5 questions to ask before buying a laptop for uni
Not sure which laptop to take with you to uni? We’ll help you work out what you need and where to spend that student loan.
20 Jul 2018
First things first – are you Apple, Windows or Google?
You need to figure out which operating system is best for you. You might have a favourite that you’ll never stray from, but if you’re not sure, here’s a quick who’s who:
- Microsoft Windows: Word and Excel are as familiar as your slippers and the controls and layout are easy to get your head around. It gives you a huge range of laptops from the big names.
- Mac OS X: Only runs on Apple computers, which are loved by creatives and cool kids and perfect for Adobe Creative Cloud. But Macs are equally handy with Word.
- Chrome: Built around Google services like Docs, Drive and Gmail and runs on lightweight Chromebook laptops. You work online rather than on software downloaded to your laptop.
Now that’s sorted, here are 5 questions to ask…
1. Will it travel with me?
If you’re carrying your laptop from home to campus every day, you want it to be as thin and light as possible.
Pick something with these useful features:
- Made from a single piece of aluminium to be both lightweight and durable
- Magazine-thin with a small screen to slide comfortably into your bag
- Long battery life so you can ditch the bulky power pack
- SSD storage to contribute to its lightness and durability
Why not try… MacBook Air
The original ultraportable laptop just keeps on getting better. Slim, sophisticated and powerful.
2. Do you need to do several things at once?
If you’re writing essays in Word while chatting on WhatsApp and listening to Spotify, you’re doing some serious multitasking.
To do this all efficiently, without lags and crashing, you need to invest in a laptop with the right processor.
A processor is your laptop’s brain. Intel® is the biggest name in the processor game, and its Core™ models are the best-known. Choose a laptop with an Intel® Core™ i5 or i7 processor and you can multitask to your heart’s content.
3. Are you impatient with computers?
Whether you’re trying to meet an assignment deadline or watch the next big thing on Netflix, laptops that are slow to load can be very frustrating.
You need SSD, (or, solid state drive) in your life. Put simply, it makes everything faster.
The SSD replaces the traditional hard drive and doesn’t have any moving parts – so it’s lighter, faster and quieter.
4. Are you studying a design-related subject?
Design disciplines like graphics, fashion and illustration are rooted in visually demanding software like Adobe Creative Cloud with Photoshop and Illustrator.
So, look for a laptop with:
- A high resolution screen for working up close on finer details of your projects
- Intel Core i5 or i7 processor and a minimum 8GB RAM to meet the demands of Photoshop and other Adobe CC apps
- Dual function as a tablet with a digital pen for designing directly on screen
Why not try… HP Spectre x360
This incredibly powerful laptop has everything you could need, including Intel Core i7 and a Full HD screen with a digital pen for designing on screen.
5. Will you be playing as hard as you work?
If you’re planning to binge on Netflix original series like Stranger Things and GLOW, you’ll want to opt for a laptop with a decent screen.
A higher resolution screen will give you a sharper, punchier and more detailed picture, so you’ll feel more like you’re at the cinema.
Novice cooks may also want to master a few basic dishes with some handy YouTube food tutorials. For watching videos while cooking, think about a 2-in-1 design with a touchscreen and stand mode so you don’t have to mess around with the keyboard or trackpad.
Why not try… HP Pavilion x360?
This 2-in-1 laptop has a touchscreen LED backlit screen and a 360 degree hinge, so you can stand it up on your kitchen worktop, or your desk while watching.
Don’t get lumbered with the wrong laptop – find your dream machine