Student Computing Device Guide
WSU students may wish to use or purchase a personal computing device to assist them during their higher education experience. There are many types of devices and technologies to choose from. It is important to understand the capabilities and limitations of a computing device before investing in it.
Consider each of the following important technology points:
An operating system (OS) is the main software that runs on a computing device. Some OS's are more functional than others. Operating systems are traditionally separated into two categories: Desktop and Mobile.
Desktop Operating Systems are the most functional since they can run almost any type of software application. The two most popular desktop OS's to choose from are:
A desktop OS by Microsoft designed to run on desktop computers, laptops, and tablets from a variety of manufacturers (Dell, Asus, Lenovo, etc.).
||A desktop OS by Apple designed to run only on Apple desktop computers and Apple laptops.|
Mobile Operating Systems have limited functionality since they generally can only run software apps that are available in their respective OS app store. This means many software applications that are able to run on a desktop OS are not able to run on a mobile OS. Below are some of the readily available mobile OS's to choose from:
A mobile OS by Google designed to run on tablets and smartphones from a variety of manufacturers (Samsung, LG, Motorola, etc.). By default can only install apps that are available in the Google Play Store.
A mobile OS by Apple designed to run only on Apple tablets (iPads) and Apple smartphones (iPhones). Can only install apps that are available in the Mac App Store.
A mobile OS by Google designed to run only on special laptops and tablets called Chromebooks (see below). Some Chromebooks can't install any apps at all while others can only install apps that are available in the Google Play Store (see a list of devices here).
Computer devices come in all shapes and sizes, so finding something that suits your needs is important. Below are some of the readily available devices to choose from:
||A computer device designed to fit on top of an office desk or mount to a computer screen.||
||An all-in-one computer device that can fold shut with built-in screen, mouse, keyboard, and speakers.||
||An all-in-one computer device with built-in screen and speakers defined by its flat design and touch screen interface.||
Some companies have designed their own proprietary devices that have become popular on the market. Below are some of these unique options:
|Proprietary Device||Description||Compatible OS's|
|Google Chromebook||A specialized laptop or tablet designed to be used primarily while connected to the internet.||Chrome OS|
|Apple iPad||A tablet device designed by Apple.||iOS|
|Apple iMac||An all-in-one desktop computer designed by Apple.||macOS|
|Microsoft Surface||A tablet device designed by Microsoft.||Windows|
|Microsoft Surface Book||A hybrid laptop/tablet device designed by Microsoft.||Windows|
Much of the time a computer device is needed in order to run a specific software application (e.g. Adobe Photoshop, Microsoft Office, Autodesk AutoCAD). Considering not all software applications work on all operating systems and devices, making sure a computer device is compatible with any required software is important and oftentimes overlooked.
In order to ensure compatibility, find a software application's system requirements (use a search engine like Google.com if needed). These technical specifications will show what is required in order to install and use an application. Pay special attention to:
- Operating system requirements
- Processor (CPU) requirements
- RAM (memory) requirements
- Disk space (storage) requirements
- Graphics card requirements