We wish to encourage students to have devices that are adequate for classroom use. When considering a device to purchase we encourage you to buy a laptop 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.
We are a Microsoft school and all of our teachers use Windows 10 and the Office applications in class. For this reason, we recommend Windows 10 devices, however, MacOS also works with the Office Suite.
Is this the student’s main device they will be bringing to school for BYOD? Is specialist software or required/desired for particular courses?
- Some tablets will provide students with a limited learning tool and can be used as an information consumption device - we do not recommend tablets such as iPads or Android.
- A laptop or hybrid device (a 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. Chromebooks are not suitable as they do not have Windows 10 or MacOS and are only good for web apps.
- Models change frequently and there are now a number of hybrid tablet/laptop devices.
- Minimum 12″ screen
- A full operating system, preferably Windows 10
- A minimum of 5 hours of use from one battery charge (there is limited ability for recharging)
- Suitable protective case - something that will fit in a school bag and not damage the device
- Microsoft Office 365 installed - this is available free for all Westlake Boys students.
- Suitable for carrying in terms of weight, the lighter the better!
- 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 an SSD (Solid State Drive) can help increase battery life, but adds to the cost
- Processor Speed - these vary, i5 to i7 models are faster.
- Graphics - high-end applications may require dedicated graphics memory - these are more expensive
- Optical Drives (DVD drives) - these are no longer considered essential.
Our 2020 Recommended Devices (available at Noel Leeming)
- HP 14" AMD A4 4GB RAM, 128GB SSD laptop (currently $799.00 inc GST)
This model is a very basic laptop that meets our requirement but it has minimum RAM and processing power - good for Year 9 and 10 but unlikely to last into Years 11-13.
- HP 14" Pavilion X360, Intel Pentium Silver 4GB RAM, 128GB SSD laptop (currently $1199 inc GST)
This is a good all-rounder but would unlikely last more than 3 years.
- HP 14" Intel i5 128GB SSD + 1TB HDD laptop (currently $1259.00 inc GST)
This is a mid to high-end device and could last your son the whole 5 years of high school.
Common Device Types
These are the most common options considered, although options change frequently.
Ultra-portable with good battery life. Limited word processing capabilities and keyboard are 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 to $1200. We do NOT recommend tablets at all as they are not suitable for secondary schools.
Entry Level Laptops
Slower with limited space for the installation of applications. Good for research and a wide range of web-based functions. Chromebooks only allow for Android apps and most of these are not ideal for high school.
All-rounder machines with medium speed and memory. Will work with most graphic-demanding applications such as Adobe and Autodesk.
Better suited for graphics applications and generally have faster processors and more RAM, other aspects of the device can be upgraded in the future like memory (RAM) and storage.
The reason we do not recommend Chromebooks
- A Chromebook has a portable device operating system, which basically means it's a phone with a larger screen and a built-in keyboard so the only apps for it are mobile versions, the same as on a phone.
- The Chromebook does not have a full operating system, and as a result, it has limited access to our core technologies including Office 365 and does not have a client version of OneNote or Teams.
- They are extremely underpowered and have minimal storage in them.
- They are not suitable for a high school environment.