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MacBook for student

  • #1
    Registered Users Posts: 561 ✭✭✭ batman1


    I'm hoping to get a MacBook as a surprise for my child who is starting university in sept.

    I know very little about them as I've never used one or any apple devices.

    Can anyone give any guidance on what to look for or what I don't need? I don't want to get a salesperson selling me the most expensive one just because I have limited knowledge.
    Post edited by Sad Professor on


Comments



  • Don’t know much either but if buying new make sure to get one with the new m1 chip.




  • There’s a separate Max forum where you may get more advice. What will they be using it for? Why course are they doing?




  • I think any student would love a MacBook Air. The most basic model should be fine unless there is a particular need to upgrade.

    Whatever you get, remember to avail of Apples student discount. It’s quite generous usually.




  • Y
    batman1 wrote: »
    I'm hoping to get a MacBook as a surprise for my child who is starting university in sept.

    I know very little about them as I've never used one or any apple devices.

    Can anyone give any guidance on what to look for or what I don't need? I don't want to get a salesperson selling me the most expensive one just because I have limited knowledge.

    Mac forum: https://www.boards.ie/vbulletin/forumdisplay.php?f=108




  • Apple are a good reliable product...but many will say they are over-priced. Yes, they look slick and yes, they are seen a being more trendy/elite and yes, they may be the best option for certain applications (mainly design/graphics/publishing) but for most students who need to be connected, need to do assignments in Word, maybe calculations in Excel etc...a non-Apple is usually perfectly fine and a couple of 100 Euros cheaper.

    You pretty much get what you pay for un terms of both capacity and durability. Remember that students carry these around more than most and so size/weight should be considered....but a light laptop is often a more flimsy/fragile laptop.

    Rule of thumb - figure out your budget and size (11/13/15/17") and then get the one with the fastest processor followed by graphics capability. RAM and Hard Drive space can be added.


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  • If it’s just for usual college stuff, report writing, research, watching movies etc, then any MacBook will more than do. They all come pre-loaded with Apple’s office apps (Pages, Numbers and Keynote) that are compatible with Microsoft’s Word, Excel and PowerPoint respectively. Or you can buy Microsoft’s Office for the Mac too.

    As for which Mac to get, figure out yourself what size screen they’ll need. I personally always go for 13” for portability, but some people prefer a bigger screen. Hard disk storage capacity is next. I’d go for 512GB at least, but you can always add to it with a portable external drive later if necessary. As for RAM, I’d go for 8GB unless they were going to be doing very intensive stuff like video editing. The new M1 Macs handle RAM in a completely different way to the Intel machines, so the architecture allows for greater efficiencies. Note that nothing inside a MacBook is upgradable after purchase, so there’s no swapping out hard drives or RAM.

    The only thing to look out for would be if they need specialist software for their course - some obscure stuff may not be available on the Mac. If that’s the case, you can always install Windows in a virtual machine.

    I’m assuming you’ll be getting one of the new M1 MacBooks with the Apple chip, here’s how to do it:

    https://9to5mac.com/2021/05/03/the-super-easy-guide-for-installing-windows-on-m1-macs-using-parallels-desktop-16-for-mac-video/

    The other thing to note is that MacBooks only come with USB-C ports. So if you need to connect to wired networks (Ethernet), monitors using HDMI or DisplayPort, or even devices that use “regular” USB A cables, you’ll need an adapter or hub, like this:

    https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B08KW6HYB1

    Last point, but direct from Apple using the Student store. https://www.apple.com/ie-edu/shop you won’t get a better discount anywhere else.




  • My experience on using a Mac was that while they are working, a fantastic laptop and great for writing and/or coding on it. However, when they break (as happened to mine fairly recently) that are very difficult to get repaired.




  • Not belittling your experience at all, but I’ve been using Macs since 1996, and I’ve never had one break. My daughter is currently using my old 2009 MacBook with no issues apart from the battery having seen better days. I know this is only personal experience, but there is something to be said in general for Mac reliability. But that obviously doesn’t help you if something does break.

    Although of course there was the crappy “butterfly” keyboard issue with the older MacBooks that caused a lot of problems. So as a company they’re not totally immune to bad parts. In this case, Apple don’t use them any more in the new machines and redesigned the keyboard to be more robust.

    That said, you do raise a good point, especially with modern Macs. Very few replaceable parts, and really only Apple or a certified service centre can do anything with them. So if they do break - and when the battery inevitably degrades - your options are limited.

    But overall (and there’s always exceptions), I’ve found my Macs much more reliable and long-living than my Windows machines.




  • I pad pro with Apple Pencil would be good for a student




  • HEAnet has special education pricing negotiated for students https://www.heanet.ie/store
    There are two Apple Education certified sellers in the country, CompuB and Wriggle.
    https://www.compub.com/heanet
    https://www.wrigglestore.ie/
    You may need to phone Compub or Wriggle to prove eligibility if the student cannot login to https://www.heanet.ie/store to get a voucher code.
    Both Compub and Wriggle can tell you the typical spec an institution uses for Apple kit.
    Also when they become a third level student they can get the full MS Office Suite and at least 1TB of OneDrive at no cost.


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  • Thanks for all the info. I've learned loads in a few mins reading this .

    So looking at pricing for the MacBook air, I can get a 6% discount through my union website. Is that good? I see up to 14% in compub but I'd have to wait until they are actually in college to get that?

    The apple website is giving 12 months free Apple TV with our bases at the minute


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