Graduates are a unique group when it comes to purchasing a notebook. They won't get by on the cheapest of laptops, but there's also not much point paying out a fortune on a fragile slate of metal that won't be durable enough for class and work thereafter. I've rounded up 7 excellent notebooks that make ideal graduate gifts.
Dell XPS 13
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This laptop from Dell is found in a number of our recommendations posts here on Windows Central for good reason. It's an outstanding notebook, offering excellent levels of performance, portability, and durability for the price. There's also the fact that the XPS 13 is one of the better-looking laptops at its price point — even rivaling more expensive options.
Highlights for graduates include the stunning 13.3-inch InfinityEdge screen, latest processors from Intel (7th and 8th Gen) and a lithium-ion power pack that can last up to 11 hours. The best part is the price, however, starting at just $749.99.
Surface Book 2
The Surface Book 2 is Microsoft's second-generation laptop come tablet. It comes in two sizes,13.5- and 15-inch, and allows the owner to enjoy a traditional notebook experience, as well as the tablet mode for lounging around and enjoying some movies.
I'm not going to fool you into thinking this is an affordable option because it isn't. The cheapest Surface Book 2 configuration comes in at $1,199. The entry model sports an Intel Core i5 processor, 8GB RAM, and 128GB of internal storage, making it quite a capable machine.
ASUS ZenBook UX330UA
It's no secret that ASUS makes some gorgeous laptops and the ZenBook series really makes you appreciate just how good looking a PC can be. This doesn't mean you're paying for the design and not horse power to go along with it, though. The UX330UA packs the latest from Intel and everything else to keep any graduate going through late sessions.
We have exellent performance, and solid design and build, but ASUS hasn't stopped there. The UX330UA is also an affordable option, coming in at just $749, and is accomapnied by a promotion to save $20 on Microsoft's Office 365 package. That gives any budding graduate everything he or she needs to get started without fuss.
When typing thousands of words, it makes sense to choose a laptop that has a decent keyboard. This is what the HP ENVY offers as well as a solid build and exceptional battery life. If you happen to find yourself working outside in the sunshine for a while, you won't need to fret about hunting down an available socket afterwards.
Interestingly, the larger 17-inch ENVY rocks a disc drive, just in case you need one to get through education. What's more is HP is offering discounts across the 17-inch range of ENVY laptops, meaning you will be able to score a deal within the next few days, starting from $999.99. The company seemingly only has 17-inch models available through its official store, though Amazon has a few listings for the smaller 13-inch variant (also at Best Buy.
Microsoft Surface Pro
The entry Microsoft Surface Pro models aren't worth picking up for a graduate, meaning you'll need to step up to Intel Core i5 version at the very least. Why am I recommending a tablet here? The Type Covers are actually rather good to type on and these are incredible versitle PCs.
Pricing for the aforementioned Core i5 configuration comes in at $999. Billed as the "ultimate laptop," it's a claim that isn't far off the mark. The Surface Pro is light, capable and can be used in a variety of scenarios. It's not only great for lounging around with but also can become a creative mind's handy little assistant.
Razer is a brand best known for PC gaming keyboards, mice, and headsets. In more recent years, the company has produced some killer laptops that sport powerful graphics processing for truly portable gaming (so long as you have an outlet nearby). If the graduate you need to find a laptop for is a gamer on the side, you can't go wrong with the Razer Blade.
Packing the latest 8th Gen Intel processors, a GTX 1060 GPU, and 512GB of internal storage, the Blade has more than enough power for work and play, fusing both worlds together. Prices for this laptop, in particular, are around $1,769 but can be increased if you opt for a 4K display and more storage.
The Spectre really is something else. HP states the company made the notebook "seductively thin" and it is not kidding. At just 10.4mm thin, this notebook is perfect for portable use, be it in class, in a library, or at the park. Sporting an Intel Core i5 processor, 8GB of RAM, and 256GB of storage, it's ready for most tasks you can throw at it.
While it may be a premium looking laptop, it's not priced out of reach, coming in at around $1,149.99. The battery life does lag behind the competition slightly, but it has some excellent features like a Windows Hello webcam to make up for it.
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Rich Edmonds was formerly a Senior Editor of PC hardware at Windows Central, covering everything related to PC components and NAS. He's been involved in technology for more than a decade and knows a thing or two about the magic inside a PC chassis. You can follow him on Twitter at @RichEdmonds.