Computers have become a necessity for students, with most of their projects relying heavily on them. When high school life ends, you look forward to college life with lots of excitement. However, lots of planning should be done to equip you for college. There is no question that one of the things you should have is a reliable computer. The value of computers for college students was increased after the pandemic, with the distance and online learning. With companies also adopting jobs to remote roles, owning a computer and a workspace at home became the new norm.
In high school, you probably given a computer to use to borrow from school. However, as you move to college, you must consider the type of computer that will be the best fit for you to own. This article will help you explore important factors to consider when choosing a new computer. We will also list different computers available for you with advantages and disadvantages to consider. Though this process can overwhelm you because of the sheer number of options in the market, here at Bible College Online, we provide you with good information to tackle this investment with clarity. First, Let’s begin by highlighting some of the computer components to look for.
A computer has several components that work efficiently based on your needs. These are some of the things to look for.
Processor: A processor is the most important logic that processes all basic instructions that operate your computer. It is the main integrated circuitry chip responsible for interpreting computer commands from basic arithmetic to other chips running in the computer.
Memory (RAM): It provides computer applications with a place for data storage on a short-term basis for easy access. The information actively used in the computer is stored here for quick access. Its capacity determines the speed with which your computer operates. The more programs you have running in the system, the more RAM you will need.
Power Supply: Many people confuse power supply in a computer and battery life, but they are quite different. The power supply is a computer’s hardware, supplying all the components with power. It converts the high voltage alternating current AC into a low voltage direct current DC that the computer can use. On the other hand, battery life is understood to mean the duration your laptop battery optimally performs before it is useless. Others also consider it as the time the battery takes before it exhausts the power to be charged again.
Hard Drive: This is where a computer stores all data for the long term. The data include things you save, codes for running the operating system, accessory drivers, and the framework for browsers for internet access. All data you download temporarily or for permanent storage are registered on the hard drive.
Factors to Consider When Choosing the Right Computer
Now that we have reviewed important computer components, let’s consider how these components affect your computer choice for school.
The processor – As already discussed, the processor is an essential factor to consider when choosing a computer. You want the best machine for the best experience. Depending on the workload, a student can go for a medium speed because you do not want a computer that frequently locks up or freezes in the middle of a presentation.
The RAM – A computer with larger RAM allows you to open many applications and browsers without freezing. Most basic computers have 4GB RAM, though some people love 8GB for the regular coursework. The hard drive is another factor worth considering as a college student. Currently, most computers are endowed with 250 and750 GB worth of hard drive space. Since the clouds offer you an ideal data storage space, the current hard drive may suffice your schoolwork. However, the right computer for a college student depends on several factors, with each student having unique needs according to their course work. Consider some of these factors.
If your schoolwork involves lots of browsing, designs, and displays, you could need a computer with an advanced processor. The computer’s RAM will also be worth considering because processing speed is of the essence for such courses as software engineering or designs.
However, if your coursework involves little browsing and more word application use, you may not necessarily require a computer with a strong processor. A less technical course may require an average laptop.
Size and Weight
Computer companies make laptops in different sizes, thus providing a variety to choose from. Nevertheless, students often prefer portable laptops for easy carry around the school and on their way home. Size also matters depending on the complexity of coursework. Small, light and simple laptops will work fine for college students performing basic tasks. If you are in the computer engineering field or a course that requires high-performing and large screen computers, you may need a slightly heavy laptop.
Average Battery Life
A computer’s battery life is of utmost importance for a college student. You do not want the embarrassment of your laptop going off in the middle of an exciting presentation. A laptop with an 8-10 hours battery life for a simple task is okay for a college student, but if you are using it for involving tasks on the internet, 5-hour battery life will suffice.
Budget and Price
Laptops have varied prices depending on their quality and performance. Generally, laptops with powerful hardware, higher performance, larger RAM, and hard drives often costs higher than those with lower performance. However, you should compare several brands to determine the best computer you could buy within your budget. Most college students’ entry-level laptops range between $300-$600. If your coursework requires advanced hardware, you may go for an expensive machine rather than less efficient cheap ones.
Desktop vs. Laptop
Having a personal computer, either a desktop or a laptop, has become a necessity rather than a luxury for college students. Academics are now relying on computer technology more than ever before. Though most students choose a laptop over a desktop, the latter can also provide high-level performance. Here are the major differences between a laptop and a desktop.
This could be the obvious strength of a laptop over a desktop computer. Laptops are usually small in size, unlike a desktop that is disintegrated and occupies lots of space. A laptop is self-contained with in-built keyboards, trackpads, and displays. A desktop has a keyboard, mouse, and monitor disintegrated, taking lots of space.
This difference between laptop and desktop is related to size. Since desktops are huge with separate monitors, moving from place to place is cumbersome. It does not have the best portability for a college student. However, students can use them in a single location, such as at school or home, performing just fine. A laptop is easy to carry in your backpack, and head with it wherever you want. They are considered good machines for on-the-go use.
Laptops only have one internal drive, whereas desktops are furnished with several internal drives when it comes to internal storage. If you want more internal storage for a laptop, you may be forced to replace the drive.
Desktops consume more power than laptops since they have many components and a monitor. Since desktops do not have an internal battery, the document you are working on and is not saved might be lost if there is a power outage. Laptops utilize less power because they have smaller components. The internal battery on a laptop makes it ideal for places with fluctuating power as you will retain your unsaved work even if the power goes off.
Desktops have many components, thus have a wide range of prices. However, their starting price is relatively lower than laptops. With a somewhat powerful system, a full-package desktop computer can start as low as $200. Meanwhile, laptops can also have various components, though they are limited. Their prices begin from $300-$1500, depending on the specifications.
What to Look for When Buying a Laptop
Knowing the specifications, you are looking for in a laptop makes it easier to choose a perfect machine for your schoolwork. Every laptop has a range of specs on each model, but filtering to important features will make your decision-making easier. You will have different types of laptops, such as Chromebook, Notebook, MacBook, Ultraportable, Convertible, and much more that you can choose from.
For example, the Notebook is a full-size laptop that balances functionality and portability. They vary in specs, with others having higher versions. The Ultraportable is the sub-Notebook, with a super-slim profile since it focuses on mobility. The Chromebook is another type of laptop that runs on the ChromeOS operating system. They fit data you intend to save on the cloud, and most students would love it. The MacBook is Apple’s product, running on a macOS operating system, and is rather expensive than most laptops.
The Ultrabook laptops are also suitable for college students who need on-the-go machines since they are light, thin, and portable. However, if you are running heavy projects that require strong processors and high-speed operations, you could go for high-end laptops like a MacBook.
As you choose a laptop for college, you want to avoid making some common mistakes in connection with size, keyboard, and battery life.
Size: It is essential to choose the right laptop size. A slimline 14-inch or 15.6 inch is suitable for a college or university student, rather than choosing heavy and large screened laptops.
Keyboard: Ensure your laptop’s keyboards are of high quality because, as a student, writing is part of learning. You also want to ensure that the keyboards have backlit buttons with comfortable keycaps, fast bounce, and a tactile feel.
Battery life: Since some college school days are longer, you want a laptop with longer battery life, a minimum of 10 hours if possible. Chromebook and MacBook Air are excellent examples of laptops that will last you longer, thus allowing you to fulfill your project needs without charging.
What to Look for in a Desktop Computer
If you are setting up a desktop computer, you need one that will efficiently help you with school work. However, before you rush to buy a new computer, take some minutes to ask yourself some important questions. What do you intend to use the computer for? What features do you want to install? What programs does your school work need? You also want to consider your budget, dictating whether you are buying parts bits by bit or the computer at once. Since buying a quality desktop at once may be expensive, consider building it up by buying piece by piece. Some of the things you will also weigh in include:
- The desk space you have – If your desk is smaller, you will need desktops with a small-sized monitor.
- Windows or Mac – This will root down to your personal preference.
- What you are studying for – If your schoolwork involves graphic designs or developing creatives, you will need a desktop with stronger processors.
Nevertheless, while choosing a laptop, there are things to keep in mind and avoid making wrong decisions.
Tablet vs. Laptop or Desktop
Though laptops and desktops have dominated classrooms, with students preferring them, tablets are also excellent options, providing even greater convenience and portability for students. Tablets may not be ideal for graphic designs and multi-tasking, but they can come in handy when taking notes in a classroom or conference. Furthermore, you can access the internet with ease wherever you are due to its portability. Their battery life is also longer than a laptop’s, and they can function as computers, especially the 2-in-1 tablets.
What is the Best Tablet for Schoolwork?
The computer world has continued to evolve as companies manufacture new portable laptops and tablets. Several tablet models are released at an unprecedented rate with different specs suitable for students. We see some Chromebooks and laptops converting into tablets, and students are spoilt for choice with these designs. They are especially popular with students majoring in drawing space, such as architecture and art students.
Modern tablet designs have the advanced ability to operate office suites and creative apps, making them ideal for schoolwork. After studying, students can relax with their tablets playing games, or watching Netflix. You can examine the tablet’s specs you want and use the same criterion of choosing a laptop to select a suitable one. Some factors to consider when choosing a tablet for school work include:
Reliable Touchscreen: A reliable touchscreen is essential for easy writing and operation on your school tablet. The touchscreen acts as a keyboard, and when they are active, you can easily operate it.
Battery Life: Battery life is vital for every portable computer, especially schoolwork. If you have long college hours, you want your tablet on power longer; otherwise, your project or coursework may be halted.
Attachable Keyboard: If you have chosen a tablet as a laptop alternative for your writing, you will need a keyboard extension. Since there is a lot of writing, it will help if your keyboard extension buttons are backlit and have a soft bounce rate.
Understand the Benefits of a Tablet vs. Laptops vs. Desktops with Bible College Online!
Whether you are learning in a small school or a brick-and-mortar school, it is essential to have a reliable computer to succeed in modern-day higher education. A computer is even more valuable for a student undertaking an online degree since classes and learning materials are accessible online. Bible College Online provides you with a trustworthy computer buying guide to ensure you attend your classes with reliable technology. We are interested in helping you achieve your potential in class which will translate to your success in life. Check out our other articles and learn more. We also help you find the right higher education program that suits your faith-based lifestyle, thus achieving your career goals.