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The Best Laptops for College Students

If you’re a student, a laptop1 is as essential as your textbooks and school ID. And it’s not just for school work. It should also be able to handle extracurricular activities, such as social networking, watching movies, listening to music, posting photos, gaming, video chatting with the ‘rents back home, and so on. And of course, the best laptops for college students need to last them for the long haul, preferably through four years of undergrad and maybe a year of grad work. Lucky for you, we have a bunch below that fit that description perfectly and they won’t drain your savings account. Here are the basics you should keep in mind while looking for a laptop for college.

Ask Questions

The first, and most important, thing to do is check with your school for specific system requirements. Some colleges and universities want their students equipped with Windows2-based laptops, to cut down on software incompatibility issues. Others don’t care what operating system you use, whether it’s Windows, macOS3, or even Linux if you’re a hard-core type. Many institutions have on-site repair centers that only service university-bought laptops, where the turn-around time is much quicker than if you were to send it overnight to the original manufacturer. Also note that most schools offer price breaks for particular vendors and include extensive software bundles, which can shave off a good amount from your laptop purchase.

Keeping It LightA big screen may not be such a good idea. It’s nice to have a mini home theater in your dorm room or play the best games in full 1080p glory, but a laptop with a big screen will be a real chore to haul across campus while you’re running from class to class. You’re better off with something that’s light: If screen size matters less to you than convenience, a super-thin ultraportable4 might be the way to go. But for most people, a maximum 13- or 14-inch widescreen is ideal, as it will make room for other items in your backpack and minimize the weight burden. Depending on your tolerance level, a smaller display works as long as you understand that full webpages and productivity applications involve more scrolling, and fonts appear smaller than they do on larger screens. Essays, research papers, and chatting online with your classmates will take up most of your computing time, so a full-size keyboard and comfortable touchpad are crucial. When you venture below a 13-inch platform, you run the risk of not getting the same typing experience. The easiest way to ensure that you have the best keyboard is to stop by a brick-and-mortar store and spend some time typing on prospective choices. (If you decide to buy a smaller, less expensive laptop, it’s probably worth investing in a standalone keyboard5 you can keep at home for when you need to do a lot of typing.)

How Much Power Do You Need?Depending on your budget, laptops offer a wide selection of processors for instance, you can choose one that maximizes performance or one that favors battery life. Or you can select one that plays to both strengths: Intel Core CPUs have the benefits of both power and battery efficiency. If you desire all-day battery life, it’s best to go with a Chromebook, which typically runs on a low-powered processor. If performance ranks high on the list, an Intel Core i7 CPU gives you the most oomph but at the expense of battery life.

If you like playing games in your downtime, you might want to splurge on a more expensive gaming laptop6. Most general-purpose machines, especially at sub-$1,000 prices, won’t have the discrete graphics card necessary to make the hottest AAA titles look good and play smoothly. These also can help when transcoding a video, say, or watching a Blu-ray movie, but, like a processor, they also feast on the battery. The good news is that, in every other case (unless you’re an architecture major with a heavy reliance on CAD software), most integrated GPUs should be more than enough for the day-to-day tasks you’ll face.

Storage Solutions

With the increasing prevalence of cloud storage and Web applications, having plentiful local storage space is somewhat less vital now than it used to be, but you should still make sure that your laptop meets your needs. If you plan to install a lot of programs or want to hang on to files, you’ll need 256GB of space or more. If you’re a bit more low-key, or are content with leaving a lot of your work online, you can get by with a laptop with less space.

Whichever way you go, remember that storage affects speed, too. If you go with a hard drive because you get more storage for less money, know that it will be noticeably slower than a solid-state drive (SSD), though the higher cost and lower capacity of a faster SSD may be a trade-off that some people are willing to make. The good news is that by plugging an external hard drive7 into your laptop’s USB port, you can add more space whenever you need it. Although you probably won’t have to do this unless you’re a video junkie or an aspiring filmmaker, it’s a good option to have.

Battery Life

A sizable battery can be your biggest ally in a day filled with classes and extracurricular activities. Most school-oriented laptops come with multiple battery options. Others have only one and it’s non-removable. In this case, figure out where battery life ranks in the grand scheme of things. It might be a good idea to purchase an additional battery, if an extended one isn’t available. The more “cells” you buy, the better the battery life. A big battery is accompanied by some heft, but the weight gain is well worth it if it means leaving the system unplugged from dawn until dusk.

What About Chromebooks?In the last several years, there has been a strong push by chromebook manufacturers into the education market. And chromebooks themselves have gone from being glorified netbooks running the Chrome OS to laptops that are still Web-centric but have a relatively full feature set. If, like many schools, the one you’re attending puts its coursework in the cloud, a Chromebook will offer you just as much functionality as a regular laptop, and have longer battery life. It will also likely cost you a lot less than other types of notebooks, as Chromebook prices typically run between $200 and $300. Just be sure you have easy, constant Wi-Fi access, as there is scant storage on these systems. In the market for a Chrome OS laptop? We’ve rounded up the best Chromebooks8 available.

Consider a HybridIn recent years, a new category of laptop/tablet hybrid has emerged. Hybrids are capable of functioning as a traditional clamshell-style laptop when you need them to, but can transform into tablets when that’s a more convenient form factor. Some (generally called convertibles) sport a folding design that flips the keyboard out of the way, while others (detachables) allow you to dock a detachable tablet PC with an accessory keyboard for laptop-like functionality.

See How We Test Laptops9

A Word on WarrantiesAlmost every laptop is backed by at least a one-year warranty on parts and labor. Extended warranties are also available, but whether they’re worth it depends on who you are as a user. The standard warranty doesn’t cover accidents that stem from a spilled drink or a drop on a hard surface. Most manufacturers sell accident coverage as a separate plan, on top of extended warranties that work on top of a standard one, so you might end up spending close to $300 for three years of coverage. Apple offers a maximum three-year extended warranty ($250), while most Windows-based laptop vendors will offer up to four years.

In our opinion, if the warranty costs more than 15 percent of the total laptop price, you’re better off spending the money on backup drives or services that minimize downtime in case something does go awry. Of course, you can’t put a price tag on peace of mind. In rare instances, the logic board or the display the most expensive pieces of a laptop can fail and cost you in repairs half of what the laptop is worth. Faulty components usually break down during the first year; anything after that is probably more about regular wear and tear.

So, what the best laptop to get for school? True, there are even more choices on the market today, and slogging through them can be a bit daunting. No worries, we did the slogging for you. Check out the hottest laptops to grace the dorm room, college classroom, and campus quad for this school year. For more general factors to look for when shopping, check out our overall top picks10 for laptops, as well as our favorite budget notebooks11 and the best desktops for students12.

FEATURED IN THIS ROUNDUP

References

  1. ^ laptop (uk.pcmag.com)
  2. ^ Windows (uk.pcmag.com)
  3. ^ macOS (uk.pcmag.com)
  4. ^ ultraportable (uk.pcmag.com)
  5. ^ keyboard (uk.pcmag.com)
  6. ^ gaming laptop (uk.pcmag.com)
  7. ^ external hard drive (uk.pcmag.com)
  8. ^ best Chromebooks (uk.pcmag.com)
  9. ^ See How We Test Laptops (uk.pcmag.com)
  10. ^ overall top picks (uk.pcmag.com)
  11. ^ budget notebooks (uk.pcmag.com)
  12. ^ best desktops for students (uk.pcmag.com)

US-TEC–Apple Gun Emoji

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) Apple is disarming or at least it’s dumping an emoji that depicts a realistic-looking revolver and replacing it with a brightly colored toy water pistol instead.

The tech giant is releasing some new emoji images for iPhone and iPad users who use the cartoonish icons when they send messages. They’ll be available this fall with iOS 10, the next major revision of Apple’s mobile software. Other new emoji will depict women in athletic and professional roles, as well as a rainbow flag.

Gun-control advocates had urged Apple to dump the handgun emoji.

It’s also drawn controversy in cases where students used it in ways perceived as threatening.

The squirt gun may still look like a pistol, however, to recipients who view the message on a non-Apple device.

BlackBerry Packs Good Dynamics Apps Into Microsoft Azure

Microsoft Azure customers can now access BlackBerry s enterprise mobility management products via the public cloud platform

Enterprises can now choose to install and deploy the Good Dynamics1 Secure Mobility Platform by BlackBerry, through Microsoft Azure2, to assemble a broad range of business apps, including collaboration apps, ISV apps and custom-developed apps.

Ecosystem

With BlackBerry s Good Dynamics now on the Microsoft Azure platform, we continue to help protect customers data and enhance our ecosystem of business-critical apps, said Steve Guggenheimer, Corporate Vice President at Microsoft.

As we work side-by-side with Microsoft we are providing customers with a breadth of new options to enhance and increase their mobile security, said Billy Ho, Executive Vice President, Enterprise Product and Value Added Solutions, BlackBerry.

By utilising Good Dynamics through the Microsoft Azure cloud platform, customers have more flexibility in their deployment of BlackBerry s industry-leading solutions without having to sacrifice user experience or introduce more complexity into their environments. Since March 2016, enterprises have been able to install and manage their BES12 deployment through the Microsoft Azure platform. This means customers have full access to their BES123 licenses while benefiting from the Microsoft cloud architecture. BlackBerry soldiered on with its push into mobile security just last week by announcing several deals with US government organisations.

The company is shifting away from its traditional handset businesse that made it a household name to services and software, with securing mobile and Internet of Things (IoT) devices a particular area of focus.

BlackBerry Enterprise Service 12 (BES12) and BlackBerry 10.3.2 have received Security Technical Implementation Guides (STIG) from the US Department of Defense (DoD), detailing how US government departments can configure devices for maximum security.

Take our video game technology quiz here!4

The turning point in my career arrived at the unlikeliest of times. In a single conversation that took place over two decades ago, my career trajectory 5

Red Hat, Inc. (NYSE: RHT), the world’s leading provider of open source solutions, today announced Jessica McKellar, director of engineering and chief of 6

“The customer is always right.” This is a common mantra for anyone who’s worked in customer service.

And Alessandro Perilli, general manager of management 7

8

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The latest release of Red Hat Enterprise Linux features two directly integrated scanning mechanisms to find and block known vulnerabilities in containerized 10

References

  1. ^ Good Dynamics (www.techweekeurope.co.uk)
  2. ^ Microsoft Azure (www.techweekeurope.co.uk)
  3. ^ BES12 (www.techweekeurope.co.uk)
  4. ^ Take our video game technology quiz here! (www.techweekeurope.co.uk)
  5. ^ (www.trustopen.net)
  6. ^ (www.trustopen.net)
  7. ^ (www.trustopen.net)
  8. ^ (www.trustopen.net)
  9. ^ (www.trustopen.net)
  10. ^ (www.trustopen.net)
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