Buying your own device

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IT equipment for studying at home

Studying from home is part of the experience of studying with the University of the Highlands and Islands. As such, you need to ensure that you have a suitable device and home broadband network to ensure you get a stable, consistent experience.

If your equipment does not meet the minimum guidelines, then there is a high chance you will not be able to use all of our services and you may suffer from a poor online experience. A lot of our services will only work on equipment which meets these guidelines and we are unable to assist if you are running on older software, such as Windows 7.

If you are studying a course which requires more specialist software, such as a STEM subject. Creative courses or Research work, then you should consult with your tutor before making any purchase. You may need more specialist software, which might require a higher specification of computer.

I already have a computer - will it work? content

I already have a computer - will it work?

I already have a computer - will it work?

If you already have a computer, you can run some basic checks to see if it will work with some of our systems.

Brightspace system check - Brightspace is our Virtual Learning Environment and you will be using this extensively. Use this system check to see how it performs with your device.

Home Broadband – Use our broadband speed checker to assess the speed of your home broadband or mobile data connection. To get accurate results, make sure you're not using your internet connection for anything else while the test runs, such as Wi-Fi connections on Mobile phones, smart speakers, Sky boxes etc. All of these will affect your connection. Specific details are on how to perform this check are listed below.

Video Conferencing – information can be found on our Video Conferencing page

Microsoft Office 365 –  You can check if your computer will be compatible by visiting Microsoft's guidance page.  Installation guidance can be found on our Office365 page

Computers – Windows devices, minimum specification content

Computers – Windows devices, minimum specification

Computers – Windows devices, minimum specification

Minimum specifications may change on a yearly basis, so it is worth sourcing the best specification you can. We will advertise any changes to our recommendations at the start of each academic year.

Issue date - 24/06/20

Operating system Windows 10
Processor Intel Core I3, I5, I7, I9 / AMD Ryzen, Athlon / Or equivalent
RAM 4GB or higher
Hard Drive Capacity 128GB or higher
Screen Size (Laptops) 14 inch or larger
Computers – Apple devices, minimum specification content

Computers – Apple devices, minimum specification

Computers – Apple devices, minimum specification

Minimum specifications may change on a yearly basis, so it is worth sourcing the best specification you can. We will advertise any changes to our recommendations at the start of each Academic year.

Issue date - 24/06/20

Operating system 10th Generation or higher
Processor 1.1 GHz or higher
RAM 8GB or higher
Hard Drive Capacity 256GB or higher
Screen Size (MacBooks) 13 inch or higher
Chromebooks, Netbooks, Tablets and Mobile Devices content

Chromebooks, Netbooks, Tablets and Mobile Devices

Chromebooks, Netbooks, Tablets and Mobile Devices

Chromebooks do not currently work with UHI software and services, so we are unable to support you on these devices.

Although a lot of our services can be accessed through Netbooks, Tablets or Mobile devices, they do not usually offer the same experience and not all functions are available on the software apps for our services.

You should bear in mind that if you are going to rely exclusively on this style of device, you may not get the best experience and we will be limited in the support we can offer you if you experience any problems.

Web Cams and Headsets content

Web Cams and Headsets

Web Cams and Headsets

Most laptops have a built in Web Cam and Microphone, which will work for use during video conferencing. However, the built in microphone and speaker can sometimes result in an echo if used in a room and may not provide the best quality sound for you to participate in the calls.

A built in camera will also work sufficiently but you may find a separate camera allows you a more comfortable working angle when sitting at your computer for a long time.

A separate web cam and a headset for use during video conference sessions may provide you with a more comfortable experience and a degree of privacy if you are studying from home.

There is no minimum specification for these and these can be acquired for around £10-£20 each. USB webcams and headsets are usually the easiest ones to connect to your device.

Printers content

Printers

Printers

For the vast majority of your study, you are unlikely to require home printing.

There is no minimum specification for any printers which you might buy to assist you during your studies.

Home Broadband and Mobile Data Networks content

Home Broadband and Mobile Data Networks

Home Broadband and Mobile Data Networks

You need to ensure you have a reliable home broadband connection to ensure you get the best experience of our online services. The simplest advice is to get the best broadband connection you can in your area.

You should check your home broadband speed by using our speedchecker service

You should run this test with no other devices connected to your broadband, as these will all affect the capacity and speed of your connection. These include items such as Mobile Phones, other Laptops and computers, Dash Buttons, Smart speakers, Sky, Smart TV, Streaming services and Games Consoles.

You will be provided with 2 figures from this test, a download Speed and an upload speed.

You should have a minimum 2MB download speed and 2MB upload speed, which would class as a standard quality connection for accessing UHI services. If your speeds are less than this, there is a high chance that the quality of the video conference connections will be poor, resulting in lost video and broken up audio.

(As a comparison, BBC iPlayer recommended 1.5MB for a standard definition or 5MB for a high definition connection for playback of content)

If your broadband at home has a lot of other devices connected at the same time and / or your speed check provides you with numbers that are less that what we recommend, you should speak to your broadband provider to see if you can upgrade your connection.

You may not have home broadband and instead rely on 4G routers or mobile data connections through your mobile phone (tethering) – You should follow the same guidelines on speedchecks as above and also check your data allowance is sufficient for your intended use, as video content can use up a lot of data.

In both circumstances, UHI are unable to provide any assistance or support in improving your home network, be it broadband or mobile data, other than to help you check the speed.