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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 May 14, 2019

            8 Replacements for Google Notebook

            8 Replacements for Google Notebook

            Exploring alternatives to Google Notebook? There are more than a few ‘notebooks’ available online these days, although choosing the right one will likely depend on just what you use Google Notebook for.

            1. Zoho Notebook
              If you want to stick with something as close to Google Notebook as possible, Zoho Notebook may just be your best bet. The user interface has some significant changes, but in general, Zoho Notebook has pretty similar features. There is even a Firefox plugin that allows you to highlight content and drop it into your Notebook. You can go a bit further, though, dropping in any spreadsheets or documents you have in Zoho, as well as some applications and all websites — to the point that you can control a desktop remotely if you pare it with something like Zoho Meeting.
            2. Evernote
              The features that Evernote brings to the table are pretty great. In addition to allowing you to capture parts of a website, Evernote has a desktop search tool mobil versions (iPhone and Windows Mobile). It even has an API, if you’ve got any features in mind not currently available. Evernote offers 40 MB for free accounts — if you’ll need more, the premium version is priced at $5 per month or $45 per year. Encryption, size and whether you’ll see ads seem to be the main differences between the free and premium versions.
            3. Net Notes
              If the major allure for Google Notebooks lays in the Firefox extension, Net Notes might be a good alternative. It’s a Firefox extension that allows you to save notes on websites in your bookmarks. You can toggle the Net Notes sidebar and access your notes as you browse. You can also tag websites. Net Notes works with Mozilla Weave if you need to access your notes from multiple computers.
            4. i-Lighter
              You can highlight and save information from any website while you’re browsing with i-Lighter. You can also add notes to your i-Lighted information, as well as email it or send the information to be posted to your blog or Twitter account. Your notes are saved in a notebook on your computer — but they’re also synchronized to the iLighter website. You can log in to the site from any computer.
            5. Clipmarks
              For those browsers interested in sharing what they find with others, Clipmarks provides a tool to select clips of text, images and video and share them with friends. You can easily syndicate your finds to a whole list of sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Digg. You can also easily review your past clips and use them as references through Clipmarks’ website.
            6. UberNote
              If you can think of a way to send notes to UberNote, it can handle it. You can clip material while browsing, email, IM, text message or even visit the UberNote sites to add notes to the information you have saved. You can organize your notes, tag them and even add checkboxes if you want to turn a note into some sort of task list. You can drag and drop information between notes in order to manage them.
            7. iLeonardo
              iLeonardo treats research as a social concern. You can create a notebook on iLeonardo on a particular topic, collecting information online. You can also access other people’s notebooks. It may not necessarily take the place of Google Notebook — I’m pretty sure my notes on some subjects are cryptic — but it’s a pretty cool tool. You can keep notebooks private if you like the interface but don’t want to share a particular project. iLeonardo does allow you to follow fellow notetakers and receive the information they find on a particular topic.
            8. Zotero
              Another Firefox extension, Zotero started life as a citation management tool targeted towards academic researchers. However, it offers notetaking tools, as well as a way to save files to your notebook. If you do a lot of writing in Microsoft Word or Open Office, Zotero might be the tool for you — it’s integrated with both word processing software to allow you to easily move your notes over, as well as several blogging options. Zotero’s interface is also available in more than 30 languages.

            I’ve been relying on Google Notebook as a catch-all for blog post ideas — being able to just highlight information and save it is a great tool for a blogger.

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            In replacing it, though, I’m starting to lean towards Evernote. I’ve found it handles pretty much everything I want, especially with the voice recording feature. I’m planning to keep trying things out for a while yet — I’m sticking with Google Notebook until the Firefox extension quits working — and if you have any recommendations that I missed when I put together this list, I’d love to hear them — just leave a comment!

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