Laptop for a Teacher That Isn't Too Expensive. Advice?

Hi. I would love your advice.

As a teacher, i need a laptop that is:

not too heavy.

Has great battery life. (last a school day).

And is upgradable, so It can hopefully last me ages.

My current laptop is great. But its a gaming laptop. so doesn't work as good as I want it too.

Any suggestions would be great.

I am happy for it to be used/refurbished, ugly.

Let me know thoughts.


Budget max $1000. but I am hoping that it won't get that expensive.
Upgradable = ram and battery
Screen size= 11-15inch


    • +14

      Probably means upgrading SSD, RAM, etc.

      • Those are really the only things you can upgrade in a laptop. Swapping out the battery or a broken display doesn't really count as 'upgrading', but they can be replaced.

        • -1

          Those are really the only things you can upgrade in a laptop

          Not true, you then go on to mention two things you can upgrade in a laptop?

          LCD upgrade examples: HP elitebooks - upgrading from 1388x768 screens to 1920x1080 screens
          Battery upgrade examples: Upgrading 4 cell to 6 cell batteries.

          • +1

            @MorriJ: I assume they mean upgradeable later down the track, not configurable at purchase.

            • @theguyrules: So do I. I've upgraded plenty of laptops down the track with better lcds/batteries.

    • +13

      Upgradeable laptop? Guess that narrows it down to the framework laptop

      • +5

        That looks pretty sweet

        • +5

          Yeah, hope the company does well.
          We need easily repairable and upgradeable laptops in a time where manufacturer's are making more and more difficult to do so

  • +3

    Budget? There are quite a few laptops especially from HP or Dell which can perform quite well (performance and battery wise) for under $1,000. If you can afford a bit more, you can aim for a Surface model or an ultrabook of some kind if you're not doing anything too intensive.

    • +1

      Trying to go under $1000

      • +3

        Won't tick many of the boxes for $1K, unless you go second hand. Try grays online for cheap used laptops, but read the info vary vairy very carefully.

        • +4

          Yes and don't get sucked in by a cheap auction then exorbitant courier and "courier only delivery, no pick up" depots. I won a $6 dollar rug then they tried to charge $320 for delivery.

          • @gdogdiggity: LoL
            Surprised they actually thought they can pull this off

            • +2

              @legendary-noob: I wish I knew what documentation they'd require, how hard can it be faking being a courier myself? Can I just wear a high vis and carry a clipboard??

      • A JB HiFi sale with up to 20% off stretches that $1,000 potentially up to $1200.

        • +2

          $1250 actually ;)

  • +6

    Let me know thoughts.

    My thoughts? Great, a customer who does't know what they want and I don't get a commission on the sale.

  • +12

    Have you thought about a mac? something with a m1? might be some deals now the newer stuff is out.

    • +3

      black friday/cyber moday is in a month.

    • +1 to M1.

      Battery life is insane and the build quality of a mac is second to none. You might be able to pick up a second hand one once the new Pros are released.

      Additionally, go for a large HDD if you can. Not being upgradable means you will want more space.

    • 100% on the m1 macbook air. Have two teachers in household who have them, love them

  • +7

    Laptop for a teacher


    Let me know thoughts.

    I'm thinking an apple for the teacher may seem appropriate.

    • +1

      Agreed. My wife is a school teacher and she has a Macbook Pro, she loves it and never had a problem.

      • +2

        for mac compatibility a teacher would probably want to check with the school IT folk before diving in.

        And depending on the faculty, consider subject-specific software that may be needed. For example, if you're using a different maths graphing software from everyone else in the staffroom, getting help with issues could get tricky.

        • +1

          My wife has been to 3 different schools with no compatibility issues. Windows is more liked by schools because of how easy it is to use. Macs are just a little tricky in sometimes getting set up. But as I said, my wife has had no problems with 3 different schools.

          • +2

            @geekcohen: and hopefully your wife never has issues. Just wanted to let OP know to double-check before dropping $3k on a new Mac

            • +2

              @andresampras: OP won't need anything more than an M1 air, so ~ $1250 with education discount and can claim on tax/ salary sac. The $3k Mac's have capabilities only pro editors can take full advantage of

      • Yeah I should have mentioned. I want to go as cheap as possible whilst still hitting all the boxes. I reckon I can go less than 3k

        • +1

          If it's used for work, you could tax write-off, but would need to be a new one/ABN invoice.

          Otherwise, you're not going to get a good laptop for $1k… so go for a used one off Facebook Marketplace (or gumtree, or eBay).

          Also do you require any specific software?
          Currently the most expensive laptop, and also the best-value laptop is the new Apple MacBook Pro (M1X). Has a more optimised software, hardware, and efficiency. But it is kind of locked into it's own ecosystem. But I don't recommend it, if you can't afford it (or if you really need Linux, Android, or Windows support).

        • MacBook Air starts from $1349 on the education store.

    • +3

      The fact nobody got that pun is hilarious

  • Try if you need Windows. Otherwise a Mac. My wife is a school teacher and has a mac with no problems.

    • saw someone's metabox a couple of years ago. hardware quality wasn't great. They sold it not long after.

      are the newer models better?

      • I've had one for over two years and have bought 2 others since for Family and a work staff member. Haven't had an issue, pretty good pricing and I haven't had an issue with quality.

        The last one I bought was in April and it was fine. It was for a family friend.

  • +6

    Title should say 'Inexpensive Laptop for a Teacher'.

    As it stands it brings into question the value of the teacher. Which is NOT OK, people.

    On a more serious note OP - I don't understand this bit: "My current laptop is great. But its a gaming laptop. so doesn't work as good as I want it to."

    What does the gaming laptop not do well? Battery life?

    • +1

      But its a gaming laptop. so doesn't work as good as I want it to.

      I would say too bulky. My metabox and previous laptops have been gaming laptops and they are a bit big. I would also think that they are after something smaller to carry around.

      What does the gaming laptop not do well? Battery life?

      This too. My metabox gets about 3 to 4 hours depending on what you are doing and it is "gaming".

      • I think you've pointed out the info missing from the post - what will the laptop be used for?

        If it's just for word processing and emails/internet, there are so many options.

        What size screen? touch screen preferred?

        OP too vague

        • +1

          Very true. I guess I am making assumptions based on knowing what my wife uses hers for.

          Generally it is:
          - Email
          - Web Browsing
          - Online document editing (Google Docs)
          - Conference calls with WFH and remote online learning

          That is about it. This teacher could be different. Anything else comes my way for me to do and I do that on my windows machine. Dealing with a mac can be annoying for me.

        • As a teacher, I will web surfing, sharing my screen, using word, touch screen not essential. screen size i am cruisy. probs between 11-15inch

    • Inexpensive yes.

      Gaming laptop is bulky and has crappy battery life.

      • YMMV but a couple of years ago I bought a used Thinkpad Yoga X1 off ebay for ~$650

        If you want cheap, this would be my choice of method. Takes time and there's luck involved with picking a decent seller of course.

        EDIT: the RAM is soldered on the yoga X1 though so take that into consideration.

  • +6


  • +3

    is this for personal use or for work?

    If it's for work shouldn't the school be providing a computer?

    • If it's for work shouldn't the school be providing a computer?

      Not all schools do. They can, but you pay for it and pay x amount per pay cycle. Private schools I think provide laptops, public isn't like that but I guess it varies on state. This is based on a Victorian Government school.

      Personally, I would just buy my own if I was in their situation which is what my wife did.

      • +2

        Didn't that change circa 2015 when teachers were repaid because the Vic Dept Ed were sued by the AEU?

      • +2

        Vic govt schools provide a device for their staff. Staff no longer have to pay for their device.

        If the OP is a sessional teacher, they would be allocated a laptop from the school for the day. That laptop will be set up to access the school's network, use Compass (or the relevant program) and have any required software already loaded. However, sometime sessional teachers prefer to have their own devices so they can access files that they have already created instead of using a USB or external hard drive. Schools tend to prefer that they don't do this.

      • No. Teachers in public schools get free laptops and are upgraded every cycle.

        • Not country wide. WA certainly don’t provide laptops to teachers. Some schools might, but the dept of education WA (the actual employer in the public system) definitely doesn’t provide one to all teachers. They can choose to lease a computer from the department at their own cost, or provide their own.

      • Victorian government school teachers are provided with laptops but laptops belong to the school so they have to hand it back when they leave the school.

  • +16

    Okay this may be out of the left field but a Macbook Air M1.

    • Retains value well
    • Can be used for at least 5 years+
    • Light
    • Powerful
    • Fantastic battery life

    I was teaching for 8 years and my MBP served me immensely well and it's never switched off, just sleep. No crashes. Before that I went through 2 Dell XPS in two years.

    Ignore if you're not keen on MacOS.

    • +1

      Before that I went through 2 Dell XPS in two years.

      Really? What was wrong with them? Did you get them brand new? My dad's XPS has never had a problem after nearly a decade of heavy usage.

      • New XPS had issues with trackpad, coil whine, loud fans/thermal throttling and battery failure. Obviously not everyone had the problems.

      • Yes was brand new, both times motherboard failures. This was back in 2013.

    • +3

      Yeah I'm with you on that one. I reckon the M1 will last for 5 - 7 years comfortably.

      It's a pretty good time to buy a mac.

    • I had a Dell XPS13 for 5 years, still running strong; apart from the battery life and a few stuck keys. I now used it for video streaming. Love the light weight and the size of the XPS.

    • I'd take a good look at the schools existing equipment and recommended/required software before going all-in on a Mac, for most things they'll get the job done but drivers (for example certain copiers, interactive whiteboards/displays, robotics equipment may not be compatible). Also out of the box they can't stream to Miracast devices so make sure you've got a dongle or adapter to cover most situations.

      Regardless of which device you go for please remember to maintain regular backups that aren't stored with the computer.

  • +1

    Dell outlet.

    • if they can supply at moment.. last 4 i ordered in June only just arrived.

  • +2

    Refurbished lenovo Carbon X1 off ebay/marketplace/gumtree

    Can easily change out the battery
    Ram is unfortunately soldered
    Harddrive can be upgraded

    • I second this. I bought a couple of used/refurbished X1's for ebay, amazing machines and usually under $900.

  • Good evening, teacher 😷

  • +3

    Macbook Air on education discount. they're a great machine!

  • +1

    Use and search for your school.
    If not, use the generic BYOD2022 code. You need to enter your school manually. The prices are only slightly discounted compared to retail but come with manufacturer extended warranties and other add ons. Be aware that on-site support applies to the school not your home!

    I used a thinkpad e15 Gen 2 ryzen, works well at my institution especially since it has a now rare Ethernet port (wifi craps with so many students in the class). I also recommend a USBC VGA adapter because school projectors are often ancient. It’s also light and yet has a big screen for my old eyes.

  • Have a look at this article-

  • +1

    As per techradar
    Acer Swift 3
    The best budget laptop in the world
    CPU: up to Intel Core i7-8565UGraphics: Nvidia GeForce MX150, Intel HD Graphics 620 or AMD Radeon Vega 8RAM: 4GB – 8GBScreen: 14-inch FHD (1,920 x 1,080) ComfyView IPS – 15.6" Full HD (1920 x 1080)Storage: 128GB – 1 TB HDD, 16 GB Intel Optane Memory


  • +1

    Does your school not provide a laptop? Seems bit odd. I personally find 2-in-1 tablet laptop super great. Easy to take a roll for someone else's class via tablet/touch mode - connect to projector/smart screen via wifi and use your laptop+stylus to draw/annotate PPT etc.

  • Spend a Bit More and get this one..
    Inspiron 15 Laptop
    Online Price
    Total Savings
    Discounted Price
    Tech Specs
    11th Generation Intel® Core™ i7-11390H Processor (12MB Cache, up to 5.0GHz with ITBM3.0)
    Operating System
    Windows 11 Home, English
    Video Card
    Intel® Iris® Xe Graphics with shared graphics memory
    15.6-inch FHD (1920 x 1080) Anti-glare LED Backlight Non-Touch Narrow Border WVA Display
    Hard Drive
    512GB M.2 PCIe NVMe Solid State Drive
    16GB, 8GBx2, DDR4, 3200MHz
    Primary Battery
    4-Cell Battery, 54WHr (Integrated)
    Intel® Wi-Fi 6 2x2 (Gig+) and Bluetooth 5.1

    • +2

      There's no chance this thing would last all day on battery. You'd be very lucky to get 5 hours out of it.

      OP, can you plugin the Laptop in?

  • +1

    You've provided the wrong information.

    What learning area and subjects do you teach?
    Are you full time?
    Is your school Mac friendly?

    • For a teacher, OP isn't very good at explaining their needs.

  • +5

    M1 MacBook with education discount. Unbeatable for the price. M1 is leaps ahead in performance compared to PC, you'll never need to upgrade. Battery life will be unparalleled too. Windows doesn't stand a chance anymore

    • Long battery life but dud programs.

      We all know I am right.

      • Like what programs?

        • Oh I dunno, only a useless program like office running natively.

          Add to that being a slave to the apple ecosystem

          The op did mention inexpensive

          • +3

            @mdavant: Office runs natively on Mac OS. Also, Pages is the best word processor you'll ever use.

            • +1

              @Brumby92: @Brumby92 The big issue with pages is that all the files you send to everyone else are worthless unless you export them to PDF first. Even if you send it to someone running an older version of Mac OS they have to update to at least the same version of pages it was created in which sometimes means they need to upgrade their entire OS to install that latest pages version.

              Office does run fine natively on M1 though which is great.

            • @Brumby92: The actual programs aren't as polished

  • For a low cost teacher? 🤣

  • Are you a pre-service teacher?

  • +1


  • +1

    Are you a teacher in Victoria? If so and you work in a public school, you qualify for a free department provided laptop while in service.
    If not, I would still give you IT Dept. a visit and ask what they recommend as some schools can get education pricing for good laptops.

    • Depends on time fraction, they'd need to be 0.6+ (3 days) to be eligible for a TPN program notebook from the department.

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