Searching for a laptop for yourself can be overwhelming with all the options available out there. There are many varieties of laptops like Windows 8 with touchscreen, hybrid laptops, Ultrabooks, Mac notebooks, Chromebooks, and lots of other devices. Given below are a few tips to help you choose the best laptop for your college requirements.
Buy a laptop, not a tablet
Tablets are very alluring owing to their features and low price tags. These portable and long battery life products are quickly overtaking laptops as the preferred devices for many people. For now, however, they are no replacement for the more powerful PCs and notebooks. You cannot multi-task efficiently with a tablet. For instance, you cannot expect to write a 10 page note on your tablet. Tablets are the best secondary devices for students right now.
Google, Samsung, HP, and other large manufacturers are offering Chromebooks, or laptops powered by Chrome OS from Google. The Chromebook is optimized for web applications, and shouldn’t be used as your sole device. Chromebooks will present you with too many limitations if you choose it as your sole computer device.
Prefer ultra portable devices
Ultrabooks can be a good choice for you if you want to do away with a 5 pound laptop in your backpack. Same goes for the ultra lightweight Mac notebooks from Apple. You can get the base model of the 3 pound MacBook Air for just about $1,000, and the device will give you battery backup of close to 12 hours. Another lightweight laptop is the Sony VAIO pro, which weighs a mere 2 pounds and is priced similar to MacBook Air.
Buy a Mac if you are okay with the price tag
Apple laptops are, in general, quite expensive. Apple laptops have been found to have the least number of serious problems and require very few repairs, if any. Apple also has a great customer support service that is second to none in the laptop industry. And finally, most of the incompatibility issues between Windows and Mac have all but disappeared. Go for Windows if you are looking for less up front costs and more options, such as touchscreen which is currently unavailable in Apple laptops.
Go for the best specifications
Inexpensive laptops will probably come with slower processors and limited features. This can affect your gaming, video, other graphics, and multimedia needs. You can go for the recently released Haswell processors from Intel which provides extended battery life without compromising on the speed. You can also go for the cheaper Ivy Bridge processors if battery life isn’t a concern for you. Other features such as 4G compatibility or optical drives are not very important for your college requirements, so you can ignore these features and save yourself some extra bucks. The bottom line here is that the more updated and powerful your notebook is, the less you will need to spend time and money on upgrading the device after a year or so.
Go for touchscreen
Touchscreen isn’t an essential feature, but it is a nice addition if you can get it. Operating systems like Windows 8 can be experienced better with touch capabilities. However, you will still need the trackpad or mouse for more intensive functions. Touchscreens are also most likely to be the future of laptops.
Look for student discounts
Back-to-school discounts are quite common with most retailers. You can also find special student discounts from hardware makers. For instance, Mac laptops come with a $100 gift card from Apple App store if you buy one before the first week of September. You can find discounts through the Internet or by contacting a local computer rental service.
Try paying with Discover or Amex
When paying with your Discover or Amex card, you will automatically get extended warranty for the product you buy. Extended warranties can be quite expensive if you purchase them in addition to your device. You can also find extended warranties in a few places with Visa or Mastercard. Amex is, however, the best card to get extended warranties. It also extends the warranty on refurbished computers and laptops. Generally, you get an extended warranty of 1 year with an Amex card on products with warranty up to 5 years.
You can save lots of money by going for a refurbished laptop. These devices are returned by previous owners and then redone by the manufacturer to make it as good as it was, or even better. The refurbished devices are sold for less than what a new unit costs and many manufacturers have a section on their websites to sell refurbished laptops. When going for heavy priced devices like MacBook Air, first look for refurbished models, which are typically sold for 15-20% less than the marked price.