The best laptops for students

We chose a mix of ultraportables and gaming machines.

There's no way around it: You're bringing a computer to school, and unless you're a serious gamer or in training for some sort of creative field, you're probably looking at a new laptop. The Dell XPS 13 continues to be one of the best Windows laptops your money can buy -- it looks good, has an almost bezel-less display, a comfortable keyboard and, most importantly, it's lightweight and portable. Microsoft's Surface Laptop is another well-built and all-around good choice if you can live with Windows 10 S, the company's stripped-down OS designed largely with schools in mind.

If you'd rather get a gaming rig or if you need something powerful enough for photo and video editing, consider the MSI GS65 Stealth Thin: It's one of the lightest gaming laptops we've ever seen, and it gets bonus points for mustering decent battery life. Dell's G3 15 is another gaming laptop that can edit media -- it's an entry-level model that's not as powerful as the GS65, but it also costs $1,000 less.

In case you can't spare more than $500, the Asus Chromebook Flip C302 might be one of your best options. While Chrome OS is limited compared to a full-fledged platform, you can make up for its shortcoming by installing apps from Google Play. And of course, our list won't be complete without a MacBook Pro for those more at home with macOS. We recommend skipping the Touch Bar and getting the 13-inch model without one for hundreds less, though keep in mind it doesn't pack the same new processors as the Touch Bar configurations.

Find all our picks in our 2018 back-to-school guide and while you're there, find 100-some odd picks in 13 other categories.