Can’t afford a Mac? Here are some of the best student alternatives

AFS Team·12 October 2016·5 min read
Can’t afford a Mac? Here are some of the best student alternatives

A MacBook is the pride and joy possession of most students. They’re sleek, ultraportable and super speedy. That’s not to say, however, that they’re the only option on the market. If anything, there are numerous models which are much better value for money and perform just as well. In choosing a new laptop, it’s important to think about 5 key areas: its design, performance, battery life, screen and sound quality and of course, the price.

Here are 6 of the best Mac alternatives:

1)Dell XPS 13

The Dell XPS 13 is known for its powerful components and impressive display. Its “Infinity" display means that it has almost no bezel around the screen, making the laptop feel a lot bigger than it actually is. It’s made of machined aluminium which has a sleek yet durable feel. It weighs just 2.7 pounds and so it feels notably lighter than the 3-pound MacBook Air. The large RAM and hard drive provide you with a swift performance and streaming for every day use. Likewise, it has one of the longest lasting battery life amongst the ultra-portables on the market. With typical use, it should last over 13 hours. It even comes in two colours, silver and rose-gold! Expertreviews calls it the “lord of the ultraportables."

Price: Currently £799.99 on Amazon

2) HP Stream 13

The HP Stream is one of the cheapest laptops on the market and offers great performance for its price. It comes in colourful designs and is a sturdy model. It’s only 19.6mm thin and 1.5kg light, so it’s extremely portable. Despite its compact size, it has 3 USB ports and unlike the MacBook it has a HDMI port which can be useful. The storage is a bit smaller than your average laptop at 32GB, but for average student usage that should be enough. With Unidays you can even enjoy 10% off HP laptops and an impressive 30% off HP products.

Price: Currently £199.99 at John Lewis

3)Acer Chromebook 15.6-inch

This laptop is slightly larger than the average student laptop, but its processing speed and screen quality make up for it. You get a fifth-generation Intel Celeron chip for speedy performance, for instance it loads up in just 7 seconds. Likewise, you can enjoy up to 9 hours of battery life which is above average for its price bracket. It’s a solid and sturdy build and has surprisingly loud speakers. Laptopmag calls it “bigger and better."

Price: Currently £270.09 on Amazon

4)Dell Chromebook 11

As well as being lightweight and compact, the Dell Chromebook has a quirky feature: it has a spill-proof keyboard. Given that liquid damage is the ruination of many laptops, this is actually quite a useful feature. The Intel Celeron processor and 4GB of RAM copes well with normal browsing and its battery life stretches to 10 hours. It is also one of the cheapest laptops on the market.

Price: Currently £233.43 on Amazon

5)ASUS Zenbook UX305

This laptop is incredibly light and thin and is known for its impressive battery life (over 11 hours). It has an 8GB RAM and boasts a glare-free screen and an excellent trackpad. Despite being fairly compact, it comes with three USB 3.0 ports – something that isn’t even available on premium laptops like the MacBook Pro or the Surface Book. It’s been mocked as a “MacBook Air knock off" – but that’s what everyone is after isn’t it?

Price: Currently £599.95 on pcworld

6) HP Pavilion x2

Can’t afford an Ipad and a Macbook Air? The HP Pavilion x2 transforms between a tablet and a notebook through a magnetic hinge that allows you to detach the screen completely! It’s lightweight and compact at just 10.1 inches. Nevertheless, it has all the normal features of a notebook such as a USB port, Micro HDMI port and a SD Card Reader. It’s a perfect size for taking into lectures or using it as a tablet in bed watching Netflix. This nifty two-in-one feature means that you’re always going to be one up from your friends with MacBooks.

Price: Currently £229.99 on pcworld

By Nina Harris