Dell's new 27-inch all-in-one would make an outstanding dorm room entertainment center, and its high-resolution, 2,560x1,440-pixel display gives you generous desktop real estate for running multiple application windows.
Don't let the awkward name put you off. This is one of the best-looking midsize laptops we've ever seen for $599. You'll trade some performance for the cost savings, but battery life was better than expected, and it looks like a more expensive machine.
We have yet to see any officially branded 17-inch ultrabooks, but I suspect the Samsung Series 7 Chronos 700Z7CH would be an excellent approximation of one, making a good dorm room multimedia and gaming centerpiece.
The recently refreshed Dell Inspiron line has the right mix of style and value for students, especially in the form of the midsize Inspiron 14z. This modestly priced ultrabook looks great, includes discrete graphics, and costs only $899. (Skip the cheaper configurations that start at $699.)
The MacBook Pro with Retina Display, while expensive, is the best all-around MacBook Apple now makes -- unless you absolutely, positively need a built-in optical drive or Ethernet jack (although both are available via external dongles or peripherals).