Student Guide to Essential Technology

The results of our partnership with Studento, the leading site for University Students, shows that an amazing 8% out of the 312 responders to the survey claimed to be only taking a tablet to University.

new iPadWhilst we can understand that students may feel that the iPad is the ultimate in cool devices to be taking along with them on their journey to higher education, the experts at are amazed that anyone would feel that a tablet, no matter how powerful would be a suitable laptop replacement for academia.

Student’s may feel flush with cash on receipt of their loans, so it’s not surprising that around 70% are buying a new laptop / pc for university, with a staggering 45% taking both a laptop & tablet.

Of course the real ‘headline’ here is that almost 10% are just taking a tablet. Anyone who has tried to put a decent spreadsheet together on an iPad will know just how ‘compatible’ the office apps are not. What seems a simple task in Excel becomes unwieldy & badly formatted in a heartbeat.

Students, flush with their loan cheques, still love free stuff, yet sadly Office is an area where they will probably be best putting their hand in their pocket. Many a mega crop has tried and failed to wrestle the crown from Microsoft when it comes to Word-processing and Spreadsheets, such as OpenOffice and LibreOffice, and have just about failed. Take things on to the tablet and whilst there are plenty of free apps out there in the office space, the better ones are not free. FreeApps can be fine until someone sends you something created in Office or you need to collaborate, tablet based apps will struggle if more than the most basic feature support is required. Apple iWork, Documents to go and QuickOffice seem to be the leaders at the moment and all cost less than a round at Startbucks. Google Drive, a fav with Android Tabs, with its range of Apps again does a great job of collaborating just as long as you don’t want your results to look too professional or use a formula that is anything but elementary.

The experts at Laptops suggest the following, keep your Bluetooth keyboards & flaky office-esk apps in a draw with all your other fluff and use a decent laptop (unibody aluminium design such as the Asus Zenbook or or Samsung Series 9 to survive the tough university life), in a good protective bag. Its worth paying a decent sum and having a good quality laptop that will last you a few years vs having somthing fall apart under the stress of Uni life. Run Microsoft Office Student Edition which is £76.99 on Amazon, this licence is for 3 PCs in the same household, so go dutch with your house / hall mates and get a legal copy of office for £25. Yes you could get a dodgy copy, but if you don’t want to spend your first term explaining why you emailed porn and viruses to your head of year, then best avoided.

Backup all your work to Google drive (in the native MS format) or Microsoft skydrive so that you don’t loose your final term dissertation when it’s stolen or dropped, and you will emerge with the best results you can and be ready for life in the real world where MS Office skills are essential for just about every role.

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