The best laptops for students is a relative term as variations in age and studies can mean different students have very different needs. That said, there are plenty of do-it-all laptop options out there.
From the best laptop for remote learning to the best laptop for secondary students studying design, there are many choices to consider. Battery life, processing power, screen size, portability and connectivity are just a few features worth keeping in mind.
Price is also an important feature, especially if you're buying for a district and want to make a saving at scale. That brings to mind another important aspect – reliability and flexibility that can make that investment last.
So which to consider? Read on to find out the best laptops for students of elementary and secondary schools, below.
1. HP Spectre x360 (2020): The best laptop for students overall
The HP Spectre x360 (2020) is the best laptop for students right now, but thanks to its power, this is one aimed more at the secondary school end of the age range. As such, this is also an expensive option, but then it does do it all.
With a 4K, 13.3-inch touchscreen display, stylus, and the machine's ability to work as a laptop or tablet, this is a device that will suit all situations. From remote learning to note taking in class, this handles multiple tasks quickly and smoothly. That's thanks to the 10th Gen Intel Core processing and options for lots of RAM.
Connectivity is excellent with dual Thunderbolt ports and a single USB-A port. Security is also excellent due to the Windows 10 OS smarts built into this laptop.
The only downside, apart from that price, is the battery life, which could be better. That said, it's enough to last a full day so students shouldn't need to carry around a charger.
2. Acer Swift 3 (2020): Best laptop for students on a budget
The Acer Swift 3 is a more affordable option that still delivers plenty of laptop bang for your buck, making it ideal for both elementary and secondary students. The great build quality means this device is rugged enough to withstand a day of being lugged about classes but it is also lightweight thanks to its chassis.
That weight is impressive when you consider it is packing in a large 15.6-inch Full HD display, USB 2, USB 3, Thunderbolt 3, and HDMI ports. The keyboard and trackpad are high-quality with a responsive feel that's built to last longer-term use.
All that makes this a great option for districts buying devices at scale, allowing savings to be made with this impressive Windows 10 machine.
3. Google Pixelbook Go: Best powerful Chromebook for students
The Google Pixelbook Go is a Chromebook that caters to the high-end, packing in lots of powerful features and a top-build quality that is reflected in its price. As such, this is more suited to the elementary school end of the student spectrum.
The Hush keyboard is a standout feature, offering near silent typing that makes it ideal for the classroom. This build quality extends throughout the unit, making it a durable machine that's ideal for student use.
This highly portable 13.3-inch Full HD screen laptop lasts a full day on a charge, aka 12 hours, making it ideal for those who don't want to carry a charger. And since it's a Chromebook, it integrates perfectly with schools running Google's G Suite for Education system.
4. Microsoft Surface Go 2: Best pure Windows 2-in-1 laptop for students
The Microsoft Surface Go 2 is a great way to get a pure Windows 10 experience from the manufacturer of both the software and hardware. As a result, this is a powerful yet portable laptop that doubles as a tablet, using the optional Touch Cover keyboard case to let you type. Yup, you'll need to pay for that in your initial setup to use this as a full laptop rather than a tablet alone – presuming you don't already own a keyboard that you can use with it, of course.
The touchscreen display is large and clear with its 10-inch, 1800 x 1200 resolution setup. It's also super portable, easily slipped into a bag, making it great for elementary students on the move a lot. Although with a five-hour battery life, you'll likely need to carry a charger to get through a full school day.
This does feature a stylus, making it great for note taking or even sketching. Beyond pure work, this is also powerful enough to run Minecraft and it'll do everything securely thanks to Windows 10 built-in security.
5. Apple MacBook Pro: Best laptop for students of graphics and video
The Apple MacBook Pro is a very expensive laptop but that's for a reason – this is a super powerful machine. One that's specifically built for graphics, making it ideal for elementary students of graphics, design, engineering, and art. It'll also work as a gaming machine for gaming clubs, helping justify its price.
This portable machine offers Apple's True Tone display in a 16-inch form factor backed by plenty of Intel Core processing power and an AMD Radeon Pro graphics card. The Touch Bar is a helpful addition with shortcuts that change to suit the program being used, making it a time efficient tool.
While this is portable and built strong, to last, that battery life will only last a day at a stretch. Of course that depends on what it's being used for but a charger in the bag if moving about is probably advisable.
6. Acer Chromebook 314: Best affordable Chromebook for students
The Acer Chromebook 314 is a low-price laptop that does everything needed for most secondary and elementary school students. The big brand name means it's well built for longevity and quality, while the Chromebook OS makes it agile and ideal for schools running G Suite for Education.
The well-sized 14-inch display offers clarity and brightness, if not quite the highest resolution compared to some. But the keyboard and trackpad are both responsive and fashioned to last, and connectivity is decent with dual USB-A and USB-C ports plus a MicroSD card slot.
Chromebook battery life is famously great, so don't expect to carry a charger around. Also, at this price, it's an ideal candidate for districtwide purchases in bulk so even more savings can be made on this highly capable student laptop.