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Best Laptops for Teachers
January 25, 2020
When you’re shopping for the best laptops for teachers, there are multiple considerations to keep in mind. A teacher’s job may be primarily in the classroom doing hands-on work with students, but the classroom itself is increasingly a network-connected job environment.
Computer-based realities of today’s teacher:
- Emails to and from parents and administrators
- Logging and sharing of classroom data, more and more using tools like Google Classroom
- Projecting prepared presentations
- Videos and lesson plans
- Students turning in much of their work online
These are daily workflow functions that were simply not factors, even 10 years ago.
A good computer for teachers needs to be durable with strong battery life, and with the right kinds of connections and ports. It needs to be prepared for whatever logistical reality a given room’s set-up may throw at it. Sometimes that’s new technology, sometimes it’s...vintage. While screen size and weight are certainly concerns, they aren’t as mission-critical as durability, a long lasting battery, and connectivity.
Consider the network environment
In choosing the best laptop for teachers, it is important to know the network environment of the school and its information technology (IT) infrastructure.
If a school has moved its curriculum entirely onto the Google Classroom platform, for instance, a teacher may simply be able to use a Chromebook laptop as his or her main tool. However, this will limit the teacher’s ability to work offline, or to use other more niche programs and products that are not web applications to create and manage lessons.
Bridge the gap of affordability and functionality
The new HP Stream line of laptops seeks to bridge this gap between the affordability of Chromebooks and the offline functionality of traditional laptops. These laptops are inexpensive, with mostly web-directed/cloud-based direction, but with enough local storage to get the job done when needed.
Also, most school districts work within the Windows operating system environment, so choosing a laptop that runs Windows, and not a Mac OS, is usually a safe bet.
The 3 best HP laptops for teachers
We’ve assembled a list of the three best laptops for teachers (and the best laptops for the classroom) along three cost lines: low, medium, and premium. As with most things, the more you pay, the more you can expect to get. But within the price categories, these are the three that pack the most bang for the teacher’s buck.
1. HP Stream 14-inch notebook (14-ds0050nr)
Price range: Approximately $200 to $500
Many school districts are turning to Chromebooks to give to students a low-cost, web-ready device to do their assignments on. But a Chromebook isn’t suited for all the needs that a teacher faces.
Chromebooks offer teachers a laptop-like experience and is a great value for a low price if you’re only using web applications and an internet browser. And for 85% of a teacher’s needs, that limited range can fit the bill. But that other 15% can be really important and frustrating not to have.
Low cost, high quality
Enter the HP Stream: A laptop with a Chromebook-like price point, but an actual onboard Windows operating system and local storage. Let’s get down to brass tacks: The HP Stream is a very low-cost laptop.
What the HP Stream manages to do is take a cheap price and deliver a quality product. This comes with some sacrifices; you won’t be playing high-end games, nor is the screen top-of-the-line.
For a low price, it accomplishes the various tasks that teachers need to be done with surprising grace. And it looks snazzy, too. The lowest-priced HP Stream model is approximately $200, but we’re recommending the HP Stream 14-ds0050nr laptop, which comes with more onboard storage (64GB as opposed to 32GB) which bumps up the price just a bit.
The keyboard layout and construction is solid and doesn’t feel like an inexpensive laptop. Most importantly, it is an actual laptop, running Windows. So a teacher could load third-party applications and the full Microsoft Office suite of products, as well as browse the internet and use web applications.
Move easily from classroom to meeting room
The HP Stream that we’re recommending as a good low-cost laptop for teachers weighs in at 3.21 lbs. It can be carried easily from classroom to lunchroom to meeting room. It’s got HDMI and USB ports, and a good WiFi and Bluetooth card for fast connections and auxiliary devices.
The 3-cell Lithium ion battery provides a solid 8-plus hours of use before recharging, which is pretty great at this price point.
Make no mistake, it outperforms your expectations for what such a low-priced laptop can do, although it may feel underpowered when compared to more robust machines. But if you’re looking for something that can do everything that a Chromebook could do and more, yet you want to stay at a Chromebook price, the HP Stream is a great option for the teacher on a budget.
- Processor: AMD® A4-9120e Dual-Core (1.5 GHz base clock, up to 2.2 GHz max boost clock, 1MB cache)
- Graphics (integrated): AMD Radeon™ R3 Graphics
- Display: 14-inch diagonal HD SVA BrightView WLED-backlit (1366 x 768)
- Memory: 4GB DDR4-1866 SDRAM (1 x 4GB)
- Storage: 64GB eMMC
- Video playback battery life: Up to 8 hours and 15 minutes
- Keyboard: Full-size island-style jet black keyboard
- Dimensions: 13.27 x 8.9 x 0.7 inches
- Weight: 3.21 lbs
2. HP Pavilion 15t touch laptop
Price range: Approximately $500 to $1,100
The HP Pavilion 15t touch laptop is a great value for a powerful, mid-range laptop that boasts a touch screen in addition to the standard trackpad interface. The first thing you’ll notice is the rounded, stylish design.
One of the best computers for teachers, it features a full, island-style keyboard and a sleek touchpad that supports multi-touch gesture-based input. The HP Pavilion 15t touch is a fully functional laptop with good processing power and speed.
Opening large documents quickly and working with a bunch of open windows are tasks that it handles well; a key feature that many teachers look for when choosing a laptop to use in their classroom.
Intuitive data entry
The touch screen allows for quick and intuitive data entry on classroom activities. When a teacher has to rely on the internal speakers to play informational videos for students, the HP Pavilion 15t touch is up to the task. The Bang & Olufsen dual speakers with audio boost provide rich, resonant audio that will be able to be heard for the whole class.
A processor and display built for multi-tasking
The quad-core Intel Core i7 processor running the laptop makes it a breeze to switching back and forth between videos, presentations, and other documents. We know that teaching should be as seamless as possible. With the HP Pavilion 15t touch, it is.
The display of the HP Pavilion 15t touch is a respectable 15.6-inch diagonal, and appears bright and crisp and capable of high-definition video. For a teacher who has to spend a few hours a night at home preparing lessons and grading, it’s a screen that won’t strain the eyes.
Ports and storage aplenty
A good number of input/output (I/O) ports come standard: HDMI, USB, and Ethernet, for faster, wired connection to networks. Hard drive storage is plentiful as well, with 1TB SATA drive standard and additional upgrades available at purchase. Although, for most teachers, the base model should be more than enough.
Cool running with long battery life
Battery life clocks in at a more than respectable 9 hours between charges. The HP Pavilion 15t touch also maintains a comfortable temperature, even for actually sitting on an actual lap This makes it great for the teacher once they get home, grading and following up on parent communications via email.
- Processor and graphics: Intel Core i7-8565U (1.8 GHz, up to 4 GHz, 8MB cache, 4 cores) and Intel UHD Graphics 620
- Memory: 8GB DDR4-2400 SDRAM (1 x 8GB)
- Storage: 1TB 5400 rpm SATA
- Battery life: Up to 9 hours and 30 minutes with HD panel
- Battery recharge time: Supports battery fast charge: approximately 50% in 45 minutes
- Pointing device: HP Imagepad with multi-touch gesture support
- Expansion slots: 1 multi-format SD media card reader
- External I/O Ports: 1 HDMI 1.4; 1 independent headphone/microphone combo; 1 RJ-45; 2 USB 3.1 Gen 1 (data transfer only); 1 USB 3.1 Type-C™ Gen 1 (data transfer only)
- Dimensions:14.24 x 9.67 x 0.7 inches
- Weight: 4.27 lbs
3. HP Pro x2 612 G2 Tablet with keyboard
Price range: Approximately $1,110 and up
If you’re shopping for a teacher who needs a little bit more than just the standard laptop and are willing to spend a little bit more, we recommend the HP Pro x2 612 G2 tablet with keyboard. It is a different type of laptop altogether.
This is more of a high-end, premium tablet computer with a detachable keyboard than a traditional laptop computer. Think more along the lines of the Microsoft Surface or the Apple iPad Pro.
Teachers whose field is more about creative arts, or teachers who are “technology forward” will be able to take advantage of the device’s versatile, and powerful features.
The HP Pro x2 functions like a powerful laptop, running an impressive base configuration of the Intel Pentium 4410Y dual-core processor and a dedicated graphics processor. It’s also a high-end, premium tablet, with a Full HD Corning Gorilla Glass display for rock-solid durability, and touch input as well as pen support.
This detachable PC is ideal for multipurpose usage. It’s a tablet when you need it to be: for portability and moving around the class, or for other “in the field” style uses as it detaches quickly from its keyboard docking station – for instance, recording video, collecting data from students in real time, or running customized programs that emphasize mobile entry.
When you need to use it as a more traditional laptop for general computer functions, it clicks right back in and becomes a notebook.
The HP Pro x2 supports stylus and pen virtual inking with 2,000 levels/degrees of pressure sensitivity, mimicking the feel of an expensive analog inking pen. Annotating and notetaking will feel intuitive and effortless. And teachers whose subject field includes sketching or art will have a full suite of options at their fingertips.
Durability and toughness are built into the design. The HP Pro x2 is engineered to meet the rigorous MIL-STD 810G tests, the exhaustive specifications required for military field use. This means the unit can be bumped, jostled, and shaken around and still keep working reliably. The ventless design means that even dusty environments won’t provide a point of failure for the tablet.
Extended battery life
A 4-cell Lithium-ion battery offers up to 12 hours of battery life between charges. And the docking station and charging cord, with a fast-recharge ability, can restore 50% battery power in a little under 30 minutes. Also, expect quick transfer speeds and charging with USB 3.0 and USB-C ports.
This is definitely a pick for the teacher who is conversant with technology and not afraid to learn a new set of input and user methodologies. It will make the “gadget-geek” teacher a very happy and enthused leader of their classroom.
- Memory: 8GB LPDDR3-1866 SDRAM
- Internal storage:128GB M.2-2280 SATA-3 solid-state drive (SSD)
- Keyboard: Collaboration travel backlit keyboard with dedicated collaboration keys, multitouch gestures enabled for clickpad
- Dimensions: 11.81 x 8.42 x 0.36 inches (tablet); 11.81 x 8.65 x 0.57 inches (tablet with travel keyboard)
- Weight:1.87 lbs (tablet); 2.65 lbs (tablet with travel keyboard)
The best laptop for teachers is the one with the right amount of features at the right price for the specific requirements at hand. While choosing a laptop is always a subjective exercise, there are a few benefits that are especially attractive to teachers: strength, durability, connectivity, and affordability are just some of them. Select the one from the HP Store that is perfect for you.
About the Author: Jolene Dobbin is a contributing writer for HP® Tech Takes. Jolene is an East Coast-based writer with experience creating strategic messaging, marketing, and sales content for companies in the high-tech industry.