The myth of the ‘student laptop’

If you are a student, you may well have been told you ‘need’ a laptop for your studies. It is hard to argue with the logic, modern classrooms are full of technology, as a student you will need a computer to keep up. Having been a student for a large chunk of my adult life I have had my fair share of computers, from flagship ‘pro’ models to cheap 2 in 1 laptops.

After many years and many different configurations, I have settled on my preference fora personal computer for study. This got me thinking about people just starting out at university or TAFE, looking for a computer and being swamped by false claims and products they don’t need. I am here to dispel a prevalent myth in the student world, the myth of the student laptop.

Wants and needs.

The first computer I took to school was an ancient Dell XPS. It weighed about 6 kilograms and barely fit in my backpack. I lugged this thing on public transport day in day out because it was the computer I had, and I had no funds to just buy another one. Despite the bulk, the XPS handled anything I threw at it, the screen was large enough for big projects and in my downtime it even played games.

As computers tend to do, the faithful barge eventually kicked the bucket and I was left wondering what would fill the large hole it had left behind. After talking to some fellow students, I decided a cheap light ‘student’ laptop would be the next addition to my study arsenal.

Oh, boy, was I disappointed. The laptops I was being presented at my local computer store were woefully underpowered for my needs. Yes, they were cheap and light, but there was no point carrying one of these things around if it wasn’t going to be up to the task when it came time to perform.

Do it your way.

This was a most valuable lesson; look for something that will suit MY needs. Unfortunately, there seems to a trend now where computer manufacturers are telling the consumer what they need, not the other way around. For me, I needed something that could edit video or work with large spreadsheets, something these small flash-based computers could never do. So then, how can these cheap underpowered laptops be designated “student”?

If you are a student, then there really is no perfect computer for you, although, Thebest 2 in 1 laptops come pretty close to delivering. A 2 in 1 laptop could be a perfect companion to your study if you need or want a touchscreen or the ability to take notes with a pen. Gaming laptops are picking up in popularity too, they are reasonably priced, well specced and can perform other duties, not just browsing Facebook.

You don’t the best 2 in 1 laptops, or even the best notebooks, just something that won’t chug when you try to connect it to an external screen. You will want something with AT MINIMUM 8gb of ram and a solid state hard drive.  It is best to get as much ram as you can afford, as some laptops and 2 in 1 laptops are not upgradeable.


The main problem I find with most ‘student’ designated laptops is their lack of versatility. Most of these student laptops are underpowered for anything but basic web browsing. One could argue that a student only needs this functionality and anything more is a waste, but I beg to differ. A student’s laptop could be their entire life for several years, expected to perform study tasks as well as Netflix, YouTube, light gaming and so much more.


The myth of the student laptop is perpetuated by companies trying to sell you the cheapest laptop they can. These entry-level machines where once upon a time called “netbooks” and in my mind, they are wholly unsuitable for student life. If you are starting your studies and need a computer that will not only keep up in the classroom but every other aspect of life, then a mid-range laptop or a 2 in 1 laptop would suit your far better. As with any purchase, weigh up your wants and needs and good luck!