Choosing a child-proof school laptop for years 5 to 7

Tough, with a warranty.
The laptop is in for a beating.

If you are looking for a kid’s school laptop for Years 5–7, that meets the Australian school BYOD (bring-your-own-device) guidelines, you should try not to get hung up on specifications and pre-conceived brand preferences.

Instead of researching education-specific laptops, parents often end up buying the wrong consumer-grade device from their local retailer that simply doesn’t cut it in the education environment.

‘Education standard’ is a mix of durability, practicality, decent warranty and the availability of spare parts locally. All topped off by management tools that allow schools to enable security controls, monitor usage and set limits on student use.

What is a Year 5–7 Windows laptop?
Students in Years 5 to 7 need laptops that move seamlessly from school to home and back. The right laptop can make it easier to take notes, do assignments, browse the web, connect with friends, or stream videos on a full HD screen.

A Windows laptop for school has to be tough. That means a reasonably bash-proof keyboard, rugged body (edge-protection), enough battery power to get them through the school day and as light as possible.

What do kids want?
Kids actually don’t care about specifications; they simply want something cool that may cause some envy. A laptop for learners should be designed to take a few years of school punishment. Look for rubber bumpers and reinforced hinges for that extra protection when required. It will need to be able to take the knocks, spills and be stuffed into a full backpack without too much care.

What do teachers expect?
It is amazing how often chargers will be forgotten and with every child having a different laptop, they usually can’t be borrowed. Therefore, it’s important to know that you can use the supplied ‘plug’ charger at home and provide an ultra-light charger for your child’s backpack when they need to do a fast charge at school.

Teachers want to reduce copying between students so a screen that obscures off-angle viewing is preferred. The school laptop should be comfortable for use on a desk or lap with a keyboard that’s easy and comfortable to type on and helps to teach good typing skills.
It needs to have sufficient brightness for the classroom or even outdoor use.

What do parents want from a laptop for school?
From a parent’s perspective, it needs to comply with school BYOD guidelines, which means it needs a minimum 11” screen, 4GB RAM, 128GB storage, keyboard/trackpad, Wi-Fi 5 AC, webcam, four-hour battery and weigh less than 1.5kg. Pricewise, laptops for years 5-7 should cost between $600 and $800. Parents that spend $1000+ on a laptop for a child under 13 are wasting their money because, by the time they are a teenager and need a more powerful school laptop, it will need to be replaced according to the BYOD guidelines due to being more than three years old.