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When shopping for a laptop for college typically a computer that will last for four years is the best option. In order to have a computer last that long it needs to be a mid-level or higher machine and a long warranty. The warranty should include on-site service and accidental damage coverage as both of these will be important while on campus.

When selecting a computer, the first decision is to get a PC or a Mac. Students studying in the sciences are best suited to get a PC as there are typically industry-specific applications required for these fields. Students pursuing the arts or education are best suited to purchase a Mac. All other fields will be well served by both platforms.

In addition to the computer students will typically need two main applications. Microsoft Office and a antivirus package. There are many free antivirus packages available for both Mac and PC as well as paid options. You should check with your school to see if they have specific requirements for the antivirus package or if other programs are required.

Before making a final computer selection you should check with the school to ensure that there are no specific requirements that have to be met. Below are our general recommendations for computers that should work well for most students. Alternative Network Solutions can supply HP systems if you are interested. For more information, please contact us.

PC Mac
Ultra Portable

Pros: Small, lightweight computers. Easy to cary and transport. Long battery life.

Cons: Smaller screens, smaller hard drive capacities.

  • 13″ Screen
  • Intel Core i5 Processor
  • 4GB or RAM
  • Windows 7 Professional 64-Bit
  • Intel Ultrabook Certification.
Recommended Model: HP Folio13 or Microsoft Surface Pro 3
  • 13″ Screen
  • Intel Core i5 Processor
  • 4GB RAM

Recommended: 13 Inch-MacBook Air

Standard Notebook

Pros: Large screen, higher powered options available.

Cons: Tend to be slightly heavier and harder to transport.

  • 14-16″ Screen
  • 4-8 GB RAM
  • Intel Core i5 or Core i7 Processor
  • Windows 8.1 Professional 64-Bit
Recommended Models: HP ElieBook Series
  • 15″ Screen
  • 8GB RAM
  • Intel Core i7 Processor

Recommended Model: 15-Inch MacBook Pro


Pros: Very light weight and easy to carry. Great companion to a traditional computer.

Cons: Limited software selection, small screen. Designed primarly as a consumption device. Not generally suited as a primary computer.

  • Windows RT or Windows 8.1 Pro.
  • 7″ to 9″ screen.
  • 32GB Storage
Recommended Model: Microsoft Surface 2 or Microsoft Surface Pro 3
  • 9″ Screen
  • 32 GB Storage
  • High resolution desplay

Recommended Model: iPad Air 2