Students generally don’t need a very expensive laptop with state-of-the-art processors and graphics cards or large hard drive storage capacities or lots of RAM.
Quality and battery life are the two most important qualities to consider when buying a laptop for students of all ages.
However, there are thousands of options to choose from, and looking at them one by one is as difficult as helping them do their math homework. That is why we have prepared a selection of the best laptops approved by experts, young people and parents, like our favorite the Acer Spin 3 with excellent performance and quality at a good price.
Tips for choosing and buying a laptop
Make it compact enough to take to college or university, yet versatile enough to run demanding applications. A laptop computer is the best tool to do a job, although tablets and mobile phones have come a long way in recent years, it is much more comfortable and works better to work with a laptop. So what kind of laptop should we buy?
There are plaptop in all sizes, features and prices, which makes choosing a suitable laptop difficult. That is why we must take into account what our needs are.
If we are in a rush to buy a laptop, these are the most important things to consider when choosing:
The 12.5 to 14-inch displays offer a balance between usability and portability. Larger screens are fine if we don’t travel a lot with the laptop and the smaller models are ideal for children, such as tablets for example.
Starting at $ 600 we can find the following specifications: Core i3 processor, 4 GB of RAM, and 1 TB of storage .
More than eight hours of battery life is ideal if we are going to use the laptop on the go.
Consider a 2-in-1 laptop if we want to use the laptop as a tablet. Otherwise, a laptop with a standard lid may be the best option.
Chromebooks are good for kids or little chores. Windows laptops or Macbooks offer a lot of functionality, which platform to use is a matter of personal taste.
This is what we should look for if we want to buy the best laptop for school, institute, high school or university.
Size . If portability is a requirement then we should think about choosing a laptop with a smaller screen: 12.5 to 13.3 or 14 inches and weighing no more than 2 kilograms.
Screen quality . A screen with high image quality is important since we are going to use it for long periods of time and we want it to be comfortable for the eyes. Many newer laptops have touchscreens, which means they are shiny. Glossy screens can reflect light which can be annoying, we should consider a non-touch screen if that’s an issue.
The resolution is also important, we advise a resolution of 1920 × 1080 (Full HD) to be able to see all the applications perfectly and also consider the viewing angles. IPS screens have wider viewing angles for better viewing comfort.
Keyboard quality . For long hours typing, we should think about looking for a comfortable keyboard. We recommend looking for a full keyboard with space for the arrow keys, which are backlit and respond well to keystrokes. The backlighting helps us to be able to type more easily in places with little light.
Processor (CPU) . Most newer computers come with Intel Core processors (i3, i5, and i7). These processors offer the best performance when it comes to multitasking use and working with video. Cheaper laptops often carry Intel Core i3 processors that are usually perfect for student use.
The Core i7s are for a more demanding use, they tend to heat the base of the laptop more and can limit the battery life.
RAM . At least 4GB of RAM is required. More RAM memory allows us to use more applications at the same time, faster to load data such as to edit photos or videos.
Storage . The best option for a laptop hard drive is to be a solid disk (SSD), since the rest of available hard drives are usually larger, slower and noisier. SSD hard drives offer less capacity, much faster but are much more expensive.
A hard drive between 128 and 256 GB is enough space to work for a school year. More space always comes in handy, especially for storing high-quality photos and videos.
Battery life . The life specified on laptops is usually an estimate of how long the battery can last, but there are many variables that affect battery life. These are: the brightness of the screen, its resolution and applications that we have open at the same time. If we use the processor a lot, we watch a lot of videos on YouTube or Netflix, if we transfer a lot of files over the internet, then our battery will drain very quickly.
We must take into account the watt-hours of the battery or the milliamperes per hour. The higher those numbers the longer the battery life. A battery between 44 and 50Wh should give us the best results.
USB ports . We advise looking for a laptop with at least two USB 3.0 ports. To be able to connect it with external devices such as hard drives, mice or keyboards.
Laptop quality . We cannot prevent the laptop from falling to the ground or hitting it … so we must always check if they have quality certifications or how many tests have been performed on said laptop.
Balance between needs and budget . Of course, we need to balance these features with a budget and needs, and we may have to make some compromises. There is rarely a laptop that ticks all the boxes, especially when it comes to a low price.
Our favorite: Acer Spin 3 SP315-51-54MW
Most 2-in-1 laptops sacrifice performance and quality for a lower price, but not the Acer Spin 3. It is a laptop that becomes a tablet just by folding it. The Spin 3 has a metallic design, touch screen, Intel Core i5 processor (6200U 2.3GHz), 8 GB of DDR4 RAM memory, 1 of 256 GB SDD hard disk and an Intel HD Graphics 520 graphics card with Windows 10 Home for around 750 dollars.
Weighing just over 2 kilograms and measuring around 3 centimeters thick, this Acer laptop is small and light enough that we can carry it in our backpack without problem. The battery life is 9 hours of use. Additionally, it features a younger-friendly keyboard with smaller keys and a bright 15.6-inch screen. This laptop folds 360 degrees to turn it into a touch tablet.
From a performance standpoint, this student laptop is powerful enough to juggle multiple tabs open in the browser and use documents and spreadsheets at the same time. We also appreciate its wide selection of ports: 2 USB 2.0 ports and one USB 3.0 / 3.1 Gen1, 3.5 mm combo audio connection, HDMI output and SD and SDXC card reader.
Another interesting option from the same brand is the Acer Aspire 5. Possibly the best budget laptop we can find for less than $ 800 with a powerful Intel Core i5 processor (1.6GHz with Turbo Boost up to 3.4GHz) and an Nvidia GeForce MX150 graphics card with 2GB GDDR5 VRAM.
The Aspire 5 is 15.6 inches with a Full HD screen, 8GB of DDR4 RAM, 256GB SSD solid hard drive and Windows 10 Home as the operating system. It includes an SD card reader, HDMI port, ethernet, Bluetooth 4.0, USB and USB-C ports, and an HD camera that supports HDR, perfect for making calls for work or talking with friends and family. The only downside is that it is large and heavy.
Best performance: 13.3-inch MacBook Pro
MacBooks are the most powerful laptop that we can buy with reasonable prices. The 13.3-inch MacBook Pro has an aluminum design, weighs very little and is a robust laptop.
With a 2.3 GHz Intel Core i5 processor, 256 GB of solid hard disk (SSD) and 8 GB of RAM memory it is the most powerful option for doing class assignments, photo and video editing.
Its screen is Retina Display of high quality and brightness to be able to use the laptop during long sessions.
Its keyboard is comfortable, The only disadvantages are its price and the lack of ports that other laptops do have, such as HDMI or SD card reader.
Although MacBooks tend to last longer than other laptops due to their quality of design, materials and operating system. You also need to use a hub to connect your mouse, keyboard, iPhone, or other devices.
All-terrain: Microsoft Surface Go
The Microsoft Surface Go is a compact, lightweight and very powerful 2-in-1 laptop with Windows 10 Pro. This laptop can be folded into a tablet with its touchscreen 12.3 inches.
Compared to other laptops, some experts have noticed that the battery can last around 9 hours or even more, this makes it perfect for working long hours.
It has a 7th generation Intel Core M processor, with 4 GB of RAM and 128 GB of storage; although if we wish and the budget is with us, we can opt for an Intel Core i7 processor with 8GB RAM and 256GB memory.
It weighs just over a pound with a very bright screen for outdoor use. Although its keyboard is not very comfortable compared to other laptops.
Like other Microsoft Surface models it has a very hard magnesium body and is compatible with the pen Surface Pen, not included, which makes it ideal for anyone to draw with.
It is important to see if the keyboard sleeve is included and also purchase a wireless mouse to make it easier and more comfortable to work on tasks.