How to choose the best laptop for a student?

We have dug up insights into the kind of laptops that virtual education demands. We have also rounded up a few laptop recommendations for students.The laptops for students segment is bursting at the seams, on account of the fact that virtual schooling has meant that each student in a household needs one laptop exclusively for himself or herself.

We are sure you want to get the best laptop for your child’s virtual learning, and towards that goal, we have lined up three apt models. But first, let us get a clear picture of how virtual schooling works (although the nitty-gritties may differ between different schools and colleges). The idea of this exercise is to be clear on what to look for in a laptop.

Students usually log in for about four to five hours’ worth of video lectures. Most schools have chosen Zoom as the platform for virtual lectures. Students get short breaks between each lecture, but this time is not used to log out so much as it is used to chat amongst each other, or to dart away for a quick snack, bathroom break or sneak peek at one’s phone.

Moreover, a five-minute or ten-minute break is usually not enough time to log out or give one’s laptop a real rest. Some children might also prefer to use the break to share music from their laptops, or to indulge in some quick gaming.

For a large part, schools (and even some colleges) are being fairly rigid on the fact that attendance is given only to students whose cameras remain on for most part of the lecture. Previously, schools gave students attendance for the whole day at one shot; children were marked present or absent in the morning.

However, many schools today are adopting a lecture-by-lecture attendance-marking procedure, so that busy parents may be kept informed of whether their kids are attending virtual classes or not, just like colleges do.

During exams, students are monitored via webcam for the entire duration of the exam, and many institutions have put in place penalties like negative marking or disqualification for students who are not visible via webcam.

Handwritten projects are accepted (or insisted upon) in a very limited number of institutions. Most are going with typed-up assignments and examinations today. Spoken and crafted (the “make a chart” type) academic projects are now being done as PowerPoint presentations.

What to look for in a laptop

Given all this, a student’s laptop must offer a host of capabilities. Here are the most important ones:

First and foremost, the best laptop for a student will display the ability to sustain 4 odd hours of video conferencing continuously. The machine should not overheat and shut down.

Second, the laptop must offer the basics (such as Microsoft Word, Excel and Powerpoint) that are required to do assignments and projects. Make sure the laptop comes with Windows OS, and the standard for new laptops is Windows 10 OS.

The best laptop must absolutely come with a good camera, because as we discussed earlier, many schools and colleges are particular about the student being visible to the teacher or professor during lectures, and especially during exams.

You also don’t want your child suffering insecurities due to a terribly pixelating (and therefore unflattering) camera, so ensure that the laptop either comes with a good camera, or can be retrofitted with a good webcam.

Fourth, a decent RAM so that the system functions smoothly and does not frustrate your child. You need at least 3GB RAM to 4GB RAM to conduct basic functions.

Fifth, good storage capacity, because schools and colleges alike are sending a lot of study material and resources in soft copy. Furthermore, many experiments and practical-led study material are being sent to students via videos.

For instance, a science teacher will visit the school lab, take a video of him or herself doing the experiment in question, and send it to his or her students.

Sixth, the laptop absolutely has to have a microphone or the ability to attach one so as to allow the student to answer in class, or to get clarity on his or her doubts. Here are three of the best laptops under 30000 INR for students:

  • The Dell Inspiron 3584, which comes with 4GB RAM, a 2.3GHz processor, a widescreen 720 pixel webcam, and an Intel HD graphics card. It also comes with Windows 10 Home and Student 2019 operating system built-in. For saving study material, a 1TB hard drive is available. It also has 3 USB ports for attaching a speaker or whatever might be required during the class.
  • The Lenovo Ideapad 3 15ADA05, which also comes with 4GB RAM and 1TB of storage. It offers only a 0.3 MP camera, but does offer a 2.3GHz processor, Windows 10 Home and Student 2019 operating system and 3 USB ports.
  • The HP Chromebook 14a, which comes with 4GB RAM and 64GB SSD storage, a 1.1GHz processor, Chrome operating system (you will need to buy and install Windows OS for this laptop), 3 USB ports and a wide angle webcam.

For most of these under-30,000 category models, your child may request a higher resolution camera. All of these do, however, come with in-built microphones.

Additionally, if the student is big on gaming, he or she might require a laptop that supports graphically-intensive gaming. These laptops typically come with higher RAM size, more storage, a graphics processing unit and superior cooling.

If your child is in need of a laptop upgrade in order to keep up with virtual learning, do not delay. Lectures are indeed progressing at the same pace as physical school and college, and you definitely do not want them to miss out.

It is no challenge to get your child the best laptop under 30,000 INR that will suit his or her virtual learning needs. If you are facing budget constraints, use the Bajaj Finserv EMI Network Card to pay for the laptop in monthly installments for greater convenience.

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