Laptop for College Student (Me) Going Back!

Updated on March 20, 2012
S.M. asks from Lansing, MI
12 answers

Hi all!
I am going back to school, again, this summer and I need to putchase a laptop but don't even know where to start. Does anyone have a recommendation for a good one that is affordable? I figure I really only need something that has the programs I need (office), good memory, and good online connection. We were thinking about going through best buy, anyone have experience or heard anything about their refubished laptops?
sn: Of course the music and movie watching perks are a plus! Please let me know what you think!
Thanks Ladies!

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answers from Washington DC on

Good for you!! I am finishing my degree now (24 weeks, but who's counting!!) and also had to buy a new laptop last year. I originally bought an Asus, my daughter has one and it's great! Mine crashed within a month. So my husband exchanged it and got a Sony VAIO. I have had NO problems iwth this one since September. It has all of the programs I need and connectivity is not an issue, but that is probably provider specific.

Good luck with school!

1 mom found this helpful

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answers from Detroit on

I have a Macbook Air and wouldn't trade it for any other computer. You can run Microsoft Office on a Mac. I also agree with the person who recommended Sony Vaio -- very good PCs. I would be very cautious about getting a cheap computer. They can be insanely slow -- slow to start up, launch programs, open/save files, etc. and can cause intense frustration when you're trying to work, especially if you are a multitasker and like to have an Internet browser open, your email up, and be working on a file in Word or Excel at the same time.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Tulsa on

You can never go wrong with a MacBook. Even their refurbs are good. We usually buy from MacMall since they usually have the next to newest model at a good price. If you are unsure what extra features you want, you can always go to Apple's website or one of their stores and someone can walk you through it. The MacBook I have is 6 years old and runs like it's new. My dad had it for 2 years and I've had it 4.

ETA: You can run Windows and Microsoft Office on a Mac.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

not affordable, i guess, but having gone mac i can't imagine going back!
:) khairete

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

My advice is DO NOT got cheap. Get the best you can afford with the most memory available.

That said, I run my company on a Dell XPS 14Z and LOVE it. I had a Dell XPS M1210 for 4 years, still working and sits here at my desk where I go back and follow up on things from time to time. I chose not to put everything that was on the 1210 on the 14Z because I need the faster processor and more memory for my Quickbooks, etc. I purchased both of mine directly from Dell. My new one was less than $2000 including a top warranty and all the software I needed.

Hubby has a Dell from Best Buy and it works well for him. I forget the model but it has a top warranty as well. He runs our company on that computer. It is lightweight as well as it does not have a disc drive.. that is separate. We paid less than $1200 for his set up.

Daughter, now 17, had a Dell Latitude for 4 yrs. She had a lot of music, etc along with programs she used for school projects. At the time, we spent about $2000 on her Dell.

In August, we upgraded daughter's computer to a MacBook Pro. She LOVES this computer and swears it is the best thing ever. She has a lot of music, watches movies, runs office and power point. Her classes require a lot of power point presentations and she is in 11th grade. We got it at Best Buy with a top of the line warranty and we spent more than $2200 on her set up.

I strongly considered a MacBook Pro for myself when I upgraded but it had some things that were not compatible with my Quickbooks and I MUST have something that runs perfectly for my business. I chose to stay with Dell ( I LOVE Dell) because it is easier for my payroll, reporting and contact with my accounting team and IRS reporting.

SO, If you can afford it... I would go either with the MacBook Pro or Dell.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

mine is like the cheapest one they had at best buy and i love it .. really like u said all u need is internet and microsoft word theres no need to buy anything crazy.. its a compaq presario CQ62 it was like 300$ on sale.. even if it wasnt it was still one of the cheapest they had .... .. my dad has a refurbished laptop that his boss gave him for work and honestly mine may have a bigger screen but his is a way better computer the only thing is since his boss gave it to him we have no idea how much it cost.. for all i know it couldve been more expensive than my new one

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Boston on

We have purchased two Toshiba laptops at Best Buy and are very happy with them. The kids share one - the older two use it for school work and they all use it for entertainment. My husband uses the other for his business, which he runs out of our home. I believe that they were around $600 each.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Bloomington on

We just bought a great laptop for me right before Christmas.

I got a Toshiba Satellite L755 for $379 at Best Buy.

I wanted something middle of the road that would still be good in a few years. I only email, web browse, and use Microsoft programs. I use it to watch an occasional movie, stream a movie to our tv, and store my pictures on it. I don't game, make movies, or listen to music on it (although I could).

I wanted a Pentium processor of an i3 or better, 500 G harddrive (although a 320 would have been fine), and it have an HDMI connector (for my tv). My screen is 15" and I have a 10 keypad on it. Great value for my money!!!!

I also found that if you live in a college town, computers cost a bit less at Best Buy. AND, you can usually get a 10% discount by being in college. Call and ask each store so you know how much you will actually pay when you are done!!!

Best of luck to you going back to to school. IT IS SOOOO WORTH IT!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Tulsa on

If it is for school I would suggest not getting a Mac. I teach several online classes, and several of the textbooks we use come with software the student must download to a windows platform. We also require assignments to be turned in via Word, so you'd have to convert them before turning them in. I have a lenovo that's worked great for 3+ years and running.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

I can vouch for Toshiba also. I bought two last July from Best Buy: one to replace my 5yr old laptop and one for my 12yr son as we were also fighting over mine :). I think I paid $349 for his and $379 for mine. I just do pretty basic stuff on mine. He runs games, has music etc on his and runs 5 things at a time. They are both still perfectly fine. I didnt go into the store looking to buy two of them but at that price I did. Plus if you spent over a certain amount (which I did) you got no interest as long as they were paid off within 18 months. For my sons also bought a protection plan and had to buy 'Microsoft office' of course. They are a great laptop for the price.



answers from Detroit on

Depending upon where you are going back to school (I'll take MSU as an example, you being in Lansing), they have computer requirements based upon your major ( I would start there in figuring out what you need before going to any store. Some schools also have Computer Stores ( where they have the machines, software and whatnot geared for students and offer some fairly good deals on decent machines. If you are entering a program, you will certainly want something to last, so don't think of what you need today, but what you'll need throughout your studies. If you do go the commercial store route or online, be sure to check to see if they have educational discounts and educational versions of the software - much more affordable than the commercial stuff.

Good luck, scholar!



answers from Minneapolis on

I've been a student for the last six years and have made do with a relatively inexpensive laptop. My latest is a Toshiba. BUT, I am seriously considering buying a Mac because of the frustration I've been having with my 4 year-old laptop, AND Apple has a student discount!!

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