Back to university technology for students

 A lot of us live our lives through our phones – but the laptop is still the top tool for any university student. 

It doubles as a TV, lets you play games on your downtime and is just about essential for note-taking in lectures and writing-up your coursework. You know, the less fun stuff.

As much as hanging around in a library, using its computers, can help with distractions, we don't want to do that all year round.

Dell is one of the first companies you should look for when shopping for a laptop to take to university. 

It offers something for every need, from budget computers to ones that cost thousands of pounds.

Portable royalty

We'll look into which type is best for you in a minute, but first don't forget that Dell offers a student discount through its Dell Advantage programme. 

This gets you up to 10 per cent off high-end laptops and five per cent off its more price-conscious models. 

All you need to get this deal are your student ID and university email. Also keep an eye out for special limited time deals that bag you even bigger discounts.

The first laptop we'd recommend to any student is the Dell XPS 13. Not only is it one of the best laptops in the world, full stop, it has lots of features perfect for the sort of use you'll need jumping between lectures around campus all day.

First, it's slim and light. Just 1.21kg and 11.6mm thick, the XPS 13 won't give you shoulder ache even if you end up having to carry it around for 12 hours. 

Battery life is killer too. You'll get up to 19 hours 46 minutes of use with apps like Word and Excel – and these are of course the staples of most degrees.

Even after a full day's work there will be enough juice left over for some Netflix or Spotify back at home.

Hybrid power

For an extra lifestyle edge, make sure to check out the Dell XPS 13 2-in-1. This is similar to the standard model but has a 360-degree hinge that lets you use it more like a tablet. 

You can also get an Active stylus for Dell's touchscreen models, which are perfect for note-taking, or just doodling to unwind.

Given their size and longevity, you may be surprised by the power of these 13-inch laptops. The Dell XPS 13 models have the same eighth-generation Intel Quad Core processors seen in some laptops twice the size or more. 

If you want to try out the life of a YouTuber or will need to create videos for your coursework, there's enough power here for serious video editing.

A bigger option

If you need even more power and care slightly less about portability, you need to consider an upgrade to the 15-inch Dell XPS. It has even more powerful processors, designed to get you desktop-like performance.

Its 15-inch screen also makes a better TV-replacer, worth bearing in mind if your bedroom isn't big enough to fit in a TV, or if your housemates seem to binge-watch every show you hate  in the living room.

Don't rule it out as a portable laptop either. The Dell XPS 15's Infinity Edge display tech means its footprint is barely larger than the screen itself. 

And at 1.8kg, this is still very light for a full-size laptop. Add one of Dell's Thunderbolt Docks and you end up with the connectivity of a full desktop PC too.

Some versions of the Dell XPS 15 even have Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 Ti graphics, which is like cramming PS4 Pro power into the laptop you use for Word docs during the day time.

More gaming power

For the ultimate gamer’s getaway from essays and lectures at the end of the day, one of Dell's Alienware laptops is the best choice. 

They have just the right balance of gamer style and class, and won't look out of place in a lecture hall or an esports event. You might want to turn off some of the casing LEDs during a lecture, mind.

Graphics cards from the powerful Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 right up to the GTX 1080 offer enough performance to handle any game available today. 

Yes, if you need to justify hardware that lets you blow off some steam, a blistering GPU like this will also speed-up things like photo and video editing, and 3D modelling.

More affordable options

The Dell XPS and Alienware laptops all fit into our "dream student laptop" category. But if you have a little less to spend but still want the same results, look at the Dell Inspiron 15 7000 series. 

These 13 and 15-inch laptops use eighth-generation Intel processors just like the XPS range, but you pay hundreds of pounds less for them.

You still get a lovely aluminium casing too, along with great battery life, sharp looks, and the option of a touchscreen hybrid design. 

These Inspiron models are just slightly heavier and a few little parts just aren't quite as premium.

As much as we'd like to take a Dell XPS into halls, we have to admit that a Dell Inspiron 15 7000 may be more suitable for those on a more student-size budget.

Still not sure which you should pick? You can live chat to some of Dell's advisors on its website, or give the brand a call. 

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