Choosing a device for your child? Help is at hand.

If your school has a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy, choosing the right device may seem a bit daunting.

Microsoft and our technology partners have worked together with schools and Microsoft Expert Educators to bring you this short guide of things to look out for.

Always check with your school to see if they have a preferred device list, recommended specifications or a preferred specialist supplier before making your choice.

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 visualization 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.

Buying through your school?

Check if your school has a BYOD program with recommended devices, and preferred suppliers who may offer useful additional services and extended warranties.

Features every parent should consider

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


  • 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.


  • 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.


  • 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.


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


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


  • 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 specifications of a particular model is as expected and that it meets your desired criteria. Features and functions will vary within a manufacturer's 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 math 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.


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


Tech terms you'll want to know

To make sure you know as much about your children'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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