By Adrian Anton
Going to college and you find yourself in need of a student laptop? Student laptops tend to vary a whole lot from cheap ones to really cool quad core ones (a.k.a. not so cheap ones). Finding the best student laptops isn’t always an easy task. One thing to take into consideration would be what the laptop will be used for. If it will just be an accessory used to check mail, watch movies and surf the web, then those don’t go that high on the price range and you could probably get away with a 400$ model. But, if the student in question will be needing a laptop to work with, or demands power from the laptop, the price can go quite high sometimes.
Depending on what area of studies the laptop will be used for, there are a few factors that need your consideration.
A laptop for someone who attends some form of social studies will mainly be used for writing papers, creating PowerPoint presentations and spreadsheets. These are the average laptops which you can find almost anywhere. They don’t require a lot of horsepower to run simple programs such as Microsoft Word, PowerPoint or Excel.
If the student attends classes which require graphics work or design, then a high end laptop might be needed. If it’s graphic design, then a laptop with more than one CPU core, about 3GB or RAM minimum and a decent dedicated graphic card will be needed for things to run smooth. If there’s architecture involved or complex 3D rendering, then, again, some powerful CPU, a minimum of 2GB or RAM and a more than decent graphics card that’s able to display a quality rendering to the very last pixel will be needed.
Another type of student laptop would be the one that is used for gaming. These laptops, like the previously mentioned ones, can go quite a lot up on the price scale, since the newest generation of games demands quite a lot from the whole computing system. A nice start is a dual core processor, with 2 GB of RAM and some of the newer models of the nVidia or ATI dedicated graphics cards. Some of the newest laptop models even feature two graphics cards in SLI configuration for ultimate graphics performance!
Before going on and purchasing the student laptop, you really have to ask yourself what it will be used for.
Portability is another issue to take into account. You don’t want a bulky laptop that’s extremely heavy to carry around from class to class. Its size should also be taken into consideration, since you really don’t need a 21 inch screen laptop to get a paper done.
Also, the size of the laptop should also be determined by the size of the student also. If the student is of a shorter statute, then a smaller laptop would be recommended.
Baseball players or jocks could probably fit a whole 21 inch screen laptop in their bags and won’t even perceive the thing as an obstacle.
Since college is a also a huge social experience, the looks of the laptops should also be considered. If you are going to study business, or marketing, then you should go with a classic black model laptop that goes with a suit.
If you are going to study art or design, then the laptop case could have the whole color palette on it for all you care. Choose something that goes with the type of person you are and the type of classes you attend.
The problem most people find themselves stuck in when choosing a student laptop is the lack of variety to choose from. Stores don’t carry quite a lot of options when it comes to laptops, so you might have to be a bit more patient in your searches. For a store to carry more than a small selection of laptops, it would have to be quite a giant in the IT niche. This is where the internet comes into play, since you can compare several laptops from mega-sellers such as Amazon and choose the perfect student laptop based on your needs.
Before you jump in and purchase a laptop, you should review a few basic features for the best student laptop you should buy:
CPU – Laptop Processor
Laptop processor can vary quite a lot in speed terms, so you need to carefully choose when deciding what you should go with. A single core processor can handle quite a few tasks, such as web browsing; email access, IM chatting, movie watching and other low processing power applications. You could easily write your paper on one of these and would be happy with it.
Hard drive space- Laptop HDD
This is one difficult choice. There are people who use the basic applications they get with the laptop and don’t require to store anything else on it. Then again, there are media freaks who tend to store up on everything, so they require something similar to a central library when it comes to storage space. You should start with a standard computer HDD, of 100GB, if you don’t intend to store too much on it, and should go up to 500 GB if you intend to manically save everything you encounter on a daily basis.
RAM – Laptop System RAM
This, along with the processor, is the most important aspect you should look for in a laptop. Think of it this way, the more RAM you have, the faster the laptop will run, the more applications you can have open at a single time and the more work can you do in the least possible time. The less RAM you have… well… you will have to figure out how to tweak your system for best performance to go with a low RAM specification laptop.
Do you intend to use your laptop as a multimedia player? Most students do, so choose a laptop that comes with an optical drive – a standard DVD burner should do just fine for starters. But if you really have a big spending budget, then choose a laptop with a Blu-Ray burner. This can ensure you could write up to 50 GB of data to a dual layer Blu-ray disk.
When choosing a student laptop, make sure you choose one with wireless connectivity. This is because you won’t know what sort of internet connection you run across on a college campus, so a wireless connection assures you will have internet access where there’s no wired connectivity.
There are of course countless small things and perks you should be looking for a in a student laptop. But keep in mind the essential features when choosing the best student laptop and all the small upgrades and perks can come at a later time!
Adrian has a love for all things technology and has been dealing with gadgets for years. He is also a contributor at www.geekyone.com, where he shares exciting and informative news about technology, focusing more on portable computers, like ultrabooks, mini laptops and touchscreen tablets.
If you’re looking for a laptop for school check out his latest post about best student laptops in 2013 .