Laptops have always played an important role in the life of students, especially, for higher studies. It wouldn’t be wrong to state that the more advanced the level of education gets, the lesser the difference between a laptop and a necessity becomes – Virtually to a point where the gap is eradicated.

Being the highest level of academic knowledge, attainment of a doctoral is surely not a piece of cake, however, many factors aid in the process. One tool that comes in handy throughout the journey is a laptop and how to choose the best laptop for PhD students is another hectic Job. This clamshell portable computer can do a lot more than its appearance merely tells. Whether it is taking an online class, doing extensive research, or documenting a cumbersome amount of thesis – it is all practicable with this device. So much so that now, there is no need to carry hefty loads of papers and notebooks, your laptop has got it all!

Along with the immense efforts and exertions that a Ph.D. demands, an undeniable fact is that it requires a laptop with precise specs namely, greater hard drive (to store all those notes and research work) and better RAM (to avoid any interruptions in your research activities).

Other than the basic outlooks, one requires a PC based on the style of work they prefer. Attributes like portability, ease of access, and user-friendliness, along with high-end performance, are some of the many features that will help Ph.D. students decide which product to go for. By the end of this article, we expect you to identify the 7 best available laptops for Ph.D. students in 2021 and make an informed decision over the most suited one for your needs.

Image Laptop Name Rating  
Top Rated
Apple MacBook Air
9.8
Budget Friendly
Acer Swift 5 Ultra-Thin
9.7
Editor Choice
Dell XPS 13
9.6
HP ENVY x360
9.2
ASUS ZenBook 13
9.0
HP Pavilion 15
8.8
Huawei Matebook 13
8.6

List of the 7 Best Laptops for Ph.D. Students in 2021:

#1. Lenovo Flex 5 2 in 1 Laptop for Ph.D. Students

They didn’t just call it ‘flex’ for the sake of calling it! Portability and flexibility are undeniably the most prominent features of this notebook. Along with this, the Lenovo Flex 14″ pretty much excels in all other areas and specifications that one needs in a modern-day device.
Packed in a solid design and assembled with premium-feeling plastic, there is nothing non-premium about Lenovo Flex 5’s build quality and feel. With a thickness of just 0.82″ and a weight of nearly 3.65lbs, the word ‘ultra-comfort’ is what comes to mind when using this 2-in-1 convertible.

The name’ 2-in-1 convertible’ is self-indicative of the flexibility this product provides for its users; Laptop Mode for a proper computing experience and a Tablet Mode (just a fold-away) when de-stressing or probably making notes out of detailed research. Yes! A digital pen is included within the package to compliment the screen-writing support Lenovo Flex 5. The experience is an appalling one for users looking to stick to a base model. The 14inch Full High-Definition 1920 x 1080 screen is put to perfection with the narrow bezels that make the experience utterly delightful. A robust 360-degree creak-free hinge lets you dictate the terms on which you intend to use your Lenovo Flex 5, with tent-mode and stand-mode for sharing or binge-watching content on your screen.

Talking about the more in-depth technical acumen, it has a satisfactory level of hardware specs that ensure top-notch performance while working day and night for that Ph.D. Powered by the AMD Ryzen 5 4500U with built-in Radeon graphics, 16 GB of DDR4 RAM, and 256 GB of SSD hard drive storage, the Flex 5 is an excellent all-around machine that provides performance, comfort, and portability out-of-the-box. The 10-hour standard battery life (as proclaimed by Lenovo) is the icing on the cake when it comes to a power-packed yet reasonably priced PC.

Pros
  • Lightweight
  • Convertible option
  • Excellent battery performance
Cons
  • Better chips available
  • May heat up excessively
Final Verdict
Based on the above facts – the technical, tangible, and intangible descriptions, and the figures – the affordable price range, the Lenovo Flex 5 purely deserves to be listed in our list of best Laptops for Ph.D. Students in 2021.

#2. Acer Swift 3 AMD Ryzen 7

The Slim and Light in the title pretty much sums up this laptop’s advantage over its competitors. Weighing in at just 2.65lbs and with 0.63″ thickness, the Acer Swift 3 should probably be called the lightweight champion. Not only does it provide an all-around soothing experience but also ensures portability is at its peak.

A fantastic Build Quality based on sturdy metal components and a soft elaborate keyboard with the comfort of the backlighting provides a solid surface to base your work upon.

The Acer Swift 3 is packed with the super powerful AMD Ryzen 7 4700U, which is considered one of the most powerful mobile processors in the notebook industry. Combined with 256/512 GB of SSD storage and DDR 4 RAM technology, this notebook is the complete package in terms of durability and mobility. Whether you are working on your documents and presentations on Microsoft Office or having long online conferences during your study period, the powerful AMD Ryzen 7 ensures everything runs smoothly without compromising the device’s heat management.

Other strong features of the notebook like the super-secure finger-print reader, 14″ IPS widescreen with Full HD display technology, High-Definition webcam for your conference needs, and 11 hours of standby battery timing asserted by Acer, compliment the overall package in hand.

Pros
  • Sturdy build
  • Ryzen 4700U fast processor
  • 512GB SSD
Cons
  • Non-convertible
  • Screen quality is not so mesmerising
  • Heats up quite often
Final Verdict
The Acer Swift 3 is a solid basic notebook. This lack of convertibility is more than covered up by the enhanced AMD Ryden 7 processor, metal design, and the slightly more affordable price tag.

#3. Apple MacBook Air 13inch 

Who says one cannot afford luxury while studying for a Ph.D.? When you talk about opulence in the Laptops and Gadgets industry, Apple is the first name that pops up in the mind of many that are aware of it. Apple, by no means, just introduces hefty pricing for its products; it also ensures that the latest available technology and premium-level appearance is provided to customers seeking the pleasure to own one of its products.

When studying for a Ph.D., Apple’s 13inch MacBook is recommended as one of the premium laptops in 2021. Starting with the 13.3 ” premium high-resolution retina display with True-tone technology that automatically adjusts your light settings based on the environment you’re sitting in. This immersive clear-text display is perfectly complemented with the incredibly placed soft keyboard that Apple likes to call the Magic Keyboard. The perfect placement of the trackpad and exceptional smoothness of the keys make typing/navigating a wonderful endeavor indeed!
Not to forget, the Apple MacBook Air 13″ is the thinnest and lightest model introduced by Apple with a total weight of 2.8lbs, which makes mobility seem effortless while carrying this device.
Be it the Intel Core 10th gen-processors or the Apple Built M1 chip, both work wonders on the device itself, with the latter being the upgrade. The built-in HD web camera is one of the most amazing ones you will see on a laptop device, with the growing use of video communication.

When it comes to data security, Apple is one of the leading names in the industry that provide highly secure gadgets, and the same can be witnessed in the MacBook Air 13″ with its super-secure and reliable Apple Touch ID to unlock your laptop and documents (if you intend to lock them up)

Apparently, all these amazing features, packed with high-end technical specs, including the fast SSD storage and DDR4 RAM technology, make up a fascinating device to use while studying for your Ph.D. The Apple MacBook Air is a luxury for those who can afford it and, therefore, a top-notch item that serves well for Ph.D. students.

Pros
  • Thin and lightweight
  • Great battery life
  • Power of the Magic Keyboard
Cons
  • Costly
  • Camera may be grainy
Final Verdict
The Acer Swift 3 is a solid basic notebook. This lack of convertibility is more than covered up by the enhanced AMD Ryden 7 processor, metal design, and the slightly more affordable price tag.

#4. Acer Nitro 5 9th Gen Laptop

No matter how hard one needs to study for their Ph.D., they need a break from their academic struggle. What is better than having the ability to play high-end games on your laptop while you are on that break from studies?

This is where you consider the next laptop on our list, the Acer Nitro 5. Packed with the fundamental specifications that can help you study for your Ph.D. throughout the year, the Nitro 5 also features the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 Graphic Card with 4GB memory, which is dedicated to high-performance gaming. This also supports high-end presentations that Ph.D. students may prepare during their research projects.

Additionally, to support the heavy use needed in the Graphics Processing Unit, the Acer Nitro 5 has twin fans and dual exhaust ports powered by Acer CoolBoost technology, so you don’t have to worry about the extensive and heavy usage – CoolBoost will take care of that!

Pros
  • Great for extensive use
  • CoolBoost technology to prevent heat up
Cons
  • Primarily suited for gamers
  • Slightly heavier
Final Verdict

Overall, the Acer Nitro 5 is built on a solid design and technology. It has an impressively comfortable backlit keyboard, a high-end performance dedicated graphic card installed, cool down technology to support the heavy usage, and all the necessary features seen on the other laptops on the list.

This one is for the Gamers that are not complete study freaks!

#5. HP Pavilion 15 11th Gen Core i7

Hewlett Packard has been one of the pioneers of this industry and has introduced a great range of products to date. Be it the latest portable technology of convertibles, traditional laptops, or high-performance gaming devices; HP has a product for every category in the PCs and gadget
Industry. When it comes to portable PCs a Ph.D. student should consider buying in 2021, the HP Pavilion 15 makes it to our list for various reasons.

HP is known for the graceful design that its laptops portray. The HP Pavilion is the perfect example of where elegance meets class in terms of its design. This does not mean that there is any compromise on sturdiness. HP Pavilion 15 features an impressive metal build while maintaining the portability factor (due to its lightweight). This 11th Gen Intel Core i7 powered machine is the one that meets all your academic-related superior needs.

The Full HD IPS Micro-Edge display helps give an enlarged view of the on-screen content, and the high-end specs ensure that all your needs are met with maximum efficiency. The HP superfast charge technology provided in the HP Pavilion 5 ensures you never have to halt your work due to charging cycles. You can get up to 50% charge within 45 minutes, which means that you can instantly get back to work whenever you feel like it.

Pros
  • Long battery life
  • Faster and responsive processor
Cons
  • Low maximum brightness and colours
  • Doesn’t feature the strongest build quality
Final Verdict
Succinctly, HP Pavilion 5 is a laptop with sumptuous specifications that meet your premium quality needs. Still, with a more affordable price tag that does not entirely define it as a luxury item, the HP Pavilion justifies its place in our list of the 7 Best Laptops for Ph.D. students in 2021.

#6. Lenovo Yoga C740 10th Gen

In recent years, Lenovo has established itself as a cost-effective brand that provides value-for-money products without compromising any design or performance department requirements. Lenovo Yoga C740 is one that provides all the basic requirements needed for you to excel in your Ph.D. studies and work efficiently without having to dive deep into your pockets.

With its Yoga series, Lenovo established the portability factor in its products by delivering amazingly designed lightweight laptops at an affordable price range. The same is delivered with the Yoga C740 laptop. Its exquisite 15.6 inches end-to-end Full HD screen, along with a well-placed backlit-enabled keyboard, offers the most out of its price range. Moreover, the screen supports touch connectivity, which means you have the freedom to access the 10-point touch sensor screen to speed things up while working.

Pros
  • Convertible
  • Low price
Cons
  • No HDMI or SD Card reader
  • Average audio quality
Final Verdict
The comfortable hinge support enables the consumer to make full use of the FHD IPS Touch display in either the tent or tablet mode. All these modes, without having to worry about the portability of a 15″ laptop that weighs just above 4lbs, makes it a perfect study partner for Ph.D. students in 2021.

#7. ASUS VivoBook 15

The last one on our list of the best laptops for Ph.D. students in 2021 is the ASUS VivoBook 15. This, by no means, is the least of all as each portable PC on this list is equally recommended by us, and the decision made by any Ph.D. student will depend solely on his/her desired wants and needs.

Talking about the design of ASUS VivoBook, it boasts an immersive 15.6″ Full High-Definition Nano Edge display that provides the user with a wide viewing angle of up to 178 degrees. The overall build quality is superimposing, with a combination of metal and plastic and the classic Slate Grey finish that accentuates the appearance even more.

Furthermore, this device’s highlight is the ErgoLift hinge technology, designed by ASUS, to give the user an enhanced and extremely comfortable typing experience. Ph.D. students can definitely take advantage of this unique feature of the ASUS VivoBook while preparing their multiple page thesis documents for submission. The 178-degree viewing angle and this distinctive hinge technology incredibly complement each other to provide the consumer with the best of experiences during their academic struggle for that doctorate!

Again, this laptop’s lightweight factor supports the portability function required by the majority of the Ph.D. students these days and packed with high-quality lithium powered battery; the VivoBook provides a decent amount of battery backup without having to worry about the constant charging. Even then, the fast charging technology gives you up to 60% in less than 50mins of charging, which pretty much nullifies the slightly lower battery backup provided by ASUS compared to the others on this list.

Pros
  • Lightweight
  • Fast performance
Cons
  • Low battery backup
  • Subpar speakers
Final Verdict
Fastened with a 10th Generation Intel Core i5 processor, along with up to 16gigz of DDR4 RAM, the ASUS VivoBook vindicates its position as one of the well-suited laptops for Ph.D. students.

Conclusion:

In a world as of the present, where the majority of the social circle has been confined within our homes, and the need for social distancing has forced the population to lean towards the likes of Zoom for communication, the rise in the demand for Notebooks/PCs/Laptops is very well justified.

There is a wide range of wants and needs of different consumers regarding what package they prefer with their new purchase. The primary purpose of this article was to enlighten our readers, which hopefully are the Ph.D. attempting students, with the best products that are available out there and tries to cover most of the different needs and wants that a student can look for in their purchase.

The likes of Lenovo, Acer, and ASUS provide very affordable PCs without compromising the major functionalities of a product. On the other hand, products offered by HP and Apple have a slightly higher price tag than the rest, but the premium quality and perks of enjoying using your notebook provided by them set off the need to spend more on them!

Happy Shopping and best of luck with your Ph.D.!

About the author

Jamie Hubbard

Jamie Hubbard a computer engineering graduate, lover of Apple MacBook Pro, full time talk and write about Laptop Reviews here at Laptopsheaven. As a Topper in High School he love to play with computer gadgets and write about it mainly laptops and its accessories. Moreover, he has many publications in the local newspaper and several other popular tech brands.

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