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The best laptop for doctoral student depends on what the doctoral is in. We explore several options in this guide. As a doctoral student you will be doing a lot of research and writing. Because of that you need a laptop that is good to type on, comfortable to look at, and is decently fast. You will likely need a moderate amount of RAM so that you can run multiple programs at once without the computer feeling too sluggish.
If you are studying something engineering related or need a lot of computation power for your research then you need to go with one of the more powerful options.
List of Best Laptops for Doctoral Students
Dell Inspiron 15 7000 – Top Pick
The Dell Inspiron 7000 is a great option for a doctoral student. It packs a lot of power for a reasonable price. The laptop comes with the same CPU that you would find in most high end gaming laptops without the price tag. The CPU is the i7-9750H. The CPU is the brain of the computer and this will keep the laptop feeling fast for years to come.
This laptop even comes with a dedicated GPU, making the laptop a great option for things such as gaming or even some data science tasks if you require it. There are more powerful options out there, but they are also going to be a lot more expensive. This laptop comes with the Nvidia GTX 1050 which is a quite decent GPU.
There is 8 GB of RAM on the laptop. This is a very reasonable amount of RAM and it is the new standard for mid-range laptops. The great thing is that it is the DDR4 kind which is both faster and uses less power than the previous DDR3 model. If you require more RAM in the future you can also upgrade this up to 32 GB according to the manufacturer.
As far as space goes it is a bit on the lower end. There is a 256 GB SSD, which should be enough for most people. If you are in need of more space you can also purchase some external storage. Either an external hard disk or online storage are potential options.
See the Dell Inspiron (#ad) on Amazon.
Acer Aspire – Budget Option
The Acer Aspire comes in many different models and price ranges. This particular one offers a great compromise between power and price. The CPU is the laptop is an i5-8265U, which is perfectly capable as long as you are not going to do any machine learning related things. For everyone else this is a great option.
Even this cheaper laptop comes with a Nvidia GeForce MX250 GPU. This is not the most powerful GPU but it does make it capable of doing a lot of extra computation tasks quite well. You could even relax with a game or two if you wanted.
There is 8 GB of DDR4 RAM in the laptop. This is really good for a laptop in this price category. It is important for longevity that the laptop has the DDR4 kind because it is not possible to upgrade from DDR3 to DDR4.
There is a 512 GB SSD which should offer plenty of storage space.
This laptop has a weaker CPU and GPU, but it still offers good RAM and good storage. This makes this laptop a really good option if you don’t need a lot of raw power. It is actually better for you in terms of value for your money because you will not feel much of a difference if you don’t do things that require the more powerful parts.
See the Acer Aspire (#ad) on Amazon.
MSI GS65 Stealth-430 – Most Powerful
The MSI GS65 Stealth-430 is here for the doctoral students who need more power. If your area of study is computer science or you need to do machine learning for your doctoral dissertation, then this is the best option for you. The laptop comes with the Intel Core i7-9750H CPU. This is the CPU that comes on the high end gaming laptops so you know it is quite powerful.
There is an Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 GPU in the laptop. This is one of the best GPUs for a laptop and it will make the laptop suitable for tasks that require a lot of power. This is also a good option if you want to play video games onvery high settings.
There is 32 GB of RAM in the laptop. This is the amount you want if you do need to do things related to data science for your dissertation. As a phd student the best laptop for you really depends on what you are studying.
The laptop has a 1TB SSD which should be more than what most people would need.
There are also a lot of other features about the laptop that you should check out.
See the MSI GS65 Stealth-430 (#ad) on Amazon.
ASUS ZenBok 13 Ultra Slim – Best Battery Life
The ASUS ZenBook is a smaller 13 inch laptop that is incredibly easy to bring places. If you are often on the go then this laptop is a great companion. The laptop also has up to 14 hours of batter life so you can be away all day working and not having to re-charte the battery.
The ZenBook comes with an i7-8565U CPU. This model is the previous version but if you mostly do online research as well as writing then this CPU is just right. It is a lot cheaper than a more powerful one and it provides better battery life. If you don’t need a better CPU for what you do then you probably wont notice any difference in performance.
The keyboard for this laptop has an interesting ergonomic design, where it tilts the keyboard slightly when you open the screen. This is a better typing position and if you do a lot of writing then this would be a good option.
There is 16 GB of DDR3 RAM which is okay for the amount, but since it is DDR3 it is not the best if you require a lot of power. For normal usage this should be good enough. There is also a 512 GB SSD which is good for such a small laptop.
See the ASUS ZenBook (#ad) on Amazon.
The best laptop for you depends on what you are studying. If you are studying something that needs a lot of raw power then have a look at the MSI model. If you are looking for a great laptop but you don’t really need as much power then have a look at the Dell Inspiron. If you are just looking for a laptop that will last you a long time and is good to do research on then look at the Acer Aspire.
Keep the pointers from this list in mind when doing your research into what is the best laptop for a doctoral student.
You can read more about laptops by checking out my guide on laptops for animation.