This post can be used as a guideline when purchasing a device for you child to use in school, including a detailed description of each of the device’s specifications, its price and a comparison to its competitors.
The top end devices are the high price, high-performance devices that offer amazing quality and reliability, fast processing, crystal clear display, brilliant functionality and fit for purpose, but may not fit your wallet.
NEW Surface Pro – 12.3 Inch display, Intel Core m3 processor, 128GB SSD, 4GB RAM with Type Cover Keyboard – £950 – This is the all new Microsoft Surface that has just been released, this device and the Surface Pro 4 below are some of the most reliable computers you can buy, have a very good screen size, 13.5 hour battery life, crystal clear display, super fast boot up and storage access, fast processor and it not only can be used as a laptop, but it can double up as a tablet. The Surface Pro and The Surface Pro 4 have a magnetically attachable and detachable keyboard to achieve this. The only downside is that the Surface Device and Type Cover Keyboard are sold separately.
Surface Pro 4 – 12.3 Inch display, Intel Core m3 processor, 128GB SSD, 4GB RAM with Type Cover Keyboard – £760 – The reason this device is cheaper than the Surface Pro but has the same specifications is because it is the last generation of its class, so it will have a slightly slower processor than the Surface Pro and a slightly slower SSD but will still blow most other laptop/tablet computers out of the water. One of the few downsides this has compared to the new Surface Pro is the battery life of 9 hours compared the 13.5 hours that the new Surface has.
Lenovo Yoga 510 – 14 Inch display, Intel Core i5 processor, 128GB SSD, 8GB RAM – £699.99 – The Lenovo Yoga 510 is one of the top end Lenovo laptops producing good reliability and good build quality, so you are in very good hands if you decide to go for this device. This device does not have a detachable keyboard unlike the Surface’s, but the screen is capable of rotating 360 degrees so it can still be used as a tablet, and has a decent battery life of 8.5 hours. The only downside is if you wish to use it as a tablet, the keyboard will add thickness to the device because it isn’t detachable. There is a slightly cheaper version of this computer, but instead of it having a 128GB SSD, it has a 1TB HDD which comes to £529.99. The reason this version is much cheaper is that it has a HDD instead of an SSD. While it has much more storage space, a HDD has much slower performance than the SSD as it consists of mechanical/moving parts, whereas the SSD is fully electronic so it has a much quicker bootup and faster read and write speed to the disk. It’s up to you whether you want to sacrifice performance for more storage space, or pay a bit more and have a super quick computer but with reduced storage space.
Mid-range devices offer good quality and reliability but with a reduced specification to bring prices down. These devices will suit people who care about quality but don’t mind sacrificing performance.
ASUS ZenBook Flip – 13.3 Inch display, Intel Core m5 processor, 256GB SSD, 8GB RAM – £649.99 – The ZenBook Flip is similar to the Lenovo Yoga 510 but has a slower processor and smaller screen. It is the same in terms of its ability to rotate 360 degrees and has the same amount of RAM, but the big seller is the 256GB SSD, providing double the storage over the Lenovo Yoga 510 and because it is an SSD just like the Lenovo, it is just as quick. Also, the battery life is fantastic, due to its 3-cell Lithium-ion battery, it boasts up to 12.5 hours of battery. There will be a slight dip in performance compared to the Lenovo due to the slower processor, but this computer is still no slouch offering plenty of RAM, SSD storage and the ability to double up as a tablet.
HP Pavilion x360 – 15.6 Inch display, Intel Core i3 processor, 1TB HDD, 8GB RAM – £499* was £649.99 – The HP Pavilion x360 is another example of a laptop with a 360-degree hinge on the device allowing it to double up as a tablet. As you can see this one is heavily reduced from £649.99 to £499 and boasts a bigger screen size to the ASUS ZenBook Flip, along with more storage space, and a similar processor. A bigger screen isn’t always a good thing when it comes to a laptop that doubles as a tablet because the larger display adds weight, so if you wish to use this device as a tablet it can become annoying when holding it for a period of time as it is a heavier device to its rivals. The battery life is slightly worse off that the ASUS ZenBook, but still offers up to 9.5 hours. Also, with it having a 1TB HDD instead of an SSD means it has reduced read and write speed, thus creating slower performance, but a larger amount of storage space.
Lenovo Yoga 510 – 14 inch display, Intel Pentium Processor, 128GB SSD, 4GB RAM – £379* was £499 – Another good deal not to miss out on is the Lenovo Yoga 510, this is within the same generation as the Yoga 510 that is in the Top End range, but with a specification that reduces the cost, but also performance. This Lenovo Yoga 510 has a low-end processor, but a 128GB SSD which increases the speed of the computer on start-up and reading and writing to the disk, this will work well with the 4GB RAM that it also has. Another downside for this device is the battery, offering only up to 6 hours compared to the other mid-range devices. For the current £379 price tag this is a good option, but when the offer expires, the £499 price tag doesn’t seem as reasonable considering some of the devices you can get for that price.
Budget devices are the cheapest, lowest specification, and often smallest in size laptops/tablet computers that are made by mainstream manufacturers. They have the ability to do simple word processing and internet browsing so they will work in school, but will struggle when trying to do anything more demanding than simple word processing or internet browsing.
ASUS VivoBook MAX X441 – 14 Inch display, Intel Celeron Processor, 1TB HDD, 4GB RAM – £249.99* was £349.99 – The ASUS VivoBook is a very stylish but cheap laptop that has a very decent specification considering its price, even though this is reduced from £349.99 to £249.99, the £349.99 price tag is still a good price for what you get. 1TB HDD offers plenty of storage but reduced speed. 4GB RAM so it can defend itself when handling more demanding programs, as long as it isn’t anything too extreme. The only downside is that it only offers 4.5 hours battery life, but that can be an occurrence in lower spec devices.
ASUS E200HA – 11.6 Inch display, Intel Atom Processor, 32GB eMMC Storage, 2GB RAM – £179.00* was £229.99 – ASUS is one of the best at making good budget laptops, so much so that we as a school have decided to purchase this ASUS E200HA laptop as our student loan devices, these will be set up and ready for the next academic year. The ASUS E200HA has fantastic battery life, offering up to 12 Hours. It boasts a fantastic weight of less than 1KG, so is very easy to carry around with you, and it has a quad-core Intel Atom processor that works well. The biggest downfall is the 32GB Storage space, this really isn’t much at all so it cannot be used to store massive amounts of data, but it does have an SD Card reader so it can be increased that way. This may not be an issue when using this in school because as a Microsoft School, we promote and encourage to be saving their work to their OneDrive, so if they follow this, the small amount of storage that this device has will be saved as anything that is saved into OneDrive is saved into the cloud.
Lenovo Ideapad 110S – 11.6 Inch display, Intel Celeron Processor, 32GB eMMC Storage, 2GB RAM – £159.99* was £199.99 – Like the ASUS E200HA, the Lenovo Ideapad 110S falls down at the amount of storage it has, but if the same procedures that are mentioned above are followed, the device can still be a very good performer. This device has a decent battery life of 8 hours, only 1.15 KG in weight and has a decent processor. This device can be good for simple word processing and internet browsing but will struggle when attempting anything more demanding.
All of these prices are quoted from PC World except for the Surface Devices, which are quoted for the Microsoft Store on the Microsoft website, the devices with ‘*’ are currently on sale for the price shown so the cost of them have been reduced but only for the moment.