Laptops have slowly been gaining popularity as learning tools for college students for years now.
But it’s been in the past 3 years, during and following the COVID pandemic, that we’ve seen them being truly embraced.
They’re not necessarily a distraction, as many teachers and parents may have feared, but have shown themselves to be valuable for allowing some pupils to keep up on course material.
Especially when those lessons and materials are being conducted online!
Because of this shift, many laptops and other related devices have started marketing themselves as being useful for online learning and classes. But how much is this the case?
Which of these laptops is fit for being used for online learning purposes? (See also ‘Best Laptop For Teaching Online!’)
Well, that’s what we’re going to show you in this guide! Here, we’ll cover the best of the best laptops that you’ll be able to really on for future online learning courses, as well as what makes a good laptop for educational purposes on the internet. So check out our guide on the best laptop for online classes!
Acer Aspire 5
We’ll start this list with a laptop that we considered a good benchmark for learning laptops to meet.
That means having the best student laptop that is an all-around reliable device to fall back on if none of the other laptops and their features don’t work for you.
For a good starting point like this, we had to go with Acer’s Aspire 5 model. In terms of a baseline to work with, it can’t be beaten.
And as a tool for learning online, it’s a reliable workhorse for many people that are studying, whether they’re kids or adults. (Check out ‘Best Headset For Teaching Online!’)
It has a reasonable amount of RAM that you would need for a modern laptop (8 GB), which is more than enough for learning purposes.
When you factor in the 11th Gen i5 intel-Core processor, you have a tool that is perfect for general everyday use and learning productivity.
Plus, you can also decide on whether you want a dedicated or integrated graphics card! Add to that a 14-inch screen, plenty of connecting ports (1 HDMI, 2 USB 3.1, 1 USB 2.0), and you have a laptop that is clear to view, and plenty of ways to connect this device to others.
Overall, if you can’t decide on another option for your online educational needs, you can’t go wrong with this capable laptop!
- A reliably fast laptop with an 11th Gen i5 Intel-Core Processor and 8 GB of RAM.
- The large screen gives you plenty of space to visually work with.
- Plenty of ports to use with this laptop.
- Has the option of coming with a dedicated or integrated graphics card for better performance.
- The Aspire 5 doesn’t have the highest screen resolution
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Dell XPS 15
So, the Aspire 5 that we covered was a perfectly reasonable baseline when it comes to overall power and performance, but it didn’t have much in the way of extra features or show-stopping processing ability.
If that’s the kind of thing that you’re looking for in a learning laptop, then you’ll want to check out the Dell XPS 15, popular among Windows laptops!
Not only is the 9th generation Intel-Core i7 processor a powerful piece of hardware in itself, but it also has a 4 GB Nvidia Geoforce graphics card to boot, more than many standard desktops come with alongside 16 GB of RAM.
This is a very sleek Windows laptop that packs a lot of power into its small frame!
Then again, with a 15.6-inch screen, perhaps it is not so small after all! There are a lot of screens to take in with this laptop. Did we mention that the screen was a 4k touch display as well?
In case it was already clear, this is a piece of hardware that is made for high-demanding software.
The first thing that comes to mind is needing a gaming laptop, but if your online course requires some very specific or resource-intensive programs, we could see this being a great upper-price-bracket learning laptop.
If you have the budget for it, and you’re looking for a laptop that has the power to do everything, and for a long time, this is the laptop for you! And if you want something even more over the top also coming from Windows, find out more about the Surface Laptop, an innovative touch screen laptop!
- An incredibly powerful laptop that can handle virtually any task you set it to.
- A large 1 TB storage capacity will be able to store virtually anything you might need for online studies.
- The large 15.6-inch screen has a 4K resolution and touch-screen capabilities.
- While many of these features are amazing, for use as just an online learning laptop, these specs are a little excessive for most students. Unless you’re using this laptop for gaming too, this may be a little unnecessary, as it is a good choice among gaming laptops too.
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Apple MacBook Air 13-Inch 8 GB
Of course, at least one Apple product was going to make it on this list.
Their renowned processing power and overall quality are legendary at this point, especially when it comes to their MacBook products.
If you’re looking for just one that might be ideal for being a helpful tool for online learning, we would have to go with the 13-inch Apple MacBook Air!
For starters, the design of the MacBook Air is sleek and compact, making it a treat for transporting around, whether you’re working or learning from home, in an internet hotspot café, or a college or university, when the situation calls for it.
There are also several small, but excellent quality-of-life changes to this version of the MacBook that make it a treat to use, especially for study.
The keyboard has a nice and responsive tactile feel to it when you use it.
Add to that the extended battery that comes with this model, and you can use this on the move forever, it feels like!
The 8 GB of RAM is about standard, but more than enough to be able to handle pretty much any kind of standard learning resources that you are given.
The same goes for the 13-inch screen. It is a perfectly reasonable size, and plenty of resolution for your reading needs, and helps keep the design light and compact.
Plus, we love just how solid the MacBook Air feels to hold and use, thanks to the all-metal plating and casing that the laptop is encased in.
For a device that is named after air, this laptop feels rock solid!
Overall, there’s plenty to love about this MacBook, especially for students of all ages!
- Exceptional active battery life of up to 18 hours.
- The solid metal frame keeps this sturdy laptop well-protected.
- Nice and compact, easy to travel with.
- The webcam is only at 720p, which isn’t awful, but subpar when compared to its competitors. If you have online meetings or calls, this may not be up to your standards.
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Acer Chromebook Spin 713
Acer might have a great baseline to compare other laptops to with their Aspire 5, but they also have a massive collection of laptop products besides just this, many of which are tailored to more specific needs and audiences.
One of our favorites was the Acer Chromebook Spin 713, which feels like the perfect blend between innovative laptop design and an easy-viewing mobile device.
The specs for this laptop are already more than enough for school or online learning work, with an i5 Intel-Core processor, 8 GB of Ram, and over 250 GB of storage place.
All is plenty enough to handle any studying that you may need to take through the internet.
However, where things get interesting is with the screen that this Acer has.
The screen of the laptop folds back almost completely, allowing the screen to be held in a truly massive number of different configurations.
Plus, the fact that it is a touch screen, means that this product can be unturned from a laptop into a smart tablet in the blink of an eye, opening a world of creative possibilities for learning.
The screen itself is also bright and crisp, so you won’t need to worry about not being able to see minute details like you might with an Aspire 5.
Throw in an incredible battery life, and you have a package deal that is perfect for people looking for a smart tablet, with the processing power of a laptop!
- Amazing fold-over laptop touchscreen that can be used in either mode with ease.
- Exceptional power from such a slim and compact device!
- Performance is comparable to many other laptops, with 8 GB of RAM, and an i5 Intel-Core processor.
- The webcam is a little subpar for an otherwise phenomenal device.
- Overall, storage space is a little small compared to any modern laptop.
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Acer Swift 3
The options that we’ve covered so far have all been amazing. However, between the Aspire 5, and every other model that we’ve covered, there isn’t a real budget option so far. Comparatively good bang for your buck? Absolutely.
But if you’re on a tight budget, you need a laptop that can do the job, without breaking the piggy bank. In this respect, Acer once again comes in to save the day again, with their Swift 3 model.
This is arguably one of the best laptops out there for people that need to study online, while still being money-conscious.
Then again, you might struggle to tell that this is a budget option, given its remarkable performance.
Its processing power, with its AMD Ryzen 7 processor, and 8 GB of RAM, is comparable to many of the other options that we’ve covered while being a fraction of the price. It even has a beefy internal memory, with over 500 GB of storage space.
Not only that, but the laptop screen is nice and wide 15 inches, with good lighting, and a decent battery capacity. All of this, in a budget option? Heck, this is good enough to compete with many higher-end laptops! This is an easy recommendation from us for this device!
- This laptop comes with comparable processing power to many mid and high-end models.
- The screen is comfortably large 14 inches.
- The design is slim and easy to transport.
- This is an exceptional option for people on a budget!
- This Laptop lacks an SD and Micro SD card slot, a feature that is standard on many other models.
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Best Laptop For Online Classes Buyer’s Guide
We’ve covered a range of different products that you can take a look at for your online learning needs. However, there are so many laptops out there these days, that we simply didn’t have the chance to go into a deep dive on every single model.
As such, you might want to take a look at your other potential options first, before making a final decision. If this sounds like you, make sure to keep the following things in mind when searching for the right online learning laptop for you.
This is a crucial aspect and should be one of if not the most important aspects of a laptop that you should be considered for learning. After all, your laptop needs to be able of any of the programs that your learning course will need to be finished.
And that’s not even talking about using it for leisure things if you want everything in a single device.
The gold standard for laptop processing power is the intel core i5 processor or an equivalent, and the average RAM in laptops these days is around 8 GB of RAM, so any item that meets or exceeds this should be able to handle most learning courses and any interface software they need.
Every product that we have shared in this guide either meets or exceeds these minimum requirements, so this won’t be an issue if you’re selecting from the devices that we have covered.
This is arguably one of the biggest selling points of laptops since they were first introduced, and continues to be to this day.
Your laptop needs to be compact enough to carry around wherever it may be needed for online learning, whether that’s at a home office or learning space, a public internet space, or anywhere else!
Generally speaking, a laptop that has a larger laptop screen will be wider when folded up, but this can be counteracted by having a thin-body design, like the MacBook Air that we covered.
The material also plays a role in this. Computers that use largely plastic covers or plating are going to be noticeably lighter than their metal-framed counterparts, but are also usually less durable as a consequence, and vice versa.
If you’re going around, transporting your laptop in your bag, you want it to be tough enough to stand up to whatever the outside world can throw at it! One of the issues that you may come across is that durability is often at odds with the weight and portability of a laptop.
Heavier and sturdier laptops, such as the MacBook Air Pro, aren’t as light as other laptops of a similar size made out of a plastic casing. Make sure to consider what conditions you’re likely to be carrying around your laptop in.
If you’re always on the move with a bag of heavy books that could damage your laptop, consider a sturdier model that can take the punishment.
This is a feature that many people will be looking for in a good laptop, not just students. If you’re looking at a screen for long periods, you’re also going to want to make sure that you can see everything on your laptop clearly, and in enough detail.
Generally speaking, laptops that are 12 inches or smaller are not considered large and may force you to try to focus too much, which can cause your eyes to ache after prolonged amounts of time. If you need larger screen sizes, consider buying a 15 to 17-inch screen for less strain on your eyes.
While this might seem like an innocuous feature at first, you’ll quickly understand that a keyboard can have a big impact on how much you enjoy using a laptop, depending on the tactile experiences that you prefer.
If you’re using a laptop for learning purposes, you may need to attach external devices to complete some aspects of the course. Most laptops will come with at least one or two USB ports, as well as an HDMI port.
So, from MacBook to Acer, we’ve covered quite a few options for you to consider for learning online. However, while the specific experience with these laptops may differ, we can guarantee that any one of these models will serve you well. So, which one will you pick?
Frequently Asked Questions
Are Laptops Good For Online Learning?
Absolutely! They’re not just helpful, but they’re some people’s best method of learning online!
Are Laptops Or Tablets Better For Online Learning?
This will depend on what kind of experience you prefer with your learning experience.
Tablets provide a simple, easy-to-use functionality for online learning. However, Laptops have a lot more processing power.