What are the Best Laptops for Online Students?

You don't have to take a computer science course to learn what are the best laptops for online students. Inform yourself with this basic guide, and then do a little footwork to assess the current products on the market. With the right equipment you can get your degree online fast.

The Buzzwords

As a student, you likely will need to create written documents, presentations, and spreadsheets, plus you will need Internet access to perform research. All of this can be handled with the best laptops for online students, a laptop with the following basic features.


Every computer is driven by a processor…..or the brain. At the heart of the brain stands two essential entities, the core and the speed. Current computers typically have one, two, or four cores. The number of cores determines the number of calculations a processor can make at one time. Cores impact the efficiency of the processor. The speed of the processor is measured in gigahertz (GHz). A decent laptop will have 1.6 GHz.


You could have guessed that there was another "giga" coming and you would have been right…"gigabyte".  Gigabytes (gig) are the current measurement for Random Access Memory (RAM) which is a computer's storage facility. Current laptops have 4 - 6 gigabytes of memory. The more memory your computer has the faster it will run. (Don't get anything less that 1 gig.) For video editing or graphic design you might need upwards of 6 gigabytes of memory.

Software (Applications)

Software is the technology that is housed on your laptop that allows you to do things….such as write a document, design a presentation, or create a spreadsheet. If you were baking a cake, the software would be the oven mitt that you use to put the data into the oven.

Operating System

To mix metaphors, the operating system is like the conductor of an orchestra…it manages the software and hardware on the laptop. Without an operating system, the laptop would not run. Currently there are two major competitors in the Operating System world, Windows 7 which runs on personal computers (PC), and OS X Lion which runs on Macs. So your real decision will be choosing between a PC and a Mac. If you don't have an opinion on either type, my recommendation would be to use both if possible, before making a purchase. Visit your school's computer lab a few times (if they have both types available).

Other Variables

There are some other features that vary from laptop to laptop that you will come across. They include the following:

·         Hard Drive - Your laptop will come with a hard drive - a data storage unit. Look for one that has 160 GB of storage. You can also purchase external hard drives which are a good idea as they are detached from your laptop making the data a little more secure from the viruses that your laptop is exposed to through the Internet.

·         CD and/or DVD Drive - CD drives are pretty standard but a DVD drive is recommended.

·         USB Ports (Universal Serial Bus Ports) - These are the outlets in your laptop that accommodate cables and connectors. You will need USB ports for external hard drives, camera cables, wireless devices, etc. My laptop only has two. That is not enough. I often have to unplug my printer to plug in another device. Get a laptop with more than two.

·         Wi-Fi Capability - This is a standard feature that lets you access the Internet wherever there is a wireless connection available.

The Footwork

The market is swarming with options (which you probably know since you chose this article to read). And the options change daily (it actually seems like hourly but that can't be true, can it?). My advice to you is to understand the terms above then go online and take your time reading and comparing products. Also, do not be sucked into more than you need. Most likely the least expensive laptop you can find will do the job very well. Shop around a bit and soon you will have a feel for the best laptops for online students. And by the time you need more out of your laptop, you will be ready to replace the one you are buying today.

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