Are you buying your first laptop in U.S.A? Trust me, it’s not easy to make a decision when you have so many brands and models and price range. When I was a student, I went thorough the same process. I want to make your laptop buying process easy and fun experience for you.
I have owned several laptop brands, models of varying size and cost. This article is based on my hand on experience.
Current Computers :
At present, I have the following ( in working condition)
- Macbook Pr
- MacBook Air
- ThinkPad T420
- HP Ultrabook (don’t recommend)
- Windows Desktop
- 2 iPad’s
Plus, I have three ThinkPad’s, 1 Fujitsu that’s in broken state. I have owned Dell, HP, Compaq and IdeaPad from Lenovo in the past.
I recommend the following based on my personal experience
- Lenovo Thinkpad T440 Series ( On Sale till Aug 15, 2014)
- Macbook Pro or Macbook Air
Laptop and your cell phone is your connection to the external world. So, spend wisely ( even if you have to spend little bit more than what you can afford at this time).
Rule of Thumb
- Don’t buy $500 laptop.
- Laptop should last for 3 to 5 years
- Plan to spend $800 to $1200
There are variety of laptop brands like Apple, Lenovo (Thinkpad), HP, Sony, Toshiba, Gateway, Fujitsu, Dell and few other brands.
Things to Consider When Buying A Laptop
- Weight vs Cost
- Laptop Brand vs Quality
- Laptop’s life
- Basic Configuration
I have owned laptops that were $300 and up to $1500. If I were to buy a laptop these days, I stick with two brands and models.
- Lenovo Thinkpad T440 Series
- Macbook Pro or Macbook Air
I got Macbook Air for wife 3 weeks back ( July 2014).
There are so many laptops that you can buy for $500. But, they are made for people who want to listen to music and browsing. It’s flimsy.
For students way of life, you need a laptop that is well-built to withstand your way of life. Some laptop have that bulky, hollow feeling. They will not last for 3 to 5 years. So, invest $900 for a Thinkpad T440 series or $1200 for a Macbook Pro.
Size, Weight vs Cost
Size , Weight vs cost is the most important factor. You will be carry around he laptop a lot. Find something less than 4 lbs.
From my personal experience, carrying a laptop more than 6 lbs is very hard. You will get good deal on Laptop for $500, but it would weight 5 to 6 lbs.
Cost of laptop raises sharply as size decreases.
- 13″ to 15″ screen laptops will weight between 3 to 6 lbs.
Above everything, depending on how you handle them, laptop’s maximum life is 3 to 5 years.
I know folks who used laptop as desktop and had it for over 8 years. I had my Fujitsu, last for 4 years. It took a beating in its 4 years life span.
Lenovo Thinkpad T440 has that rugged feel with low-cost weight and durability.
Laptop brand vs Quality
Few laptops brands are expensive, but yo get what you pay for. Considering my experience with laptops, my suggestions will in the following order.
- Thinkpad (Lenovo’s)
- HP ( I had terrible experience with HP )
- Dell ( no way, poor customer service)
- Don’t think of buying other brands
Thinkpad T series laptops are best choice for students.
Fujitsu (Lifebook ). I love this machine, until it gave up on me after 3 to 4 years. I had S6120 and its was 2.75 lbs with 13″ screen.
It was costly buy ( $1600), some 10 years back, but it was worth every penny.
- Screen : 13″ or 14″
- Processor : Intel i3 to i5 ( depending on your need )
- RAM : 8 GB RAM ( 8 GB or More)
- Hard Drive : Solid State drive if you can afford.
Let me know if you have any questions about buying your first student laptop.
Guess how much I paid for my New MacBook Air – 13″ with Apple Care?