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The college laptop shopping list: Stage 1
Posted by: wurm
Date: February 16, 2006 01:43PM
Having just filled out the FAFSA form, my mind is in sort of college mode. My daughter will be starting in the Fall, and a laptop will be purchased. The school's requirements are easily met with pretty much any modern laptop, and since they are Mac friendly, we have decided it will definitely be a Mac. And it will likely a 14" ibook, because having seen them in person, my daughter really wants the bigger screen (sadly, she inherited my eyesight). BTW, If there's a good reason to consider a MacBook Pro or Powerbook, we're open to suggestion.

Anyway, while we don't need to actually buy it yet, I'm trying to get a feel for what the entire list will look like. Here's what I'm thinking:

stock 14" ibook $1299
extra gig of memory $120 (assuming I can install it myself easily enough?)
Applecare $210
MS Office (student ed.) $150

security lock (recommendations and prices needed)
carrying case/backpack/bag (recommendations and prices needed)

She'll be bringing an all-in-one printer/copier/scanner from home (and her ipod mini), so we're all set there. Is there anything else I'm not thinking of?

Thanks for any suggestions.





Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 02/16/2006 01:45PM by wurm.
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Re: The college laptop shopping list: Stage 1
Posted by: MGS_forgot_password
Date: February 16, 2006 01:46PM
You should wait and see if she can get Office cheaper at her school. Some sell it for as low as $5.
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Re: The college laptop shopping list: Stage 1
Posted by: wurm
Date: February 16, 2006 01:47PM
Wow. That's good to know. Thanks.
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Re: The college laptop shopping list: Stage 1
Posted by: MGS_forgot_password
Date: February 16, 2006 01:49PM
The school's computer shop probably has a web site, you should be able to check pricing there right now.
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Re: The college laptop shopping list: Stage 1
Posted by: davester
Date: February 16, 2006 01:49PM
I'm in the exact same boat. Here's what I'm thinking. The iBook is extremely long in the tooth and there's probably a macintel replacement in the wings that will come out very soon. I'll probably end up getting her that, and will buy it at the educational price. Another possibility is to give her my albook and buy myself a new macbook pro at the edu price and then write it off as a business expense (I'm self-employed).



"In science it often happens that scientists say, 'You know that's a really good argument; my position is mistaken,' and then they would actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn't happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time something like that happened in politics or religion." (1987) -- Carl Sagan
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Re: The college laptop shopping list: Stage 1
Posted by: mattkime
Date: February 16, 2006 02:18PM
don't bother shopping until the fall. apple's offerings may change entirely.
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Re: The college laptop shopping list: Stage 1
Posted by: wurm
Date: February 16, 2006 02:26PM
Okay, let's leave the ibook itself out of the mix for now. Anything else I should add to the list?
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Re: The college laptop shopping list: Stage 1
Posted by: davester
Date: February 16, 2006 02:31PM
I wouldn't dream of sending a laptop off to college without getting her either lapcop, undercover [homepage.mac.com] , or macphonehome [www.pcphonehome.com] .

I can't think of any reason that a beginning college student would want/need a powerbook or macbookpro.



"In science it often happens that scientists say, 'You know that's a really good argument; my position is mistaken,' and then they would actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn't happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time something like that happened in politics or religion." (1987) -- Carl Sagan
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Re: The college laptop shopping list: Stage 1
Posted by: Big Daddy Cool
Date: February 16, 2006 02:32PM
iTunes gift cards 'cause you're that cool parent.

think of picking up a small BT mouse.

an extra power adapter so she can keep one in the backpack and one at her desk.

plenty of blank cds and/or dvds to archive important papers, etc.

depending on how her dorm room is set up for internet, a wireless router
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Re: The college laptop shopping list: Stage 1
Posted by: mrthuse
Date: February 16, 2006 02:47PM
Dell (yea, Dell) had a back-to-school special this past August that I picked up for my daughter doing the same college thing. It packaged a Kensington wireless mouse, a backpack for the laptop, and a security lock. Normal pricing for the package was $89; it was on sale for $55. A $50 rebate coupon brought the price for the whole shebang down to $5.

My bet is that they'll do a similar promotion this summer. Watch for it. Deals like this are hard to beat, and the daughter e mailed me that the deal was "really cool", but that the security lock was a godsend.

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Re: The college laptop shopping list: Stage 1
Posted by: Michael
Date: February 16, 2006 03:06PM
A pen drive or two.

If you buy a wireless router, be careful about 2.4 GHz cordless telephones.

Also might want to look at college web site re whether they allow wireless. My daughter's college does not, so it was a couple of weeks before someone snuck one in. Everybody on her hall is wireless now.

Oh, yeah. We didn't buy Applecare and instead used a CC that doubled the warranty. I know we're taking a chance, but I'm going to consider the ibook disposable after 2 years if we need to. The extra year for a couple hundred $ didn't make sense to me (I know, I know, I'll regret it!).



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/16/2006 03:10PM by Michael.
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Re: The college laptop shopping list: Stage 1
Posted by: wurm
Date: February 16, 2006 03:27PM
Thanks. This is the kind of stuff I'm talking about.

davester, I agree about an ibook being perfectly adequate. To be honest, we've never been bleeding edge. I'm using a Quicksilver 867 single and I only recently upgraded them from an old Star Max to a 450 Graphite (duallie) . Also, she won't be doing any heavy lifting as a Freshman, although it would be great if she got all four years out of whatever we get. Lapcop looks like a great idea and will be a definite when the time comes.

BDC, I was thinking about another mouse. Good idea. Extra power adapter is another great idea I was thinking of but wasn't sure about. The school has wireless access point around campus and each room has an ethernet connection.

mrthuse, that Dell deal sounds good. I'll have to keep an eye out for a similar one this year.

Micheal, she already has a pen drive, but another might be nice. I had a similar thought about the credit card double warranty versus Applecare, but with my luck it would be during that third year that problems would arise. Plus, being away from home, it might be nice for her to be able to walk into any Apple store knowing she's covered rather than dealing with me submitting receipts for reimbursement, etc.


Keep 'em coming, folks.




Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/16/2006 03:31PM by wurm.
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Re: The college laptop shopping list: Stage 1
Posted by: S.Taylor
Date: February 16, 2006 04:12PM
You might look at insurance against theft/damage/loss. Check out www.safeware.com
they seem fairly reasonable. Even with that, a lock is mandatory.

Apple usually offers some sort of back-to-school specials on their gear; some years are better than others, but it's usually worth waiting for. The campus computer store (or the education section of the online store) should have details by late july/early august.

As was mentioned by someone else, sometimes the campus has a license for Office and make it available to students for a pittance. Worth looking into.

She may appreciate a small cheap laser printer for the dorm; maybe a Brother or similar. Get her a few reams of paper too.

Good luck.
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Re: The college laptop shopping list: Stage 1
Posted by: lemmingboy
Date: February 16, 2006 05:47PM
Hey,

It was very long ago that I was working as a residence hall director and getting this question from parents all summer.

My advice would be definitelt find out what the university offers in her specific building. More and more univeristies offer free univeral wireless in dorms and classrooms, making airport a near necessity. In terms of printer alot of campuses have free printers in every dorm, or even on every floor of every dorm. Remember that space is at a premium in a dorm the size of a wlk in closet so even if you have an extra printer sitting around, you probably do not want to bring it if you don't really need it.

Definitely get a lock for the laptop. More importantly, make sure the lock gets used. In the residence hall I ran, we had about 600 students and there were about 20 laptops stolen a semester. Considering this was five years ago when desktops outnumbered laptops seemingly 5 to 1, those are pretty serious numbers. Every student who had a laptop stolen had a lock when I took the reports for Campus Security ,and every single one of those students weren't using the locks when the computer was stolen.

The other definite thing I would do would be to contact your home insurance and see about either getting renter's insurance for the dorm or getting a rider on your insurance that will specifically cover dorms or campus housing. It will be a ridiculously low cost (around $50 a year to cover $50,000 worth of stuff with a $500 deductible). Generally universities do not cover students belongings in case of fire, theft or disaster.

Finally, I would recommend buying the smallest laptop possible. Not only are 12" laptops cheaper (either iBook or Powerbook) but they can actually be taken to classes and used to take notes. With a 15" or bigger system, they won't fit on the little folding shelf thingy that are on the seats in the big lecture halls. For use in the dorm room, get a second screen for $200 and have the best of both worlds -- portability and big monitor when in the dorm room.

Finally I can give a pretty good recommendation for the Brenthaven laptop bags. I got one free from Smalldog when I gt my first iBook seven or eight years ago and it's been doing great. I've since upgraded the iBook to a Powerbook and I ended up keeping the bag.

Hope this helps.

Shawn
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Re: The college laptop shopping list: Stage 1
Posted by: JEBB
Date: February 16, 2006 07:00PM
My 66 year old eyes with problems do just fine with my 12" iBook. The portability is a great feature. She will need a way to lock it up when she is out of her room.
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