This is the time of year when students are looking at where they might go for their further education. This often involves leaving home to go to another city. Trips to IKEA/Asda/Tescos etc for crockery/bedding and other items the student will need are a right of passage. Included in these purchases is their IT equipment that the student might need.
So what should you be considering if you need to purchase a laptop for your son or daughter?
With the uncertainty of how this virus will pan out, it has to be expected that teaching at universities may well involve an element of remote teaching. It is therefore, very important that you get the best laptop for your budget. In most cases the student will need a machine that can run office, browse the web, send emails, have a webcam and a printer. Some subjects (eg Mechanical Engineering, Architecture) may require a machine with ample storage space (hard disk space), but for other courses, storage space will not be an issue. Every university nowadays will provide storage space for their students by way of either cloud storage or their own server storage. This means that you can purchase a laptop with an SSD (solid state drive) as these generally speaking come with either 256 GB or 512 GB of storage space. 256 GB will be more than adequate for the average student. The added bonus with these laptops, is their speed – SSD drivers are super quick booting up.
Processing power would be the next thing to consider. Again, if the student is only needing the machine to run the odd program and not something heavy duty like AutoCAD, Photoshop, then you can get away with an i3 processor, however, if your budget can stretch, I would consider an i5 processor.
Memory – the more memory the better. 4 GB would be my absolute minimum, but 8 GB is better. This allows the user to have many programs open and running and if you’re anything like me – have zillions of tabs open on your browser without it slowing down your laptop.
Weight might be the next thing to consider. The student might be travelling by train from home to their digs and they may need to think about having a lightweight one to make this an easier task. This might mean buying a smaller than standard laptop (eg 13 inch or 14 inch). However, lightweight tends to also mean more expensive, so it will again come down to budget and what you can afford.
Finally, and probably the most important thing to consider is backup. Laptops do fail, they do get left on trains, they do get broken, they do unfortunately get stolen. It is essential that you ensure that the student has a proper backup procedure in place. No-one wants to lose their vital essays/work/dissertation just before deadlines. This could mean an external hard drive, or they could use one of the many cloud storage options – eg 15 GB that comes free with any gmail email address.
As always, if you’re unsure, I’m always here for a friendly chat about your options. My last comment would be – buy cheap and you might regret it. firstname.lastname@example.org 0785 509 2227