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In college, one essential tool in getting work done is a laptop. It’s a lifesaver in countless situations. You’ll need one in case you forgot to make some changes in your presentation. You’ll need one in case you need to look something up for your homework. There are countless situations where a laptop comes in handy in a classroom setting.

The question is though, what should you choose? Well, that depends on what kind of laptop user you are. There are plenty of laptops out there, and many can do plenty of stuff. Believe it or not, some people still might think it’s a good idea to buy a desktop at this point and time. Saving money and getting twice the power for the same price as a laptop sounds great, however mobility is the number one necessary in college.

Every computer is broke down into eleven major components:

  • Screen
  • Speakers
  • Keyboard
  • Touchpad
  • Hardware
  • Design
  • Performance
  • OS
  • Battery Life
  • Heat
  • Noise

Don’t let any of this scare you, we are here to help. Buying a laptop is like buying a car. Instead of driving the car, you will essentially use the computer to complete tasks, entertain yourself, and do much more. The biggest mistake I see people make is this: They purchase cheap laptops that break after a year or so. I’m not going to go into a debate or break this theory down into pieces. You can ask any expert and they will tell you the same thing.

From my honest advice, I advise everybody to purchase a great laptop that will last them for more than a few years. There is no point to waste $600 or more every single year on a crappy laptop. Financing is available to almost everybody who needs it, so if you don’t have the money now, don’t worry, you can pay it off little by little every month.

[heading color=”black”]Things You Need to Know[/heading]

Here we will list a few key facts that you should have in mind while shopping for the right laptop.

Amount of RAM: Having more RAM, is always better. Random access memory (RAM) is a form of computer data storage. A random access device allows stored data to be accessed in any order in very nearly the same amount of time for any storage location or size of memory device. A netbook with 2GB of RAM will be a lot snappier than a laptop with 1GB. If you are buying a laptop today, make sure it has at least 4GB or RAM. DO NOT settle for anything less. Also getting 6GB or 8GB of RAM isn’t a bad idea, because you will be future proofing your machine.

7200-rpm hard drive: Usually listed in revolutions per minute, “hard-drive speed” refers to how fast the platter spins. Faster-spinning platters generate both faster data-transfer speeds and faster seek times. A 7200-rpm hard drive will often produce a more responsive feel than a 5400-rpm hard drive will.

Solid-state drive: If you have the money, go ahead and upgrade to a SSD (or get a laptop that already has an SSD.) An SSD does not employ any moving mechanical components, which distinguishes them from traditional magnetic disks such as hard disk drives. So what does this mean? SSD’s are typically less susceptible to physical shock, are silent, and have lower access time and latency. They cannot crash like hard drives and are disgustingly fast.

Weight: Small differences in weight make a big difference when you’re lugging your laptop around wherever you go. The difference between 3.5 pounds and 5 pounds may not seem like much, but when your laptop bag is on your shoulder all day, it’s enormous. Try finding a suitable weight, after all comfort is a necessity.

Battery life: Obviously, the more battery life the better. I would strongly suggest checking professional reviews on every laptop you’re interested in. The new hype of 2012 are ultrabooks. Ultrabooks are designed to feature reduced size (less than 2.1 cm thick) and weight (usually less than 1.5 kg (3.3 lbs)) without compromising performance and battery life. They use low-power Intel processors with integrated graphics and unibody chassis to fit larger batteries into smaller cases. They tend to be thin and sexy, but still have the horse power to complete CPU heavy tasks.

Quad-core processors: In the world of laptops, a dual-core processor is likely to be faster than a quad-core for most of the mainstream applications that the majority of users run; a dual-core CPU often operates at a much higher clock speed, and most general-purpose applications don’t make good use of four CPU cores. The quad core come in handy when you force the laptop to do tasks like video-processing, heavy scientific computation, or engineering work.

Laptop display brightness: A bright laptop screen is usually one that drains the battery quickly. Besides, 300 nits is so bright that it’s hard to look at indoors, and most users turn their display’s brightness down a little anyway. That being said, you still don’t want to by a poorly lit laptop.

Graphics RAM: Looking to watch some high-def YouTube clips or enjoy the occasional Blu-ray video? Most people have no need to pay more to go from 1gb to 2gb of RAM on a midrange graphics card. The graphics board that ships with your laptop will more than likely be enough. However if you’re an avid gamer, we suggest opting for a laptop that has at least 1gb video memory. Got more doe? Go for 2gb!

CPU clock speeds: Yes, a 2.0GHz processor will be faster than a 1.0GHz processor, but you shouldn’t pay more for small increases in clock speed. You won’t notice the difference between a 2.5GHz Core i5 and a 2.9GHz Core i5, so don’t pay $100 for the privilege of an unnoticeable uptick in processing speed.

DVD/Blu-ray player: Honestly this is completely up to you, I cannot remember the last time I used my CD drive. If you want a thinner laptop then sacrifice this ability. With many streaming services, I’m sure you will find many great alternatives. We are moving into a digital age, so jump on the boat if you wish…

Warranty: Do keep in mind that every single laptop has a one year hardware warranty. This is required by law, therefore the manufacturer is required to fix any hardware problem that happened with the machine. Please understand that this does not cover accidents. Before you buy a laptop, ask the vendor what the average turnaround time is for fixing it if anything goes wrong.

Select a store: After you decide on what computer you wish to get, or see in person, a good idea would be to take a ride to the nearest retail store that has a display model available. You can then get a feel for the laptop and see if you like it. This includes the speakers, screen, touchpad, keyboard, heat, noise, and much more. After testing it our search the web for a price comparison and see if you can get it cheaper. Usually online retailers like Amazon, will cut a few bucks off the top just so you buy it from them.

If you decide to buy it on the spot, do know that the return policy is usually 15 days. So technically you can try it out for 14 days and if you don’t like the laptop, just return it and get another one. The buying and testing is frowned upon by retailers, but many people take advantage of this tiny loophole. Basically you are renting a laptop for free.

Perks: If you are buying a laptop today or in the next few months, I strongly suggest opting in for a backlit keyboard. It will come in handy once you start procrastinating.

[heading color=”black”]Suggestions and Recommendations[/heading]

We have managed to find sexy and reliable laptops for almost every single need. The following evaluations are based solely on our professional opinion. As you will notice most of them are in fact ultrabooks. Why? Because if you are purchasing a computer now there is no reason to get an ugly heavy laptop that slows you down. The whole point of a laptop is mobility!

Apple MacBook Pro with Retina Display

Apple MacBook Pro with Retina Display

  • 2.3GHz quad-core Intel Core i7
  • Turbo Boost up to 3.3GHz
  • 8GB 1600MHz memory
  • 256GB flash storage1
  • Intel HD Graphics 4000
  • NVIDIA GeForce GT 650M with 1GB of GDDR5 memory
  • Battery Life (7 hours)

Yes, the price fells like somebody sprinkled salt in your eyes, but….. The newly redesigned MacBook Pro with Retina Display combines an amazing screen with just enough of the MacBook Air design to feel like a new animal, and to take its place as the best of the current MacBook breed. You can bet that Apple will start putting retina displays on their other laptops in the future, so you can get a jump start on everybody else with this outstanding machine.

Buy $2,194.00

Acer Aspire S5 13.3-Inch HD Display Ultrabook

acer-s5-ultrabook-laptop

  • Intel Core_i7_3517U Processor 3GHz (4MB Cache)
  • 4 GB SDRAM RAM
  • 256 GB Solid-State Drive
  • 13.3-Inch Screen, Intel HD Graphics 4000
  • Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
  • Battery Life (6.5 hours)

Redefining “portability,” Acer introduces the world’s thinnest Ultrabook: The Aspire S5. The ultrathin 13.3″ design is just .59” slim and is less than 3 lbs. Yet this machine packs plenty of power and performance thanks to 3rd Generation Intel Core i7 and Genuine Windows 7 Home Premium. Cutting-edge technologies like Thunderbolt, USB 3.0 and MagicFlip let you instantly connect and complete your tasks faster than ever—so you’re free to enjoy entertainment using high-end visual and audio technologies.

Buy $1,299.99

Samsung Series 9 15.0-Inch Ultrabook (Mineral Ash Black)

Samsung Series 9 NP900X4C-A01US 15.0-Inch Ultrabook (Mineral Ash Black)

  • Intel 1.7 GHz Core i5-3317U Processor
  • 8 GB DDR3 RAM
  • 128 GB Solid-State Hard Drive
  • 15.0-Inch Screen
  • Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
  • Battery Life (up to 10 hours)

Designed with mobility in mind, Samsung’s durable, ultra premium, lightweight Series 9 laptop (model NP900X4C-A01US) offers mobile professionals and power users a sophisticated laptop equally suited for work and entertainment. Featuring a minimalist look that is both simple and sophisticated, its polished aluminum uni-body design offers an iconic look and feel that pushes the envelope with an edge just 0.58 inches thin.

Buy $1,349.99

Vizio Thin and Light CT15-A2 15.6-Inch Laptop

VIZIO Thin and Light CT15-A2 15.6-Inch Laptop

  • Intel Core_i7_3517U Processor 1.9GHz
  • 4 GB DDR3 RAM
  • 256GB Hard Drive
  • 15.6-Inch Screen
  • Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
  • Battery Life (5.5 hours)

With a striking unibody aluminum design, the VIZIO Thin + Light is the Ultrabook that’s impossible to ignore. But don’t let its thin profile fool you–it outperforms notebooks twice its size. This high-performance 15.6-inch model sports a Full HD 1080p display and premium SRS sound for the best entertainment experience. Powered by the latest Intel Core processor, the VIZIO Thin + Light uses instant-on, flash-based SSD drives for speedy boot-ups and includes Microsoft Signature for fast performance right out of the box.

Buy $1,259.99

Dell XPS13 Ultrabook Laptop (Silver)

Dell XPS XPS13-40002sLV 13-Inch Ultrabook Laptop (Silver)

  • Intel Core i5 2467M Processor 1.6GHz
  • 4 GB DIMM RAM
  • 128GB Solid State Drive
  • 13-Inch Screen
  • Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
  • Battery Life (8.8 hours)

Strikingly thin, with more room to view. The innovative design of XPS 13 enables an expansive 13.3″ display in a compact body similar to an 11″ laptop. Its razor-thin 0.24″- 0.71″ profile and weight of 2.99 lbs lets you effortlessly take your XPS 13 anywhere you travel. It goes beyond beauty. Bonded Corning Gorilla Glass, machined aluminum and carbon fiber are incorporated to enhance the performance of this Ultrabook.

Buy $997.52

HP ENVY Spectre 14-Inch Ultrabook (Silver/Black)

HP ENVY 14-3010NR Spectre 14-Inch Ultrabook (Silver/Black)

  • 2nd generation Intel Core i5-2467M (1.6 GHz) + Intel HD Graphics 3000
  • 4 GB SDRAM
  • 128GB mSATA solid-state drive
  • 14-Inch Screen, Intel HD Graphics 3000
  • Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
  • Battery Life (9.5 hours)

Designed with super-durable, scratch-resistant glass fused to an all-aluminum body, this Ultrabook is stunning from the inside out. Hear the difference with Beats Audio. And with HP Wireless Audio, stream music to wireless-enabled devices using KleerNet Technology. Plus, the HP Radiance Backlit Keyboard on this ENVY 14 Spectre laptop lights up as you approach and dims when you step away.

Buy $1,079.65

HP Folio 13 Ultrabook (Steel Gray)

HP Folio 13-1020US 13.3-Inch Ultrabook (Steel Gray)

  • Intel Core™ i5-2467M (1.60 GHz, 3 MB L3 cache)
  • 4 GB 1333 MHz DDR3 SDRAM (1 SODIMM slot)
  • 128 GB Solid State Drive
  • 13.3″ diagonal LED-backlit HD BrightView (1366 x 768), Intel HD Graphics 3000
  • Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit,
  • Battery Life (9 hours)

Stay more comfortable with HP CoolSense technology on the HP Folio 13. You control the cooling so heat is directed away from your lap. This ultra-thin and ultra-fast notebook is designed to help you do everything without weighing you down. Integrated Bluetooth helps you sync your HP laptop to other digital devices, like your smartphone or desktop PC, without using cables. Plus, print, e-mail and browse the web wirelessly using built-in Wi-Fi. Edit documents and watch videos on the 13.3-inch diagonal high-definition LED-backlit display. The HP Folio 13-1020us Ultrabook has plenty of style with the brushed aluminum finish in steel gray.

Buy $958.00

ASUS Zenbook UX31 13.3-Inch Thin and Light Ultrabook (Silver Aluminum)

ASUS Zenbook UX31E-DH52 13.3-Inch Thin and Light Ultrabook

  • Intel Core i5 Processor 1.7GHz
  • 4GB SO-DIMM RAM
  • 128GB Hard Drive
  • 13.3-Inch Screen, Intel UMA
  • Windows 7 Home Premium
  • Battery Life (7 hours)

It looks like nothing you’ve ever seen. It feels like nothing you’ve ever felt. It’s breathtakingly beautiful. It’s ultra-light – the brushed aluminum alloy body weighs only 2.87bs. It’s ultra-fast – powerful 2nd Generation Intel Core i5 processor, SATA 3.0 SSD and USB 3.0. It resumes active mode in just 2 seconds, and the SonicMaster Audio delivers astounding sound.

Buy $959.99

Apple MacBook Pro 13.3-Inch

apple-MacBook-pro-13-inch

  • 2.5 GHz Dual-Core Intel Core i5 processor
  • 4 GB DDR3 RAM; 500 GB Hard Drive
  • 13.3 inch LED-backlit display, 1280-by-800 resolution
  • Intel HD Graphics 4000
  • Mac OS X v10.7 Lion,
  • Battery Life (7 Hours)

Last but surely not least. This is by far the most purchased Macbook Pro model Among college students. The Apple MacBook Pro features Intel’s new third-generation Core architecture for a boost in processor and memory speeds. New next-generation graphics deliver performance levels that are up to 60 percent faster than before. And high-speed Thunderbolt I/O lets you transfer data at rates up to 10 GBps. As with previous models, the MacBook Pro features a precision unibody enclosure crafted from a single block of aluminum, creating a thin and light mobile computing workhorse that’s also highly durable.

Buy $1,099.99

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Posted by Misha Williams

Misha Williams is a 23-year old writer/blogger from Las Vegas, Nevada who loves to write articles about technology and the Internet. She was now working for CashForLaptops.com, a site where you can sell your laptop for a great cash. You can follow her in Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mishawilliams17 or Twitter: https://twitter.com/misha_yuri.

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