5 Best Laptops For Engineering Students and Engineers – 2020 Buyer’s Guide

5 Best Laptops For Engineering Students And Engineers - 2020 Buyer’s Guide
5 Best Laptops For Engineering Students And Engineers - 2020 Buyer’s Guide

Top Features to Look for in an Engineering Student’s or Professional’s Laptop

These days, it seems hard to survive college without a reliable computer. College students looking for laptops is quite a common sight in gadget stores. Looking for the best  laptop for Engineering students and professionals is homework in itself, as there is a myriad of gadgets being released every now and then, but not all of these new releases will be able to accomplish tasks specific to your degree or field. Consider buying a laptop as an investment, so choose wisely, as you are going to be using this device for the next four years or so. 

If you want something more compact, light and ultra-portable, an 11 inch laptop might be ideal for you. Be sure to check out our best 11 inch laptop reviews.

As tempting as price cuts or inexpensive rates may be, do not base your purchase on the unit price alone. For one, your laptop configuration must meet your school’s minimum requirement. Plus, there are features and specifications that we should not compromise or do away with. There are also functionalities that we should be willing to pay extra for – they either get the job done faster, or they save your laptop from conking out when you’re using heavier software applications.

So the most important question really is, what minimum features should an Engineering student or professional look for when buying a laptop? 

You do not need to pay for features that you don’t need, so let us dissect the specific tasks and identify what they require. Engineers can be divided into two kinds: 3D engineers such as civil, mechanical and aeronautical, and 2D engineers such as electrical , computer, chemical, software and so on.

Here is a table of recommended hardware for Engineering students and Engineers.

3D Engineers 2D Engineers
CPU At least Intel Core i5 At least Intel Core i3
SSD Not a must Not a must
GPU 2GB vRAM Don’t have to worry about it
Display At least 13” size and has 1080p resolution At least 13” size and has 1080p resolution
Weight Around 3lb (the lighter, the more expensive) Around 3lb (the lighter, the more expensive)


Hardware Descriptions:

RAM (Random Access Memory) -It is essentially the core of your computer. The RAM makes your computer work faster, so the more RAM your CPU has, the better the performance will be. Some heavier programs require more RAM.

CPU (Central Processing Unit) – It is considered the brain of your computer. It has the capability to interact with and control other pieces of hardware to bring your computer to life. The higher the specs, the better.

SSD (Solid-State-Drive) – It is basically the storage, the same as HDD, but faster and more reliable. It won’t be necessary to focus on this if  you will only use your computer mainly for studying and working engineering projects.

GPU (Graphics Processing Unit) – A circuit that focuses on generating images for a device to display. A high performing GPU is recommended for 3D engineering students or engineers. 2D engineers don’t have to worry about this that much.

Display – This is basically what you see on your monitor. Some prefer a higher resolution, but some also settle with the standard resolution because it saves them a few bucks, and it also minimizes battery consumption.

Weight – Most laptops weigh less than 3lbs on average, but there are those that weigh less. The lighter, the better; however, the lighter devices cost more than their heavier counterparts.

The field of Engineering as a whole can be very challenging for some, and we are going to need all the help we can get – technologically or otherwise. Using the best laptops in school and at work can definitely take some load off your shoulders.

List of the Best Laptops for Engineering Students / Licensed Engineers:

Now that we have a background on computer hardware vis-a-vis your specific needs, let us now move on to our list of the best laptops for engineering students starting from the lightest and more powerful. 

Surface Pro 6 (Best Portable Laptop for Engineering)

  • Fast speed, powered by 8th generation Intel Core m3, i5, or i7
  • Lightweight
  • Long battery life
  • Highly configurable
  • Convertible

  • Does not come with a dedicated graphics card
  • Does not have a USB-C



  •  More power – now with the new 8th Generation Intel Core processor (Core m3 , Core i5, Core i7)
  •   4GB-16GB RAM
  •   Intel HD/Iris
  •   128GB-1TB PCIe NVMe SSD
  •   12” IPS 2736×1824
  •   Ultra-slim and light, starting at just 1.7 pounds
  •   All-day battery life, with up to 13 hours of video playback
  •   A best-in-class laptop with the versatility of a studio and tablet
  •   Includes the Surface Pro Type Cover (Black) and Surface Pro Pen


The sleek Surface Pro 6 can run pretty much any engineering software given its solid processor. This monster of a device only weighs 1.7 lbs. It also has a remarkably long battery life, so you can work on your project, run some research work, or design a model for up to thirteen (13) hours.  This is perfect for people who are on the go, so you won’t have to worry about having to charge your laptop every now and then. 

But that’s not all! This laptop is convertible. You have a laptop, a studio, and a tablet all rolled into one. While this feature may just be extra for an average user, this definitely saves an engineer time and space because your projects or job requires designing and creating virtual models. You can draw, edit, and accomplish this digitally.

This device does not have a USB-C, though, but you can transfer data using OneDrive.

This laptop is recommended for 2D engineers. (electrical , computer, chemical, software)

Surface Book 2 (Best Portable Laptop For CAD Engineers)

  • Configurable
  • Very powerful
  • High Resolution
  • Dual Screen set up

  • Consumes a lot of battery due to running a more powerful CPU and GPU
  • Battery life spans only for about 9-10 hours



  •   1.9GHz (Up To 4.2GHz) Intel Quad-Core i7-8650U, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 GPU (2GB GDDR5)
  •   16GB RAM
  •   NVIDIA GTX 1050 2GB GDDR5 vRAM
  •   1TB NVMe PCIe SSD
  •   13.5” Pixel Sense (3000×2000) 
  •   3.62lb
  •   16GB of RAM | 512GB SSD, Windows 10 Pro (64-Bit)
  • 13.5″ 3000 x 2000 PixelSense Display, Detachable Design
  • The fastest Surface Book yet, with 2x more power. Runs Windows 10 Pro Vibrant PixelSense Display: now available with an improved 13.5″ touchscreen
  • SDXC Media Card Slot USB Type-C | USB 3.0 Type-A 802.11ac Wi-Fi | Bluetooth 4.1 LE Detachable Design


In terms of performance, the Surface Book 2 is on a whole different level compared to the Surface Pro 6 because its full power “is over nine thousand (9000)”. It can support a CPU with the highest clock speed of 4.2GHz! This makes this beast a cut above the rest. In addition, the GFX is a 10th generation card which makes it amazingly powerful, too. That explains the hefty sum, but if you’re going to need all that power, make sure to save up for a laptop that is capable of running ultra-heavy programs and applications because the average laptops usually lag when you create complex models. This product is highly recommended for those with CAD related jobs.

This laptop is recommended for both 3D and 2D engineers. (electrical , mechanical , computer , civil , software , chemical , aeronautical or aerospace engineering)

Dell XPS 13 (Best Windows UltraBook For Engineers)

  • Fast speed, runs on 8th generation Intel Core i5 or i7
  • Lightweight
  • Long battery life span (eleven hours)
  • Option for a touch-screen
  • Webcam at the top-center
  • Includes finger-print scanner

  • No configuration has a dedicated graphic card
  • Performance is limited
  • Can only perform undergraduate level projects  



  • Intel 7th Gen Kaby Lake i5 7200U Dual-Core;
  •   128GB SSD
  •   2.7lb
  •   11 hours
  • 13.3″ FHD (1920 x 1080) Infinityedge Touch Display
  • 8GB of 2133 MHz LPDDR3 SDRAM, 128 GB M.2 SATA SSD;
  • Built-in Webcam,USB 3.0, USB-C, Thunderbolt 3 via USB Type_C, Card Reader: SD family, Network: None, Wi-Fi 802.11ac, Bluetooth 4.1;
  • Windows 10 Home (64-bit)


Dell’s XPS 13 is one of the most popular laptops in the world, powered by impressive modern components and rocking an “Infinity Edge” display. While consumers may find the price a little steep, you can buy this in confidence because it runs on an 8th generation Intel Core i5 or i7 processor, which is perfect for existing heavy engineering software applications and for the newer versions or updates to come. 

It only weighs 2.8 lbs and its battery lasts up to eleven (11) hours. This product has two versions of resolution displays:  a touchscreen 4k resolution display  and a  full HD (1080p). The choice is always yours, but to lower battery consumption, you can opt for the full HD or the non-touch option for engineering applications and assignments. 

There are three other customizable models available if you want to have more powerful configurations – one with an 8th generation quad core Intel Core i7, 16GB RAM, and a 2TB PCle SSD – for quite a ginormous price of $2000 or more.

Are you planning to store top secret designs and information? This device sports a finger-print scanner for your security. Pretty nifty, huh?

This laptop is recommended for 2D engineers. (electrical , computer, chemical, software)

Asus ZenBook (Budget Laptop For Engineering Students)

  • Affordable
  • Student-friendly
  • Wide range of connectivity

  • Lack of GPU



  • 13.3 Inch Anti-glare FHD 1920 x 1080 Display, Wide View 170 degrees with Windows 10 Pre-installed
  • Latest 8th Gen Intel i5-8250U 1.6 GHz Processor (6M Cache, Turbo up to 3.4GHz), Fast storage and memory featuring 256GB SATA 3 M.2 SSD with 8GB LPDDR3 RAM
  • Extensive connectivity with micro HDMI/USB 3.1 Type C, 802.11ac WiFi, and SD Card Reader
  • Sleek and lightweight 2.6 lbs aluminum body for comfortable portability


This is the most affordable laptop in this list. Sure, we may have to cut on some niceties to get it down to this budget-friendly price; the good thing is its performance remains on par with the previously mentioned laptops and can run almost every engineering software. Its weight of 2.6 lbs is comparable to some of the other expensive laptops. It can run very smoothly, so you can work on different projects simultaneously without worrying about having lag and other issues. On the whole, this value-packed laptop gives you more bang for your buck.

This laptop is recommended for 2D engineers. (electrical , computer, chemical, software)

MacBook Pro (Best MacBook for Engineers)

  • Durable
  • Long lasting battery up to ten (10) hours
  • Good-looking
  • High quality keyboard
  • Has the best touchpad

  • Compatibility issues to some engineering software
  • Can bring a lot of hassle due to installing different programs to fix compatibility issues
  • Too expensive



  • 2.9GHz quad-core Intel Core i7 processor with Turbo Boost up to 3.9GHz
  • 16GB 2133MHz LPDDR3 memory
  • 512GB SSD storage
  • Radeon Pro 560 with 4GB memory
  • Touch Bar and Touch ID
  • 13” Retina 
  • 3.1 lbs
  • Battery life up to 10 hours 


Even though there is a huge misconception about Apple computers for engineering, MacBook Pro still is among the most preferred laptops. Despite the compatibility issues based on some other reviews, a lot of engineering students still continue to buy this laptop because it still doesn’t fall behind other newer models. This device packs plenty of performance power and can run heavy applications like MatLab, CAD, and CFD programs seamlessly. Some users have noted some lags, though, when creating complex models using a 3D Modeling software, and have resorted to go with a Windows virtual machine on their MacBook.

Aside from its gorgeous chassis, MacBook Pro can also compete with other brands in terms of durability. Having a rock solid bullet proof design makes them more resistant to almost all kinds of physical damage. Its chargers also have a magnet-like port that can be easily unplugged.

This laptop is recommended for 2D engineers. (electrical , computer, chemical, software)

That concludes our short list of the best laptops for engineering students, as well as for licensed engineers. The best devices come at a rather steep price, so if you want to get a laptop that has all the bells and whistles, then you need to be willing to invest a lot of money. However, there are budget alternatives that can support the same functions sans some minor nuances.


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