Image: IDG / Brendan Nystedt
If you’re a teacher, you’re likely preparing for the upcoming school year. While pencils and sanitizer are no doubt important, a proper laptop is an essential tool in today’s classroom. Of course, you’re going to want value for your purchase, with a focus on the right specs. You’ll need something that delivers powerful processing performance. Ample storage is important as well, so there’s no concern about storing a multitude of documents and media files. If you’re not sure where to begin your search, don’t worry. The team at PCWorld has done most of the heavy lifting for you. In this article, we’ll highlight the best laptops for teachers available right now.
See our roundup of the best laptops for even more recommendations.
Samsung Galaxy Book3 Pro 360 – Best overall
- Stunning OLED upgrade in resolution, performance, more
- One of the first 13th-gen Core laptops
- Top-notch battery life
- Solid inking
- 1080p webcam and very good audio
- Good, not great, performance
- Webcam effects are iffy
With its superb battery life, lightweight form factor, and powerful CPU performance, the Samsung Galaxy Book3 Pro 360 has a lot to offer. You can swing the display all the way around, which makes it easier to share information with your students. The 1080p webcam is a nice addition for remote learning, too. As for the battery life, you can expect 13.5 hours on a single charge, which means you can kiss those outlet-hunting days goodbye. Let’s take a gander at the hardware inside, shall we?
The Galaxy Book3 Pro 360 features an Intel Core i7-1360P CPU, Intel Iris Xe integrated graphics, 16GB of RAM, and 512GB of SSD storage. This machine should have no problem handling productivity tasks as well as day-to-day use. The 16-inch AMOLED touch display boasts a resolution of 2880×1800 and a refresh rate of 120Hz. Visuals should be both smooth and vibrant. If you’re looking for a laptop that ticks of a ton of boxes, then the Galaxy Book3 Pro 360 is well worth consideration.
Read our full
Samsung Galaxy Book3 Pro 360 review
Acer Aspire 5 – Best budget option
- Affordable price
- Rugged build
- Great keyboard
- Good selection of ports
- Subpar webcam
- Annoying bloatware comes pre-installed
- Touchpad is a little hard to use
The Acer Aspire 5 is a great option for budget-conscious teachers out there. It’s reasonably priced and performance is fast enough for everyday tasks like writing e-mails, online research, and grading homework. The keyboard has loads of room, which is perfect for longer typing sessions. While that’s all well and good, the internal bits are really what makes this laptop a good value buy.
This laptop has an Intel Core i5-1135G7 CPU, 8GB of RAM, and 256GB of PCIe SSD storage. The 14-inch display has a resolution of 1080p and a matte coating. The keyboard is a high point, with a spacious layout. Our tester found it to be “quick, accurate, and comfortable.” That said, the design is a little utilitarian and the touchpad takes some getting used to. All in all, the pros far outweigh the cons.
Read our full
Acer Aspire 5 review
Acer Aspire Vero 14 – Best eco-friendly option
- Peppy performance
- Strong battery life
- Thunderbolt 4
- Eco-friendly materials
- Convenient, fast fingerprint reader
- Weak speakers
- Soldered-on RAM, not upgradeable
For the eco-conscious teacher, the Acer Aspire Vero 14, made from 30 percent post-consumer recycled plastics, is a great option. Acer should be commended for its design of the Vero 14, which is not only eco-friendly, but attractive and includes a few unique touches that help it stand out. It’s no slouch in the performance department either, sporting a Core i7 processor, Iris Xe integrated graphics, 16GB of RAM, and a fast 1TB M.2 NVMe SSD. The Vero 14 is an attractive ultraportable for the eco-conscious educator.
Read our full
Acer Aspire Vero 14 review
Lenovo Yoga 9i 14 (2022) – Best 4K option
- Sturdy and sleek all-metal chassis
- Long battery life
- Impressive audio output
- Comfortable keyboard
- 16:9 screen feels cramped
- Included stylus is too skinny
- Undersized touchpad
- Limited ports all on left side
If you’re on the hunt for a drop-dead gorgeous display, the Lenovo Yoga 9i is worth considering. The 14-inch screen has a resolution of 3840×2160 (!!!) and HDR support. That means you can expect a sharp, vibrant picture. It’s also a 2-in-1, which means you can prop it up like a tent for tabletop sharing, or you can fold the screen all the way back and use the device like a tablet. The all-metal chassis is chic and durable, too.
The Yoga 9i features an Intel Core i7-1260P CPU, Intel Iris Xe graphics, 16GB of RAM, and 1TB of SSD storage. That’s enough oomph for productivity work as well as day-to-day tasks like checking e-mail and posting on social media. The 74 watt-hour battery is also quite large for such a relatively slim 2-in-1. When we put the machine through our intensive battery test, it lasted about 12 hours on a single charge.
Yes, the 16:9 aspect ratio makes the screen feel cramped and the touchpad is tinier than we like. Nevertheless, the Yoga 9i is a good buy.
Read our full
Lenovo Yoga 9i 14 (2022) review
Acer Chromebook Spin 514 – Best Chromebook
- Great processor performance
- Sturdy, premium design
- Top-notch keyboard and touchpad
- Two USB-C ports with Power Delivery
- Long battery life
- A bit heavy for a 2-in-1 device
- Display could be brighter
- Android game performance is unreliable
- Expensive compared to Windows alternatives
If you prefer using ChromeOS over Windows, the Acer Chromebook Spin 514 is a fantastic option. It has great battery life and a spectacular keyboard and touchpad. According to our reviewer, the Spin 514 features a “wide keyboard layout with large, easily located keys.” In addition to the dual USB-C ports with power delivery and a sophisticated-looking design, CPU performance is also quite peppy.
The Spin 514 comes equipped with an AMD Ryzen 5 5625C CPU, AMD Radeon graphics, 8GB of RAM, and 128GB of SSD storage. The display, which folds back 360 degrees thanks to the 2-in-1 form factor, features a resolution of 1920×1080 and is touch-enabled. The picture should be clear enough for day-to-day use like checking e-mail and social media feeds. The $699.99 price tag is a little high for a Chromebook, but if you’re working with a flexible budget, then this machine won’t disappoint.
Read our full
Acer Chromebook Spin 514 review
How we tested
The PCWorld team puts each and every Windows laptop through a series of benchmarks that test GPU and CPU performance, battery life, and so on. The idea is to push the laptop beyond its limits and then compare it against others we’ve tested. Chromebooks, on the other hand, go through a series of web-based tests. It wouldn’t be possible to run the same kinds of tests on a Chromebook, as they’re Chrome OS-based machines. Below, you’ll find a breakdown of each test.
- PCMark 10: The PCMark 10 benchmark is how we determine how well the laptop handles general use tasks like web browsing, word processing, spreadsheets, streaming, and so on.
- HandBrake: HandBrake is more intensive than PCMark 10. It measures how long a laptop’s CPU takes to encode a beefy 30GB file.
- Cinebench: Cinebench is a brief stress test of the CPU cores. It renders a 2D scene over a short period of time.
- 3DMark: 3DMark checks if 3D performance remains consistent over time by running graphic-intensive clips. This is how we test a gaming laptop’s GPU.
- Video rundown test: To gauge battery life, we loop a 4K video using Windows 10’s Movies & TV app until the laptop dies.
- CrXPRT 2: The CrXPRT 2 benchmark tests a Chromebook’s battery life.
- Speedometer 2.0: This test determines a Chromebook’s web browser performance. It simulates this by adding, completing, and removing a to-do list.
- Basemark Web 3.0: This benchmark gauges how well a Chromebook can handle web-based applications.
How much processing power do I need?
You won’t need a ton of processing power when it comes to lightweight tasks like grading homework, researching topics, answering student e-mail’s, and so on. That’s why we recommend aiming for something with an Intel Core i5 processor. It’s zippy enough for everyday use while still being reasonably priced. If you need more power, shoot for an Intel Core i7.
What about RAM?
To get the best performance out of your laptop, we recommend at least 8GB of DDR4 RAM. This will help your machine run smoother, especially if you’re using multiple programs at once. 16GB of RAM is obviously better, but it might be a little overkill depending on what you’re doing.
How important is storage?
If you’re saving homework and other important files to your laptop, you’re going to want at least 512GB of SSD storage. Solid state drives are faster and quieter than hard disk drives. They’re also more durable and power efficient. If you’re using a Chromebook, you don’t need to worry much about storage, as you can save everything to the cloud.
How much should my laptop weigh?
A portable laptop should weigh about three pounds or less. In terms of portability and value, we suggest getting a laptop with a 13- or 14-inch display.
Does screen quality matter?
Teachers spend a great deal of time in front of a screen. If you suffer from eye strain or tension headaches, don’t settle for anything less than 1080p resolution. If you can stretch your budget a bit more, 4K should provide a very sharp picture, and OLED tends to be more color accurate.
Author: Ashley Biancuzzo, Associate Editor
Ashley is a professional writer and editor with a strong background in tech and pop culture. She has written for high traffic websites such as Polygon, Kotaku, StarWars.com, and Nerdist. In her off time, she enjoys playing video games, reading science fiction novels, and hanging out with her rescue greyhound.