College laptop for fall 2018 freshman

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mxs
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College laptop for fall 2018 freshman

Post by mxs » Sat May 12, 2018 8:58 pm

Looking for suggestions on laptops for a freshman starting fall of 2018. Student seems less interested in Chromebook or Apple options, so Windows it is unless a great deal shows itself. I am at least comparing all options to see what would be available at similar prices. I know that generally Chromebooks are inexpensive and Apples are expensive. Apple has some decent deals on refurbs, especially if iPad Pro plus keyboard option was taken. I want to make sure that whatever option is taken the price is competitive compared to the alternatives. That being said, here are the specifics. Student is going to Liberal Arts school and focusing on Art, but will be taking a wide variety of classes. A fair amount of papers will be required. College computer requirements are here https://www.knox.edu/offices/informatio ... d-hardware but are rather vague as an 5th gen i5 is < 7th gen i5. Any advice on what and when to buy? Under $1000 would be ideal.

Quickfoot
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Re: College laptop for fall 2018 freshman

Post by Quickfoot » Sat May 12, 2018 9:24 pm

Don't pay the Apple premium, the Mac line of computers are aging and for the first time in memory are considerably behind windows computers both in build quality and performance. The Macbook Air is essentially dead (hasn't been updated in forever) and the MacBook Pro has quality issues and is using old processors, Apple is also facing a class action lawsuit for failing keyboards (incredibly poor design on their part). For a laptop look at the Dell XPS 13, you do NOT need a 4K screen on a 13 inch laptop go 1080p which will both be cheaper and result in significantly more battery life. A 1080p XPS13 should fairly easily go 12-14 hours on a battery charge. Another good option would be an Acer laptop, they make some really nice thin bezel laptops.

Most the time extended warranties are a waste of money but for college kids paying the $80-$100 for the "liquid and drop" protection warranty is absolutely worth it. BestBuy is actually a good place to buy, they'll price match online vendors and their spills and drop coverage is pretty good. I'd order online and pickup in store that way you don't get stuck talking to a salesperson.

For college look for 256-512 GB SSD, 8 GB RAM should be fine but 16 GB is a bit more future proof, don't worry about buying office as students actually get windows free and get office either free or at a heavily discounted price. 13 to 14 inch display is perfect, college kids need portability and battery life and a 15.6" screen is probably too heavy and big for them.

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Alexa9
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Re: College laptop for fall 2018 freshman

Post by Alexa9 » Sat May 12, 2018 9:35 pm

+1 for Dell. I would purchase at Costco with the Costco Visa for a 4 year warranty if possible. Computer technology advancements have slowed quite a bit. I'd get at least a 7th Gen i3, 128GB SSD, 8GB RAM. Most kids would rather have the latest smartphone now than laptop. Since you mentioned art, I'd look at the larger iPad Pro with Pencil or the Microsoft Surface Pro.

Quickfoot
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Re: College laptop for fall 2018 freshman

Post by Quickfoot » Sat May 12, 2018 9:43 pm

For college kids a drop / spill warranty is a lot more important than a failure warranty. Most electronics that will fail do so within 3 months, that's why extended warranties are a huge waste of money. College students are far more likely to drop a laptop or spill a drink in it than have a component fail after the 1 year manufacturer warranty is up.

The HP Spectre is also a very good Surface Pro alternative, I have both and use the Spectre more than than the SP. Dell / HP both make 2-in-1s that are good, Spectre is reviewed at least as well as the Dell XPS. The Surface Pro is not bad, but the screen is a bit small and I find most people simply don't use it as a tablet enough to make it worth it. My company issues Surface Pro's as our laptop so there's ~ 30 of us using them, overall no major complaints but not worth the price premium unless you know for sure you'll be using it as a tablet a lot of the time.
Last edited by Quickfoot on Sat May 12, 2018 9:50 pm, edited 2 times in total.

mxs
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Re: College laptop for fall 2018 freshman

Post by mxs » Sat May 12, 2018 9:48 pm

Thanks for the advice. I have built my last two desktops as gaming computers, but that was when the Core2Duo E8400 and i5-3570k were good performers at good prices. I've never really messed with laptops, but I understand they have come a long ways performance wise. All that to say I know most of the technical jargon and what it is referring to, just not all the latest and greatest, especially when it comes to mobile components. I certainly wouldn't bother with more than 1080p, and I won't worry about hard drive space unless it is a very cheap price difference. I usually push hardware to the limits more than most. This student will be happy if it runs decent and can play YouTube videos fine. Their art interest is more in the physical media (painting, sculpture, etc.) than digital art or drafting.

runner3081
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Re: College laptop for fall 2018 freshman

Post by runner3081 » Sat May 12, 2018 9:51 pm

I found this for my sister-in-law a few weeks ago. She is starting grad school this fall.

Way more than she will ever need, but has some future proofing with an SSD drive already in there. Deal is not alive anymore, unfortunately, but serves as a price point.

Lenovo Yoga 720 2-In-1 15.6" Touch Screen Laptop (80X7001TUS)
$699.99
Specs
Intel Core i7-7700HQ Quad-Core Mobile Processor
15.6" 1920x1080 IPS LED Backlit Display w/ Built-In 720p HD Webcam/2 Microphones
256GB PCIe Solid State Drive SSD
8GB DDR4 RAM
Intel HD Integrated Graphics 630
WiFi w/ Bluetooth
360° Flip & Fold Design
Windows 10 OS (64-Bit)
Inputs
3x USB 3.0 Ports (2x USB Type-A, 1x USB 3.1/3.0 Type C)
1x Thunderbolt Port

GreenGrowTheDollars
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Re: College laptop for fall 2018 freshman

Post by GreenGrowTheDollars » Sat May 12, 2018 9:53 pm

If your student will be majoring in certain disciplines (Engineering, Business, Architecture, Graphic Design, Computer Science) -- check with the department to see if they have specific recommendations/requirements.

Also, software for college students is typically available at very low cost through the college's authorized distributor/office. I wouldn't buy any software (other than what comes base on the machine) without first checking on that option. Usually, the student needs to have their .edu email address to make this work.

Apple offers discounts at their retail locations for college computer purchases. Might be worth checking to see if other companies also do so.

Quickfoot
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Re: College laptop for fall 2018 freshman

Post by Quickfoot » Sat May 12, 2018 9:56 pm

The Acer Swift is actually a very good mid range laptop, https://www.bestbuy.com/site/acer-swift ... Id=6025409, at $649 for 256 GB SSD, 8 GB RAM and I5 processor. Acer has good build quality, good battery life, SSD will provide good performance.

The Dell XPS 13 and HP Spectre are exceptional laptops but you are going to pay $1100 to $1200 for a model with the same specs (https://www.bestbuy.com/site/hp-spectre ... Id=6113107).

Apple laptops are getting a refresh this fall and hopefully picking up the latest processors, even then you are going to pay $500 to $1,000 more for the same performance compared to a Windows laptop. Windows 10 is actually very good (as much as it pains me to admit it).
Last edited by Quickfoot on Sat May 12, 2018 9:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Katietsu
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Re: College laptop for fall 2018 freshman

Post by Katietsu » Sat May 12, 2018 9:57 pm

Check with the college. The major university here gives suggested guidelines and has substantial discounts available on Lenovo and Dell laptops.

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Watty
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Re: College laptop for fall 2018 freshman

Post by Watty » Sat May 12, 2018 10:08 pm

mxs wrote:
Sat May 12, 2018 8:58 pm
Student is going to Liberal Arts school and focusing on Art,.....
Be sure to check with the art department, they may have specific requirements for some of her classes.

One thing to make sure that she is diligent about is backing up important work she is doing. When he was in college my son worked in the campus computer center where students could bring in their computers when they had problems. It was not uncommon for students to bring in a dead computer that had the only copy of an important project that they needed to pass a class. They were usually able to recover the needed files but there were times when couldn't and if a computer is lost or stolen their work will be gone.

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Kenkat
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Re: College laptop for fall 2018 freshman

Post by Kenkat » Sat May 12, 2018 10:15 pm

Lenovo Yoga line has some nice laptops / 3 in 1s at attractive price points.

PFInterest
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Re: College laptop for fall 2018 freshman

Post by PFInterest » Sat May 12, 2018 10:21 pm

Helios 300.

HereToLearn
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Re: College laptop for fall 2018 freshman

Post by HereToLearn » Sat May 12, 2018 10:39 pm

If you have access to Costco, take a look there this summer. My son chose a Lenovo Flex 5 series (i7, 1TB, 512 GB SSD, 2GB graphics) for $1150. The only feature he did not like is the touch screen but he found that he could not avoid the touch screen when trying to include the other features he wanted. He is a CS & Math major, and has no interest in a Mac. Costco sells their Square Trade Drop & Spill coverage for $99 for three years.

Older son has Mac and agree that you pay quite a bit more for the same computing power.

As you may know, a computer is an eligible 529 expense.

mxs
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Re: College laptop for fall 2018 freshman

Post by mxs » Sat May 12, 2018 11:06 pm

runner3081 wrote:
Sat May 12, 2018 9:51 pm
I found this for my sister-in-law a few weeks ago. She is starting grad school this fall.

Way more than she will ever need, but has some future proofing with an SSD drive already in there. Deal is not alive anymore, unfortunately, but serves as a price point.

Lenovo Yoga 720 2-In-1 15.6" Touch Screen Laptop (80X7001TUS)
$699.99
Specs
Intel Core i7-7700HQ Quad-Core Mobile Processor
15.6" 1920x1080 IPS LED Backlit Display w/ Built-In 720p HD Webcam/2 Microphones
256GB PCIe Solid State Drive SSD
8GB DDR4 RAM
Intel HD Integrated Graphics 630
WiFi w/ Bluetooth
360° Flip & Fold Design
Windows 10 OS (64-Bit)
Inputs
3x USB 3.0 Ports (2x USB Type-A, 1x USB 3.1/3.0 Type C)
1x Thunderbolt Port
I am suspicious of this website due to the low price, but that laptop looks pretty good. https://finesoundmast.com/collections/l ... num-silver

dak
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Re: College laptop for fall 2018 freshman

Post by dak » Sun May 13, 2018 1:15 am

+1 for Apple. Not a fan of their price, and the comment on the aging of the Air line is certainly correct. But lets be honest - unless you are gaming or doing video editing, almost any modern laptop will suffice. I will comment that I bought my daughter a Macbook Air three years ago as she started her undergrad. Total support calls to Dad - zero. Viruses - zero. Well worth the premium ;-)

UpperNwGuy
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Re: College laptop for fall 2018 freshman

Post by UpperNwGuy » Sun May 13, 2018 2:20 am

I bought my college kid a Dell and within a few months she wanted me to buy her an Apple instead. It doesn’t matter which one is better overall. Apple is the one that is used in the academic world, and your kid will feel out of place without one.

inbox788
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Re: College laptop for fall 2018 freshman

Post by inbox788 » Sun May 13, 2018 4:12 am

Apple so my AAPL stock goes up! Well, the portion of AAPL in my TSM portfolio (as well as BRK). AFAIK, Dell, Lenovo, Acer, etc. aren't in TSM, though Lenovo or Acer might help my International holdings. And if you notice the absence of mention of HP products, it's an ominous sign, and that could hurt TSM (whatever minute portion they represent). In any case, INTC or AMD should benefit from these purchases.

What does he use now? If it's something adequate to get started, it might be prudent to wait until it's more clear whether the school or program is better served by having a PC or Apple, or even a Chromebook (instead or in addition to). And if the needs are average and a midrange laptop will be enough or software demands will be high and you need fastest processor/graphics and higher memory/storage.

For example, this program spells it out:
The Department of Art and Art History use Apple computers in their classrooms. For Visual Arts Majors in the Department of Art and Art History, Apple computers are highly recommended. The Department of Interactive Multimedia does not have a preferred platform, but the applications used in the curriculum demand a high-performance laptop workstation. The Department of Communication Studies use a combination of PC and Mac hardware and software and recommends using an Apple laptop with windows installed.

2016-2017 Minimum Hardware Specification Guidelines
Apple Spec Minimum
15-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display
2.2GHz Quad-core Intel Core i7, Turbo Boost up to 3.4GHz
16GB 1600MHz DDR3L SDRAM
256GB PCIe-based Flash Storage
Intel Iris Pro Graphics
Backlit Keyboard (English) & User’s Guide Accessory Kit
Thunderbolt to Gigabit Ethernet Adapter

Windows Spec Minimum
Dell XPS 15 Non-Touch

6th Generation Intel Core i7-6700HQ Quad Core (6M Cache, up to 3.5 GHz)
16GB DDR4-2133MHz
512GB Solid State Drive

NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 960M with 2GB GDDR5
All students enrolled in courses in the previously named programs should maintain a high quality, large storage capacity external hard drive, which either connects via Thunderbolt or USB 3.0. An external storage drive will be your long-term storage device for your course projects and will allow you to have a workflow between your laptop and any lab computers that you may use.

Recommended External Hard Drive Spec Minimum
LaCie Rugged Thunderbolt Professional All-Terrain Storage

2TB
Thunderbolt and USB 3.0 connectivity Mobile BUS powered
Shock, dust, and water resistant Compatible with Apple and Windows
https://artscomm.tcnj.edu/resources/cur ... endations/

tibbitts
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Re: College laptop for fall 2018 freshman

Post by tibbitts » Sun May 13, 2018 8:47 am

UpperNwGuy wrote:
Sun May 13, 2018 2:20 am
I bought my college kid a Dell and within a few months she wanted me to buy her an Apple instead. It doesn’t matter which one is better overall. Apple is the one that is used in the academic world, and your kid will feel out of place without one.
Apple is used in your tiny piece of the academic world. Everywhere else varies.

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abuss368
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Re: College laptop for fall 2018 freshman

Post by abuss368 » Sun May 13, 2018 8:54 am

Quickfoot wrote:
Sat May 12, 2018 9:24 pm
Don't pay the Apple premium, the Mac line of computers are aging and for the first time in memory are considerably behind windows computers both in build quality and performance. The Macbook Air is essentially dead (hasn't been updated in forever) and the MacBook Pro has quality issues and is using old processors, Apple is also facing a class action lawsuit for failing keyboards (incredibly poor design on their part).
I don't know about that. We moved our entire house to Apple (devices, computer, TV's, and even the wireless router) over time). This has been by far the best devices we have ever used. Our Apple MacBook Pro is the best laptop I have ever used. As such, I am not up to date or familiar with Windows any longer to be able to offer any opinion.
John C. Bogle: "You simply do not need to put your money into 8 different mutual funds!" | | Disclosure: Three Fund Portfolio + U.S. & International REITs

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abuss368
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Re: College laptop for fall 2018 freshman

Post by abuss368 » Sun May 13, 2018 8:54 am

Did Microsoft ever start making their own hardware for a laptop? I am aware of the Surface tablets. Also, did they ever start making their own hardware for a Windows phone?
John C. Bogle: "You simply do not need to put your money into 8 different mutual funds!" | | Disclosure: Three Fund Portfolio + U.S. & International REITs

infotrader
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Re: College laptop for fall 2018 freshman

Post by infotrader » Sun May 13, 2018 8:54 am

UpperNwGuy wrote:
Sun May 13, 2018 2:20 am
I bought my college kid a Dell and within a few months she wanted me to buy her an Apple instead. It doesn’t matter which one is better overall. Apple is the one that is used in the academic world, and your kid will feel out of place without one.
Exactly, my son bought a macbook pro with a grant in 2010 when he went to college, he used it for 4 years, and I am still using it. Zero problem so far.

JoeRetire
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Re: College laptop for fall 2018 freshman

Post by JoeRetire » Sun May 13, 2018 9:01 am

mxs wrote:
Sat May 12, 2018 8:58 pm
Student seems less interested in Chromebook or Apple options, so Windows it is unless a great deal shows itself.
What the student prefers should be a prime consideration, IMHO.
Student is going to Liberal Arts school and focusing on Art, but will be taking a wide variety of classes. A fair amount of papers will be required. College computer requirements are here https://www.knox.edu/offices/informatio ... d-hardware but are rather vague as an 5th gen i5 is < 7th gen i5. Any advice on what and when to buy? Under $1000 would be ideal.
I always believe that they software needed and the usage expected should drive the selection of device.

You might check the Art department of the school to see if they have suggestions based on the specific software they will be using.

If it ends up being Windows, I use a Dell XPS that costs less than $1,000 and I'm very pleased. If you want to spend even less, then you can get some good bargains on Dell refurbs. Take a look at the Dell Small Business site too.

Chicago60
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Re: College laptop for fall 2018 freshman

Post by Chicago60 » Sun May 13, 2018 9:12 am

JoeRetire's advice is spot on.

KlangFool
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Re: College laptop for fall 2018 freshman

Post by KlangFool » Sun May 13, 2018 9:18 am

Alexa9 wrote:
Sat May 12, 2018 9:35 pm
+1 for Dell. I would purchase at Costco with the Costco Visa for a 4 year warranty if possible. Computer technology advancements have slowed quite a bit. I'd get at least a 7th Gen i3, 128GB SSD, 8GB RAM. Most kids would rather have the latest smartphone now than laptop. Since you mentioned art, I'd look at the larger iPad Pro with Pencil or the Microsoft Surface Pro.
<< I would purchase at Costco with the Costco Visa for a 4 year warranty if possible. >>

1) +1 for Costco. You get 4-years warranty for free. Then, buy the suretrade drop warranty from Costco too. Easy return policy and no restocking fee. Avoid Bestbuy at all costs.

<<Since you mentioned art, I'd look at the larger iPad Pro with Pencil or the Microsoft Surface Pro.>>

2) I will avoid both of them and get a laptop. For art folks, a dedicated touchpad is needed. So, both of them with a touch screen is not good enough.

3) Find out whether you need to buy MS Office or it is provided by the school was part of the computing fee. This could cost you some $$$.

4) I would buy Dell/HP/Lenovo. I cannot tell the difference between them.

KlangFool

KlangFool
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Re: College laptop for fall 2018 freshman

Post by KlangFool » Sun May 13, 2018 9:25 am

JoeRetire wrote:
Sun May 13, 2018 9:01 am
mxs wrote:
Sat May 12, 2018 8:58 pm
Student seems less interested in Chromebook or Apple options, so Windows it is unless a great deal shows itself.
What the student prefers should be a prime consideration, IMHO.
Student is going to Liberal Arts school and focusing on Art, but will be taking a wide variety of classes. A fair amount of papers will be required. College computer requirements are here https://www.knox.edu/offices/informatio ... d-hardware but are rather vague as an 5th gen i5 is < 7th gen i5. Any advice on what and when to buy? Under $1000 would be ideal.
I always believe that they software needed and the usage expected should drive the selection of device.

You might check the Art department of the school to see if they have suggestions based on the specific software they will be using.

If it ends up being Windows, I use a Dell XPS that costs less than $1,000 and I'm very pleased. If you want to spend even less, then you can get some good bargains on Dell refurbs. Take a look at the Dell Small Business site too.
JoeRetire,

+1.

My daughter is doing Art at a state university. After shopping and extensive research, we found that we had no choice but to buy a MacBook Pro from the University computer store plus extended warranty due to hardware and software support issue. And, to make sure that she could use the laptop for 4 years, we have to spend a bit more beyond the basic Art department's requirement. Do not buy the cheapest. That Adobo software used a lot of processing power and each new version needed even more power.

KlangFool

KlangFool
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Re: College laptop for fall 2018 freshman

Post by KlangFool » Sun May 13, 2018 9:32 am

OP,

1) http://arts.vcu.edu/computers/

Maybe this is useful for you. At this university, the art department is large enough that it breaks down the computer requirement by each Arts specialty. And, it specified for each Arts major's the specific software and hardware requirement.

2) The best approach is for your daughter to contact someone at this college that is a senior at her major. Then, ask which laptop could last for 4 years.

KlangFool

Lynette
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Re: College laptop for fall 2018 freshman

Post by Lynette » Sun May 13, 2018 9:34 am

I agree that you should definitely check with the Art Department. I have only used Chromebooks and Windows as this is what my Megacorp used. But last semester I took a class in photography and the professor and the students who were majoring Graphic Design all had Apple Computers.

CedarWaxWing
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Re: College laptop for fall 2018 freshman

Post by CedarWaxWing » Sun May 13, 2018 9:50 am

dak wrote:
Sun May 13, 2018 1:15 am
+1 for Apple. Not a fan of their price, and the comment on the aging of the Air line is certainly correct. But lets be honest - unless you are gaming or doing video editing, almost any modern laptop will suffice. I will comment that I bought my daughter a Macbook Air three years ago as she started her undergrad. Total support calls to Dad - zero. Viruses - zero. Well worth the premium ;-)

Our family had a very different experience with Macs. Wife, and two sons got Mac laptops over a 5 year period.(Each purchased in a different year. They each had 2 disabling problems over an 18month period. and over the next 18months each had another problem. Each one had a mother board failure, and a third also had a graphic card (part of the mother board according to Apple). The mother boards were famous for a high failure rate, and after the initial warranty it was a mega battle to get Apple to admit they had reliability problems.

My 3rd son, who had two majors, CS and EE, bought an HP and he had zero trouble with it (now it is 6 years old). He about 3rd college year he also bought a very inexpensive chrome book and that is the one he took to classes. He used Linux on each, but dual boot windows and Linux on the HP.

(Some programs the students in his majors had to use were available in Windows but not Linux.

I believe the older HPs had problems with their Screen ribbon cables failing, but no issues with the one my son bought.

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Watty
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Re: College laptop for fall 2018 freshman

Post by Watty » Sun May 13, 2018 10:04 am

One option would be to defer the decision for a while and just buy an inexpensive $200 refurbished windows computer like this one to get her through the first few weeks of school.

https://www.amazon.com/Lenovo-Thinkpad- ... merReviews

Once she gets to school she could get more information about what is really needed then you could get a more expensive computer for her to use through college. She may also not really need anything more powerful than that for the classes she is taking the first semester.

There may also be special deals available for buying computers through the university.

If you have any younger kids they could then use the inexpensive one in high school, or you could resell it.

tibbitts
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Re: College laptop for fall 2018 freshman

Post by tibbitts » Sun May 13, 2018 10:11 am

It would be a good idea to contact the department since it might have at least preferences beyond the relatively vague guidelines that were provided.

I believe Macs took a significant reputation hit by not expanding past 16GB for as long as they did after everybody else had moved on. There was a lot of discontent among the user base as a result of that.

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Re: College laptop for fall 2018 freshman

Post by tibbitts » Sun May 13, 2018 10:13 am

Watty wrote:
Sun May 13, 2018 10:04 am
There may also be special deals available for buying computers through the university.
With some institutions that would be true, but apparently not in this case.

ljb1234
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Re: College laptop for fall 2018 freshman

Post by ljb1234 » Sun May 13, 2018 10:13 am

As an engineering faculty member, I would advise an engineering student to get either a Surface Pro with Keyboard or a Surface Laptop. Since I require most work to be submitted electronically, they can do the assignments on their computer with the stylus. It eliminates the need to somehow digitize the assignment. Also, most engineering software runs well on Windows. I will say that many students prefer Linux.

For an art student, a Mac may still be the best option. Check with the department.

mxs
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Re: College laptop for fall 2018 freshman

Post by mxs » Sun May 13, 2018 10:39 am

Great advice all around, thanks. I am having her contact the Art department to see what they say. I used to have OpenOffice, but got a $10 deal on MS Office through my work a few years ago and have used that since. It looks like Libre Office is a good current option. If it was me, I would probably just go the Chromebook route and if that doesn't work go from there to another option, but it isn't me, it is my niece. I think just about any option should work as there are easily accessible computer labs should something specific be needed, and it will come down to personal preference and comfort. I will keep that Lenovo Yoga or similar in mind as that appears to be a good deal for the features and price.

mxs
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Re: College laptop for fall 2018 freshman

Post by mxs » Sun May 13, 2018 10:44 am

tibbitts wrote:
Sun May 13, 2018 10:13 am
Watty wrote:
Sun May 13, 2018 10:04 am
There may also be special deals available for buying computers through the university.
With some institutions that would be true, but apparently not in this case.
Yes, this is a smaller Liberal Arts College, less 2000 students I believe. So there isn't much in the way of the school/computer company relationships.

I think it will be a laptop similar to the Lenovo Yoga unless the Art department uses a specific software that is only for or better on Macs, which I think would be unlikely.

Quickfoot
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Re: College laptop for fall 2018 freshman

Post by Quickfoot » Sun May 13, 2018 10:48 am

abuss368 wrote:
Sun May 13, 2018 8:54 am
Did Microsoft ever start making their own hardware for a laptop? I am aware of the Surface tablets. Also, did they ever start making their own hardware for a Windows phone?
They did, the Surface Book, it's a good laptop but price comparitive to Macbook Pro, also the charger is too small to keep the battery charged when it is under heavy use (it'll discharge the battery during long gaming sessions even when it is plugged in). The HP Spectre and Dell XPS models are both just as good if not better and significantly cheaper. The Spectre and Dell XPS 2-in-1 BOTH support the stylus so there's no reason to choose SP over them, they also both have larger screens, the 13" - 14" screen is significantly bigger than the Surface Pro and is the sweet spot for mobility.

I have a $2500 Suface Pro (sits on the charger and doesn't get used unless a kid needs to do homework), had a Dell XPS 15 4K for a day and returned it for the 15.4 inch HP Spectre 4K and am so glad I did. The Spectre build quality is amazing and it is also a gorgeous machine. Most people do not need 4K on a screen < 20 inches but I prefer it because all my other screens are 4K, need the resolution and spend all day looking at it.
Last edited by Quickfoot on Sun May 13, 2018 10:56 am, edited 1 time in total.

Orange44
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Re: College laptop for fall 2018 freshman

Post by Orange44 » Sun May 13, 2018 10:56 am

I am a big fan of the HP Spectre X360 then the Envy. Every manufacturer is fine overall but I just decided that the HP worked for me and exceeded expectations. If your thinking 4 years then buy a little high. Or Plan on two laptops over 4 years. Lower Price. But equals the same for a four-year purchase.

The replacement insurance because of spills is a good call.

Theft is the other concern. You need a chain lock and hard drive encryption in place. Not easy solutions but something you need to plan for.

Screen Size and Weight. 13" Under 2 Pounds Works for me between classes vs rarely moved around where 17" and 5 Pounds is fine.

Loading doc of another keyboard and mouse with a larger monitor also is an idea. Easy to add on and makes it easier to work on when in the dorm room.

Printing is cheap. HP BW Laser under 200 is easy.

I did buy one via best buy first time. I wanted to get the feel for the laptop and gave them the small mark up. So feel free to try them out at best buy or apple store for feel.


Good luck! and Congrats! :sharebeer

tibbitts
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Re: College laptop for fall 2018 freshman

Post by tibbitts » Sun May 13, 2018 11:00 am

mxs wrote:
Sun May 13, 2018 10:39 am
Great advice all around, thanks. I am having her contact the Art department to see what they say. I used to have OpenOffice, but got a $10 deal on MS Office through my work a few years ago and have used that since. It looks like Libre Office is a good current option. If it was me, I would probably just go the Chromebook route and if that doesn't work go from there to another option, but it isn't me, it is my niece. I think just about any option should work as there are easily accessible computer labs should something specific be needed, and it will come down to personal preference and comfort. I will keep that Lenovo Yoga or similar in mind as that appears to be a good deal for the features and price.
OpenOffice is definitely not a good option unless you only work on your own documents or everyone else you work with uses only OpenOffice. Don't even think about it. As it happens right now I need to make a couple of entries on an Excel-created spreadsheet and have to drag out the work laptop just for that reason. Ugh.

Quickfoot
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Re: College laptop for fall 2018 freshman

Post by Quickfoot » Sun May 13, 2018 11:06 am

Students get Microsoft Office free through Office 365, don't try to use Open Office in college unless the college itself uses Open Office. The compatibility simply isn't that good and minor formatting problems in APA and other college formats can result in BIG point docks on assignments. Free Office 365 link: https://products.office.com/en-us/stude ... -education

I'm a big fan of hard drive encryption, Windows Home doesn't support hard drive encryption but Windows Pro does. Students can get Windows Education edition which is a super set of Pro functionality for free, https://onthehub.com/windows-10-education-for-students. That means don't worry about paying for a Windows Pro upgrade for students.

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Toons
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Re: College laptop for fall 2018 freshman

Post by Toons » Sun May 13, 2018 11:39 am

I own Windows 10 desktops,Laptops.....
This Asus Chromebook is my favorite...
Perfect for a student.....,
And Toons(on second thought I am a student,,spanish online) :mrgreen:

Buena Suerte ,,,Buen Dia



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Quickfoot
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Re: College laptop for fall 2018 freshman

Post by Quickfoot » Sun May 13, 2018 11:42 am

Many people don't realize you can use Office on a Chromebook as well, just use office.com which allows you to use web based office applications. Google Docs is ok for casual use but once again not good for college assignments or business use.

Acer builds really good chromebooks if a full laptop isn't required, Costco has a good price on the Acer 14.

pochax
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Re: College laptop for fall 2018 freshman

Post by pochax » Sun May 13, 2018 12:10 pm

runner3081 wrote:
Sat May 12, 2018 9:51 pm
I found this for my sister-in-law a few weeks ago. She is starting grad school this fall.

Way more than she will ever need, but has some future proofing with an SSD drive already in there. Deal is not alive anymore, unfortunately, but serves as a price point.

Lenovo Yoga 720 2-In-1 15.6" Touch Screen Laptop (80X7001TUS)
$699.99
Specs
Intel Core i7-7700HQ Quad-Core Mobile Processor
15.6" 1920x1080 IPS LED Backlit Display w/ Built-In 720p HD Webcam/2 Microphones
256GB PCIe Solid State Drive SSD
8GB DDR4 RAM
Intel HD Integrated Graphics 630
WiFi w/ Bluetooth
360° Flip & Fold Design
Windows 10 OS (64-Bit)
Inputs
3x USB 3.0 Ports (2x USB Type-A, 1x USB 3.1/3.0 Type C)
1x Thunderbolt Port
+1. i got the 8th-gen version (i5-8250U) of this laptop (typing on it as we speak) for $720 and it is a very nice value. i would suggest going with 8th-gen if not too cost-prohibitive because they are now quad-core rather than dual-core in the "U"-line of processors so will perform better in multitasking applications. EDIT: just realized the quoted post mentions it is 15" whereas i got the 13". 15" obviously more screen real estate but less portable.

Dyloot
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Re: College laptop for fall 2018 freshman

Post by Dyloot » Sun May 13, 2018 12:47 pm

Whatever laptop you pick, make sure it has a Solid State Drive (SSD). It pains me whenever I see someone purchase something new with a magnetic hard drive... they're just so much slower. So many laptops end up getting replaced because of performance issues, and the SSD will help in that from day 1.

Does your child have a decent work space? If he or she has room, I'd recommend picking up a cheap monitor and a keyboard/mouse combo. If the laptop has outputs for two monitors, I'd buy two.

3feetpete
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Re: College laptop for fall 2018 freshman

Post by 3feetpete » Sun May 13, 2018 7:30 pm

Definitely go with a solid state hard drive. I bought my daughter a Mac air summer before freshman year and it is still going strong without any problems 6 years later. Check with her college. My daughters was bought through college and included on campus tech help and warranty for 4 years. Windows or Mac probably doesn't make a difference. I would go with students preference unless school has a requirement. For software Microsoft offered a Mac version of Office for students at a very discounted price.

Get a light laptop similar to a Mac Air and get a padded sleeve to keep it in. It will be packed in a backpack with books and you don't want the student lugging too much. I currently have an Asus Zen Book which is Windows base and much the same as a Mac Air.

Check with you homeowners policy for the ability to add on her computer. That was far cheaper than buying a separate policy.

mxs
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Re: College laptop for fall 2018 freshman

Post by mxs » Sun May 13, 2018 9:21 pm

Interesting article I came across that states much of what has been said here...
https://www.tomshardware.com/news/lenov ... 36927.html (Article on best laptops)

sambb
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Re: College laptop for fall 2018 freshman

Post by sambb » Mon May 14, 2018 5:13 am

i would not even consider buying a pc for college, given that campuses use macs like crazy.. yes some pcs. but a minority in many colleges. its more than about value.

retired recently
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Re: College laptop for fall 2018 freshman

Post by retired recently » Mon May 14, 2018 5:22 am

Son likes to program and has done so up til now using windows-based computers. We are buying him a MacBook Pro as it seems they are the computer of preference for many that program plus we thought he should know how to use both systems. Hopefully he likes it and it is a good machine as they are not cheap...

bondsr4me
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Re: College laptop for fall 2018 freshman

Post by bondsr4me » Mon May 14, 2018 5:54 am

retired recently wrote:
Mon May 14, 2018 5:22 am
Son likes to program and has done so up til now using windows-based computers. We are buying him a MacBook Pro as it seems they are the computer of preference for many that program plus we thought he should know how to use both systems. Hopefully he likes it and it is a good machine as they are not cheap...
I bought my very first MBP in 2006 and still have it; occasionally use it; but I also bought a second one in 2015 which is my main machine.

They are without a doubt the best laptop on the market.

You made an excellent choice in getting the MBP.
Apple has lately “stumbled a bit”, but Apple will make things right.

My wife and I each own a 2015 MBP; an iPhone 6s Plus; an iPad Pro with the Apple Pencil.

And just to prove I am not a “fanboy”, we also each own a Microsoft SP4 which is a very good machine too.

Have a great week,

Dpon

HeftyLefty
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Re: College laptop for fall 2018 freshman

Post by HeftyLefty » Mon May 14, 2018 9:09 am

bondsr4me wrote:
Mon May 14, 2018 5:54 am
retired recently wrote:
Mon May 14, 2018 5:22 am
Son likes to program and has done so up til now using windows-based computers. We are buying him a MacBook Pro as it seems they are the computer of preference for many that program plus we thought he should know how to use both systems. Hopefully he likes it and it is a good machine as they are not cheap...
I bought my very first MBP in 2006 and still have it; occasionally use it; but I also bought a second one in 2015 which is my main machine.

They are without a doubt the best laptop on the market.

You made an excellent choice in getting the MBP.
Apple has lately “stumbled a bit”, but Apple will make things right.

My wife and I each own a 2015 MBP; an iPhone 6s Plus; an iPad Pro with the Apple Pencil.

And just to prove I am not a “fanboy”, we also each own a Microsoft SP4 which is a very good machine too.

Have a great week,

Dpon

I'd second this. I cycled through (admittedly cheaper) PCs every 3-4 years for quite a while, and while they generally ran great at the start, they were quick to slow down and pick up viruses, and the last year with them was always excruciating. I bought a refurbished 2012 MacBook pro, and while it was more expensive, it's still running strong.

I just recently upgraded the RAM and hard drive to boost performance, but otherwise it's been excellent for basic computer work for 6 years and required zero other maintenance. Im sure I can get at least another 2 years out of it with my upgrades (note that I dont think you can personally upgrade the hard drives on newer mac models). In the end buying one MacBook pro was almost definitely significantly cheaper, given that I'd likely go through 2+ PCs over same period

As others mentioned, a side bonus is that macs are all over campuses and the tech industry, so it's helpful to be able use them now that I'm familiar with the OS
Last edited by HeftyLefty on Mon May 14, 2018 10:52 am, edited 1 time in total.

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oldcomputerguy
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Re: College laptop for fall 2018 freshman

Post by oldcomputerguy » Mon May 14, 2018 9:17 am

I was discussing this very topic the other day with DW (we have two nieces graduating high school this week and going on to college). She pointed out that it would be good to check with the college to see if they have any particular requirements. From what little I've heard, some colleges are downright anal about what sort of computer the incoming student may or may not use to prepare their assignments.

Seems foolish to me to have such a requirement, but I'm not on the board of any college, so I guess my opinion is not relevant.
:annoyed
It’s taken me a lot of years, but I’ve come around to this: If you’re dumb, surround yourself with smart people. And if you’re smart, surround yourself with smart people who disagree with you.

shawndoggy
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Re: College laptop for fall 2018 freshman

Post by shawndoggy » Mon May 14, 2018 9:59 am

So I actually followed the groupthink in fall of 17, buying my son a 13" Dell XPS laptop (4k/i7/512 ssd/16gb ram) using the costco/citi visa to get the 4 year warranty. On paper the specs were equivalent to a mbp costing $1000 more.

Let's just say in practice the computer itself hasn't been great. it runs VERY hot, has lost a battery, and has had to have the motherboard replaced. Even after several service visits, battery life is disappointing (5-6 hours max, no way can he get 10 as was advertised) Son doesn't trust the computer much.

We all wish we'd have ponied up for a 13" macbook pro. Between my wife and I we've owned three MBPs over the past 10 years and each has been bulletproof. The other thing that's hard to discount is their build quality. They are "overpriced," yes. But they are also built to take a beating.

Alternatively, I wish that if I was going to insist on the Dell, that I'd have bought a refurb from Dell with the 4 year onsite warranty rather than the dell+citi extended basic warranty. Dell's basic consumer-level warranty service is definitely sub par compared to apple's (though as noted, you can buy your way up on warranty service)

IMHO, YMMV, etc etc.
Last edited by shawndoggy on Mon May 14, 2018 10:01 am, edited 1 time in total.

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