5 questions to ask before buying a laptop for school and uni
What’s important and what’s not when buying a laptop for uni?
First things first – are you Apple, Windows or Google?
The first and most important thing to consider is which OS will best suit your needs.
- 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. Plays nicely with your iPhone too.
- 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 want to take your laptop with you each day from home to campus, design is important. Laptops are generally much thinner and lighter than they once were. Look for a laptop that is…
- Made from a single piece of aluminium to be both lightweight and durable
- Magazine-thin with a 13-inch 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.
Desk-based laptop? If you’re using your laptop mainly in your halls or at home, prioritise spec over design with the HP Pavilion 15
2. Do you need to do several things at once?
If you’re going to be writing essays in Word while researching online and chatting to friends on Messenger while listening to Spotify, you’re doing some serious multitasking.
The best way to ensure you can do it efficiently without lags and crashing is to invest in a laptop with the right processor.
Think of the processor as your laptop’s brain. Intel is the biggest name in the processor game, and its Core models best-known. Choose a laptop with an Intel Core i5 processor and you can multitask to your heart’s content.
Check out our laptops with an Intel Core i5 processor.
3. Are you impatient with computers?
Whether you’re on-deadline with an essay or you want to watch the next big thing on Netflix, laptops that are slow to load can be seriously frustrating.
You need SSD, (or, solid state drive) in your life. Put simply, it makes everything faster.
‘What you’ll notice straight away is just how quick it (the laptop) starts up,’ says YouTuber Ash Tailor. ‘You’ll notice this speed immediately when copying files, loading programs and much more.’
The SSD is a new type of storage. It replaces the traditional hard drive and is lighter and quieter too. Think about how noisy your old laptop was. A lot of that is down to the hard drive.
4. Are you studying a design-related subject?
We ask because the type of laptop you need will be different to someone who’s studying English or History.
Design disciplines like graphics, fashion and illustration are rooted in visually demanding software like Adobe CC with Photoshop and Illustrator.
For these subjects look for a laptop with…
- A high resolution screen for working up close on finer details of your projects
- Intel Core i5 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 I Netflix and grill?
If you’re planning to binge on Netflix Original Series like Stranger Things and Glow, prioritise a laptop with a decent screen.
A higher resolution screen will give you a sharper, punchier and more detailed picture. Some of our laptops have better picture quality than the HD TV you’ll have back home.
Novice cooks may also want to master a few basic dishes with some handy YouTube food tutorials. If you’re going to be watching videos while cooking, think about a 2 in 1 design with a touchscreen and a stand mode so you don’t have to mess around with the keyboard or trackpad.
Why not try… HP Pavilion x360
This laptop has a great screen and a neat 2 in 1 design so you can prop it up like a tent on your kitchen worktop while cooking.
Don’t get lumbered with the wrong laptop – find your dream machine