It’s about that time of the year again when students are getting new laptop systems for one reason or the other.
For some, the year is ending and the laptop they have at hand is due for an upgrade. For others, they will be running some new pieces of software in the next part and their current system just won’t handle it.
That, and we are not leaving out the new students who will be coming into the tertiary system – and will want to take advantage of what a laptop computer has to offer too.
No matter which category you fall into, this guide has been developed to help get you the best computer system for your needs; irrespective of what they are.
Forget what anyone tells you: size does matter!
Get your mind out of the gutter too ‘cause we’re talking about laptops here, and nothing more.
When it comes to size, it helps to determine what you would be mostly doing on the laptop, and how much you have to be on-the-go with that unit.
People working on graphics, playing a lot of games and watching a ton of videos will need a bigger laptop screen size. If you would just be taking notes, though, you should go for something in the 13 to 14-inch range.
Likewise, the latter option will be highly portable, fitting better into your bags and not constituting a weight problem.
2. Brand Recognition
There are a lot of new laptops springing up with new brand names these days.
They offer great specs and value for the money, but do they have a track record that you can trust?
That is the reason why we will always recommend going for the laptops from OEMs who have been in the market for a long time.
Of these, we have the likes of Lenovo, HP, Acer, Apple, and Samsung, to mention but a few.
Besides the fact that you get to buy trust from these OEMs too, you are also assured of getting replacement parts and service faster than if you were using an unknown model.
3. Disk Option
When buying phones, one of the things we tend to look at is the storage option that comes with the phone.
Taking such an approach into laptop purchase could haunt you down the line.
There are two major disk types to consider these days: Solid State Drive (SSD) and Hard Disk Drive (HDD).
Almost everyone knows what HDD is since it came first and it’s the cheaper option. HDD is probably what you are running if you have between 500GB to 1TB of space on your laptop right now. SSD tends to be more expensive, thus coming in lower sizes (like 128GB, 256GB, and 512GB).
While SSD is smaller, though, it makes your laptop way faster. If you would be running heavy graphics packages (such as AutoCAD, HYSYS, etc.), you will be better off with SSD disks.
For more storage space getting an external hard drive will do the magic for you.
Now that you have chosen the disk type, RAM is yet another important consideration.
For us, anything lesser than 4GB is a no-no. At this time and age when even smartphones are carrying 12GB RAM on them, it is almost an insult to use a laptop with less than 4GB.
Note that this is the baseline for a worst-case scenario. Ideally, you should future-proof your laptop by choosing units with 8GB RAM – or simply upgrading your 4GB model to an 8GB capacity for the time being.
Those who would be running graphics-intensive apps (core gamers, can I get a hello?), ensure the laptop has a dedicated video RAM (up to 2GB is ideal for tasking packages).
This might not sound like much now, but you are going to be grateful to yourself later on if you have a laptop with a great keyboard.
No matter what you use your laptop for, the time will come when you need to write on it.
Whether you are taking some notes, tackling exam questions (accounting systems use their laptops in exam halls) or writing your assignment/ project, every student has to type on their laptop at one point or the other.
The best keyboards are not those with a full array of all the number keys with the alphabetic characters.
They are those with non-sticky keys, great key travel, and streamlined cuts so that they are easy on the hands.
And oh, don’t forget to see out the keyboards with illumination to enable you to work well in low light conditions.
What is a great laptop if it has a poor battery?
Even though OAU – and most other federal schools in the country – are now famed for their steady power supplies, you always have to be prepared for the worst.
You might have to use your laptop in multiple classes in one day without an electrical outlet in sight. At the same time, you have to be able to rely on your laptop not letting you down when there is a power outage and you have to, say, prepare for a test/ exam.
Thus, never settle for a laptop that offers less than 5/ 6 hours of battery life.
With some units offering up to 22 hours of battery life, that is the lower benchmark to start from.
This is something we don’t mention enough, but it has to be addressed right from your unit.
You might not have heard it, but Huawei is in hot soup with the US government because their hardware might be used by the Chinese government to spy.
This the you that your unit could be used against you, and who knows what information or data will be stolen from you in a breach?
This is one more reason why you should get a laptop from a trusted brand. It is also more reason to ensure the laptop comes with the basics – speaking of antivirus software, safe version of the Windows OS and more. OEMs like HP have even started bundling VPNs on their laptops – and that is needed in an area like OAU where public Wi-Fi abounds.
What makes a good laptop for you?
Besides what we have on this list, what else would you consider before buying a laptop?
We seriously hope you won’t mention the color. Nah, just kidding!
We’d love to hear your opinions in the comments section too.
About the Author
O. Christopher is a tech writer with works across numerous technology based blogs from far and wide. When he’s not busy sleeping, he’s almost always writing. You can reach out to him via mail at [email protected]