If you are planning on going back to school, particularly if you are going to be studying for your degree online, then a new laptop is probably going to be an essential purchase. As a student, you’ll likely be using your laptop on a daily basis for researching, browsing, writing assignments, putting together presentations, and accessing your online learning portal to keep up to date with the latest learning materials and keep in contact with your tutor. So, choosing the right laptop for the job is an absolute must. Whilst you can do your online degree on a desktop PC, many students recommend getting a laptop instead as the portability of these devices make it easier to take your work with you anywhere, whether you want to study at your local library, favorite coffee shop or café, or even while on vacation. Here, we’ve put together some top tips to keep in mind when choosing a new laptop for returning to school.

1. Consider What You’ll Be Doing on It:

Different laptops come with a range of different features, so it’s worth considering what you plan to use it for on a regular basis before determining which options are going to be the best fit for your needs. For example, if you are studying for your executive online MBA, you’ll likely need a laptop that’s great for word processing and has a great quality built-in webcam so you can make the best impression on those video networking calls. On the other hand, if you’re studying for a creative degree such as graphic design, a laptop with a strong graphics card and enough space to easily store and run all the design software you’re going to be using is essential.

2. Avoid Getting a Tablet Instead:

Whilst it might be tempting to get a tablet instead of a laptop, it’s worth bearing in mind that as advanced as today’s tablets are, they still can’t do everything that a laptop can. The software available for laptops is typically much more powerful than anything that you can get for a tablet, especially when it comes to word processing and other Office-type software programs that you will be using on a regular basis as a student. If you really want a tablet, it might be worth considering a two-in-one style laptop that has a detachable screen which can be used as a tablet when you need one.

3. You Get What You Pay For:

Today, there’s certainly no shortage of inexpensive laptop options available, especially the TCL 5 Series vs 6 Series even though it could be tempting to save money by investing in a cheaper Chromebook instead, for example. However, whilst Chromebooks can be very cost-effective and a great choice for simple tasks such as browsing the web, they might not be the best option for a busy online student. The simple reason for this is that you can’t download software onto a Chromebook; since they are fully cloud-based, everything that you do will require an internet connection, which you may not always have. So, if you want to spend some time working on an assignment in an area where you’ve not got Wi-Fi, it won’t be possible on a Chromebook compared to a laptop with Microsoft Word downloaded and installed.

4. Consider the Portability

Portable, lightweight laptops are often the best option for busy online students who want to take their work with them as often as possible. If you plan to take your studies on vacation with you, for example, or if you want to travel the world whilst earning your degree, then the last thing that you want is add too much extra weight to your cases. Ultrabooks are highly recommended for students; these super-lightweight Windows laptops inspired by the success of Apple’s MacBook Air model are ideal, or, if you have the money to spare, reviewers consistently recommend Apple’s 13-inch MacBook Air as it is a nice size for slotting easily into your bag, weighs in at just under three pounds, and was recently upgraded to have a 12-hour battery life, which is perfect for studying on the go.

5. Invest in Better Specs:

When you’re studying for an online degree, you can expect your laptop to need to last you for at least the next couple of years or more, depending on the type of program that you are taking. So, it’s a wise idea to invest more now in better specifications, compared to spending less on an inexpensive laptop that you could end up needing to replace after just a short amount of time. Buying a super inexpensive laptop could be saving in the short-term, but you’re likely going to be getting one with a slower processor and poorer graphics performance, which is going to cause you problems and even end up costing you more over time. The CPU, graphics chip, RAM, optical drive, overall storage space and whether the laptop has 4G connectivity are some important specs to consider spending more money on when purchasing.

6. Consider a Refurbished Laptop:

You can find yourself in a sticky situation if you want to get the best laptop for studying but are on a tight budget. But, the good news is that instead of restricting yourself to buying only inexpensive and cheaply-made laptops that might need to replaced after just a short amount of time, you could consider refurbished laptops to help you really get your money’s worth. Often, refurbished laptops have either had nothing wrong with them at all – retailers may still be required to sell as refurbished if the box has been opened – or have been expertly repaired to an extremely hiAgh standard. And, if you buy your refurbished laptop from a reputable retailer with a good warranty, you can rest assured that any issues you do have will be dealt with swiftly so that you can get on with earning your degree.

If you’re considering studying for an online degree, getting the right laptop for the job is an important first step.

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