By Bob Milliken

Bob Milliken
Bob Milliken

Finally school days are back in
session and we can all get back to our regular routines.
For students it seems that they can’t move to head of the class without the right gadgets. If your kids are gadget crazy and you’re in the market for purchasing a new laptop for one of them (it seems like anyone from elementary schoolchildren to college graduates need a laptop these days, right?

Here are 7 tips to get the most out of your laptop purchase.

Tip #1: Bigger is NOT necessarily better when it comes to laptops. If your student is on the go, smaller laptops are going to be your best bet. Go for less than 4 lbs. and either 11” or 13” screen size. The SurfacePro, UltraBook or MacBook Airs are all solid options for most students.

Tip #2: Pay for a good design. A student will be using their laptop day in and day out. Choose sleek over clunky. Also opt for a design that is made to protect the display and resist wear and tear over the next few years of use.

Tip #3: Buy for the long haul. Think about how long you want your student’s computer to last. Make the mistake of saving a few bucks now for a cheaper processor, lower memory or smaller hard drive and you’ll be regretting that decision when you’re buying another laptop in 2 years instead of 3 or 4.

Tip #4: Go for long battery life … your student will use it! Six hours of battery life is the MINIMUM spec you should purchase. If you can get 10+ hours of battery life in your budget, go for it.

Tip #5: Consider touch-screen hybrids. Many Windows 8 devices such as the SurfacePro allow you to use the device as a sort of tablet/laptop hybrid. For kids that grew up on tablets and smartphones, these hybrids make them feel right at home with their new computer and actually make them more efficient.

Tip #6: Mac versus PC. This decision is really up to you and your preferences. Software choices these days allow your student to do just fine with either choice. Choose whichever operating system your student is used to using and they’ll do just fine.

Tip #7: Security. Regardless of the laptop you chose make sure you turn on the embedded security features that are part of the operating system. This includes software updates, anti-virus, anti-spyware and malware protection.

Tip #8: Business grade Laptops. These units often provide better keyboards, more durable designs and a bevy of customization options and are often an excellent student buy
Still unsure what to buy? Don’t hesitate to give us a call and we’ll be happy to guide you in the right direction. Connect with Bob at, or give us a call –604.270.1730.
Your comments are appreciated –

Bob Milliken is the president of Cascadia Systems Group.