ds-laptops-tablets-offers-latestTech gifts are some of the most useful presents a new college student can receive. Before dropping them off at orientation, think about more than comforters and bed sheets. Help your college student prepare for school by getting them the right computer.

Tech Gifts: Laptop or Desktop Computer?

For college students today, computer work is  often accomplished using Microsoft Office, resources on the web, and  the school’s provided Wi-Fi.

College students who expect to be involved in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) or art courses will require more horse power and storage than typical humanities students. As a result they will need more compute- and video-intensive software.

Most students prefer to take their computer with them to the classroom, library, or a common room. This way they can take notes, do research, or write. They can also watch videos, listen to music, and game wherever they happen to be. If this sounds like your student then they’ll prefer a laptop or lightweight computer/tablet hybrid.

However, many schools provide access to computers and online communication tools nearly everywhere on campus. As a lower-cost alternative, students can use a less expensive desktop or all-in-one computer in their dorm room. They can then use a school computer and log into their student accounts when they are elsewhere on campus. The idea of not lugging around a laptop could be appealing to some. And you might like the security of knowing that desktop computers are stolen  a lot less often than laptops.

Computer Gifts: Check the Specs

We highly recommend purchasing a computer that a college student can use through at least the next four years of school. So look for a computer that includes these specifications:

  •  8 GB RAM
  • 250 GB hard drive (minimum)
  • 500 GB – 1 TB hard drive for those with large storage needs (music, videos, etc.)
  • Intel Core-i5 or Core-i7 processor
  • 2 GB video RAM
  • Under 6 pounds (laptop)

Our Choices Are…

Here are three good all-purpose budget Windows laptops that should meet the needs of most undergrads (pricing is from Amazon):

Tech Computer Gift: HP 15-ay011nrHP 15-ay011nr

Price: $459.99
•    15.6” HD screen
•    Intel Core-i5 processor
•    8 GB RAM
•    1 TB hard drive
•    CD/DVD drive
•    4.7 pound weight
We find the HP 15-ay011nr to be a good computer for school work and entertainment.  The hard drive can be a little slow. But a typical college student is not likely to notice once the computer boots up.

Tech Gift Computer: Dell Inspiron 15Dell Inspiron 15

Price: $519.87
•    15.6” HD screen
•    Intel Core-i5 processor
•    8 GB RAM
•    1 TB hard drive
•    CD/DVD drive
•    5.3 pound weight
Although heavier than the HP laptop, the Dell Inspiron 15 computer performs a little better.  The keyboard is a bit cramped. But it should only be a problem for those people with large hands.

Lenovo G70 (Lenovo G70 80HW000WUS80HW000WUS)

Price: $529.99
•    17.3” screen
•    Intel Core-i5 processor
•    8 GB RAM
•    1 TB hard drive
•    CD/DVD drive
•    6.4 pound weight
Intended as a desktop replacement, the Lenovo G70 laptop works well in that role.  Not as portable as the HP or Dell above due to its size and weight, it nevertheless is not too big or heavy to tote around campus.


A Strong All-In-One Computer Option


Lenovo IdeaCentre AIO 300

Price: $507

If a less portable option is your preference, you may want to check out the all-in-one Lenovo IdeaCentre AIO 300 (F0BY0041US).  With a 23″ screen and a 1 TB drive for ample storage, this computer takes up little desk space while performing favorably for most student needs.

Tech Gifts: Lenovo IdeaCentre AIO 300 - F0BY0041US

If a Mac is your preference…


You can’t go wrong with a MacBook Pro or a MacBook Air.  Using the recommended specs noted above, the cost will be from $1,000 to $2,000.

Have questions on any of these recommendations?  Just give Bergen IT a call! And if you haven’t settled on a printer yet, then read our Tech Gifts for Grads: Top Three Printers. Your college student will thank you.


Have questions about the right tech tools or computer gift for your student?


Contact Bergen IT:


Bergen IT is a client-centered, comprehensive tech support and strategy company for businesses, professionals, and homeowners. The company services customers in the NJ and New York City metropolitan area, including northern New Jersey (Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Morris, and Passaic, NJ), Manhattan and the Bronx, Rockland and Westchester, NY and can remotely assist clients across the USA.

Bergen IT provides computer, mobile device, audio, TV, and home theater services.  Our focus is on providing personal attention, reasonable rates and top-notch expertise. For more information, go to: www.bergenit.net.