Ask Adrian: our editor tech support solves complex technology problems

  • Ask Adrian: our editor tech support solves complex technology problems
    Independent.t. E.
    Question my daughter is in College and I want to give her the laptop. Won’t need it for anything intense, just projects, writing and research. Is there any you can recommend?
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Question my daughter is in College and I want to give her the laptop. Won’t need it for anything intense, just projects, writing and research. Is there any you can recommend?

And there are many laptops that will do a decent job for her. For College, I think two factors are important: the weight and battery life. This is assuming that she could take it with you on campus or in the library.

Not to mention the budget, so I’m going to give you a range starting at the level of the premium trim in the budget model.

(I’m also going to assume that it is for the overall College, not particularly heavy, technical or vocational courses – if not, email me back and I’ll adjust the recommendations.)

At the top of the two I would recommend the Apple MacBook air (€1,129 from various retailers) and Dell XPS 13 ‘2-in-1’ (€1,300 from Dell.t. E.). Both are top-of-the-line machines that will in recent years, relatively light to carry and have great features and specifications. They’re both 13-inch laptops with a great battery and a pleasure to use. Prices I quote include the main memory of memory (128 GB); this is enough for those who will not download movies or thousands of photos on it. However, if you want more memory (256 GB, or 512 GB), you will end up paying about €200 (and more) more.

The advantage of Dell is that its high definition touch screen flipped right over the fact that it can also be used as a presentation tool or a big screen to watch Netflix due to downtime of your daughter.

The strength of the MacBook lies in the fact that the Operating system Apple remains a bit friendlier and easier to use than Windows, and everything syncs with the iPhone. For example, it can make or take FaceTime calls or imessage.

If it seems a bit pricey, there are a few decent models for around €700 to €800 mark.

For example, HP 14 inch dual core laptop with i5 (€780 from currys) completely solid with very good battery life. It’s not quite as smooth as the premium cars, but it will definitely do the job.

On a cheaper level, you look at HP pavilion 14-bk070 (€539 from PC World) or IdeaPad Lenovo 320 (€449 from Harvey Norman). HP is a bit faster and more powerful and has better battery life, while the cheaper Lenovo offers more space for storage, but much heavier.

If you would like to know about the iPad or ‘work’, good cost almost as much as premium laptops. The best models from Apple, cost $ 930, including the Smart cover keyboard. It’s a brilliant, powerful, light machine (which I use a lot), but students are often looking for something more traditionally in the laptop functions and forms. Thus, although overall, I recommend it, I can’t completely say this will work for your daughter better than other laptops.

One last thing: try to avoid ultra-budget laptops worth up to €300. By and large, they are junk. (An exception is Chromebook that works with web applications, and is relatively stable, despite usually costing only €299.)

Recommendations: Apple MacBook air (left, €1,129)

Email your questions caomahony@independent.ie

 

Two to try

Microsoft surface to go (€459 on request)

If you are looking for a really lightweight, portable tablet laptop with touch screen hybrid, the new Surface from Microsoft could go to work. It is the same size and weight as the iPad but running Windows, so you can use the cursor and touchpad, if you really like this format. The base model comes with a rather slim 64 GB of memory, and the chip weak enough that it’s a bit slow. To use as a laptop, you also need a keyboard, which costs extra €100.

Tab Samsung Galaxy S4 (€699)

Samsung has always been difficult to compete with the iPad in the tablet world, so it is after more convenient to work with the device. In a new tab the Galaxy S4 still runs Android, but can be connected to the display accessory (Samsung Dex) to turn it into a full PC. Screen 10.5-inch super AMOLED-the same size of the gadget. However, keyboard and additional costs.

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