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What do you recommend for a college laptop for a non gamer girl? It  will be used to write papers and probably stream movies.  MacBook air?  ASUS?  We really don't need a ton of bells and whistles.  Thanks!

Moderator Comment: This thread is mirrored to these forums: TECHNOLOGY, MOBILE, LAPTOPS, AND COMPUTERS, DEAL DISCUSSION. — Jan. 18, 2017 @ 4:20pm
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What does the college recommend?

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As light as you can afford. Big difference between 4lbs - 6lbs.

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If anyone is interested, Best Buy has the Mac Book Air on sale for $899 and then a $100.00 coupon for the college deal (can sign up in store) for a savings of $200.

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There is nothing on the entire planet more likely to get stolen at college than a Macbook Air. That alone makes it a bad choice for most students.

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Macbook Air's are the low end of the portable mac lineup and are near the end of their cycle. I'd be surprised if they are the most desirable product for stealing on a college campus. According to my husband (a professor that also oversees one of the computer labs) , and son, a student at a different university; If you leave any computer sitting around it will probably get stolen, the thieves aren't picky. Macs are desirable because they are better computers and have fewer problems but it's really about what the student is used to and wants. 

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Whatever you end up with, I'd suggest a few basic precautions. Get an etching tool ($20 or less on Amazon) and put her name on the bottom. Install something like Prey. Neither will prevent theft, but they can help with the filing of police reports (Prey keeps the serial number for you) and with finding it if it was just 'borrowed' by a friend. Both are also helpful if the police end up catching someone with a lot of stuff because you have proof of what's yours, so it doesn't end up in a police auction some day.

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wwinters said:   Macbook Air's are the low end of the portable mac lineup and are near the end of their cycle. I'd be surprised if they are the most desirable product for stealing on a college campus. According to my husband (a professor that also oversees one of the computer labs) , and son, a student at a different university; If you leave any computer sitting around it will probably get stolen, the thieves aren't picky. Macs are desirable because they are better computers and have fewer problems but it's really about what the student is used to and wants. 
  What?  They are still extremely capable systems that come with i7 processors and all the latest features.  They aren't going anywhere anytime soon and I would hardly put them at the low end of any spectrum.   They are desirable to college students because they are small and very trendy.  They are also expensive.   Since they are extremely desireable and many kids can't afford them, they are even bigger targets or thieves and tend to disappear a lot.  Same goes for expensive phones.    Put a run of the mill Windows laptop and a Mac on a table in a library and see which one gets snatched first.
 

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It wasn't meant to be an insult and I never said it wasn't a capable machine. I think the MacBook Air is a great choice as a college computer for many majors, my son took a Mac Book Pro to school (his major requires some heavy computing). The Air is the low-end of the laptop lineup for Apple that's not an opinion and it's not a bad thing. The Mac Book Air is way better than many PC's and I think worth every $ it costs more than them but that is my opinion. As for the Air not going anywhere soon, I leave that up to the experts and the consensus is that the Air is most likely near the end; although opinions differ on how soon. The Air hasn't seen a full update since March 2015 and the 13 inch got a minor ram upgrade in April and they feel this supports it (although there are a few that think Apple will keep the Air on as a low-end option). But really I know nothing about it, I just read the reports. Finally, My husband spends 5 days a week for the past 20 years at a University, I gave his and my son's observations; which is that any computer left out will be taken. Place two computers on a table unsupervised and both will be gone. That opinion may not match yours but it's theirs based on their experiences.

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I was just confused by the statement that they are near the end of their lifecycle. It would be a completely adequate system for 99% of college students. For engineering and some computer science programs a more powerful system is definitely required, but that's a specific requirement for those programs. If you can afford one, go for it. There are tons of options out there that are more powerful for a lot less money if you need the extra horsepower.

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We have a buying guide up for laptops here. If you want to see the actual model recommendations, those are here.

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For a non gaming laptop, there are a lot to consider. But if you do have enough budget for one, I must say that you choose the Mac Air over an Asus Laptop. I used an Asus so I think that would be a good option too.

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There are a lot of options to consider. College major is one of them, when I went to school as an IT major a Mac was just about worthless, because it could not run the software the classes required (It was all windows and linux based). However, the in the art department, they were using tons of Mac only software. It might be a good idea to find out if any of her classes have software requirements and if they are OS specific. Also consider how much it will be used away from a power outlet. If only occasionally, I would go with powerful computer over lightweight/battery life concerns.

I personally would get a mid-priced Windows laptop with an Intel i7 processor. Skip touch screens, convertible laptop/tablets, chromebooks, anything smaller than 15" screen if you intend to watch a lot of streaming videos. Be wary of anything less than $500. Stay away from Celeron processor, Atom, ARM based processors and all AMD (which hurts coming from a long time AMD fan). This will give you a strong performer in compatibility, processing power and size. I like the Lenovo y700 15" which is technically a gaming laptop, but is loaded with RAM, SSD, discrete graphics, etc for $800. It blows away the Macbook air in performance, but not it weight/battery. So, once again intended use is going to be a big part of making the correct decision.

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I have had my ASUS laptop for the last few years. Got it for around $250 I am college student as well and use it to write papers and web browsing. The functionality served me well besides the battery life. As a college student I would love to have been able to afford Macbook but I can not complain about the price and wear and tear this laptop has been through. If budget is not an issue I would totally agree with dmccall4's post to get you the best performing for your money, you wont regret it. Just thought I would speak on ASUS laptops since I own one myself.

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I had a Macbook pro all throughout college and it never once failed me. I had all sorts of Adobe software downloaded for my design classes too, and it was never slow and never had any problems. If you need something that will last you all four years, I wouldn't go the cheap route. You'll want to invest in something long term for sure!

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I was a CSCI major and used a Lenovo thinkpad 61p throughout college (and grad school). The newer thinkpads are good computers and very sturdy too!

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For the college just use a Chromebook, because when you go to classes you will appreciate the light weight, and it has almost everything you'll be needing on those moments.
And the money saved you can use it to build a very good PC.

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Surface Pro 4

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I like the Macbook Air - many people on campus here use them and love them. I use software that requires more power so mine is a bit larger, but for a non-gamer, a Macbook is great.

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