Having the right laptop for your studies is more important than ever. It was important to have a good laptop when we were all working and learning from home, but now people are back in college and university, as well as in the office, and that means having machine that can cut the mustard is crucial.
From memory capacity and processing speed to the size of the display and the functions of its keyboard, you need a machine that meets you needs down to a tee.
To make you life easier we’ve taken two of the best portable machines from our best student laptops buying guide – the Dell XPS 13 (2020) and the Acer Chromebook 315 – and compared them in all the areas that matter.
DELL XPS 13 (2020) VS ACER CHROMEBOOK 315: DESIGN & USABILITY
The XPS 13 is one of the more premium models on this list, so you’re now you’re getting a sleek and study machine designed to performed. It's lightweight at only 1.27kg, with a textured carbon fibre material. It’s an ideal option for those wanting an alternative to a full PC while working from home, while staying light enough for commutes back to reopened lecture halls.
The Chromebook 315 is noticeably heavier than the XPS 13, but it carefully hides that bulk with a sleek build and a simple silver finish. It’s big enough to take the occasional knock, making it deal for students travelling two and from home and the classroom, but stocked with enough features to make it a must-have computing companion.
DELL XPS 13 (2020) VS ACER CHROMEBOOK 315: DISPLAY
As you’d expect from laptop and PC experts Dell, the XPS 13 comes in a variety of different options, all the way from the affordable 1220 x 1200 version all the way up to an impressive 4K (3840 X 2400) version. The 16:10 ratio isn’t ideal for streaming movies, but it is great for users who want to have more than one app open at once, or more real estate when studying.
The Chromebook 315 boasts an impressive 15.6-inch display as standard with 5.6mm bezels for maximum display and the minimum of borders. The screen boasts an anti-glare coating that makes it perfect for using with a window behind you, or when you’re on a commute back to your reopened learning space.
DELL XPS 13 (2020) VS ACER CHROMEBOOK 315: SPECS AND OPTIONS
There are plenty of configurations our there when it comes to the XPS 13, with the top tier version boasting an impressive Intel Core i7-1065G7 processor, a whole 16GB of RAM and a 1TB of SSD storage to support all those files, documents and dissertations. It’s also a competent gaming machine at this specification as well.
Acer is aiming squarely at the more affordable corner of the student laptop market with the Chromebook 315, so while you’re getting a great price point, you’re also getting a relatively modest specs with an Intel Celeron 3205U 1.5GHz (dual-core) CPU, Intel HD GPU, 4GB of RAM and 32GB of SSD storage.
DELL XPS 13 (2020) VS ACER CHROMEBOOK 315: FEATURES AND PORTS
Neither the XPS 13 nor the Chromebook 315 boast that many ports, but there’s more than enough in either model to support your studies. The XPS 13 sports a 3.5mm headphone jack, a microSD card reader and two Thunderbolt 3 ports which also double up as USB-C ports should you need them.
The Chromebook doesn’t have a huge number of connectivity options, but it does at least have a single Type-C port and a single USB 3.0 port. You can always invest in a USB adaptor if you need more connection options, but with out of the box support for all of Google’s student friendly app ecosystem – including, Docs, Sheets and Drive – you know you’ll be ready for whatever your studies throw at you.
DELL XPS 13 (2020) VS ACER CHROMEBOOK 315: PRICING AND VERDICT
If you’re looking for a little more oomph for your money, then the XPS 13 is a great option with its suite of configurations. The higher end model is ideal for graphics design-driven programs and more demanding apps, while the lower end version is great for students of all needs. That higher end version will set you back around £1,500/$1,600. Make sure you check our Dell discount codes to save on your purchase.
As we’ve mentioned previously, the Chromebook 315 from Acer is one of the most affordable laptops you can buy right now. It certainly doesn’t hold a candle to the XPS 13, even at its lower spec, but with a very attractive price of around the £250-£300 mark ($300-$400).
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