February 26, 2021

As an engineering student, you want to be equipped with the ideal laptop for college. Your lecturers will ask you to submit assignments online via the campus network and your laptop should have enough processing power to run CAD and CAM software.

You don’t need dedicated graphics unless you’re doing CAD/ photo and video editing/ gaming.

We chose the ASUS Zephyrus G15 as the best laptop for mechanical engineering students, it has everything you desire from a sleek yet powerful laptop.

And the processor powering it is one of the fastest laptop chips in the market right now.

 Read on to learn more about the Zephyrus G15 and the other laptops that we chose.

Here is our list of 7 best laptop for mechanical engineering students:

This is advertised as a gaming laptop, and it was certainly designed with gamers in mind. But who’s to say a good gaming laptop can’t also function as a good student laptop?

After all, gaming is one of the things many engineering students choose to do in their spare time. And the G15 is fully equipped for that task with an AMD Ryzen 7 4800HS CPU and NVIDIA GTX 1660ti Max-Q GPU.

The powerful hardware enables this laptop to run all kinds of simulations, scientific software, CAD, etc. which you’ll appreciate as a mechanical engineering student.

And while it is a bit on the expensive side considering the laptop budget of most students is under 1000 dollars, we believe the Zephyrus G15 is actually very well priced.

It packs a Ryzen 7 4800HS that is almost as powerful as an Intel Core i9 10980HK, and laptops with the latter cost nearly twice as much.

Pros

  • One of the fastest laptop processors in the AMD Ryzen 7 4800HS, with 8 cores and 16 threads (uses the powerful Zen 2 core)
  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660ti graphics with 6GB of GDDR6 VRAM, useful in certain CAD applications (and gaming)
  • 144Hz high refresh 15.6” full HD display
  • 16GB of 3200MHz DDR4 RAM
  • Ultra thin at just 0.8”, and really light at just 4.85lbs
  • 802.11ax Wi-Fi
  • Intelligent cooling system with self-cleaning dust tunnels reduces maintenance and improves performance

Cons

  • The styling, logos, and lighting effects give off a slight “gamer” vibe, although this might actually be a desirable trait for some of you
  • Display is IPS-type, and not true IPS, so colors aren’t that good (still better than most TN panels)
  • No webcam (seriously ASUS?)

Powered by an Intel Ice Lake Core i7-1065G7 quad core, the Envy x360 from HP is the ideal laptop for students who value mobility and having the latest features.

It is standard laptop with a non-touch 4k IPS display, although the display size is slightly on the smaller side at 13.3 inches. It can charge from the Type C port and has Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax).

If you like watching movies and creating art/ editing photos this is an excellent laptop. It is also very sleek and light. The display is nearly edge to edge, with bezels that are just a couple millimeters thick.

And the keyboard also spans across the entire width of the laptop, so you actually get a typing surface that is extremely comfortable despite the size of this laptop.

The trackpad is quite accurate and responsive, and we were pleasantly surprised to see the wide variety of ports on this ultrathin device. It has USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type A, 3.5mm combo jack, and a MicroSD card reader.

The hinge is designed to lift up the keyboard deck slightly for better cooling and a more comfortably typing position.

Pros

  • Excellent onboard audio, thanks to a quad speaker system designed by Bang & Olufsen
  • 4k IPS display produces amazing colors and viewing angles, plus you see every little detail thanks to the high resolution
  • Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5
  • 512GB NVMe storage
  • Intel Core i7 1065G7 Ice Lake quad core processor with Iris Plus graphics
  • Type C supports charging and DisplayPort
  • 8GB DDR4 RAM
  • Hardware based webcam kill switch (still doesn’t turn off the microphones)

Cons

  • Laptop is hard to open and maintain, plus RAM is non-upgradeable (soldered onto the mainboard)
  • It tends to get quite hot if you’re doing hardware intensive work, since the Envy x360 has a rather small cooling fan

It seems almost impossible to do an article on student laptops without including at least one Lenovo ThinkPad model.

That’s because Lenovo makes some of the most durable and secure machines that are used by students and business all over the world.

They are known for including features like TPM security chips for hardware level encryption, physical webcam shutters to protect your privacy, etc.

The ThinkPad also has a unique feature called the TrackPoint, which is a tiny red-colored joystick nested within the keyboard. 

This allows you to scroll webpages and select items on the screen without having to take your hands off the keyboard in order to access the trackpad.

Once you get used to it, you won’t have to carry a mouse along with your laptop.

Pros

  • Durable chassis that can take a fall and survive, plus it doesn’t creak or flex even if you press down on it
  • Intel Core i5-10210U processor with 4 cores and 8 threads (Comet Lake 14nm)
  • Massive 16GB of RAM (most laptops at this price point only provide 8GB of RAM)
  • 512GB NVMe SSD
  • Matte Anti-Glare FHD display
  • HDMI output, USB Type C with DisplayPort functionality, Type A ports, and Ethernet
  • Lay-flat 90° hinge
  • TrackPoint aiming device

Cons

  • Bad onboard audio
  • Screen has a max brightness of just 220 nits and colors look washed out (since it is TN and not IPS)

We gave it a lot of thought before we decided to go ahead and include this Acer gaming laptop on our list. It is not sleek, nor is it lightweight. But then again, how on Earth will you get specifications like this for a better price? 

This laptop packs an Intel 6-core, 12 thread Core i7 processor and NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 graphics card for the same price as laptops with quad core chips and no dedicated graphics.

It may not have the best display in the world, but it’s still IPS. Unlike many other laptops at this price which advertise “IPS-level” displays that are in reality just high quality TN panels.

Plus, this isn’t just any IPS display, it’s a 144Hz high refresh rate panel optimized for gaming (which is why the pixel response time is just 3ms).

High refresh rate isn’t good for just games, it also improves your daily experience while browsing the web or doing stuff in Windows.

Pros

  • Hands down, the best processor and graphics for this price
  • Intel Core i7-10750H and NVIDIA RTX 2060
  • 16GB of DDR4 RAM
  • 512GB NVMe SSD
  • 144Hz 3ms IPS display
  • Wi-Fi 6
  • Full-size RGB backlit keyboard

Cons

  • Heavier and bulkier than most student laptops
  • Battery life is mediocre (around 6 hours, maybe 7 to 8 if you’re really stretching it)
  • Poor webcam quality

Ever wondered what a laptop would be like if it was just a tablet with a keyboard duct taped to it? Wonder no more, the Microsoft Surface Pro 7 is just that, except it uses a much more refined version of the concept.

The tablet portion of this laptop contains all the hardware. The keyboard is detachable and meant to be used for when you actually want to type stuff longer than a Youtube comment.

There is a flip-out stand in the back, which you can deploy whenever you want to use this device like a regular laptop (since the keyboard provides no structural support).

The keyboard module is slightly more flexible than we would prefer for a serious typing device, but then again it isn’t intended to be a replacement for your desktop mechanical keyboard. It’s even called a “Type Cover”, not a keyboard.

Pros

  • Ideal for students and travelers because of its small size and portable design
  • Very flexible, you can use it to watch movies on the bed or make a presentation in front of 20 people
  • The keyboard may not be excellent, but is still quite comfortable and handy since you can instantly attach/ detach it
  • Quite a bit of power despite this being a glorified 12.3” tablet that runs Windows 10
  • Intel Core i5 processor and 8GB of LPDDR4x RAM
  • NVMe storage is extremely fast
  • Solid construction, the device feels durable and quite premium
  • All-day battery life
  • 2736 x 1824 resolution PixelSense Touchscreen IPS display
  • Ambient light sensor, accelerometer, gyroscope, and magnetometer

Cons

  • Keyboard has quite a bit of flex and key travel is rather short (that is just a compromise you make for ultimate portability)
  • 128GB storage is slightly on the smaller side

The sleek, stylish Windows PC alternative to Apple’s MacBook. It is not made from machined aluminum like a MacBook, but is also much cheaper while provide a lot more power.

This model of the ZenBook 13 is powered by an Intel 10th generation Core i7 processor and features 16GB of dual channel RAM along with a 512GB PCIe NVMe storage drive.

Bootup and application load times are extremely low, navigating the Windows desktop feels extremely snappy, and the display is really good. It is bright, looks sharp, and has nice colors with wide viewing angles.

There are bezels but you barely notice them because of how thin they are, they get out of the way, so you can focus on whatever it is that you’re doing- watching movies, designing a model in CAD software, editing photos, etc.

Pros

  • Extremely thin at just 0.67”, also very light at just over 1 kilo
  • Intel 10th generation quad core i7 processor
  • 16GB dual-channel RAM
  • 512GB NVMe storage
  • Full-size backlit keyboard with large keycaps and 1.4mm of key travel
  • Numpad is integrated into the trackpad itself
  • Ergonomic lift hinge
  • Thin bezel 13.3” 1920x1080 display with 100% sRGB color gamut
  • 12+ hours of battery life
  • IR camera with Windows Hello

Cons

  • Few USB ports
  • Glossy display

With a 10th generation Intel Ice Lake quad-core i7 processor and 16GB of LPDDR4x RAM this is one of the fastest 2-in-1 convertible laptops out there. And for this price? It is absolutely amazing, whether you’re a student or professional who needs a thin and light laptop for daily work.

The Spin 5 gets its 2-in-1 functionality from a 360° swivel hinge and features an interesting IPS touchscreen panel with a resolution of 2256 x 1504.

The build quality is rock solid, and the hinges don’t feel flimsy. Plus, there is very little flex in the keyboard deck and the cooling system is robust enough to handle some light gaming or even 3D rendering.

The Spin 5 also has 802.11ax Wi-Fi and a backlit keyboard. There’s a fingerprint reader and the battery life is close to 12 hours with moderate usage.

Pros

  • Intel quad-core Ice Lake processor
  • HDMI output and MicroSD card reader, as well as Type A ports
  • Built in silo for stylus (rechargeable active stylus included with laptop)
  • Top firing stereo speakers
  • 3:2 aspect ratio IPS touchscreen with a resolution of 2256 x 1504 and 100% sRGB color gamut (360 nits brightness)
  • Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5
  • Fingerprint sensor

Cons

  • You don’t get any extra tips for the stylus
  • Touchpad has no glass cover

You need a laptop with at least an Intel Core i3 or equivalent AMD Ryzen 3 processor, and 8GB or more of RAM.

Ideally, you would get a laptop with an i7 and 16GB of RAM if your budget allows it, because that is guaranteed to last 3 to 4 years. A laptop with an AMD Ryzen 7 4700U or Intel Core i7-10750H will steel feel relatively snappy in 2025.

The display type doesn’t matter as much, but you should aim for something that is IPS or at least IPS-level if you’re going to use the laptop for photo/ video editing.

As a mechanical engineering student you will be doing a lot of CAD work. So if you know beforehand the type of software and projects you’ll be working on, a laptop with some kind of dedicated graphics will come in handy.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Are top firing speakers better?

A. It depends, sometimes laptops with bottom and side firing speakers sound better because their audio profiles are tuned better. Or they use better drivers. Top firing means the audio is directly sent at you, instead of bouncing off the surface (table, lap, bed, etc.).

So you get a more distinct and accurate audio signature. Plus, the audio doesn’t lose power since it doesn’t have to bounce off anything.

Q. Why are hardware based webcam kill switches gaining popularity?

A. These days, we are all connected 24x7 thanks to power of cheap and reliable high speed internet access. Cameras and microphones are built into our laptops which enables us to communicate with individuals or groups easily at the push of a button.

But sometimes you want absolute certainty that you aren’t being recorded. It could be a webcam that you accidentally left on, or a hacker. Either way, a physical kill switch ensures that your webcam is cut off (no power) and it can’t record you when you don’t want it to.

 Some laptops use physical shutters to cover the webcam completely, others use physical switches to turn off power. It is a more reliable and foolproof method compared to turning off your webcam in software.

Q. How often should I take open and clean my laptop? Will it void the warranty?

A. Every 2 to 3 years, or at max 4 years between a cleanup. Laptops that are out of warranty period can be opened quite easily if you just have a Philips screwdriver of the appropriate size.

As for laptops within warranty, you can take them to the authorized service center for cleanup and maintenance. Or if you’re in the United States you can open the laptop yourself, don’t worry about that warranty sticker on the screws.

 In the US that sticker does nothing, and you don’t lose your right to claiming warranty benefits. If your laptop is running hotter than usual, take it apart and clean the cooling fans. Repaste the processor with fresh thermal paste after wiping it with some cleaning alcohol.

Q. Is it safe to use my laptop on a surface like a couch or bed?

A. Yes. Modern laptops have efficient cooling systems and low power processors, so they don’t always have to be on a perfectly flat surface in order to function.

However, don’t play games or do CAD work on your laptop while it is resting on an uneven surfaces because then the laptop will have its ventilation restricted and the processor might throttle.

Q. Can I upgrade my laptop later down the line?

A. Yes, but only if the laptop is designed to be upgradeable. Some brands and manufacturers dissuade their customers from opening and self-servicing their laptops. Others have soldered RAM so you can’t upgrade it.

 However, the majority of laptops allow you to upgrade the RAM and storage. Just take a M.2 storage drive of your choice and replace the existing one within the laptop. For RAM, you want SODIMM sticks instead of desktop size DIMM sticks.

Conclusion

We hope this article was educational and helped you choose the best laptop for mechanical engineering students. Mechanical engineering doesn’t require a beefy machine, just one that is powerful enough (i5/i7 and some low-midrange dedicated graphics).

Our top pick is the Zephyrus G15 from ASUS since it has everything- a good display, good battery life, solid graphics, and an excellent processor.

The Predator Helios 300 from ASUS is slightly more powerful in the graphics department but is also bulkier so weigh your options based on how much you value portability versus raw power.

About the author

Saurav Rath

Saurav has been writing about technology for the past 4 years, but has been a fan of all things computer related since he was 7 years old. He is a ghostwriter for multiple sites, and covers everything from PC hardware to chainsaws and mobile game development (yep, the guy has a lot of range). Learn more

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