With the growing necessity for tech, many of us are investing more and more into our devices. This is especially true of students, as modern day degrees become increasingly difficult to complete without access to a personal laptop.  

It’s no secret that laptops are expensive, a fact that has led to recurring ‘student’ targeted sales each September.  If you head on over to the Apple website, their most expensive Macbook will set you back a whopping £2,799.00 (that’s over 30% of university tuition fees for a year). Whilst most students don’t plan on making this kind of investment, the technological requirements of many courses push buyers away from the lower end of the market.  

In addition, simply purchasing a laptop is often not enough, with many subjects calling for specialisist programs and software.  This is especially true of creative courses or those with practical applications (such as engineering, architecture or IT), where many assignments require mastery of industry standard programs.  Whilst many universities and companies offer discounts for students, cost can still ramp up.

Whilst these ‘extra’ costs may come as a surprise, many of us are also quick to overlook our investment into personal subscriptions and entertainment purchases.  This can include everything from Netflix to Spotify, Hulu to Apple Music, as well as gaming or app purchases.  



The world of laptops is ever evolving, with new models entering the market place each year.  Prices can range from over £3,000, with the Microsoft Surface Book 2 at £3,149.95, to just under £250 for an entry level model.

When it comes to student laptops, performance and affordability are key. However, many courses require greater software capabilities that come at a cost.  This means finding the correct balance is vital.



Top Application For All Students

Microsoft Office has been a computer stable for many decades, allowing users to write, present and analyze data.  Whilst many universities offer free downloads for the entire Office Suite, these often come with restrictions, including limits on device numbers and license duration.  As a result, many turn to paid downloads, which despite student offers can set you back £59.99 each year or £119.99 as a one-time student purchase. 

Microsoft Office Download Cost: £119.99 One-time Student Purchase (including Word, Excel and Powerpoint) 


Referencing is often seen as one of the worst parts of university projects, requiring endless sourcing, formatting and quoting. As a result, many students are continually penalized for errors in citations and bibliographies.  This is why EndNote has become a popular tool amongst university goers, allowing students to search, organise and share research, whilst also allowing them to create bibliographies and automatically update records.  

EndNote Download Cost: £88.80 (EndNote X9 – Student Download)


Must Have Programs For Creatives

Whilst all art is subjective, having the right tools for the job can turn a humble sketch into a full blown masterpiece.  This is why so many designers, artists and architects rely on the Adobe Creative Cloud Applications to bring their visions to life.  The same can be said of creative students, with many courses requiring industry standard work to achieve top grades. 

Creative Cloud Application Download Cost: £16.24 / month with student discount (first year), £25.28 / month (second year onward)


For those studying Music or Film Production, having access to high quality recording and editing software is a huge must.  Not only does this allow students to learn the skills they’ll need in their careers, but it also allows them to create artistically ambitious work whilst still at university.  However, much like the Adobe Suite, these programs don’t come cheap, with often heavy investments needed by students. 

Logic Pro X Download Cost: £199.99 

Pro App Bundle for Education Download Cost: £199.99 (includes Final Cut Pro, Logic Pro X, Motion 5, Compressor 4, Mainstage 3)


Must Have Software For Scientists

As the world of science expands, the need for students to understand professional technology is ever growing.  This means access to specialised programs is a must, both on-site (in labs and classrooms) and off-site. These can include surveyor tools, simulation software, structural prototyping, and more, all of which often come with a hefty price tag attached. 

Matlab Student Download Cost: £59.00 

Sigmaplot Student Download Cost: £195 (1 year license), £350 (2 years license)



It’s no secret that more and more of us are subscribing to monthly entertainment services, with the likes of Netflix, Hulu and Amazon TV dominating a huge part of our daily lives. Students are no exception, with many favouring newer offerings over traditional TV licences. This also extends to music services and gaming subscriptions, with monthly costs often disguising the impact of these investments. 

Netflix Cost: £5.99 / month (1 screen, SD), £7.99 / month (2 screens, HD)

Spotify Student Cost: £4.99 / month


The True Cost of Student Laptops

So with this myriad of applications on offer, how much would it cost you to invest in all of them?  Well, if you take into account one time purchases, in your first month you could look to pay a staggering £689.20 in subscription and download fees.  For many, this mammoth figure mirrors that spent on a laptop itself, resulting in an unexpected doubling in value.  This is a problem not only for people’s pockets, but also when it comes to insuring and protecting these devices.