My College Laptop Plans

It’s scary to think that I’ll have to make the decision of where I’m going to college in a little over 3 months.  It’s also scary to think that this summer I’ll have to make a decision on what laptop (or tablet) to buy for college…a decision I’ve been thinking about since I was in the sixth grade (no, really, I’m that cool).

I think it was around the sixth or seventh grade that I found out about tablet computers (which, back then, were pretty terrible).  I immediately decided that I NEEDED one for college because that was the future and I had to be one step ahead.  Well, it’s been several years.  Since then the convertible tablet market has grown a lot, and then shrunken a lot more.  At this point there aren’t that many options for good convertible tablet computers, but I have my eyes set on one in particular: tThe Fujitsu T901 (video, information).  This tablet is not only the one that Virginia Tech engineering requires / heavily recommends, it’s also the best one I’ve found.  The lastest version has just about everything you could ask for: 5 finger multi-touch, excellent pen writing/drawing experience, fingerprint reader, swappable DVD drive for extra battery, USB 3.0, HDMI, latest processor, etc.  It’s also rumored to have NVIDIA Optimus technology, which, to my understanding, means it knows when to switch between “crappy” onboard graphics for mundane things, and then the graphics card for games and HD movies – this saves a lot of battery.  I plan on getting the dock that comes with it so I can have my big monitor (or two), wireless keyboard and mouse, and printer always hooked up in my dorm room, so all I have to do is throw it in the dock to charge it / have it act like my desktop computer.  I’ll probably have a separate post on this tablet later, but it’s a really great computer…with a pretty big price tag (with all the customizations I’d want, it would probably run me a little under $2800).

Other things I’ve considered for college include keeping my same desktop (or getting  a cheap but good new one), and then getting a new non-convertible tablet where I can take all my notes.  I’m probably not taking this route, but it’s definitely an option if I see any really good looking options (I’m looking at you, discontinued Microsoft Courier).

I’m also kind of hoping that Apple pulls something out of it’s sleeve before July and announces a convertible tablet MacBook Pro.  I love the MBP’s build quality and OS X is a great operating system…I’d love to see Apple deliver on some kind of note-taking software with great hardware to match.  And at this point in the game I don’t think it’s beyond the realm of possibility; touchscreens and digitizers (pen input) have become “Apple ready” in my opinion…so I remain hopeful.

I’m curious as to which path I’ll actually end up taking.  If I commit to Virginia Tech, I’ll almost certainly go with the T901.  If not, things get interesting!

About the Author: Chris Bellman

Sophomore ECE major at The Ohio State University. Technology enthusiast. Runs own IT business in Cincinnati.