The new school year is fast approaching, so “back to school” – this is a good time to review laptops available on the market for studying children. When deciding which laptop computer to choose for a student, there are two things to keep in mind.
While the tasks set for the child as part of school duties will not require high-end equipment, the laptop will not be used by our child only for learning, but also for entertainment.
Student laptop – the most important features
It is worth considering the choice so that our child, thanks to the laptop, could not only learn, but also relax after a busy day. In addition, the child may be interested in video, graphics and photo processing, and for these tasks a more powerful graphics card and processor will be required. So if we pay extra for better equipment, the child will be able to pursue his passion.
Below we describe the most important features to pay attention to when buying a good laptop for a student to school:
- good graphics card
- efficient processor
- capacious and fast hard drive
- 15 inch screen (for home use) or 13-14 inch screen (for school use)
- durable and light housing
A good graphics card, what is it?
There are two types of graphics cards in laptops. Depending on the needs and applications, we should choose one of them:
Integrated graphics card – a graphics card integrated with the processor is sufficient for school tasks. While integrated cards have long used only variants of Intel HD Graphics chips, laptops with AMD Ryzen components and embedded AMD Vega graphics cards are now also available.
Dedicated graphics card – if, however, we want the child to be able to use a laptop to run newer games or for image processing, it will be good to pay extra for equipment equipped with a dedicated card. The most popular are Nvidia (GeForce) and AMD (Radeon) products.
The processor is crucial for the performance and capabilities of a laptop. So choosing the right one decides what we can use the notebook for:
Basic applications – for simple tasks, a lower-end processor is definitely enough – these are today dual-core processors with low clock speeds. They are enough to browse the internet and run basic applications. Examples of such chipsets are Intel Pentium processors and older versions of Intel Core i3. The advantage of laptops equipped with such components is a much lower price
Universal laptop for learning and games – if we have a slightly larger amount and are looking for a laptop for school that will serve us for a long time, it is worth investing in a model with a seventh or eighth generation Intel Core processor. It is easy to recognize by the first digit in the processor name
(Intel Core i3 7020U is the seventh generation and Intel Core i3-8130U is the eighth generation). The alternative are laptops with AMD Ryzen processors.
Games and demanding programs – to get a laptop for more advanced or even professional applications, it is worth paying extra for a laptop with an i5 or even i7 processor. The parameters that should be taken into account are the number of cores and the processor clock frequency. The general rule is simple – the more the better.
Capacious and fast hard drive
The primary function of a hard disk is to store data. The greater its capacity, the more photos and videos we can save on it. A large hard drive will also allow you to install more programs and games.
There are two types of drives installed in laptops. Traditional HDD disk drives and SSDs. The former are cheaper and offer larger capacity (usually 500 GB or 1000 GB), but they are quite slow.
SSD disks, on the other hand, are much faster, so a laptop with an SSD disk will boot faster and run smoother. Their capacity is usually 128 or 256 GB.
Screen – what size and resolution?
The study laptop should be equipped with a screen with Full HD resolution (1920 × 1080 pixels). It will provide a detailed, high-quality image. Cheaper, lower-end models may offer a resolution of 1366 × 768 pixels, but it is rather rare. When it comes to laptop screen size, the best choice is:
- Laptop with a 15.6-inch screen – the most common display size. A large matrix can also be useful for watching movies or playing (of course, after doing your homework)
- Laptop with a screen size of 13 and 14 inches – if your child will carry a laptop to school often, we can consider purchasing a smaller model. It will be much more handy and light. It will easily fit in a backpack and will not burden our children too much.
- The size of the matrix, however, is not the only thing you should pay attention to when choosing it. The matrices most often come in two versions:
- Glossy matrices – they provide better color quality, but the image will be less visible in a strongly sunny room,
- Matte matrices – sacrifice image quality for less strain on the eyes, better image quality in strong lighting and less susceptibility to dirt.
Solid and light housing
Finally, it is worth mentioning the build quality of the laptop you are buying. A student laptop may not have high-end components, but it should be durable and – depending on whether the child will carry it with him or not – light enough.
A solid student laptop should be easy to carry, without fear that it will be damaged when removed from the bag. In addition, the child will probably use the laptop many times while eating or drinking, so an additional advantage will be the keyboard, which can be easily removed and cleaned. On the other hand, they can protect against flooding with special covers that can be purchased separately for the laptop.
Laptop for distance learning
Until recently, school education was carried out only in the school building. Unfortunately, the time of the COVID-19 pandemic forces us to switch to distance learning and conduct lessons via the Internet.
Laptops are commonly used for this purpose, mainly due to their easy availability and the possibility of easy portability when needed.
A good laptop for online lessons should be equipped with a good-quality webcam and a built-in microphone (you do not need to buy additional accessories then), a comfortable keyboard and a large screen – preferably 15.6 inches.
A powerful processor (AMD Ryzen 5, Intel Core i5 or more) and at least 8 GB of RAM and SSD drive will also be useful. Such parameters will ensure efficient operation of several applications at the same time.
Whether you need a laptop for an elementary school student or a laptop for high school, it is essential that it has a stable internet connection.
The distance learning laptop should therefore support the Wi-Fi 5 wireless standard (or preferably Wi-Fi 6). If possible, it is a good idea to permanently connect the laptop to the Internet with an Ethernet cable. If the laptop does not have such an RJ45 connector, you can obtain a suitable adapter.