Looking for a laptop for less than €500?

Here are some 'back to college' recommendations

If you or someone in your household is heading to college this September, you may be on the lookout for the best value on laptops. There are plenty of options out there, but how do you find the one that's best for you?  

There are a number of factors to consider: 

  • Budget: How much are you willing to spend?
  • Screen size: 14-inch is the ideal laptop size, in my opinion. Big enough to see, but not too heavy
  • Course requirements: Does your course require any particular software? Is that software compatible with all operating systems? 
  • Battery: Battery power matters. You don't want to be hooked up to the wall for the duration of your degree
  • Power: I would avoid buying anything with less than 4GB of RAM, unless it is a Chromebook  

Other things to consider: 

Insurance - If the laptop is expensive, it may be worth it. Anything less than €500 and I’d say not.

Cover - If you’re opting to go without insurance, buy a cover and use it! It’ll save the device from scratches, scrapes and maybe even a cracked screen…

Microsoft Office - Find out if you need it for your course. I find that most, if not all of my Office based tasks, can be carried out with Google Docs. This is free, cloud-based and does the same job - for the most part.

It’s worth considering a monitor for home use. Multiple users can link up laptops to it. They are very affordable now. 

Questions and recommendations:

There are so many different factors that can impact your decision to buy a new device. Here are just some of the emails I have received over the past week. If you would like a recommendation, email patkenny@newstalk.com and I’ll do my best to help you out.

Question 1:

I'm starting a Masters in primary school teaching in September. I need a laptop that will be suitable for assignments, can multitask and is durable that will last me for the full two years but I'm on a budget, what could you recommend? Thanks, Megan 

Recommendations:

LENOVO IdeaPad 110 15.6" Laptop - €299

              

    • Windows 10
    • Intel Celeron Processor N3060
    • RAM: 4 GB / Storage: 1 TB HDD
    • Battery life leaves a lot to be desired, but it powerful for less than €300

ACER 14 CB3-431 Chromebook - €260 

  • Chrome OS
  • Intel® Celeron™ Processor N3060
  • RAM: 2 GB / Storage: 32 GB eMMC
  • Up to 12 hours battery life

Question 2:

I am looking to buy a new laptop with a budget of €450 (could stretch to €500). I have finished my masters in sociology and I am currently applying for research jobs that will require a lot of essay writing, online research and I also wish to download the statistics app SPSS without compromising too much on the speed of the laptop.  As I will be carrying this around a lot I would ideally like a size of 14" or less and I am open to any recommendations. Eamonn O'Donnell. 

Recommendations: 

ASUS VivoBook Max X441 14" Laptop - Red €349

  • Social: Basic computing on the go
  • Windows 10
  • Intel® Celeron™ Processor N3060
  • RAM: 4 GB / Storage: 1 TB HDD
  • Up to 4.5 hours battery life 

Questions 3:

My daughter is going into her second year of college. I have a budget of €500 and she doesn’t have any specific software requirements. I want to get her something that will last but that she can also watch her Netflix on. 

Recommendations: 

HP 14-bp060sa 14" Laptop - White €479.99

  • Everyday: All-rounder for work and play
  • Windows 10
  • Intel® Core™ i3-6006U Processor
  • RAM: 4 GB / Storage: 500 GB HDD
  • Up to 8.75 hours battery life

If you have any questions, email patkenny@newstalk.com and I’ll get back to you!