Laptop tips for back to school time

(NC) -- As another school year draws closer, weighing technology options is probably the furthest things from the minds of parents and students.


While both agree that laptops are a requirement, they have different views on what to look for in a laptop. According to a national survey of 1,000 Canadians, 23 per cent of students considered support for gaming a priority in a laptop, compared to only 10 per cent of parents.


“There are many laptop options available for work and play,” says Toshiba's education specialist Trevor Dantas. “The key is to decide what the machine's primary function will be and narrow down the features you require.”


• Functionality – Consider whether you are looking for a laptop that will be solely used for schoolwork or for entertainment as well. Certain school-related programs are more graphics-intensive and you need to be sure you have a machine that can keep up. Remember that gaming requires a faster-than-average processor and a quality video card.


• Mobility – Decide how portable you want the device to be. A smaller laptop will fit easily and more comfortably in a backpack while a larger system is better suited to being a primary work and entertainment hub that won't leave home very often.


• Durability – Mobility increases the wear and tear on a laptop and nothing is more important than data to a hardworking student. Look for systems that feature hard drive shock protectors to shield data from accidental drops to ensure that files remain intact.


• User-friendliness – The rise in popularity of touch screen tablets has led to a new generation of laptops featuring touch screen technology. These units let students operate in a touch screen environment, which they are increasingly familiar with, or opt for full keyboard functionality depending on their preference.


• Convenience – Think about other devices you may need to connect to your laptop, to decide how many USB and HDMI ports you'll require. Certain USB ports can remain functional even when the laptop is off to charge your cell phone or play music through the laptop speakers.


Once you know the features you need it's time to compare products in store or online and consider secondary factors such as price, brand and overall aesthetics.


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