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Best laptop for grade school students 2022

The Surface Go 2
(Image credit: Windows Central)

When shopping for a new portable PC, you're always going to be looking for the best Windows laptops even if you're shopping for something for your kids to do their schoolwork on. However, school is also not an environment for thousand-dollar Ultrabooks. Instead, you need something that's compact and affordable, but also still fully capable of good performance and all-day battery life. For that, our favorite option is the excellent Microsoft Surface Go 2, which pairs a remarkably small chassis with quality hardware and a low cost.

(Image credit: Windows Central)

Microsoft Surface Go 2

A high-end experience with an affordable price

Reasons to buy

+
All-day battery life
+
Kickstand built-in
+
Touchscreen with inking
+
Plenty of storage

Reasons to avoid

-
Keyboard not included
-
Pen not included

The Surface brand is desirable, and thanks to the Surface Go 2, it's no longer out of reach for folks on tighter budgets. The base model is easily a match for any other low-cost laptop, with the bonus of a touchscreen with inking support. Inking is essential because the size of the Surface Go 2 makes it a truly spectacular digital notebook and sketchpad when used with something such as Microsoft OneNote.

The Intel Pentium processor, 64GB of storage, and 4GB of RAM are perfect for lighter computing needs. While the optional Type Cover will get the best experience from it, it's not a compulsory purchase. You can alternatively use any wired or wireless keyboard you may already have (you'll need a USB-C to USB-A adapter for USB-A wired keyboards), or you can opt for one of our favorite Surface Go keyboards that cost less than Microsoft's Type Covers instead.

The Surface Go is a proper Surface but with a much more attractive price. And that's what makes it so special; it's a Surface for everyone. For schoolwork, in particular, this is a fantastic device, with enough flexibility to be used for recreation time when the work is all done. It's a grown-up PC that younger users will adore.

The Samsung Galaxy Book Go

(Image credit: Samsung)

Samsung Galaxy Book Go

Top-notch battery life awaits

Reasons to buy

+
Fantastic battery life
+
Optional cellular
+
1080p display
+
Decent RAM and storage options
+
microSD card slot

Reasons to avoid

-
Won't be able to handle more intense workloads
-
Cellular models a bit pricier

The Samsung Galaxy Book Go comes at a much more affordable price than some of the manufacturer's other Windows laptops. For those shopping for younger kids or that just want to get the best possible laptop for the lowest price, this is a hard device to ignore.

It's an ARM-powered laptop, specifically using Qualcomm's 7c Gen 2 CPU for more affordable devices. The added bonus to using an ARM CPU is battery life and near instant on, and Samsung says you can expect up to 18 hours of battery life from the Galaxy Book Go. Whatever schoolwork needs doing, the Galaxy Book Go will be able to crank it out and keep on going.

Spec wise there are a few different options, including 4GB or 8GB of RAM and 64GB or 128GB of storage, and there are also versions with a cellular connection, too. This depends on which region you're buying in, but both 4G and 5G are options, though the latter, in particular, will considerably boost the price.

But with a really nice-looking 1080p display, a compact, incredibly slim 14-inch form factor, good keyboard and trackpad, and even a microSD card slot, the Galaxy Book Go is a great laptop for getting that important schoolwork done.

The Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5

(Image credit: Windows Central)

Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5

Great convertible without a high price

Reasons to buy

+
AMD Ryzen 5000 processor
+
Convertible with touch display
+
Great keyboard
+
Upgradeable storage

Reasons to avoid

-
4GB of RAM is quite low
-
No pen support

A convertible laptop has many advantages over a regular notebook, especially for the younger crowd. The inclusion of a touchscreen and the fact you can fold the keyboard out of the way entirely gives even the youngest a device they can use comfortably for work and play.

Windows isn't short of good convertible laptops, but the Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5 gets the nod here for its combination of great hardware and an attractive price. The latest refresh adds AMD's latest generation Ryzen 3 5300U quad-core processor into the mix with Radeon graphics for more than enough power to even get a little gaming going. If your kids are into Minecraft, this laptop will do just fine.

The entry model pairs 4GB of RAM with a 128GB NVMe SSD, but the storage is upgradeable so if you need more you can almost certainly do it yourself and save a few bucks. The 1080p touch display is superb, and as it's a Lenovo, so is the keyboard. And the upward-firing speakers ensure that you're never muffling the sound whatever mode you're using the laptop in.

(Image credit: HP)

HP Pavilion 15

A fantastic balance of performance and price

Reasons to buy

+
11th Gen Intel Core i5 processor
+
Iris Xe graphics
+
Good port selection
+
Great design

Reasons to avoid

-
Battery life isn't the best

15-inch laptops usually cost a little more than their smaller counterparts; after all, there's just more laptop. However, that doesn't mean they're always pricey, and the HP Pavilion 15 proves that you can still get quality performance for a low cost with this form factor. It's rocking an 11th Gen Core i5-1135G7 CPU, Intel's impressive Xe integrated graphics, 8GB of RAM, and a cool 512GB of SSD storage space. 

Much like the IdeaPad Flex 5, the Pavilion 15 is easily capable of handling some light gaming or image and video editing in addition to schoolwork thanks to this hardware. The FHD display looks great and comes with support for touch, too, which adds to the device's flexibility.

The design of the Pavilion 15 is also superb, as it features the sleek and slim chassis that folks have come to expect from premium ultrabooks. The trackpad and keyboard are also a joy to use, and the port selection of one USB-C and dual USB-A should be plenty for peripherals like mice or headphones. 

One notable downside of the HP Pavilion 15 is that the 7-hour battery life falls a bit short of what we would consider "all-day," but it's still good enough to get kids through the school day. Overall, this 15-inch device is a fantastic choice.

(Image credit: Windows Central)

Dell Inspiron 15 3000

Get a 15-inch display on a budget

Reasons to buy

+
Option for 11th Gen CPUs
+
Iris Xe graphics available
+
Triple USB-A slots
+
Incredibly affordable

Reasons to avoid

-
Trackpad feels a little loose
-
Battery life could be better

All of the laptops featured on this list are budget-friendly, but if you're looking to spend as little money as possible while still getting solid specs and performance, go with the Dell Inspiron 15 3000. A few advanced 11th Gen Intel CPUs are available, but since this laptop works best as a low-cost budget device, we recommend opting for a configuration with a Celeron N4020, Pentium Silver N5030, or i3-1115G4 chip. For integrated graphics, you can either choose Intel's older UHD graphics or the newer Iris Xe graphics (exclusive to 11th Gen models). You can get up to 12GB of RAM and 512GB of SSD storage, too.

The FHD display doesn't look as nice as the panels you'll find on other laptops in this roundup, but for schoolwork, it's absolutely good enough. Similarly, the laptop's design is nothing special, but the keyboard is comfortable to use and the device is thin enough to be slipped into a bag without issue. Notably, the trackpad feels a little loose at the corners, and the battery life is also a bit on the short side at 6 hours. When buying budget devices like this, though, caveats like these are inevitable.

Ultimately, if all you need is something that can be used to get homework done without problems, the Dell Inspiron 15 3000 is an excellent choice. If you're looking to save as much as you can, don't hesitate to opt for one.

If we had to choose ...

As the modern world moves ever more digital, it's only right that your kid's educational needs are catered for by a good quality laptop. It might not be the obvious choice, but the Surface Go 2 is the one we'd go for right now. It's flexible, it's tougher than it looks, and it's reasonably affordable. Sadly, you'll have to pay extra for the keyboard cover, but with it, you have one of the best small laptops money can buy. It's perfect for the kids without looking like something you'd buy for someone so young.

If you'd prefer to go with something that maximizes battery life, look no further than the Samsung Galaxy Book Go. Thanks to the energy-saving benefits of its ARM architecture, it can last up to 18 hours on a full charge. That's a significantly longer runtime than even the best Windows laptops that use Intel or AMD CPUs, making the Galaxy Book Go perfect for kids that aren't near a wall outlet often.

There's also the Dell Inspiron 15 3000, which is one of the most affordable laptops on the market that still delivers reliable performance. If all you want is a simple device that gets the job done for the lowest possible price, you won't find anything better.

Brendan Lowry is a Windows Central writer and Oakland University graduate with a burning passion for video games, of which he's been an avid fan since childhood. You'll find him doing reviews, editorials, and general coverage on everything Xbox and PC. Follow him on Twitter.

With contributions from