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New College Student’s Laptop Buying Guide

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

Laptop’s Life

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.

  1. Thinkpad (Lenovo’s)
  2. Dell
  3. HP
  4. Sony
  5. Toshiba
  6. Fujitsu
  7. Acer
  8. 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.

HP, It will also be good student laptop. I’m hearing some good things about HP laptops. HP have overtaken Dell in PC industry. I will post any HOT deals in HP when I come across.

Minimum Configuration

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

23 Comments

  1. Sanjana on July 19, 2011 at 11:23 AM

    hey I’ve got a HP laptop dv4 series. I’m planning to carry this laptop to the US this Fall. Its been with me for a year now. I heard Mac is good and u also get a student discount so I am considering buying that. Any suggestions people ?? And also about cellphones ? should we buy one there or can we use a nokia 5800 (2yrs old) over there ?

  2. WellWisher on June 20, 2011 at 2:01 AM

    I have a Lenovo ThinkPad from India only, but i buyed in USA from my friend & carried again to USA.
    Lenovo Think pad Laptop’s are worth to invest for Indian Students

  3. Rajkamal on May 4, 2011 at 11:54 PM

    Hey,
    Why can’t I carry a laptop from India? I have a HP Pavalion dv4 series. Can I jst carry this lap to the US?

  4. Hari Krishna Veturi on February 12, 2011 at 9:19 AM

    Hey HSB,

    You almost forgot about Macbook! Or is it that Macbook wasn't released when this was posted?

  5. alok on February 8, 2011 at 10:57 PM

    can i carry laptop from india?????? or its good to buy there?

    indian price for laptops are around 25000-45000 rupees means 500$-900$….

  6. Pritika Dandriyal on July 12, 2010 at 3:10 AM

    Hey Guys

    I am heading for UCLA this fall.
    I have a Thinkpad (R52) which I have been using for the last three years…
    Its working fine… probably a lil investment here and there wud make it run like a new one.
    Should I be taking my laptop along or should I be buying a new one there ?

    Plz give suggestions whoever has an experience with the above issue.

    Thanks a lot

  7. smrutirekha on May 21, 2010 at 9:03 PM

    hi hsb ..what about carrying a laptop from India itself ?

  8. Amithabh on April 5, 2010 at 1:29 AM

    Hi HSB,

    Though you said that Laptops are comparatively cheaper in the US, I would like to have your advice about carrying an existing laptop(Compaq) which is working fine as I don't want to spend unnecessarily.

  9. Ganpath Priya on September 25, 2009 at 4:17 AM

    oh n thnx 4 d tips 🙂

  10. Ganpath Priya on September 25, 2009 at 4:16 AM

    hey… i ve got an acer wit me now.. but it already has a quite a few probs now itself.. bought it abt a yr bak.. was wonderin if i can carry tis laptop itself after servicing or buy a new 1 in US

  11. ajaykumar on February 24, 2009 at 8:18 AM

    Hi, anna,u r doing a great job….I also want to ask what umang wished to ask….whether is it good carrying a laptop from India or buying in the U.S.?….also when it comes to cell phones…which one is better?buying a new one here and going there..or buying a new one there????plz reply…..tamizh vazhga.tamizhan vaazhga…u rock!!!

    • HSB on February 26, 2009 at 4:20 AM

      Buy laptop from US. You can get it for much less then India.

      • ajaykumar on February 28, 2009 at 9:38 AM

        hi HSB, ur reply was good..but wat abt cell phones??

  12. Umang on February 24, 2009 at 4:45 AM

    thanks for all the info…

    from what i have deduced from the many articles i have read here on happy school blog,you should buy laptop from US and NOT from India…please correct me if i am wrong..what are the benifits of gettin a lappie from US???hat about a cell phone??

  13. Raghuram on August 11, 2008 at 7:18 AM

    @kunjaan: R61 will be heavy. for students I would suggest T61, since you will have to carry laptop with you to school.

  14. kunjaan on August 11, 2008 at 4:38 AM

    which do you think is better? T61 or R61? Please suggest.

  15. Raghuram on July 14, 2008 at 3:20 PM

    @Arun: Tablet PC is not required for students.

  16. A K Arun on July 13, 2008 at 10:16 PM

    Hi there,

    That’s really well compiled article, apt for first timers like me.

    I don’t know much about the extent of its usage in US schools, but would you advice some first timer like me to go for a tablet PC.

    Of course the price would be a touch higher. Do you really see any pluses in going for a tablet PC Vs a notebook ?

    cheers
    @run

  17. dd on June 19, 2008 at 7:28 AM

    wht abt a MAC ?? i mean we can use windows and mac both now…

  18. Isha on January 17, 2008 at 7:00 PM

    Hello Everybody,

    I agree with the suggestion given by the author. Invest in a good quality laptop and mk sure its light! I have bought an Acer .. their top of the line model costed me $620!! but that was Christmas 🙂 I recommend buying the laptop from Circuit City.. they have lot of options at best prices.
    Cheerss.. Isha

  19. sukesh on September 4, 2007 at 9:18 PM

    Thnxs dude..I got clear idea after reading such an elaborated post

  20. Life on August 4, 2007 at 3:16 PM

    You are welcome. I will post few links for laptops when I find good deal. Good Luck.

  21. swatilekha on August 4, 2007 at 10:15 AM

    thanks a ton…life strikes (or whatever your name is) !!

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