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Where would any of us be without our devices – our phones, tablets, laptops, and even our fitbits, smartwatches, Alexa, and more?
Now, consider that you are a college student on a tight budget. Of course, you want the most reliable devices (think about a laptop crashing in the middle of writing an essay or paper or taking an exam). Still, it would help if you also had affordability and as many features as possible.
To find the balance among these needs, let’s unpack some essential (and not so crucial) devices that provide reliability, desired features, and great pricing.
Laptops and Notebooks
This is a staple – used in classrooms for note-taking, photographing displayed visual content, and even recording a lecture for future study. They need to be lightweight, small enough to fit on a desk comfortably, and fast.
And of course, they are used for research, writing, and taking those online exams. Many students even purchase two of these – a smaller notebook for in-class use and a laptop with a larger screen for assignments and test-taking. Some students may even use their smartphones in class, previous the need for a notebook altogether.
Nevertheless, let’s take a look at those devices that will give a lot of “bang for the buck.”
1.Lenovo 300W Gen 3 Notebook – $359
Here is a notebook with unique price–touch technology, 360-degree hinge, and an excellent camera. Lots of power and speed too. The screen size is 11.6,”, and it weighs just under three pounds. It has eight gigs of memory and 64 GB of eMMC storage.
2.Dell Latitude 3120 Two-in-One – $349
This device has the same screen size as the Lenovo but also folds into a tablet, a tent, and notebook mode. And the touch display has tougher scratch resistance. It’s just under 3 lbs., with 64 Gigs of storage, but only 4 Gigs of memory. Still, that amount of memory should suffice for most student needs. Intel HD Graphics rounds out the great features for the price.
3.Dell Latitude 3310 – $299
This may be a great fit for those who want a larger screen and a dorm room unit. It has a 13.3” screen and a weight of 1.5 lbs. With 4 Gigs of memory and 64Gigs eMMC storage, this unit comes with 8 hours of battery life and great webcams, microphones, and speakers. It is a two-in-one with Windows 10 Intel Graphics 620. The weight easily allows transport to the classroom too.
4.HP 245 G8 – $329
Here is a 14” screen device with Windows 10 and an 8-hour battery. Add to this high-quality voice and video and a powerful web, microphone, and speakers, and most students will find it serves their needs well. There are four gigs of memory and storage of 128 gigs SSD. With a weight of 3.35, it may not be as portable as some other models. But, if you are working with an online writing service, saying “write my essay for me,” you may want this larger screen in the privacy of your own space to review what has been written, give your approval, and download that writing assignment for your use.
Given the versatility of the many affordable notebooks on the market, tablets now blend in with these other devices. The big draw for these is entertainment, specifically live streaming and gaming.
A colossal bargain is Amazon’s Fire HD 10, with a lot of attractive features:
- 1080p Full HD
- 32 or 64 GB storage
- 10.1 screen
- 2.0 GHz Octa-Core processor
- Up to 12 hours of battery life
- Front and rear-facing cameras
- All of this for about $150.00
Other tablets, such as those from Apple and Samsung, come in at much higher prices. Students might be better purchasing a bit more expensive notebook than going the cost of a high-end tablet. Consider that you have written an essay and now use LetsGradeIt to check for plagiarism and grammar. Using the smaller screen of a tablet can be inconvenient, especially if you need to make changes.
Students are “attached at the hip” to their phones. They use them for almost everything, even though the screens are small compared to notebooks and laptops. Still, they are usually willing to pay much more for their phones than for other devices. While the iPhone 11 and 12 are undoubtedly coveted devices, these will range from $800 – $1000.
There are less expensive options:
1.Samsung Galaxy S9
This phone has a 5.8” screen size, a 12mp camera, 5 GB Ram, and the option of 64 – 256 GB storage. It will do almost anything a student may wish, even gaming and live streaming if they can take the small screen. Pricing ranges from $160 – $200.
The price has come way down because of newer iPhone models. Still, it has a 4.7” screen, 2 GB Ram, and 32 B of storage., serving many things that students will want to do on the go. Pricing is amazingly cheap, from $120 – $250
Again, a great bargain because of the newer Apple offerings. It has a 5.8” screen, 3 GB ram, and 64 – 256 GB of storage options. Depending upon options, these can run from $350 – $600.
Here’s a significant bargain, with a 6.26” screen, an option for 6 or 8 GB Ram, and storage from 64 to 256 GB. Its camera is every bit comparable to those of the two iPhones here. Prices begin at $200.
Other Tech Gadgets
While these are not necessities, they are nevertheless great to have, and all are affordable:
A Bluetooth Speaker
A great little item for parties. Most of these are also waterproof.
Portable Hard Drive
Being able to save partially completed assignments or other documents and then pull them up on any other device is a great convenience. Not to mention that this device acts as a backup for files on a device that may crash.
There are many variants here, from basic tracking of vital signs, steps/miles walked, amount of sleep, etc. Some will even warn a wearer when they have been sitting for too long so that they are reminded to get up and move.
Portable Power Bank
Nothing is more frustrating than having a device go out of juice and no place to plug it in. If a student keeps a portable power bank charge, this won’t be a problem.
Again, there are many varieties. Those that cancel out peripheral noise are probably most valuable.
This list could go on and on. Family and friends should review the most popular and consider these for gifts.
Tech Doesn’t Have To Break The Bank
This list of affordable options for all of your devices should help you to realize that you can have what you need (and want) without blowing your budget. The key is to think about what you need a device to do and then look for those features at the best possible price.
Thank you for reading!