IT News: Office of Information Technology
Sean Polk, Director
Director's Notes: October 29, 2013
As the Holiday Season is fast approaching, many parents are thinking about technology. Should I buy my 6th grader a laptop or an iPad? Will my 10th grader's laptop last until they get through college? While there are many different answers to these questions, I would recommend the following:
If you have a student in Upper School, and you want them to have a computer that will last through college, buy them a Mac Book Pro. While it''s true that you are going to pay more, you will have a laptop that will easily last six to eight years. For your middle school student, you could also buy a Macbook - but for that age group I would recommend a PC based laptop (around $500), unless they are very responsible.
Many will ask, what should I look for in terms of price point? Let me start off by saying the name on the outside of the PC does not matter - it is what is on the inside that counts. You should buy a machine with a least the 3rd generation Intel "i series" chip and a minimum of 4GB of memory. The third generation Intel units are either i3, i5 or i7. Walmart.com has a number of Intel i3 computers around $500.00, and a few i5 (with 6 gigs of memory) for under $600.00. On a side note, the i7 Intel chip is standard in the new Apple MacBook Pro which is priced around $1200.00
As you look to purchase a laptop for your student remember that they have to carry them between classes so smaller may be better. It will certainly be lighter and a 15" screen may be preferred to the larger 17" screen.
Last but not least, I am often asked, "Should I buy an iPad, Chromebook or Surface?" I would not recommend making any of these my child’s primary computer. Now if I wanted them to have a computer they could use on the go because they already have a PC at home, I would recommend the following: If they are using an iMac at home I would recommend an iPad with a keyboard. If they are using a PC, then I would recommend a Surface. But I do not think either, at the $350 price point, is robust enough to be a primary computer.