Looking for the best laptops for college students is not easy, especially with the bombardment of netbooks, iPads and different laptops, – all hitting you in the face. Choosing the right device can be a dangerous minefield, where your choice can come back to haunt you or your beloved child. So here are a few laptop buying tips for finding that perfect student laptop.
1. Ask the student what he or she wants?
Might sound strange, but they are the ones who will be using it and they should have a say in what to purchase. Besides, they probably know more about computers than you ever will! However, you as a parent, have to work around their choice or choices to find the laptop which satisfies both your needs. A large ten pound gaming multi-media powerhouse is out of the question, unless it comes with a free netbook or iPad which the student can take to class.
Of course, a gaming laptop can be used for more than playing games and can be a great multi-purpose laptop for school work; but you know your kids best, will the temptation for gaming be too much to overcome? If they have the self-discipline to handle it, a gaming laptop should not be totally ruled out.
2. Powerful and Lightweight?
The ideal student laptop should be both powerful and lightweight, but be tough enough to take a few knocks and falls. Let’s face it, students want something they can easily carry around under their arms or in their backpacks, without producing a hernia. Slim, lightweight, powerful and strong are the key characteristics of the best student computer notebook.
3. Sandy Bridge what?
Regardless of the laptop brand or make, just make sure you get a laptop which has Intel’s second generation “i core” processors which have been nicknamed Sandy Bridge. These Intel i3, i5 and i7 are very powerful and very graphics intensive so they are well suited for student work. Most new laptops now on the market will come with these new powerful GPUs but check anyway.
4. Which graphics card should you buy?
If your kid is into gaming, they will tell you exactly what kind of graphics you need, and it will probably be in the latest Nvidia GeForce series or in the ATI Radeon series of graphics cards. But for general processing, note taking, email and web browsing… the kind of graphics card is not that important.
However, if your student has to do heavy video editing, handling/processing large graphic files… then you need a fast powerful graphics card with at least a gig or more of dedicated memory built directly into the card, so that it does not have to rely upon shared RAM from your system. If this should be the case, then go with a high-end Nvidia or ATI card.
5. Will security be an issue?
For most students, keeping their laptop secure and safe, can be a problem. You should look at some LoJack software to help protect your laptop. And laptop insurance might be another option, especially in the college setting or if your student will be doing a lot of traveling.
Lastly, keep all your options open when looking for the best laptops for college students, that perfect student laptop may not be a laptop at all, but an iPad or netbook. Regardless, your student will be well prepared to face another school year and you can look forward to another year of day-time bliss and peace. Life does have its rewards.