/How to Buy the Best Laptop for College

How to Buy the Best Laptop for College

Video: How to Buy the Best Laptop for College

Subtitles

IF YOU'RE A COLLEGE STUDENT, A LAPTOP IS AS ESSENTIAL AS YOUR TEXTBOOKS AND YOUR ID CARD. YOU’LL USE IT TO TYPE ESSAYS, MANIPULATE DATA SETS, AND OF COURSE STREAM VIDEOS AND BROWSE YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA FEEDS. TO DO ALL OF THAT AND MORE, HERE ARE THE BASICS YOU SHOULD KEEP IN MIND WHEN YOU’RE LOOKING FOR A LAPTOP FOR COLLEGE. THE FIRST STEP IS TO CHECK WITH YOUR SCHOOL FOR SPECIFIC SYSTEM REQUIREMENTS. NOT ONLY DO MANY UNIVERSITIES SPECIFY OPERATING SYSTEMS LIKE MAC OR WINDOWS, BUT THEIR RECOMMENDED SYSTEMS MAY ALSO COME WITH NECESSARY PREINSTALLED SOFTWARE OR EVEN SPECIAL PRICE DISCOUNTS. THE CAMPUS IT STAFF MAY ALSO BE SPECIALLY GEARED TOWARD MAINTAINING OR FIXING CERTAIN LAPTOP BRANDS.

IF YOU’RE NOT SURE WHO TO ASK OR WHERE TO LOOK FOR INFORMATION ABOUT THIS, CHECK WITH YOUR SCHOOL’S BOOKSTORE FIRST. SINCE YOU’LL BE LUGGING YOUR LAPTOP AROUND CAMPUS EVERY DAY, AN ULTRAPORTABLE WITH A THIRTEEN-INCH OR FOURTEEN-INCH SCREEN AND A WEIGHT BELOW THREE POUNDS IS GOING TO BE YOUR BEST BET. A SMALLER SCREEN WILL MAKE YOU DO LOTS OF TEDIOUS SCROLLING THROUGH SPREADSHEETS AND WEB PAGES. ON THE OTHER HAND, A LAPTOP THAT’S TOO BIG WILL PUT UNNECESSARY STRAIN ON YOUR BACK AND SHOULDERS, ESPECIALLY IF YOU’RE ALSO CARRYING LOTS OF BOOKS. THINK ABOUT THAT ESPECIALLY HARD IF YOU’RE A COMMUTER STUDENT. IF YOU PLAN ON TAKING NOTES IN CLASS, YOU MAY WANT TO SPRING FOR A TWO-IN-ONE TOUCH-SCREEN LAPTOP THAT SUPPORTS A DIGITAL PEN, OR STYLUS, AND CONVERTS INTO A TABLET. SOME OF THESE ROTATE AROUND A HINGE 360 DEGREES TO TURN INTO TABLETS, WHILE OTHERS, LIKE MICROSOFT’S SURFACE DEVICES, FULLY DETACH FROM THEIR KEYBOARD. TO MAKE MARATHON HOMEWORK SESSIONS EASIER ON THE EYES, YOU’LL ALSO WANT A SCREEN RESOLUTION OF AT LEAST FULL HD.

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THAT’S NINETEEN TWENTY BY TEN EIGHTY PIXELS IF YOU’RE LOOKING AT SPECS, OR WHAT’S SOMETIMES CALLED TEN EIGHTY P. OTHER ESSENTIAL THINGS TO LOOK FOR INCLUDE A COMFORTABLE, STURDY KEYBOARD AND A VIDEO OUTPUT LIKE HDMI FOR CONNECTING TO PROJECTORS IN THE CLASSROOM. INSIDE THE LAPTOP, YOU’LL WANT COMPONENTS THAT CAN LAST FOR AT LEAST FOUR YEARS BEFORE BECOMING OBSOLETE. THE EXACT ONES TO CHOOSE MOSTLY DEPEND ON YOUR OPERATING SYSTEM OF CHOICE. IF YOU’RE BUYING A WINDOWS LAPTOP OR AN APPLE MACBOOK, LOOK FOR AN INTEL CORE I5 OR CORE I7 CPU. THE ONES WHOSE PRODUCT NAMES END IN U ARE WHAT YOU’LL SEE IN MOST THIN LAPTOPS. THEIR POWER CONSUMPTION IS LOWER AND THEY ARE GENERALLY LESS ROBUST THAN THE H OR HK SERIES CHIPS, WHICH YOU’LL TEND TO SEE IN MORE POWERFUL LAPTOPS OR IN GAMING MACHINES. IF YOU’RE BUYING A CHROMEBOOK, LESS-POWERFUL AND LESS-EXPENSIVE CELERON OR PENTIUM PROCESSORS ARE FINE, SINCE THESE LAPTOPS ARE NOT MEANT TO RUN CPU-INTENSIVE APPS LIKE ADOBE PHOTOSHOP. YOU’LL WANT AT LEAST TWO HUNDRED AND FIFTY SIX GIGABYTES OF STORAGE IF YOU’RE CHOOSING A PC OR MAC. IF YOU’RE EYEING A CHROMEBOOK, YOU CAN GET BY WITH ONE HUNDRED AND TWENTY EIGHT GIGABYTES OF STORAGE OR EVEN LESS, SINCE YOU’LL BE STORING MOST THINGS IN THE CLOUD.

IN EITHER CASE, MAKE SURE YOUR DRIVE IS A SOLID STATE DRIVE, WHICH WILL MAKE YOUR LAPTOP FEEL MUCH SNAPPIER THAN A REGULAR SPINNING HARD DRIVE. IF AN INEXPENSIVE LAPTOP HAS FIVE HUNDRED GIGABYTES OR ONE TERABYTE OF STORAGE, IT’S PROBABLY USING A SPINNING HARD DRIVE. BATTERY LIFE IS ALSO SOMETHING IMPORTANT TO THINK ABOUT, ESPECIALLY IF YOU’LL BE TAKING LOTS OF NOTES IN CLASS. WHAT YOU WILL NEED DEPENDS A LOT ON YOUR CAMPUS’ BUILDINGS. IT MIGHT BE TOUGH TO FIND AC OUTLETS IN OLDER LIBRARIES AND CLASSROOMS, AND OLDER DORM ROOMS MIGHT HAVE JUST ONE OR TWO OUTLETS TO GO AROUND. IF THAT SOUNDS LIKE YOUR CAMPUS, MAKE SURE YOU CHOOSE A LAPTOP WITH AT LEAST 10 HOURS OF BATTERY LIFE. THESE TIPS WILL HELP MOST COLLEGE-BOUND SHOPPERS, BUT IF YOU’RE PLANNING ON VIDEO EDITING OR GAMING ON YOUR COLLEGE LAPTOP, HEAD ON OVER TO PCMAG.

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COM FOR MORE SPECIALIZED BUYING GUIDES AND OUR CURRENT RECOMMENDED MODELS. WE’VE GOT LISTS OF THE BEST 2-IN-1S, THE BEST GAMING LAPTOPS, AND THE BEST LIGHTWEIGHT LAPTOPS FOR COLLEGE STUDENTS..