For students looking at laptops, it’s worth taking a few minutes to think about what features are going to be most important. Style is always a major factor, and luckily it is possible to combine form and function, even on a tight budget. There are four main things to look for in a new laptop, ranging from performance through to storage capacity.
Lag is the laptop owner’s worst nightmare and it’s wise to go for the most powerful model that fits within budget. This means going for a high quality fast processor. Because laptops are smaller than their desktop cousins, they don’t have the room for such hefty processors, nor the fans to keep things cool. There is also a bit of a trade-off between processor power and battery power. Look for computers with Intel Core Duo processors and avoid anything with a speed under 2.0 GHz. Look out for affordable Samsung laptops which will meet most performance requirements.
Anyone who needs to be able to run several programmes at once will need to think about how much RAM to buy because this determines how many applications can work smoothly at the same time. It is vital to get this right first time. While desktops can often be upgraded quickly and cheaply, because they have the luxury of space, laptops are a different matter. It is hard, and not always possible, to upgrade laptop RAM so buy the most RAM possible at the outset as this will enable seamless multitasking. Many laptops come with 4GB of RAM, but try to go for 6GB or more if it is affordable.
Nobody wants their laptop to nod off in the middle of an important lecture so it’s crucial to go for a machine with plenty of oomph on the battery front. The Sony VAIO X will last all day and then some, giving up to fourteen hours of battery life. The only drawback is that it tends to be aimed more at jet setting business people and has a hefty price tag. For those without bottomless pockets, there are plenty of cheaper alternatives around, such as the Samsung Q430 with seven hours of battery life which will easily get most students through the day.
Laptops are the place where many people store their lives these days, whether that’s music, videos, photographs, or important documents. Storage can take up a surprising amount of space so it’s essential to buy a laptop with plenty of hard drive capacity. A laptop with 500GB of hard drive should suit most people. However, anyone who is studying a creative subject may want to consider going up to 1TB or more to ensure sufficient space for storing media rich files. It is possible to dispense with physical storage and use the cloud instead, but this means relying on having a fast internet connection at all times. Another solution is to buy a cheaper laptop with less storage capacity and then add an external hard drive at a later date.
Of course, when these four factors have been ticked off, there are a couple of other areas to bear in mind, like portability and good looks, but these should be secondary considerations when choosing a student laptop.
Rashed Khan has an MSc in Software Engineering and is a regular contributor on technology related topics. Rashed is currently guest posting on behalf of IT Solutions expertEquanet.