Choosing the right laptop for your child’s degree

See what laptop your child should take to university with our guide on what each degree type needs...

15 Aug 2018


Of all the items you send your child off to university with, their laptop is arguably the most important, and the biggest investment.

We discuss what type of laptop your child will need based on their degree subject.

HP Pavilion 14

What to consider when choosing a laptop for university

Comparing the technical details can be confusing. Here’s what you need to look at when choosing a laptop:

  • Processing power – more intensive programs and applications will require a higher spec processor and more RAM.
  • Screen resolution – for design and photography subjects, screen resolution and colour accuracy is a key consideration.
  • Weight and battery life – particularly important if your child will be carrying their laptop around campus.
  • Operating system – laptops run on Windows, macOS or ChromeOS. If your child is used to one system, this may influence your choice of laptop.
  • Hard drive – solid state drives are lighter and faster than hard disk drives. But they’re also more expensive and smaller, giving you less data storage capacity.

While your child might be as interested in the video streaming capabilities of their new laptop as the spreadsheet processing power, you want to make sure that their machine has the right spec to help them get their work done.

Here’s our pick of the best laptops for different types of degree...


Design subjects

Design-related subjects such as fashion, graphic design and art usually require students to run power-hungry applications, so a high spec laptop is a necessity.

They’ll need a laptop with:

  • powerful Intel Core i5 or i7 processor with a minimum 8 GB RAM to run Photoshop and CAD
  • High-resolution display for sharp, accurate colours giving images their proper depth
  • Ideally a touchscreen, 2 in 1 design with a digital pen for sketching

HP Spectre x360

Why not try... the HP Spectre x360

This vibrant 2-in-1 makes every image pop with its 4K Ultra HD display – handy for all those creations they’ll be making on the in-built Windows Ink illustration programme. Its powerful i7 processor means it'll boot up speedily and run all the demanding design apps your child will need with ease.

Your uni student will also benefit from an extremely high-quality webcam - the perfect excuse for regular video calls home.

Get the HP Spectre x360


Maths, science and engineering

There’s nothing more frustrating when you’re working to a deadline than waiting for large spreadsheets to load. Prioritise power over graphics when choosing a laptop for these subjects.

They’ll need a laptop with:

  • solid-state drive (SSD) for fast boot up and loading
  • Powerful Intel Core i5 processor with 8GB RAM for quick data analysis and statistical software
  • Large screen for viewing and manipulating spreadsheets

Dell Inspiron 17

Why not try… the Dell Inspiron 17

The Dell Inspiron 17 has a special wide-screen making it perfect for engineering, maths or science students who have to spend a lot of time multi-tasking.

It may look sleek, but it packs in two storage types to keep hold of more data, sharp and powerful AMD Radeon graphics and an i5 processor for quick responses and impressive performance.

Rest assured, it can handle the most intimidating of spreadsheets, as well as any necessary software, movies, games and more.

Get the Dell Inspiron 17


Humanities, English, business or law

Therefore you want something that’s small and lightweight enough to carry around campus, with all day battery life so they don’t need to be constantly plugged in.

They’ll need a laptop with:

  • Minimum eight-hour battery life, so they don’t have to carry a heavy charging cable
  • lightweight, compact design with a comfortable keyboard for typing
  • An Intel Pentium or Celeron processor and 4GB RAM for fast web browsing

HP Pavilion 14

Why not try… the HP Pavilion 14

Working on the HP Pavilion makes essay-writing a lot more convenient. Its thin, sleek design makes it easy to lug from lecture to library, and its Intel Pentium Gold processor is all your child will need to get those essays done on time before kicking back with a Netflix series or a favourite album.

It’ll even provide the backdrop to a relaxed evening in with friends, as the powerful built-in B&O Play audio software makes films and playlists alike sound incredible. And with up to 11 hours battery life, they won’t have to turn it off any time soon.

Get the HP Pavilion 14


Confident on what to look for? Browse our range of laptops here


See what to take with you for the new uni term