Businesses and end users alike often ask us ‘what is currently the best laptop on the market?’ However, the answer can vary wildly depending on your industry or your purpose for the device.
The best features for laptops for schools, for example, will be quite different to the best gaming laptop, the best graphic designer laptop, or the best finance laptop.
It is also reductive to assume that the best laptops for schools will be the same as the best laptop for an adult, end-user consumer. Many schools will simply opt for the cheapest laptop, but there are many feature considerations to what will truly make the best laptops for pupils and the learning environment.
Pupils at primary and secondary school have specific requirements of their hardware in school to ensure they can succeed in every subject.
Owing to the desperate need for stronger IT skills in almost every sector, schools have increasingly incorporated computer hardware into all subjects and homework. This is for several reasons.
Firstly, it better reflects what future work will feel like.
Secondly, it helps the students develop that crucial IT literacy that they will be expected to perform and keep up with in their careers in the future.
Thirdly, the advancement of technology has led to so many programmes and software that can actively help pupils learn more effectively in every subject.
From spatial awareness and fact retention to advanced problem-solving and interactive learning, there are so many ways that software can improve the education experience.
So, given that we now truly comprehend the value of computer equipment in schools, what are the best features for laptops in schools?
Top Features To Look For When Sourcing Laptops For Your School
- Portability – Naturally, all laptops are portable to a degree. This is what makes them different to desktop PCs, but some are lighter and easier to transport than others. Schools must prioritise the most portable and lightest laptops in their choice for their pupils. This is owing to the fact that the youngest pupils will be shorter and not as strong as the oldest pupils. Students also have books and other equipment to carry in their bags, so keeping laptops light and lean is helpful to ensure they don’t get back problems when transporting their devices.
- Strength and Durability – This is one of the most significant features to look for in laptops for schools yet is often overlooked. Experienced teachers and parents will be all too familiar with how durable even older children’s equipment must be. Children can be playful and may not treat their equipment with the same care and respect as adults. Accidents easily happen in the classroom, when transporting the laptop, at home, and especially on the playground. A high-quality laptop for schools should have a hardy casing to withstand the rough and tumble of school life. Samsung’s Galaxy Chromebook is an example of a school laptop that takes these criteria seriously. The manufacturer has even used military-grade testing to ensure that the reinforced frame can withstand the rigours of school life and withstand high temperatures.
- Repairability – Schools want to ensure that they are receiving good value for their money when they lease or buy IT hardware. One way to measure the quality of a laptop is by its repairability. Technology is advancing quickly, and you don’t want students using obsolete tech, so upgrades are a good idea. However, you still want laptops to have a decent life span. Repairing rather than replacing is better for the environment and so repairability is a good factor to consider when choosing laptops for your school. Repairability cites how easy it is to repair a certain model and how readily available replacement parts will be.
- Cyber Safety – It is vital that a laptop designed for students should come with robust in-built security features that go above and beyond the standard. The Samsung Galaxy Chromebook is well known for having fewer cyber security vulnerabilities than competitors. Having a knowledgeable supplier is also handy as they can add additional cyber security software to make sure that pupils are always safe.
- Distraction Reduction – While computers are a fantastic resource for learning, it is no secret that they can be distracting. With the internet and all those social media platforms and games at a child’s fingertips, it can be hard to concentrate on schoolwork. The best laptops for schools will make it easy to block certain sites and apps or require exterior permission to install them.
- Interactive Learning – Touchscreens are a great feature for school laptops because they allow for interactive learning and different types of lessons. Whether it’s mathematics, spatial awareness, design, engineering or any other subject, interactive learning through touch screens and engaging educational apps can help pupils acquire concepts faster and remain engaged with a subject.
- Educational Apps – The best laptops designed specifically for schools will have programmes and apps that facilitate learning. The Microsoft Surface SE comes with a curated portfolio of education-focused apps. The Samsung Galaxy Chromebook is perfect for utilising Google Classroom. Features like these make it easier for children to learn, study, collaborate and communicate with teachers.
- Intuitive For Students – While the younger generations are more tech natives than their parents, they still have to start somewhere. Not all children will have access to tablets, computers and phones before school begins and so laptops for schools should have an intuitive interface. Children should be able to grasp the basics quickly even if it’s their first ever computer, so they can concentrate on levelling up those IT skills and moving to the next stage of learning.
- Low Learning Curve For Teachers – It isn’t the students alone who must find school laptops intuitive. Teachers, as well as pupils, will need access to this equipment. The last thing a school wants is overly complex devices that teachers have to spend time familiarising themselves with while trying to design lesson plans.
- Putting Control In Teachers’ Hands – Laptops for education should be different from laptops for children that are purely recreational. School laptops must focus on honing IT skills and aiding pupils in focusing on their studies and protecting them from distraction and unsuitable content. Laptops that are superior as education devices give increased control to teachers. This could include not allowing certain third-party apps or only apps that teachers approve. This can also be achieved by other means such as via MDMs. However, certain laptops designed for schools like the Microsoft Surface SE have that power built in.
- Strong Associated IT Services – This may not relate to the laptop features themselves, however, associated IT services are invaluable. Schools don’t simply require hardware, they need that hardware serviced, maintained, repaired, wiped, and repurposed, possibly even customised. It is these tasks that can either take more time and/or money from schools. By choosing a computer equipment package that includes a full support wrapper and associated IT services with the devices, schools can save money and hassle.
- Affordable Lease – Affordability of the hardware is a significant factor for schools. While it is not recommended to automatically choose the cheapest option in an effort to save money regardless of other features, cost remains a major factor for schools.Education institutions need to ensure they are getting the best value for their money and are not overspending given the large number of pupils for whom they must provide a laptop.Luckily, computer equipment lease providers specialising in the education sector do exist and can offer cost-effective solutions for schools. Devices For Education Teams was built to suit the structure and budgets of schools and academies.Schools can source a fleet of laptops from Devices For Education Teams for only 50p per day per device. They can even add or remove devices when they require during the lease.
- Cost-Effective Insurance – Again, while not a direct feature of laptops themselves, insurance might be one of the most important factors for schools to consider.Schools often get financially stung by insuring all their devices. They must provide them in bulk to the whole student body and that is a lot of devices to insure.Most computer equipment insurance is offered by third parties who did not supply the devices directly. With many purely insurance companies, their quotes and policies will have been made around individual adults or business, not the needs of schools.Insurers and everyone else are also aware that while 1:1 computing is crucial for pupils, they are also young and less responsible with their hardware. The likelihood of a claim for loss or accidental damage is higher than it would be in a business. This often pushes the cost of insurance sky high for schools and insurance companies will raise the price year on year and/or with how many claims you make.Thankfully, there are other solutions. Devices For Education Teams not only supply the hardware and the lease but can add the best insurance too. We make it simple to add SafeGuard cover to all schools’ devices. This is not only the hardware that we supplied to the school; we can also insure any existing hardware as well.SafeGuard insures schools’ IT hardware against accidental damage, spills, theft, loss, fires, and floods from only £15 a month for a Microsoft Surface SE or Samsung Galaxy Chromebook
Both the Microsoft Surface SE and the Samsung Galaxy Chromebook are strong contenders as the best laptop for schools on the market today. They both possess the majority of features listed above and can be leased along with helpful associated IT services from Hardsoft.
Most importantly, Hardsoft can assist schools with leasing these devices affordably while also insuring them all in one place without breaking the bank. Hardsoft work with schools to insure that IT hardware and their insurance is cost-effective. Our insurance policies are based on the needs of schools and their budgets.
Schools can even trial the Microsoft Surface SE and the Samsung Galaxy Chromebooks before committing to a lease, so they can decide which has the best features for their teachers and students.
Steve has been with HardSoft since 2005, when Steve isn’t leasing the latest Macs, he’s playing for the mighty Epping Upper Clapton Rugby Club.
Steve Specialises in Security software, Sophos and Barracuda and has interests in Rugby and Star wars.