Laptops seems to be like fashion. Sometimes, there’s a huge variety of things to choose from and then at other times, it’s as if everyone is wearing the same thing. Writing this in the middle of 2018, we are somewhere near the former with a large variety of options available. There are a number of decisions that need to be made before you even get into the nitty gritty. The first big decision is what Operating System you would like to use? Most teachers are still Windows-focused so it is most likely that this is what you’ll go for. Windows laptops generally have the advantage of being familiar and they seem to plug into projectors and other devices more easily. They also tend to be easy enough to network into printers and servers. However, things are changing and most operating systems have their advantages and disadvantages.
Looking at some variables to consider, which laptop is best for what you want to do? Let’s look at a few of these.
- Plugging into a projector: Most schools still have VGA projectors. However, it’s getting rarer to find laptops with VGA ports. They exist so keep an eye out for them or you’re going to need an adaptor.
- Battery: You’ll get anything from 2 hours to 10 hours out of a battery these days. It’s good to check this out before committing to a purchase.
- Hard Disk Space: This is become less important as we move to the cloud more and more. I wouldn’t have this variable very high on your list.
- RAM/Memory: At this time, an absolute minimum of 4GB RAM is needed for a laptop you want to use in a classroom. 8GB will keep you going for longer.
- Processor: You’re going to need at least an Intel i5 chip or equivalent these days.
After that, you should be ok to choose whatever laptop you fancy. I like refurbished laptops because they are cheap and reliable. However, I have to sacrifice battery life as a result. In some ways you’ll need to make some calls on what you can live without. Price-wise, for a new laptop that you’d like to keep for 3 years or more, you’re looking at the €400-500 mark per machine. You might be lucky and find a something under this price.
Last Update: April 25, 2018