Students need a certain amount of technology in their lives...
... and most want a certain amount more...
Undergraduate life is possible without a laptop. But it is (unnecessarily) tricky.
Shared university facilities may not have the programmes you want and need, usually require booking, and may well be subject to time limits. Having your own laptop means easy access as and when you want it. And they can be picked up relatively cheaply these days.
So, what to buy? Get a laptop with built-in Wi-Fi, at least 1GB of RAM, at least 80GB of hard disk space, and a rewritable DVD drive. Do some research at studentcomputers.co.uk, student-laptops.co.uk and dell.co.uk/computers. Before you buy, it’s a good idea to actually go into a store and try out the laptops before forking out for them. If you want a Mac, visit store.apple.com/uk/browse/ campaigns/back_to_school before 7 September to get a good student deal.
What you don’t need to invest in, however, is a printer. Your university should have plenty available, so just save your work to disk or memory stick and take that to the library or computer room. Alternatively, your tutors may be happy for you to email your essays, which will save both time and paper.
Another thing you will require as you embark on your student life is a mobile. Most will already have one, but, as and when you upgrade, consider your needs carefully. Do you now need more (or less) inclusive minutes and texts? Can your mobile help with your studies? A large screen can help you make the most of mobile internet, enabling you to do some research while waiting for the bus. Visit www.studentmobile.co.uk for special rates and deals. Oh, and at this stage, your parents’ numbers should be among your most-dialled. They’ll thank you for it.
And make sure you get proper, comprehensive insurance for all your gadgets and gizmos while you’re at uni. It’s worth shelling out for, to cover you in case of klutziness on your part, or the possible sticky-fingeredness of others. You will need to research and arrange insurance yourself, though, as it is not included in university accommodation fees, or private rental agreements.