5 questions to ask before buying a laptop for schoolwork
Looking for secondary school laptops? Here’s what to think about on your search...
1. Will my child be using it on-the-go?
If your child is likely to be hauling their laptop to and from school, they’ll want something light and portable. Especially if they move between classrooms throughout the day, too.
- Magazine-thin laptops wrapped in aluminium for a sturdy yet stylish design
- SSD storage for super-fast performance without the weight of a HDD
- Long battery life and fast charging for all-day work and play
- Edge-to-edge display that packs more screen into a smaller laptop
Laptop staying housebound?
If the laptop is likely to stay at home, then go for spec over style. The HP Pavilion 14 is powerful and multitasks with ease – your child can browse the web, listen to music and type up reports or essays all at once. Or use its 360° hinge and convert it to a tablet for note-taking.
2. How much power will they need?
Schoolkids probably won’t need a super-powered laptop, as their homework and entertainment needs won’t take up too much space or processing power. However, if you have a serious gamer or a budding designer in your home you’ll need a machine with plenty of processing muscle.
As a guide:
- Intel Core i3: Great for everyday computing - use Microsoft Office, surf the web and watch videos
- Intel Core i5: Run Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator. Multitask with Spotify, web browsing and Word simultaneously
- Intel Core i7: Heavy-duty creative work such as 3D modelling and advanced video editing
- Intel Core i9: High-end content creation – runs demanding creative programs and always for virtual reality game play
What about RAM?
This is a computer’s internal memory – the more you have the more efficiently it will run. A minimum of 4GB is needed for an everyday laptop. Opt for 8GB or more if using Photoshop or large documents.
3. Is it worth getting an SSD laptop?
Yes! Everything is faster and easier with an SSD (solid state drive) – booting up, loading programmes, switching between tasks.
SSD is a type of storage that replaces the traditional – and some would say clunky – hard drive.
As well as being fast, they’re thin, light and quiet. Just ask YouTuber Ash Tailor... ‘You’ll notice the speed immediately when copying files, loading programs and much more,’ says Ash.
The HP Pavilion 14 combines SSD with new 8th Generation Intel Quad Core processors for incredibly fast performance. And it’s light enough that younger kids can pop it in their backpack and carry it.
4. Which operating system is more suitable - Windows, Mac or Chrome?
Laptops come with different operating systems suited for different needs. You and your child will need to decide which is right for them.
Windows is familiar and easy to use whether browsing the web or using Word. Plus, it works on laptops from numerous manufacturers so you can choose features like 2 in 1 or tablet mode models to suit you. Find out more here with 10 things to know about Windows 10
This only runs on Apple laptops and desktop computers – its intuitive design is easy to use. And if your child already has an iPhone or iPad then the two will sync neatly together.
Built around Google's online services, work is done using online apps, then saved safely online. It’s only available on lightweight Chromebook laptops. Find out more about Chromebooks and if they're right for you here: What is a Chromebook?
See more on which operating system would be best with our guide on Windows, Apple or Chrome
5. Will they need it for video content?
Will your child be using the laptop for fun and games as well as hard work? Then they’ll want one with a high-resolution screen.
Go for maximum number of pixels – the more pixels, the better the picture and the higher the resolution.
And don’t forget about connectivity
Whichever laptop you choose needs to have the right connectivity options for your kids’ needs. For example, HDMI to hook up to a TV, SD Card reader for memory cards and USB 3.0 or USB Type-C for cameras and hard drives.
Feeling confident? Find the perfect laptop for your child