School has only just broken up and results are not expected for a few more weeks, but it is time you started thinking about buying that student laptop. The demand for portable computers has never been higher and with the perfect storm of Covid19 causing people to work from home, and creating a shortage of skilled workers, combined with import and export issues and lack of parts, it is wise to start thinking about sourcing a laptop now rather than hope to find one just before you will need it.
Top Five Considerations When Buying A Student Laptop
If you, or one of your nearest and dearest, is off to college or university in the not-too-distant future you may be thinking about getting a new laptop to help with studying. But which one do you choose? Which computer is best for a new student?
It can be mind-boggling when you have to make such an important decision – there are so many options out there. Your starting point is likely to be budget but when you then consider that the term ‘laptop computer’ can cover any of the following, the decision process becomes cloudy once more:
Setting budget to one side for the moment, your initial decision on the best laptop for your budding scholar needs to be which operating system (OS) will most suit best. There are three main categories here: Windows, Mac or Chrome OS.
Windows: The most commonly used OS, Windows offers the most flexibility. There will be a wider choice of budget, design and software, and this option lends itself to being more compatible with other applications you may encounter along your journey.
MAC: If you are moving into the design world this may be your OS of choice, but you’ll need to begin with deeper pockets. Realistically you are looking in excess of £800 before you even start for this option, but if you are familiar with iPhones and iPads it will be simpler for you to get used to. You can also synch all of your Apple devices so in effect they all talk to each other.
Chrome: You may have seen the TV ads where Chrome seems to offer a great solution at a really affordable price. Chrome books are the least expensive option, but they also offer the least flexibility. Being designed to use web-based apps like Google’s Chrome browser, Google Docs, and Google Sheets, if you require more in-depth applications you could well run into difficulties.
Your next consideration is how powerful you need your computer to be – we’re talking processing power and memory here.
Memory and Processor:
We recommend that you avoid buying a laptop with a processor that’s more than two generations old. When you pop along to your large, National, warehouse store, you’ll often find what look like real bargains – but if the technology within the machine is several years old, you could end up needing to spend more money in the long run.
We recommend a minimum of 8GB of RAM – this is the memory component. Investing in a laptop without enough RAM could result in slower performance under heavy workloads.
Normal ‘logic’ doesn’t come into play here – a smaller laptop does not equate to a smaller price. Those really flash, shiny, small laptops you may see people carrying around under their arm often command a far higher price than a larger, heavier laptop. You need to consider whether you will need to take your laptop to lectures or if you’ll only be using it in your room, but the middle ground here are 13-inch screens which generally offer the best combination of screen space and budget.
The bulk of laptops come somewhere within the 128GB to 256GB bracket which is sufficient for general use. Chrome books work in the cloud, so their storage is negligible, again something you need to take into account. If you are going to be working with a lot of images, videos and sound files you may need a larger storage capacity but there is always the option to add an external drive at a later date if this pushes up the budget constraints too far – just double check this is an option for your laptop of choice before you splash out.
Buying a new laptop is an investment that you want to get right from the outset. Finding halfway through your first term that your computer cannot do what you need it to do is a headache no student needs. Think hard about what you will need from your device as this will help guide you towards the best laptop for your studying needs.