Every year thousands of parents google the phrase “best laptop for students” – they’re looking for practical, nuts-and-bolts guidance to help them find the right BYOD tech for their kids. The typical device-purchase questions around battery life, portability and power all feature in this search, but when considering the best laptops for students and kids, many parents are also thinking about durability, online safety and, of course, price. Navigating the wide range of choices can be tough: there are so many devices to choose from. 

Coming to the rescue is tech expert and reviewer, Elly Awesome: her authentic and practical advice is exactly what parents (and kids!) need when trying to figure out which laptop to buy. “If you’re getting prepped for your next year at school, or you’re studying or learning virtually, it’s always good to have the right tech to keep you going,” says Elly. “With the right back-to-school gear, kids can have better experiences at school or with their studies.” Her round-up gives you all the right intel and the right advice to ensure your kids start the new school year with the right tech essentials. 

And if you need more information, check out the BYOD hub, here

First, What Does BYOD Mean?

For parents who haven’t come across the phrase before, BYOD stands for Bring Your Own Device. The concept started in the corporate world, in environments where workers were allowed (and in some cases encouraged) to use their personal computers, laptops, phones and more, instead of hardware provided by the company. Over the past five years, it’s become the norm for many schools too, giving parents the flexibility and price control over the device their kids use in the classroom. 

Can All Students Do ‘BYOD’?

No. It’s important to note that not all schools allow BYOD: some schools will provide hardware, and some schools will stipulate the exact make and model of device its students should have. When buying a student laptop for the first time, the first port of call should be your child’s school. It should be able to provide advice or preferences about particular devices they favour to support their students' learning. 

SEE ALSO: How to Save on Back to School Supplies

Choosing the best laptop for students is made easy with Elly Awesome’s BYOD tips.

Choosing the Best Laptop for Students: Ask About Its Operating System

To find the best laptop for your child, you’ll first need to know your school’s preferred operating system. Is it Android, Windows or Apple’s macOS? “It’s great to check in with your school or place of study before purchasing anything, because that could affect the brand of laptop (or tablet) that you’re going to buy,” Elly explains. 

Choosing the Best Laptop for Students: Think About Battery Life

When choosing a BYOD laptop for your child, consider battery life and which operating system the school prefers.

Your kids are at school for six hours a day, so the best device is one with long battery life and fast recharging. “I’d recommend choosing a device that has a battery life of at least six to eight hours so you don’t have to worry about recharging during the school day,” says Elly. 

Lenovo’s IdeaPad Slim 3i Chromebook is lightweight, portable and ticks all the boxes for an easy-to-use, portable device from a reputable brand. ”With up to 10 hours of battery life, this device well and truly covers the school day, not to mention its awesome entry pricepoint. It’s a really nice design and I can’t get over how lightweight it is!” says Elly. 

HOT TIP: Want to know more? Find out more about Chromebooks and their benefits, plus learning tech for kids and handy Chromebook tips and hacks.   

Choosing the Best Laptop for Students: Weight and Durability

School devices need to be able to withstand hard knocks, so choose a sturdy device and always invest in a protective cover so it won’t get damaged. Tablets can be a smart starting point for primary students, but if you want a device that will last until they’re ready for high school, a laptop can be a potentially better option.

It’s also worth considering 2-in-1s: handy hybrids that work well for younger students, and have the longevity to go with them into early high school. Consider, too, that young kids have smaller backpacks and less body strength, so a smaller, lighter-weight laptop or tablet is the way to go.  

HOT TIP: Make sure it fits into their backpack before you buy. 

 Consider a small and lightweight BYOD laptop for your child so it’s easier for them to carry.

“You might want to consider the Lenovo IdeaPad Duet Chromebook simply for its form factor,” says Elly. “It’s ultra-small and lightweight, and that’s really important for young kids that have to carry their device around in their backpack all day. It combines both the features of a laptop and a tablet, while having eight hours’ battery life and 64GB of internal storage. You also have the option to expand your storage with an SD card.” 

This 2-in-1 also comes with a protective back, covered in durable fabric, which Elly points out is “great for those bumps and knocks that are inevitable with kids!”

Plenty of brands offer 2-in-1 options, including Acer, ASUS and HP, so you can choose the size and brand that’s just right for you.  

Choosing the Best Laptop for Students: Opt for a Better RAM

RAM means Random Access Memory. Elly says it's something you should consider when purchasing a device “because RAM helps the computer process tasks. It especially helps with multitasking and keeping things speedy.”

“If you find that your device is laggy or slow, it’s possible your device doesn’t have enough RAM to keep up with everything you are doing,” she explains. “This can make learning frustrating, and it can be harder to keep up with your classmates.” Elly recommends a minimum of 4GB of RAM when choosing a BYOD. 

Choose a BYOD with a large amount of storage space to help your kids keep on top of their learning for years to come.

The Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5i has 8GB of RAM, and runs on Windows 11. As Elly says, “It’s going to be able to keep up with your multitasking. What I also like about this laptop is that it has a 256GB SSD built in, so it’s got a lot of storage.” This model also operates like a 2-in-1, so can be used like a laptop or tablet. 

Choosing the Best Laptop for Students: Consider Lifespan

The best laptop purchase should give your child at least five years of use, so choose a reliable brand and a recent model. “This budget-friendly Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5i Chromebook has a full HD touchscreen display, with crisp visuals and digital pen connectivity,” explains Elly. “And the Dolby audio speakers make it great for consuming or creating your own content.” 

It also flips into tablet-mode and, like the IdeaPad Flex 5i laptop, has a touchscreen. According to Elly, both the laptop and Chromebook are “from a reputable brand and are recent devices, which means they should last your child through their schooling for years to come.”

Choosing the Best Laptop for Students: Do They Need Graphics?

A laptop with excellent graphics will be the best option for creative high school students.

If you have a high school student focusing on creative subjects, you may need a device that has excellent graphics. The range of Apple MacBooks could be worth considering. “They are perfect if you are doing anything graphic intensive or creative,” says Elly. 

Another option for graphics-intensive projects is the Lenovo Yoga 7i Notebook. “The Yoga 7i powers up as soon as you open the lid, and has a secure fingerprint reader so you can get started quickly,” says Elly. “With 16GB RAM and a massive 16 hours of battery life, it’s easy to simply charge it overnight and be ready for the next day. As a premium device, it really has all the key features high school and university students would want for specialised studies.”

Choosing the Best Laptop for Students: Think About Ports

A port might be essential for your kids’ BYOD laptop to ensure they can connect all the learning tech they need.

Kids need to be able to connect chargers, headphones, storage and USBs to their laptops, so consider, too, the amount (and type) of ports they need. The Lenovo IdeaPad 1 is “an awesome 14-inch laptop that has this beautiful grey-silvery look,” says Elly. “It’s got 4GB of RAM, 128GB of SSD storage and up to eight hours of battery life. It’s also got so many handy ports: two USB ports, an HDMI port and Micro SD card slot, along with a headphone jack.” 

The Best Laptops for Students: What To Try

Officeworks has a wide range of the best laptops for students of all ages.

SEE ALSO: The Best Eco-Friendly Products for Your Back-to-School Shop

The Best of the Rest

Once you’ve chosen your child’s BYOD laptop, it’s time to think about all those extras they’ll need. As well as a bag or cover to protect the device from damage, you might also want to consider a wireless mouse and keyboard, an extra charger (one for school and one for home), printer, external hard drive – useful for design-intensive or video projects – or even a set of headphones or in-ear buds. 

Check with your child’s school to see if you need to buy any additional software such as Microsoft Office, Adobe Creative Cloud or cybersecurity programs. Perhaps think about extra cover (in the event of mishaps!), plus IT support for any troubleshooting. 

Best School Tech for Kids to Try: Device Protection

Keep your kid’s tech protected with a stylish and practical laptop sleeve.

Best School Tech for Kids to Try: Peripherals

Equip your kids’ BYOD laptop with the tech accessories it needs such as a wireless mouse and keyboard.

Best School Tech for Kids to Try: Accessories

Teaming your child’s BYOD laptop with a headset and webcam will ensure they have a seamless learning experience.

Best School Tech for Kids to Try: Smartphones & Wearables

Kids learning tech such as a smartphone or wearable will make communicating with and keeping track of your child easy.

Best School Tech for Kids to Try: Software, Security and Set-up Help 

Still need more help with choosing the best laptop for students? Try the BYOD hub, which can help you shop by device, and with all the key specs and functionalities in mind.