Are you a college student buying a laptop or are a close one buying a laptop for someone who goes to college? Well, there are like a hundred things you wonder when buying one and the specifications do nothing but confuse you to the core. The pros and the cons of any laptop are just an alien language to you and you have no idea how to select.
A college laptop needs to be portable, powerful, and most importantly serve you right. So before diving in, go through the list of requirements and recommendations that your college has provided. If not, talk to few seniors and figure out the must haves for machines of your department and particular stream.
But we are here as your savior, here is everything you need to know before buying your trendy new machine. So, check these specifications and twerk them to your requirement.
#1 : Requirements are the thing!
What good a laptop do if it does not do your course minimums? See what exactly you’re going to use this laptop for. If you do not already know, do a little background research on the same. Talk to people or even better, just google. And google a lot.
Next, to get sorted with this, make a list of all the softwares that you would be required to run and then look at the specifications that would be required for each software to function. Once you have this list sorted, I don’t think you would have any trouble giving up or selecting specifics, be it memory or processing.
#2 : Price does matter
We are college students and who knows it better than us that price does matter to us. Machines will come and go and you cannot afford to make a heavy investment into a laptop at this point in time, because you are still discovering yourself and there is so much yet to try. More than that, laptops get easily lost and broken. I don’t mean to scare you off, but you will find yourself packing and unpacking that machine in the same day so many times.
Also, another advice, keep your eyes open and on the lookout for the amazing offers that go on e-commerce sites. You may find offers that would surprise you. For example, by using the following eBay coupons, you can save up to Rs 5000 on your laptop purchase. Just pay using the HDFC debit/credit card or even net banking and save your money.
So, go for the best of the specs at the best of the price, you will feel amazing. And you won’t even feel guilty if you get bored by your sophomore year and intend changing it all over again. *winks*
#3 : Netbooks vs Laptops
As a college student, netbooks look like a feasible, cheap and a good option. But here are a few things that you might like to know about before plunging into making the decision of netbook vs a Laptop. Netbooks are not for everyone, so make an informed choice in accordance with your list of needs. Anyway, have a look at the pros and cons of owning a netbook over a laptop :
- Portable : Netbooks are so portable. As college students, the way you are expected to be dynamic, so are your gadgets. A clunky piece of machine will only slow you down. They range from a 8 inch screen to 12 inches as well and they work profoundly well. This however can be a disadvantage to you to sometimes, that small screen is not exactly everybody is used to.
- Price : You would see a sudden drop in the price when it comes to notebooks. With the lower prices you could afford a machine that does pretty much all your work and also keeps you up to your feet.
- Lower Memory : Although the netbook provides you with just the right amount of RAM and Hard Drive storage for taking notes in class, writing papers, checking mails and doing the general surfing, the memory is slightly low. You can have space for decent storing, however you need to depend on cloud spaces for storing most of the times.
- Missing CD/DVD Drives : To minimise the space on the hardware, the producers tend to make the CD or the DVD drives missing. Some other ports might be missing too. This might be a major setback especially if you enjoy watching movies off DVDs.
- Limited Power : These machines are literally small and so is their power sometimes. If you play video games, you are required to do a little design work, edit photos or videos, the machine might act a little tweaky.
#4 : Durability is a necessity
You are going to be moving fast. Like life is going to move so swift. You’ll be working in coffee houses and cafes and restaurants and libraries and where not. And you will also drip that coffee all over the keyboard. A spill resistant keyboard would come to your rescue that day. I don’t mean to sound that it is okay to be careless, but if someday you do drop it, your machine should have your back. Because nothing pains more than having a broken down laptop before the final presentations.
So make sure to see if that manufacturer makes any durability claims and many laptops come after passing several durability tests. Carry a robust laptop and flaunt the sturdiness.
#4 : Rock that Display!
The bigger screen you go in for, your price would directly increase. So make an advantageous trade off between the size of the screen. If you are required to write papers, work on graphics, it is suggested you go for a better screen resolution with a larger screen. Also, bigger screens tend to make the laptops heavier, so don’t be fooled by a large screen that you can not move around.
There are slim screen also available that are slightly to the higher end in terms of cost but are absolutely worth it if they pay off well with your mobility and work experience.
#5 : Storage Capacity !
More space gives you more freedom. With over 1-2TB, you would hardly have to worry about saving the extra files. And the best part of it all is that this extension does not necessarily cost too much. You must have plenty of room for growth without having to transfer to an external hard disk every now and then. Also, getting an SSD (Solid state drive rather than hard drive has a significant effect on the processor. They generally help your computer run three to four times faster than your regular hard drives while handling heavy programs and applications.
#6 : Processing it right!
A laptop that cannot support the work you want to do will always be a no-go. One of the major prerequisite of buying a laptop is to check its processor capabilities before-hand. Can it run the latest edition of your designing software? Can I play FIFA 17 on it? Well, the only way to be sure about it is to check the processor’s configuration.
A high-end processing work that may include working on designing softwares or editing applications would require, Intel Core i5 or low end i7 is suggestive. However if your work is slightly easy and low on processing, you could go in for an AMD FX or A series too or maybe an i3 processor which will deliver you the speed that is just right. Also make sure that your processor is a 7th generation chip.
#7 : RAM RAM RAM!
Unless you are really cutting it down, 4GB RAM should be your minimum, as I would suggest. An 8 GB RAM can be considered an ideal. However if your work does not require all that RAM, you could definitely work with smaller numbers without dragging down or interfering with all your multitasking.
To be able to use more than 4GB RAM, it is necessary to have a 64-bit Operating System. Generally all newer computers work with such OS but do make it a point to check before you buy.
#8 : Battery that lasts long enough.
Don’t stay tethered. You don’t want to stay connected to a charger all the time. A laptop that doesn’t let you move is no less than a desktop. So go for a laptop that gives you a good 4-5 hours if not more of battery life without charger. There are amazing laptops available that last up to 17 long hours with the right battery. So don’t trae off your mobility for a lower battery.
#9 : OS that loves you back.
Windows 7 or OS X are both one of the best chosen options for laptops these days. Make sure that your OS is in accordance with your list of softwares and like I mentioned earlier, there are many features that would function only with a 64-bit Operating System. There are many softwares that run on 64-bit. And there is no problem running the 32-bit softwares on the 64-bit OS.
Chrome OS is also a viable option I feel, for the inexpensive Chromebooks. They’re simple and secure, but a lot more limited in terms of what they can actually do.
#9 : Connectivity Woes : Don’t isolate yourself.
A well connected laptop is the one that lets you stay connected to the world with Wi-fi, bluetooth, has enough ports for USB and SD card.
For Wifi connectivity, make sure you get a laptop with 802.11ac Wi-Fi standard, rather than the older 802.11n.
USB Type-C ports are the future, but regular USB Type-A ports are the present. If you can get a laptop with a mix of both, that’s ideal.
#10 : Graphics Card
Graphic Cards can vary a lot. In terms of physical size, they can be integrated video cards which are soldered to the computer’s motherboard. So some of them can be upgraded and some of them can not be. Compare and choose right.
For gaming, you should focus more on bandwidth (the speed with which data is read and stored) than RAM. Bandwidth is typically measured in megahertz or gigahertz (MHz, GHz) while RAM is measured in Gigabytes (GB).
#11 : Services that can be availed.
All laptops are amazing until they break down. Don’t you just agree? Well, before sealing your purchase, do check the serviceability of that product. If you reside in a big city, you would find most of the service centers. However if you are placed someplace remote, look for companies that provide on-site assistance.
Also, investing in warranties and guarantees for at least a year or two is not a bad idea. Sometimes you also get really amazing offers for the same on different e-commerce sites.
#12 : Don’t be short sighted
Even if you are moving on a very strict budget, do make it a point to look for specifications that would last a few years at least. You would not want to invest in a machine that would work alright only for a few months and would then turn obsolete. Go for the specs that won’t turn you down in the long haul.
#BONUS : Buy one that looks trendy too
Well, this can not be a deciding factor for which laptop you purchase but it can definitely be one of the guiding factor. It is your college and you definitely want to look chic and in fashion. So why roam around your campus looking all fabulous but with an old haggard looking laptop. Complete your look and buy something that also soothes the eye.
You can also go bold and probably buy a tangy colour. How about Red? No? Well, there are options galore at your disposal.
Made a choice, yet?
Well, I hope you found above everything that you would need to make the right choice for a college laptop. Research well and invest properly because no one knows better but these laptops become our life saviours and one of the best companions that we can have on campus.