Off to school in a few weeks? Not having a laptop is not an option. Even if you've picked courses that only involve multiple choice exams, you'll need a laptop to get you through the year. So, other than pretty colors and popular brand names, what should you be looking for in a laptop? Check out this back-to-school laptop help guide.
Lightweight Is Important
Unless you plan to take notes with an old school pen and paper, you'll need a laptop that you can carry around with you regularly. That means that you will need a laptop that doesn't weigh a ton. Trust me on this one: there will be mornings when you can barely keep your head on straight. Lugging around a super heavy laptop is the last thing you want to do!
Keys that are Easy On Your Hands
Keyboards don't seem like a big deal until you have five 1,000 word papers to write. When that happens (and you wait until the last minute to pound out those pages), you'll want a keyboard that's easy on your fingers. I'm partial to what the MacBook Air and Pro have to offer, but there are lots of great keyboard options out there. Make sure to test out the various types of keyboards before you buy a laptop.
Okay, no laptop has great sound. You will totally need a separate pair of speakers to get any decent sound out of your laptop. But, some laptops definitely have been sound than others. The only way to find out if you can tolerate a laptop's bad sound is to listen to some videos on various laptops while you are shopping in-store.
A Decently Sized Screen
It's hard to stare at a screen that's super tiny. Harder still if you plan to stare at that screen every single day for hours on end, and chances are that's exactly what you will be doing. Find a laptop that has a screen around 15" or above. Anything smaller will just kill your eyes.
Don't Get Suckered Into These Things
Just as there are some things you do need, there are some things that you don't need. Such as:
An amazing graphics card - go for a console or desktop instead.
A touchscreen - I know, they're everywhere and they are cool, but, really, they aren't what you need for a basic machine.
Lots of power. It's got quad-core! That might be a selling point that salespeople love, but (unless you're a graphics student) you probably don't need all that power.
The bottom line is that you can purchase an inexpensive, light weight, big screen, amazing machine for school, and still have tons of money left over to live out the summer in style. If you wait a week or two, most laptop companies will be offering discounts too, and that's always a good thing. Grab the right laptop, put it away, enjoy the rest of your summer, and head back to school with the best choice under your arm.