The 10 Best Laptops For Students
We spent 44 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top selections for this wiki. Perfect for cash-strapped kids heading off to college and essential even for those still in high school these days, our selection of laptops for students includes models that feature a combination of relatively low cost, rugged durability, easy portability, long battery lives and/or blisteringly fast speeds. Most of them look pretty sharp, too. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best laptop for students on Amazon.
Why Students Need Laptops
Schools across the country are beginning to realize this, and some have even begun to implement class curriculum designed with laptops in mind.
They have also seen an improvement in students' critical thinking abilities.
Everyone agrees that a laptop is needed for college and university students, but they can be just as vital for students in middle school and high school. There are a number of advantages students who have laptops gain over those without, such as more efficient note taking, increased technological literacy, faster writing and editing, increased engagement, and easier collaboration with other students.
For those who feel that a laptop isn't necessary for education, consider for a moment how you would feel going to see a doctor who was still using outdated medical practices from the 1970s. Most of us wouldn't dream of seeing a doctor who wasn't up to date with the most current medial techniques and research. This is essentially what parents are doing by only supplying their children with pens and paper: they limit them to the kind of technology that was available two or three decades ago.
Schools across the country are beginning to realize this, and some have even begun to implement class curriculum designed with laptops in mind. In 2000, the state of Maine made an agreement with Apple to provide all seventh and eighth graders with laptops. In 2010 alone they gave out over 70,000 laptops free of charge to students. Their goal is for every student from grades 7 to 12 to have a laptop.
Since starting the program, officials say they have seen an improvement in grades and increased collaboration among students. They have also seen an improvement in students' critical thinking abilities. In 2000, a study was conducted by researchers at Wayne State University to analyze the achievements of students with laptops compared to those without. They found that students who used laptops for school had more interest in education, higher levels of self-confidence, and better research and writing skills.
How To Choose A Laptop For A Student
Every student will have slightly different needs when it comes to the best laptop for them. For example, a college student majoring in graphic design will need a much more powerful laptop than a student just entering high school. That being said, there are a few tips that apply to the majority of students and can help you choose the best laptop for their needs.
For most, a 12- or 13-inch screen is generally considered the sweet spot for a student laptop as it will still be easy enough to carry, yet won't compromise on usability.
Portability should be a top concern. Purchasing a device that is too large to conveniently carry to and from class will limit the benefits a student receives from their laptop. Ideally, most student laptops should weigh less than 4 pounds, with a screen size between 11 and 14 inches. Younger students may get away with an 11-inch screen, as they often don't mind staring at a smaller screen and may prefer something that is lighter to carry. For most, a 12- or 13-inch screen is generally considered the sweet spot for a student laptop as it will still be easy enough to carry, yet won't compromise on usability.
While many parents are looking for the most affordable laptop to buy for their child, it can sometimes be worth it to pay for a higher-end model that has an aluminum or magnesium alloy case. These will be more durable than models with a plastic case, and have a better chance of lasting through a few years of being jumbled about in a backpack. If you can find a model with a spill-proof keyboard, it should definitely be considered.
One of the biggest issues with technology these days is how quickly it becomes obsolete. You may be tempted to purchase a lower cost model with an older processor, but there is a good chance it may become obsolete in just a couple of years. It's better to go with a machine with the latest processor to ensure it lasts the student through graduation. The amount of RAM is another important consideration: a higher number will ensure that the laptop is capable of running resource-heavy programs without lagging.
Battery life is also a top priority. Look for a model that offers at least 8 hours of battery life to last students through a full school day. Most students prefer a touchscreen laptop because of the added functionality, but touchscreens are known for being battery hogs. Models without touchscreens generally last 10 to 25 percent longer on battery power, so the pros and cons should be weighed before purchasing a laptop with touch capabilities.
SSDs Versus HDDs For A Student Laptop
When choosing a student laptop, you'll invariably be presented with the choice between one that has an HDD and one that has an SSD. It is no secret that an SSD is faster, more durable, and just generally a better overall memory device than an HDD, but they are also more expensive and most consumers have to sacrifice on memory size when purchasing one. A laptop with a 250GB SSD can often cost a lot more than a similar model with a 1TB HDD.
It is a better choice to choose a student laptop with a smaller SSD than one with an HDD. In the next few years, SSDs will most likely completely replace HDDs, so buying a model with an SSD is a good way to future-proof your laptop. Luckily, they are quickly dropping in price, making student laptops with SSDs more affordable than ever before. Supplemental memory devices are also relatively low cost, so one can always buy an external hard drive or a USB flash drive to increase memory space.
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