GadgetGuy 2015 back-to-school laptop guide

Light laptops

Tablets are great, but what if you need something with a larger screen and a keyboard for typing?

For that, you need to turn to a laptop, and these are much smaller, lighter, and less expensive than they ever have been.

HP Stream 11

Price: $299

One of the more unique looking computers this year, the HP Stream 11 offers a matte screen, a decent build managing 1.28 kilograms, and a style that makes the computer look less like another beige or black box and more like something your kids will want to hold. An excellent keyboard helps this computer, making it one of those machines the kids will find comfortable to type on.

Read our review…

Asus X205TA

Price: $329

The Asus equivalent to the Stream 11 offers similar technology and a glossy screen, but manages to cut the weight down in ways few laptops can. Yes, this is one laptop that actually hits under one kilogram, fetching 980 grams and making it an easy option for the little ones who need a keyboard and don’t care that they won’t be touching the screen.

Read our review…

Acer C720 Chromebook

Price: $399

We’re not sure how many schools won’t have any required software for the kids to install, but if the kids don’t need much to work with — much more than a web browser, anyway — Acer’s Chromebook will offer a stable web browser that can’t really get viruses and includes a free office application that is always backing itself up.

Read our review…

Dell Inspiron 11 3000

Price: $599

Take the specs from most of the machines here and add a touchscreen, because that’s pretty much what Dell is offering in the Inspiron 11 3000, an 11 inch computer that packs in a 500GB hard drive and Windows 8, with a hinge that can turn the Dell into a tablet, albeit one that weights 1.39 kilograms.

A little more oomph

Kids aren’t the only ones that’ll need a computer this year, and if it’s time to get an upgrade for the high school intending to tackle the world’s problems in computing, game development, graphic arts, fashion, or anything else that requires more than just a word processor, this computers will help.

Microsoft Surface Pro 3

Price: from $979

Microsoft’s take on the tablet has always grabbed attention, and with the Surface 3, we think Microsoft has practically nailed the way things should be when it comes to a full blown content creation and content consumption computer. Paired with the keyboard cover, the Surface 3 is a solid option for students who need to get school work done with a Windows computer, and yet don’t want a massive machine to take with them.

Read our review…

Apple MacBook Pro 13 with Retina

Price: from $1599

Thin and light, Apple’s 13 inch MacBook Pro is due for an upgrade this year, but it’s still powering on with 128GB solid-state storage, up to nine hours of battery life, and enough grunt to let you run not just Mac, but also Windows too if you need to.

Read our review (based on the 15 inch model)…

HP Omen 15

Price: from $2199

Made for gaming and applications that need a massive amount of grunt, HP’s 15 inch Omen packs in the specs to a 15 inch computer that won’t push the backs of people, coming in at just 2.28 kilograms, which is light when you’re talking about 15 inch gaming computers.

Read our review…

Once you’ve picked your computer, you’ll need some software. Some schools might cater for that, but not all, so what do you do? Read on to find out.