The best laptops for school work

The best Windows laptops and Chromebooks for school kids.

The best laptops for school work

by William Lobley |

There was a time, pre-2020 and pre-pandemic, where we could’ve envisioned a world without laptops, especially for younger users. School kids and teenagers seemed to replace the portable notebook-style PCs with smartphones, tablets, and iPads.

However, during the pandemic, they became a vital necessity for home learning and staying connected to the wider world. From elderly relatives becoming adept at video calls and adults throwing together a makeshift home office, technology has never felt so integral to our lives. But getting the right gadget for the right job can be tricky, so, we’re here to help with getting you the best laptop for school work.

The best laptop for school work is one that's reliable and comfortable to use. It’s got a good screen that won’t cause eye-ache over the school day and, importantly, won’t go breaking the bank. With that in mind, we think that the following laptops are an excellent choice for any child.

We’ve also included a quick guide below on time-wasting site blockers and internet security packages.

The best Chromebooks

Acer Chromebook 14 CB514

Acer Chromebook 14 CB514
Amazon

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Intel Celeron N3350, 4GB RAM, 32GB eMMC, 14 inch HD display, Chrome OS, Silver Webcam: Yes

The CB514 is an entry-level Chromebook that does absolutely everything a pupil could need. It’s capable of running word processing and slideshow software, browsing the internet and streaming video. There's 4GB of RAM, a 32GB hard drive and 14 inch HD display.

You get 12 hours of battery life - none too shabby - and it comes pre-installed with Chrome OS, as you'd expect. This is a great everyday laptop for those not wanting to use taxing software (for tasks like design and film editing).

Bonus: Using a Chromebook is a great way of accessing Google Doc, Google Slides and Google Sheets. These are free cloud-based suites that can be used instead of expensive Microsoft Office programs. We'd recommend giving them a go, even if you don't opt for a Chromebook.

Acer Chromebook 314 CB314-H

Acer Chromebook 314 CB314-H
Amazon

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Intel Celeron N4000, 4GB RAM, 32GB eMMC, 14 inch HD display, webcam: Yes

A slightly cheaper option yet still with excellent features is the Acer Chromebook CB314-H. Added bonus - you're still getting a whole 12 hours of battery life, as well as the 14 inch display.

An added bonus of this laptop is that it has a pretty comfortable keyboard, which is pretty important for students, as they'll be doing a lot of typing. It also comes with 4GB RAM and 32GB of storage space, which is ideal for everyday schoolwork use rather than for more complex software.

Another perk is that it is fairly lightweight weighing only 2.26 kg, it's pretty easy to transport and move around.

Find out more about the best Chromebooks here.

Windows laptop for under £200

Lenovo IdeaPad Slim 1

Lenovo IdeaPad Slim 1

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AMD 3020e Processor, 4GB RAM, 64GB eMMC, 11.6-inch display, Windows 10 OS Webcam: Yes

The IdeaPad Slim 1 is a reliable laptop - AMD’s affordable processor and 4GB RAM may be modest in the grand scheme of things, but it’s a good little combination that can handle school work, internet browsing and online chatting comfortably. The battery life is nice, clocking in at eight hours - though take this with a pinch of salt, as this will vary depending on tasks.

64GB of eMMC memory helps keep documents stored and ready, while the Windows 10 OS is user-friendly and familiar. This laptop also comes with a free one-year subscription to Microsoft 365 Personal (worth £59.99), giving access to all the essential programs like Word, Excel and PowerPoint, in addition to some free cloud storage via OneDrive.

Chromebook for under £200

ASUS C223 Chromebook

ASUS C223 Chromebook

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Intel Celeron N3350 Processor, 4GB RAM, 32GB eMMC, 11.6-inch display, Chrome OS Webcam: Yes

The ASUS C229 is here to provide all the basic laptop functions for those on a budget. The 32GB eMMC memory will be ample for storing basic applications and documents, as the web-based Chrome OS does most of the heavy lifting via the cloud. If you are looking to store some documents, films and photos on the device, you can extend the memory via the MicroSD port.

The HD screen is kind on the eyes, and despite its affordable nature, the build quality feels robust. This is probably not the right choice for someone needing a full-time, 27/7 solution, but for a school day of multitasking and internet browsing, it’ll do nicely.

As the C223 is a Chromebook with limited capabilities, schoolwork is best undertaken with Google’s office suite or online Microsoft packages. The device has three USB ports, one USB 3.1 and two USB Type-C - note that if you’re looking to use an external mouse and keyboard to improve comfort and posture, you’ll likely need to grab a USB extension port.

A big-screen laptop

ACER Aspire 3 A315-56

ACER Aspire 3 A315-56
Amazon

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Intel i3-1005G1 Processor, 4GB RAM (12GB installable), 128GB SSD, 15.6-inch display, Windows OS Webcam: Yes

The Acer Aspire 3 A315-56 is a bit of a more sizeable offering, with a 15.6 screen – the size and inbuilt BlueLightShield will improve the experience during reading, writing and streaming. The laptop is carrying a reliable Intel i3-1005G1 processor and 4GB RAM, which is ideal for a day of schoolwork and quick, efficient multitasking.

The SSD memory also helps the Aspire 3 perform efficiently with both quick load times and swift write speeds. There’s one HDMI out which allows the laptop to be linked to an external screen, and three USB ports, including one USB 3.1, for external connections. The laptop comes with a one-year subscription to Microsoft 365 Personal.

Looking for a laptop for GCSE and A-Level students?

If you’re looking for a laptop that will suit older school goers – namely Year 10, 11 and A-Level students – who’re going to be using the laptop during the school day and after school for homework and coursework, we’ve got you covered. Read one of our round-ups below:

The best Chromebook laptops | The best laptops under £1,000 | The best laptops for students | The best laptops for everyone

Internet Security Packages

The internet is an amazing place, and as of late has shown itself to be a true lifeline for millions of people. Yet, for all its good, some people attempt to take advantage of its reach, popularity and power. To ensure that everyone in your household can surf the web, attend classes and chat with friends in safety, be sure to subscribe to a reputable and comprehensive internet security package.

We’ve rounded up the best internet security packages available - read it now to pick up an offer and get protected.

Site Buffering

Productivity and site-blocking extensions

If your kids are doing their homework, consider installing one of these productivity extensions, it'll help ensure that they remain on task and on schedule.

StayFocused for Google Chrome - Here’s what the developer Transfusion Media has to say about the extension:

“StayFocused is a productivity extension for Google Chrome that helps you stay focused on work by restricting the amount of time you can spend on time-wasting websites. Once your allotted time has been used up, the sites you have blocked will be inaccessible for the rest of the day. It's highly configurable, allowing you to block or allow entire sites, specific subdomains, specific paths, specific pages, even specific in-page content (videos, games, images, forms, etc).”

Download here

Block Site for Mozilla Firefox and Microsoft Edge – This extension from developer Ray is for Mozilla Firefox and Microsoft Edge, and can block any site desired. It’s customisable and can be secured with a password. Blocking can be set on a time and date basis, and it even blocks pop-ups.

Download for Firefox here | Download for Edge here

Free online homeschooling resources from Amazon:

Did you know that Amazon offers free learning resources to help parents, carers and students continue learning beyond the classroom? You can get involved with science, mathematics, English and physical education lessons.

What do these lessons cover?

Science:

Amazon’s Hour of Code Dance Party uses dance and chart-topping pop songs to help children develop computer science skills. If this wasn’t exciting enough, Dr Ranj Singh - NHS doctor and TV presenter - is providing a short brain-busting lesson in biology.

Maths:

Rachel Riley, Countdown legend and the nation’s favourite mathematician, has created a math lesson unlike any other. Plus, you can get Alexa involved in the home learning, just say: “Alexa, ask the Maths Coach to start a test.”

English:

Head on over to Audible, where there are currently free audiobooks for young people and parents. We’d recommend Littlest Listeners and Elementary. If you have a Kindle Kids Edition, you can also access a range of free literacy content with Amazon Kids+, if you’d like to find out more read our buyer’s guide to the Kindle range.

Physical Education:

Want to make sure your little one gets enough exercise? Take part in football lessons with British freestyle footballer and TikTok superstar Lia Lewis. They'll be able to learn loads of skills, like the neck stall, knee block and cross catch.

William Lobley is a Content Writer and reviewer for What's The Best, specialising in gaming, technology and the outdoors. He also writes for Empire Online.

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