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[Wiki Guide] Do I need a Laptop for Uni?

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    Do I Need a Laptop for Uni?

    Please use this thread for comments and discussion about the article, as well as asking for advice.
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    Massive respect for actually mentioning Thinkpads. Quick browses through this forum would lead people to believe that they don't exist, despite being such amazing laptops. Then again, Lenovo have never been good at advertising. And I feel 14 inch screens are the perfect size really - portable yet not a strain on your eyes when using it for too long. 15 inch laptops tend to be far too heavy and bulky, and 13 is fine, but hurts my eyes if I'm word processing for a long time, especially if the screen res is low.

    I'd just like to say that it really depends on how important using a computer is on your course and life. It's not uncommon at Imperial anyway, for the central library to have no free computers just after lectures or midway into lunch time, and it's frustrating waiting for some guy to leave. This situation is then constantly the case during the exam period so if you want to work, bring a laptop or don't go to the library really. I mean, if you're one of these people who CAN work in halls or at home, then chucking a small desktop there and working in your room is fine. I personally prefer to have my room work-free as a chill-out area and go to the library to work, as the environment actually makes me work.

    What I think is important for me personally is battery life (hence my 2 x 9 cell batteries I lug everywhere with my thinkpad) because, surprisingly, there aren't always enough AC plug sockets in the library. Plus, it's just personal preference but I prefer working on my own machine opposed to the uni one.

    And the Li-ion point is very good, though I think a lot of battery degeneration is simply down to people not knowing how to take good care of them - charging them right up to 100%, leaving them in the laptop all the time even on AC, and storing them at the wrong charge.

    As for laptops in lectures, I find them extremely annoying as well, and in my experience they're used for games and facebook, not really taking notes :p: Not a good way to make new friends at uni. I just find my laptop convenient. I can check and reply to my emails in breaks, write up articles for the student newspaper and email them in (even in a starbucks with wifi on lol), and wikipedia random syndromes here and then :p: I just think when buying laptops, most people pay for more than they need. A lot of people don't game, just use word, internet and watch the odd movie, yet go overkill with processors etc...
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    And as to the above point, maybe having something in the wiki (if there isn't already) on looking after your Li-ion battery wouldn't be that bad an idea!
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    Thanks for the feedback on the article. I'm a Thinkpad user myself, so I couldn't resist the opportunity to mention them :p:. You make a good point about a shortage of open access machines and some people's desire to work in a library. At the end of the day, it's a personal choice that I've tried to convey in the article, but I might rework the last bit a little, if I get time.

    (Original post by Toiletpaper8)
    And as to the above point, maybe having something in the wiki (if there isn't already) on looking after your Li-ion battery wouldn't be that bad an idea!
    (Original post by Cypher_Aod)
    x
    Perhaps you two could collaborate on something here?
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    (Original post by Mad Vlad)
    Perhaps you two could collaborate on something here?
    I don't mind writing up a little something on it, and then if anyone wants to add anything or change anything then they can. I'll message it to you when I'm done, once I've cleared my inbox eventually :p:
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    (Original post by Toiletpaper8)
    I don't mind writing up a little something on it, and then if anyone wants to add anything or change anything then they can. I'll message it to you when I'm done, once I've cleared my inbox eventually :p:
    That'd be great. Give me a shout if you need any help with the Tech Wiki templates etc. Once you've got the article done, we'll create a purple tagged forum thread (like this one) for discussions on it
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    (Original post by Mad Vlad)
    That'd be great. Give me a shout if you need any help with the Tech Wiki templates etc. Once you've got the article done, we'll create a purple tagged forum thread (like this one) for discussions on it
    http://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/wiki/Techow_to_prolong_the_life_of_your_L ithium_ion_battery_and_improve_b attery_use_time

    I'm not sure if I've laid it out the best way or whether I might have ommited anything, but I think the information's there. Any comments/edits - feel free, it's the first thing I've ever chucked on the wiki lol
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    (Original post by Toiletpaper8)
    http://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/wiki/Techow_to_prolong_the_life_of_your_L ithium_ion_battery_and_improve_b attery_use_time

    I'm not sure if I've laid it out the best way or whether I might have ommited anything, but I think the information's there. Any comments/edits - feel free, it's the first thing I've ever chucked on the wiki lol
    Looks good! I'll put add the template and links to the main landing page. Perhaps consider adding a little bullet point summary at the end? Other than that, it looks quite informative

    [EDIT] Added the template and a link on the Tech Wiki landing page.
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    (Original post by Mad Vlad)
    Looks good! I'll put add the template and links to the main landing page. Perhaps consider adding a little bullet point summary at the end? Other than that, it looks quite informative
    Cheers, I'll add a little bullet point summary at the end! :p:
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    Summary added Hopefully people won't kill off their batteries quickly through abuse and neglect now :p:
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    I suppose the context greatly affects one's opinion as to whether you "need" a laptop at Uni.

    Certainly, I do. I could not manage at Uni without a laptop. Then again - different context. Some universities will have very good computer networks with lots of workstations freely available where as others will not.

    I study a Bachelor of IT at Queensland University of Technology (QUT) in Australia. I think we can wipe the "Technology" out of the name to be honest because it has to be one of the most unusual networks I've ever been on. I wonder if anyone can shed some light as to whether this is the case with all University networks or not...?

    We use a mix of (mainly) Dell desktop and laptop workstations running Windows 7. The computer labs in one building have Dell laptops that have Intel Core 2 Duo processors and came pre-loaded with Windows Vista Basic! :eek: We have a very unusual image of Windows 7 Enterprise running and the desktop backgrounds all state "QUT Managed Operating Environment". The log off and shut down functions have been removed and the Lock feature disabled. To log off you have to restart the machine. And it wipes itself and re-images the PC. It can take anything up to/around 5-15 minutes to log on, but shut down's pretty darn quick!

    There's regularly a good 10+ PCs out of order in the main study centre computer labs.

    We have a "Blackboard" VLE and downloading files on that often doesn't work on computers on the Uni network itself leading to embarrassing mishaps for both students AND lecturers! But on your own laptop over Wi-Fi it's absolutely fine.

    I would not be able to thrive at Uni without my laptop and netbook and that's the bottom line.

    So I would say although you're absolutely 100% right in what you say in the article there and there are all those problems with it e.g. social networking being a distraction, they weigh a tonne, battery life can be a letdown... depending on your University's network you could find that actually you really can't live without them. The only real reason I've bought a netbook in recent days is because I find that my notebook is just too heavy and I suffer from back problems and it's too awkward (and the battery life is too poor) to whip it out on the bus to Uni and expect to be able to scribble anything down on an assignment really!

    That's neither here nor there I'm just saying it really depends on your situation.
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    (Original post by Lukely)
    I suppose the context greatly affects one's opinion as to whether you "need" a laptop at Uni.

    Certainly, I do. I could not manage at Uni without a laptop. Then again - different context. Some universities will have very good computer networks with lots of workstations freely available where as others will not.

    I study a Bachelor of IT at Queensland University of Technology (QUT) in Australia. I think we can wipe the "Technology" out of the name to be honest because it has to be one of the most unusual networks I've ever been on. I wonder if anyone can shed some light as to whether this is the case with all University networks or not...?

    We use a mix of (mainly) Dell desktop and laptop workstations running Windows 7. The computer labs in one building have Dell laptops that have Intel Core 2 Duo processors and came pre-loaded with Windows Vista Basic! :eek: We have a very unusual image of Windows 7 Enterprise running and the desktop backgrounds all state "QUT Managed Operating Environment". The log off and shut down functions have been removed and the Lock feature disabled. To log off you have to restart the machine. And it wipes itself and re-images the PC. It can take anything up to/around 5-15 minutes to log on, but shut down's pretty darn quick!

    There's regularly a good 10+ PCs out of order in the main study centre computer labs.

    We have a "Blackboard" VLE and downloading files on that often doesn't work on computers on the Uni network itself leading to embarrassing mishaps for both students AND lecturers! But on your own laptop over Wi-Fi it's absolutely fine.

    I would not be able to thrive at Uni without my laptop and netbook and that's the bottom line.

    So I would say although you're absolutely 100% right in what you say in the article there and there are all those problems with it e.g. social networking being a distraction, they weigh a tonne, battery life can be a letdown... depending on your University's network you could find that actually you really can't live without them. The only real reason I've bought a netbook in recent days is because I find that my notebook is just too heavy and I suffer from back problems and it's too awkward (and the battery life is too poor) to whip it out on the bus to Uni and expect to be able to scribble anything down on an assignment really!

    That's neither here nor there I'm just saying it really depends on your situation.
    Exactly. The whole purpose of the article was to make people really consider their needs, rather than just (wrongly) assume that everyone will always need a laptop for uni.
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    IMO the biggest advantage of having a laptop is not mobility from home to uni, but around the home. All my flatmates had laptops, and I had a desktop. Every time I needed to do even the smallest bit of work which required little thought (such as copying up notes), I had to go to my room. Meanwhile, my flatmates could happily do their less important work in the living room while they chat away, or go to their rooms for the big things like essays and projects. A desktop is pretty much a chain to spend many more anti-social hours in your room than you really need (but of course, some people find that a great incentive to focus and not procrastinate). It may seem like a small inconsequential choice, but over a period of 4 years of uni I found it VERY noticeable.

    It seems like you play up a lot of the disadvantages and play down a lot of the advantages.
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    :yay: I have a Dell Vostro. I feel so proud that I was in the article.
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    (Original post by Svenjamin)
    IMO the biggest advantage of having a laptop is not mobility from home to uni, but around the home. All my flatmates had laptops, and I had a desktop. Every time I needed to do even the smallest bit of work which required little thought (such as copying up notes), I had to go to my room. Meanwhile, my flatmates could happily do their less important work in the living room while they chat away, or go to their rooms for the big things like essays and projects. A desktop is pretty much a chain to spend many more anti-social hours in your room than you really need (but of course, some people find that a great incentive to focus and not procrastinate). It may seem like a small inconsequential choice, but over a period of 4 years of uni I found it VERY noticeable.

    It seems like you play up a lot of the disadvantages and play down a lot of the advantages.
    It's not intended to be a balanced article. It's supposed to challenge the fallacy that you need a laptop for uni, planting enough doubt into the reader's mind to actually get them to think about whether they need one, and leaves them to make up their own mind.
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    (Original post by d4nny)
    :yay: I have a Dell Vostro. I feel so proud that I was in the article.
    Lol. I felt the same. Which one have you got? I got a Vostro 1500, but am thinking of selling it soon and getting the XPS 15. Looks very impressive to me. Mine is 4 years old by now, so slowly need a new one now...
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    (Original post by muffingg)
    Lol. I felt the same. Which one have you got? I got a Vostro 1500, but am thinking of selling it soon and getting the XPS 15. Looks very impressive to me. Mine is 4 years old by now, so slowly need a new one now...
    3500. I would wait until the new XPS 15z comes out:
    http://www.engadget.com/2011/05/05/d...ptop-surfaces/
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    (Original post by d4nny)
    3500. I would wait until the new XPS 15z comes out:
    http://www.engadget.com/2011/05/05/dells-stylish-new-xps-15z-laptop-surfaces/
    Looks good. When is it coming out?
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    (Original post by muffingg)
    Looks good. When is it coming out?
    http://www.engadget.com/2011/05/13/d...et-senses-vid/

    Just 'coming soon', but at least it was made official today. Dell have been promising a slim XPS 15 for some time now, so it should be finished soon!
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    -Also depends on what your studying at Uni. For example if you study Graphic Design you're definitely going to need a laptop.

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