How To Choose The Best Student Laptop For College

By | January 6, 2020

How to Choose the Best Student Laptop for College.

Getting a laptop for your college or university education is a basic requirement. You’ll need the laptop for various works including writing papers, accessing the Internet and submitting assignments.

How To Choose The Best Student Laptop For College

If you want to find out the best laptop that suits your needs, first, you need to consider your primary usage. As in, what exactly you’ll need the laptop for. How to Choose the Best Student Laptop for College.

You need to consider the following questions before purchasing your computer;

• Are you primarily writing papers and accessing the Internet?
• Do you need to use the laptop for programming?
• Do you need to use your computer for multimedia work?
• Will you be creating graphics, music, or video?
• Do you need the pc for gaming?

When buying a laptop be discerning. The cheapest computers cost less for a reason. It’s necessary to read the specifications to make sure the computer has everything you need to be successful with your studies.

Hardware specifications

Here are some minimum guidelines for laptop specifications for your studies below. Per the research conducted by Africavarsities, Computer Science Departments in top universities recommend that you at least meet these standards when bringing a laptop to campus.

System RAM

RAM is an important spec to consider when buying a laptop. The RAM capacity determines how many tasks your computer can perform at once.

The starting point as seen in many computers is now 4GB. 8GB is standard and 16GB is for more complex tasks like video editing, video games and running multiple software at the same time.

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Even though you’re a student and you’d probably think that you don’t need much RAM. But it’s important to keep the future in mind.

Softwares are changing day by day. So, the demand for performance will surely be more in the future, and you need to ensure that your RAM and other hardware and capacities are big enough and expandable for future needs.

Many top universities around the world require a minimum of 8 GB RAM. If you’re studying graphic design or video editing related courses, then go for the 16 GB RAM if you can afford it.


The CPU is the “brain” of your student laptop. The Central Processing Unit handles calculations and runs the programs on your pc.

Almost every year or so, Intel and AMD upgrade their processor lines with a new architecture. The latest generation of Intel is the company’s “9th Gen Core Series” like the Intel Core i7-9700K and higher-end Intel Core i9-9900K.

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However, most laptops in the market come with Intel Core i3, i5, i7, and the latest Intel Core i9 processors. Generally, i7 is more powerful than i5, which is more powerful than i3.

So if you want more power or a faster pc, you’ll need to pay more to get the best performing laptop.

Do you need more CPU?

The answer to this question depends on your regular computing tasks. You may not do much at Level 100, but as you progress your pc usage increases.

Higher CPUs translate to quicker responsiveness and program load times (though RAM and storage speed is key here as well).

For a normal student laptop, Intel Core i5 (sixth generation or newer) or equivalent is recommended.

Wireless network card

A laptop wireless card allows you to connect to the Internet without a cable connection.

It is an important component of a student laptop since every university offers Wi-fi internet to their students for research, submitting assignments, checking your student portal among other things.

Eduroam Wi-Fi services are widely used by top universities in the world.

Even though every laptop comes with a wireless network card but it can get damaged along the way. When this happens you’ll need to replace it with a new one.

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Just buy a new one, plug it in, make sure your drivers are installed, and you’re good to go.

Recommended add-ons

These are necessary add-ons to make your student laptop run smoothly.

Anti-virus software

You’ll need good antivirus software installed and properly configured.

Why need antivirus software?

Antivirus software helps protect your computer against most viruses, worms, Trojan horses, spyware, and other unwanted invaders that can make your computer “sick.”

Sharing files via flash drives is common on campus. These drives can contain harmful viruses.

Theft and damage insurance

Laptop theft is very common on campus. You leave your pc at the dorm and before you come back, your favorite toy is gone. The good news however is, there is some way that you can track your stolen laptop.

There are services out there that provide laptop monitoring so that your laptop can be recovered if it has been stolen. These services work as an insurance for your laptop.

Norton Anti-theft is one of those services.

When your laptop is stolen, it easily and quickly locates your laptop and blocks the leakage of information. It tracks your laptop’s position including the illegal owner and then remotely locks it.

Integrated Webcam (Skype, Hangouts, etc)

Integrated webcams are important as well, for online lectures and broadcast media-related courses, but these are now included as standard on every laptop.

These laptops should be able to run HD video lectures without breaking of course.

Recommended accessories

Here are must-have laptop accessories for university students.

  • Ethernet cable

Earlier, we discussed why you need a wireless network card for your laptop. But, there are times you’ll need an ethernet cable.

It is required for wired connections on campus. If you have an online video course that you need to download overnight, you’ll need a faster download speed, and that’ where the ethernet cable comes to play.

Ethernet cables are used for high-speed connections between two devices such as your laptop and routers on IP networks. You can use the Ethernet cable for faster downloads.

  • Noise-canceling headphones

Noise-canceling headphones help you study in silence. They’re lightweight, comfortable, have good battery life, and can connect with Bluetooth, so you don’t have to deal with any wires.

  • Keyboard cover

The one downside of keeping your laptop running for years at a stretch, however, is the wear and tear on your keyboard. One major reason for using a keyboard cover is excessive dust, due to our part of the world. Getting a good keyboard cover is a good idea.

  • Wireless mouse

One of the most important accessories for a laptop is a wireless mouse. Strangely, I prefer to use my trackpad.

If you prefer to use a mouse, rather than your trackpad, then go for a wireless laptop mouse which you can use for compiling reports and finishing homework, as well as gaming after a long day of classes.

  • USB flash drive

USB flash drives are still relevant.

Anyone living in the Digital Age knows that sometimes, files can be corrupted, without even a hint of danger.
USB drives are a perfect solution for backing up the files that you want to keep safe.

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By backing up your files on a USB drive, you can recover the information from your last save point, which adds to the security that you feel when you’re writing an essay or submitting assignments online.

  • A printer (optional)

Some lecturers accept the assignments online but others still need them on papers so, if you need papers a lot, a printer will be a great deal for you.

Not for assignments only but for personal use too because in some cases, studying on touch screens and tablets are not enough.

Written by: Eric Elikplim | Founder of Africavarsities

In summary, this is all you may need to know today regarding How to Choose the Best Student Laptop for College.

Thank you for reading on ICT Catalogue as tech blog in Ghana with the latest ICT career news, ICT Exams, IT jobsIT Scholarships, ICT news in Ghana and beyond and hope you help share our story on the title How to Choose the Best Student Laptop for College with friends over the various social media platforms.

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