A tech expert’s guide on finding the best laptop for college

With the new college year on everyone’s minds, you may be looking to buy a new laptop for the student in your family. When searching for a new laptop, the first and most important thing to consider is the course they will be attending, as this will steer you on what features they may need.

Muriel Graham, Head of Computing at Currys Ireland, looks at the four main student types and outlines what to look out for when choosing a new laptop, giving them all of the power they need without breaking the bank - The All-Rounder, The Business Student, The Creator and The Coder

The All Rounder:

For students starting research or more essay-based courses like Arts, English, or Law, the key thing is to find something reliable, both for while they’re getting through course work and for whenever they find a bit of free time. Not only does this mean you don’t have to look for devices with features and specs that they don’t really need, but it can also help to find something lightweight and portable, ideal for a busy student on the go.

HP 14s-dq2524sa 14" Laptop - Intel® Core™ i3, 128 GB SSD, Silver - €379.00

ASUS Vivobook 15 X1500EA 15.6" Laptop - Intel® Core™ i3, 256 GB SSD, Black -  €429.00

Processors:

In terms of processor, essentially the brain of the laptop, consider models with Intel Core i3 or AMD Ryzen 3. These can comfortably run word processor-based programs and standard browser-based tasks like checking emails, research and streaming YouTube.

Storage:

For storage, Currys would recommend these students consider a Chromebook . As Chromebooks are cloud based, meaning the majority of the apps run from cloud as opposed to an internal hard drive, you need far less storage space. Chromebooks with 128GB storage would be sufficient to handle your student’s needs

The Business Student:

For undergrads enrolled in courses like Business, Marketing or Accountancy, Currys would recommend an upgrade in terms of spec. A business student will need a decent processor to get through large amounts of data or hop from one program to another.

ASUS Vivobook 16 X1605EA 16" Laptop - Intel® Core™ i5, 512 GB SSD, Silver - €659.00

ASUS Vivobook 16X K3605ZF 16" Laptop - Intel® Core™ i5, 512 GB SSD, Silver - €1,099.00

Processors:

The Intel Core i5 & AMD Ryzen 5 are both pretty powerful processors, suited for tasks that require more processing power, such as streaming high-res videos or basic video or photo editing.

Outside of that, a long battery life is crucial, as well as a screen that won’t strain their eyes too much during a mammoth study session.

Storage:

For storage, 256GB to 512GB should be enough to run a wide range of programs as well as store any files or assignments.

The Creator:

When it comes to graphic design, multimedia or any other courses that use intensive creative software, a high-performance laptop is a must have investment. These programs can put serious strain on a laptop so it’s crucial to ensure your new purchase is up to the job.

MSI GF63 Thin 15.6" Gaming Laptop - Intel® Core™ i5, RTX 3050, 512 GB SSD - €779.00

HP 14s-dq2514SA 14" Laptop - Intel® Core i7, 512 GB SSD, Silver - €749.00

Processors:

In terms of processor, Intel Core i7 and AMD Ryzen 7 deliver enhanced processing power and are specifically designed for media-editing and media-creation tasks, high-end gaming, and similar demanding workloads.

Storage:

For storage, even if you invest in an external hard drive for your child, Currys recommends at least between 512GB to 1TB storage space on the laptop itself for work in progress.

Gaming laptops are a great, overall option for budding creators with huge amounts of storage, high performance processors and a dedicated graphics card. They are also a very cost-effective option for high performance laptops.

The Coder:

Similar to the creator, Currys advises students enrolled in courses like Computer Science, ​Web Design,​ Data Analytics​ to invest in spec. Speed, performance, power, display and battery life are all key for the budding coder/web developer.

HP ENVY x360 15.6" 2 in 1 Laptop - AMD Ryzen™ 7, 512 GB SSD, Black - €1,079.00

LENOVO IdeaPad Flex 5i 14" 2 in 1 Laptop - Intel® Core™ i7, 512 GB SSD, Blue - €829.00

Processors:

The Intel Core i7 and AMD Ryzen 7 are excellent processor options here too.

Storage:

These students also tend to use quite task intensive programs, so a minimum of 512GB of SSD storage is needed to keep the laptop running smoothly.

If college tech is top of your to do list, Currys has a massive range of laptops starting from just €199. For those looking for extra advice, Currys has a team of experts across 16 stores nationwide. You can also check out Currys’ extended range, online at www.currys.ie

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