How in the world can anyone decide on a new laptop? It’s a challenge I tell you and our family needed to make a choice.

With our eldest taking his PC nine hours away to college and four others vying for my computer, it just wasn’t working. Since three of our children are taking a few online classes, they suddenly had the excuse that they couldn’t do school because I was on the computer and I will definitely not be their excuse.

From my research, I knew the key in searching for a laptop was a more efficient Core processor.   The processor is important because it is like the “brains” of the PC, and if you don’t have a good core processor, then it runs slow or lags.

I am ALWAYS hearing from my teens, “Mom, you have to many applications running and the computer keeps freezing up.”  I am a huge computer multi-tasker and often, I have a minimum of six things going at a time.  I have twitter, email, my blog, virus protection, skype etc. Well, having a dual core computer is like having two brains in one, and I need that.

The first question anyone should ask themselves when buying a new PC is “What am I going to do with it?”  This helps determine if you want a thin and light laptop, a full featured laptop, a desktop etc. You all know that I feel strongly about setting a budget.

Determine what you can afford, without going into debt,  and then buy the best core processor you can afford. I always thought it was just about the model of computer, but more importantly, it’s about the features like storage, memory and the processor.

I asked what laptop a computer guru recommended for students, and there answer wasn’t so much about the type of computer as picking out the core processor. Here is their response,

“Students are doing lots of multi-tasking, and the laptop needs to be their entertainment and work center all-in-one.  The Intel Core i3 is an entry level system and the Core i7 is a great high-end system (hard core gamers love it, for example). The Core i5 powered laptop meets the needs of most of today’s students because they 1) require mobility and great battery life (they are moving around the campus, at home, the library etc.); 2) they need performance to multitask without getting the dreaded hourglass – lag time (taking notes, listening to music, IM’ing friends, watching video/TV etc.; and 3) they need “power” for things like video and photo editing.”

 We choose this amazing HP Pavilion from Staples (the store we love and are at much too often :)) because we needed something for our kids with a larger screen for easier viewing, (no need to play video games on it), and it has the new Windows 8, which takes some getting used to but is fabulous once the learning curve is established. It’s perfect for their classes and all the general needs of our family.

You can see all the Staples Laptop and they are continually offering great sales and rebates.

Now for a fun giveaway, one of you will get to pick out a Staples backpack (up to $100). (This giveaway is now closed)

With our son heading to college, I told him to pick out a backpack that could take the wear and tear of college life, hold lots of heavy books, and has an area dedicated to protecting his laptop.

When he should me the one he picked out, I loved that he pointed out the special shoulder straps designed to reduce stress and pressure on his shoulders. Can you tell he knows the pain of a heavy load? (Yes, complete with football team haircut.)

Full disclosure: provided me with these products for review. The thoughts and opinions expressed are strictly my own.