So, you’re off to college come September and in need of a new laptop that will suit your budget and still allow you to accomplish academic fundamentals like emailing, word processing, and online library research.
Since many of you can expect your budget to be modest as you juggle your studies and work, computer-store sales staff will recommend you buy a value laptop, such as an Acer or a Dell. As a college student who has paid my own way, I’m going to suggest you go the premium route and instead buy yourself an Apple laptop: for example, a 13″ MacBook or MacBook Pro.
As a seasoned Mac user, I can guarantee you’ll end up with a high-quality, highly efficient laptop if you go with the MacBook Pro-and, in the long run, your Apple laptop will turn out to be the most economical decision you could have made. Why, you might wonder, would I recommend you purchase an Apple laptop when, to buy a basic MacBook will run $999 and a basic-model laptop from Acer might run as little as $499? The difference is in the level of quality, and any long-time (or even newfound) Mac user will testify that their Apple laptop has outlasted any PC laptop they ever owned.
My first Apple laptop was a 12″ iBook that I purchased for a grand total of $1700 after taxes (and that included a free 20 GB iPod-an educational deal that is still available through Apple to this day). Though it cost me more upfront, that laptop lasted me five years-and at the end of those five years, I sold it for $200.
Now, I have a brand new 13″ MacBook Pro, which cost me $1575 after taxes and again included a fabulous educational rebate in the form of an 8 GB iPod Touch. Do the math yourself, and you’ll see that my iBook proved to be a long-lasting laptop for a value just as good as a value PC: $1700 purchase cost – $200 resale value = $1500 overall spent on the Apple laptop itself. Divide $1500 by the 60 months I owned the laptop, and you’ll discover that, for $25 a month, I owned what was a high-quality, light, and durable laptop that functioned beautifully.
If I own my MacBook Pro for the same amount of time and also resell it for $200, I’ll have only spent $22 month for the same pleasure of owning a lightweight laptop with a long-lasting battery. If you had bought the value laptop at approximately $575 after taxes, you would have to own it for at least two years to have it match an Apple laptop in value alone-and as I have often heard from PC users, their value laptops hardly make it past a year.
Value PC laptops don’t boast many benefits besides a small start-up cost, even when they’re brand-spanking new: unlike their Apple counterparts, they’re heavy, bulky, and terribly designed. On top of that, few of them come backed with reliable customer support or even a warranty, both of which you’ll have for one year with your new MacBook Pro, or for as many as three years if you buy extended AppleCare.
Overall, the initial cost of an Apple laptop like the 13″ MacBook or MacBook Pro might seem intimidating to a new college student, especially if you’re faced with the challenge of putting yourself through school without any financial support from your family. Remind yourself that you’re going to college because you’re smart, and worked hard to get this far. If you apply those skills to the purchase of your laptop, a little financial planning and extra work should make it possible for you to buy yourself an Apple laptop, one that might see you through the length of your entire program.