Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Back to School Laptop Shopping at UT Tyler

It now seems that technology rules everything that we do.  From communicating with friends to working on
documents for work and school, the use of a computer is now required for success.  Unfortunately, computers come in hundreds of brands, with thousands of potential differences in them, and sometimes you will not get what you pay for.  In fact, my 2 year old laptop recently shorted out on me and I was forced to purchase a new computer, as I have to have one for school and debate.  So, how do you know what to buy? Well, hopefully I can help make some suggestions!

Acer Chromebook c720

This was actually the laptop that I had to replace my former computer with.  It is an excellent machine. What really makes this machine work for me is its size and battery life.  It is small enough that I can take it anywhere, but not too small to hamper typing ability like many other small computers.  It also has an average battery life of 8.5 hours, which is more than double most of computers.While you will not be able to run Windows or Microsoft Office, using Google Drive is not a terrible substitute.  You can still email and print documents directly from Google Drive.  If Microsoft Word is a
must,then either consider another computer or download and pay for Microsoft Word Online, which is an option in the Google Store for the Chromebook.

ASUS Transformer Book T100TA

This particular computer is not so much a computer as it is a tablet with an attachable keyboard that makes it
look like a laptop.  With that said, it can fully run Windows 8 and the related programs.  It also has an average battery life of about 11 hours.  It is portable and can last multiple days on just the battery.  However, storage is an issue.  While you can get 1TB of free cloud storage, it is only good for one year, and there are only 31GB of storage on the tablet's Solid State Drive, so other options will have to be explored, like an external hard drive or a subscription for more cloud storage time.

Lenovo G580

This Lenovo computer has become a standard in budget laptops.  It has plenty of storage, will run any program, and has acceptable processing and video power.  The only possible negatives of this machine is its
battery life of 4 hours and the "easily smudged" chassi.  Also, if you are looking for a laptop that will fit into a backpack without adding much extra weight, this might not be the computer for you.  But if you are looking for a budget computer with reliable performance, this is your machine.

Apple MacBook Air 11-Inch

It seems that apple has become the standard for students, and for good reason.  The MacBook Air's tiny 13 inch model available.
size and 13 hour battery life make it ideal for the college student on the go.  It also has prety hefty hardware for such a little computer.  However, there are some caveats.  For one, there are very few external connections you can make with this computer.  For example, there is no HDMI port, Ethernet port, or SD slot, so you will not be able to do much outside of the computer.  Also, the size makes the keyboard a little questionable, as it can be hard to type papers that exceed 5 pages on.  Those issues aside, though, the MacBook Air will serve you well if you choose it.  MacBooks have an absurdly long lifetime and are extremely reliable until the day they do stop working.  Also, who could balk at a 13 hour battery life?  If 11 inches is too little for you, there is also a

Acer Aspire V7-482PG-6629

This is a really good laptop.  It has a 180p HD touch screen, excellent graphics potential, and performed
very well on multimedia and 3D benchmark results. It is an extremely good mid-tier laptop.  The only negative is that it only has 1 USB 3.0 port, but really, is that a big deal? The other problem is that it averages at around $900, so if you are trying to spend less than 300, then you might need to explore a different laptop. All in all, if you are willing to cough up the $899, then you will not regret your investment on this computer.

Hopefully these have been helpful in your decision on which laptop to purchase.  Any suggestions that I did not mention that you feel are noteworthy? Don't hesitate to let me know in the comments!


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