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Buying a Laptop

There are many options to consider when purchasing a new laptop. Here we offer some advice if you need a general purpose device.

Note: if you think you'll be running specialist applications on your course, please look at the specific requirements of the software (eg, you may need a discrete graphics card or a larger high resolution screen if dealing with video editing).

Devices with the specs below should perform well for the duration of a 3 year course and beyond.

Minimum spec

Devices with this spec are suitable for word processing, web-based apps and browsing.

Price bracket: £350 - £500.

With laptops the processor speed is crucial, and this is the main determining factor between different models at the lower end of the price range. If you purchase a laptop with an underpowered processor, you may find that you need to replace the laptop within a couple of years. Generally we would recommend avoiding Celeron or Atom based devices, opting for at least a Core i3 processor or AMD Quad Core.

  • Processor: Any Core i3 or above.
  • Memory: 4-8 GB RAM.
  • Storage: 500 GB SATA Hard disk or above.
  • Screen: HD Screen.
  • Weight: Below 3 kgs or 5 lbs.

Mid-range spec

Devices with this spec are capable of more intensive data processing / running specialist apps.

Price bracket: £500 - £800.

Within this price range, the processor will generally be an Intel Core i5 or Core i7, and you may find a well-specified machine with other options such as touch-screens / convertible / detachable 'tablet' functionality, and SSDs (Solid State drives) which give much faster load times for applications and start-up times.

There may be a lot of variations in weight, depending on components, so check this when making your choice, especially if you plan to carry your laptop around daily.

  • Processor: At least Core i5 processor.
  • Memory: 12-16 GB RAM.
  • Storage: 1 TB SATA Hard Disk (or smaller Solid State drive or SSD).
  • Screen: Full HD (1920 X 1080).
  • Weight: Between 2-3 kgs.

Higher spec

Devices with this spec are highly portable and powerful.

Price bracket: £800+.

At this price devices may be both lightweight and powerful. Options such as Ultra HD (4K) may be available on larger screens, discrete graphics, Solid State Drives (SSDs) and touch screens may come as standard.

  • Processor: Intel Core i7 3.0 GHz CPU.
  • Memory: 16 GB RAM.
  • Storage: 1 TB+ SATA Hard disk or 256 GB SSD.
  • Weight: 2 kgs or less.

Schemes and retailers with good deals

  • (part of the UCISA National Higher Education Laptop Agreement Scheme) offers a range of benefits including a great price on a range of laptops and netbooks, software, printers, insurance etc, free technical support and a collection, repair and delivery service.
  • The Apple Store - Note: you can only use the University (HE) store when connected via the University of Bradford campus network. If you are off campus, you can still order by calling the Apple Store on 0800 072 1154.
  • HP
  • CCL Computers
  • Lenovo
  • John Lewis

Making the most of your laptop

  • AntiVirus - ensure you protect your computer by installing our free antivirus software.
  • You can borrow a Kensington lock to secure your laptop. Please ask at the Library Enquiry Desk.
  • Connect to our network (WiFi) - use eduroam or RoamNet to connect to the University network.
  • Wireless printing - print wirelessly from your computer on campus (top up your printing account online).
  • PC clinic - if you have a problem with your own computer.
  • Software - some software for students is available free or at discounted prices.
  • Online safety - find out how you can be safer online.