Finding a Laptop for School

Image by luc legay, Flickr

Image by luc legay, Flickr

Laptops have become one of the most important all-in-one tools for students. You can take notes, do research for an essay, listen to music, watch videos and much more. There’s a whole list of things to consider before you buy a laptop, but when looking for the best laptop for school, be particularly aware of these aspects:

  • Price: This is going to be a problem for everyone. In my opinion, get something that will last you throughout university/college. Even though it might be expensive, it’s better than buying something cheap but unreliable. Establish a budget, but be prepared to spend an extra hundred dollars for something really good.
  • Operating system (Mac or PC): Choose whichever OS you’re most comfortable with. However, consider your needs when choosing one. Some very important applications only run on a certain OS. For example, some engineering apps only run on Windows and Final Cut Pro (for film students) only runs on a Mac.
  • Portability: Some people are fine with carrying 10-pound laptops with a huge screen. Others are not. You may have to sacrifice screen size for weight, but shop around and you’ll find something with a perfect balance of the two. When considering portability, also think about how heavy your charger is.
  • Battery life: Power outlets in typical lecture halls and classrooms come few and far between. Unless your room has an outlet for every person, battery life is going to be very important. Try to purchase a laptop with enough battery life for your longest class. If you have back-to-back classes, find a laptop with an exceptionally long battery life.
  • Storage: Finding a place to store all of your essays, notes, applications, music and videos is important. For most students, 250 GB should be enough, but if you have a lot of media, you may want 500 GB or even 1 TB. Take advantage of cloud storage like Dropbox or Google Drive for free extra space to store files.
  • Other features: Think about what features you want in your device. Do you want touch screen capabilities? A specific type of keyboard? An optical drive? Webcam? Mic? USB ports? SD card slots?
  • Warranty: Sooner or later, something is going to go wrong. A good warranty might set you back a few bucks, but is worth it in the long run when something breaks.

Your “perfect laptop” may not exist, but sitting down and figuring out what you want and need will save you time and money later on. Once you have chosen “the one,” check out this article on finding great deals for your laptop.

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