Choosing the right computer for college

A comprehensive guide to understanding your options

School-issued+chromebooks%2C+which+will+be+collected+on+May+20th+from+students.+The+Chromebooks+will+not+be+available+for+purchase+after+graduation.+Photo+by+Matthew+O%E2%80%99Malley.
School-issued chromebooks, which will be collected on May 20th from students. The Chromebooks will not be available for purchase after graduation. Photo by Matthew O’Malley.

School-issued chromebooks, which will be collected on May 20th from students. The Chromebooks will not be available for purchase after graduation. Photo by Matthew O’Malley.

School-issued chromebooks, which will be collected on May 20th from students. The Chromebooks will not be available for purchase after graduation. Photo by Matthew O’Malley.

Matthew O’Malley, Web-Editor & Staff Writer

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One of the most important things in education today is technology, as it is in most other aspects of life. Technology has brought forth more environmentally friendly schoolwork, nearly unlimited access to information, and elements like anti-plagiarism, immediate submissions, and quick contact with educators and fellow classmates. So when the school collects the chromebooks on May 20th, what will you bring to college?

The typical choice of laptop for a college student is an Apple Macbook. They are usually more expensive than their PC counterparts, stylish, and long-lasting. They offer a variety of laptops including: the MacBook, (standard) MacBook Air, (lightweight) MacBook Pro, (powerful) and others than are less portable, (like the mini, iMac, etc).

If you’re looking for a budget-friendly laptop that is light, small, portable, and focuses on school work, another chromebook might be what you’re looking for! These laptops are great for doing basic web surfing, document writing, etc. – and they have great battery life. You can pick up a chromebook anywhere from $200 – $400 depending on the brand, year, and specifications.

Some students like to buy a computer that pushes power and performance over other areas like battery, appearance, and storage. Gaming computers are usually topped off with the highest quality parts, 4K screens, and comfortable keyboards. However, they tend to sacrifice battery life (above all things) which is usually a dealbreaker for college students. These computers come in all shapes and sizes – and prices. The median cost you can expect to pay for a mid-range gaming computer is about $1000. If this is for you, be prepared to bring the charger!

Next on the list, ultrabooks, (notebooks – typically smaller and portable) are laptops that focus on portability and battery over big hardware features. These laptops are great for students, as long as they won’t be doing any heavy computing power – i.e. photo editing, designing, etc.
For honorable mentions, the 2-1 laptops are the ideal choice for animators, designers, or those who like to use their laptop anywhere! These laptops dial in on power and convenience. The screen, like some chromebooks, features a 360° flip feature and touchscreen – so it can be used as a tablet (hence the 2 in 1 name). These laptops come in all sorts of prices, depending on the hardware inside.

If you’re looking for a computer that does it all – which is nearly impossible – there are a few options for you. These computers have great battery lives, the newest and most powerful internal hardware, HD screens, and all in a lightweight package. These computers are typically the most expensive, but end up being worth it. A few examples would be the Dell XPS 13/15, Asus Zenbook, and more.

Choosing a laptop for college can be daunting, and expensive! Spending the time and money to find the right one is well worth it, because you could be using it for the entirety of your college education – and maybe longer! It’s important that they’re taken care of, have regular maintenance done, and have good online reviews. More information about your options can be found below.

 

Apple laptops: https://www.apple.com/macbook/

Chromebook examples (Dell) http://www.dell.com/en-us/work/shop/dell-laptops-and-notebooks/sf/chromebook-laptops

Gaming computer: (Acer)https://www.acer.com/ac/en/US/content/predator-helios300-series

Ultrabook: (Acer) https://www.amazon.com/Acer-P3-171-6820-11-6-Inch-Detachable-Touchscreen/dp/B00CRY012E/ref=lp_3269423011_1_2?s=pc&ie=UTF8&qid=1526571156&sr=1-2

2-1 Laptop: (Asus) https://www.amazon.com/C302CA-DHM4-Chromebook-12-5-inch-Touchscreen-Convertible/dp/B01N5G5PG2/ref=sr_1_1?s=pc&ie=UTF8&qid=1526571206&sr=1-1&refinements=p_36%3A2421886011

Does-It-All: (Dell) http://www.dell.com/en-us/shop/dell-laptops/xps-13-laptop/spd/xps-13-9360-laptop

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