Buying a laptop or desktop can be a daunting task. So many options and prices. At the end of this article you’ll find a buying guide which will help you focus on the important areas and allow me to recommend something to you.

Many schools now have a “Bring your Device to School” policy. If the school does not provide the machine, the dilemma around what to provide your teenager with can be daunting. The kids, of course, will say that they need the latest, lightest and thinnest laptop which can come with a heavy price tag (an 11″ Mac Book air is £749 for basic model).

What happens when the laptop is dropped, walked on, kicked in the school bag and left out in the rain? What happens if something goes wrong and the laptop does not work? What do they really need to be able to work effectively?

My advice is to recycle an old one and use that initially. Clean it up, get it running smoothly and see how your child goes with it and then understand their needs better as they start to use it. Could be that is all they need as they end up not using it all the time.
Reuse an iPad. – A decent iPad with a keyboard cover can provide all the functionality that is needed. They can access the internet and all software is available on iPads now (MS Office is free on iPads). This is definitely the lightest solution.

So if these options don’t work for you, you will need to buy a new one. You want it to be reliable, sturdy, not too heavy and not too expensive. It doesn’t need to have a massive hard drive as most documents are stored centrally. A long battery life is good to avoid carrying charging cables around.

If your budget is under £400, a good lightweight option is the HP Pavilion x360. Otherwise the HP Pavilion 15. If your budget is under £250, the Lenovo G50 is a good buy. 
Try to get the highest spec processor (i3 and above) and don’t be fooled by gaming specs as better sound and visuals are not essential. 
Try to get as much RAM as you can for your money. Storage space or Hard Drive is the same but not so important unless lots of music and photos are being stored.. 
The look and feel can be important so go and try a few in your local PC shop. Don’t get distracted by sales people! Stick to your budget.

Most schools have a central shared resource site which the children will access for homework tasks, news, learning resources and most also provide free MS Office software for both Mac and PC through Office 365. Schools also use the free Google Suite of software like Google Docs. So combined with a good anti-virus and internet security software, which should come free with your home broadband, Software expenses should be minimal.

What else will I need? A good protective bag and you and your teen should be good to go.

Please get in touch if you have any questions. If you need help deciding please fill in this short form which will allow me to recommend one for you personally. Computer Fitness – Laptop Buying Guide