Best Laptop for Virtual School & Remote Learning

Virtual school or some combination of remote or e-learning are part of a post-COVID world.  Few of us were prepared so now we’re all looking for help and that starts with finding the best laptop for our virtual students in this environment.   

There are both challenges and benefits to this type of e-learning.  On one hand, there are more responsibilities and time-management to deal with, but on the other, we get to spend so much more time with our loved ones!  There’s one thing for certain though, it would be so much more difficult to handle if it wasn’t for technology.

Faster internet connections and all the information so readily at our fingertips on the web make things easier.  Having the right hardware makes a big difference also.  These are the top remote learning and virtual school laptops you can get for your young students:  

student remotely doing virtual school on laptop

Dell XPS 7390 13″ 2-in-1 Laptop

✔  Touchscreen 2-in-1
✔  i5-10210U Processor (10th gen.)
✔  8GB RAM / 256GB SSD
✔  Windows 10
✔  1920 x 1080 FHD
✔  2.7lb / up to 17hr battery life

Dell XPS 7390 Review:

The Dell XPS series has long been known as a leader in technology and the 7390 is no different.  This laptop gets the job done and then some.  It’s lightweight and has great battery life if portability is a concern such as it may be in a hybrid or remote learning environment.  It’s not the cheapest student laptop (see lower on our list for budget picks), but it is reliable!

HP Spectre X360 13″ 2-in-1 Laptop

✔  Touchscreen 2-in-1
✔  i7-1065G7 Processor (10th gen.)
✔  16GB RAM / 512GB SSD
✔  Windows 10 Pro
✔  1920 x 1080 FHD
✔  2.91lb / up to 16hr battery life

HP Spectre X360 Review:

This laptop is the absolute best of the best.  I personally use this same laptop and LOVE it!  It’s a 2-in-1, so can be converted to a tablet and comes with a pen.  It’s small, thin, and lightweight so it’s very portable.  The specs are out of this world and far-and-away above any others on this list.  Yes, it is pricier, but it will ensure you don’t need a new laptop for a long, long time.  

ASUS ZenBook 13 Ultra-Slim Laptop

✔  i5-1035G1 (10th gen.)
✔  8GB RAM / 256GB SSD
✔  Windows 10 Pro
✔  1920 x 1080 FHD
✔  2.62lb / up to 22hr battery life

ASUS ZenBook Review:

This ZenBook has specifications comparable to those at the top of the list, but somehow ASUS is able to sell it for so much less!  This laptop is thin and ultra-light weight.  It also offers the best battery life around.  While ASUS is not as well-known as some of the other brands, they sure pack a big punch in this tiny laptop for a great price!

Acer Aspire 5 Slim Laptop, 15.6″

✔  AMD Ryzen 3 3200U
✔  4GB RAM / 128GB SSD
✔  Windows 10 (S-mode)
✔  1920 x 1080 FHD
✔  3.97lb / up to 7.5hr battery life

Acer Aspire 5 Slim Review:

This version of Acer’s Aspire 5 Slim isn’t going to win any awards for the laptop with the most features, but it is a perfect budget-friendly laptop for students that are taking online classes or are in a virtual learning environment.  The specs are “okay”, but the price great!  This is a great entry-level, inexpensive laptop that will get the job done.

Acer Swift 3 Thin & Light 14″ Laptop

✔  AMD Ryzen 7 4700
✔  8GB RAM / 512GB SSD
✔  Windows 10
✔  1920 x 1080 FHD
✔  2.6lb / up to 11.5hr battery life

Acer Swift 3 Review:

As the name suggests, the Acer Swift 3 is both thin and lightweight.  This 14″ laptop really seems to be the perfect size for the average e-learning student.  Big enough, but not too big or bulky.  We really like the next gen. Ryzen 7 processor in this one for the price, along with the larger solid state hard drive.  

HP Pavilion X360 13″ Laptop

✔  2-in-1
✔  i5-1035G1 Processor (10th gen.) 
✔  8GB RAM / 512GB SSD
✔  Windows 10
✔  1920 x 1080 FHD
✔  3.5lb / up to 10hr battery life

HP Pavilion X360 Review:

HP’s Pavilion X360 laptop is the perfect fit for homeschool students.  It’s not too expensive yet has most of the bells and whistles everyone wants and needs in a PC.  It has adequate specs such that it won’t be obsolete within a couple years and its a 2-in-1, so it has the ability to transform into a tablet if needed.

Lenovo IdeaPad 3 – 14″ Student Laptop

✔  AMD Ryzen 5 3500U
✔  8GB RAM / 256GB SSD
✔  Windows 10
✔  1920 x 1080 FHD
✔  3.3lb / up to 6hr battery life

Lenovo IdeaPad 3 Review:

The Lenovo IdeaPad 3 is a decent student laptop with basic features in the lower price range.  Unfortunately, it’s a bit on the heavy side and has relatively short battery life, if you’ll be traveling with it at all.  But, the price should fit just about any budget and the spec should meet the needs of most homeschool students.

Which is the Best Laptop for Virtual School or Remote Learning Students?

There are several features and specifications that need to be considered in order to make this call.  With laptops, there’s always this balance between the price tag and getting specs that aren’t going to be obsolete in a couple years.  In the list we populated above, we did our best to strike this balance and give a good, fair assessment of everything currently available.  

Our Top Pick:  Dell XPS 7390 2-in-1 13″ Laptop

Dell laptop for virtual learning

For our top pick, we chose the Dell XPS 7390.  This is the best, most well-rounded laptop for distance learning available.  It’s got pretty much everything you need as far as the specs go, but isn’t bloated and over-priced due to features most of us just don’t need.  There are certainly cheaper options, but this is a great laptop at a fair price.

Our Premium Pick:  HP Spectre X360 2-in-1 13.3″ Laptop

HP Spectre X360 - great laptop for virtual school

If you can afford it, we really like the HP Spectre X360 for a virtual school environment.  It has the best specs of any laptop on our list and is thin and light.  It’s also a 2-in-1 laptop that can easily turn into a tablet with the included HP sytlus.  The new styling on the this version of the Spectre gives it amazing lines and the Thunderbolt USB-C ports make connecting to other things like hubs, printers, smartphones, and external monitors a breeze!  This is an amazing PC, but it is more expensive than other options.  We think it’s worth it… you may or may not.  It depends on your situation of course.  

Minimum Specs For a Student Laptop Used For Online School

Something we felt obligated to cover in this post was about what you should consider minimum specs for a student laptop that will be used at remotely at home for schooling or e-learning.  While there is not hard and fast rule, in today’s market these are what we wouldn’t do without…

  • 4GB RAM (8GB is better) 
  • 128GB SSD (256GB or more is better) 
  • Windows 10 (This is a MUST for security!)
  • 1920 x 1080 FHD display  

Things like display size, weight, and battery life are subject to your preferences and how you’ll be using the laptop.  Laptops typically come in 13.3″, 14″, 15.6″, and 17″ displays.  Our preference is to stay away from the largest size just due to the weight and bulkiness it automatically brings.  Battery life is all over the map.  If you like using the computer while you’re sitting on the couch or out on the deck, perhaps you want to spend a little more money on a better battery.  If you’ll always be sitting at a desk next to an outlet, it probably doesn’t matter much.

distance learning student using laptop for online school

Conclusion

Whether they’re at a physical school building or learning from home, we owe our little students a good education.  They are the future of the world after all.  As we covered above, the best laptop for homeschool students varies with your needs.  We’ve selected several great options in different price ranges and reviewed each one.

Now it’s your turn to figure out which of these will do the job for you.  Will you go with our favorite, the Dell XPS 7390, with it’s 2-in-1 touchscreen and reputation for reliability, or are you looking for more of a budget-friendly option for a virtual school laptop such as the Acer Aspire 5?  Whichever you decide to go with, the important part is helping our children achieve more than we did.  Thanks for reading and good luck!