The best laptops for students to buy in 2024

Who it’s for:

Students who have hobbies outside of schoolwork — which we hope is all of you — will enjoy the impressive cloud gaming and general-use features of the Acer Chromebook 516 GE. It goes on sale often (even though it already sits at a pretty budget-friendly MSRP), so it thankfully won’t break the bank after you’ve already shelled out a whole bunch of money on textbooks. You’ll save even more money once you redeem those sweet Chromebook Plus membership perks.

Why we picked this:

Going to school shouldn’t be all work and no play. The budget-friendly Acer Chromebook 516 GE can thankfully do both.


The affordable gaming Chromebook packs in a worthwhile cloud-based PC gaming experience, plus all the capabilities that you need to stay on top of your assignments. The Chromebook 516 GE breaks the cloud-gaming-only mold by offering impressive performance for general use and game streaming, a really nice display, solid bonus perks, and more for just $649 (we’ve even seen it on sale for $499). During our testing period, every Game Pass title we loaded up ran quite smoothly and showed us a good time despite the negligible loss in fidelity, but that’s something you can always expect when streaming games. We never experienced any input lag or stuttering, either.

While Xbox Game Pass was our platform of choice, it’s not your only option with the Chromebook 516 GE. When you pick one up, you’ll be able to redeem three free months of NVIDIA GeForce Now at the Priority level, granting you access to NVIDIA’s high-end servers with better resolution and frame rates. Those aren’t the only perks, though — you’ll also bank three months of YouTube Premium, a year’s worth of Google One cloud storage, and a month of access to Boosteroid.

This Chromebook is also just a solid general-use laptop that’ll serve you loyally throughout the school year. The build quality is durable and sturdy, which surprised us, and the laptop features a great-feeling RGB keyboard with anti-ghosting tech. We could see it being ideal for notetaking, document editing, and performing your usual, run-of-the-mill tasks. There’s a decent port selection, too: USB-C, HDMI, and Ethernet are all here. Oh, and the display is a showstopper. The 16-inch, 1600p screen looks fantastic and produces clear, bright, and vibrant colors (and it supports a 120Hz refresh rate).

The only downside we could find was the device’s battery life. It lasted around six hours for us, but that was during heavy gaming use, so your mileage may vary.

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