Dear Dr. Dave and Dr. Dee,
Our daughter will be heading off to college, and she will need a computer. We were going to fly down with her to help set up her dorm room and then shop for a new desktop computer while there. However, some parents told us to get her a laptop. Is this the best choice for college students?
Not computer savvy
Dear Not computer savvy,
Mobile computers such as laptops, netbooks, or tablets are very popular because of their convenience and portability. Students can carry the mobile computers to class and work virtually anywhere on or off campus. Netbooks and tablets main advantages over laptops are that they are smaller and very lightweight. Netbooks generally cost less than the other mobile computers.
The mobility advantage is also its main disadvantage of portable computers. Laptops, netbooks, and tablets are easily stolen and can never be left unattended. Another potential disadvantage of mobile computers versus desktops are that some folks prefer the standard desktop keyboard rather than the flat keyboard or virtual keyboard of mobile computers. If a large screen size is important, then a desktop or laptop is best. In addition, some portable computers do not have an internal CD/DVD drive.
It would be a good idea to contact the college IT (Information Technology) staff and see what they recommend. Some colleges strongly recommend laptops or notebooks for certain majors. In addition, the college may offer discounts on computers, software, and technical support.
There are hundreds of computers from which to choose, so to help you get started, below are brands that have been top rated by cnet.com.
BEST DESKTOP COMPUTERS: Apple iMac, Gateway, Origin, Velocity
BEST LAPTOPS: Apple MacBook, HP
BEST TABLETS: Apple iPad, Asus Pad, Sony Tablet, Samsung Tab
BEST ULTRABOOKS (NETBOOKS): HP, Dell, Toshiba
For more information, go to cnet.com