The 2021 school year is drawing closer, and it’s time to start planning for term one and beyond. The biggest purchase most parents make is a laptop and we have all the information here to help you understand what your child needs and assist in getting you the best value for money laptop for 2021.
Check your school’s computer requirements
Most schools recommend specific hardware requirements for your child as part of their Bring Your Own Device policy (BYOD). Please get your hands on a copy directly from your school as you will need this document to help you choose the correct laptop.
Understand the key specs of the computer
The 4 key areas that usually are identified are the processor, memory, storage size & battery life. They each effect the computer’s performance in different ways.
- CPU (the processor) – the processor is the “brain” of the computer. A more powerful processor means a faster computer speed and the ability to do more intensive tasks.
- Memory – The more memory your child’s computer has, the more its processor can do at any one time. More memory means your child will be able to multi-task more effectively, while running more intensive programs.
- Hard drive storage – the hard drive is where all of your child’s files will be stored, so the amount of storage space will determine how much data can be saved to the device. Remember you can easily increase storage space by connecting an external hard drive via a USB port.
- Battery Life – Most modern laptops will give you an average battery life but you need to remember that this will degrade over time.
Ensure the Operating System is compatible
While a pretty new MacBook might be what your child wants, your school’s software programs may not support all systems (many schools run Windows-based programs). Make sure to check that your child’s new device will be compatible, allowing them to collaborate at school and complete work both in and out of the classroom. Some tips around operating systems for popular devices:
- Apple Macbook laptops run off macOS. As an additional extra, they can be configured to run Windows but is certainly not ideal. *And yes, Mac’s CAN get malware and viruses so don’t be fooled by that argument.
- Chromebooks only run on the Linux-based Chrome operating system (which means they are not directly compatible with Windows or Mac).
- Tablets come in a range of operating systems, including Apple, Android (Samsung Galaxy Tab and Lenovo), and Windows (Microsoft Surface and Dell). Some schools have specifically have a no tablet policy so please confirm this before purchase.
Battery life and Wi-Fi compatibility
There are two other key features that are absolutely necessary in school laptops:
- They must have a wireless “AC” connection. This is the latest and fastest form of Wi-Fi available.
- They must have an “all day” battery. Teachers don’t want power cords running across the room, so the device must be able to last through the day.
Look a year ahead
When choosing a laptop for school use, it’s important to consider how your child’s needs may change as they grow. For example, a child entering year six may benefit from a laptop even though it’s not yet a school requirement. But with high school on the horizon, it’s worth checking what they’ll require next year, and buying something that will meet their needs across a few years.
In the earlier school years (primary and early high school) consider the durability your child’s devices. The thinner and lighter it is, the higher the risk it could break if dropped. We offer accidental damage warranty direct from the manufacturer so definitely one we recommend.
As your child progresses through high school, you will need to look at updating their tech in line with individual class requirements. For example, if your child pursues design, media or music electives in later years, they are going to need a laptop with greater processing power and more memory, allowing them to run more intensive programs and tasks. We have a great selection of premium graphic laptops that are made for these powerful requirements.
Protect your device
There are options for extended warranty & warranty + Accidental Damage Insurance on each page. While insurance comes at an extra cost, consider the excess against the expense of a new device – it could be a smart move down the track.
Don’t let your new computer be used without installing internet security software, avoiding viruses down the line and keeping your device secure while browsing the web.
Anything else to consider for 2021?
We have a great selection of printers, external hard drives and peripherals for you to choose as well.