Today’s education is a little beyond all those years ago, where you may have had to write that essay with pen and paper. Generally today, you will write up your essay or report using a computer and word processing or spreadsheet software.
In some cases, you may even need to create a presentation to give to your lecturer or class – scary thoughts sometimes. So, a computer is a very important part of your education. You, for the most part, could use a desktop computer, but they are heavy and cumbersome – not really easy to pick up and take down the student lounge or coffee shop to continue working.
So, a laptop, something portable is the right choice. The great news is, the list of portable options has become large, while the cost has come down.
To sum a Chromebook up quickly, its a new kind of computer, a new breed so to speak. Unlike the more traditional computer, they make extensive use of the Cloud. They use a Chrome OS (Operating System) which boots extremely quick (most manufacturers report that you simply open the laptop and they are booted).
Other benefits beyond the quick boot time is that they generally have long battery lives, they are generally thin and portable, have virus protection built into the OS, they update themselves to the latest version, there is no setup – just log in with your Google account, plus much more – check out the Chromebook About Page.
There are two great things, that, as a student a Chromebook offers. The first, and maybe most important, is the price. Although you can get an expensive Chromebook (such as the Google Chromebook Pixel), many Chromebooks are very reasonable in price, potentially starting much cheaper than a regular laptop.
The second great thing is that, with a Chromebook, you don’t use a natively installed Wordprocessor.
Hold on you say, how is that a good thing?
Well, it’s quite simple. With a Chromebook you use Google Docs. This allows you to edit and collaborate your documents online. Simply put, you can write your document in Google docs and store it in the cloud. Then go to a different computer (friends or schools), log in with your account and then continue editing – or share the document. The other great thing is that you don’t need to go and install the latest Wordprocessor software on each of these computers – Google docs is cloud-based. It makes it much easier to just create the documents, not worrying about a different version of the software, will my document load and all those issues. Its all in the cloud.
An 11″ Chromebook can start from as little as around $160 for a used model or around $230 for a new computer. You can also go larger screen, with a 14″ coming in at a very reasonable price, not that much more than an 11″ model.
Of course, if you wanted to grab Chromebook that has a little more memory and storage, there are options about and again, not too much more expensive than the lower memory options.
Windows Laptops and MacBook Pro
If you want a more traditional type of laptop then you have two OS options. You can buy either a laptop running Microsoft Windows (there are numerous options) or you can buy a Macbook Pro.
A more traditional laptop offers native applications, this means you can run the software without the need of the computer being connected to the Internet.
This also means that there is an extra cost for the software, having to have a storage device like a USB stick to transfer your files and then the possibility of any other computer you take your files to having an older version of the software used to create your essay.
The great thing about Microsoft Windows is that it’s not a single computer specific. There are many options and prices available to you when it comes to a laptop that runs Windows.
They start from very reasonable prices of around $200 (or just over), for a lower powered computer.
If you’re looking for something at the other end of the scale. Something that will not only allow you to do your work but will easily allow you to play games, render videos, then you can pay up and over $2000. For this, the laptop will be quick enough to do all your computing needs for a number of years.
There are many options available in between these two extremes, many of which will provide you with a great computer for everyday student work as well as options to play some games, listen to some music and video, and generally be that entertainment package for the evenings.
The other options you can go for is the Apple MacBook Pro. Unlike Windows based laptops, MacBook Pro’s are only produced by Apple. The benefit from this is that the Mac OS is very much tailored to the hardware they use (unlike Windows which has to cover many different hardware configurations).
This means that you can get a more refined feel to the hardware integrations. MacBook Pro’s are more expensive than your average Windows Laptop – but, in my opinion, they have a great quality feel. Your buying for the name and reputation of it being made by Apple.
While on the subject of Apple computers, there is one other portable computer they produce, the MacBook Air. These are a lesser powered and much thinner and portable computer than the MacBook Pro. They still run the same Mac OS, still have very similar hardware and are certainly powerful and portable enough for any student to use.
With both a Windows based laptop and MacBook Pro, a separate Word Processing software package would need to be bought. The most common used package is Microsoft Office.
This can be purchased for both operating systems. There is one other options for the MacBook which can be purchased through the App Store, though you need to purchase each product separate unlike the Office package which includes the office software products you may require.
Hybrid and Tablets
There is one other computer to take into consideration, that of the Microsoft Windows Hybrid Laptops and Tablets.
These are tablets that run the Microsoft Windows OS and have the option to attach a keyboard. A good example of one of these is the Microsoft Surface.
This gives you the option of a portable computer which can also be used as a tablet. The best of both worlds.
More options are out there
These options are just an example of many out there. There are many other models of laptop out there, just ensure that the one you buy has a good processor, at least 4GB or more and a great battery life.