With school starting back into session soon, we decided to research what specifications would make for the best laptop, mainly for high school or college students who will be toting their laptop around with them for extended periods of time during the day.
The summary of points for a good school laptop is one that:
- Is durable, tough, can take a beating and keep on working.
- Has an SSD – a solid state storage drive.
- Is light-weight, but not too light, since a lighter laptop loses some of its durability and also tends to have smaller batteries that don’t last very long.
- Has a long-lasting battery (see above).
- Comes with both a powerful CPU and GPU.
- Has plenty of RAM.
- Has the proper screen size for you school requirements and usage.
- Comes equipped with all other school requirements, such as OS version.
- Has a decent, affordable price.
A.Is durable, tough, can take a beating and keep on working
This is so important, since laptops are normally carried around in backpacks along with books, paper notebooks, the laptop’s charger or power cord, pens and pencils, and lunch items. So, not only does the laptop take abuse from those larger items pressing and banging against it while the student is walking or running, but carrying a backpack on your back often involves the poor thing taking the brunt of hits against doorways, desks, and even other people, not to mention the usual haphazard toss into a vehicle or bus at the end of the school day.
So yes, definitely look for durability and toughness as extremely important features for your laptop purchase. Here is an article that can help, Best Rugged Laptops of 2019
B.Has an SSD – a solid state storage drive.
Going along with the same theme as above, durability and toughness, an SSD is a MUST to have in your school laptop. Mechanical hard drives (see our blog on this here, SSD vs. HDD, the pros and the cons) have numerous delicate moving parts and metal plates that are quite prone to damage, especially when mistakenly left running while be transported by foot or vehicle.
But with a solid state drive, most of this is not an issue. An SSD is primarily a large circuit board with no, or very minimal moving parts. And, best of all, they are VERY FAST. Boot up times with SSDs can be within seconds. We always highly recommend SSDs to our customers in need of a replacement hard drive.
Only problem with most SSDs is that they tend to be more expensive than regular mechanical drives, although as the technology becomes more readily available, prices are dropping. We predict all newer laptops will eventually only have SSDs.
C.Is light-weight, but not too light, since a lighter laptop loses some of its durability and also tends to have smaller batteries that don’t last very long.
So, this is a tricky situation here. You want to have a tough, rugged laptop that can take abuse, but that will often involve increasing the weight of the laptop. The best thing to do it go to local stores or check online and see if you can fine a laptop that strikes the right balance between the two. I will offer some suggestions at the end of this blog. In the meantime, here is an article that can help with finding lightweight laptops - The Best Lightweight Laptops of 2019. And here is an article about both lightweight and rugged laptops - Dell Launched a Lightweight Latitude Rugged Laptop with 8th Gen Intel Processor.
D.Has a long-lasting battery.
The heavier the battery, normally, the longer it lasts. However, that may be changing. Check out this article for more - Laptops with Best Battery Life 2019.
E.Comes with both a powerful CPU and GPU.
The best CPUs in 2019 can be read about in this article - Best Processors 2019.
The best GPUs in 2019 - The Best Graphics Cards for 2019.
F.Has plenty of RAM.
The more RAM a computer has, the faster it is, and the better it is able to run multiple programs at one time without having difficulties. According to this article, Laptop PC RAM Size and Performance Explained (2019) the average amount of RAM found in new laptops is 8 GB, with some higher-end laptops having 12 to 16 GB, and gaming and business level laptops having even more, up to 24 to 32 GB. Read more about RAM at the same article mentioned above.
G. Has the proper screen size for you school requirements and usage.
When you note the given size of a particular laptop screen, the measurement is actually the diagonal measurement of the screen (the screen itself, not the border around it).
Note the screen sizes in the image above. Since most laptops with screens larger than 15.4 or higher will not fit in most backpacks, it probably is a good idea to avoid these larger sizes. This article here, 7 Things To Know About Buying a Laptop for College in 2019 recommends around 13.3 as the best size. However, my experience is the larger the screen, the easier it is to accomplish many tasks at once. I personally have a laptop with a 17.5 inch screen size, and I am able to put it in a backpack and carry it with me each day to our place of business. But, that said, it is rather heavy.
H. Comes equipped with all other school requirements, such as OS version.
Yes. This is important. You will have to check with your school. The most recent version of the Windows OS (operating system) is Windows 10 revision 1903. All newer laptops will come with some version of Windows 10.
I.Has a decent, affordable price.
And, of course, the price for the laptop must be within your budget.
A good place to check for some refurbished laptops, is, well Ware Repair (we have some right now) and another good spot is Amazon Renewed.