Saturday, January 16

What are the essential criteria to take into account when buying a laptop PC for students?

With the holiday season approaching, giving away a reasonably priced PC can be a great Christmas gift idea. Here are the main criteria to check out if you’re looking for a good laptop for a student or someone looking for a device that cuts to the basics.

Giving a laptop PC for the end of the year holidays is a good idea to please a student who is bound to spend many hours on it. For a student, today there are excellent devices below the 800 euros mark. At this price, what are the criteria to take into account when purchasing? Here are some things to take into account in order to navigate better.

To illustrate these tips, the Surface Laptop Go will serve as an example. Sold from 629 euros in its basic version, it has everything you would expect from a good student laptop.

Design and portability: a good student PC is a PC that lasts

Because it will inevitably be transported, jammed and placed unceremoniously everywhere throughout its life, a good student PC must be able to be both mobile and resistant.

Mobility is not a particularly difficult criterion to judge, you just have to rely on its technical sheet. For students, we will naturally turn to PCs with screen diagonals of 12 or 13 inches. This diagonal generally allows manufacturers to offer ideal measurements for a backpack or handbag and a featherweight.

The Surface Laptop Go is a good student in this regard. It has a 12.4-inch screen with a 3: 2 ratio (we come back to that a little lower) in a chassis that is no more than 11 inches long and 8 inches wide. It weighs only 1.1 kg, an almost negligible weight in a backpack.

For resistance, however, there is no secret, the best is to go to the store to check how the target PC looks. Nothing beats touching it to judge the quality of the chassis materials or check the finishes. What is the hinge worth? Does the device inspire you with confidence in terms of durability? What is the state of the connections? Keep in mind that this PC is an investment that should last for several years. Better to take something solid.

When it comes to strength, the Surface Laptop Go is a great example. Its cover is made of aluminum and the plastic around the keyboard is particularly pleasant to the touch. The Surface Laptop Go inherits the premium design of the Surface range: you feel confident.

Daily criteria: screen and keyboard

Ultimately, what will be used the most on student PCs will be the screen and the keyboard. On devices less than 800 euros, these are often components on which manufacturers make savings or compromises.

Here again, the best advice we can give you is to take control of the PC (s) you are targeting. For the screen, make sure its brightness is good and that you don’t have to strain your eyes to read things on the screen.

A rather rare feature on laptops under 800 euros, the Surface Laptop Go screen is tactile.

A rather rare feature on laptops under 800 euros, the Surface Laptop Go screen is tactile.

For the keyboard, the keys must not only have a minimum of response (nothing worse than a soft keyboard for taking notes), and that their travel is not too short. Finally, the trackpad should inspire you with confidence: are the two clicks well differentiated by touch? Is its surface sufficient? Are its finishes good? Because, yes, every good student should eat a few times over his PC. It would be silly for crumbs to get stuck in a badly finished trackpad.

The Surface Laptop Go has one of the best screens and keyboards that we can find on the market. Regarding the keyboard, it’s simple: the Surface Laptop Go inherits from that of the Surface Laptop 3. Its keys are large and typing is particularly pleasant. Another good point for this keyboard: the power button incorporates a fingerprint sensor. Just place your finger on it to unlock it instantly.

Another interesting feature of the Surface Laptop Go screen is that it’s 3: 2, which means it’s taller than 16: 9 screens. It is a format particularly suited to productivity, because the display of documents gains in height and therefore in readability. A very interesting argument when you spend your days taking notes or filling out spreadsheets.

A good technical sheet to guarantee autonomy

Finally, there remains what is often the hardest to gauge for neophytes: the technical sheet. On this, our advice is quite simple: never less than 8 GB of RAM and a minimum storage space of 128 GB in SSD. For the processor, always try to give preference to the latest generation of chips. For Intel it is necessary to target the Core i5 10-XXX chips and at AMD the Ryzen 5 3-XXXX chips.

Autonomy is always the most difficult thing to judge on a technical sheet, with manufacturers contenting themselves with indicating the estimated autonomy of their device. However, it is often identical from one PC to another: allow between 8 and 12 hours of use depending on your use. On this subject, we advise you to read the tests if you have any doubts.

To make all this a little more concrete, let’s take the example of the Surface Laptop Go. In its version at 799 euros, it has an Intel Core i5-1035G1 processor, a 128 GB SSD and 8 GB of RAM. Here, the 10 refers to the tenth generation of the processor, the one that came out this year. The SSD is the assurance of being able to quickly start Windows 10, which will easily run on 8 GB of RAM. As for its autonomy, it is estimated at 13 hours by Microsoft “in normal use”.

The Surface Laptop Go: the PC built for studies

The Surface Laptop Go is definitely a great choice for students. It is a device that has inherited the main strengths of the Surface range (premium design, screen in 3: 2 aspect ratio, quality keyboard) while being adapted to their mobility needs and their budget.

Its version with 8 GB of RAM and 128 GB of SSD is particularly suitable for students. It’s a laptop PC made to last over time, at the price of only 799 euros. Surface Laptop Go is available in different configurations on Amazon, the Fnac or Boulanger.

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