Updated May 4 2017: As folks are getting ready to graduate from high school and choose laptop for college, we're still saying these are currently the best laptops to choose.

Best Overall

HP Spectre x360

HP Spectre x360

See at HP

The HP Spectre x360 has a fantastic build quality and a crazily thin body. The 13.3-inch, 1080p touch display works well while in tablet, stand or tent modes, and the keyboard and touchpad are a joy to use while in notebook mode.

Inside you get a seventh-generation Intel Core i7-7500U processor with a clock speed up to 3.5GHz, up to 16GB of RAM, and a 512GB solid-state drive (SSD). It's perfect for all scenarios.

Bottom line: This is a laptop that does it all

One more thing: HP also has a larger, 15-inch version of the Spectre for fans of bigger screens.

Why the HP Spectre x360 is the best

It's sleek, stylish, incredibly portable and powerful inside. The Spectre x360 has it all.

When you're going to college, you're naturally interested in getting value, and the HP Spectre x360 is right at the top of that list. It's better priced than some of the competition, including the Dell XPS 13, while going toe-to-toe and beyond in the hardware department.

This is a laptop that excels across the board.

The latest revision is a striking-looking machine that's sure to turn heads, and it has room inside its svelte frame for a Core i5 or i7 processor, up to 16GB of RAM and up to 512GB of SSD storage. Throw in a superb precision trackpad and a wonderful keyboard, and the Spectre x360 is a laptop you want to use again and again.

But as the x360 in the name alludes to, it's also a convertible, something which many others in the Ultrabook space are not. That means you can get your hands all over that gorgeous display, or make it more comfortable to enjoy some post-class movies.

The x360 is a laptop that excels across the board. It combines power with a stunning design and a terrific typing experience, with a sprinkling of great battery life. It's a PC a college student shouldn't leave home without.

2-in-1

Microsoft Surface Book

Surface Book

See at Microsoft

The removable keyboard and touchpad, Surface Pen, and 13.5-inch touchscreen together create the perfect tool no matter what you use it for. Battery life is solid, the keyboard is a pleasure to type on, and the touchpad is precise.

Whether typing, making handwritten notes or chilling out after class, the Surface Book is a superb choice.

Bottom line: Tablet or laptop, the Surface Book is good for all.

One more thing: The Performance Base edition is even good for some mid-tier gaming.

Premium

Dell XPS 15

Dell XPS 15

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Dell's XPS 15 is seriously awesome. It crams a high-end, 15-inch notebook into the form factor of a 14-incher, thanks in no small part to the InfinityEdge display. The latest models have a fingerprint scanner for Windows Hello, 10 series GPUs from NVIDIA and one of the best 4K displays you'll find on a laptop.

Bottom line: It packs power, performance and stunning good looks.

One more thing: The base models are still available with a 1080p non-touch display.

Affordable

HP Stream x360

HP X360

See at Amazon

If your college work is primarily going to be writing and web surfing, you might not want to throw a lot of money down on a laptop. The 11-inch HP Stream x360 offers a taste of its more expensive sibling at a fraction of the price.

That means a fully folding touchscreen display, so you can use it like a tablet as well as a laptop.

Bottom line: It's an affordable package that doesn't feature top-end hardware but does have a few tricks up its sleeve.

One more thing: The display can flip around and be used like a tablet.

For gamers

Dell Inspiron 15 7567

Inspiron 15 7567

See at Dell

You work hard and you play hard, right? The Dell Inspiron 15 gaming series is a superb balance of affordable price and gaming power. The latest revision can have a GTX 1050ti inside, a sweet spot for laptop gaming on a budget.

It's still a pretty high-end laptop, though, and it's still fairly portable. This is the best gaming laptop on a budget you can get.

Bottom line: Dell's refreshed model is still the best budget gaming laptop around.

One more thing: Keep an eye on Dell's frequent discount codes before hitting the buy button.

Conclusion

If you're going away to college and want to make sure you have the best tool for the job, the HP Spectre x360 is for you. There's little room to fault it, but if your desires are a little more specific, you can't go wrong with any of the choices on this list.

Best Overall

HP Spectre x360

HP Spectre x360

See at HP

The HP Spectre x360 has a fantastic build quality and a crazily thin body. The 13.3-inch, 1080p touch display works well while in tablet, stand or tent modes, and the keyboard and touchpad are a joy to use while in notebook mode.

Inside you get a seventh-generation Intel Core i7-7500U processor with a clock speed up to 3.5GHz, up to 16GB of RAM, and a 512GB solid-state drive (SSD). It's perfect for all scenarios.

Bottom line: This is a laptop that does it all

One more thing: HP also has a larger, 15-inch version of the Spectre for fans of bigger screens.