It seems as if summer has flown by and it's already back-to-school time. The air gets crisp, the leaves begin to fall, and your children expect you to dole out the big bucks for all kinds of things they will deem as necessary “school supplies.” Chances are you won’t get talked into a new car, but a new laptop may not be entirely out of the question. Here's a guide to help you choose.
Things aren’t the way they used to be just five years ago; a laptop is a necessary piece of equipment for college students, and it’s becoming that way for those in junior high and high school as well. Whether your child needs to type up their notes in class or research their history paper while on the go, you can rest assured that purchasing a decent laptop will prove to be a sound investment in their education.
Let’s discuss what you should consider before purchasing your child a laptop. Then, we’ll get into the five best back-to-school laptops for 2009. Let’s get started.
Before you Shop
Chances are you don’t want to purchase a new laptop for your student every year or two, which means you have to be willing to initially purchase one that will hold up well over the course of their college career. According to Yancy Phillips, Indiana State University’s Director of IT User Services, parents shouldn’t expect a $500 laptop to last their children four years. “For a model that goes the distance, expect to spend around $1,000,” Phillips said. A thousand bucks may sound like a huge investment to make on top of tuition and books in these trying times, but purchasing smartly and taking advantage of mail-in rebates will make all the difference in the world.
Before venturing off to the nearest electronics store to peruse the aisles, do your homework and find out if your child’s school suggests a certain laptop or certain features. Many universities publish minimum hardware recommendations on their school websites. Some schools even go the extra mile and name specific models that work exceptionally well on the school’s network. These particular models also happen to be the types on-campus IT people are trained to support. Also, keep in mind that computing needs may differ according to your child’s major, so have your child check with their department.
It would also be wise to think beyond the freshman year. The specific configurations universities suggest are usually intended to see students through four years of school. This is why their recommendations usually include an Intel Core 2 Duo processor, 2 GB of RAM, and a 160 GB hard drive. Just remember: skimping now could cost you another laptop in the very near future. Do your best to avoid that scenario.
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