A College Student’s Guide to Laptops

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Nowadays, it’s difficult to get through college without owning a laptop.  Most schools will have computers available in the library, but often, the library will close at midnight.  It’s better to have a laptop available for use when needed.  Thus, a laptop for a college student must be lightweight and portable with a long battery life.  Most college students do not have a lot of money to spend on a laptop, so affordability is also important.

There are three essential types of laptops: budget, thin and light, and ultraportable.  Each has its advantages and disadvantages, which we will examine now.

Budget Models

Budget laptops need not be poor quality.  You can get high-quality budget laptops from Dell, Toshiba, and HP.  The Toshiba Satellite A215-S4747 is a good purchase; it comes with a large hard drive (200 GB) and plenty of CPU.  It also has plenty of peripheral ports for USB cables and the like.

You could also try the Sony VGN-NR160E/S; Sony usually tends to be more expensive, but this model falls into the budget laptop category.  The Sony gives you an Intel Core 2 Duo T5250 processor and a 160GB hard drive.

Thin and Light Models

Budget laptops are excellent for their price, but if you’re looking for something with a little more power, try a thin and light laptop.  Lenovo, HP, and Sony make excellent thin and light laptops.  Sony’s model VAIO VGN-FZ280E is a good notebook with Intel Core 2 Duo 2.0GHz processor, 2 GB of RAM, and a 250 GB hard drive on the model as it comes out of the box.

You could also choose the HP Pavilion dv6675us.  This model offers an Intel Core 2 Duo 2.0GHz processor, 4 GB of RAM, and a 250 GB hard drive.  If your computer must be able to run computational applications, the 4 GB of RAM is a good investment.

Ultraportable Models

If you’re always on the go and need your laptop with you all the time, the size and weight of the laptop is probably of great importance to you.  Ultraportable models in this day and age are often just as powerful as their bigger cousins, with all the features in a tiny package.  However, many of these do not have CD/DVD drive, so consider that when making your decision.

If you have a little money to spend on the laptop, try a Lenovo ThinkPad X61.  This laptop has had excellent performance reviews, and is tiny, weighing in at a whopping three pounds.  The processor is an Intel Core 2 Duo 2.0GHz CPU, and the computer boasts 2 GB of RAM and a 100GB hard drive.  The DVD writer is external and must be plugged into the laptop via a USB cable.

You could also try the Toshiba Portege R500-S5001X.  Its biggest lure for many people is the size: it weighs just under two and a half pounds and is a little less than an inch thick.  If you’re looking for portability in your laptop, this is it!

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