Choosing a new laptop for your College Student (or yourself)
First I want to Thank Margaret Woda for this blog idea, I was talking with her a few days ago, about a few of her computer issues, and told her how I've been dry with blog idea's. She came up with a few ideas for me, this being one of them... I don't know why I didn't think of this one myself, since I've spent a few days with my younger brother who starts college next week, searching a new laptop for him!
This might be coming late to some people, whom already sent off the students to college with a new computer, but to those who have not, or for those agents who are looking for a new laptop for themselves, this post will have a lot of information for you!
Laptop's have really come down in price since you probably have last looked. Just take a look at Best Buy's, Staples, Lenovo's, or Dell's selections. Laptops starting at $300-400. There are several items you REALLY need to look at before making your purchase for your student... Those are all outlined below. Remember, if you have any questions, please feel free to contact us at "The Real Estate Tech Desk".
• Brand: Tend to stay with a trusted brand such as: HP/Compaq, Dell, Toshiba, and Sony.
• Processor Type: I ran into this issue the other day with a client, who bought a new laptop, it had a 64 BIT processor. UNLESS you or your student HAS A NEED for a PC with a 64 BIT processor, stick with a 32 BIT processor.... Applications and Devices such as printers, scanners and phones that work with 64 BIT PC's are VERY limited. My client cannot print to ANY machine in his office because none of the printers (10 different printers) support 64 BIT.
• Memory: Since almost EVERY computer now comes with Windows VISTA you NEED a MINIMUM of 2 Gigabytes of memory. I would recommend 3 Gig's, since your student will more than likely be running music or video programs, while running interactive internet programs, games, and of course doing studies ---usually multitasking the entire time. This also applies to you agents out there looking for a new laptop.
• Hard Drive: Minimum of 120 Gigabytes of storage is needed, again for all of the music files, videos, applications, and documents. Laptop hard drives come in sizes from about 120 Gigs to about 450 Gigs.
• Video Card: If you student is a GAMER, I would choose something that does NOT have BUILT IN Graphics, I would choose something that has a NVIDIA or a INTEL graphics chip in it. This will give you optimum performance for games. If you student (or yourself) is not a gamer, I wouldn't really worry about this too much, as all laptops now come standard with a pretty hefty video processor, that can handle your needs, and intermediate gaming support.
• Built In Web Cam: If you want to keep in touch with your student (or with clients) This is a nice option that comes with a lot of different model laptops. Another option is to get a external web cam, but then that is something else your student (or yourself) that has to be lugged around.
• Bluetooth: Most every laptop has this feature, but make sure you get one that has it. This is for syncing phones/PDA's with phones, Wireless headphones, Wireless Mice (most people prefer to use a mouse instead of the touchpad, Bluetooth mice eliminate the need for a plug in device in your USB port.
• Wireless: You don't need to worry about this anymore, every new laptop has wireless built in.
• CD/DVD Burner: Your student (or yourself) with absolutely need this feature, for school reports (some schools allow students to email the reports, but there are times when making a CD is necessary. Most laptops come with CD Burners and or DVD burners. But you want to buy a laptop that has a CD & DVD burner built in.
• Screen Size: I would go with a 14.1 Standard or a 15.4" Widescreen laptop, you REALLY don't want a 17" Laptop screen...it is way too big to carry around (I call 17" laptops, desktop replacements) When you go to the store, you will see the size of the 15.4 is pretty reasonable.
• Weight: Obviously the lighter the better. You or your student will be doing a lot of walking and carrying. If you go to Best Buy, Staples, Fry's or a store of the similar type, ask an associate to unlock the laptop you are interested in so that you can pick it up and feel the size and weight.
• Windows Version: If you are buying for a student, I recommend Windows Vista Home Premium or Basic. If you are buying for you or your office, I recommend Windows Vista Business or Ultimate.
• Price/Budget: This is something you really have to set. BUT As I said before, laptop prices have dropped. Here is an example: Best Buy currently has a Compaq Presario Laptop, with 3 Gigs of Memory, CD/DVD Burner, AMD Dual Core Processor, 15.4" Widescreen, 5 in 1 Card Reader, 200 Gigs of Storage and Vista Home Premium. Now it doesn't have Blue Tooth, but that shows you what a deal you can get for $650.
I hope this helps you choose a laptop for your college student or for yourself. If you are looking for a new laptop for your business, please look at our Agent Resources page on our website for a list of must haves for agents.
Best of luck to you and your student!
David Fox, Owner
The Real Estate Tech Desk
A Division of DEF PC Services