Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Best Laptops for College Students

The college environment and learning experience have undergone a dramatic shift in the last few years. With the ubiquity of the internet and falling consumer electronic prices, a laptop is essential and affordable for every college student. That being said, there are a few critical features that must be present in a college notebook, the first being a wireless internet card. A wireless internet card allows the laptop to connect wirelessly to the internet, freeing the student from the burden of being grounded to an ethernet cable.

Wireless internet cards are standard in virtually every laptop, but the most useful wireless cards are sold by semiconductor giant Intel, as part of the Intel Centrino Mobile platform. The Centrino platform was designed by Intel to specifically address laptop issues on two fronts: wireless mobility and battery life. When purchasing a laptop make sure to look for the Intel Centrino logo, which brings us to the next point: battery life. In order to maximize mobility, the laptop must have a battery with enough juice to last through all those classes, totaling several hours of use each day. Most laptops are not up to the task of meeting the rigors of college life, including power demands, but a 9 cell battery with a 14.1" screen size or smaller will provide enough power to last through the day.

The final consideration when purchasing a laptop is size and weight. Portability is very important to college students. Laptops with screens measuring 14.1" and larger usually weigh more and that could turn out to be a deal breaker for most students. Imagine carrying an 8 pound laptop halfway across campus every day for the next four years, a great way to develop Herculean shoulders, but not at the expense of tiring yourself out just to get to class!

Pinpointing the following features will help to best serve your college demands:

- Cost
- Warranty
- Performance
- Ports
- Form factor
- Battery Life
- Weight
- Antivirus software

Now that we've developed all the essential features of a college laptop, I offer three recommendations:

1) Dell Inspiron 1420 Overall Best Value
2) HP Pavilion dv6500t Perfect for Multitasking
3) Toshiba Tecra A9-S9015X Expensive but Portable and Powerful