Laptop vs. Tablet – Pros and Cons for Taking Notes

Laptop vs Tablet

With back to school on the horizon, it’s time to make a decision about the best way for your kids to take notes once class is back in session. While laptops used to be the first choice, improvements in tablets have made these mini computers another popular option. At P.C. Richard & Son, we’ve put together some pros and cons to help you and your child make the best choice.

Laptop Benefits

There’s a lot to like about laptops, which are constantly getting better and better. Here are some good reasons to buy your returning student a laptop:

Simulates a desktop. Laptops come with full keyboards, trackpads and have the option of a wired or wireless mouse. Their large screens have good resolution, which makes taking notes and writing papers easy to do. Unlike the touchscreen pad of a tablet, a laptop’s full keyboard is more accurate. A laptop’s screen at 12-17 inches is also much larger, which makes developing school projects containing photos easier.

Durable. For the most part, laptops are more durable than tablets. You’re less likely to scratch or damage the screen than a touchscreen display.

Substantial storage capacity. Laptops hold significantly more data than tablets. They also possess multiple USB and memory card ports.

tablet vs laptop

Tablet Benefits

Though tablets have only come onto the scene in recent years, they’re quickly catching up to laptops in terms of functionality. Here are the top reasons you may want to choose one for your child:

Lightweight. Most laptops weigh from three to nine pounds, which doesn’t sound like much until you’re lugging the device back and forth in your backpack. The average weight of a tablet is less than a pound, and they are thinner and smaller in size.

Intuitive. Many students enjoy the tapping and swiping of the tablet’s touchscreen rather than always having to rely on a keyboard.

Better for eBooks. Tablets are more conducive to reading virtual books than laptops. They more closely resemble a real book and you can more easily relax with them and read.

Long battery life. We all know that kids forget to charge their hardware and can use that as an excuse for not completing homework. Tablet battery life averages about 10 hours, which is two to three times longer than a laptop.

Best of Both Worlds

If you and your back to school student can’t decide between a laptop and a tablet, there are options that can offer you the benefits of both. They include opting for a wireless keyboard for the tablet, which gives you the benefits of functioning like a laptop. You can also now find 2-in-1 computers that are combining laptops and tablets into one device.

To help you make the best choice for your child, check out our computer and tablet choices online, or stop in to any of our P.C. Richard & Son locations and have one of our expert sales representatives help you make the ideal decision for you and your child.


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Laptop Buying Guide – Top 10 Features to Look For


Time to buy a laptop computer? Take a look at the options, and you’re likely to get a little overwhelmed at the many choices. Here at P.C. Richard & Son we make the process of choosing just the right computer as easy as possible. We’ve created this handy buying guide containing the top 10 features to look for in a laptop.

1. Size and weight

Most likely you’ll be transporting your laptop, so its size and weight matter. Heavier laptops weigh around 5 pounds, whereas ultra-light computers come in at around 3 pounds. The diameter of the device is also important, as you want to be able to easily fit it in your briefcase or laptop backpack.

2. Screen quality and size

How good of a resolution do you want for your computer screen and how big do you want the screen? Most screens come in 13, 15 and 17 inches. The latter two sizes work for watching videos. Generally it’s best to go for the highest resolution option.

3. Keyboard

Especially if you do a lot of typing, it’s critical that you choose a laptop with a comfortable keyboard that allows for efficiency. Look for a keyboard with a good layout that is backlit.

4. Storage and memory space

If you store a lot of info in the cloud, this may not be as big of a concern, but if you want to load your computer up with music and videos, get as much storage and memory space as possible. Get 4GB of RAM or even more. The more RAM you have, the more applications you can run at the same time and the more quickly you can access data.

5. Battery life

How long you use your computer at a sitting dictates how much battery life you require. Your computer will last according to a variety of factors, including how bright your screen is and the various tasks you run simultaneously. You can always upgrade your laptop battery if you require more power.

6. Processor and graphics

How efficiently your computer runs is dictated by its main processor, and how good the graphics look is due to the graphics processor.

7. Wireless networking capability

No doubt you’re going to want to get online wherever you go, so it’s critical that your laptop has this capability.

8. Security features

When safeguarding your information is critical, choose a laptop that comes with security feature such as a fingerprint scanner.

9. USB port

Chances are you’ll need to transfer data between your various devices. A USB port lets you readily move information.

10. Warranty

What kind of a guarantee do you have if your new computer quits working? And do you want to get accident insurance in case of a fall? These are some of the questions you should ask in order to determine what type of laptop warranty is right for you.

At P.C. Richard & Son, we carry a wide variety of laptop computers. Come in today to try a few out and determine the right choice for you.


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The Ultimate Back to School Shopping List

Back To School Supplies

Your kids may not want to face reality, but school will be back in session before long. Now, while supplies are aplenty, is the time to make a back to school shopping list. The following must-have supplies will help guarantee that their school experience is a productive and successful one.


Basic Back to School Supplies

No matter the age of your student, there are a few items that should be in everyone’s backpack come the first day of school. You’ll want these items on your list:

  • Glue stick: Things come undone, and glue sticks allow you to adhere them once again.
  • No. 2 pencils: Standardized bubble tests still call for good
    old traditional pencils. And math problems are usually done with pencil.
  • Pencil sharpener: Sharpening pencils is a must, so include on your list a portable sharpener with a shaving’s collector.
  • Large pink eraser: Those big erasers erase just about any wayward scribble.
  • Highlighters: Get various colors so your student can do some color coding.
  • Ruler: Choose one that contains English and metric measurements.
  • Tape: Paperwork rips and tears and needs taping—sometimes urlat a moment’s notice.
  • Stapler:  For stapling together all of those brilliant projects and reports.
  • Backpack: Most students require somewhere to stash all of their back to school supplies.
  • Lunchbox/lunch bag: We all have to eat!
  • Notepaper and three-ring binder to put it in. Also throw in some pocket folders for organizing paperwork.


School Supplies for Elementary Students

Little ones require a few extras when it comes to school supplies. Make sure to get your little tykes the following:

  • Pencil box for storing supplies
  • Crayons—of course!
  • Watercolor paints for all of those precious masterpieces
  • Art smock to protect clothing during the creation of those one-of-a-kind works of art
  • Construction/drawing paper to encourage creativity
  • Child scissors to teach fine motor skills

School Supplies for Middle/High School and College Students

  • Book sox. Many older kids like to dress up their school books, and it helps protect your investment—especially if your child is borrowing books or you plan to resell them. Choose from a wide variety of themes and colors in book sox.
  • Combination locks for book and PE lockers
  • Pens for those bursts of genius
  • Permanent markers so kids can make their marks
  • Index cards–ruled and unruled to jog the memory during studying and when making speeches
  • Binder dividers to stay organized
  • Calculator:  Check with the teacher regarding the required model.
  • Laptop or tablet computer and carrying case
  • Flashdrive for storing all of that important data
  • Post-it notes for remembering brilliant ideas

During your back to school shopping adventures, stop by P.C. Richard & Son. You’ll find some of the items you’re looking for, such as laptops and tablets.


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Back To School – Choosing the Right Laptop

Group of college students studying at campus

If you’re heading to college for the first time, the most important thing you will need is a laptop. You’ll use your laptops for more than just class work: for streaming movies, shows or music, staying in touch with friends and family, gaming, storing photos and much more. You’ll want to find one that’s right for you and your needs, as well as last through your college life.

Before you begin your search for the perfect laptop, the first thing you should do is check with your school or major for specific system requirements. Some colleges and universities want their students equipped with a Windows-based laptop to cut down on software incompatibility issues. Others will let you use almost any operating system, but to be on the safe side you should always check first.

Once you have checked with your school here are some tips on what to keep in mind when shopping for your laptop:

What Screen ScreenSize Should I get?

Keep it light. A big screen may seem awesome, but hauling it back and forth to and from class can
be a real pain in the booty.  The most portable screen size for laptops are 11-14 inches and those models usually don’t weigh more than 5 pounds, making them much easier to transport. However, keep in mind the viewing and typing experience on smaller screens will be different to what you might be used to. The best way to find out which screen size you will be more comfortable viewing and typing on is to stop into a store and try out a few choices.


How Much Storage Do I Need? 

Depending on what classes you will be taking will depend on how much storage you will want or need. 4GB is ample for the average college student, but if you can find a notebook for the same price with 6 or 8GB of RAM, get it. The more RAM you have, the more your computer will be able to handle all at once (running multiple programs, rendering games, etc.). If not most laptops have ample USB ports, so you can expand storage capacity as you need it. Upgrading to a 500GB or 1TB hard drive won’t cost a lot either if you wanted to go that route, but if you’re not a video junkie or an aspiring filmmaker you shouldn’t need that much storage.

What are the Benefits of Chromebooks?

The key advantage of having a Chromebook is that nothing is saved locally. Instead, all your apps, preferences, documents, and data are saved on Google’s servers in the cloud. This means if you lose your machine, have it stolen, or spill a cup of coffee over it, there is absolutely no risk of your information being lost. The Chromebook also offers superior security. Say you visit a suspicious website by clicking on a bad link, open a spammy email attachment accidentally, or download a program that has a fishy origin… a Chromebook has you covered. Due to the device’s stateless operating system which has built-in multi-layered protection, viruses will be one less thing to worry about. One of the best benefits is the price: the HP 14″ Chromebook NVidia Tegra is rated one of the best notebooks for college students and is just under $300!

What about Hyhybridsbrids?

There are plenty of reasons to scoop up a 2-in-1 hybrid, starting with the fact that you’ll have one device that can double as a laptop and tablet. When you need to get work done, you can use a keyboard and run desktop programs. When you want to kick back on the couch and check Facebook or watch videos you can go with the touchpad instead! It’s a great option for college students and hybrids come in either a detachable design or a convertible approach in which the notebook’s hinge rotates 360 degrees for a similar effect.  Thinking about a hybrid? Check out the list CNET put together of the best touch screen and hybrid laptops of 2015.


How Much Power Do I Need?

Laptops offer a wide selection of processors, but it’s rarely worth paying extra for a faster CPU. Most laptops sold these days are more than fast enough for the average college student’s tasks. Web browsing, spreadsheets, simple programming, web development, word processing, and the all-important social media browsing don’t require a supreme processor. A powerful processor will just drain your battery faster anyway.Anything labeled Intel Core i3 or i5 should meet the average student’s needs.

What about Battery Life?

With a day filled with classes and extracurricular activities, battery life is important. Many laptops today have multiple battery options. Figure out where battery life ranks in your list of importance when purchasing a laptop for school. You may decide purchasing an additional battery is a good idea, if an extended one isn’t available. Unfortunately, a big battery adds more weight, but the extra weight might be well worth it if it means not having to plug in the entire day.  If you want to squeeze the most juice of your laptop’s battery try following these 9 tips for longer laptop battery life.


Looking for some more helpful tips as you head back to school this year, check out our Get U Ready page for tips to help you survive the school year including, study tips & tricks, college organization, college life hacks and more!


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HP Back To School Bundle Sweepstakes


It’s that time of year again! You may not want to think about school while you’re lying on the beach, but now is the time to start preparing to head back and we want to help. P.C. Richard & Son wants to kick off your school year right with a chance to win an HP Back to School Bundle! This bundle has everything you’ll need for studying: a desktop computer for the dorm, laptop for class, and a wireless printer!

The lucky winner could be YOU! For a chance to win you can enter on our Facebook page here or stop by any of our 66 P.C. Richard & Son Superstore locations and fill out an entry form at our convenient sweepstakes kiosk. GOOD LUCK!

Looking for help preparing for the school year? Visit our Back to School page with tips to help you survive the school year and view our checklist of what you need for studying, cooking, cleaning, relaxing and having fun. From classroom to dorm room, P.C. Richard & Son has everything you need to get ‘U’ ready for the upcoming school year!


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Keeping Your Devices Safe In The Cold


Stepping out into the bitter cold does not only have an effect on you, but the blast of arctic temperatures could put your electronics on thin ice! Smartphones, notebooks, tablets, and laptops can all lose functionality as the temperature drops. Here are some problems that may occur during these chilly days:

Battery Drain: Is the most common and most immediate effects of cold weather. Your device may spontaneously power off with a dead battery in extreme cold. If your smartphone is exposed to cold temperatures for an extended period of time, you risk killing the battery altogether.

Screen Issues: LCD displays on smartphones, Apple iPads or Android tablets are sensitive to the cold. Users may experience delayed touchscreen reactions as well as smudging or ghosting of images. The cold weather makes the panel more rigid, which makes it more likely to shatter if dropped.

Internal Component errors: In extreme cold temperatures, smartphones and mobile devices may begin to register various errors of their internal components. Smartphones may have difficulty reading a SIM card or executing any number of processing  operations.

Physical Damage to Internal/External Components:  Mobile devices that are subjected to extreme cold  can cause both internal/external components to become rigid, which could lead to physical damage such as spontaneous screen shattering. Leaving devices in extreme cold temperatures for an extend ed period of time can cause permanent damage.

Liquid Condensation: When used too quickly after bringing your device in from the the cold, your mobile devices are susceptible to liquid condensation underneath their displays. This can cause various liquid damage issues and make your display screen hard to read.

Now that you are familiar with the problems that can occur with your mobile devices in cold weather, here are tips to help prevent it.

Tip #1

Try not too take your devices out in cold weather, or if you have to, limit the use.  Keep your devices in your jacket pocket, bag or purse to limit exposure to the direct cold.

Tip #2

Protect your devices with a case. For smartphones, use a heavy duty, weatherproof case such as a Lifeproof or Otterbox.  For laptops or tablets, get a well insulated and well padded case.

Tip #3

Never leave your smartphone, notebook, tablet, iPad or any other mobile device in your cold vehicle for extended periods of time. Even with a case, such extended time left in the cold can cause permanent internal and external damage.

Tip #4

In addition to protecting your devices from the cold weather, you should keep your devices out of the snow. Dropping your device in the snow causes it to get wet and this can be extremely damaging. If your device does get wet, you should get indoors (to keep the seeped water from freezing), remove the battery, take out the SIM card (if the device has one), dry the device with a clear microfiber cloth or paper towel and then put the device in an air-tight container with packets of silica gel to absorb the moisture. It has also been said submerging your wet device in a pot or bowl of uncooked rice can help remove moisture from it.

Tip #5

Laptop hard drives can freeze from the cold. It is recommended that you let your laptop warm up to room temperature before using it. This is a good rule a thumb to use for all mobile devices that have spent extended time in cold weather.

Tip #6

NEVER use pocket warmers or other warmers not intended for mobile devices to try and keep them warm.  These warmers  are not designed for that purpose and can create other issues. For example, generating too much heat can cause internal components to melt.

Tip #7

You can keep your laptop warm by changing the power settings to power save mode. This keeps the laptop warm as it continues to run, and instead of shutting down the hard drive, it keeps it spinning. The longer the laptop can be kept running, the warmer it will stay as it generates its own heat.

Tip #8

If you find your smartphone has shut off, don’t start it back up immediately. Condensation can form inside your device if you turn it on while it’s still cold.

Tip #9

Charge your smartphone before going outside. If your battery is fully charged before going into the cold, it is less likely to experience battery drain. For all your mobile devices, keep a mobile charger around for long trips as well as an extra battery for backup.

Tip #10

Make sure to check your manufacturer’s temporal guidelines. For example, Apple products can operate in temperatures between 32 and 95 degrees.

We hope this post will help you keep your devices protected from the cold days ahead. Remember, if you can, avoid or limit use of your electronics in the cold. Stay warm!


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