Software. Hardwear. Bloatware. Many computer choices plague the minds of incoming students and, more importantly, their parents.
Newegg Inc. surveyed 502 enrolled college students and found that while 92 percent needed their laptop, 36 percent weren’t happy with the one they picked. Newegg developed the Parent Persuasion Program, which helps students communicate and collaborate with their parents to make sure they get the computer that fits their needs.
“It gives them the tools they need to help persuade parents to buy students the products they need for back-to-school,” Jenny Chai, senior public relations manager at Newegg, said. “It was a fun campaign we came up with.”
Watch the creative Parent Persuasion Program video here.
Parents have problems when they buy laptops for their children without consulting them first, Chai said.
“They might learn that the kid wanted a laptop that was smaller,” she said.
Sixty-one percent of those surveyed said they would use a tablet for research, followed by 60 percent who would use a tablet for textbooks, according to the survey.
Aaron Moralez, student lead at the Technology Help Desk at Western Michigan University, said some students make excuses for their computer when they bring it in for repair; they’re embarrassed that it doesn’t work.
“When students buy cheaper computers, over time they get slower,” he said. “You end up spending a lot more time than you want to make sure it’s up to date and up to speed. It’s a constant worry, which is a problem with technology today.”
New tech developments are blazing an unmarked trail for students just entering college or seniors purchasing a computer for their career.
Windows 8, which is heavily touch-focused, is being released on Oct. 26. Only the newest laptops coming out on the market right now have touch screens. Touch-sensitive desktop monitors are mostly ready for the switch and are easy to find at places like Newegg.
If a student is considering Windows 8 and doesn’t have a laptop yet, Chai said she recommends buying a touch screen. The operating system’s user interface was designed for touch.
“It’s a lot better with a touch screen,” she said.
Students over at the Technology Help Desk in the University Computing Center said Windows 8 is good for students who like the Mac interface but want the more affordable, familiar experience of a Windows operating system.
“[Microsoft] is going in the right direction,” said Moralez.
Two other tech improvements are becoming mainstream for most computers today. The students at the Help Desk give their recommendations:
- USB 3.0- USB 3.0 allows for a faster transfer of files between the flash drive and computer. Students can upload pictures, music and smaller video files quickly with this type of USB. The university doesn’t have USB 3.0 slots in their computers yet, Moralez said.
“If you just need a flash drive to upload your paper, you probably won’t notice a significant change between USB 2.0 and USB 3.0,” he said.
- Solid State Hard Drives (SSD)- Carey Beck, Help Desk student employee, said SSDs are faster, but more expensive for less memory.
“There’s no moving parts,” Beck said. “It’s a lot faster than a standard hard drive. It’s not ready for consumers, yet.”