5 Computer Options for College Students

Written by  //  2013/03/15  //  Computers  //  2 Comments

Today’s college students have many options for Internet connectivity although some devices are much more useful for writing reports. In the 1980s, desktop computers dominated the market with bulky laptops the lone and a very expensive option. By the 1990s, prices for desktops and laptops alike dropped as Internet connectivity and broad usage drove costs down. Today, consumers have multiple choices available to them with each one having benefits and drawbacks for the college student.

Desktop Systems

Today’s desktop systems are lighter and much less bulky, but must be fixed to one place. You get a computer tower, a monitor and a keyboard, a system that can be set up at a computer work station and accessed as you need it.

Clearly, the inability to move a desktop system around can present a huge disadvantage for college students. However, such units can hold more memory and on a cost-by-cost basis, a desktop system may provide the most bang for the buck over your other options.

Laptop Computing

Today’s laptop computers are lighter, but generally cost more than the equivalent desktop counterpart. Because of a laptop’s thinness and lightweight structure, your computing ability may be restricted. To handle graphics and other software intensive programs means upgrading the system, usually at a significant cost to you.

Laptops, however, are portable and can be taken anywhere. College students may choose this option when desiring to connect in the classroom, the lab or in the library. With wireless connectivity so commonplace, you can take your laptop with you and connect in may public places.

Netbook Computers

The cost of a laptop is prohibitive for some college students, but its portability is still desirable. In 2007, netbook laptop computers entered the market and have had a brief, but successful run.

Essentially, a netbook is a laptop based on a smaller footprint. The screen and computer are smaller, and the computing power comes in lower. Costs can be a huge factor in considering this model as the cheapest units come in at under $300.

Internet Tablets

College students seeking to access the Internet and retrieve email are giving due consideration to tablet devices, a one-piece mobile computer that is operated by a touchscreen. They also come equipped with a virtual keyboard.

Tablets, like Netbooks, are the most cost effective way of connecting online. However, unless one comes equipped with a detachable keyboard or can be connected with one, its use for writing reports is greatly limited. Choose one if viewing published content and videos is your sole purpose for having such a device.

Convertible Computers

One of the newest forms of computer devices are convertible computers. Such units are tablets that can be turned into a laptop, enabling you to either take it with you or set up in a fixed spot to work on your reports.

Convertibles enable users to enjoy laptop power and productivity along with tablet mobility. These devices may offer the most flexibility for users, enabling college students to enjoy both fixed-based and portable options.

Purchase Considerations

College students will consider a number of points when evaluating a computer to purchase including the points that we touched upon so far. Other considerations besides prices and portability include RAM, hard drive size and the right graphics card for your needs. Of course, if you are looking at a computer for entertainment purposes only, the a gaming laptop may offer the best value and performance for the money.

References
Microsoft: How to Choose a PC: Netbook, Tablet, Laptop, or All-in-one? — http://www.microsoft.com/athome/setup/choosepc.aspx
Tech Radar: Best Computer: How to Choose the Right One — http://www.techradar.com/us/news/computing/best-computer-how-to-choose-the-right-one-935053

Author Information
Steve Wright writes for Steatite Embedded where he specializes in mini ITX and other small form factor computing topics.

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