While a smart-aleck dad might be inclined to say, “In my day, we didn’t need a laptop to go to high school,” the reality is that these days, no one can survive secondary school without a computer and that dads knows it. And a desktop PC probably can’t get the job done, since students are inherently mobile. Whether it’s taking notes in class (which might not be relevant for this particular school year in many places) or moving to a quiet spot to get some homework done, the ability to unplug a laptop and go mobile is essential for high school students.
The good news is you don’t need to spend a fortune to get a perfectly serviceable computer for classwork. What you choose depends in part on who’s paying for it; if you’re a teen student buying your own machine, you’ll probably need to find the cheapest laptop that’ll get the job done; if mom and dad are footing the bill, there’s probably enough wiggle room in the budget to get a more robust computer. Take into consideration what else the laptop might need to do; if it’s also for gaming, for example, that’ll determine the specs and capabilities.
In this article, I’ve rounded up a collection of laptops that reflect solid choices for a high school student with prices that range from around $300 at the low end to about $1000 at the high end (with one pricey outlier thrown in for good measure). Not sure exactly what criteria to use for this purchase? Flip down to the end of this article, where I explain everything you need to know to make a solid laptop purchase — with a focus on one with specs adequate for a high schooler. Stick with these recommendations, and you won’t over-spend. But you’ll have enough computing power and features to get the job done, too.