Laptops are an essential item for students today who use them as an integral part of their studies, in lectures and for collaboration.
According to research done by the Pew Internet Project in America, close on 90% of students in universities and colleges have laptops and 100% use the Internet.
The University of Michigan’s Centre for Research on Learning and Teaching concludes from research done that laptops have a positive learning effect when teachers use them in an intentional manner, such as for Internet research, presentations and shared resources.
Nursing student, Rachelle Macaulay, says that she takes her laptop to class to follow her lecturers’ slides and course-related Internet videos.
Most universities have Intranets for the students and lecturers to share information.
Kendra Hudson, a Sport Science student at the University of Stellenbosch, said that students have laptops because they need to get information from their departmental Intranet pages which their lecturers post online for them. The university has computer rooms, but not many people use them, preferring to use their laptops at home or in their residence rooms.
Considering the important role laptops play in a student’s life, what are the core criteria to look at when buying one?
The first check-list item is laptops need to be light and portable if they are to be taken to class
Recently, there has been a move towards ultrabooks – laptops which are small and light yet are strong and powerful.
Jimmy Gumede, from the Wits University Computer and Networks Service Desk, said that the major benefit students get from an ultrabook is portability.
Screen Size and Resolution
A 13,3 inch screen is a good size to take to lectures: not too small, but big enough to view spreadsheets and documents, and it should have a resolution of at least 1920 x 1080 to give you an ultra-crisp display.
Durability is another important factor, especially if you are carrying your laptop around with you. In this regard, a metal body is preferable to a plastic one.
On campus, students do not always have access to a power outlet, and cables can be a hassle, so battery life is a crucial consideration.
Performance and Specs
It’s no good buying a laptop that is small and robust, but doesn’t get the job done. Performance is important and the laptop has to be fast enough not to frustrate you or hinder your work. The processing power needs to match your uses.
Matthew Spring, recent Civil Engineering graduate of the Cape Peninsula University of Technology, said that he looked for a laptop that would be able to run the programmes they used in their course.
According to the University of Stellenbosch’s student computer helpline, a processing power equivalent of at least the Intel i3 would be recommended.
As far as memory goes, 4GB to 8GB RAM, and storage from 128GB upwards is ample.
Kendra Hudson said, “When I bought my laptop, I looked for one that has lots of memory, knowing that I’d have many essays to do and notes to save.”
Longevity is something to keep in mind. It is worth paying extra to get a laptop which goes the distance of a four-year course.
Matthew Spring said that when looking for a laptop to buy as a student, “I mainly looked for a laptop that would be able to last.”
Taking these criteria into consideration, students would be advised to look at the ASUS ZenBooks which more than just cover these bases and are becoming a popular choice for students. They are slim and lightweight with a solid aluminium build. Their battery life is a competitive 10 hours, and their other specs put them in the category of powerful, fast and stylish laptops.
Based on information obtained from GFK (Gesellschaft für Konsumforschung, Germany’s largest market research institute), the ASUS ZenBooks are number one in the world market for ultra-slim 13 inch Windows laptops.
In a review, Trustedreview.com said, “The level of build, display and battery life are unparalleled – this would be a super ultrabook for any student.”