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Back to School Electronics: Yes, No, Uh Maybe…

August 31, 2011

By Kyle Espinola 

When you’re working on campus making minimum wage, buying electronics becomes a big freakin’ deal! In order to make sure you’re not blowing your money on unnecessary items lets take a look at some electronics on the market and distinguish what you should buy from what you shouldn’t:

Laptop- YES PLEASE. With more resources and classes being offered online owning a personal computer is becoming more and more important.  Sure you can buy a desktopcomputer, but do you really want to lug that beast around during the end of the year housing shuffle? I know everyone wants to own a MacBook and for good reason, they’re durable, powerful, and stylish. However, you can still get the same processing power and functionality from less expensive laptops. Here is a slideshow with some budget friendly options.

External Hard Drive-  PERHAPS. Purchasing an externalharddrive isn’t a bad decision and it wont put you back that much considering the average cost is $127. Backing up your data is important, but there are chord free alternatives on the market. Cloudstorage is becoming more popular and functional; in fact, any paper I write I save to my dropbox now, instead of my hard drive. With the file in dropbox I can access it from any device.

80% of my friends use their external hard drive solely for music. If you’re part of the crowd, I recommend giving the AmazonCloudDrive a test. For $20/ year you can store approximately 4,000 songs (other storage options are available).

Printer- NO DICE. Guess where my printer currently resides? Under my bed collecting dust! Instead of buying your own printer, utilize the printers your school offers. Either email the paper to yourself, or harness the power of cloudstorage and log in then print! If for some reason this isn’t an option or you’re just too lazy, at least buy an allinoneprinter that way you can be the cool friend with the printer- scanner combo!

TV- NO SIR. With the advent of onlineTVandmovies– the most notable being Hulu and Netflix– conventional TV is quickly becoming obsolete. Rather than spending your cold hard cash on a TV and cable service, buy an external monitor for your laptop- excellent picture quality for less! And you never know maybe your roommate is loaded and brought a whopper of a TV for the both of you to enjoy. 

Smartphone- OH YEAH. Smartphones are the bees knees for sure!  When you buy a smartphone you’re also purchasing a camera, GPS, videocamera, and much more. The plethora of apps available for both android and iphone are what make smartphones so valuable. Lets use evernote as an example because it’s must have for note taking. Essentially evernote is a cloud based note taking plug-in that syncs seamlessly between your computer and smartphone. For example Instead of lugging around a laptop, I now take notes on my smartphone using evernote and a bluetooth keyboard. The combo saves space on my computer, reduces the paper I use, and relieves pain in my shoulders & back. Now this may not be for you, but you get the idea- apps are sweet and smartphones are the way to go. In the end who couldn’t benefit from having GPS right in their pocket?

Tablet Computers- NOT YET. The average tablet costs $496, which implies not worth it… yet! Tablet computers are the wave of the future not the norm of today. Students after us- but not by much- will access and markup their “textbooks” directly from their tablets. These same scholars will also engage and run class presentations directly from their laps. If you can’t wait at least do yourself a favor and buy the iPad . There is a reason it’s the number one tablet on the market.

The Bottom Line-Technology is ever changing with today’s “top technology” shifting to next year’s “clearance items” in the blink of an eye. We all need to be mindful of our purchases. Stay on your game and buy smart because if this year is anything like last year, we are in for some more tuition increases Gauchos! All the best and if you’ve got an opinion or additional tips please share!

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