So, it’s time to go back to school, or maybe you’re starting college/sixth form for the first time, or even university! If there’s one thing that’s for certain, it’s that you’re going to need to be prepared to study hard. Technology, however, can make this so much easier. Whilst schools tend to be pretty inflexible about what you can and can’t bring in, that shouldn’t stop you from getting your tech on at home!
My number one recommendation is to consider what laptop you have, and if it’s doing the job for you. When it comes to selecting a new laptop, there’s a number of things you’ll need to consider.
Firstly, what will you use it for? If you’re doing a creative subject, such as Music Technology, Photography, Film or Media, you will need something a lot more powerful than someone doing English, Psychology or History, for example. The one thing I would say is to treat a good laptop as an investment in yourself and your education. It’s a big expense but take it this way: buying a £250 laptop will slow down super quickly with heavy use, and you may need to replace it a year later. Upping that spend to £500 will get you something sleeker, better made, faster and more future-proofed.
If you’re travelling a lot with your laptop, you’re probably going to want to have a 13” screen. Laptops tend to come in three main sizes, 11”, 13” and 15” (with the odd 17” model around, which I’d avoid if possible). In my opinion, 11” is just too small. 15” is great if you’re at a desk mostly, and you’re travelling by car with the computer occasionally. However, if you’re doing a lot of travel by bus, train, or by foot, or are moving around campus/school often, the smaller size will obviously come with a smaller mass. That few hundred grams makes a huge difference on the day to day.
If you’re doing a subject which will require lots of intensive creative work, like photography, I’d be inclined to go for a MacBook Pro or a MacBook Air. The price tag is very high, starting in the £800-900 range and easily reaching the £1500s for a top model. However, like I said earlier, I tend to see the purchase of a good laptop as an investment in yourself – if you’ve got the money saved, I’d certainly consider it.
Don’t forget that some laptops are available on a trade-in scheme! Many electronics retailers will allow you to bring in old kit, and get a saving off the new items you buy. This saving can even get up to £200 for some machines, so it’s certainly worth looking into.
There’s other tech that you’ll also need.
I’ll bet you never thought of needing internet security! Trust me, it’s a really important consideration. Imagine a virus finding its way onto your computer, your hard work could be destroyed!
Firstly, check with your parents, as it’s quite possible you get a package thrown in with your home internet. If that option is out of the window, I’d recommend paying monthly or annually for a package. If you buy one from an electrical retailer, it’ll be outdated before too long, putting you at risk. However, paying a subscription allows your software to be updated with how to fix all the newest threats. I’d recommend McAfee, they tend to have the most solid software. However, there are some free options available too!
What else should you get? Exercise is really useful for maintaining healthy mental and physical wellbeing. Do you know what can help to motivate you and stay on top of your exercise? A fitness tracker! There are obviously a multitude of options dependant on your budget.
My choice was around £30 from Amazon, it comes in various guises but the one I have is called the Delvfire Pulse HR. It tracks steps, heart rate and even shows you notifications from your phone! Models from Garmin and Fitbit offer more functions for a bit more money, starting at around £50-60 and going up to £200. You can even push the boat right out and get an Apple Watch, if you’re feeling flush.
Any questions, just pop me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll try my best to help! Best of luck with wherever you’re going this year!