Personal computers are, for some student, the single most important item in their dorm or apartment, with wallet or purse following closely behind. College students are spending more and more time on these devices, to either accomplish work or to socialize online.
A good chunk of high school seniors may not have their own laptops just yet, so a guide for them through this technology jungle is in order.
My laptop is a 15-inch MacBook Pro, which I began using in August 2010. The sticker price of about $1,600 is daunting for many prospective buyers, however, it is one of the most durable computers on the market. After almost two and a half years of use, I have not needed to replace the battery, the Internet and all other programs are still operating quickly, and it is quite portable for its size.
I replaced the charger this past August, which was past its prime and could no longer last a full charge cycle without me jiggling the wire. Other than that, the computer has worked like a dream.
The hefty price looks frightening, but MacBooks can last six to seven years if treated well, and perhaps even longer if maintained outstandingly. Other devices that have lower prices work well in the short term, but may be good for two to three years because of susceptibility to viruses, something the MacBooks are much less prone to.
As for using computers at school, there seems to be a MacBook monopoly within the student body. Two of my roommates use them, and nearly everyone on my school newspaper staff owns one. The fact that these models are lighter, faster and more durable seem to be why we’re seeing their rapid popularity.
Computers are not the only devices that students are using though. Over the last year or so, tablet sales have been on the rise among students who find them helpful during lectures. The obvious advantages with tablets are that they are much more affordable than most laptops and undoubtedly more portable.
There is a slight learning curve with tablets though. Learning to type on a tablet at the same speed and accuracy as a normal keyboard takes time to master. Then again, that’s why Apple and other tablet manufacturers made an attachable computer keyboard for the device.
Every school should have its own IT department that is open daily for student use. If the computer gives someone a hard time -- like not loading programs properly or if it catches a virus -- the IT department should be able to give it a diagnostics test and remedy any issues for free.
However, dropping computers and breaking them or causing significant damage to them in some other way will require a trip to the store for repair. Or, if you have an extensive warranty, you can get a new one off the rack.
The MacBook Pro comes with a one-year warranty, but purchasing a three-year warranty is in your best interest. Changing the battery charger didn’t cost anything because it was covered in the warranty, and many other issues could be fixed if the warranty is bought.
The semester is right around the corner for some, and for many it has already started. Minimize the browser with the games on it and open up a new spreadsheet or word document, because it’s back to work.