Which Device?

We wish to encourage students to have devices that are adequate for school and classroom use. If considering a device to purchase we encourage you to consider a product that includes these features to ensure your son has the greatest possible access to the educational resources that will support and enhance learning. The type of device that you consider will also relate to the type of subjects that your son studies, particularly in the senior school. Device configurations change regularly, as do prices.

Model Considerations

Is this the student’s main, or a secondary device?  Is specialist software, or alternatives, required/desired for particular courses?

  • Some tablets will provide students with a limited learning tool and can be used as an information consumption device.
  • A laptop or tablet with a full operating system and keyboard provides students with a comprehensive learning tool. This provides the greatest flexibility, and will tend to have a longer usable life.
  • Models change frequently and there are now a number of hybrid tablet/laptop devices.

Recommended Specifications

  • Screen 10” or larger (12″ is better)
  • An  external keyboard
  • A full operating system – eg Windows 10
  • A minimum of 5 hours of use from one battery charge (there is limited ability for recharging)
  • Rugged hard shell or suitable protective case
  • Microsoft Office installed  – this is available free for all Westlake Students

Other Considerations

  • Suitable for carrying in terms of weight (the lighter the better) (Preferrably <2kg)
  • Battery life – Check the battery life on the model. Five hours should be considered the bare minimum as there is limited ability for recharging batteries at school. Using a SSD (Solid state drive) can help increase battery life, but adds to the cost
  • Processor Speed – These vary – i3 to i5 models are faster.
  • Graphics – High end applications may require dedicated graphics memory – these are more expensive
  • Optical Drives – these are no longer considered essential

Common Device Types

These are the most common options considered, although options change frequently

Tablets – iPad, Android – Ultraportable with good battery life. Limited wordprocessing capabilities and keyboard is usually onscreen. Applications limited to reduced features, although frequently a wide range in app stores. Backup, storage and file transfer can be challenging. Not the equivalent of a laptop. Prices range from $400 – $1200

Netbook/Laptop/Table/2-in-1 with full OS  (10 – 15” screen) – Suitable for the widest range of tasks that students will encounter. Additional software usually needs to be purchased, but frequently open-source applications are available. A wide range of models are available.  A 12 to 14” laptop provides a very good compromise of portability power and battery life. Prices range from $400 – $3000

Upgrades – Consider the following upgrade options: Light strong aluminium case, faster processor (i5 or i7), extended battery life, use of SSD (Solid state drives) which supplement or replace hard drives and extended battery life.

What about ChromeBook? – The Chromebook does not have a full operating system, has limited accessibility to our core technologies including Office365 and does not have a client version of OneNote.

Some Sample Devices with Indicative Costs

Model Specifications Cost Comments
HP x2 210 Detachable

10.1″ Screen, Windows 10, Intel HD Graphics 400, 64GB eMMC SD, 4GB RAM, 9 Hour battery life

$620 Processor: Intel Atom; Memory 4GB; HDD: 500GB
Pros: Cost, Weight, Battery life,
What could be improved: Memory, Screen size, Speed
Lenovo Thinkpad L450 14″ Screen, Windows 10, Intel Celeron Processor, 4GB RAM, 128GBSSD, 9 hour battery life $740

Pros: Screen size, battery life, Rugged construction

Surface Pro 4

Microsoft Surface Pro4  128GB 4GB Ram Windows 10 Pro Tablet 12″ WiFi, 9 hour battery life, 3 year warranty


1.38kg, includes pen, a full laptop replacement which is light and powerful. Other models are available. Excellent for use with Onenote

There are a good range of machines between the Lenovo Thinkpad and the Surface Pro 4. There are also some lower cost machines below the HP x2 210 detachable. While it is possible to install office on a 2-in-1 with 36GB eMMC SD memory, you would be advised to purchase an additional SD card for storage should you choose this level of machine.