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5 Laptops That Are Perfect For College Students

5 Laptops That Are Perfect For College Students

I’ve been known to spend hours or even days before deciding whether or not to purchase one electronic product over another. Indeed, last summer, I probably spent more time reading reviews about laptops than using the one I eventually bought! While this type of behavior is probably perplexing to most people, it prepares me for writing an article like this one, since I’ve pretty much looked at every laptop in existence at one point or another. Below, you’ll find a list of laptops perfect for people going back to college. I’ve put together an assortment of options that should please the minimalists, average users, gamers, and Apple lovers. The following laptops aren’t arbitrarily ranked from best to worst (or vice versa); each serves a different need. Enjoy!

1. The Acer C720 Chromebook

    Chromebooks are fascinating little devices. You won’t be able to use any programs like Microsoft Word or Photoshop on them, but you will be able to use the Google apps that correspond to those, like Google Docs. If you aren’t a heavy gamer and aren’t married to Microsoft Word, these are a viable option for you. The C720 is extremely lightweight, which means it’ll be a breeze to carry to classes. Additionally, because it’s such a minimalist device, the processor barely consumes any power. This means that it can stay on without being charged for nearly 9 hours – a huge benefit if you’re stuck in the library without your adapter (which happens a lot, trust me).

    If you just want something that’ll get the essentials done, this is the device for you.

    Basic Details:

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    • Built-in dual band Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n
    • Intel Celeron 2955U 1.4 GHz (Haswell micro-architecture)
    • 16 GB Solid-State Drive
    • 11.6-Inch Anti-Glare Screen, Intel HD Graphics
    • HDMI port, 8.5-hour battery life

    2. ASUS Chromebook C300MA-DB01

      This is another highly rated Chromebook. What separates it from the Acer C720 is the fact that it has a slightly larger screen at 13.3”. Additionally, it has better battery life at 10 hours and more of a substantial built quality. The flip side of course is that it costs about fifty dollars more.

      Additionally, its processor is a bit slower than the C720’s, though you shouldn’t run into too many issues if all you do is browse the web (just don’t open too many tabs). The ASUS’ keyboard is roomy and perfect for any humanities majors who need to crank out essays every other week.

      Basic Details:

      • 10-Hours battery life
      • 802.11ac wireless
      • Intel BayTrail-M N2830 Dual Core 2.16 GHz processor (turbo up to 2.41 GHz)
      • 16 GB solid state storage. 13.3″ HD LED display
      • 1.2MP camera. 1x USB 3.0, 1x USB 2.0, HDMI, SD card slot (SDXC), Bluetooth 4.0

      3. HP ProBook 450 G1

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        We’ve moved beyond the Chromebooks now and entered the world of Windows powered devices. The ProBook is a minimalist laptop that runs Windows 7 (which is a plus in my book since Windows 8’s “upgrades” are negligible at best and annoying at worst). If you didn’t like the idea of having to do all of your work through the Internet via Google Chrome, this is a good jack-of-all-trades laptop that will run Microsoft Word and do pretty much everything you need to do without breaking the bank.

        On the other hand, it won’t run any newer games well (due to its integrated Intel graphics chip). If you aren’t a gamer or power-user though, this device should have plenty of juice for you. Its processor is a Core i3, which I’m quite familiar with. You shouldn’t run into any issues browsing the web, watching videos, writing papers, etc.

        Basic Details:

        • Intel Core i3 4000M (2.4GHz)
        • 4GB Memory 500GB HDD
        • Intel HD Graphics 4600
        • 1366 x 768
        • Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
        • DVD+/-RW

        4. ASUS ROG G56JK-EB72

         

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          The laptop I bought last summer for college was an ASUS gaming laptop, sort of like this one. The only difference is that mine isn’t an “ultrabook” whereas this baby is. For about the same price as I paid for my laptop, you get nearly as much power in a slim, lightweight package. This is the machine you’ll need if you’re a serious gamer (and don’t want to lug your desktop to your dorm/apartment), or need the power for your major (engineering for example).

          Despite how expensive this laptop is, it’s still a thousand dollars less than my next suggestion.

          Basic Details:

          • Intel Core i7 4710HQ (2.50GHz)
          • 12GB Memory 1TB HDD
          • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 850M 2GB GDDR3
          • 1920 x 1080
          • Windows 8.1 64-Bit
          • DL DVD+-RW/CD-RW

          5. Apple MacBook Pro with Retina Display

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            If you’re a Mac person through and through, then this is the product for you. Sure, it’s expensive, but even I have to admit that its build quality is pretty off the charts. Not only do you get a classy looking device, but you’ll also be getting top-of-the-line hardware and software. While you could get the former in a PC for much less (see #4), the latter is what colors the decision making process of most Mac users, and I can’t really judge you since I use an iPhone.

            MacBooks are extremely lightweight and they’ll last you for years if you take proper care of them. My old roommate’s lasted him all of college, and my other roommate’s lasted him through high school and college.

            Basic Details:

            • Intel Core i5 2.60GHz (4th Gen Haswell)
            • 8GB Memory 512GB PCIe-Based Flash Storage SSD
            • Integrated Intel Iris Graphics
            • 2560 x 1600
            • Mac OS X v10.9 Mavericks

            To close, I’ll go over some of the common themes tying all five of these laptops together. First off, they’re all pretty lightweight. Unless you’re crazy like me and purposefully went for the 17.3” behemoth of a laptop based solely on the power of its graphics chip, you’ll value portability over all else when choosing your college computer. You never know when a lecture or study group will call for you to have your laptop with you, and when they do, you’ll want something light and easy to carry. Second, all of these devices have processors more than capable of doing your basic college work (like writing essays, doing research, and procrastinating), though you may need something more powerful than the first three options if you’re a gamer or have a major that demands the extra juice.

            Happy laptop hunting, and have a great year of college!

            Featured photo credit: laptop.jpg/ MorgueFile via mrg.bz

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            Published on September 20, 2018

            11 Google Chrome Apps and Features to Help You Get More Done with Less Effort

            11 Google Chrome Apps and Features to Help You Get More Done with Less Effort

            In today’s fast-paced and never-ending busy world, we are overwhelmed by tasks that need to be completed by tight deadlines. With so much technology it is difficult to find the right tools to help boost our efficiency. And, many tools get obsolete so its essential to stay up-to-date to know when you will have to make adjustments to these tools. Independently of where you work, there’s a good chance that you have to be working on a PC or a laptop.

            Do you are feel like you do not have enough time, or cannot accomplish much as of late? It is recommended to take a step back and look at the big picture. Also, you want to explore new and innovative ways to improve productivity.

            In this article, I outline 11 features and apps within the Chrome browser that can help you do just that.

            Minimizing Tabs

            Let’s face it we all have more than a dozen tabs opened on our computers. One neat trick to still keep most of them open is to turn them into pinned tabs. On Google Chrome you can right-click the tab and select “Pin Tab” option. This turns the tab into an icon enabling you to continue multitasking.

            Pinning a tab anchors the tabs on the left of your toolbar; a great benefit of the “Pin Tab” feature is that you can’t close these tabs accidentally since the “X” disappears after pinning them.

            Incognito Mode

            Google Chrome is a very easy-to-use and intuitive. But, Google does collect our browsing data; so to remedy this, you can use Incognito Mode. This feature does not keep your browsing or download history. You can enable or access it in three different ways:

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            1. Press Ctrl/Command+shift+N
            2. Select File Menu and choose New Incognito Window
            3. Download extension New Incognito Window

            This feature is very handy if you’d rather not have your browsing history stored and utilized for future advertisement or suggested pages.

            Save Webpages as PDF Files

            Have you ever browsed interesting or important information and then forgot to bookmark or save it in “favorites”, making it impossible to find again? Chances are you have done this on a number of occasions.

            Thankfully, there is an easy solution. You can save webpages as PDF files. On your keyboard, press control/command+p and you will be able to save webpages as PDFs.

            Open Recently-closed Tabs

            Ever had dozens of tabs opened and all of a sudden your browser shuts down? It has probably happened to all of us. You can easily recover all of your tabs using two approaches. Don’t panic if this happens because there is a workaround and solution for it.

            One is by pressing Ctrl/CMD+Shift+T.

            The other approach is to click on the three vertical dots on your browser and hover over “History”.

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            Solve Mathematical Problems

            Google’s Chrome browser doesn’t just search for relevant and updated information. It is also capable of performing some mathematical problems. Within the omnibox (Chrome’s address or URL bar), you can perform mathematical exercises.

            For example, if you are struggling with percentages you can search 20 percent of x amount and it will instantly provide a result. Pretty handy, right?!

            Play Media Files

            Are you frequently met with difficulties when playing or watch a video files? Well, once again Chrome comes to the rescue. You can can listen or play videos from all sorts of movie or music files (mp3, mp4, .mov, .mkv, .ogv, .webm, .wav, etc.) by simply dragging the file into the search bar.

            In addition, you can view images, PDF files and Microsoft Office files, too.

            Navigate Swiftly Between Tabs

            With all of those tabs opened comes great navigation responsibilities. Rather than clicking through every tab, you can use shortcut keys like Ctrl+Tab to navigate all of the different tabs. Also, you are able to navigate to the first tab by pressing Ctrl-1, Ctrl-2, and so on. If you want to switch to the very last tab, press Ctrl-9.

            Stay Focus(e)d

            Computers nowadays have awesome capabilities.

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            Sometimes we like to get work done, but let’s face it, we’re all human. We sometimes procrastinate by visiting a website we really like, or maybe take a break with watching a flick on Netflix, a video on YouTube or browsing Facebook.

            With Chrome’s StayFocusd extension, you can truly stay focused and get more done in less time.

            This extension naturally helps you stay more productive by limiting the amount of time you spend on websites. You can set the time and it will automatically block those sites after a certain period.

            Grammarly for Editing

            Grammarly is a must have, and it’s really a complete powerhouse. Grammarly helps you check your grammar and spelling for everything you write online.

            You can use it professionally or as a student, which will make the editing process much easier and more efficient. Furthermore, it can automatically check for typos when you send an email, type a Tweet, or post a Facebook comment. It’s like having your own personal copyeditor!

            Loom

            There are times that words in an email or written text in a chat app will just not convey the right meaning.

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            There is a saying that a picture is worth a thousand words. Well, the same is true of videos.

            With Loom, you can capture, narrate and immediately share video recordings of your screen, which will help coworkers understand issues you are facing, or to easily convey an explanation on screen. Plus, with video you will be able to easily walk people through a process, and you can use it to create simple how-to videos.

            Chrome Calendar Extension

            No matter what your level of responsibility is at your job, Google Calendar is another essential resource to have at your fingertips.

            Specifically, you can have this extension added as an icon in the toolbar of your browser, which I highly recommend. Once you add the extension to your browser, you can check for upcoming events with a single click without leaving your current page.

            Final Thoughts

            Google Chrome has definitely evolved from its inception. As you can see you have a very powerful tool that comes as a free installation and is loaded with dozens of capabilities. The above listed Chrome apps can resolve some of the most common obstacles to your time management and productivity.

            Featured photo credit: Andrew Neel via unsplash.com

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