Laptop/Ultrabook suggestions for college student?

Discussion in 'Community Board' started by LisaR, Jan 6, 2013.

  1. LisaR

    LisaR <img src=http://www.wdwinfo.com/images/silver.jpg>

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2000
    Messages:
    8,958
    DD won't be heading off to college until August, but her laptop is starting to have some issues. While we don't have to run out and buy one today, she will definitely need one before she leaves. She won't be majoring in anything that requires a computer. She may or may not take it to class for note taking purposes. She will definitely use it for writing papers, searching the internet, and probably watching Netflix. She doesn't game.

    Her only requirement is that it is lightweight. Her current laptop is 17" and heavy. She said she can see herself sitting outside doing homework or taking her computer to the library so she wants it portable.

    We looked at some Ultrabooks today. They are certainly lightweight. Are they any good? Some of the reviews suggest that they aren't the best.

    No Mac recommendations. We had a bad Apple (pun intended) and won't go that route again, and I really don't see the need for one with what she will be using it for.

    I never really know what processor to get, or how much memory and hard drive. I am computer challenged. Any suggestions on specs or specific computers would be greatly appreciated.
     
  2. Avatar

    Google AdSense Guest Advertisement


    to hide this advert.
  3. Christine

    Christine Would love to be able to sit on

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 1999
    Messages:
    24,325
    Well, you said no Macs and that is what I would recommend. We are not an Apple family (I have a Toshiba laptop and an HP laptop), but my DD got a Macbook before going off to college in 2009 and that thing has been a workhorse. Also, she herself is not good at keeping up with virus software and with the Mac you have no worries. She hasn't had ONE problem with it. I can't say the same for my other laptops. Not that they've been a problem but I do have to periodically work on them, clean them up, keep the virus software updated, etc.

    Anyway, if you are going to go with a non-Mac laptop, get the fastest processor you can get when you purchase it. Get an Intel processer. The highest right now is i7. I have an i5 and and i3 and there is a noticeable speed difference betwen the two. If you want a laptop to last awhile get the best you can buy. Not saying to go full out for a gaming computer or anything--not necessary--but get the best processor.

    My DD never thought she would want to use her laptop in class and she didn't for the first year but ever since, she uses it all the time in class. Says it's great for notes. She'd love an iPad for this purpose but I"m not buying one. The only downside is hauling it around. She has a basic Jansport backpack and she said her laptop doesn't fit well with her books and the straps dig into her. She said that lots of kids on campus have the North Face backpacks that have a laptop slot (other brands have this also). North Face makes one for women (straps closer together) and they are padded. She said that has been a great thing (it was only about $60 too).
     
  4. Albort

    Albort ODV Crew

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2006
    Messages:
    7,488
    well, lets start out with how much hard drive space does she have in her 17" Laptop. How much does she use?

    SSD drives and the thin ness of the laptop are what makes ultrabooks good. SSD drives are more expensive than standard drives($.70-$1 per GB) so make sure she has enough space to run. If its like over 120GB, you may want to consider an external to just file with everything... Great for a backup. You should shop online, there many great deals out there... i think i saw an i7 ultrabook for $700, 13.3"
     
  5. LisaR

    LisaR <img src=http://www.wdwinfo.com/images/silver.jpg>

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2000
    Messages:
    8,958
    Thanks for the info! I'm sure she will use it all the time. I put the no Mac caveat in there because I know there are a lot of Mac fans. For us, it just wasn't worth the extra expense and ours really was one of those problem Macs that most people insist don't exist. Ours was a nightmare. Worse than any PC we have ever owned, unfortunately.


    She currently has a 500 gb HD of which 315 is being used. So based on that, 500gb should be more than enough, no?
     
  6. Bluestars

    Bluestars Smile and let the world wonder

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2007
    Messages:
    3,438
    I bought my son a Toshiba ultrabook with Intel inside. We also bought an external disk drive in case he needs it, but he hasn't needed it yet. We downloaded the printer software from the website so it's set up to work with our wireless printer.

    He really likes it. It's lightweight and perfect for taking to school.
     
  7. zurgswife

    zurgswife WDW is my Shangrala...and I'm going...life is bett

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2000
    Messages:
    13,688
    She will probably find that she will use the computer in her classes. We are an apple and PC family..... My son a sophomore in college and our computer geek...recently purchased a new laptop to replace his very heavy work horse laptop...

    Samsung - Intel I3, 4 G ram and 1/2 terabit 500g hard drive. It was about $600 and he says it's perfect for school.
     
  8. Buckalew11

    Buckalew11 2013 1/2 Marathon Finisher!!! Woohoo!!

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2004
    Messages:
    15,718
    I'd say a Mac too. DD's on her second one and DH has her first one--it is 5 years old and still going strong! DNi just got one before going off to college and my nephew who has NEVER been a MAC person (computer whiz!) has given in also.
     
  9. MEK

    MEK DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    May 8, 2005
    Messages:
    19,836
    lol! I love my mac, but they are SO expensive and if she doesn't need one, forget about it. They do have a college student discount, but its only a couple hundred dollars off.

    I got my eldest son a Dell from costco. It was very reasonable and no issues so far. My younger son will be going to college in August, but we are waiting to see where he ends up going before we purchase a new computer. For example, Virginia tech actually requires a mac.

    The other thing you could consider, if budget is an issue, is looking for a refurbed computer. I know that sounds terrible, but we have a friend who reburbs computers that are either repos or sold from a company when they upgrade. We have had awesome success with these computers and we have free service for ever. There are reputable dealers for reburbs and it can save some dough plus they may be willing to transfer from your old hard drive.

    Your daughter's college will have an IT department and if you know where she is going you can check their web page and see what specs they recommend. You may also be able to get microsoft office at a discount. Usually in the accepted student days and new student orientation they go over computer requirements.

    Good luck to your daughter!
     
  10. MEK

    MEK DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    May 8, 2005
    Messages:
    19,836
    I'm on my second, too! I bought my first one as a repo. I am hooked. But I do recommend getting apple care which covers all repairs for the first three years. Macs are great for people who love photography, making videos , and recording music. But I am sure they are also good for science geeks.
     
  11. tvguy

    tvguy Question anything the facts don't support.

    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2003
    Messages:
    19,598
    I would start with the college your daughter is going to. Most colleges list what computers work best with their networks. A lot recommend a desk top, not a lap top believe it or not.

    My daughter has a Mac, and it is the only computer we have had a hardware failure on. And there are things she can't do with it for school, so she still needs access to a PC. Having said that she loves it, and it is always the fault of the website or software developer that a site or program isn't Mac compatible. ;) I can't talk, my employer runs 200 websites, and none are Mac compatible.
     
  12. Albort

    Albort ODV Crew

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2006
    Messages:
    7,488
    yeah, but a 500GB SSD drive would cost close to $400+everything else. Is she planning to bring her big laptop with her? Maybe you can consider a netbook, they are 10" laptops, small, slow, cheap but portable and light... then use the 17" as the powerhouse for everything else.
     
  13. tcufrog

    tcufrog DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2012
    Messages:
    575
    I would also check with the college since a lot of them have preferred computers.
     
  14. LisaR

    LisaR <img src=http://www.wdwinfo.com/images/silver.jpg>

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2000
    Messages:
    8,958
    Definitely not taking the 17" with her. This new one would be her one and only computer.

    I had to look up what an SSD was. Unfortunately, after reading about it, I still don't know what the heck it is. :lmao: Sorry, I told you I was lacking in the technical department.

    DD has narrowed her choices down to three schools with heavy emphasis on one in particular. All three just have a very basic statement saying a computer is recommended but not required. There aren't any specs or mentions of which one works best with their network. They do say to contact the department directly if you are going into certain computer or animation majors, but even if DD changed her major ten different times, she wouldn't go into those fields so I think any computer will work.
     
  15. Albort

    Albort ODV Crew

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2006
    Messages:
    7,488
    SSD drive is basically a regular hard drive on steroids... it loads things a lot faster... for example, if it takes like 1 min to load windows for you, with an SSD drive, it will load in 15 sec MAX.

    yeah, Ultrabook would be perfect for her! :]
     
  16. ksjayhawks

    ksjayhawks DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2004
    Messages:
    3,338
    My son has an HP. He went online to the hp website and "built" it to his specifications.
     
  17. sam_gordon

    sam_gordon DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2010
    Messages:
    10,926
    I recently got a Lenovo laptop for work (T430 I think). BLAZING fast, standard hard drive, great battery life. VERY happy with it.
     
  18. LisaR

    LisaR <img src=http://www.wdwinfo.com/images/silver.jpg>

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2000
    Messages:
    8,958
    Thanks for all your help!

    If my DD tried to build her own computer, she'd end up with the prettiest looking laptop in all the land, but would forget to add memory and a hard drive. :lmao:

    I forgot about Lenovo. I bought one for my son this past August. He is taking an online class that requires a very specific video card. He didn't have a laptop so this was the perfect birthday present. The price of the Lenovo with the right specs couldn't be matched by anyone else price wise.

    We did have trouble with it out of the box. Tech support thought they fixed it but it acted up a week later. The new tech guy was the worst person I think I have ever spoken to in my lifetime. I was prepared to return the computer because he was such a jerk. It wasn't a good moment for me since I was actually swearing and yelling at him by the end. This guy really got to me. My fault on that one. I got a supervisor who talked me down, fixed the computer the right way, and DS has never had a problem since.
     

Share This Page