HOW TO CHOOSE THE BEST LAPTOP FOR COLLEGE
You can “future-proof future-proof” your purchase. You should consider buying a laptop with enough headroom to use more advanced technology when you are in school 1.
It doesn’t matter if you are heading to college or helping a friend, finding the right laptop for college can seem daunting. This is an open-book exam, and we can help.
When shopping for a college laptop, you should first consider how you will use it in the future and now. Choosing a laptop capable of running new programs and applications is important, as technology advances rapidly every year. This is known as “future-proofing future-proofing,” or purchasing a computer that can handle new technology.
These questions will help you narrow down your options.
- Which programs or applications do you require for your classes?
- Which major or field are you most interested in?
- Are you a gamer or just interested in gaming?
- Are you a video chatter with family or friends?
- Are you a content creator? Do you love creating videos, podcasts, and other media??
The way you use your laptop directly affects its performance. The CPU is required to run heavy-duty applications like Adobe Premiere Pro* and play video games. A top-of-the-line CPU may not be required if the laptop is used for basic tasks such as word processing, downloading music, and posting to social networks.
Laptops today are far more compact than the bulky, heavy machines of the past two decades. Many other designs and form factors have replaced the traditional clamshell laptop design.
Clamshells were once the only option for laptop design. Many clamshells now offer more features, such as touchscreens and super-high-resolution displays. They also have chassis made of non-traditional materials.
2 in 1s
Laptops with 2 in 1 capability offer incredible flexibility and don’t require compromises. Two-in-one laptops combine the best of both the performance and fun of a tablet with the convenience of a computer. Two types of 2 in1 laptops are available: convertible and detachable.
- Keyboards are permanently attached and can be rotated, turned, or flipped.
- Flip for “tent” or “stand” modes to share content and present.
- Fold in half to create “tablet” mode.
- This tablet is great for students who are focused on productivity but still want to enjoy the entertainment features of the tablet.
- Allows for super-fast switching between tablet and laptop modes.
- You can have a tablet experience that is pure and simple even if the keyboard is removed.
- Ideal for web surfers who need to type occasionally.
These form factors are important to consider, as well as the weight and thickness of your laptop. A long walk across campus can become difficult if your laptop is heavy. Laptops are available in many sizes and weights today. This brings us to the next point: the screen of your laptop.
The screen size of a laptop will have an impact on its weight and cost. The size of the screens on laptops is what’s used to classify them in shops and online. The most common screen sizes for laptops are 11″ and 17″.
Consider where and how you will use it to help you choose the right size screen. Do your schoolwork and interests require an external monitor?
These options are available if mobility is important to you:
- A small laptop.
- Ultrabook is a thin, light laptop that can be carried around.
Small laptops with 11- to 13-inch screens can be a great option if you are on a tight budget and need ultra-portability. They can also be used for basic tasks like word processing and e-mail.
A 17-inch laptop is the best choice if performance is your main priority or you need a machine to replace your desktop. Although these laptops are heavier than other models, they pack a powerful punch. These laptops are best for content creators and gamers who require much more processing power to complete complex tasks. A large screen can eliminate the need for external monitors.
The 15-inch model offers a great balance between price, mobility, and performance. These models are typically four to five pounds designed for the consumer market. You’ll find more features, including more ports, a CD/DVD drive, and a longer battery life.
When purchasing a laptop, battery life is always a concern. Manufacturers are not able to determine the battery life of laptops. The battery life of a laptop will vary depending on the purpose of its use. Manufacturers’ specifications can be used as a guideline.
Your laptop’s screen size and weight will determine how long it can last. Ultrabooks and smaller laptops use lower voltage processors designed to provide better battery life. To learn more about battery life and read reviews online, visit the manufacturer’s Web site. Mid-sized laptops typically last between 4 and 6 hours. Ultra-portable laptops can last up to ten hours.
Ports are crucial for connecting peripherals to your laptop. Although many peripheral devices can be connected wirelessly, you may only need a USB port for some. You will find fewer ports on smaller laptops and thinner models.
What ports are available for laptops?
- USB – The most well-known and widely used of all connectivity ports. USB ports can be used to connect many devices, including cameras, external hard drives, and keyboards. USB 3.1 is the most recent version, offering 10 Gbps transfer speeds.
- Thunderbolt(tm) 4 ports–Thunderbolt(tm) 4 provides fast connection and transfer rates to date.
- Ethernet ports– An Ethernet port allows your laptop to be connected to a wired network. Many laptops do not include these ports due to the lack of Wi-Fi. If Wi-Fi is unavailable on campus, these ports can be used with an Ethernet cable to get online. There are USB-to-Ethernet adapters for your favorite models that don’t have Ethernet ports.
- HDMI/VGA/DVI – These ports enable you to connect to other screens such as an HDTV, external monitors, or external displays.
- SD Card Reader – This slot can read digital camera memory cards. This makes transferring digital photos from your computer to your laptop easy.
The keyboard is important to gamers and writers, but it’s not the only thing that matters. You’ll be using the keyboard the most on your laptop. It’s why you want it to feel comfortable and easy to use. Are you looking for a backlit keyboard, or do you prefer one?
You should also consider key size and placement. Are you looking for a 10-key pad or a smaller one? Do you prefer the standard positions of all keys? Try out other keyboards. Tap on a word processor to start typing. Most people will know immediately if a laptop’s keyboard is not right for them.
Many people abandon using a mouse to rely on their laptop’s touchpad. Comfortable and easy-to-use touchpads are important, especially for those who travel or work in cramped spaces like cafes or lecture halls. You should consider the size and position of the touchpad. Do you prefer one large pad or two separate buttons? Touchpads can even have patterns or textures to enhance the tactile experience.
Most laptops are equipped with a processor that includes an integrated graphics chip. The integrated graphics chipsets are built into the processor, eliminating the need for a separate card. These integrated graphics technologies are stronger than ever, allowing you to play most mainstream games, support up to three displays, and stream.
If you are a gamer, filmmaker, dedicated graphics, or GPU, maybe a better option. Although dedicated graphics are much more powerful than integrated graphics, they are also significantly more expensive.
This term will be used often when shopping for a college laptop. Random Access Memory, also known as RAM. RAM temporarily stores recent-used data to make it easy to access later. It’s the information you have in your head. Your brain can quickly access it, and it is used often. You will feel faster when there is more RAM. For your laptop, consider 8GB to 16GBs of RAM.
You can save pictures, videos, and other data for a long period in your laptop’s “long-term memory.”
These data can be stored on a solid-state drive, hard disk (HDD), or a combination of both. SSDs are more reliable and long-lasting than other storage options. They have no moving parts and offer faster access to data.
The Final Decision
Although it may seem overwhelming, finding the right laptop for college can make all the difference in your success. Use the features of this article to create a list. Focus on what your college laptop will need regarding size, weight, and processing power.