A frequent question around college students is What are the best laptops for college students? Well, there are many different laptops out there for all sorts of things, and in order to find the best one, you will need to identify your needs as well as your budget. As a student, you will need to consider why you need the laptop and what you need the laptop for. Once you figure this out, choosing the right laptop for you will be an easy task. There are many good laptops for college students out there but different laptops will appeal to different people. You will therefore need to think for a moment and decide on how you will be using your new laptop.
Purchasing a new laptop is one of the most important investments that you will make as a college student. A laptop will be required for almost everything you do. It is vital that you make the right choice in the beginning as you are most likely going to be using the laptop on a daily basis for the next three to four years. You don’t want to be wasting money hence you should first outline what you will actually need the laptop for. There’s a huge variety of laptops in the market and only you can decide which one is the most suitable for you and your needs.
Some of the top laptops for college students will typically be the low priced and portable ones. Students will usually need to carry their laptop from class to class and this could become a hassle if you have something large and uncomfortable to carry around. Low-cost Netbooks are small and perfect in terms of portability but depending on what your actual needs are, they could be a waste of money for you.
A laptop will be required for almost everything you do. It is vital that you make the right choice in the beginning as you are most likely going to be using the laptop on a daily basis for the next two to three years. You don’t want to be wasting money hence you should first outline what you will actually need the laptop for. There’s a huge variety of laptops in the market and only you can decide which one is the most suitable for you.
Identifying your needs
First of all, you will want to know your needs. Think about everything that you might want to use your laptop for. Will you be using it just for college? Or will you want to use it for socializing and maybe even gaming? What kind of a course are you on? Will you need to store lots of pictures or maybe videos? Will you be designing websites or using high-end graphics software? I can tell you right now that if you are just looking to use word type applications and maybe even socialize on Facebook and watch YouTube videos, then almost all laptops will be able to suit your needs.
Identifying your budget
Now that you have a basic understanding of what you will need the laptop for, you will need to decide on the money that you can spend towards it. If you want to be able to play all the latest games out there, you will surely need a high budget as gaming laptops are a lot more expensive. If you are just looking for something to do your work on and socialize, you will find that most laptops will be able to fit your needs. You will be able to find something reasonable under 600 dollars and if you have a tight budget you will probably be able to find something under 500.
What to look for?
So what are the best laptops for college students? There is none, there are only laptops that will suit you and your needs. All laptops will have their positive and their negative points though you will easily be able to find something practical and worthy of your money. Remember, you don’t really want to be buying second-hand stuff as you never know how long the laptop may last for and if it happens to break, you will probably spend more money on repairs then on the laptop itself.
In regards to the laptop specifications, you will most likely be looking at a Windows operating system, though if you are looking towards Apple Laptops (more expensive), you will be using the Mac OS. In today society, you should be looking for, at a minimum, an 80GB hard drive. If you will be storing a lot of photos and videos, you may need something larger. For basic needs, you will need a system with at least 1GB of RAM but if you will be using a lot of programs at the same time and you will want to multi-task, you will probably be better off with at least 2GB’s of RAM. You will also want to make sure that the laptop you choose has at least two USB ports so you can plug any extras that you might want to get in the future. You may also need a spare battery as some batteries can run out quite quickly. And don’t forget to make sure that the laptop you choose is WiFi-enabled. All in all, for basic college use this is more than enough. If you will want to play graphic-intensive games or in general if you will need to use the laptop for something more intensive you will obviously require something more powerful.
Which brand to go for?
There is no best laptop brand out there and therefore the choice is entirely yours. Different people will have different experiences as well as opinions. There are many different laptop brands, cheaper and more expensive ones but there is no best brand as all of them will have their strengths and weaknesses. When buying a laptop you should definitely consider, in no particular order:
Where to buy?
Now that you know what you need, you will probably find some of the best deals online. You can obviously search offline, in your local stores but if you search well enough, you can find some great deals and some awesome bargains online.
When choosing a laptop for college, it is important to look beyond just the ability to churn out school work. Sure, a laptop for college should make it easier to research, compile, organize and type assignments, papers, dissertations, and other academic documents. However, the reality is that laptops do much more than this. They are used for watching movies, social networking, posting photos, gaming, video-chatting and many other non-academic purposes.
As such, when making a decision to buy any given laptop, all these purposes should be put into consideration. The perfect laptop is the one which provides the perfect blend between churning out quality academic documents and serving these extra-curricular purposes. Ideally, such a laptop should be lightweight, robust, relatively affordable, and a little cool. Finding such a laptop can be quite tricky. So, here’s a selection of the 3 best laptops for college students.
What to look for when buying a laptop?
There are five key features that you will need to consider when buying your new laptop.
The first and most important one is the size of the laptop. Once you have identified your needs you will need to decide which size will suit you best. If you’re going to be using the laptop for gaming, photography and anything that requires a large screen, you will want to look at the mainstream 15-16 inch laptops. If you only need the laptop for taking notes, writing word documents and socializing, you may consider buying a Netbook which will have a 9-12 inch screen. Netbooks are easy to carry around and they don’t take up too much space.
The second factor that you will want to look at is the processor, also known as the CPU. This is the heart of your laptop and the better it is, the faster your laptop will be. In general, if you don’t have an understanding in how processors work and which one would be best for you, this may be a little confusing, but don’t worry, you don’t really need to know much about them unless you really want to. Anything from the latest technology Intel Core i3, i5, i7 or AMD Turion will be good enough. Netbooks will have slightly different processors but that’s because they are smaller. If you are looking towards a Netbook then you don’t need to worry too much about the processor as your needs are probably not as demanding.
The third factor that you need to consider is the RAM, also known as the memory of the laptop. This is not the hard drive of the computer, so don’t get confused. Once again if you are looking towards getting a Netbook you won’t need much and the standard will be 1GB. For anything else, you will want at least 2GB of RAM. If you will be playing games, working with graphics or photography, you will want anything upwards of 2GB.
The fourth factor will be the graphics card. Will you be editing videos? Playing the latest games? Then you will definitely need an ATI or Nvidia graphics card. If you’re looking for a Netbook then you don’t really need to worry about the graphics card as you probably won’t be playing any games or doing any high-end stuff. If you are, then a Netbook is not the right laptop for you.
The fifth factor will be the hard drive size. This is something that should be very easy to decide on and you don’t really need to brainstorm too much as even if your hard drive is too small for your needs, you can always upgrade or buy an external one in the future. For basic use, anything upwards of 120GB will be more than enough. For games, photos and videos, you will probably be looking at around 300 to 500GB and anything more than that should definitely be enough.
All laptops will have their positive and their negative points though you will easily be able to find something practical and worthy of your money. Remember, you don’t really want to be buying second hand stuff as you never know how long the laptop may last for and if it happens to break, you will probably spend more money on repairs then on the laptop itself.
In regards to the operating system, you will most likely be looking to get a laptop with Windows 7, though if you are looking towards Apple Laptops (more expensive), you will be using the Mac OS. You will also want to make sure that the laptop you choose has at least two USB ports so that you can plug in any extras that you might want to get in the future. You may also need a spare battery as some batteries can run out quite quickly. And don’t forget to make sure that the laptop you choose is WiFi-enabled, though this shouldn’t be a problem as all laptops usually come with WiFi already built-in.
All in all, for basic college use, you won’t need anything too powerful, but if you are looking to play one of the latest games, watch high definition videos, use graphic software such as Photoshop, then you will definitely need something more powerful.
1. Lenovo ThinkPad E540
The ThinkPad has for long been a brand associated with the academic spheres. Its distinctly bookish look makes it a personal favourite for both undergrad and grad students. So, if you want to send a message to your peers and professor that you mean business, no laptop makes a better statement than the Lenovo ThinkPad.
However, the ThinkPad offers much more than just image. The E540, in particular, is built to perfectly handle the hustles of college life. Weighing just 1 pound, it is light enough to be carried along as you stroll through the campus. So, whether it’s the lecture theatre, dorm, library or your favourite WiFi hotspot, you won’t find any problem moving this machine around.
Beyond portability, the ThinkPad E540 comes with specs designed to suit most college purposes. Its 2.5GZ Intel Core i5-4200M processor is certainly powerful enough to handle most college-related tasks. Its 4 GB DDR3L SDRAM combined with a 15.6-Inch Screen will enable you to comfortably multi-task. The 500GB storage capacity is decent enough, and its Intel HD Graphics 4600 will handle all movies and a few video games. This machine comes with Windows 7 professional (with an option to upgrade to Windows 8 Pro), and a decent 6.2-hour battery life.
Weighing just 1 pound, it is lightweight and thus portable.
It comes with 4 GB DDR3L SDRAM and 15.6-Inch Screen which is good enough for college-grade multi-tasking
It has a 500GB 7200 rpm Hard Drive and a 2.5GZ Intel Core i5-4200M processor
It has a sleek bookish look
Its 4GB RAM may not suit students whose college tasks require high levels of RAM (e.g. computer programming students). Basically, the Lenovo ThinkPad E540 will perfectly serve the average college student. As such, unless you are a computer programming student who desires more RAM to run your Android Emulator, the ThinkPad E540 will be sufficient. It is currently listed on Amazon at $564.99 which is relatively decent for a college-oriented laptop.
2. ASUS N550JK
For college students who desire professional-grade processing power with a touch of class and elegance, it doesn’t get any better than the ASUS N550JK. ASUS has long established a reputation for producing top-quality sub-$500 laptops. Its Transformer Book T100TA is a personal favorite of many college students. However, in the N550JK, ASUS has set the bar high – too high for some college students.
Truth be told, the ASUS N550JK-DS71T isn’t a laptop for the average student. It is specifically built for high-performance tasks – and thus oozes with raw power. As such, unless you have a specific need for its amazing specs, you might have to stay away. If, however, you are student whose academic tasks require powerful processing speeds and large amounts of RAM, then, welcome to the world!
The ASUS N550JK-DS71T comes with a 2.5 GHz Core i7-4700HQ processor which can effectively handle any college-rated computing task. When combined with its 8 GB DDR3 memory, it offers professional-grade computing power to the college student. This makes this machine perfect for students who require high end processing power (e.g. programming students who have to run emulators like the Android Emulator).
This laptop is fitted with an NVIDIA GTX850M graphics coprocessor with a 2GB graphics ram. This makes it well suited for students whose college studies require high res graphics environments (e.g. students who have to carry out high-grade video editing as part of their learning). Such graphics also make this machine perfect for students who enjoy the delights of video gaming.
The ASUS N550JK-DS71T has a whopping 1TB storage space on its hard drive. It comes with a 15.6-Inch Full-HD IPS Touchscreen Display for added interactivity. Its other features include a 720P HD Webcam, 3 USB 3.0 s, an SDXC Card Reader and an Ethernet port. Basically, this laptop offers everything a college student would require, and even more.
It has 8GB RAM and 1TB storage space which is about as good as it gets for a college-grade laptop
It comes with a 2.5 GHz Core i7-4700HQ processor and 15.6-Inch Full-HD IPS Display
It has Touchscreen functionality which offers more interactivity
It has a 720P HD Webcam, 3 USB 3.0 s, a SDXC Card Reader and an Ethernet port
It has a sleek, aluminium finish which gives it an elegant, classy feel
Its price is a little on the higher side. However, it is worth every penny.
Its weight of 6 pounds makes it quite bulky to carry around
In a nutshell, the ASUS N550JK is the perfect laptop for the student who desires more in a laptop. It is especially suited for students whose courses require high levels of computational power. At over this price, it isn’t the cheapest laptop on the block. However, given its raw power, accentuated by a sleek, classy look, this laptop is worth every penny.
3.Toshiba Satellite C55-B5298
In most college situations, the most basic computing power is more than enough to get you through. And it doesn’t get more basic than the Toshiba Satellite C55-B5298. Toshiba is, of course, well-known for its line of robust, powerful and high performing laptops. However, in the Satellite C55-B5298, the company opts for simplicity, efficiency and affordability.
This laptop comes fitted with a 2.16 GHz Intel Celeron N2830 processor. When combined with a 4GB DIMM memory, it offers enough processing power to cover most college-related tasks. Its 500GB hard drive with a rotational speed of 5400RPM is more than sufficient for a college student. Also, its 15.6-inch Intel HD Graphics 4600 screen is sufficient for extra-curricular activities like watching movies.
The greatest strength of the Toshiba Satellite C55-B5298 is its relative affordability. Selling at less than $300 (its current Amazon listing price is $283); it is about as affordable as it gets without compromising on quality. As such, for a student who is looking for an affordable but fully functional and reliable laptop, this is a perfect choice.
The only weakness of the Toshiba Satellite C55-B5298 is that it doesn’t have a DVDRW drive. This of course presents challenges in software installation and watching movies. However, it has two USB 2.0 ports, and one USB 3.0 port – so loading software or movies won’t be much of a nightmare. This laptop weighs 4.85 pounds which makes it quite portable and runs on Windows 8.1.
It has a 4GB DIMM memory and a 500GB hard drive with 5400 rpm
It has a 15.6-inch Intel HD Graphics 4600 screen
It is quite affordable
It doesn’t have a DVDRW drive
Basically, the Toshiba Satellite C55-B5298 is built to provide functionality which can perfectly meet the average student’s needs. Granted, it is unlikely that this laptop will steal glances of envy from your peers, but it will definitely serve you well. And for less than $300, you won’t find a better machine on the market.
5 Points That You Should Look Into When Choosing Laptops For College Students
Communication (Ignore This Point If You Are The Students Himself)
Always communicate and talk to the one who will use the laptop, after all, you are not the one who will use it and there is no point to get a laptop that usable for you but not the future owner. What information should you know from him that will assist you in the buying process?
Ask him if he has his own preference laptop model. Try to understand how will he will maximize the usage of the laptop beside using it for learning purpose. Blogging? Gaming? As an entertainment machine? Normal internet surfing? Each of the different users needs different computer performance from the laptop.
From here, you will have some basic ideas of what kind of laptop you should get for.
Technical support that will be provided to the end-user by each manufacturer is an important factor to be considered. Its because college students rely on their laptop very much where they barely not afford any downtime. Imagine if he is trying to complete important and final report for his study and the laptop is broken down, this will certainly affect their concentration and output.
Research on each manufacturer of their technical support. Are they easy to be reached by phone? Do they offer next day site-visit technical support on that particular area? What will they do if the laptops part failure and ETC? If they provided extended warranty coverage, how much it charge? These are all factors you should consider for this point.
When we are saying someone will become a college student, he will be major in a certain subject. You must get a laptop that matches his profile on that particular field he is taking. For instance, engineering students normally need to use some very complex software such as calculating and CAD designing, which needs high performance on their CPU, memory and also graphic card. The same goes to design school students.
Is the laptop in your plan to buy can cope with the software requirement they will be using? Beside that, if the student will be taking engineering course, please also consider the outer material of the laptop. It is important for engineering student as they need a tough laptop that can withstand the extreme environment when they are using their laptop inside the lap, workshop or job site.
Ask you self the question is the student staying far away from home or stay on-board? Besides as a workstation for him, he might need some entertainment during his journey to the college or if he staying in the hostel, these laptops will certainly become the solely entertainment gadgets for him. Please consider the multimedia function in the laptop that you will purchase for him.
There are a big different choosing a laptop for a design, engineering student, accounting and music student. Each of them needs a different kind of size and appearance of laptops. Please also consider what kind of transport he boarding daily, to decide the size and weight of the laptop you will buy for him
Getting the best laptops for college students is not as simple as like you getting a home-use PC. It is very important to get the right laptop for a student who will be enrolled in college as this will greatly affect his learning process in the college and thus impacted his college life.
Cheap Laptops for Students?
More and more parents try to get cheaper and affordable laptops for their kids. There are several reasons why these happenings.
Since their kids are still in middle or high school, the parents or students them-self not sure what courses will the kids/students take when they enrol to College or University, therefore, they try to get them a cheaper laptop with basic function which can cope for their current usages. Unlike college students, secondary school students don’t really need a high-performance laptop for their study. So, parents will only get their kids more expensive laptops when their kids/students are about to enter college.
The students only need basic functions laptops for their study, thus, it is no point to get high-performances laptops to perform normal internet research, home-work typing jobs and ETC.
Most of the younger students/kids don’t really know how to protect their properties, therefore most of the parents try to get them cheaper laptops in order to avoid any loses. Their parents surely will get them more expensive laptops when the kids/student know how to protect their properties and when they grow up.
To pick cheap laptops for students, actually its almost the same as how you choose a normal home use pc or laptops. However, even-thought you are intending to get a cheap laptop for students, however, there are few points that you should look at to avoid getting a bad deal.
Make sure they come along with standard software When you compare with different models or brand of laptops, please make sure they come with the standard software such as operating systems and office software. Sometimes you can spot some ridiculous cheap laptops, same model but the huge difference in price if they don’t come along with certain software. Make sure you don’t miss out this point.
Hardware Spec Don’t fool by the appearance of the laptops but must look into the hardware specification inside the laptops. Two different hard specifications laptops can look exactly the same, therefore you must always check on the hardware specification such as the CPU, memory card, video card and batteries life. Make sure you get the latest specification at the lowest price.
Warranty Sometimes laptops expensive because of its extended or normal warranty the manufacturer offers. Make sure you don’t get cheap laptops but sacrificing the warranty just to get a cheaper price. Its because the warranty is very important for every electronic appliance for the consumer.
In a nutshell, those are the top 3 best laptops a college student. As such, if you are a student who is seeking for a laptop for college, you can choose between the bookish look of the Lenovo ThinkPad E540; the raw power of the ASUS N550JK or the sheer simplicity of Toshiba Satellite C55-B5298. Whichever you ultimately opt for, be sure that it meets the specifications of your college. Best Wishes!