Which is the best laptop for college? Once a student graduated from high school and head to college, purchasing a laptop as one of the supportive devices is highly recommended. Here’s the problem, so many laptops under various brands can be found and people can’t help but feel confused. Before asking about which one to be bought, answer this question first, what kind of laptop do you need? Still feeling confused? The following are some points in choosing an ideal laptop for university students.
Weight & Design
By all means, this is actually the most important aspect that often forgotten. College students move from class to class thus portability should be a priority. The recommendation is to get laptops with weight under 3 lbs. Buying a laptop with weight over 5 lbs is a no. The lighter weight, the better it will be. Lighter laptops would mean smaller laptops that will fit a bag easily without problems. On top of that, college desks are often smaller compared to a sheet of paper. Hence, smaller laptops with lighter weight and high portability would be an ideal choice.
Another thing matters will be the design. While it is not as important as weight, the design does play a role especially since the launch of Windows 8. Numerous convertible or hybrid laptops can be found. These laptops can be converted into tablets in its own way adding more practicality into the laptops.
Battery Life & Connectivity
How long can a laptop survive simply on battery? This is an important thing that must be considered. Most classrooms won’t have power plugs and laptops will rely on battery power most of the time. Aside of that, try to imagine carrying the charger anywhere. It’s highly inconvenient! Therefore, always check battery life claim of laptops. Try to check reviews from third parties to verify the battery life claim. While battery life depends on the usage, it’s a wise choice to find a laptop that will last for at least 6 hours.
Connectivity is another important thing. Try to get dual-band wireless card even if it adds $20 to $30 extra cost. It will worthy because most colleges have 5GHz WiFi. Find laptop labeled as dual-band or 802.11ac or 802.11a. New laptops usually have the 802.11ac option.
Build & Branding
A laptop must be durable in build, which means the chassis of the laptop must be very well built. The laptop must is able to survive and last for as long as college time. It is recommended to avoid laptop labeled as media or entertainment laptops. Find laptops labeled as business grade or professional. Specifications might be identical but the build of the business grade will have higher quality, resistance to drops and last for longer time. Branding is also important. This one related to after sales customer service. This is important and will be a part of why a laptop is worthy to be purchased.
First, take a look at the screen size. There are various options from 11-inches all the way to 17 or 18-inches. 15-inches screen is the most popular choice but others won’t be bad to be considered. The truth is, screen size doesn’t matter. Just go with the one felt as comfortable. What matters the most is screen resolution. Avoid getting laptops with a resolution lower than 1600X900. Higher resolution would be great. Some people might want to consider touchscreen capability. Although that it won’t be necessary, it will be convenient.
It’s a natural thing must be considered and will be highly associated with the major taken by a student. Students from business major might need standard specifications enough for multitasking and running office software. At the other hand, students of engineering need higher specifications with a powerful processor, sufficient storage and graphic card.
• Processor: Most of the time, paying more for a more powerful processor isn’t worth it. Nowadays, most laptops are more than capable to handle average tasks of college students. Intel Core i3 or i5 are more than enough while i7 would be overkill. Intel’s Core M can also be considered alongside AMD A series.
• Memory RAM: In a case of the memory RAM, larger is always the better choice. Despite that, most students will need around 4GB.
• Storage: There are two options available, the hard disk drive (HDD) and the solid-state drive (SSD). SSD is a better choice. It’s faster in processing things and will consume less power. If one insists on HDD, try to get the one with 7200RPM.
• Graphic Card: Most students won’t need a graphic card (GPU) and integrated graphic card will be sufficient. But some students need to run software that requires a particular level of the graphic card. Thus checking this feature becomes necessary. If graphic card is a must, try to get a laptop with interchangeable graphic card. By choosing this option, dedicated GPU can be turned off when unnecessary.
There are more things should be considered in choosing a good college laptop including the availability of optical drive and other small details. Each one of them needs to be considered properly in order to get the best choice. Operating system matters for many people. Keyboard and touchpad will definitely play important role that must not be ignored.
Brand New or Refurbish?
Wanting to get the true brand new items is an understandable choice but not always the best. Remember the statement of laptop build must be good and business grade is recommended? These laptops won’t be cheap. The most affordable will be around $520 and most will be around $700 and even reaching more than $1000. The suggestion is to get refurbish laptops. These are actually new laptops. They are returned to manufacturers by buyers due to various reasons. Refurbish laptops are cheaper by hundreds of dollars. These are good laptops that work perfectly fine and will usually have one year warranty.
When searching and considering the best laptops for college needs, it is wise to try to search for student discounts. A lot of major manufacturers are providing opportunities to get good discounts from 10% to 20%. They can be very useful to save some more money.