Laptops provide more convenience and give a personal touch to the whole computing experience. Also, significant progress in the information technology sector has helped increase usage and sales of laptop computers over the years. The high convenience a laptop provides is the main reason for people to choose one over the traditional desktop computer. Since buying a laptop involves a considerable investment, people are conscious as to what they buy, and often seek advice on which computer suits their work the best.
What to Look for in a Laptop for College
College studies are not the same anymore. The number of colleges which are successfully including information technology in their teaching methods is on the rise. Lots of colleges these days have professors asking students to type their assignments and certain institutes even offer online classes. Innovative methods adopted by college instructors in teaching students also involves using an electronic information processing system. All this has made it sort of mandatory for college students to look and purchase laptops, before going to college.

While picking a laptop for college, students should ideally start by defining its use. Mostly, college students require laptops for basic purposes, like reading notes, research, writing papers and a little bit of entertainment, unless they are studying a course which requires them to use certain specific software. Students tend to buy high-end expensive laptops (mostly to show-off) which they do not require, and is a wastage of money. Unless necessary for studies, buying an expensive laptop should be avoided, as it can easily be bought when need arises.
Hard Drive
hard disk
Storing music and movies is what takes up most of the space on a student's hard drive. But buying laptops with a higher hard disk capacity and thereby spending more money is useless, as a portable external hard drive is always a cheaper option. A 320GB hard drive is a good option, considering it has enough space for storing necessary data and is not very expensive too.
The laptop processor goes a long way in determining the speed of operations on it. It is better not to compromise on this aspect and go for the most trusted brand in the market. The basic processors are not highly expensive and should be chosen over more advanced and costly ones.
random access memory
Apart from the processor, the other crucial determinant of the operating speed on the laptop is the memory. A 2GB RAM (Random Access Memory) card is advisable against one's with more capacity, as this should be more than enough to perform all important tasks required by a college student quickly.
Choosing the right size can be a little tricky. This is because a college student would ideally prefer to have a lightweight and slim laptop for convenience in carrying it around in college. But these are precisely the ones, which are more expensive compared to the big ones. Screen size is another point of consideration, though a 14" or a 15" screen should be sufficient. Instead of spending more on buying a stylish looking laptop, get something which doesn't burn a huge hole in the pocket.
Operating System
Different laptops in the market come with different operating systems. The various choices available are- Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7, Linux, and Macintosh. Check for software compatibility and consult senior college students or the faculty on the operating system, which suits best to the course content.
Networking for Students
Internet is a great storehouse of information and can be used for research purpose. Laptops for college students need to be Internet compatible and well fortified with a reliable anti-virus software. Hardware enabling Wi-Fi connectivity is a must.
For a college student, this aspect holds most importance. A good laptop battery life is surely an asset, as it can be used for longer duration without charging. Students may not always be able to charge their laptops frequently and ones with longer-lasting batteries are therefore preferred.
Wait! Before you go hopping to the nearest dealer, Check out with your college authorities whether the college provides it to the students. These machines come preloaded with the software useful for students and most of the time, they are free of cost. After the student graduates, he doesn't have to give it back to the college, but rather, is allowed to keep it.
Gaming Laptops
Tremendous advancement in graphics used for rendering computer games along with networking innovations which allow multi-player games, has given rise to a new species. The gamers. These gamers are addicts (to say the least), when it comes to playing games and therefore, constantly require to be in touch with games they expertise in. If a gamer were to buy a normal laptop like the one for a college student, he would be grossly disappointed. This is because playing games on a basic laptop ain't the same experience as playing it on a more advanced one. This has led to laptop manufacturing companies producing laptops specifically for gamers. It is advisable to buy these for gaming purposes, as they have all the necessary features inbuilt for an unbelievable and unparalleled gaming experience.
Hard Drive
Games need a lot of space on the hard disk, and this is primarily the reason for a gaming laptop to have a huge hard drive capacity. A 750GB hard drive should be sufficient, considering there may be other things which need to be stored on the laptop.
The fastest and the most powerful processor is recommended as games have a host of graphics which need to run. This is why it is better to get the fastest possible laptop processor installed to play high-end games without any problems.
To keep it simple and devoid of technicalities, more the RAM, the better. A 4GB RAM should be the minimum for a gaming laptop to perform to its potential. Certain games require a higher RAM to run, so it is better to check and confirm (Bigger the faster).
Additional Cards
For a gaming laptop, there are few additional cards which need to be attached to its motherboard for an optimum performance. Sound cards, video cards and graphic cards that are tailor-made for gaming purposes will always enhance the gaming experience. A few motherboards have inbuilt cards, but these are not adequate and hence, require additional cards anyhow.
Screen Size
screen size
For a gamer, a large laptop screen is must. A 17" is recommended, but it is inconvenient to carry around. Playing good games on a smaller screen spoils the fun to a certain extent and therefore, it is better to make adjustments in the convenience factor than the size element.
Gamers want their laptops to be network compatible to enable them to play competitive games whenever they wish to. Provisions for LAN cables, network cables, USB attachments and Wi-Fi connectivity, along with few other networking options need to be looked at when buying a laptop for gaming purposes.
Laptop for a Graphic Designer
A graphic designer will be looking for a laptop which has graphically advanced games to play on the laptop to create superior graphics. A graphic designer also has to constantly work with software which require high memory and visual features.
Creations by the graphic designer are often heavy in size and therefore a large hard disk (750GB) is recommended.
RAM is most important to ensure decent and uninterrupted performance while working on the laptop. Minimum 4GB RAM is advisable. Various graphic, sound and video enhancement cards, are also necessary to a graphic designer's work. Screen size needs to be at least 15", as bigger laptops can be tough to carry around at times. Processor should be the fastest and the best. Apart from this, a good battery-life, DVD compatible drive and an operating system supporting all necessary software is a must.
Remember to buy a laptop which suits the requirements perfectly. No point in overspending on unnecessary features. A lot of popular brands manufacture products specific to its use. Look for these. A highly competitive market ensures no dearth of options for buyers and therefore, a thoughtful choice needs to be made.