What the Tech? Picking the right laptop

(ABC 6 News) – This is the best time of year to buy back-to-school supplies and that includes laptops. Wherever you shop you’ll find computers on sale. If you’re buying for a student you may be wondering what they need and how much you’ll have to spend.

There’s an excellent chance if you ask your college-bound student what kind of computer they want, they’ll say a Macbook. Is it because that’s what they need or because that’s what all the other students use? Here’s what you need to know.:

Macbooks are generally more expensive than other laptops. The Macbook Pro starts at $1100 and these are good for students who do more than write papers. They’re great for video editing, graphics, or other intensive projects. You’ll spend more than you need to if all they’re going to do is use the computer to browse the web and work on freshman-year projects.

If their minds are set on a Macbook and you don’t mind spending the money, the Macbook Air is more than enough for everyone else. They’re still generally more expensive than PC laptops if you get the latest version. Last year’s Macbook Air with an M1 processor starts at $850. Older models are less expensive but you probably don’t want to go too far back. Check out Apple’s Refurbished listings at www.apple.com and on www.bhphoto.com.

BHPhoto can also save you money if you apply for one of its credit cards. The New York family-owned company will refund the amount of tax on products purchased from the website. On an expensive item such as a laptop, you can save over $100.

Apple has a great program for students offering some pretty good discounts provided you have their .edu email address.

If your student is a gamer they’d like a gaming PC. These have powerful graphics cards and processors so they’re great for all video editing and graphics work. They’re expensive, starting at around $800. Basic PCs are fine for students doing basic school work and start at around $400.

The least expensive basic PC laptops are often heavier than other PCs so you’ll want to consider the weight because students will be taking them across campus in a backpack. Another thing to consider with the more inexpensive PCs is that they may not last as long as the higher-priced choices. Still, two $400 laptop PCs are cheaper than one gaming laptop.

Then there are Chromebooks. These don’t run software like Microsoft Word and Excel. Chromebooks are web-based and connect to the internet and the cloud. They will run any web-based programs. These are fine for students who likely will use Google programs like Docs, Sheets, and Gmail.

If it’s on the internet, they can do it with a Chromebook. These are very light and the most inexpensive laptops available, starting at under $200. A determining factor is how long they’ll use the laptop. higher-end PCs and Mac laptops should last well past 4 years of college. As they advance in classes and assignments they may grow out of a Chromebook. Then again, you can buy about 5 Chromebooks for the price of one Macbook Pro.

It isn’t an easy decision. So take these things into consideration: How long will they need to use the laptop? Just through college or a few years after? Will they need to use software programs? You can’t go wrong with a Macbook Pro or Macbook Air but you could be spending more money than you need to.