How to Shop for Laptop Computers

Students have to analyse their computing needs and decide between desktop computers, laptop computers, netbooks, tablets, smartphones and internet capable cellphones. Usually more than one device is needed to perform all the required tasks.

With more online libraries, tutorials, reading assignments, homework, tests and lecture sessions the average university student has to have computer access on a 24/7 basis. This is just to keep up with the class assignments. Most web research, social networking and games are done in addition to the university study workload.

Laptop computers are almost mandatory for some university students that require computing power when in the lab, tutorial or interactive live sessions. The analysis-packages for database, math, engineering, statistics and financial numbers are areas where laptops offer students advantages when used "live".

When making a laptop purchase decision students have to consider features and battery life.

Generally, laptop processors are less powerful than desktops but are capable of the same tasks as desktop computers. They contain components that are similar to desktops but are optimized for mobile use and efficient power consumption. Laptops usually have liquid crystal displays and most of them use different RAM memory modules. Laptops have built-in keyboards with touchpads and/or touch screens .

When making a laptop purchase decision students have to consider price and repair costs. Laptops' upgradability is severely limited and there is no industry wide standard for laptops. Each of the 35 major laptop manufacturers pursue their own proprietary design and construction process. Repairs happen much more frequently with laptops than desktops.

Ultraportable laptops have screens typically less than 12 inches diagonally and a weight of less than 1.7kg. Ultraportables are very expensive and house power-saving CPUs.

Thin-and-light laptops usually weigh between 1.8kg and 2.8kg with a diagonal screen size of 14 inches.

Medium-sized laptops usually have diagonal screens of 15 inches and a weight of around 3-3.5kg.

Laptops have been mass produced with new models and capabilities every six months for over the last 20 years. There are several business men that use laptops when traveling and trade these almost new laptops every 2 or three years. It is possible to obtain a $2,000 to $3,000 almost new laptop for under $300 from the leasing companies and computer service organizations that maintain them. Many of these computers have a good 2 or 3 years of useful service life for university students.

Many students use their laptop as an internet phone or video conferencing.

Students have to consider the best combination of devices to perform all of the needed tasks. Some combinations include a desktop with tablet and cheap pre-paid phone for emergencies. Another combination is home desktop with a simple laptop and fully configured internet cellphone.

Students must research the cost, features and options when making their computer purchase decisions. Look for the ESL in Canada "How to shop for the best prices" Seminars.

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