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Pittsburgh Parenting Blog by Sewickley Academy

Sewickley Academy's Private School Blog

What Type of Laptop Do I Need?

What Type of Laptop Do I Need?

Whether you're browsing the aisles of your local retailer or an online reseller, you can expect to find many choices in the laptop department. Which type of laptop you choose depends primarily on personal preferences and how you intend to use it.

Below are a few laptops at different price points that I recommend for our students here at Sewickley Academy:


Device

Cost

Operating
System

Doc. editing, “Cloud” work, email, Skype

Video editing, digital art, saving files on the device

Gaming

Samsung Chromebook 2

$249

Chrome OS

Yes

No

No

Inspiron 15 5000

$649

Windows

Yes

Yes

Yes

Apple MacBook Air – 13-inch

$999

Mac OS

Yes

Yes

No

 

Some things to consider:

  • If you have additional computers in the home and plan to use the laptop primarily for schoolwork, and to occasionally watch movies, browse social media sites, and check your email, then consider a low-priced Chromebook.
  • If you don't plan to do anything too strenuous (like game-playing or video editing), choose a traditional laptop. This type of computer is equally good for lightweight tasks like watching movies and social media, as well as day-to-day productivity work in traditional desktop applications.
  • If your work includes using more demanding applications, such as photo or video editing, or if you are a gamer, then choose a higher-end laptop, like a MacBook.
  • If you need to combine serious work with lightweight portability, and price isn’t a big factor, invest in a high-end “ultrabook” laptop.
  • Give some consideration to the existing expertise in the family. If parents or older siblings have a lot of familiarity with a certain type of computer or operating system, consider these resources in the context of troubleshooting.

 

Try to get the best value for your money, especially when it comes to the amount of hard disk or internal storage included, the size of the display, the amount of internal memory; and don’t forget battery life! 

While you may not end up purchasing from a local retailer, I recommend you visit one to browse the devices in person. Be sure to test-drive the keyboard and the trackpad, and make sure they're comfortable and responsive.  Likewise, check the screen: is it glossy and therefore heavy on the glare?  Whenever possible, lay your hands on a device before buying it; determine how sturdily it is constructed. Make sure you choose a model you can personally live with, both in terms of style and functionality.

Free guide to help you evaluate a school for your child.

Topics: Technology

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