Which laptop for online college?

Mar 5, 2020
7 posts

Which laptop for online college?

What kind of laptop would be best for doing Pre-Health Advanced Pathways? Program is all online through St. Clair College. Should we go Macbook or Microsoft Surface? or other?
9 replies
Sr. Member
Jun 12, 2008
978 posts
Unless you are going into graphics (MacBook Pro) or engineering (Windows) it probably doesn't matter. Macbooks are "cool" but overpriced for what would be needed in prehealth. The Surface is nice if you need something super portable but you don't with online classes. I've done online classes (business) and liked having a full sized keyboard and screen. I took online classes Fall of 2019 with my 8yr old Toshiba laptop. Does the school have any computer requirements? If not, pick what you like.
Sr. Member
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Apr 1, 2015
763 posts
Scxm Free Zone
Only one piece of advice:

Since it's an online program, would you have to use lockdown browser for exams?

If so don't get a Chromebook - I like them but they are not compatible with lockdown browser as of now

Your text to link here...
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Deal Guru
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Mar 23, 2008
11341 posts
KristaV93180 wrote: What kind of laptop would be best for doing Pre-Health Advanced Pathways? Program is all online through St. Clair College. Should we go Macbook or Microsoft Surface? or other?
You don't need an expensive laptop to do online education, unless you're in a technical field. A $500 to $800 Lenovo or HP would do fine. I would second the advice of an add-on keyboard, mouse, and screen, if you have the space. Which you should have a dedicated work area in any case, I'd hope.

Sr. Member
Mar 6, 2015
681 posts
Also, depending on note taking preference, a tablet (wacom or other companies, check online stores) can be helpful to bring all information during the course together.

If the laptop needs not for any other use, a tablet that can allow writing notes in class on pdf's and powerpoint, and function with common software with add-on keyboard and mouse could go a long way. I sometimes regret that I bought a laptop instead of a sophisticated tablet.

Think about what the technology and gadgets apply on, instead of concentrating on getting a good laptop -- which is second to that first purpose. Then pick and buy-or-acquire accordingly.
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Sr. Member
Mar 7, 2008
586 posts
If it was me, get a used MacBook Pro and sell it once you are done with it.

MacBook Pro retains value a lot better than a window based laptop. Lessen your lost.

I am on my fourth used MacBook Pro. Minimal lost in all of them.
Sr. Member
Jul 15, 2006
868 posts
Mississauga, ON
If you're looking to save cost, there are businesses/individuals selling off-lease laptops and desktops.
Feb 24, 2018
327 posts
14" size and weight under 4 lbs, screen should obviously be 1080p not 720p

i5 (8th gen or 10th gen) or a newer AMD processor

8 GB RAM and ideally expandable to 16 GB

256 GB SSD

250 nits or brighter matte screen, not glossy and hopefully at least a 70%+ sRGB coverage

Those specs above should give you a machine that's fast and also ergonomic enough to get the job done. It'll likely cost $650-900. If you go below that price range, unless you find a real bargain which is getting harder because of Covid, you're gonna get a laptop which cuts corners on at least if not multiple specs which I've listed above.
Sr. Member
Aug 14, 2015
816 posts
Burnaby, BC
Basically agreed with THINKPOD - I'd do the same regardless whether there is resell value. Get someone who understands Macbook well enough to help you assess the 2nd hand Macbook.
Then get that same person to install Windows 10 if that's the platform you're familiar with cause MacOS can be a real pain though its hardware is well made.
PHuth2 makes a lot of sense as well - in fact, screen is the one thing that matters most for your purpose - definitely don't deal with 720p resolution.
Combine the 2 advice: look for used Macbook Pro with Retina then optionally install Windows 10 into it (Windows 10 shaves off about 90 minutes of battery life).

It's the most bang for the buck option. At the same time, the more complicated the steps, the more risk you'll be taking.
But if nothing goes wrong, you'll be guaranteed to like the purchase most out of all other options.