Buying Notebook Computers for College Students
Recently a friend of ours from the Midwest asked us whether she should to buy a PC or a Mac computer for her daughter to take to college. The daughter’s existing notebook computer (a HP consumer grade PC) was in the shop and would require $150 to get it going again. While her daughter wanted a Mac, my friend was concerned with the higher cost. She also asked my opinion on new versus refurbished computers.
There are certainly those who advocate Macbooks and these computers are generally well made. However, I told her that I prefer business class notebooks because they will provide a lower cost of ownership over the life of the computer. These business lines include, but not limited to, the HP ProBook, Lenovo ThinkPad, Lenovo ThinkPad Edge, Toshiba Satellite Pro, Toshiba Tecra and Dell Latitude. I also think the Acer TravelMate gives you a very good value. Business class notebooks may cost more than a regular consumer notebook but are built more rugged and will, therefore, last longer. They will give you about an equal, if not greater, lifespan to a Macbook but will be about half the price.
So, how do you shop for a business class computer? A nearly fool-proof way to determine whether a notebook computer is business class is to check what operating system is being used. Windows Home Premium and Windows 7 Professional are the operating systems of choice for consumer grade, and business grade computers, respectively. Because Windows 7 Professional has more features and costs more than Windows 7 Home Premium, it will not be used by manufacturers on the low cost, consumer grade notebook computers.
Our own children went to college with factory refurbished HP ProBooks. A factory refurbished computer looks and performs like a new computer but costs less. Factory refurbished notebook computers usually have similar technology to new notebook computers, and include a 1-year manufacturer warranty as an added value.
So, my answer? Buy a business class notebook computer, either refurbished or new. This type of computer should be able to last through being carried around in a backpack every day and take a little abuse. Such is the life of a college student’s computer.
Wade Cantrell – owner, call (925)827-1200
Cantrell’s Computer Sales and Service