Shopping for Laptops is very much like buying a car. Due to the sheer variety of options, the wisest choice will always be the computer that best fits your needs as well as your budget. This guide aims at helping you step through that process as simply as possible. At the end, examples will be given of what we consider good choices, but you should choose based upon what you think works best for you.
Step One: Choose a Platform
Step One: Choose a Platform:Generally there are 3 accepted platforms to choose from1) Windows 10 (Microsoft PC) - Best Choice2) Apple/MAC - Second Best3) Google Chromebook - Not recommended, but still offers some value.Windows 10Since Pittsford Schools has chosen to standardize on Microsoft Office 365, it is best to purchase a home computer that supports Windows 10. Windows 10 based systems afford the best compatibility with Office 365, as well as the fully downloadable and installable version of Microsoft Office which is part of your child's Office 365 subscription. Because of the level of flexibility Windows 10 affords, this would be the district's first recommendation.Apple/MACIf you are a big fan of Apple, and you would prefer to choose MAC, any laptop or desktop configuration should be fine. (iPads are NOT recommended, as this consumer tablet platform which is limited to iOS applications acquired through the Apple App Store.) Otherwise, all current Apple Laptops & Desktops should meet your needs. But be aware, although Microsoft applications can still be downloaded and installed to a MAC, some users have found that they do not work exactly like their full Windows 10 counterparts.ChromeBookGoogle ChromeBooks are excellent values for users who have standardized on Google Cloud Apps, but their value is somewhat limited because they only can run Google Cloud applications. With the onboard browser, it is possible to access and logon to Office365 and use many of the Microsoft Cloud applications, but Chromebooks CANNOT take advantage of the fully downloadable/installable version of Microsoft Office that would be available on Windows or MAC via your child's Office365 subscription.
Step Two: Picking a Solid Performer (Windows / MAC)
Step Two: Picking a Solid Performer (Windows / MAC)Here is the single rule-of-thumb that will offer the best chance of finding a good computer:Always look to purchase a "Business Class" offering from one of the 5 top manufacturers:Dell, Lenovo, HP, Microsoft or AppleIt is just about impossible to go wrong if you follow this rule. Apple is the only manufacturer of Apple products. As such they have no competition, and only offer top quality builds. Windows PCs, on the other hand, can be manufactured by almost anyone. With that level of competition, most companies feel compelled to offer poorly built computers at a very low price to entice users on price alone. "Budget" systems do cost less up-front, but they will be far more likely to cause you headaches later.Stick to the reliable models aimed at businesses.We recommend going on-line and shopping directly from the Big 3 (Dell, Lenovo, and HP)Recommended Series: Latitude 3000 and 5000 seriesRecommended Series: T-Series, L-Series, E-SeriesHP = https://www8.hp.com/us/en/laptops/business-laptops-and-2-in-1s.html
Recommended Series: EssentialWhat about Microsoft Offerings?The Microsoft Surface Line is a prestige-class computer, not unlike Apple. Though their offerings are generally quite good, they tend to be expensive. https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/surface
Step Three: Hardware Recommendations for Windows Computers
When we set out to purchase computers for students & faculty, there are come basic features that we consider essential, and those we considerable desirable. Lets list some things you might want to look for:1) Essential:Memory (RAM) = 8GB (More than 8GB is generally unnecessary, but less can cause sluggishness)Storage (SSD) = 128GB or 256GB SSD (SSD are more rugged than a standard HDD, but they often cost more. HDD drives are often very large in terms of storage) - Note that larges SSDs (512 or more) tend to raise the price significantly.Wireless (WiFi) = AC 2x2 AntennaWebcam/Sound for VideoConferencing2) Flexible:Processor (CPU) = Intel Core i3/i5 or AMD Ryzen preferred | Intel Pentium Mobile acceptableScreen Size (13-14") = Full HD 1920x1080 recommended | 1366x768 if not other choicePorts (USB 3.x & USB-C) = 2-3 ports minimum for flashdrives, phones, and accessoriesAudio Jack to support Headset/microphone for VideoconferencingBattery = 4 or 6 cell LithiumWindows 10 - Home or Pro3) Nice to Have:Matt Screen - Reduce GlareBacklit Keyboard - for low-light situationsVideo Port - (HDMI or DisplayPort) for Projectors & TVsEthernet Port (RJ-45) - Plug directly into a network with an Ethernet Cable for super reliable network performance.Bluetooth - For Bluetooth accessories and phones.Card Reader - for SD Cards