One of the best investment you will do while being here to buying a laptop. Some of the schools will have 24 hours lab facility, but nothing comes like having a laptop for you. When it comes to buy a laptop, for sure you will have to depend on your seniors and other friends who already have laptop.
There are variety of laptop brands like Dell, Lenovo( Thinkpad), HP, Toshiba, Gateway, Fujitsu and few other brands.
Things to consider when buying laptop
- How much you are willing to spend for a laptop
- Size ( weight ) vs Cost
- Laptop brand vs Quality
- New laptop vs used ( refurbished)
- Laptop’s life
- Basic Configuration
Above everything, depending on how you handle them, laptop’s maximum life is 3 years. After that is junk machine. If someone happen to have a laptop after 3 years without any problems, they must be real lucky.
How much you are willing to spend for a laptop:
I’m shopping for my 5th laptop in 5 yrs now ( self, to brother, gifts..) and have used Fujitsu, HP, Thinkpad in last few years. From student perspective, considering application you will install and executing programs, graphics application and ofcourse games, lowest I would suggest to spend will be $700 and above.
Size ( weight ) vs Cost
Size vs cost is the most important of all the points, I would say. Being student, you will carry your laptop around a lot. From my personal experience, carring laptop more than 6lbs is very hard. You will get good deal on Laptop for $500, but it would weight 7-8lbs. Its will be difficult to carry 4kgs laptop with books.
Cost of laptop raises sharply as size decreases.
- 13″ to 15″ screen size laptops will weight between 3lbs to 6 lbs.
- 12″ will weigh less than 2lbs ( it will be too small for college use, its designed for people on the go, to check emails, and schedules, .
- >15″ screen is for gaming, it will weight more than 7lbs ( forget it, not for school use)
New laptop vs used ( refurbished)
Go for new one. It will be much better. They will come with 1 year standard warranty. If your HDD crashes, display problem, fan making noise, all you need to do is call the support and they will take care it. You are going to use it for years to come. You might never know what kind of problem used laptop will have unless you start working with it.
Laptop brand vs Quality
Few laptops brands are expensive, but ti comes with its quality. Considering my experience with laptops, my suggestions will in the following order.
- Thinkpad (Lenovo’s)
- Don’t think of buying other brands.
Thinkpad R series and T series laptops are best ones. If you know someone who works for IBM, they can get it with additional 15% discount than the listed price on Lenovo’s website.
Dell will have good deals all the times. Their support is good. But quality doesn’t stand close to Thinkpad. Cheaper options you look in Dell, heavier the laptop would be.
Fujitsu ( Lifebook ). I love this machine, until it gave up on me after 3 years. I had S6120 and its was 2.75 lbs with 13″ screen. It was costly buy ( $1600) 3 yrs back, but it was worth every penny, considering, I watches around 800 moves on its DVD drive and its screen is stunning. They are nice machines, but its expensive. You will get real nice configuration for $1000 and above from Thinkpad.
Screen : 13 to 15″ screen
Processor : Intel Dual Core 2 Duo or AMD Athlon 64 bit ( dual core )
RAM : 2 GB RAM ( get basic from laptop, buy one your own and upgrade to 2 GB)
OS : Get VISTA Home basic or premium and from school you will get other version for
discounted student price
Wireless : Integrated
Size : 3 lbs to 6lbs
Battery : 4 to 7 cells would do