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If you need to use your laptop as a tool for class, you’ll need to be sure you have certain specifications that are essential for classroom use.
For teaching, your computer should include VGA output as well as an HDMI port. Though VGA is somewhat outdated already, it hasn’t completely been phased out. Most overhead projectors in classrooms still only use VGA output. A DVD drive would also come in handy. A Blue-Ray drive would be even better as it should read DVDs as well, but probably isn’t completely necessary if you have a tight budget and are trying to limit your investment. DVDs are still widely used and haven’t been phased out when it comes to computers.
You should make sure your new laptop has enough USB ports. It would be ideal if all of them were USB 3.0, but USB 2.0 will do just fine otherwise. Most laptops now have at least one USB 3.0 port. Battery life could definitely be an issue if you need to take out and put away your computer frequently. It should be able to at least survive a day of school without dying on you.
Depending on how much typing you’ll need to do, you should pick something out that has a full-sized keyboard. A backlit keyboard might benefit you too if you often work in low light settings. If you want something more interactive, opt for a touch screen. You may have to wipe fingerprints off the screen once in a while though. A touch screen is a relatively simple feature nowadays; it shouldn’t affect the price too much.
Also, try for something with a decent graphics card and processor. You want to make sure it’s snappy enough to cruise through tasks. After all, it’s a brand new laptop so it really ought to function without any kind of lagging for a long time. If you do a lot of research and leave lots of browser tabs open simultaneously, an abundance of RAM would come in handy. Sufficient internal storage is a must as well, as you will probably want to store materials from multiple classes.
Size and weight might be of concern if you often bring your machine with you to school. Ideally, it should be light and small enough to lug around, but big enough to work comfortably on at home.
Lastly, you should also consider which operating system you feel most comfortable with. If you’re opting for a Chromebook, you should keep in mind that there might be a learning curve. Some file formats might not work the way they did on a Windows machine or a Mac. This is something to keep in mind if you are planning on buying something right before the start of the semester and don’t have a lot of time to get accustomed to a new OS or convert any files that don’t work properly on your new computer.
Any laptop that fits your budget and meets the above criteria should be a huge asset for you and your class. Here are a few suggestions that tick most if not all of the above boxes.
If you can afford it, this laptop is top of the line. It’s durable, easy to use, sleek, super snappy and is available with retina display to ease the strain on your eyes of constantly staring at a screen. It comes with plenty of useful software preinstalled, and has the power to run pretty much any program. It should last quite a long time as well. All specs aside, Apple has a very fine operating system that is known for security and overall quality. The Macbook Pro 2014 is only slightly inferior compared to the 2015. If you’re looking to save money but still want a Mac, you can get a 2014 or even 2013 used or refurbished.Check Current Price on Amazon
Dell Inspiron i7559-2512BLK
For a much more affordable option, this Windows 10 laptop offers just about all a teacher could ask for in a laptop. It’s got a 6th Generation Intel Core i7, 8 GB RAM, a 1 TB HDD + 8 GB SSD, and a NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M graphics card. It has a crisp 15.6” full HD LED-lit Truelife screen. It’s also got a great, full-sized keyboard to work on. Dell’s Inspiron series has a lot of other great options as well, but this one is the ideal size and has just the right specs for the price.Check Current Price on Amazon
Acer Aspire V 15 V3-572PG-7915
As an even more affordable yet still quite sufficient choice, this Acer Aspire V 15 offers plenty for its very reasonable price. It has an Intel Core i7-5500U Processor (2.4 GHz), 8 GB DDR3L SDRAM, 1 TB 5400 rpm Hard Drive, a 15.6-Inch full HD screen touch screen, NVIDIA GeForce 840M, 7-hour battery life and comes with Windows 8.1 preinstalled, which is upgradable to Windows 10 for free of course. You can tell Acer took some inspiration from Apple on this one. Its sleek silver body makes it look great, and for only about $650, it’s a very good deal considering what it includes.Check Current Price on Amazon