What kind of devices are suitable for school? School device checklist

This is Microsoft’s guide for schools and parents on what to look for when recommending or choosing the right device for learning.

Look for thewhen choosing a device for school.

Features every parent should consider

Some of the most important things to look for in any device.

High performance

  • Go for 4GB of RAM or above and a fast processor such as the newest Intel® Atom Quad Core or Intel® Core i3 and above.

Battery life to last a typical school day

  • Make sure it lasts a typical school day; 6 hours is usual.
  • Remember battery life will vary with usage, so go for a longer battery life if possible.

Dual Band Wi-Fi Access

  • Make sure it has dual band Wi-Fi (2.4Ghz and 5Ghz) to get the fastest access to the school network.


  • Aim for under 1.6 Kg.
  • Consider what your individual student is capable of carrying.

Runs both apps and programs

  • The latest Windows - apps and settings go with you across all devices.
  • Able to run programs such as Microsoft Office, Adobe Photoshop or AutoCad.

USB port

  • Needed to connect digital peripherals, such as a microscope, a printer, graphics tablet, a musical keyboard, thermometer, light meter, etc.

10" (minimum) screen, touchscreen and keyboard

  • A minimum of a 10" screen - larger for creative or technical work.
  • A touchscreen for browsing.
  • A keyboard for typing assignments.

Important to note: Microsoft advises that purchasers always check that the detailed specification of a particular model is as expected and that it meets your desired criteria. Features and functions will vary within a manufacturers range. This checklist, has been created by Microsoft as a guide only. It is based on our experience of working with K-12 schools in Australia and has been built with assistance from device manufacturers. Please remember that actual requirements will vary by usage and user, and we recommend you seek advice from a specialist supplier.

We also recommend

Other device features worth looking out for.


  • We recommend an active digital pen that supports precise handwriting input for note-taking, sketching and writing maths and science equations.


  • Go for at least 128GB of storage in laptops and 2-in-1s.
  • At least 32GB of storage in tablets is recommended.

Durable for everyday school use

  • Insist on a protective case.
  • Look for solid state drives (SSD).

Family safety software

  • Windows Defender and SmartScreen.
  • Windows Family Settings.

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There's a Windows device to suit everyone

Every age, every subject and every learning style.




Tablets have no physical keyboard and so are best for viewing content, using apps and playing games. Their smaller, lighter form factor means they are often used by very young students. Tablets are also a great ancillary device for older students who want to read content, conduct simple web research and play games on the move.




Laptops or Notebooks range from the ultra-lightweight devices to powerful rugged devices to suit the toughest of school environments. Powerful laptops can run the more demanding educational programs and are good for students who want to write code, edit videos and create games, as well as manage their schoolwork in a single device.


Laptop with touch


Laptops with a touch screen as well as the keyboard are very versatile, making them ideal for diverse student learning styles and tasks. With plenty of power for running full programs and a touch screen for visualisation and kinaesthetic learning, they are great for multimedia and visual arts students. Some laptops have the option for a pen, increasing the potential of the device further.

2-in-1 PIC

2-in-1 with touch �and digital pen


2-in-1 devices are laptops where you can remove the keyboard, making them a great investment for school. With the addition of a digital pen, students can take handwritten notes, spontaneously capture and sketch out brainstorm ideas, write mathematically and input character based writing such as Chinese. The flexibility of this style of device gives students the option to study whilst lying on the floor or even in bed.

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Keeping your kids safe online

Windows 10 Family Safety helps protect your kids from adult and violent content when they're online. This video explains how to set up Family Safety on your device.

Tech terms you'll want to know

To make sure you know as much about your child's devices as they do!

What's a processor?
The processor is the 'brain' of the computer and determines its performance. It's wise to go for the best one you can afford, so your device can continue to handle future demands. Remember you can upgrade most other specs on your computer but not your processor so why not future proof yourself?
  • Intel® Atom - fast web browsing and outstanding battery life
  • Intel Celeron® - entry-level processor for basic computing
  • Intel Pentium® - reliable multitasking
  • Intel® Core i3 - amazing multitasking and visuals
  • Intel® Core i5 - performance that adapts to suit the task in hand
  • Intel® Core i7 - top of the line for the most demanding software
What's RAM?
Short for Random Access Memory, having more RAM means your apps will run faster and multitasking is smoother. Tablets usually need 1GB of RAM, while laptops demand 4GB for normal academic usage or 8GB for technical usage.
What's a solid state drive?
Older laptops use hard drives with mechanical, spinning discs - you may have heard it whirring away when under intense usage. A Solid State Drive uses digital memory chips instead, meaning it can run faster, as well as being more resilient and less noisy.

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