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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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            Last Updated on February 15, 2019

            7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively

            7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively

            Now that 2011 is well underway and most people have fallen off the bandwagon when it comes to their New Year’s resolutions (myself included), it’s a good time to step back and take an honest look at our habits and the goals that we want to achieve.

            Something that I have learned over the past few years is that if you track something, be it your eating habits, exercise, writing time, work time, etc. you become aware of the reality of the situation. This is why most diet gurus tell you to track what you eat for a week so you have an awareness of the of how you really eat before you start your diet and exercise regimen.

            Tracking daily habits and progress towards goals is another way to see reality and create a way for you clearly review what you have accomplished over a set period of time. Tracking helps motivate you too; if I can make a change in my life and do it once a day for a period of time it makes me more apt to keep doing it.

            So, if you have some goals and habits in mind that need tracked, all you need is a tracking tool. Today we’ll look at 7 different tools to help you keep track of your habits and goals.

            Joe’s Goals

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              Joe’s Goals is a web-based tool that allows users to track their habits and goals in an easy to use interface. Users can add as many goals/habits as they want and also check multiple times per day for those “extra productive days”. Something that is unique about Joe’s Goals is the way that you can keep track of negative habits such as eating out, smoking, etc. This can help you visualize the good things that you are doing as well as the negative things that you are doing in your life.

              Joe’s Goals is free with a subscription version giving you no ads and the “latest version” for $12 a year.

              Daytum

                Daytum

                is an in depth way of counting things that you do during the day and then presenting them to you in many different reports and groups. With Daytum you can add several different items to different custom categories such as work, school, home, etc. to keep track of your habits in each focus area of your life.

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                Daytum is extremely in depth and there are a ton of settings for users to tweak. There is a free version that is pretty standard, but if you want more features and unlimited items and categories you’ll need Daytum Plus which is $4 a month.

                Excel or Numbers

                  If you are the spreadsheet number cruncher type and the thought of using someone else’s idea of how you should track your habits turns you off, then creating your own Excel/Numbers/Google spreadsheet is the way to go. Not only do you have pretty much limitless ways to view, enter, and manipulate your goal and habit data, but you have complete control over your stuff and can make it private.

                  What’s nice about spreadsheets is you can create reports and can customize your views in any way you see fit. Also, by using Dropbox, you can keep your tracker sheets anywhere you have a connection.

                  Evernote

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                    I must admit, I am an Evernote junky, mostly because this tool is so ubiquitous. There are several ways you can implement habit/goal tracking with Evernote. You won’t be able to get nifty reports and graphs and such, but you will be able to access your goal tracking anywhere your are, be it iPhone, Android, Mac, PC, or web. With Evernote you pretty much have no excuse for not entering your daily habit and goal information as it is available anywhere.

                    Evernote is free with a premium version available.

                    Access or Bento

                      If you like the idea of creating your own tracker via Excel or Numbers, you may be compelled to get even more creative with database tools like Access for Windows or Bento for Mac. These tools allow you to set up relational databases and even give you the option of setting up custom interfaces to interact with your data. Access is pretty powerful for personal database applications, and using it with other MS products, you can come up with some pretty awesome, in depth analysis and tracking of your habits and goals.

                      Bento is extremely powerful and user friendly. Also with Bento you can get the iPhone and iPad app to keep your data anywhere you go.

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                      You can check out Access and the Office Suite here and Bento here.

                      Analog Bonus: Pen and Paper

                      All these digital tools are pretty nifty and have all sorts of bells and whistles, but there are some people out there that still swear by a notebook and pen. Just like using spreadsheets or personal databases, pen and paper gives you ultimate freedom and control when it comes to your set up. It also doesn’t lock you into anyone else’s idea of just how you should track your habits.

                      Conclusion

                      I can’t necessarily recommend which tool is the best for tracking your personal habits and goals, as all of them have their quirks. What I can do however (yes, it’s a bit of a cop-out) is tell you that the tool to use is whatever works best for you. I personally keep track of my daily habits and personal goals with a combo Evernote for input and then a Google spreadsheet for long-term tracking.

                      What this all comes down to is not how or what tool you use, but finding what you are comfortable with and then getting busy with creating lasting habits and accomplishing short- and long-term goals.

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