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The Daily Illini

Compare laptops before making a major purchase

By Masaki Sugimoto, Editor-in-Chief

Laptops are nearly essential to college students. While there are computers available to all University students to use, a laptop is far more convenient. Buying a laptop can be complicated because of the high price and varying specifications. Students should not take purchasing a computer lightly and should consider their individual needs.

Price

This is always the first thing you should consider. Laptops can cost in the thousands of dollars and can be the one of the most expensive things –besides tuition– that you buy in college. Always think about how much you are willing to spend before searching for a laptop.

PC vs. Mac

Most college students decide between PC and Mac for the operating system (OS) they use in their computer. This ultimately comes down to preference.

It would be good to do some research if your majors have any sort of preference on the OS that you use, which is rare, but does occasionally happen.

If you have been used to using Apple products, it is advised you stay with that and same for Windows. Your life in college can constantly change, so look for something that you have control over and that you can keep consistent.

Specs

This is more the nitty-gritty of purchasing a laptop, but is one of the main components of pricing. You will see within one laptop type there will be several different prices for laptops that seem the same.

First evaluate what you will use the laptop for. If the extent of your use is using Microsoft Office and watching Netflix, you don’t need anything spectacular.

If you want to do things like play games, edit video, or use specific programs for your classes, look into what kind of computer you need.

Not having a good enough computer for certain programs can make school work harder and more frustrating than it already is.

Battery life and portability

These are two things that are fairly crucial.

Students will often carry their laptops across campus throughout the day. So portability is key. A big screen to watch movies is nice, but that usually means you have an incredibly bulky laptop. This can hurt your back and make getting from class to class a burden. Making sure you can deal with moving it around a lot especially on the crazier parts of the semester.

Battery life is another component of carrying a laptop around. If you use your laptop around, battery life is extremely important to make sure you can keep working throughout the day.

Carrying a charger with you is often extra weight that is often not worth carrying around. Remember that the battery life advertised may not be the reality of your usage, especially if you have multiple programs running.

Ultimately, use what best fits you. Everyone has different needs, the right purchase for you may not be a popular.

Laptops are a long term commitment that should last a college student throughout most of their academic career and is an excellent source of leisure at any other time.

Masaki is a senior in Media.
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