Year 5 students work on their lap-tops. Bentley Park College is offering a lap-top based program where all the kids use lap-tops in class
Year 5 students work on their lap-tops. Bentley Park College is offering a lap-top based program where all the kids use lap-tops in class

Expert advice on avoiding a school laptop overspend

MID-JANUARY has already passed, and we are not far from the going back to school time of the year.

This time of the year can cause headaches for families when they try to dissect the IT information flyer that their school has sent home regarding the necessary specs for a school laptop I have been presented with a number of these flyers myself and have marvelled at the lack of logic often presented.

Just last year I saw flyers from several of the schools suggesting that a 32Gb internal drive was sufficient! A drive this size would have worked OK 10 years ago - not now. I have also seen other suggested specs calling for Next Business Day onsite warranties, Accidental Damage Warranties, a variation in the suggested ram (between 4Gb & 8Gb), special Wi-Fi protocols, screen sizes……

Many customers have come to us with one of these flyers asking for help and this year I had not prepared any particular laptop model to address this use. In fact just Thursday this week I apologised to a customer for not having anything in stock that would exactly fit all the requirement that his school flyer IT dictated. I have since thought better of it.

Doing some research and investigation into the perfect laptop I have found several models that met all specifications for as little as $1500. That last zero is not a mistake! If you find a laptop that the manufacturer is happy to offer onsite warranty on then you are talking about a commercial quality HP or Dell. These start at around $1000.

If you are lucky this same model may already have at least a 250Gb SSD, however at this price point it is likely a $100 upgrade. If you then want Accidental Damage Protection, you can add this for a cool $385. As you see the $1500 mark arrives very quickly, and are you seriously going to spend this on a laptop that a 10-year-old grade 5er is going to lug to school every day?

The only way that we can meet all of the required specifications at a reasonable price is with one of our Eco Laptops, so I am setting aside a particular 'back-to-school' model. For those that are interested I will publish the specs below as well as the price - here at $595. It is a Hewlett Packard EliteBook 820 with Windows 10 Professional 64 Bit Edition, 12.5" anti-glare screen, Intel i7 CPU, 8Gb ram, 250Gb SSD, Dual Band 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi, 1.3kg total weight, 3x USB3.0 ports and Gigabit Ethernet.

At $595 we are also bundling these with a Next Business Day fixed in Rockhampton parts & labour warranty. They are a tough little laptop with an Aluminium & Magnesium Alloy Chassis and they even exceed Military grade MIL-STD810G testing. If you have a child or Grandchild attending school this year please make sure that they get to hear about this special as elsewise they could be paying way too much.

I don't believe for once second that we should be giving 10-year-olds a $1500 laptop to take to school and if we did, it won't perform any better than the one listed above.

Future Byte Me topics can be emailed to bytemearticles@gmail.com and Bruce is contactable at Kerr Solutions, 205 Musgrave Street or on 49 222 400.


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