Laptops in College... Practical?

Discussion in 'Community' started by CubaTBird, Dec 20, 2004.

  1. CubaTBird macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2004
    #1
    Anybody here use their laptop in college? Like in class, at their dorm, in a library? Do they really seem of use? Or just an un-needed accessory..
     
  2. Kwyjibo macrumors 68040

    Kwyjibo

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2002
    #2
    I goto a large university with 30,000 undergrads. I've seen maybe like 10 people who use a laptop during a lecure ... that being said most people either have a laptop or want one after a certain period of time. I have a 12" PB and its great to take to the library but with wifi everywhere its just like bringing along a distraction. I also know three people who began college with a desktop and have since switched to a laptop, not for classes but just to be able to have the portability so I strongly recommend you spend the extra cash for a laptop.
     
  3. MacFan26 macrumors 65816

    MacFan26

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2003
    Location:
    San Francisco, California
    #3
    I have a laptop, at my school there aren't a ton of people that take them to class, but you can find people with them all over the library, etc. I'd especially recommend one if you're going to be in a dorm, a desktop takes up a lot more space and depending on how much of it you have, a laptop might be a lot nicer. Definitely not an unneeded accessory for me at least.
     
  4. jadam macrumors 6502a

    jadam

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2002
    #4
    Laptop is definetly the way to go in college. I usually dont take mine to many classes though.
     
  5. MoparShaha macrumors 68000

    MoparShaha

    Joined:
    May 15, 2003
    Location:
    San Francisco
    #5
    I see people with laptops in class, but I fail to see the purpose. That aside, having a laptop in college is very useful. Many universities have WiFi campus-wide, or at least in the library, and that can be very helpful with assignments, or just to kill time taking a break.

    I started college with a desktop and after a year switched to a laptop. Was it vital? No, but I certainly do get more work done not being tied to a desktop. I can take my laptop around with me, and do pretty much anything anywhere. For me, it's very convenient. Also, since I don't have an iPod, it's nice to be able to listen to my music when I'm working somewhere.

    Security is a big issue with laptops on campus. If you live in the dorms, you NEED to secure the laptop when you're not explicitly using it. People use the Kensington style locks, but they have been compromised, so I don't know if I'd recommend it. Perhaps a small safe or something. Just keep an eye on it, otherwise it will disappear (especially if it's a Mac, as we know everyone secretly lusts after them :p).
     
  6. tdhurst macrumors 68040

    tdhurst

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2003
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    #6
    yeah...

    I find my laptop to be quite useful in class. Many people can type much faster than they write (and with better handwriting as well) so I use it to take notes every day.
    Oh, and yeah...IMing my friends through my wifi connection is pretty cool too.
     
  7. Timelessblur macrumors 65816

    Timelessblur

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2004
    #7
    I have to say they are very helpful to have one. depending on how much computing you do will a limitiing factor as well because if you do a lot of heavy ended work a desktop is just better. that being said my first year away from home I went laptop only and then this year I built a desktop over the summer for my main computer. I find my self using my laptop a lot less but I still find it very useful for when I want to finish writing up a report away from my room. That and it really nice for when I go home because then I just take my laptop home and I use that one at home.

    For class rooms I found my self using my laptop a lot more eariier on when I was taken the basic but now that I have gotten pretty heavying in to my degrees work I find the laptop pretty useless in those classes (laptop just are not good for taking notes in engineering classes).

    Over all think about what you will be spending most of your time on the computer for and then do the pros and cons for each. for me I wanted to play some games and use it for some high end work that my laptop just could not messsure up to.

    Over all I dont think I would like it very much going back to just a desktop simple because the few times I do use my laptop moble capiblities I really enjoy it. As for secuirty I just make sure that I know where it is all the time when I am not in my room. While in my room currently it just staying in a deskdraw only coming out maybe once a week or so and most of the time when it does it me loaning it to use for IVCF stuff since he is our tech guy and his laptop is currently broken.
     
  8. Royal Pineapple macrumors 65816

    Royal Pineapple

    #8
    i use my ibook in every single class, although i am often the only one who does. my school's wi-fi makes it easy to do research about what the teacher is talking about during the lecture and i find that useful. it is hard to resist the temptation to browse the forums in class though.
    laptop and ipod are the two essential college accessories IMHO.
     
  9. Daveway macrumors 68040

    Daveway

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2004
    Location:
    New Orleans / Lafayette, La
    #9
    my brother uses his laptop at LSU but he has problems with battery life being that he only has one. I suggest you get an extra one. By the time the G5 Powerbook is on rev. b i'll be ready to bring one to college. Can't wait. :cool:
     
  10. JRam macrumors member

    JRam

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2004
    Location:
    Santa Cruz
    #10
    I had a desktop when I lived on campus for two years and things were alright. Since I lived on campus I was never more than 5 minutes away from a computer. However when I moved off campus I also switched and got a laptop. WiFi is plentiful and there isn't always a computer lab where I am killing time on campus.

    As far as taking notes on your computer it really depends on the classes you are going to be taking. For my classes like math and whatnot where the teacher is drawing graphs or funny symbols or spacing a computer is a pain in the butt and ol' fashion pencil and paper is much easier. Although for classes like some humanities its a lot easier to just transcribe the teacher typing it out than keeping up by hand... hell or you can just record the lecture and sleep.

    I personally hate having to use the school's sun machines for programing so having my own computer to do that has been a godsend. It's nice to be able to use the same program at home and on campus, also I am a fan of a gui instead of just a unix editor.

    The real savior though of a laptop is when going over to a friend's place to do work. I did paired programing and just brought my laptop over to his place and we both could be working on debugging the program with one computer and researching a larger problem with another computer. And if we had to go up to campus to get some help we would just close up the laptop, open it up on campus and ask them without worrying about transferring files back and forth between computers and OSs.
     
  11. jimjiminyjim macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2003
    Location:
    Canada
    #11
    Currently I have a palm pilot and portable keyboard. It works really well. As long as you develop some consistent typing habits, it looks great in word or textedit or whatever you open it with.

    On the other hand, I'm thinking of getting a laptop because I'm in a Masters program and need to be in the Library doing research quite often, and would like to be able to do as much as I can 9 - 5 so that I can spend more time with my wife. Writing essays on a palm pilot does not work, taking notes is no problem.
     
  12. CaptainCaveMann macrumors 68000

    CaptainCaveMann

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2004
    #12
    If you do decide to use a desktop please please please buy a silent key board your roomates will thankyou
     
  13. urban1985_ macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2004
    Location:
    Burnaby, British Columbia
    #13
    I think laptops and universities are a perfect match. Lots of people at my school have laptops (a good number of them have macs hehe). I find it useful a lectures because I tyoe way faster than I write, plus formatting notes, and going back to add under a different heading is much easier. I don't get good WiFi reception at some lecture halls, so they're not really that distracting.

    They're also extremely useful for doing work when you have hour (or longer) long breaks. I've finished some papers this way. It's also just nice to have a lot of information carried around with you.

    I'd say they're a great investment for college students.
     
  14. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2002
    Location:
    Location Location Location
    #14
    Laptops in College --- hmmmm, well, I survived my entire undergrad without one and graduated in 2003. I just finished my M.Sc. with a 12" PB and it was definitely useful to have the capability to go portable.

    Even if you don't plan on taking your laptop with you everywhere, remember that with a desktop, there is NO option of taking your laptop to the library to work on an essay unless you want to lug around a small SHUTTLE desktop case and your LCD around. Of course, you could also call that your portable mp3 player, but that's another stretch. ;) If you buy a laptop, at least you have a practical option in bringing your computer to school with you, even if that's only once a month.

    I bring my laptop to the library sometimes to do some quiet work, or to use some books without borrowing them all. Sometimes I'll show my professor the work I've done for a presentation or something using my laptop.
     
  15. gwuMACaddict macrumors 68040

    gwuMACaddict

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2003
    Location:
    washington dc
    #15
    no. you wont take it to class. and if you do, you'll become one of those kids that everyone hates, clicking and clacking away in the back of the room. dont be that kid. and you get more power with a dektop for the same money. more bang for your buck. trust me, as a college student- you're going to want to make the most of what money you have. less chance of it being stolen, too.
     
  16. tdhurst macrumors 68040

    tdhurst

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2003
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    #16
    Right...

    How many mac laptops make loud click clack noises? Besides, it's still quieter than all the idiots laughing and talking during class...
     
  17. Kwyjibo macrumors 68040

    Kwyjibo

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2002
    #17
    my sister is starting school in the fall and she might buy a mac laptop because they're "cuter" than pc laptops. I swear to god, i even told her I don't care what she does, i'd actualyl perfer a pc, they're easier to fix.
     
  18. Timelessblur macrumors 65816

    Timelessblur

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2004
    #18

    I would like to point out that even if the top is never taken to class they prove to be extermly usefull. I can not tell you the number of times my laptop has come in handy for school other than taking it to class. Heck I never take my top to class any more unless I plan on doing some work on it afterwards or right before class.

    For my laptop alone I find it very nice to write up my lab reports some where other then my dorm room. It very nice to be able to leave the room and go else where to work on papers
    For when I go home for a break I can easy take my own computer (which is my laptop). For a Christen group I am in where I have used my laptop for the large group stuff when we need a computer. When I feel like working somewhere other than my desk on my desktop computer (or even when I was just running my laptop there).

    At home I find it useful because it is a wireless network and I can be on the computer in any room in the house. currently I am on my bed writing this up.

    People who never had a laptop lack the real experince of owning and the biggest plus there are of them. They do have there flaws and I my self would be hard press to choose if I had to give up either my laptop or desktop. I have a feeling I would be more willing to give up the desktop over giving my laptop. With an external mouse and keyboard those issue are not an object any more (I would stongly recomend getting a wireless set if you do get a laptop)

    I will state now that i have a desktop computer of my own I find my self not using my laptop very much simple because it is a much weaker computer and I dont have to dell with the draw back of a laptop being a main computer. but as I said I currently own both. The best people to talk to about it are people who have had a laptop and a desktop or heck own both and get there input since we few have the expirece on both sides. I will say when I was laptop only I used my laptop as a moble plateform around 10% of the time and that 10% was after I move away from my core classes and into my degree before that I used it a lot more and a lot of the time in class and in those class I was 1 of about 1/4/-1/3 of the class that had laptops. They really are not that bad to see in class providing they are used to take notes.

    Now that I have both I use my laptop less than 5% of the time at school but it more than makes it self up when I go home for like thanksgiving. christmas and spring break where I have my own computer for those short streachest and I dont have to share the family computer. Plus it has come in handy to help me finish up getting some school work done over the break.

    To some it all up think about what you are taking. Also think about how much work you will be doing on the computer and if it quite a bit of school work it very nice when you want to just get away from it all and work somewhere else. plus is also really nice for when you go home. heck my laptop doubles at my DVD player for trips so that a nice added bonces right there for those fun trips by plane where I have a few hours to kill (bettween flying and the lay overs I have roughly 3 hours to kill)

    Just think about and dont let the people who have never own a laptop scare you away because I would of been one of them if my need of a laptop was not hugely needed and now that I got one in the pass I never want to go back to giving it up.
     
  19. ZaniCWB macrumors member

    ZaniCWB

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2004
    Location:
    Brazil
    #19
    It's very useful!

    Well, I use my PowerBook 12" all the time. I had a desktop too, but I use it through Remote Desktop Connection most of the time. It doesn't matter if my desktop is faster... my PowerBook is so much better to do whatever I want, plus I don't have to worry about transferring files. I get it done on a single machine.

    If you do get a laptop, mind the size of your school chair tough... I've had 6 laptops in my life, and the ones that were like 11.3" (Portége 3490CT) and 12" (Evo N410c, iBook G3/G4 and PowerBook) are way better than my 1st one (I don't even remember the model of that 15" thing). Trust me on this: size and weight do matter (a lot).

    If you do typing and not graphing (is that correct!?) any laptop, PC or Mac, will be very useful at classes.
     
  20. jimjiminyjim macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2003
    Location:
    Canada
    #20
    Thanks for the lengthy post, I've been thinking about getting a laptop in the end of january myself. You brought to light quite a few things to consider. Much appreciated. With a little V8, I should be able to puzzle out whether I get one or not.
     
  21. snkTab macrumors 6502a

    snkTab

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2004
    Location:
    Cincinnati, OH
    #21
    Laptops in class is a bad idea.

    BEJEWELED OMG HAVE I PLAYED YOU ENOUGH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
     
  22. urban1985_ macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2004
    Location:
    Burnaby, British Columbia
    #22
    I've never heard of people hating laptop users for keyboard sounds. Before I had my laptop, 30-40% of my class used one, and I don't recall noticing their loud clicking sounds.

    CubaTBird: It's up to you really. I, for one, think my laptop has made things so much easier.
     
  23. 18thTomorrow macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2004
    Location:
    The Alpha Quadrant
    #23
    I wouldn't even consider doing school without one. I use it in class to take notes (I don't write very fast...) I use it to research, and I take it everywhere with me. I'm hardly ever without the iBook. I have a friend who was choosing between a desktop and a laptop...she chose the desktop for cost's sake but now she kicks herself every time she sees me or other friends with their laptop.
     
  24. Mord macrumors G4

    Mord

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2003
    Location:
    UK
    #24
    i do and have since i was 15 it's great i do all my work on it and backing stuff up is easy, i just copy my documents folder to my ipod at the end of each day, as for security no one has every tried to steal it and i go to a large comprehensive school.

    as for wifi being a distraction it's a self control thing, i mess about online only when i have no work to do and thats they way you should do it.

    as for security do you realy think a burglar is going to break into your house and see you have a g5 with moniter and think bugger that it's too heavy, no he's going to steal it, keep your laptop with you at all times dont lend it to people when your not there and when you get up in starbucks for some more coffee take the damn thing with you
     
  25. gwuMACaddict macrumors 68040

    gwuMACaddict

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2003
    Location:
    washington dc
    #25
    wow

    hahaha! i dont think some of my comments in the political threads have ever elicited such a response!

    i'll be careful not to speak ill of laptops ever again ;) :D
     

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