Choosing a new laptop for your College Student (or for Real Estate)

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Real Estate Services with The Real Estate Tech Desk

Choosing a new laptop for your College Student (or yourself)

 

     First I want to Thank Margaret Woda for this blog idea, I was talking with her a few days ago, about a few of her computer issues, and told her how I've been dry with blog idea's.   She came up with a few ideas for me, this being one of them...  I don't know why I didn't think of this one myself, since I've spent a few days with my younger brother who starts college next week, searching a new laptop for him!

 

     This might be coming late to some people, whom already sent off the students to college with a new computer, but to those who have not, or for those agents who are looking for a new laptop for themselves, this post will have a lot of information for you!

     Laptop's have really come down in price since you probably have last looked.  Just take a look at Best Buy's, Staples, Lenovo's, or Dell's selections.  Laptops starting at $300-400.  There are several items you REALLY need to look at before making your purchase for your student... Those are all outlined below.  Remember, if you have any questions, please feel free to contact us at "The Real Estate Tech Desk".

 

•        Brand:  Tend to stay with a trusted brand such as: HP/Compaq, Dell, Toshiba, and Sony.

•        Processor Type:  I ran into this issue the other day with a client, who bought a new laptop, it had a 64 BIT processor.  UNLESS you or your student HAS A NEED for a PC with a 64 BIT processor, stick with a 32 BIT processor.... Applications and Devices such as printers, scanners and phones that work with 64 BIT PC's are VERY limited.  My client cannot print to ANY machine in his office because none of the printers (10 different printers) support 64 BIT.

•        Memory:  Since almost EVERY computer now comes with Windows VISTA  you NEED a MINIMUM of 2 Gigabytes of memory.  I would recommend 3 Gig's, since your student will more than likely be running music or video programs, while running interactive internet programs, games, and of course doing studies ---usually multitasking the entire time.   This also applies to you agents out there looking for a new laptop.

•        Hard Drive:  Minimum of 120 Gigabytes of storage is needed, again for all of the music files, videos, applications, and documents.  Laptop hard drives come in sizes from about 120 Gigs to about 450 Gigs.

•        Video Card:  If you student is a GAMER, I  would choose something that does NOT have BUILT IN Graphics, I would choose something that has a NVIDIA or a INTEL  graphics chip in it.   This will give you optimum performance for games.  If you student (or yourself) is not a gamer, I wouldn't really worry about this too much, as all laptops now come standard with a pretty hefty video processor, that can handle your needs, and intermediate gaming support.

•        Built In Web Cam:  If you want to keep in touch with your student (or with clients)  This is a nice option that comes with a lot of different model laptops.  Another option is to get a external web cam, but then that is something else your student (or yourself) that has to be lugged around.

•        Bluetooth:  Most every laptop has this feature, but make sure you get one that has it.  This is for syncing phones/PDA's with phones, Wireless headphones, Wireless Mice (most people prefer to use a mouse instead of the touchpad, Bluetooth mice eliminate the need for a plug in device in your USB port.

•        Wireless:  You don't need to worry about this anymore, every new laptop has wireless built in.

•        CD/DVD Burner:  Your student (or yourself) with absolutely need this feature, for school reports (some schools allow students to email the reports, but there are times when making a CD is necessary.  Most laptops come with CD Burners and or DVD burners.  But you want to buy a laptop that has a CD & DVD burner built in.

•         Screen Size:  I would go with a 14.1 Standard or a 15.4" Widescreen laptop, you REALLY don't want a 17" Laptop screen...it is way too big to carry around (I call 17" laptops, desktop replacements)  When you go to the store, you will see the size of the 15.4 is pretty reasonable.

•        Weight:  Obviously the lighter the better.  You or your student will be doing a lot of walking and carrying.  If you go to Best Buy, Staples, Fry's or a store of the similar type, ask an associate to unlock the laptop you are interested in so that you can pick it up and feel the size and weight.

•        Windows Version:  If you are buying for a student, I recommend Windows Vista Home Premium or Basic. If you are buying for you or your office, I recommend Windows Vista Business or Ultimate.

•        Price/Budget:  This is something you really have to set.  BUT  As I said before, laptop prices have dropped.  Here is an example:  Best Buy currently has a Compaq Presario Laptop, with 3 Gigs of Memory, CD/DVD Burner, AMD Dual Core Processor, 15.4" Widescreen, 5 in 1 Card Reader, 200 Gigs of Storage and Vista Home Premium. Now it doesn't have Blue Tooth, but that shows you what a deal you can get for $650.

 

      I hope this helps you choose a laptop for your college student or for yourself.  If you are looking for a new laptop for your business, please look at our Agent Resources page on our website for a list of must haves for agents.

 

Best of luck to you and your student!

 

David Fox, Owner
The Real Estate Tech Desk
A Division of DEF PC Services

410-274-4871
www.defpc.net

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Rainer
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David Fox
Real Estate Technology Specialist
The Real Estate Tech Desk

Susan K.

If you have any questions regarding your laptop choices, feel free to carry my phone number with you when you go shopping, I'll be glad to answer any questions.  (Also, if you go to best buy, staples, or circuit city, the instore tech company--geek squad or firedog, will try to offer a pay service for them to set up the computer and try to sell you software.)

Take this advice, buy the laptop, buy an extended warranty if you wish, and buy Microsoft Office Student and Teacher Edition.  Don't buy antivirus software (there are free softwares available that are AWESOME), don't have them "set up" your computer.... this literally takes minutes once you are home.   Just buy the laptop and maybe the warranty and MS Office S&T Edition, and head on out the store, no need to waste money on anything else.   For the anti virus software try http://free.grisoft.com  or www.avast.com  and download their free version--it's the best around!

 

Thanks, David

August 17, 2008 09:37 PM
Ambassador
875,156
Margaret Woda
Maryland Real Estate & Military Relocation
Long & Foster Real Estate, Inc., Crofton, MD 21114

David, thanks for the mention - you didn't need to do that.  See, I knew you'd be great with this advice.  Think of all the moms, dads and students out there who are out there lost in the woods.  If only they had you for a helpful resource!

August 17, 2008 10:51 PM
Rainmaker
58,570
Gregory Lohr
Freedom Foreclosure Prevention Services

One thing I haven't seen mentioned is service.  I last bought a computer in 1991 and still have it.  Before I made the purchase ($2500) I asked everyone within 1/4 mile of me their opinions about computers.  Almost everyone I asked told me the same thing...go with Dell, they have the best service out there.  Guess what...Dell has proven them correct in my opinion. 

Yes, I've had a few problems.  While in warranty, we had a major problem, and they had trouble finding out what was wrong.  We wound up replacing almost every part, and I basically had a new computer 3 years after purchase.  Just last week, CheckDisk ran a check on its own, and deleted my registry, crashing my computer.  I won't go into ALL of the details, but suffice it to say that we formatted and reloaded the hard drive 3 times before we could fix this problem.  All total, I probably had Dell on the phone for an entire day if not more.  Way out of warranty and they still help for free when the hard drive crashes and you need a reload.  I've heard many a horror story of people having problems and not being able to get good service for their compute problems...so in the future, I will stick with Dell.  For me...service comes first!

August 17, 2008 11:16 PM
Rainer
23,129
David Fox
Real Estate Technology Specialist
The Real Estate Tech Desk

Konnie,

Should you need any help choosing a laptop, or if you would like us to choose a laptop for you, just give me a call, we will be glad to help.

August 18, 2008 08:23 AM
Rainer
16,794
Joanna Quan
Realtor, SRES, Notary
Keller Williams Realty

Roger.  I have a IBM ThinkPad for 3.5 years now and it's the strongest laptop I've had.  I tend to really abuse my computers and this one has stood up to the test.

August 19, 2008 01:09 AM
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David Fox

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