Gone are the days when students sat in their classrooms and lecture theatres scribbling down notes on scrappy bits of paper. Today’s must-haves are laptops and tablets, which are not only great for taking down facts quickly and easily, but also mean that a whole world of information is quite literally at your fingertips.
A Hardware Choice | You may be torn between whether to get a laptop or tablet to help you with your studies, so first of all you must decide exactly what you are going to use it for. Do you need a keyboard to type out thousands of words or simply something that will allow you to access the internet quickly and easily?
You also need to decide where you will use it most, as this will determine how much you need to consider the battery life of the product you choose. Screen size is another factor to think about, especially if you are likely to have to view technical drawings or large pictures. Also consider how much memory and storage you need. A film-studies student, for example, may need much more storage space than a maths undergraduate.
Strike a Budget Balance | The cost of the technology you buy is likely to be a major factor when making your choice. Ideally, try to strike a budget balance by spending enough to get the features you need but not wasting money on a lot of optional extras and leaving yourself without money to eat throughout the whole of your first term.
Laptop Tips | The GB or gigabytes a laptop has dictates how much storage space it has, just as the RAM refers to memory. Go for the highest figure you can afford if this is likely to be an issue for you. You also need to decide whether you want a hard-disk drive (HHD) or solid-state drive (SSD). The former is great if you need a higher storage capacity but SSDs can be faster and more efficient.
There are many software options available, but every student should make sure they have something such as Office Student. The Asus X102BA Touch Laptop, available from John Lewis, has both MS Office Home and Student 2013 pre-installed.
If you think you will have the time for gaming as well as studying, you may want to consider investing in a laptop with a dedicated graphics card such as the MSI GP70 2PE-026UK Leopard 17.3-inch Gaming Laptop, available from Amazon.
Take a Tablet | In general, tablets are not as multi-functional as laptops for student use, but there is no doubt that they are still very cool. If you do decide that this is the right choice for you, then the iPad is still the leader of pack. Grab an Apple iPad 16GB Mini from Ebuyer for less than £250.
Combination Option | There are products on the market that mean you do not have to make the difficult decision about whether to choose a laptop or a tablet. The Asus Transformer Book Trio TX201LA i7 Laptop, for example, can be a laptop, a tablet or a desktop PC. This is available from a wide variety of retailers, including Value Basket.