Whether you’re sending a teen or a college student off or heading back to school yourself, you need a reliable, portable laptop to take along. You’ll need it for taking notes, for checking class schedules, for turning in homework virtually, and for networking with everyone back home. Keep these 7 tips in mind as you shop for the ideal back-to-school laptop.
It’s a no-brainer, really. You may long for that massive, heavy gaming laptop, but you don’t want to lug it around campus. Choose a laptop that is built for portability─ lightweight and compact.
- Storage Options
Not only do you need space for your homework documents, class spreadsheets, and other school-related data, but you will want some room for personal photos and videos. Pick a laptop that has plenty of hard drive space, as well as room for expansion if you need it. Be aware that some laptops, like the Chromebook, contain no hard drive. You have to have constant internet access to use these models.
- A Good Name
Avoid choosing the cheapest option simply because of the price tag. Stick with well-known, respected brands like Dell, Lenovo, Acer, HP, and Apple. These and a few other manufacturers are known for turning out high-quality, reliability laptops, geared for students and business users.
- The Cool Factor
You’re going back to high school or college, so the cool factor is definitely a plus. Apple has the corner on cool with many users, but you’ll find other good-looking machines that blend style with serviceability. And remember, you can always purchase an awesome laptop sleeve or a fashionable laptop bag to boost your style points.
- Keyboard Ergonomics
Chances are, you’ll be doing a lot of typing. Taking notes in class, creating reports, communicating with friends and teachers─ that’s a lot of hours for your fingers to log on the keyboard. Before you buy a particular model of laptop, test it out to ensure that your hands feel comfortable and your wrists are adequately supported. You can purchase additional accessories like wrist rests and an ergonomic mouse if necessary.
- Battery Life
You may be tempted to buy a used laptop and save money. However, be sure to ask about the battery for the laptop. When you’re in class typing up the notes for an upcoming exam, the last thing you want to worry about is your laptop’s dwindling battery power. Make sure that you purchase a laptop with a long-running battery, preferably with several hours of use per charge. The MacBook, Macbook Air, Dell Inspiron 3000, Lenovo Yoga, and HP Spectre lines all rank highly for battery life.
As you consider all these important qualities, remember to take into account all the hardware-related factors as well─ RAM, processor quality, graphics card potential, and screen size. If you’re unsure what you need, test out some friends’ laptops to get a feel for the available options. Take a tech-savvy friend with you on your hunt for the ideal back-to-school laptop for your lifestyle.