The year 2020 has just begun, so there are only few laptop models that are several days old. Most of them are now too costly to be affordable for college students. Still, the 2019 brought us a bunch of wonderful models that combine cool hardware with moderate prices.
1. Alienware M series
Alienware (a trademark of Dell company, USA) is one of the best gaming computers’ manufacturers in the world. Its R series are still popular, despite being heavy (up to 3,5 kg), having somewhat clumsy design and already obsolete hardware. But the M series that Alienware presented on CES 2019 became the true sensation.
The first appealing point is a very moderate (for a gaming laptop) price. The price of Alienware M starts from $1 100. A decent sum of money – but the laptop will stay up to date for several years. M series also has a great cooling system – even under stress tests neither main chip nor graphic board gets warmer than 60 C. They became slimmer in comparison to their R cousins and noticeably faster – even the simplest choice of hardware shows great productivity.
The main drawback of Alienware M is its frail shell. The R series was made in aluminum, while M laptops now feature plastic outer details. It isn’t recommended to open them from the side, the screen can crack open.
Summary: moderate price, great cooling system, good productivity, terrible plastic
2. Acer Nitro 7
Another gaming laptop (okay, we aren’t your parents, don’t tell us you need a laptop for study only!) from Taiwan company Acer Inc. Except the cool name Acer Nitro 7 has lots of other benefits. It is cheaper than Alienware M – the price starts from $950. The precious hardware is encased in light metal alloy, so the laptop is both stylish and durable. Features a decent IPS screen (not for professional graphic artists, but Photoshopping your photos or watching movies will be a pleasant experience).
Nitro 7 shows slightly lower performance compared to the laptop described above during stress tests and its chip can heat up to 90-95 C. Still, most of the games run smoothly on maximum or nearly maximum settings. Even when the chip is red-hot, the cooling system works very well, so you can literally hold your laptop on your laps and not get burned.
The laptop has some moderate drawbacks that still need to be considered while buying. The first one is the suboptimal combination of hardware: Alienware is more balanced. In Nitro 7 you have to be careful while choosing the configuration to make your graphic board, chip and RAM work as a team and show maximum performance. The second issue is noise – the coolers are noisy, we have to admit it and endure it.
Summary: a cheaper version of gaming laptop. Still good but noisy and needs attention while choosing the configuration of hardware.
3. Lenovo Yoga C930-131KB
Lenovo is a Chinese company that manufactures some of the cheapest laptops in their division. Sometimes it means that the quality of hardware and assembly may fall below average – but not with Lenovo Yoga, maybe the most renowned Lenovo series.
Not a gaming one, but still showing a decent performance, Lenovo Yoga is light (only 1,3 kg) and slender laptop for those who don’t want extra weight in their backpack. Stylish metal laptop bends and twists, turning into a tablet (pen included) or TV screen. It also has a hardwired fingerprint lock for extra safety.
The drawbacks of Lenovo Yoga are lack of USB ports (only 1 standard and 2 Type C ones – if you don’t have Type C wires, you’re screwed), weak sound and lower performance. This laptop is more suitable for browsing, watching videos and simple work with music, photos and videos than for games.
Summary: a light and durable laptop for office work or simple graphic tasks. You can surf the Internet comfortably and use it as a helper for your assignments to find some free academic papers or other educational sources. It can turn into a tablet too!
4. Asus ZenBook 13 UX333FA-DH51
Another Chinese company, Asus, presented its ultracompact laptop in 2019. Despite looking like a netbook, it’s still a full-fledged laptop, one of the smallest in the world. It is only 13` but the screen occupies 95% of the top part, so you won’t feel that size too hard. ZenBook may look fragile, but its aluminum shell is hard and durable enough to protect the screen and hardware.
An interesting design of the screen part helps the cooling system to be more effective. The temperature under stress is around 70-80 C that is awesome for such a small laptop. The performance is very nice for its class – if you love old Mass Effect-like games, this is a great choice.
The drawbacks are small and expected from such a small notebook: noisy cooling system, absolutely anti-ergonomic keyboard (it’s 13` after all) and strange choice of ports.
Summary: if you like ultrasmall laptops and old games, ZenBook is great.
2019 brought us dozens of laptops, but here we tried to present different classes that cost around $1000. For fierce gamers, painting lovers or just adventurous people who want to use their laptop everywhere – we hope you’ve found a laptop you will love here!