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Student Laptops - What You Need To Know Before Buying?
Written by Titus Hoskins
If you're considering buying a laptop for a student, here are some factors or features you might want to examine before plunging down your hard earned cash. These are some basic elements all great student laptops should possess or have which will make your chosen laptop more suitable for a student.
So here are some things you should consider when buying a student notebook or laptop:
The student environment can be harsh and unpredictable so you will need a sturdy, tough laptop. You might even consider a ruggedized notebook if the laptop is to be used under really extreme conditions. Just make sure your chosen laptop can take the bumps and drops associated with the student environment.
The student laptop should be very portable with good battery life if it is to be used in the classroom. It should also be sleek and small so it can fit neatly under the arm or in a backpack. Laptops are getting more and more compact so finding a laptop to meet your needs should not be difficult. Just make sure it has sufficient wireless connections as the Internet is now a valuable tool in any student's life.
Performance must meet your needs. Choose a laptop that offers sufficient performance and power to carry out all your computing tasks. Again, laptops have greatly increased in performance and are now almost parallel with desktop PCs. But check the Processor (CPU), RAM, Hard Drive and OS (Operating System) on your chosen laptop to make sure they will meet all your student's needs.
4. Economical Laptops
Economics always plays a part in any student's life so you have to shop around and find a good quality cheap laptop. Again, with laptop prices steadily falling, finding a good affordable laptop should not be a problem. Don't rule out a used or refurbished laptop as they are usually very inexpensive.
5. Theft and Security
Laptop theft and security should be high on your mind when buying a student laptop. Fortunately, many laptops now come with a lot of security measures such as fingerprint entry or even face recognition software as seen in the latest Lenovo laptops. Also, you should check into other security measures such as the Anti-Theft software like LoJack that can track and locate your laptop or computer thru the IP address once the stolen laptop is used to access the Internet.
Now here are some points you should consider when buying any type of laptop, student or otherwise:
1. CPU ProcessorCentral Processing Unit or Processor is important in any laptop or PC. Check to see how much power and speed you have - most laptops now come with Intel's Dual Core Processors which should give even the most demanding student enough performance.
RAM or Random Access Memory is an important element in your laptop. It will usually determine (along with the CPU & Hard Drive speed) how fast your laptop will perform. The more RAM you have the better, but note 32 bit systems can only use up to 4 GB of RAM and 64 bit systems can use 8 GB or more.
For running Windows XP, Microsoft recommends 128MB as the minimum RAM requirement, again more is better. For Mac OS X systems you will need a minimum of 128 MB but for optimal performance try 512 MB. Linux will work nicely on a system with only 4 MB of RAM. For Windows Vista - Microsoft recommends at least 1 Gig of RAM but many users have reported that 2 to 3 Gigs of RAM makes Vista run smoother.
3. Graphics Card or GPU
If a student will be handling a lot of heavy graphics (video gaming aside) with their studies then the type of Graphics Card you buy will be important. If you can afford it go with a high end GPU such as those offered by NVIDIA and ATI. Dual graphics cards would be another option for optimum graphics performance.
Display in a student laptop is also important. Many students prefer a slate or convertible display which makes it easy for note-taking. Even tablets should be considered if note-taking is the main purpose of your laptop. Otherwise make sure the display is crisp and large enough to suit your needs.
5. Value for Money
It does pay to shop around and make sure you get great value for your money. Comparison shopping is one of the best ways to do this; just make sure you're getting good value for the laptop you're buying. Compare CPUs, RAM, Hard Drives and Performance to see how much you're paying for each feature.
The "Cool Factor"
In conclusion, you should consider all the factors listed above before buying your student laptop and it will make your task much easier. However, if you're a parent buying a laptop for your student son or daughter you probably already know from past experiences that there is always an "unwritten cool factor" in anything they use! To avoid disappointment, consult with your offspring about what type of laptop they would appreciate having. If it is something they really like, they will take better care of it and protect it as if their life depended upon it. Besides, why waste money on something they won't even use.
So don't rule out a cool high end Apple laptop or even a high end gaming laptop such as those from Alienware. High end laptops are more expensive but they also offer the best performances of any laptop you will consider, as long as the aforementioned offspring has been sufficiently weaned off video gaming to get their school work done. Happy laptop hunting....
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