No matter what type of learning you have to do, a laptop is essential in this day and age. They are great for taking notes, writing papers, and conducting research online.
That is why a portable computer will prove its value time and time again. With schools across the world going at least partially, and often fully, remote, you need a quality laptop to keep up.
However, how do you choose a single machine for online classes? That is what we’ll answer in the following guide. Each laptop listed below will give you reliable performance, plenty of features to help you learn, and are easily available no matter where you look.
- A great option for online classes is the Asus Zenbook 14. This laptop has an ultra-thin design that makes it easy to take with you wherever you need to learn or work.
- For a budget option that still has reliable performance and solid capabilities, check out the Acer Aspire 5. This is a quality laptop that won’t break the bank, making it perfect for college students.
- The Apple MacBook Pro 13-inch is a great all-around laptop perfect for both online classes and personal needs. If you want additional options and value versatility, this option is the way to go.
Who Should Get This?
If you’re in school, you want a reliable laptop. That goes double for those actively taking, or thinking about taking, online classes. You obviously cannot learn online without a computer, and a portable laptop makes that process even easier. It’s nice to not be tied down to a single spot, and it’s much easier to work or learn from wherever you’re the most comfortable.
Also note that you’ll most likely not just use your laptop for online classes. The computers shown here all come with additional features that make them great at everything from streaming media to accessing the web. Just be aware that if you prefer to have a larger desktop computer for your online learning experience, you’ll want to do some additional searching because the following laptops are better for a more mobile lifestyle.
Best Laptop for Online Learning: What to Consider
A critical aspect of online classes is that you need to be online. That makes reliable connectivity one of the most important factors to look for in an online learning machine. Strong connectivity is an industry-standard for most modern laptops, but you should always check that the option you’re looking at comes with WiFi capabilities or has an input for hard-line internet.
RAM is another important aspect to consider when looking at laptops for online classes. The higher the amount of RAM built into your computer, the faster and more reliable performance it will have. Higher amounts will also allow you to keep more windows open at once, which can often help when you’re doing research or working through assignments.
Look for at least 8GB of RAM for standard performance considerations and at least 16GB if you want higher performance or are taking any sort of class that uses demanding software like graphic design or audio engineering. Just know that higher amounts of RAM will cost more money. Always stay within your budget.
Most people in school need to be careful about their money. As such, you always want to make sure your laptop is within your means. Yes, you can go out and buy the most expensive option, but that’s not always the correct choice. It’s much better to plan the cost ahead of time and then get a device with the most amount of features within that price range. Only ever get what you can afford.
Another feature you should consider when looking at computers for online classes is a built-in camera. If you need to have face-to-face meetings with a teacher, professor, or fellow students but can’t do it in person, a camera comes in handy. A basic webcam works fine for this purpose, but an HD option built to meet the needs of video chatting is better if you can afford it.
Best Laptop for Online Learning: Our Picks
For a great all-around laptop that has impressive performance and will meet the needs of anyone in an online learning environment, the Asus Zenbook 14 is a great choice. This computer comes with a 14-inch Full HD NanoEdge bezel screen that has an excellent resolution to provide a crisp, clear display. It’s also an ultra-thin design which makes it easy to throw in a backpack or bring along wherever you need to go.
The ZenBook also features an Intel i7 core processor and 16GB of RAM for fast speeds and reliable performance. The 5.65-inch interactive touchscreen trackpad creates an intuitive and convenient way to control all your actions. You can even take handwritten notes using it, which is perfect for students of all ages. Solid connectivity and 512GB of SSD memory round out the great features here.
- Ultra-thin design
- 14-inch screen
- 16GB RAM
- Interactive touchscreen trackpad
- 512GB SSD storage
- On the expensive side
The Acer Aspire 5 is another quality computer for online classes that makes for a great budget pick due to its affordable pricing. However, a cheaper price doesn’t mean this laptop can’t compete with others in terms performance and reliability. A 15-inch display will keep your attention during class, while the excellent connectivity and 7.5-hour battery life make it a great learning tool at all times of the day. It might be light on RAM and storage but for the price you can’t beat it.
- 15-inch display
- Quality graphics
- Excellent connectivity
- 7.5-hour battery life
- Only 4GB RAM
- Limited storage of 128GB
For another great laptop that works well for online classes and also provides a high-performance creative tool you can use for other tasks, take a look at the Apple MacBook Pro 13-inch. Its Retina display will give you the ability to watch and create great video, while an 8th gen quad-core Intel processor delivers consistent and reliable performance. You can also customize this with increased RAM, storage, and processing speeds.
- Reliable, high-performance option
- Great for other tasks in addition to online classes
- 13-inch Retina display
- Good processing speeds
- Ultrafast SSD
- Only has two USB-C ports for connectivity
Useful Tips & Resources
If you’re not used to the online learning environment, it can take a little while to get a hang of the experience. Online classes can provide you with an excellent way to learn and work towards graduation or a degree, but you need to stay focused and limit distractions while you’re in a virtual class.
Here are some tips to help you prepare for an online class. Put in the same effort and energy you would with in-person learning and you’ll do fine.
In the world of online learning, having the best tools at your fingertips can help you make the most of the environment. The laptops you’ll find on this list are all excellent options in that regard, and each will give you the high-quality performance and reliability you need to effectively learn online.
Have you ever taken online classes before? How was the experience? Let us know in the comments below!
Jessica is the co-founder and content manager here at AnySoftwareTools. She has been fascinated by the startup culture in Silicon Valley and she loves building things from zero to one. When she is not writing, she loves getting close to nature and shoot photos with her iPhone and Canon EOS 80D.