What mobile computer should I buy for college?

Dowd April 11, 2011

I will soon be going to college and am in the market for a portable computer for class. I will be using it for class only and have a desktop to handle anything else.

What type should it be (netbook, labtop etc.) and what are the differences?
Also, might it be cheaper to upgrade an HP DV6000 running Windows XP?

Thanks for the help!

  1. james braselton
    May 21, 2011 at 2:11 am

    hi there forgot too mention macbook air is thin just 0.11 inches at thinest part thickest part 0.68 inches

  2. james braselton
    May 21, 2011 at 2:09 am

    hi there you want a small light wait power full laptop thats the size of a 1 inch binder then i would highy recomand a 11 inch or 13 inch macbook air 11 inch version wighs 2.3 pounds has 2 ram and a 1.4 or a 1.6 ghz and has a 64 or 128 gb ssd ram max is 4 gb and the 13.3 inch version has a 1.86 ghz cpu 2 gb ram and a 128 or 256 gb and wighs 2.9 pounds the low end 11 inch macbook air will start at $999 maxed out 13.3 inch wil be $1,700 but the one i am looking at 13.3 inch 256 gb ssd and 2 gb ram and a 1.86 ghz only will cost me $1,599

  3. jhpot
    April 14, 2011 at 2:15 pm

    If you're using the notebook for class, specs are mostly a distraction. Sure, really low ones will hurt your productivity, but so long as the essentials can run well (browser, office software and your OS) there's really not a lot you need to worry about.

    My advice to anyone shopping for a laptop: never underestimate the importance of choosing a keyboard, touchpad and monitor that you like. Specs are cool, but in terms of human-machine interaction those are the three things you'll actually be interacting with day to day. Try some laptops out in the store to find out what you like, then think of things like processing power and RAM.

    There's nothing worse than having a high-performance laptop you can't stand using because of a terrible keyboard.

    Oh, and if you're taking the laptop to class, I'd check online reviews for battery life information. You usually cannot plug in during class...

  4. Dowd
    April 12, 2011 at 9:59 pm

    I kept looking around and found this guy as well, any comments on either?


  5. Dowd
    April 12, 2011 at 9:20 pm

    Well I was mainly asking about the upgrading of the HP for my mom who would rather go that route. I would want to throw a solid state drive in it with some RAM upgrades, as well as possibly upgrading the CPU depending on cost.

    My major is in aviation so I would likely use it for note taking and report writing, however if something more advanced will be needed i have my desktop as well.

    Ideally the computer would be very light, portable, (the size of a 1" binder would be perfect I think), quite snappy during use of light applications, have somewhat of a memory for keeping notes, reports on it, and be fairly sturdy to keep up with me.

    I found a netbook that looks good, any thought on it?

  6. Roy
    April 12, 2011 at 5:17 pm

    Before giving any advice, I would ask what kind of upgrade you have in mind for the HP DV6000. If you're simply talking about adding memory or a larger hard drive, for instance, it would definitely be less expensive. Even with the stock configuration, if I'm not mistaken, you'd have as much memory as, and a faster processor than, most current netbooks. The 1.6 or 1.8 GHz Athlon X2 is likely going to perform better than the dual-core Atoms with the same or similar clock speeds.

    If the HP machine needs to be repaired in any way, then it may be time to purchase something new. A 5-year-old laptop might not be worth the cost of fixing it. It doesn't hurt to get an estimate, but I wouldn't recommend putting to much money into a repair. Another factor would be portability - if you really want something small and light, a netbook would be more ideal, with performance being the main trade-off.

    If you do decide to buy a new notebook or netbook, the right kind depends on your specific needs. If your major involves any significant amount of photo/video/audio work, you might want to look at a MacBook. If you need to run specialized software that uses a lot of resources (something like AutoCad, for example), you'd probably want a full-size notebook with a strong processor. If you're only going to be taking notes, writing papers, doing research, etc., then a netbook would probably be sufficient. Just make sure to get one with a keyboard that suits you! Typing on some netbooks can be unpleasant if you don't get the right size and style of keyboard for you.

    The bottom line is you need a computer that meets your needs. Determine what's most important (portability, performance, primary use/software, etc.) and the choice will become much easier!

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