Should I buy a Laptop or Tablet?

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If ever there was a good excuse to invest in a really great computer or a tablet I’m pretty sure it’s when you start uni. This is the time you will rely on it the most to store all your precious essays, record your lectures and submit your assignments so it needs to be reliable, have good storage and access your data quickly because you don’t need any added stress.

Of course quality doesn’t have to mean expense so shopping smartly means you can make an investment in the handiest student tool you need. Of course there are always library computers or computer labs that you can use so don’t panic if you don’t have one yet, but having a personal one is invaluable and means you don’t have to rely on being able to access your campus or having to queue to get cracking on your essay.

Here are the pros and cons of the top options to consider:

1. Tablet

Pros: Tablets are undeniably easy to carry, 4G option for on-the-go cramming, cheaper and easy to charge, and start at just £49.99.

Cons: It’s hard to get around the fact that with a smaller screen, difficulties when typing and poor split-screen options, there are simply some tasks that a tablet can’t live up to. If you are prepared to do most of your work on a tablet but leave some of important tasks to a shared or library computer then it is a great option. I would recommend investing in a separate, attachable keyboard for quick typing or go for tablets with built in keyboards like the Lenovo Yoga tablet from £179.99 or the Bush Eluma B1 10.1 Inch Windows Tablet with Keyboard Case at £129.99. Cheaper options include the Amazon Fire – at £49.99 and the SAMSUNG Galaxy Tab starting from £99.99.

2. Windows

Pros: easy to use, compatible with all other computers for sharing files, an app store with over 50,000 apps (way more than for Macs), more flexibility with hardware plus the added bonus of having all the apps and programs specifically made for Windows, unlike with Apple.

Cons: It’s a debate that rages on but Windows computers are arguably more prone to viruses, more work to maintain and have a shorter shelf life.

3. Mac

Pros: good battery life, 5 year warrantee, fast processor, loads of useful apps to make revision and essay writing less painful and are small enough to be portable. I would highly recommend the MacBook Air as it is so small and light that you can easily carry it in your bag, the battery lasts well and the smaller screen starts at £500 which, if you look at the warrantee, is only £100 a year for a laptop that you will use every day that will serve you well.

Cons: As a Mac user myself it is hard not to be biased but I will say that they are more expensive than necessary; the charger alone costs over £80 so they don’t always fare well in student houses. Another issue is that many uni computers will run on Windows so you need to be super careful when attaching files or submitting files because if they are sent in the wrong format and your tutor can’t read it you could be penalised. I learned that the hard way and it is a risk you take with a Mac. Of course you can buy Word separately to avoid that problem but also make sure you ask your Student Advisor if your uni gives students Word for free as mine did and it was a complete lifesaver!

Whatever your demands are for a new piece of tech, just remember to shop around for deals, especially with the post-Christmas sales just around the corner. Check out the guarantee/warrantee and insurance options, and make sure that you’re clear about what your device includes and what you will need to buy on top. There can be hidden costs so get some expert advice before investing… Good luck!

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