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Student taking notes while using a Surface laptop

April 18, 2023

Best Surface features for online learning

Finding the right laptop for online learning is key — whether you’re an adult student shopping for yourself or helping your elementary or high school student pick their own device. It’s important to consider features like size, battery life, storage capabilities, and processing power when selecting a laptop for online classes that will meet a student’s needs. Equipping yourself with the right tools is the first step towards educational success — and Microsoft Surface has you covered.

Features to look for in laptops for students

Students utilize laptops for a number of purposes — from taking notes in class to eliminating the need to carry the weight of bulky textbooks, a laptop can come in handy both inside and outside the classroom. Here are the features that matter most for students:

Battery life

For long study sessions and school days on the go, choosing a laptop with a long-lasting battery is essential. The amount of battery life that’s necessary for your day-to-day as a student will depend on your individual needs. Elementary school students taking online classes in their own home might not be as reliant on a long-lasting battery as college students who spend their school days out and about and only return to their dorm room and charger at the end of the day.

Our picks for optimum battery life:*

Screen size and weight

When it comes to screen size and weight, the general rule is the bigger the screen, the heavier the machine. Elementary and high school students who need a laptop for simple, everyday use — and will also be carrying their laptop around in a backpack all day — can sacrifice screen size in favor of a lighter body. More advanced college and adult students who are taking online classes in fields such as computer science or graphic design might opt for larger screens to see more detail.

Our pick for a small and lightweight device:

Our pick for larger screen size:

Storage capacity

When choosing the best laptop for online learning, elementary and high school students won’t likely need more storage than average — around 128 GB — but college and adult students may want to look for machines with 250 GB or more. Additional storage can be accessed by using a cloud storage service like OneDrive, and students can use OneDrive for free by making an Office 365 Education account.

Our pick for highest storage capacity:

Processing power

A laptop’s processing power refers to how powerful a computer is and measures how many tasks a system can accomplish accurately, efficiently, and quickly. Younger students using their laptops for online classes won’t likely need anything more powerful than an entry- or mid-level processor. College or adult students, especially those who might be using video editing or graphic design software, may prefer a higher-level processor.

Our picks for high-level processing power for college and adult students:

Still not sure which laptop is the best for your online schooling? Compare Surface products for tech specs and more detail on each unique device.

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  • [*] Battery life varies significantly based on device configuration, usage, network and feature configuration, signal strength, settings, and other factors. See for details.
  • [**] Hard drive is not user removable. Hard drive is only removable by skilled technician following Microsoft provided instructions.