With technology spreading its wings in every domain, today, educational institutes demand more gadgets than ever before. Being a college student, it is important to have a reliable laptop in your bag that would help you learn your course seamlessly.
However, with never-ending options in the market, being stuck in a dilemma is one of the most common things for students. And then, budget pose more restrictions to choices as well.
While expensive brands like Apple and more would quote you very high, using those laptops for student needs would be much more than necessary. Therefore, it is essential to look out for a kind of laptop that would have features required for you and would also come within your budget.
So, in that context, here is the buying guide that would help you choose the best laptop for your student journey.
Factors to consider
While considering features is necessary, you must pay special attention to the operating system of the laptop. Should you go with the same old Windows, try out new Mac operating system or choose some other one?
If you are into engineering, then you must choose Linux as it is great for developers. On the other hand, for gamers, video editors, and designers, Windows is a great choice. Although choosing one of them totally depends on your personal preference, but it is important to know the pros and cons of both of these operating systems.
Pros of Windows:
- Manufactured by several companies, hence a variety of models to choose from
- Option to configure and upgrade
- Compatibility with other devices
Cons of Windows:
- Windows has more chances to get attacked by a virus
- Windows crash more apps
- Takes too much time to install
Pros of Mac:
- The built-in program, known as BootCamp, helps you install Windows & other OSs
- Better software to work with other Apple products
- Less complex and more spontaneous
Cons of Mac:
- Fewer models available
- Only RAM and hard-drive are upgradable
- No influential graphics card
Display and Speakers
Right from researching your syllabus to watching movies and doing video chat with your family members, if you are away from your family, you will surely spend a lot of time glaring at that screen. So, make sure that the screen is of adequate size. While 11 inches will be very small for your use, 15 inches will be too big. Therefore, you can consider anywhere between 12 inches to 14 inches, whichever would suit your requirements.
And then, to enjoy better sound, make sure that the speakers are well-integrated. Most of the laptops don’t come with substantial speakers. So, you can invest a bit in a good pair of headphones that would complement the model.
Storage is quite important as all of your data will be stored in this physical part of your laptop. Generally, the hard-drive capacity is based on the activities for which the laptop is being used. Regardless of the usage, you cannot afford to get a laptop that doesn’t support a large capacity of hard-disk.
So, the least that you can do is buy a laptop with 500GB of storage. It will help you not just stock up essential data of your college but some movies and TV shows as well, just to spend those long sleepless nights.
SSD is the kind of storage that can be found in Apple laptops. Though these are faster a bit expensive and then, they don’t provide enough storage as well, So you may try external hard drives. Those who have restricted budget can opt for HDD storage.
Being a college student, there is no denying the fact that you would require an internet connection, hence, a good connectivity is a must on your laptop. Not just the internet connection, but your laptop must also comprise:
- Printer port
- 56 kbps modem
- USB port
- External mouse or keyboard port
- MP3 player connectivity
- Digital camera connectivity
- A VGA port (this can be exceptional)
Generally, most of the laptops come with wireless adapters. You can consider buying an 802.11n compatible, which will allow you to connect with high-speed data connection instantly.
Talking about USB ports, although there are several types of them, if you can, then get a Type-C port as it is universal and can be connected with every charger or dock.
Generally, the battery life of a laptop depends on the work you are doing on it. If you think that you are only going to use small files or software without internet, then you can ensure the battery life lasting till eternity. However, if you will be away from the plug for a longer period of time and will be streaming videos and other heavy stuff, then the laptop battery will drain out within three hours, which can be quite annoying.
Moreover, if you are planning to keep the laptop at a desk most of the time, then you don’t have to ponder much on the battery. On the other hand, if you will be keeping it on your lap, then it is important to look out for such a laptop that can provide 7 or 8 hours of battery at the least.
Keyboard and Trackpad
The laptop won’t be worth investing in it doesn’t support excellent ergonomics. If you will be spending a lot of time working on the laptop, then ensure that the keyboard provides a robust concrete response, have a convenient contour, comprises full-sized keys, a lot of space between keys, and easy vertical travel (a distance of the keys going down upon pressing).
And then, make sure that the touchpad is adequate as well. It shouldn’t make the cursor jump a lot and continuously respond to the multitouch gesture. On the top of this, if the keyboard is backlit, it will be an added advantage as it will make typing easier even if your surroundings are dimly lit.
Considering the current educational scenario, it’s extremely important to consider a laptop that comes with an inbuilt camera. It not only helps you stay in touch with family and close ones seamlessly but also turns out to be beneficial in several other ways.
Webcams are a savior at the time of an emergency. If you aren’t attending classes for any specific reason or the colleges are closed because of breaks, you can still stay in touch with your lecturers with the help of webcams and understand the concepts that seemed obscure. Conducting an online group study session with a webcam will be way easier.
At the end of the day, whether you have zeroed upon the features or not, the truth is, you are really not prepared until you haven’t decided the budget. Being a student, it is essential to concentrate on the pricing so that you wouldn’t create a big hole in yours or your parent’s pockets. So, now that you know your requirements, set an appropriate budget for the laptop.
If you think that you cannot afford a new one, then you can even consider a refurbished or a second-hand laptop. In this way, neither you would have to compromise with your requirements not you would have to spend a lot on it.
Whether you are a student or not, the importance of a reliable laptop cannot be denied, especially in this environment where such gadgets are required at every step. For those who are buying for the first time, a myriad of models can be a bit confusing.
So, now, you have an entire list in front of you. However, you must keep in mind that the above-mentioned points may even vary according to your needs and requirements. So, these are some of the most important factors that you must look out for in a laptop.
You can begin the hunt by listing down your requirements and then finding laptops that would fit in. Surely, it would be easier to find an appropriate model.