspiron 15 5000 has 1TB HDD storage, which is great for your files and programs.
This model’s graphics are handled by the NVidia GeForce MX150 GPU with 2GB GDDR5 memory. This GPU is dedicated to entry-level gaming laptops. It is also quite power-efficient. With a Core i7 clocking at almost 4.0GHz, the MX150 should work effortlessly with all your software simulations.
The Dell 15 5000 15.6″ IPS display offers nicely saturated colors and decent wide viewing angles. It also provides an anti-glare finish, which makes it very comfortable for your eyes. However, despite the wide IPS and matte panel, it has poor outdoor visibility due to the dim backlight.
It has a spacious backlit keyboard with plenty of hand rest room, well-spaced keys, and a responsive touchpad. It also has an epic 3D Sound with Waves MaxxAudio Pro. In terms of connectivity, this Dell 15 1500 has an SD card slot, Ethernet port, headphone, and mic combo jack port, 2 USB 3.0 ports, and a USB 2.0 port.
The only other drawback – besides the horrible display and being bulky (6.24 lbs) – is that it runs for only about 5 hours on battery. However, these drawbacks can be overlooked as its 8th Gen Core i7 processor rivals most of the other best laptops for electrical engineering students on this list.
Buying Guide: What Should You Look for in the Best Laptop for Electrical Engineering Students?
As an electrical engineering student, getting a laptop which can handle your course work and projects throughout your college life is essential. From designing using AutoCAD to using SCADA simulations, the best laptops for electrical engineering students require a lot of processing power and RAM to run software smoothly.
However, this doesn’t mean you need to spend all your rent money on the latest high-end laptop on the market. On the other hand, you don’t want to go for a cheap laptop which compromises on other aspects such as display, portability, and battery life either.
While your budget and desired design, among other factors, play a part when choosing the best laptop, here are the key features we considered when coming up with the 7 best laptops for electrical engineering students 2020:
Also known as the Central Processing Unit (CPU), the processor is an essential part of a computer. It is the brain of your PC and is tasked with interpreting all commands sent by the computer’s hardware and software.
The CPU’s power is measured by the number of cores as well as the clock speed, which is measured in GHz. The clock speed refers to how fast the processor interprets and executes commands per second.
Electrical engineering mostly involves 2D-centric work ,such as equation editors and simulation software like ANSYS. You will want to go for a processor which can run these programs while you also surf the web without any lagging issues.
Most software requires a minimum of an 8th Gen Core i5 processor. The one on the New MacBook Pro executes smoothly.
However, most of the best laptops for electrical engineering students run on an 8th Gen Quad-core i7 processor, clocking at above 2.0 GHz. These can run multiple software simultaneously without any drop in performance.
A laptop like the Dell XPS 15 scores highly on the processor aspect. It has a 9th Gen Core i7 H series. You can easily turn it into a gaming laptop if the need arises. Another notable mention is the Dell G5 15, with the 8th Gen Core i7 clocking at 2.2GHz.
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Also known as Random Access Memory, this works in tandem with the CPU. The RAM stores data which the processor needs to access immediately. Your laptop’s RAM allows you to quickly open a document or app with the click of a mouse.
Furthermore, laptops come with various types of RAM: DDR3, DDR3L, and the most recent DDR4. DDR4 is the most recommended as it not only offers faster clock speeds and reduced latency, but also consumes less power. Luckily, most laptops in 2020 come with DDR4, so this shouldn’t be much of a worry.
Having a larger memory – which you shouldn’t confuse with your storage – helps you to work on large software. If you have a faster processor, you will need to match its speeds with a bigger RAM for better performance.
Most electrical engineering software requires a lot of memory to generate data. Therefore, you need a minimum of 8GB RAM. If you want to run bigger programs such as Simcenter 3D, you can upgrade it to 16GB or 32GB.
The Aspire E 15’s motherboard supports dual-channeling on its 8 GB DDR4 RAM, which means that it can access memory faster, thereby improving your processor’s performance. In addition, the Dell XPS 15, Acer Helios 300, and the Dell G5 15 all run on 16GB DDR4 RAM. They are the best laptops for electrical engineering students in 2020 who might need to run heavier software.
A high-quality Graphics Processing Unit (GPU) is a must-have for the best laptops for electrical engineering students. It is the key to how your computer creates and displays images on your screen. It also works alongside your CPU by offloading some of the tasks involving your PC’s graphics from the CPU.
Similar to the CPU, the GPU also operates using cores – in this case, hundreds of cores – to handle multiple commands and executions regarding image creation.
Some of the best MacBooks for electrical engineering students come with integrated graphic units, such as the Intel Iris Plus Graphics 645 on the new MacBook Pro. This can handle most software while also being quite easy on your battery.
However, most of the best laptops for electrical engineering students are equipped with dedicated graphics chipsets to help your simulations run smoother. After all, work environments such as MATLAB or Semicenter 3D don’t work well with built-in graphic adapters.
Students on a budget can consider entry-level chipsets such as the NVidia GeForce MX150 with 2GB RAM which is found in the Acer Aspire E 15. This comes at a reasonable price and can handle most, if not all, electrical engineering software. Some of the best graphics chipsets on this list include the NVidia GeForce GTX 1650 and the GTX 1050Ti found in the Dell XPS 15 and MSI GV62, respectively.
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Unlike RAM, storage doesn’t function instantaneously. It is much larger and is used for all your files and programs. Storage comes in the form of SSDs and HDDs. The major difference is that the former stores data in memory modules, which allows for quick access. The latter uses a magnetized disk which accesses data through rotation and is much slower.
Unlike traditional HDD, SSD doesn’t slow down your machine. It also doesn’t drain your battery. However, HDDs are also viable options as they offer more space. Laptops with SSDs are more expensive, so if you’re on a budget, you should consider going for one with an HDD.
Laptops such as the Dell Inspiron 15 5000 and the Dell G5 G5587 have storage hybrids (SSD and HDD). This provides ample storage for your operating system and program software, as well as additional space for your documents and personal entertainment files.
The MSI GV62 combines 16GB Optane Memory with a 1TB HDD. The Optane Memory has helped bridge between SSDs and HDDs in terms of fast speeds and large space. You should consider going for this if you can’t afford the high-end 1TB SSD which is found in the Dell XPS 15.
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Similar to graphics, having a great display means you can work both indoors and outdoors without much strain. The main features to look out for in an optimum display are resolution and screen type. You might also consider screen size, but most of the best laptops for electrical engineering students have a maximum 15.6″ screen, due to portability.
Regarding resolution – the display’s number of pixels – an ideal laptop should have at least 1920 x 1080p. This displays images with greater detail. The Dell XPS 15 has a 3480 x 2160p 4k display, which promises high HD images with smoother edges and faster screen refresh rates.
At the same time, the screen type depends on the LCD panel used to make it. The two main types are TN or IPS. Twisted Nematic (TN) is the least expensive as it provides narrow viewing angles and colors. However, it offers faster refresh rates. In-Plane Switching (IPS) panels run slower, but offer wide viewing angles and better image quality.
Most of the best laptops for electrical engineers students 2020 come with IPS and 1080p displays.
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A laptop’s battery life cycle depends on the number of times it can withstand charging. Most laptop batteries can handle about 500 full cycles – a full discharge from 100% to zero and a recharge back to 100%.
The better a battery’s capacity (mAH), the longer its run time. However, battery life also depends on the time you spend with the screen on as well as the processes you are running. Good battery life means that you won’t be bound to your desk connected to the charging socket.
Maintaining Apple’s history of long-lasting batteries, the New MacBook Pro stands out as the best MacBook for electrical engineering students in terms of battery life (10 hours). On the other hand, the MSI GV62 and the Inspiron 15 5000 have mediocre battery life – both last for less than 5 hours.
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Electrical engineering requires a good laptop which won’t only help you complete your assignments but is also portable enough to carry around campus. Getting a laptop such as the Acer Aspire E 15, which can handle your graphics needs, simulations, and software while not spending too much should prepare you for the long semester ahead.
Our top pick is the Dell XPS. It checks all the necessary boxes when it comes to the best laptops for electrical engineering students. It comes with a 9th Gen Core i7 supported by 16GB RAM and 4k display. The battery life is also very impressive.