If there is one other electronic item, you need apart from your cell phone it’s a laptop. It’s a necessity! Owning one will make any student’s college journey way easier. A laptop is one of the best college accessories so ensure you invest in one that will last you a while – at least four years of college and an extra year for applying for these jobs after graduation.
Computer Labs On Campus
Some might argue about using computer labs on campus to save money. From experience, this is just a big inconvenience. I used computer labs for a week then quickly realized doing so constantly just wouldn’t work. After the week ended I purchased a laptop from Wal-Mart and never looked back – this was definitely one of the best decisions I made in college. Additionally, if you’re staying off campus owning a laptop will make life so much easier. You can complete assignments, take quizzes or exams in the convenience of your apartment without going on campus.
Purchasing A Laptop Before Textbooks
I can’t imagine how college life would be without my little Gateway laptop back at Grambling State University. In addition to helping me with daily school activities my laptop kept me connected with family and friends back home, so it served its purpose and then some. Call me crazy but I would recommend purchasing a laptop before textbooks. LOL! This is how important I think it is.
Purchasing Guide To The Best Laptop Deal
A decent laptop is not cheap so you want to get the most bang out of your buck. This list comprises of general information you should research before investing in a laptop especially if you’re a first-time buyer.
The Cost Of The Laptop
You want an affordable laptop. A laptop that will get the job done on a budget. Nothing too fancy, because usually the fancier it is the more money you will have to pay for it. Now is not the time to get fancy unless it doesn’t cost you extra. $400 – $600 can get you a decent laptop. Additionally, you want to take advantage of store coupons and other forms of discounts and cash back opportunities with Ebates. For example, 7% cash back on a $600 laptop is $42.00 so don’t forget to use Ebates especially when you’re purchasing expensive products like electronics, because it really adds up. If you don’t currently have an Ebates account don’t wait, sign up here and ensure you download the button for your browser and download the app on your phone.
You want a laptop that will last at least five years. Anything less than that is probably not worth your time. As a college student, every penny counts and replacing a laptop every two years just won’t cut it.
You will need a laptop with decent storage. Keep in mind a laptop with more storage capabilities will cost you a lot more. A cheaper alternative is to get an external hard-drive to store your music and your photos.
Decent speed is definitely required. You need a laptop that will allow you to open applications quickly and to multi-task without freezing or lagging. You don’t want your laptop to take 10 minutes to open a word document. In college, time is valuable real estate especially if you’re enrolled in classes that require more than normal participate to earn the grade. So, ensure your computer is at least Core i5 CPU, 8GB of RAM and 256GB SSD – this is extremely important.
If you are going to be traveling with your laptop often a lighter laptop will be better. However, lighter compact laptops are usually more expensive than the heavier ones. Also, they are more prone to damage. So if your laptop will be left in your dorm or apartment you might not want to make the weight a top priority.
Software On Laptop
Some laptops deals come with Microsoft Office suite program subscription and a trial period of anti-virus protection. These are the best deals! Purchasing Microsoft Office Suite dramatically adds to the cost of the laptop, so be on the lookout for these deals. Additionally, in regards to software, you don’t want a laptop with too many bloatware you will probably never use. So do your in-depth research before you make your purchase.
Laptop Battery Life
You need a computer that will last you at least a day of continuous use over WiFi before it needs to be recharged especially if you’re going to be on the move with the laptop.
Laptop Heat Generation
Try your utmost best to stay away from laptops that overheat. A laptop that overheats constantly is not going to last. Additionally, using it will be uncomfortable especially during summer.
Laptop Graphics and Display
For entertainment purposes, great graphics and display is definitely a bonus. However, I would not make it a priority if getting a laptop with the best graphics and display would add to the cost of the laptop. Now if you are a gamer that’s another story. You might want to completely ignore my reasoning and go for it.
You want a laptop with a standard one-year warranty just in case your laptop was a defective product. If your laptop goes bad within weeks of purchase and there’s no warranty you will be responsible for fixing the damage and in worst case scenario getting a new laptop. That’s one of the main reasons I don’t recommend laptop purchases from eBay. Unless the seller fully disclosures that the warranty is available I won’t even bother and even then I am still wary. So, by all means, purchase your laptop accessories on eBay – the deals on there are amazing but I wouldn’t recommend getting a laptop from eBay. So proceed with caution if you’re going the eBay route.
Important Extended Warranty
Extended warranty is a service contract. Please note that service contracts are not to be confused with the manufacturer’s warranty. Extended warranty goes beyond the manufacturer warranty coverage period and that’s great but it comes at an additional cost and you need to do your research before purchasing to avoid being scammed.
Is It Worth It Increasing Total Laptop Cost By Adding Extended Warranty
So is it worth it spending a little more for coverage and peace of mind? Well, it depends. If you don’t want to face unexpected costs of repairs or replacements within the initial two-year period after the manufacturer warranty expires, I say go for it. However, be aware that not all extended warranty services are the same. So ensure you research and ask questions about their terms and conditions before you make a decision. Additionally, the reputation of the company offering the service contract is very important. So before you even consider purchasing the service google the company see what Google reveals.
What You Should Know About Repair Cost
Some services might require you to pay for a percentage of the repair cost or will not cover repair cost for certain damages. So know what you paying for from the start – don’t be shock when they tell you they can’t replace the laptop you accidentally throw in the pool or you need to cover 40% of the repair for your cracked laptop screen.
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Great Customer Service Is Important During The Sale and After
Great customer service is important especially when things go bad. Imagine dealing with a blue or white screen and a clueless and rude customer agent at the same time. Trust and believe you don’t need this kind of problems in your life. In these of situations, you will definitely appreciate simple and straightforward directions on how your laptop will be repaired and what you need to do to get the progress started as quickly as possible. So research how the company treats their after sale customers before buying their laptop. Effective research can be done by reading both the good and bad reviews in the comments section of websites that sell the laptop, YouTube reviews, and blog posts.
Student Laptop Deals For College
Best Buy is one of the best places to search for deals. By signing up for student deals newsletter students can save up to $150 on laptops, so if you’re in the market for a new laptop definitely sign up for Best Buy student deals before making purchases elsewhere. Other places like Wal-Mart, Overstock, Newegg, Target, and Amazon are also great places to search for student laptop deals.
However, note these deals tend to be very seasonal example Back to School, Labor Day, Black Friday, Cyber Monday and so on. So if you need a laptop immediately, and you’re shopping for it outside these seasons chances are you will be paying a higher rate. I hope this guide helps you find the best laptop deal within your budget that meets or exceeds your requirements.
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