Laptop shopping? Several things to consider, especially for students – WRAL.com

Whether it’s for writing papers, taking notes or streaming video on the weekends, laptops are a must for college students.

But parents and their college-aged kids need to make sure they choose the right model that can handle a diverse set of needs.

First, check with your individual school to see which machines are most compatible. Most colleges will say either Windows or Apple, but some schools within the college may use applications that only run on one or the other.

“On college campuses, you’re going to see a lot of Apple laptops,” Consumer Reports’ Rich Fisco said. “Except when you go to an engineering building, in which case you’ll see a lot of Windows laptops.”

Price is the next consideration.

“Apple laptops tend to be expensive. You’re probably going to pay $1,000 or more for anything they have to offer. But in our survey, they are the most reliable,” Fisco said. “But Windows laptops offer a much wider range of pricing. You can pay as little as $200. Or you can pay as much as a Mac, or even more.”

Consumer Reports says 13-inch laptops offer a good compromise between screen size and weight for students on the go.

Recommended models include the MacBook Pro for $1,300 and the $1,000 Dell XPS non-touch. For those looking to spend less, Consumer Reports recommends the 14-inch Acer Aspire, which is a best buy at $700.

Consumer Reports says those in the market for a computer should look for discounts. Apple offers discounted education pricing on laptops, and Microsoft offers discounts of 10 percent of more.

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