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: 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
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.
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.
“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!”
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.
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?
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
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
- Lenovo 11.6 Ideapad Slim 3i Chromebook Celeron/4GB/64GB
- Lenovo IdeaPad Duet 2-in-1 Chromebook 10.1" MTK/4/128 GB
- Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5i 14 Pentium 8GB/256GB Graphite Grey
- Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5i 13.3 Chromebook Core i5 8GB/256GB"
- Lenovo Yoga 7i 14 2-in-1 Notebook Core i7 16GB/512GB Win11"
- Acer 14" Swift 1 Notebook Celeron 4/64GB Gold
- ASUS E410 Notebook Pentium Silver N5030 8GB/256GB Blue
- Acer Swift 1 Notebook 14" Pentium/4/128 GB SF114-34-P4CT
- Acer 14" Swift 3 Notebook R3/8GB/256GB SF314-43-R9ZX
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
- J.Burrows 13" Neoprene Laptop Sleeve Black
- J.Burrows 14" Metro Laptop Sleeve Navy
- J.Burrows 14" Recycled Laptop Sleeve Grey
- Nifteen Osaka Taffeta Laptop Sleeve 14" Grey/Black
- Targus Bex II 13-14" Laptop Sleeve Black
- J.Burrows Neoprene Laptop Sleeve 16" Black
- J.Burrows 16" Metro Laptop Sleeve Black
- J.Burrows 16" Jersey Laptop Sleeve Grey
- J.Burrows 11" Neoprene Laptop Sleeve Black
Best School Tech for Kids to Try: Peripherals
- J.Burrows Wireless Mouse Black
- Logitech Wireless Mouse Grey M171
- J.Burrows 2 in 1 Stylus
- Targus Slim Stylus Black
- J.Burrows Bluetooth Keyboard Silver KB200
- Logitech K375s Multi-Device Keyboard and Stand
- Logitech Wireless Mouse Red M280
Best School Tech for Kids to Try: Accessories
- Keji Single Plug PC Headphones Black
- J.Burrows PC Wired Headset
- J.Burrows PC Wireless Headset
- J.Burrows Wireless Pro Headphones with Boom Mic Elite HP250
- J.Burrows 1080p Webcam with Autofocus
- Logitech HD Webcam Black C270
Best School Tech for Kids to Try: Smartphones & Wearables
- SPACETALK Kids Smartwatch with Phone and GPS Grey
- Garmin Venu 2 GPS Smartwatch Slate/Black
- Fitbit Charge 5 Fitness Watch Black
- Fitbit Versa 2 Smart Watch Black Carbon
Best School Tech for Kids to Try: Software, Security and Set-up Help
- Norton 360 Premium 1 Device 1 Year Download
- Trend Micro Device Security Basic 3 Device 1 Year Card
- Microsoft Office 2021 Home & Student Software Download
- Extra Cover Plans
- geeks2u Tech Support
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.