Edited and prepared by Oscar Michel, Masters in Journalism, DCU

Interesting interview Declan Kenny, Currys Category Manager. Declan explains what should a student look out for when buying a laptop for school/ college. Website here.

  1. What sort of PC will a college student need?

This will depend on the course they are doing and their own personal needs, but there are plenty of features to look for the ensure your chosen laptop suits for college requirements. Some things to consider when buying a laptop for college include screen size and weight to make sure your model is portable to carry to lectures, memory so it’s optimal for storing files and assignments, and battery life so students can study late in to the night without relying on their charger. 2-in-1’s are useful as they can double up as tablets with a detachable keyboard if you don’t want to have the full laptop with you at all times. It’s more than just a laptop – you use it for work, for play and for socializing – at home or on campus. From writing and researching essays to binge-watching Netflix, it’s your go-to device.

Considerations when buying the right laptop:

  • Portability – 12 to 13-inch laptops that are thin and lightweight easy to carry around
  • Windows 10 preinstalled and compatible with Office 365 for Word, Excel and PowerPoint
  • Intel Core processor for multitasking between work and play
  • At least 4GB RAM for working efficiently between different programs
  • SSD (solid state drive storage) for faster laptop and software load times
  • Long Battery Life so you can ditch the Bulky Power Pack
  • Value – look for deals. Do you buy a cheap laptop, or buy a slightly more expensive one with a cashback offer making it a better deal overall
  1. What technicality will make a good PC?

There is no one technicality that will make a good PC it really depends on what the individual is going to use the PC for. With all the complex specs and techy jargon, it’s sometimes hard to choose which one is right for you. In order to make it easier for customers to choose the right PC we’ve created 4 different stories (or categories) that every one of our computers fits into – to help customers find the right device based on what they love doing and what the everyday use of the PC is going to be.

Achieve

You’re a power user who always multitasks. You’ll stream Spotify and chat to friends at the same time as putting pivot tables in your spreadsheet. Always with 10 tabs open in Google. You may be a creative using Adobe Creative Suite or a number-cruncher pushing Excel to its very limits. You need a laptop that can keep up, with enough power to smoothly run multiple apps and breeze through the most complex software.

Things to focus on…

  • Powerful Intel Core i5 or i7 processor and 8GB RAM for complex software and multiple apps
  • SSD storage for a laptop that wakes up and goes to sleep in seconds, loads your apps and transfers files fast
  • Plenty of RAM to help your laptop do more things at once
  • Full HD screen for presentations, design projects and photos that look incredible
  • Magazine-thin design fashioned from a single piece of aluminium to look sharp and stay durable

Everyday

From Netflix and Spotify to your weekly food shop, lots of your life is handled online. But you sometimes work from home, so you need Office on your laptop. Plus you’ve got the family archives (iTunes and countless photo albums) hogging the hard drive. This laptop will largely live at home.

You don’t need top of the range specs, but you do need a solid mid-range laptop with a mix of traditional and new features.

Things to focus on…

  • Mid-range Intel Core i3 or AMD A9 processor and 4GB RAM for smooth everyday computing
  • Large 1 or 2TB hard drive to store the whole family’s music collections and photo albums
  • Basic design for bargain price – traditional plastic rather than aluminium and not ‘ultra-thin’
  • Large 14 or 15 inch screen and DVD drive for watching movies

Social

Whether chatting to friends, shopping, or watching box-sets, you’re always online. You long ago ditched your MP3s for Spotify and your DVDs for Netflix

You need a laptop designed to help you stay connected wherever you are. Don’t worry about powerful Intel Core processors and large hard drives – you won’t need the power or the space.

Things to focus on…

  • Thin and lightweight ‘fanless’ design – low-power processors don’t need fans to keep cool
  • Long battery life – less processing power means less battery drain
  • Compatible with apps and cloud services Google/Google Play or App Store/iCloud or Windows/OneDrive)
  • Low-powered processor like Intel Atom or Celeron or AMD E2

Gaming

You’re a serious gamer looking to go beyond the capabilities of your console. You need a specialist gaming laptop with oodles of power and incredible graphics capabilities.

Things to focus on…

  • Quad core Intel Core i5/i7 or AMD Ryzen 5 and 7 to get the best from the most demanding games
  • Dedicated graphics for detailed Full HD visuals – look at NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 or AMD Radeon RX 460
  • Enough RAM for games to run efficiently – 8GB minimum but 16GB recommended
  • Solid state drive (SSD) to load your games faster
  1. What is the best value PC you sell and why is it so good?

We have great value across Ireland’s largest range PC’s like either the Lenovo 320s IdeaPad 14” Laptop (201160), which is best for daily performance and features Intel Processing Power with 4GB RAM and 128 GB SSD storage or the HP Pavilion X360 14” 2-in-1 convertible laptop with boasts the versatility of both Laptop and Tablet, has Full HD Display and also features intel Processing Power, 4GB RAM and 128 GB SSD Storage. Both of these Laptops are hand-picked by our Experts and feature in our Experts Love Range.

  1. Which PC will answer to the needs of an IT Student?
  • Portability – 12 to 13-inch laptops that are thin and lightweight
  • Windows 10 preinstalled and compatible with Office 365 for Word, Excel and PowerPoint
  • Intel Core processor for multitasking between work and play
  • At least 4GB RAM for working efficiently between different programs
  • SSD (solid state drive storage) for faster laptop and software load times

The Lenovo Yoga 520 is a 2 in 1 laptop that can also function as a tablet. It’s thin and lightweight for life on campus, and you can watch up to 10 hours of Full HD video on a single charge – hello, Netflix. Whatever your course throws at you, the Yoga can handle it with Intel Core processing. Notetaking in lectures is easy too with the digital pen.

  1. How is the touch screen important for a student?

Touch screens make browsing video apps and scrolling through social media sites much more effortless, things that are important to students. Touch control is fast and fun and can be really intuitive when looking to research quickly online, clicking between website tabs and keeping up with lecturers in class. It works the same way as a mobile phone so it’s easy to pick up and most people are familiar with the functionality. Get the best of a tablet and a laptop with a 2 in 1 device – what’s more they’re great with Windows 10.

  1. Why should students buy their PCs at Currys PC World?

Currys PC World are the leading tech experts in Ireland with Irelands largest range and choice, we have experts in store to help you find the PC that is right for you.  Currys PC World partner with all the key brands such as HP, Lenovo, Asus, Apple, Acer and Microsoft amongst others and also range  exclusive laptops  that you cannot buy anywhere else in Ireland.  We have great offers like up to €250 Cashback on all Windows Laptops and Apple Mac over €549.

  1. Would you recommend Mac or PC ? Why?

Different laptops run different operating systems – and each one has its own benefits. Choosing the right one is key to getting the right laptop…

What’s an operating system?

An operating system, or OS, is a piece of software that’s preloaded onto your laptop. It manages its software and hardware. Apple OS X, Microsoft Windows and Google Chrome are the 3 to choose from.

Apple macOS (formerly OS X)

MacBooks run the macOS operating system – previously known as OS X. Apple designs the OS as well as the laptops, and because the same people design both the hardware and software everything fits together seamlessly.

macOS is easy to understand and use. Whether you’re writing an essay for school or uni, editing photos in Photoshop or browsing the web.

Though Apple laptops are sometimes associated with creative professionals there’s a MacBook for everyone.

Have an iPhone or iPad? Your MacBook is connected to your other Apple devices. Update a calendar or contact on one and see it on the other. Download an album in Apple Music once and it’s available on all your Apple devices. MacOS Sierra is the latest version. It was made available as a free update in September 2016.

Best bits of macOS Sierra

  • Write essays and reports in Pages, work in spreadsheets in Numbers. Prefer Word? Get Office for Mac instead
  • Siri personal assistant on your Mac as well as your iPhone. Search for files, add meetings and send messages using your voice
  • Copy and paste paragraphs of text, and images and video from your MacBook to your iPad or iPhone with the Universal Clipboard
  • Open files saved to your MacBook desktop on all your Apple devices, and pick-up exactly where you left off
  • Record guitar jams in GarageBand or edit films in iMovie with powerful, built-in creative apps
  • Swipe and scroll with your fingers on the multi-touch trackpad – ditch the mouse for simple gestures
  • Watch video while working with split-screen apps that float video from the web or iTunes over the top of your essay or research
  • Organise your memories with technology that recognises photos based on who is in them and where they were taken

Windows

Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook. You’re probably familiar with Microsoft Windows from school or from work. Windows can be found on laptops made by HP, Lenovo, Acer, ASUS, Sony, Toshiba and more. So why break from tradition now? Particularly when the latest version – Windows 10 – has been redesigned for tablets and phones as well as laptops to give you the same experience across devices. Windows 10 blends touchscreen controls with traditional features like the Start menu. For working in Word and Excel and finding files and programs on your desktop, it’s familiar like earlier versions of Windows but there are innovative new features making it easier to use the web, find your way around your laptop and get stuff done.

  • Free Word, Excel and PowerPoint web apps, and Windows gets the best from Office 365 software
  • Switch easily between touchscreen and mouse-and-keyboard controls on 2 in 1 laptops that also function as tablets
  • Start menu in the bottom-left corner of your desktop delivers the familiar Windows experience you’ve always known
  • But new Live Tiles display latest calendar and social media updates to make the Start menu smarter and more personal to you
  • Write notes directly onto a webpage using the Edge web browser and share with friends and colleagues – perfect for research and revision
  • Sketch and take notes with a stylus pen and Windows Ink on touchscreen laptops and tablets
  • Read online articles free of adverts, banners and other distractions with the simple reading mode
  1. What PC accessories could a student need?

Depending on the laptop you choose, and external hard drive can be useful for storing additional files, assignments, video etc – particularly for design or film students who will have files that take up quite a bit of storage.

Headphones can be useful in the library or while studying at home and Currys PC World stock a huge range of earphones and noise cancelling headphones with something for everyone’s needs.

Other accessories to throw in the shopping basket would include a Laptop sleeve or bag to protect your new piece of equipment, and of course the software that helps your laptop perform its best – Antivirus, Microsoft Office etc. Currys PC World have a number of bundle deals on Office which is essential for any student assignments (including PowerPoint, Word, Excel etc).

Notes on set up which is crucial whether buying new or upgrading:

When setting up your new computer, there’s a few essential steps you need to follow.

The first is making sure you’re fully protected from viruses to keep your personal details safe and avoid any risky downloads.

Next, you’ll need to install software for all of your daily tasks. Programmes that allow you to type up documents, write emails, and compile spreadsheets are all essentials for any computer.

Finally, to make sure you keep all your valuable files safe and backed up, you need to find the right storage solution. This will allow you to keep important documents, music and photos secure and easy to access.

Computers no longer come pre-loaded with all of this software and storage, so that’s why we’ve put together the top 3 essentials that you need to get set up with your new PC:

  • Internet security software we recommend McAfee LiveSafe
  • Office software we recommend Microsoft Office 365
  • Storage we recommend Team Know How Cloud

In addition to this we have a wide range of Laptop Bags, Printers, and PC Accessories. At Currys PC World we help you get it right


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