Laptop Buying Guide for College Students – What to Look For

Whether you’re a college student purchasing your first laptop, or you’re a parent of a college student who wants to gift your child with an upgraded device, there are several things to be mindful of when shopping for laptops. Laptops are popular thanks to their portability, giving people all the productivity tools they’d find in a desktop in a sleek and lightweight design. They can be used on the go, in class, or at home, making them highly versatile. But portability isn’t the only selling feature. 

This laptop buying guide will help you sort through the options and find the best one for your needs.

Think Streamlined and Sleek in Terms of Size

The first thing shoppers often notice is the variety of screen sizes available. You’ll find everything from 12″-18″ leaving you confused as to which is the best. Experts usually suggest landing somewhere in the middle, especially if you’ll be using the device on the go. A 14″-15″ screen is usually perfect for college students, as it’s big enough to clearly see what’s on the screen but not so big that it becomes cumbersome to take to class.

Because mid-sized screens are so popular, it also tends to be where the most variety can be found, giving you options where price and other specs are concerned.

Do Your Courses Have Specific System/Software Requirements?

It’s also a good idea to look at the course calendar to see if any of the classes have specific software or system requirements. This tends to be the case with more technical-based classes. You certainly don’t want to purchase a laptop that is obsolete from the get-go.

Opt for a Mid-Range Processor or Higher

When it comes to the brain of the computer, which is the processor, it’s always smart to aim for mid-range or higher. Again, it’s about ensuring that the laptop is not just adequate but will meet their needs for at least a couple of years. Generally speaking, an Intel Core of i5 or higher should be the baseline.

Do You Want a 2-in-1?

A hot trend in the world of laptops right now is 2-in-1 devices. These have a bend-back or removable screen that then acts as a standalone tablet. They’re highly versatile, very lightweight and sleek. The price point can also be a little lower than a standard laptop, but keep in mind that the specs also differ and may not be what is needed.

Take Advantage of Back-to-School Sales

The final tip is to take advantage of the back-to-school sales that tend to start in early summer. These sales can allow you to purchase an upgraded laptop without having to go over budget. is one site to watch if you’re keen on getting a device on sale.

Buying a laptop for college use requires research and basic knowledge of the features and specs of the device. As an informed shopper you’ll be able to make a purchase decision that you feel comfortable with.