Size is not everything when considering which BYO Device to choose for your children’s school laptop. It’s important to remember that the bigger the screen, the more power is needed to run the device. Most 15-17″ laptops will only have a 1-2 hour battery life which renders them useless for all day computing using batteries. Schools will not allow for your BYOD to be plugged in or charged at school. A spare battery may be the answer, but that ultimately adds to the cost.

Other resource hungry components are the size of the hard drive, software and optical drive (CD Rom drive). Usually the bigger the laptop the more hard drive space it will have and if it has a CD Rom drive, forget it. Anything over 320 Gb hard drive will effect size and battery life. These laptops will just not get your child through the day.

Use an external hard drive for storage, and an external optical drive if you want to install from a CD Rom. Check the WiFi compatibility also, as it needs to be 802.11a/b/g/n.

To achieve all day computing (6-9 hours) here are the specs to consider (as recommended from the local CPSC website).



Mac devices and applications are update dependent. Provided the Mac is capable of running the latest Mac updates it will be compatible with your school’s BYOD Network.


  •  11 inch screen Minimum
  •  Intel Core I3 Processor Minimum
  •  4Gb RAM Minimum
  •  128 Gb Hard drive (500 Gb recommended if using a large number of audio/video files) or 128Gb SSD minimum (an external hard drive is advisable)
  •  2 USB ports
  •  Wi-Fi 802.11a/b/g/n compatible (wireless network connectivity)
  •  Integrated speakers and microphone with headphone ports (standard in laptops)
  •  US Keyboard with full size keys within the footprint
  •  1 x integrated pointing device eg Touchpad or Mouse
  •  Windows 7 operating system (minimum)
  •  6 cell (6 hour) battery– ensure battery is minimum 6 hour
  •  Hard or protective shell laptop case to suit model.

Stay tuned for my recommendations, but at this stage I wouldn’t get a laptop with a screen bigger than 14″. I’m a HP fanboy, and I quite like the 13″ screen and 128 Gb SSD option.