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 (below) 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 use Microsoft apps at Westlake and all of our teachers use Windows and the Office applications in class. For this reason, we recommend Windows devices, however, MacOS also works with the Microsoft Office Suite of applications.
- Is this the student’s main device they will be bringing to school for BYOD?
- Is specialist software required/desired for particular courses?
Tablets only provide students with a limited learning tool as they are mobile devices and do not have a full computer operating system - we do not recommend tablets e.g. iPads or Android tablets.
A laptop or convertible laptop (a device with a full operating system detachable or foldable keyboard) provides students with a comprehensive learning tool. This provides the greatest flexibility and will tend to have a longer usable life. Chromebooks are only good for web apps are not suitable as they do not have Windows OS or MacOS.
Models change frequently and there are now many device types on the market.
- 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 and can be installed once the student has their username and password.
- 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 laptops at school.
- 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 Recommended Devices (available via the Cyclone portal)
There are entry level to high-end devices. The higher spec’d the more likely it is to last your son the whole 5 years of high school.
Common Device Types
Ultra-portable with good battery life. Limited word processing capabilities and the keyboard is usually onscreen. Applications have limited features. 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 web-based research and a wide range of web-based functions.
- Mid-Range Laptops
All-rounder machines with medium speed and memory. Will work with most graphic-demanding applications such as Adobe and Autodesk.
- High-Performance Laptops
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 Microsoft 365 and does not have a full desktop version of OneNote or Teams.
- They are extremely underpowered and have minimal storage in them.
- They are not suitable for a high school environment.