When studying abroad, a good laptop can make all the difference. They help ease your working process at uni — making it simple for you to complete your assignments, study for exams, and more.
Knowing where to buy laptops for cheap, though, can be tricky for international students. According to a 2019 survey commissioned by Jamf, more than half (56%) of students in higher education prefer a PC due to its low price.
Mac devices — including Apple MacBooks — are not only known for their premium features but high price tag as well. If the high cost of a Mac were not a consideration, 51% of students would prefer to use one.
Before that, let’s take a look at why these two models are consider the ideal laptop for students:
Best student laptops for a smooth learning experience
If you can afford to splurge a little, go for the best student laptop.
With a light frame and easy-to-navigate system, the MacBook Air remains one of Apple’s top entry-level laptops. More than that, it has been proven to run intensive tasks without any major setbacks.
Acer Chromebook Spin 311
For some of you, the MacBook Air is an expensive option.
If you are on a budget, consider the Acer Chromebook Spin 311. What stands out is its versatility. It has a good battery life, solid usability, and many ports. This is perfect if you find yourself doing a lot of presentations.
On top of this, it has a touchscreen display — giving it a tablet feel that distinguishes it from other laptops.
The only drawbacks, according to TechRadar, are that the laptop has lesser battery life and it suffers from low screen brightness.
Where to buy laptops: Are they cheaper in the US, UK, or Canada?
We have checked the prices of both laptops on the Apple and Acer’s website. Let’s compare the prices to US dollars so you can the difference. We are using the exchange rate at the time of writing this article.
A MacBook Air with an MI chip costs US$999.
You can buy an Acer Chromebook Spin 311 on Amazon for US$192.88. Acer sells their products online on Amazon.
A MacBook Air with an MI chip costs 999 pounds (approximately US$1,231.57). This includes a value-add tax of 167 pounds.
An Acer Chromebook Spin 311 costs 299.99 pounds (approximately US$369.83).
A MacBook Air with an MI chip costs 1,299 Canadian dollars (approximately US$971.01).
At the time of writing, there are no stocks for the Acer Chromebook Spin 311 in Acer’s online Canada’s store. However, you can buy it on Amazon for CA$239.88 (approximately US$179.31).
A MacBook Air with an MI chip costs 99,900 Indian rupees (approximately US$1,227.30).
An Acer Chromebook Spin 311 costs 18,990 rupees (approximately US$233.29).
A MacBook Air with an MI chip costs 7,999 renminbi (approximately US$1,183.06).
At the time of writing, there is no information on how an Acer Chromebook Spin 311 costs in China.
What else to look out for when buying a laptop
If you buy your devices overseas, you will not be able to use your warranty when you return to your home country.
You might also be eligible for a VAT refund if you bought anything in the UK within the last three months.
You would have to confirm that you won’t enter the UK or European Union for the next 12 months on student visas, short-term visas, and tourist visas.
There is also a price difference if you don’t buy your laptop from the official store. What’s more, you will lose out on certain benefits. For example, if you did not buy an Apple product from an Apple store, you are not eligible for an Apple Care package.
Lastly, Apple offers student discounts of up to 15% on its iPads and Macs, allowing you to save big money potentially. Your eligibility for a discount depends on whether UNiDAYS — the platform Apple uses to verify students — recognises your institution.