Performance– No need to buy a laptop in a hurry. Find the right one for your needs. For instance, if you’re just buying a laptop for writing papers, you might not need a large capacity SSD, a hefty processor, and 8GB of RAM and with it a big price tag. Likewise, if you’re buying for a Graphic Design or CAD class, you’ll likely need something much greater than just 4GB of RAM and a dual-core processor. Find a laptop that meets your needs.
Portability– Make sure to buy a thin and light laptop. There’s nothing worse than carrying around a big laptop that’s awkward and heavy to roam around campus or to the library. It’s also good practice to make sure your laptop has a small footprint, allowing you to easily put it in most backpacks or carrying bags alongside textbooks and other study materials.
Battery– Buy a laptop with a good battery capacity, preferably one that will last you all day. While you might not need that much, it’s good to search for laptops that will last more than four hours.
The very first feature of top laptops for college students is the Hard drive. If you don’t use many programs, look for a hard drive with a capacity of 256GB or higher. It’ll meet your needs and then some. If you’re a power user, look for 500 GB or above so there’s more than enough space for another thing. If most of the time you are working on the Web, then you might not need a hard drive larger than 32 GB, which is just enough space for the operating system and storing a handful of documents offline. If possible, find a solid-state drive over a traditional hard drive. Performance and speeds will increase astronomically.
If you’re only using a web browser, go for a laptop with a minimum of 2 GB of RAM. Your laptop, whether it be Windows or Chrome OS, won’t even use that much, but it still ensures the speed and responsiveness of your machine. Alternatively, find a machine that you can upgrade the RAM by yourself, which can save you money during the initial investment.
It’s important to find the right operating system for your College program. If you’re studying in Computer Science or something which requires you to use Windows or Mac applications, it’s good to shy away from Chromebooks. If you’re studying takes place online and doesn’t require you to use any Windows or Mac applications get a Chromebook.
A dual-core processor below 2 GHz will not slow down your laptop if you are using it for documents, browsing, watching media, and so on. If you’re in a degree program that has some demanding programs (e.g. Photoshop, Autodesk 3DS Max, and medical software), make sure you look for a quad-core processor with a clock speed of 2 GHz or higher. Not only will it last you longer running these types of programs, but rendering and general speed will be a lot faster and more efficient than a dual-core CPU below 2 GHz. At the same time, don’t buy seeing processor speed. For instance, there aren’t many differences between a quad-core 3.7GHz processor and a quad-core 3.9GHz processor. The only real difference is the much higher price tag. There’s little effect as far as processing power and efficiency goes.
Finding a good display has much to do with the size that you’re comfortable with and need to work with. Whether it be 11-inch or 17-inch displays, they’re all good as long as they have a resolution of 720p or higher. Anything below that is often blurry and has very little clarity. The display you purchase should have built-in features for reducing eye strain, such as dimming the brightness or even having a feature for night use. This will help a lot as far as eye strain goes.
Some lectures can last over four hours in a single sitting, which is why you’ll want a laptop that can at least double up on two of those a day without needing a recharge. Most good quality laptops will have built-in power saving features that can stretch their life to 10 hours or more. You should be able to get a full charge in just two to three hours, allowing you to quickly get back to work whenever needed.
The best laptops for college students will have more than a single USB port. More manufacturers are headed towards just including one USB port, but it’s truly a hassle to deal with, as you can’t really plug in any extra peripherals or accessories without connecting a USB hub first. Make sure the laptop you buy has an HDMI, DVI, VGA, or Display Port. You never know when you might need to switch to a bigger screen, and having one of these ports will let you do that, with VGA being the most common for projectors you’d find in the average classroom.