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Recommendations for a purchasing a Laptop for School

Posted December 28, 2020

At the time of writing this article, the Ontario Government is offering a $200 grant (details here) for students to purchase educational materials ahead of the planned school lockdown lasting most of the month of January. While this grant will not cover the entire cost of a laptop to use for school, it can cover a substantial portion.

Below are my recommendations for what you should look for in a laptop that you are considering to purchase for the purpose of completing school work.


  • Ideal: Windows

  • Minimal: Chromebook

  • Rationale: Windows offers many more software options. However, web apps are continually improving and in most cases you will find a viable alternative to most Windows software on a Chromebook, although likely with less features.

Screen Size

  • 14 inch

  • Rationale: Eleven inch screens are also quite common, but it can be difficult to work properly and efficiently with them. When I'm videoconferencing with you, I will often be displaying documents that will be difficult to see on a screen smaller than 14 inches.


  • 4 GB

  • Rationale: This is pretty standard on most current entry level laptops, and should generally be sufficient for completing school work.


  • Ideal: 128 GB Hard Drive on Windows; 32 GB eMMC on Chromebook

  • Minimal: 64 GB eMMC on Windows; 32 GB eMMC on Chromebook

  • Rationale: Less than this will leave very little space to add any software that doesn't come pre-installed. On Windows, less than 64 GB will not allow the operating system to properly update.

Please note that what I have listed as "ideal" specifications still assumes that you are planning to use your laptop for light school work only. If you want to do anything more advanced or you'd like your computer to be more responsive, you may want to look at some of the machines in a higher price range.

Check out relevant Windows and Chromebook listings (these link to Best Buy, but there are of course many other retailers you may want to look at).