This week, Avram Piltch discusses some of the best technology to send your kids with when they return back to school. Whether they're returning to college or starting high school, certain technology pieces can enhance their learning.
For those who already have a laptop, there are a few items that can make using it a little better. For example, an external keyboard makes typing those long papers less stressful on the wrists. A larger external monitor can also help with the overall ergonomics of your desk setup, preventing a lot of neck strain looking down at a laptop. You can also make small upgrades to the laptop to speed it up, including adding additional RAM or replacing a traditional hard drive with an SSD.
If you are looking for a new laptop, it's important to consider the usage. For example, a school-age student should look into what technology their school is using. While many schools use Windows, because it is the global norm, others are beginning to adopt Chromebooks because they can be less expensive for schools. Unfortunately, it creates a difficult scenario for parents, who are unlikely to be familiar with the operating system.
For college students, however, there are some common things to look for. Ideally, a budget between $800 and $1200 will get you a great laptop for college students. You can get a great model with long battery life, so you can take notes in all of your classes, enough RAM to run any software needed for class, and enough storage to not have to fight with external disks. Tom's Hardware offered their editors' advice on buying a new laptop for students, in which Avram said,
I recommend a lightweight Ultrabook such as the Asus Zenbook, HP Envy 13t or Dell XPS 13. If you want a 2-in-1 (better for sketching), consider the HP Spectre x360.
Scott is a developer who has worked on projects of varying sizes, including all of the PLuGHiTz Corporation properties. He is also known in the gaming world for his time supporting the DDR community, through DDRLover and hosting tournaments throughout the Tampa Bar Area. Currently, when he is not working on software projects or hosting F5 Live: Refreshing Technology, Scott can often be found returning to his high school days working with the Foundation for Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST), mentoring teams and judging engineering notebooks at competitions. He has also helped found a student software learning group, the ASCII Warriors.
Avram's been in love with PCs since he played original Castle Wolfenstein on an Apple II+. Before joining Tom's Hardware, for 10 years, he served as Online Editorial Director for sister sites Tom's Guide and Laptop Mag, where he programmed the CMS and many of the benchmarks. When he's not editing, writing or stumbling around trade show halls, you'll find him building Arduino robots with his son and watching every single superhero show on the CW.