Today’s ever-changing technology landscape can leave us scratching our heads sometimes. What was once considered a future-proof computer is now old news as technology allows our laptops to be slimmer, run faster and store more files and data. If you are thinking about picking up a new laptop for college, here are some things to consider before making your final purchase.
Battery Life is a Top Priority
If you are a serious college student, odds are that you will be using your new laptop all over campus for most of the day. Running software programs and connecting to Wi-Fi are two quick ways to drain your battery and if you don’t happen to have an outlet handy, you might not be able to use your computer all day long like you want to. Consider getting the largest sized battery available. With an upgrade you can expect anywhere from 5-7 hours of battery life as opposed to the 2-3 you would normally get. This can prove invaluable if you are writing a paper on the student lawn or just browsing the internet on a patio bench. You will never regret upgrading your battery life.
Memory is Important, Storage Size not so Much
If you are using this laptop strictly for school or personal use, you probably don’t need a 500 gigabyte hard drive. Unless you are an art major, photography major, or any other major that requires lots of images and files to be stored on your computer, then save some money and get a smaller sized hard drive. If you are just typing papers doing reports, you should be OK to skimp on disk space. You shouldn’t skimp on memory (RAM), however. If you are buying this computer your freshman year and expect it to last until you graduate, make sure you get the most memory available or find an option that allows you to add more in the future. From personal experience, the memory required to successfully run some programs now as opposed to four years ago is substantially different and my computer just can’t handle some of the new programs out there and I am unable to upgrade.
Pay a Little Extra for Damage or Service Support
If you are carrying your laptop around all day, you will definitely want an extended warranty on it. The slightest drop, bump or ding can cause problems internally that you will want covered under your warranty. Furthermore, if you are relying on this as your only computer through college, you don’t want to have the hassle of finding someone to service it or worse yet, having to replace it on your own. It may be a few extra dollars, but get a warranty/service plan that covers you throughout your college years.
Your new laptop should allow you to easily get the work done that will help you succeed in school, and should be as hassle free as possible. Most of the technology these days is compatible so you won’t have to worry about connecting to Wi-Fi, adding a keyboard or mouse, or connecting to an external monitor. Instead, worry about the things that will keep your laptop running strong for the 4+ years you are attending school.
About the Author: Aaron Garcia is a college graduate who made the mistake of buying a laptop with all the wrong features. He now represents Global 1 Resources, a manufacturer and supplier of server rack enclosures.