What you need to consider before purchasing your laptop.

It’s all about laptops now. I can’t remember the last time I talked to someone who was buying a PC. Anyway, as students you want to get value for money. Laptops are portable and in college most work is done on some sort of word processer. When buying a laptop I guess you want it to last a good few years. Let’s face it, as students we can’t be upgrading every year!

I didn’t know a lot about laptops (or electronic devices in general) before I started my ICT module, however now I feel like I know enough to advise you on what you look out for and what to steer clear of. Now, if you are a poor student (like myself) and is working with a budget, don’t worry. You can get a perfectly functioning laptop for second hand. I’ll talk about this later. Now what should you look out for? Here’s my top five.

Memory: One of the most important things for students in particular. You are going to be doing a lot of written work in college and you going to have to keep it all on your desktop. So make sure you get a laptop with enough memory to accommodate this. USB keys are good, but you need to back-up your work. RAM (Random Access Memory) can be purchased separate and quite cheaply if you are running low.

Warranty: Try to get as long a warranty as possible. Minimum of 3 years. If you are buying a second hand computer though, it’s going to be pretty low or not at all. So make sure it is worth the risk.

Weight & Size: If you go to college, you’re going to be carrying this around with you pretty much all the time. It’s got to be easily transported and preferably fix in your bag! It shouldn’t weigh too much either. Nobody wants to put their back out in college.

Battery Life; In college, you’re going to be moving around a lot. So there’s not always going to be access to plug sockets. So battery life is perhaps the most important consideration when picking a laptop that’s going to be used in different locations. For example, if you’re at home most of the time with your laptop, battery life wouldn’t be as important.

Connectivity: Maybe that’s an obvious one, but I’m not too sure. I’m have in my time come across laptops with no access to a Wireless Network. You can see how that would cause some problems for your average college student. Also, connectivity includes USB ports (two at least). This will come in very useful in future college endeavours.

Now, your budget, ‘good enough’ laptops usually range from between perhaps 400 euro up to 600 euro in Ireland. They can be bought in your average electronic store. However, if your budget is a little under that and you’re looking for your basic laptop; take a look at these websites.

http://www.oxfamireland.org/computers/shop

http://www.pixmania.ie/computing/used-and-refurbished-computers/refurbished-laptops-dell/6094-xx-xx-xx-topsellers-desc-1-10-page-20200-s.html

These are only two websites I found when I Googled ‘refurbished laptops’. I know personally that these laptops that Oxfam offer may be basic, but they have just the right amount of storage etc, that a student would need and all for a reasonable price!  You also can buy them in Oxfam shops and take a look at it before you buy it if you’re unsure.

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