This is a complicated time to be a student starting the school year, and to be a parent trying to make sure your son or daughter has the right hardware and software. Here are some ideas provided by schools and manufacturers for students arriving at college.
MacBook Air 13 128 GB model: $1,299
Thin, light and sexy. What more could a college student ask for? The new MacBook Air goes to the front of the class in both looks and efficiency. You already know the sleek aluminum unibody style and great curves, but now, measuring a mere 0.7-inches thick and weighing under 3 pounds, the new Airs run even faster and longer than before.
For $999, you can get the 11.6-inch version, with 64GB of flash storage, the 1.7GHz Intel Core i5 processor and 2GB of RAM.
The 13.3-inch MacBook Air starts at $1,299 with a 1.7GHz dual-core Core i5, 128GB of flash storage and 4GB of RAM. A backlit keyboard comes standard, as does the new OS X Lion Mac operating system. Both sizes come with two USB 2.0 ports and a Thunderbolt connection. The 13.3-inch model has an SD card reader as well.
The flash memory is great for students who are constantly opening and closing their laptops, dragging them from one class to another. No need to power down or turn completely off. Simply resume and your Mac's fast standby abilities will open to right where you left off, almost instantaneously. Pre-loaded iLife apps let you manage your digital life, including movies, music and photos.
Apple's back to school special gives you $100 to spend in the Mac app store or iTunes when you buy a new Mac for college before September 20th.
HP Pavilion dv6 (Starts at $599)
For windows-loving laptop fans, invest in something that will last a few years. A bargain isn't a great deal if it stops working after a year or two. You can find a great mid-range laptop like the HP Pavilion dv6 starting from $599. They feature the latest Intel 2nd generation Core processors, which do all the heavy work for you; like speeding up your system when it needs a little extra performance, and balancing energy needs to prolong battery life.
Since so many students enjoy watching movies and TV on their laptops, the 15.6" high-definition LED display does great double duty as a TV and gaming monitor, and helps to save space in a crowded dorm room. Beats Audio with built-in quad speakers and extra amps makes this a complete entertainment laptop.
For a little extra security, use the SimplePass fingerprint reader so you don't have to remember all your passwords, and so others can't get in without your permission. An HD webcam will make parents happy…no excuses not to call home.
Microsoft has a back to school special for students who think they might have a little free time on their hands at school. You can get a 4GB Microsoft Xbox 360 for free with the purchase of an HP PC with the new Intel Core Processers.