A laptop that is used exclusively for online learning or homeschooling doesn’t have to be expensive in order to work like a charm, but it has to tick some boxes in order to ensure maximum speed in order to optimize the learning process.
Today, we’re here to share with you the best laptops for homeschooling and online learning. These products won’t break the bank, but will work like a charm, allowing younger or older students to keep up with their courses and learn their curricula without a problem.
The situation worldwide forces the school systems to shift towards distance learning, as well as other alternative methods of schooling like homeschooling, unschooling and even roadschooling.
And for all these types of education, you need a laptop that can handle the tasks of streaming content online (either from various learning platforms or direct streaming with teachers), as well as offer decent speed when it comes to word processing and running various programs and apps.
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If you are in a hurry and you don’t want to go through all the details and personal reviews of our recommended products, I’m listing bellow the best laptops for online learning with links to Amazon so that you can compare and decide yourself:
- HP Chromebook x360 (Cheapest, Chrome OS, lower performance)
- ASUS VivoBook 15 (Good price/performance ratio, lower battery life)
- Dell Inspiron (Good performance & battery life, lower resolution)
- 2020 HP 15.6″ (Editor’s choice: lots of RAM, good overall laptop)
- 2020 Acer Nitro 5 (Best performance, great for multitasking & even gaming, but more expensive)
Now, in more detail, let’s check out below the best budget friendly laptops for homeschooling and distance learning in 2020!
HP Chromebook x360
The cheapest product on our list is a Chromebook, as opposed to the Windows-powered computers below. Chromebooks are not able to run Windows apps, but most of them have alternatives to be used on this operating system as well.
The main advantage of a Chromebook is that it’s cheap and these are the computers that are offered in schools in the US, generally. So they are good and reliable when it comes to online learning, even though they are not perfect for those used with Windows laptops. They also require an internet connection in order to properly work at all times.
This particular Chromebook is larger than most – at 14″ and with a full HD resolution, making it perfect to look at its screen for longer periods of time. The image quality is good and the display is touch sensitive as well, meaning that students can swipe their finger over the screen to interact with it.
Its performance is decent, thanks to its 8GB of RAM and fast 128GB SSD used for storage. The Chromebook’s processor isn’t the best – running at a slow base speed of 1.1 Ghz, but reaching up to 2.7GHz in boost mode.
This is a decent model for online learning, but doesn’t really offer many options, especially if you are used with Microsoft’s Windows or you need to use some specific Windows based programs. Also, it is not great for multitasking and is relatively slow compared to our other models below.
But its main advantage is the low price, so if you’re on a very tight budget, you will have to make it work. Not ideal, but there are surely worse options out there.
ASUS VivoBook 15
This is, in my opinion, the best choice if you want to balance a lower budget with good performance. For distance learning and homeschooling, it’s also a better option in my opinion thanks to the familiar operating system.
This is a larger – yet still portable and light – laptop with a display size of 15.6″, offering a full HD wide view display with anti-glare capabilities, meaning that the image on the display is solid even when used outdoors.
It offers a solid performance, thanks to a decent AMD processor (Quad Core r5-3500u, running at speeds up to 3.6GHz), as well as 8GB of RAM. It’s paired up with a extremely fast storage, offering decent capacity as well: 256GB SSD.
It comes with other goodies as well, like a backlit keyboard (making it perfect to use in daker environments), as well as a fingerprint reader for added privacy. It has a plethora of useful ports, including a modern USB Type C and an HDMI port.
All in all, this VivoBook is a great option if we look at price/capabilities, with the only mention that unfortunately the battery life isn’t the best, offering just around 4 hours of more intense usage on a single charge.
Dell Inspiron Touchscreen
This laptop is very similar with the model above, offering an improved performance and better battery life at the cost of lower resolution.
Yes, this 15.6″ model only offers HD resolution (1366 x 768 pixels) which isn’t really a bummer when it comes to homeschooling and other school-relate projects. Sure, the image is not as crisp as on other models, but most people won’t even feel the difference!
The good thing about it is that it runs faster – and usually that’s a Pro that outweighs many Cons. This is thanks to its 8th Gen Intel Core i5-8265u processor that goes up to 3.1 GHz, helped by 8GB of RAM. Everything’s rounded up nicely with a fast 256GB SSD.
It comes with three USB ports and one HDMI port, as well as a card reader, but unfortunately no USB Type C port. But all in al, it is a good product that offers a solid performance.
2020 HP 15.6″ Touchscreen Laptop
We’re now moving to more recent laptop computers that are ideal for homeschooling and online learning. They have more modern hardware, making them faster and better choices – but also a bit more expensive. They are definitely worth the price – but it depends on what budget you have on hand.
This 2020 model from HP is a 15.6″ laptop powered by a really solid AMD Quad-Core Ryzen 7-3700U Processor (running at a base speed of 2.3GHz and up to 4.00 GHz), as well as the 12GB RAM (best on our list), and a super fast 256GB SSD.
It has a really good touchscreen as well, with a solid image quality, even though the maximum resolution is 1366 x 768 pixels (so not fullHD). As we said earlier, this isn’t really a biggie, as on these relatively small screens, the differences between HD and FullHD are not huge.
This laptop is thin and light, with good battery life of around 8 hours, even though it can go up to 10 hours on a single charge, depending on usage. It has all the ports you need, including USB Type C, regular USB, HDMI and a card reader. In other words, a great option for students of all ages!
2020 Acer Nitro 5
Now, if you have a bit more to spend, you will probably be really excited about this beast which is the only laptop on our list that can also handle some more serious gaming (this also means that it is better at multitasking and more advance processes, like video or photo editing).
This is all thanks to its dedicated graphics card. We’re talking about the AMD Radeon RX 560X with 4GB of dedicated RAM. While this is definitely not the best on the market at the moment, it surely is a lot better than the integrated cards offered by the previous models.
It also has a decent quad-core processor (AMD Ryzen 5 2500U Processor) and 8GB of RAM as well as a ton of storage: 1 TB. While this is the largest amount on our list, it is on a regular HDD and not a SSD, which means that the reading and writing speeds on the disk are slower. At least the HDD itself is a faster one, running at 7,200 RPM (as opposed to the even slower ones running at 5,600 RPM).
The 15.6″ display is full HD though, offering resolutions of up to 1920 x 1080 pixels with anti-glare capabilities, meaning that it can be used outside as well. No touch screen here, but the image quality is really good and you get a backlit keyboard as a bonus.
You also get another bonsu: a portable USB card (32GB). This makes it easier to transfer data from one device to another and even though the storage on the card is not huge, it’s a nice bonus to have.
All in all, this is a more expensive laptop that is great for homeschooling, but also for better multitasking and even some gaming when the student needs to relax a bit. (I am not saying now that you can’t play games on the other models, but on this one you can play more games with better visuals)
These are our recommended products – from really cheap ones, to slightly more expensive laptops that are more versatile and give more options to the students. Pick the one you consider the best based on your needs and budget and I am sure you will be extremely satisfied with the choice that you have made.