The Best MacBook For College in 2019

The best Apple laptops for college in 2019

Apple products have been popular for some time, boasting processors with high-tech capabilities, as well as proprietary software that seems intuitively navigable at the touch of the user.

The extra benefit of Apple’s self-designed hardware and software is the optimized sync-ability across products and operating systems. Although, Apple developers claim their software is beyond safe, it’s not a guarantee that you won’t get your Mac infected with malware. Using CleanMyMac X you will know about every threat to your Mac’s safety and be able to prevent it instantly. 

Modern Macs have come a long way since the beige 1984 Apple Macintosh personal computer, and the difficulty in picking a Mac for college students isn’t in finding something trustworthy, portably, and up-to-date; rather, it is finding the best tool to serve the needs of the student. That is why it is important to research before you buy, and know the requirements of your major, and the daily details of use.

Best Portable Mac

With the simplicity of the 13.3-inch display, the MacBook Air weighs in at 2.75 pounds with an Intel Core i5 processor, and might just be ideal for the student on the go. The lightness and 12-hour battery life provide a notetaking companion that can last through a long day of classes and late-night homework sessions. 

The new Retina display with over 4 million pixels keeps images and text crisp and clear. True Tone technology auto-adjusts the white point of the display by analyzing the light of the environment, helping to alleviate eye strain. The large screen accommodates multiple windows for research, and the new keyboard features offer an ergonomic feel, especially with LED-backlit keys for low-light environments. 

The updated stereo speakers, three microphones, and a FaceTime camera make calling home, watching movies, and listening to lectures clearer in high definition. The 100% recycled aluminum alloy designed by Apple also makes this product the most environmentally-friendly Mac product to date.

While the MacBook Air does offer many compelling features for a highly mobile student, the Core i5 CPU is not quite as fast, with only a 1.6 GHz dual-core processor, and 128-gigabyte solid-state drive with 16GB of RAM. While this can be helpful and extend battery life for a studious note-taker, the robust capabilities of other Macs may be better suited for those that need the ability to run a variety of applications and programs. 

It is also important to note that the MacBook Air has the versatile USB-C port, so you may need adapters. The Macbook Air is the model with only two ports, so if you need to charge your laptop, you will only have one remaining port. 

Best Performing Mac

The MacBook Pro is a powerful computer that isn’t inferior in performance or capability and comes in two sizes (a 13-inch and 15-inch) and ranges in weight from 3-4 lbs, size depending. The new model offers up to an 8-core Intel processor with 5.0 GHz Turbo Boost, 32GB memory, and 3.2GB/s SSD read speeds. This means the new MacBook Pro is capable of operating software and programs — like Adobe — blazing fast with updated graphics. These features are vital for those that seek to write code, produce music, edit videos and photos, or design presentations. 

Though the screen is not touch-sensitive, the MacBook Pro does include a new touch bar at the top of the keyboard, designed to incorporate familiar gestures as interactive controls. Authentication for secure online purchases and system settings is quicker and more personalized with Touch ID identification. The new MacBook Pro utilizes 4 USB-C ports, so compatibility with older devices may require adapters.

Taking full advantage of all the capabilities of your Mac, you may one day find that your machine’s performance isn’t at its peak as it was before. To use your Mac to full potential and still keep it fast, we recommend optimizing its performance with CleanMyMac X’s Optimization tool. Keeping your Mac clean of unwanted data with CleanMyMac X you’ll make your investment last as long as possible, and avoid having to pay for replacements half-way through a degree program.

Most Affordable Mac for students

While Mac products can vary in price, they tend to keep their resale value. This is especially true if proper maintenance and care are regularly performed on the computer. The most affordable MacBook based on price is the MacBook Air, which ranges in price depending on features:

$1,099:

  • Retina display with True Tone
  • 1.6GHz dual-core 8th-generation Intel Core i5 processor with Turbo Boost up to 3.6GHz
  • 8GB 2133Mz LPDDR3 memory
  • 128GB SSD storage
  • Intel UHD Graphics 617
  • Touch ID
  • Force Touch trackpad
  • Two Thunderbolt 3 USB-C ports

$1,299: 

  • Retina display with True Tone
  • 1.6GHz dual-core 8th-generation Intel Core i5 processor with Turbo Boost up to 3.6GHz
  • 8GB 2133Mz LPDDR3 memory
  • 256GB SSD storage
  • Intel UHD Graphics 617
  • Touch ID
  • Force Touch trackpad
  • Two Thunderbolt 3 USB-C ports

The slim design of the MacBook Air makes it portable, versatile, and highly useful for many students who need to take notes, complete homework, do research, and study.

However, if design, rendering, layering, coding, and audio, video, and otherwise engineering programs are needed, then the MacBook Pro is a valuable purchase for the extra money. The 13-inch MacBook Pro ranges in cost depending on features:

$1,299:

  • 1.4 GHz  quad-core 8th-generation Intel Core i5 processor
  • Turbo Boost up to 3.9GHz
  • Intel Iris Plus Graphics 645
  • 8GB 2133MHz LPDDR3 memory
  • 128GB SSD storage
  • Retina display with True Tone
  • Touch Bar and Touch ID
  • Two Thunderbolt USB-C 3 ports

$1,499: 

  • 1.4 GHz  quad-core 8th-generation Intel Core i5 processor
  • Turbo Boost up to 3.9GHz
  • Intel Iris Plus Graphics 645
  • 8GB 2133MHz LPDDR3 memory
  • 256GB SSD storage
  • Retina display with True Tone
  • Touch Bar and Touch ID
  • Two Thunderbolt 3 ports

$1,799: 

  • 2.4 GHz  quad-core 8th-generation Intel Core i5 processor
  • Turbo Boost up to 4.1GHz
  • Intel Iris Plus Graphics 655
  • 8GB 2133MHz LPDDR3 memory
  • 256GB SSD storage
  • Retina display with True Tone
  • Touch Bar and Touch ID
  • Four Thunderbolt USB-C 3 ports

$1,999: 

  • 2.4 GHz  quad-core 8th-generation Intel Core i5 processor
  • Turbo Boost up to 4.1GHz
  • Intel Iris Plus Graphics 655
  • 8GB 2133MHz LPDDR3 memory
  • 512GB SSD storage
  • Retina display with True Tone
  • Touch Bar and Touch ID
  • Four Thunderbolt USB-C 3 ports

The 15-inch MacBook Pro also offers different features for the money paid:

$2,399:

  • 2.6 GHz  6-core 9th-generation Intel Core i7 processor
  • Turbo Boost up to 4.5GHz
  • Radeon Pro 555X with 4GB of GDDR5 memory
  • 16GB 2400MHz DDR4 memory
  • 256GB SSD storage
  • Retina display with True Tone
  • Touch Bar and Touch ID 
  • Four Thunderbolt USB-C 3 ports

$2,799:

  • 2.3 GHz  8-core 9th-generation Intel Core i9 processor
  • Turbo Boost up to 4.8GHz
  • Radeon Pro 560X with 4GB of GDDR5 memory
  • 16GB 2400MHz DDR4 memory
  • 512GB SSD storage
  • Retina display with True Tone
  • Touch Bar and Touch ID 
  • Four Thunderbolt USB-C 3 ports

MacBook Alternatives

Though every student will need access to technology and the internet to complete assignments, submit papers, and communicate with friends and family, not every student may need a laptop. Apple has a variety of products that are still powerful and comfortable, in much smaller and/or accessible stock.

Portability

The new generations of iPads are both portable and powerful, with a variety of Bluetooth accessories such as the Apple Pencil, Logitech Crayon, or a variety of Smart Keyboards. The combination of accessories and advanced technology makes many iPads capable of replacing laptops and computers for a variety of functions. Model prices differ:

iPad Pro - $799:

  • 12.9” and 11”
  • Liquid Retina Display
  • A12X Bionic chip
  • Face ID Up to 1TB storage
  • Support for Apple Pencil (2nd generation)
  • Support for Smart Keyboard Folio

iPad Air - $499:

  • 10.5” Retina display
  • A12 Bionic chip
  • Touch ID 
  • Up to 256GB storage
  • Support for Apple Pencil (1st generation)
  • Support for Smart Keyboard

iPad mini - $399:

  • 7.9” Retina display 
  • A12 Bionic chip
  • Touch ID 
  • Up to 256GB storage
  • Support for Apple Pencil (1st generation)

iPad - $329:

  • 10.2” Retina display 
  • A10 Fusion chip 
  • Touch ID 
  • Up to 128GB storage 
  • Support for Apple Pencil (1st generation)
  • Support for Smart Keyboard

Performance

The performance of any computer can be at risk at college. File-sharing, free public WiFi, and bouncing around campus can all add up to cluttered storage of your Mac. That’s why it’s advisable to complete regular scans of your Mac with CleanMyMac X to keep it safe and sound. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Download and launch CleanMyMac X.
  2. Press Scan button.
  3. After the tool give you system a check, click Run. 

Now your Mac is clean of unnecessary data and can work in times faster. 

If portability is not an issue, then an iMac may be a valuable alternative. The iMac offers an all-in-one design desktop experience that encompasses the latest Core i7 to Core i9 processors, fast memory, and incredible graphics. The iMac hardware is optimized for macOS, as well as a variety of apps and other Mac products for connectivity, versatility, and reliability.

The 21.5-inch model ranges in price via available features:

$1,099:

  • 2.3GHz dual-core 7th-generation Intel Core i5 processor
  • Turbo Boost up to 3.6GHz
  • 8GB 2133MHz memory, configurable to 16GB
  • 1TB hard drive
  • Intel Iris Plus Graphics 640
  • Two Thunderbolt 3 USB-C ports
  • 1920-by1080 sRGB display

$1,299:

  • 3.6GHz quad-core 8th-generation Intel Core i3 processor
  • 8GB 2400MHz DDR4 memory, configurable to 32GB
  • 1TB hard drive
  • Radeon Pro 555X with 2GB of GDDR5 memory
  • Two Thunderbolt 3 USB-C ports
  • Retina 4K 40996-by-2304 P3 display

$1,499:

  • 3.0GHz 6-core 8th-generation Intel Core i5 processor 
  • Turbo Boost up to 4.1GHz
  • 8GB 2666Mhz DDr4 memory
  • 1TB Fusion Drive
  • Radeon Pro 560X with 4GB of GDDR5 memory
  • Two Thunderbolt 3 USB-C ports
  • Retina 4K 4096-by-2304 P3 Display

As does the 27-inch model:

$1,799:

  • 3.0GHz 6-core 8th generation Intel Core i5 processor
  • Turbo Boost up to 4.1GHz
  • 8GB 266MHz DDR4 memory configurable up to 32GB
  • 1TB Fusion Drive
  • Radeon Pro 570X with 4GB of GDDR5 memory
  • Two Thunderbolt 3 USB-C ports
  • Retina 5K 5120-by-2880 P3 display 

$1,999:

  • 3.1GHz 6-core 8th generation Intel Core i5 processor
  • Turbo Boost up to 4.3GHz
  • 8GB 266MHz DDR4 memory configurable up to 64GB
  • 1TB Fusion Drive
  • Radeon Pro 575X with 4GB of GDDR5 memory
  • Two Thunderbolt 3 USB-C ports
  • Retina 5K 5120-by-2880 P3 display 

$2,299:

  • 3.7GHz 6-core 9th generation Intel Core i5 processor
  • Turbo Boost up to 4.6GHz
  • 8GB 266MHz DDR4 memory configurable up to 64GB
  • 2TB Fusion Drive
  • Radeon Pro 580X with 8GB of GDDR5 memory
  • Two Thunderbolt 3 USB-C ports
  • Retina 5K 5120-by-2880 P3 display 

Affordability

The Mac mini now comes with Intel quad-core and 6-core processors, up to 64GB memory, and 2TB SSD storage, making this tiny desktop computer powerful enough for industrial tasks and projects, while small enough to comfortably fit on a desk in a close-quarters dorm. Depending on features, the cost of the Mac mini ranges from:

$799:

  • 3.6GHz quad-core 8th-generation Intel Core i3 processor 
  • 8GB 2666MHz DDR4 memory
  • Intel UHD Graphics 630
  • 128GB PCIe-based SSD storage

$1,099:

  • 3.0GHz 6-core 8th generation Intel Core i5 processor 
  • Turbo Boost up to 4.1GHz
  • 8GB 2666MHz DDR4 memory
  • Intel UHD Graphics 630
  • 256GB PCIe-based SSD storage

Finding the right tools to immerse into college and the homework load can feel intimidating with so many options available. Doing the research and having a general idea of needs can ensure getting a product that is just right for the college workload, and experience. Fortunately for college students, keeping any Mac in top shape is easy: grab your free version of CleanMyMac X, and reduce drag on memory, clear out old files, and preserve performance of your computers.

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