Tablet or Laptop for college?

Tablet or Laptop for college?

As high school students take the summer off and begin to prepare for college, we are often asked what technology students should get for college.   Here’s our answer.  Both – maybe.  Why?

Laptops provide an adequate screen size and can be used for long periods of study.  With a larger screen size than tablets, laptops can help with periods of preparing papers, presentations and just multitask better.   Add a 17+ inch monitor to your laptop and extend your screen to bring up the internet during research.  This allows you to keep your paper up or material up on your laptop screen while researching on the other.   So why not a desktop?  You can get a desktop – however will you need portability?

With Microsoft Windows, chances are you’ll find whatever freeware or software you’ll need and it’ll more than likely have a higher compatibility than other operating systems.   What about an Apple laptop?   They are fine.  Make sure you have parallels loaded and there aren’t any compatibility issues with classes that you have.

For portability, a tablet can quickly take notes, use Microsoft Office (Free for iPad and Android devices) or maybe use apps that are offered in your class.   These devices have a longer battery life, power up quickly and are perfect for class to class operations.

So can’t I just use a smartphone for this?  Absolutely.  Tablets tend to be trendy, expensive for what you truly get- but on the other hand, they can help.   The choice is yours and this may be based on the type of classes that you sign up for.  Which tablet?  This becomes a complex question but with Apple Store, Google Play or a Microsoft Surface, you can generally find an app for your tablet.

Remember to use synchronization and iCloud or OneDrive to hold non sensitive documents so they will always be available for your laptop, tablet and/or phone.  Guard your flash drives and have at least a 16 or 32 gb drive.

Protect your asset with device tracking from Apple, Google Apps or Prey Project.  Always load anti-virus, get your updates and never leave your device unattended.

Here’s the final answer.  You should get a laptop and decide if you need a tablet or if your smartphone will do.  Dollar for dollar, you’ll get a ton more storage with a laptop and with Google Chrome loaded as a browser, you’ll be surprised at the Apps you can loaded in chrome (hundreds).  Thousand of freeware software and true computing power give laptops the edge.  With multiple USB, HDMI, Wireless or Wired Network, a tablet again doesn’t compare.

Research your classes and remember the likelihood that you’ll change majors is almost a given.

About TCAT Shelbyville IT Department

The Tennessee College of Applied Technology - is one of 46 institutions in the Tennessee Board of Regents System, the seventh largest system of higher education in the nation. This system comprises six universities, fourteen community colleges, and twenty-six Applied Technology Colleges.
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