Thursday, August 5, 2010
Posted by Chris Gohlke in "Other Laptops & Netbooks" @ 03:00 AM
"You didn't think we'd let back to school season roll around without rounding up the latest gear, did you? Good, because here at Engadget we understand that not only is heading off to college nerve wracking, but picking out the best gadgets can as equally scary. We couldn't think of kicking off our back to school guide with anything but our top netbook / laptop choices since, you know, a good performing and well-rounded machine is absolutely essential for those hours of Facebook stalking, err of homework and studying. No matter what your budget, we've got you covered with recommendations and loads of mobile computing options."
I usually find that most of these guides recommend more horsepower than is really necessary. I see too many parents investing in a high-powered machine for their first years student with the plan that it will last them all four years. I usually recommend a pretty low end laptop for the first two years. Even a low end netbook can surf the web for research and run your basic office apps. They can also handle Hulu and Netflix streaming for entertainment needs. But the laptop is probably the better choice just for the larger screen/keyboard/DVD drive. They should also invest in an external backup solution and be religious about using it, if not, that first lost paper the night before it is due is going to be a painful lesson. Next, I recommend taking that big pile of money you saved by going cheap and putting it aside for when you get that call that your child's laptop has been lost/stolen/breaks. Finally, by the time they've reached their junior year and are in a specific program that might require specialized software and a higher powered computer, hopefully with market price declines you may still have enough left over to buy a more powerful machine than you originally planned to buy when they first started school.