Does your major have a heavy emphasis on using software, or do you just need a new laptop for college? Either way, this list will help you make an informed decision on what your next purchase should be, so you don't waste your time or money dealing with the hassle of a laptop that will not suit your needs. We've done the heavy lifting and compared and reviewed many different options to come up with the best bang for your buck. Please take a look at these guides depending on your needs, and for a deeper dive into the "techno-speak" you may encounter when looking for a new computer, take a look at our list of terms below:
As always, please reach out to the IT help desk if you have any questions or concerns before making an investment in your computer, we are happy to help out!
Laptop Purchasing Guide
There are a few things we look for when recommending these laptops, regardless of their price or intended use. You want a computer that is rock-solid and dependable for your stay at Hanover. Therefore most of these have similar things in common; They are fast, so you don't spend your time waiting around for the computer to load. They have reputable and known manufacturers who offer or provide good warranties, or have a model lineage that is known for its reliability, and they often avoid being packed with high-end hardware in an "ultrathin" package as these are prone to overheat and have issues. Also, we typically do not recommend Chromebooks for students as they are extremely limited and often do not have the capability to install the software or applications students will need.
Guide to Best Laptops Under $1,000
Guide to Best Laptops Over $1,000
Recommendations by Department (Coming Soon)
Art & Design
You will likely encounter the following terms when shopping for computers. This is just a quick overview of the most common parts of a computer and what it means for you. You can also find a more detailed explanation here.
OS - OS just means Operating System and is the graphical interface you see and interact with on the monitor. The two most common are Windows and macOS.
CPU - This means central processing unit and is the brain of the computer. Generally, this part affects how many operations a computer can complete. Reputable CPU manufacturers for laptops include Intel and AMD.
SSD & HDD - These stand for solid-state drive and hard drive disk, and both of these function the same - they allow you to store your pictures, documents, and software. SSDs are much faster and have gotten more reliable over time. HDDs are cheaper however so you can get more storage space bang for your buck. Most newer laptops come with SSDs, and it's normally an indicator that a laptop is low-end or compromised in some way if it comes with only an HDD.
RAM - Or random access memory is basically super-fast storage that your software runs inside of. Larger amounts of RAM allow a computer to open and run more software at the same time, or allow software that requires a lot of RAM to operate faster and more efficiently.
Optical Drive - much like the floppy before it, the optical drive is being relegated to fewer and fewer tasks. Its main purpose is to allow you to play or create CDs or DVDs, but most newer laptops have done away with them due to the rise in streaming. If you absolutely have to have one, there are external options that connect via USB.
GPU - Stands for the graphical processing unit. This is a special chip that some computers have and allows them to process highly graphic intense applications such as games or photo editing software. These are not necessary for everyday work otherwise. These are generally a bad idea for laptops anyway as they create excess heat and can actually cause the computer to overheat and become damaged.