How to find a laptop that won't break your student budget

Staff Writer By Staff Writer - June 25th, 2015
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The semester's winding down, and some of you may be thinking about upgrading from those 5-year-old laptops that are on the last leg of their lifecycles. 

Although you're in the market for a new laptop, that doesn't mean you want to spend $1,200 on a new machine - and you don't have to. The make and model is up to you, but we've figured out how to find a reliable laptop that won't empty your bank account. 

Figure out what you'll use it for

Some of you may be able to afford a $700 machine, but for those looking for something around the $300-range, you may have to pay closer attention to what sort of programmes you'll be running. 

If you plan on sticking to Microsoft Office, Google Docs and other basic productivity software, you won't need an Intel i7-550U processor and 16 gigabytes of RAM. For those of you who aren't familiar with hardware - these components can be quite expensive, and are often catered to hard-core gamers, video production editors and so forth. 

Lightweight and durable 

If you have three classes in one day, two of which take place on the opposite ends of the school. You don't want to be carrying around a laptop that weighs 3 kilograms. You can find a device that weighs less than a kilogram and still have all the basic components you need to get work done. 

That being said, you're going to want a laptop that can hold its own - especially if you're prone to dropping miscellaneous items. You don't need a rugged device - those that are specifically designed for factories and construction sites, but make sure it can take a few hits. 

Battery life 

Being a student, you may find yourself working in the library until closing time rolls around. What are you to do if an electrical outlet isn't available?

Consider how much juice a laptop's battery has. You don't want to be writing that 40-page paper on "Crime and Punishment" and have your device suddenly turn off. 

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