After the last two years, it’s fair to say that remote learning and remote work are here to stay at least in some capacity. It’s not all bad – working or learning remotely can give you more flexibility and freedom, and many places take a hybrid approach that give you the best of both worlds. But that means you’re going to need a great laptop, and we’re here to help. We’ve already written about the best PCs for remote work, and in this article, we’ll focus on the best laptops for remote learning.
There are a few things to consider when choosing a laptop for remote learning. One factor we’d say is somewhat important is that it’s not overly expensive, since not everyone is willing to spend thousands of dollars on a laptop for a young student. We’d also favor having good webcams, which might be important for online classes, but you can always consider buying an external webcam if you want better camera quality. And of course, a great display and solid performance are also quite important so students can keep up with their classes and assignments more easily.
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Best overall: HP Envy x360 15
HP makes some of the best and most popular laptops in the world, and the Envy series strikes a great balance of premium features and a relatively affordable price. It has the performance to keep up with all kinds of school work, it has a great screen, and it’s versatile, all while being budget-friendly.
There are multiple versions of the Envy x360, both with Intel and AMD processors, but we’ll focus on the former. The HP Envy x360 is powered by an Intel Core i7-1165G7 processor, which has four cores, eight threads, and boost speeds up to 4.7GHz. It’s one of the fastest CPUs around, plus it has integrated Iris Xe graphics for some light GPU workloads, too. It will breeze through just about any school task, especially with 16GB of RAM included as well. Plus, you can get up to a 1TB SSD for storage.
The display is great too. It’s a large 15.6-inch screen that’s great to work on, and it comes in Full HD (1920 x 1080) by default, which is already great. You can upgrade to a brighter 400-nit panel, which we’d recommend if you want to use the laptop outside. And if you have money to spare, there’s even an incredibly sharp 4K (3840 x 2160) AMOLED option that’s not only great for work but also a stellar way to watch movies and videos on.
The webcam here is a 720p HD camera, and that’s the minimum requirement for a Windows PC nowadays. It’s good enough to use for calls and online classes, though it won’t stand out as a particularly great camera. There’s no Windows Hello facial recognition support, but it does have a fingerprint reader on the keyboard, so it’s easy to unlock.
Design-wise, the Envy x360 is premium, but not flashy. It’s an all-silver laptop (some other models are black), and while it looks and feels good, it’s not super unique. It weighs 4.35lbs and it’s 18.8mm thick, so it’s not super light, but that shouldn’t be a problem if you’re learning from home. One thing this model has is a full number pad, which might be useful if your classes involve a lot of number crunching.
As for ports, the HP Envy x360 comes with one USB Type-C port, two USB Type-A ports, HDMI, a headphone jack, and a full-size SD card reader. It’s a solid setup that covers most needs you’d have. The USB Type-C port doesn’t support Thunderbolt, but we wouldn’t consider that an essential feature for a student.
All in all, the HP Envy x360 balance of performance, display, and price makes it easily one of the best laptops you get for remote learning. You can check out the AMD version here if you find it more interesting.
Best premium laptop for remote learning: Surface Laptop 4
If you want a premium laptop experience across the board and you’re willing to spend a bit more, the Surface Laptop 4 is one of the best options for school, including remote learning. It has a premium design, a great display to get work done, and high-end performance, all wrapped in a sleek chassis. It comes in 13.5-inch and 15-inch versions so you can choose what works best for you.
The Surface Laptop 4 comes in both Intel and AMD flavors, and it maxes it with an Intel Core i7-1185G7 processor (both sizes), or a custom AMD Ryzen 7 4980U (15-inch model; Ryzen 5 4680U for the 13.5-inch version). No matter which version you go with, you’re going to get great performance, so there’s not necessarily a wrong choice. AMD models may be a bit slower, especially on battery power, but they also last longer on a charge. Intel models do come with up to 32GB of RAM and a 1TB SSD, while AMD versions max out with 16GB of RAM and a 512GB SSD. Still, both are fantastic options.
The display on the Surface Laptop 4 is one of its highlights. It comes with either a 13.5-inch or a 15-inch panel, but both have exactly the same pixel density, meaning they both look great. The 13.5-inch model has a resolution of 2256 x 1504, while the 15-inch model goes up to 2496 x 1664. On top of that, these panels come in the 3:2 aspect ratio, which is taller than your typical 16:9 display. A taller screen means more vertical space and more display area for things like text in documents or rows in Excel, so it’s great for working on school projects. It’s a touchscreen, too, so you can interact with some things more intuitively by just touching them or using the Surface Pen.
The Surface Laptop 4 uses a 720p webcam like most other laptps on this list, but Surface devices typically have some of the best cameras out of any laptop. While the resolution isn’t anything special, this is still one of the better cameras you’ll find on a laptop. Plus, it supports Windows Hello facial recognition so it’s easy to unlock your PC.
Design-wise, the Surface Laptop 4 has that clean and minimalist aesthetic of the Surface family, but it’s not boring. It comes in four colors (only two for the 15-inch model) – Platinum, Matte Black, Ice Blue (13.5-inch), and Sandstone (13.5-inch) – so you can still get something that’s more unique to your tastes. And if you go with the smaller 13.5-inch model, the Platinum and Ice Blue models have an Alcantara-covered keyboard deck. This is a soft fabric that feels really nice to the touch, and it makes the laptop more comfortable to use, especially when it’s cold and you don’t want to feel cold metal on your wrists.
Coming around to the ports, the Surface Laptop 4 has one USB Type-C port, one USB Type-A, a Surface Connect port, and a 3.5mm headphone jack. While we don’t expect most students to have a second screen, some users may have liked to have a display output, so it’s a bit of a shame that it’s not built in. You can use a Surface Dock with the Surface Connect port or a USB-C adapter if you want to connect an external display, though.
Whether it’s for remote or in-person learning, the Surface Laptop 4 is one of the best laptops you can get for a student.
Best Chromebook: Acer Chromebook Spin 713
Chromebooks are super popular for school, and for many schools, they might be the ideal solution. The Acer Chromebook Spin 713 is one of the very best Chrome OS laptops you can buy right now, so if you’re interested in remote learning, this is a fantastic choice.
While many Chromebooks come with low-end hardware (and they can still run well that way), the Acer Chromebook Spin 713 feels like a premium laptop in almost every way, including performance. It has an Intel Core i5-1135G7 processor with four cores, eight threads, and boost speeds up to 4.4GHz. This is an excellent CPU for just about anything you could want to do on a Chromebook, and everything will run smoothly on it. It even has integrated Iris Xe graphics. The laptop also comes with 8GB of RAM so multi-tasking isn’t a problem, and you get 256GB of SSD storage for your files. Considering Chrome OS relies a lot more on cloud storage, that’s probably more than you’ll ever need.
The Chromebook Spin 713 is also one of the very few Chrome OS laptops with a tall 3:2 display, which also makes it one of the best for productivity. It’s a 13.5-inch panel and it comes in 2256 x 1504 resolution, so it gives you plenty of space to work with and it looks sharp and vibrant. Plus, this is a convertible, so you can also count on touch and pen support, and you can even use it like a tablet.
For online classes and calls, you get a 720p webcam, which does the job well enough. There’s no facial recognition support, or any form of biometric authentication, which is one of the downsides of this laptop. All it means is you’ll need to enter your password to unlock the laptop every time, so how much of a problem it is depends on how much you value convenience.
The design of the Acer Chromebook Spin 713 is premium, albeit not particularly flashy. It’s an all-metal laptop with Corning Gorilla Glass protecting the display, so it certainly feels sturdy and durable. It even achieves military standards (MIL-STD-810H) for durability, so it can survive some accidental drops and bumps. Some may find the all-grey design a bit boring, but it does the job, and it’s a decently portable laptop, too.
As for ports, you get two Thunderbolt 4/USB-C ports, one USB Type-A port, HDMI, a microSD card reader, and a headphone jack, which is a very good setup for a laptop of this size. This should allow you to connect just about any peripheral you want, and you shouldn’t need any adapters, so there isn’t much more you can ask for.
Considering the sub-$700 price point, this isn’t just one of the best Chromebooks, it’s one of the best value laptops you can buy for remote learning. Of course, you’ll need to make sure Chrome OS works for you, but it should be good enough for many students.
Best affordable laptop for remote learning: HP Pavilion Aero
Want a great laptop that doesn’t break the bank? The HP Pavilion Aero is one of the best value laptops we’ve seen recently. It checks all the right boxes and still manages to come in at an affordable price, so you can’t go wrong with it if you’re on a small budget.
First off, it’s powered by AMD Ryzen processors up to an AMD Ryzen 7 5800U, which is one of the best 15W processors on the market right now. It has 8 cores, 16 threads, and it can boost up to 4.4GHz, so you’ll have fantastic performance, especially for multi-tasking. It also comes with up to 16GB of RAM (8GB minimum) and a 1TB SSD. It covers all the basic needs you could have at a very compelling price point.
The display is also surprisingly good for this price. It’s a 13.3-inch panel, and it comes in Full HD+ (1920 x 1200) in the base configuration, which is something you don’t always get at this price point, especially combined with the high-end processors. Not only that, you can upgrade to an even better Quad HD+ (2560 x 1600) panel for just $30, which is even less common for a laptop at this price. The display doesn’t support touch, but that’s not a feature everyone needs, and this is still fantastic value.
Above the display, the HP Pavilion Aero has a 720p webcam, which, much like most laptops on this list, does the job. It’s not particularly great, but it’s not terrible either. It doesn’t support Windows Hello facial recognition, but if you want an easy way to unlock the PC, you do get a fingerprint reader for that.
Many laptops at this price point tend to make sacrifices in design, but the HP Pavilion Aero is a pleasant surprise here, too. It has a magnesium alloy chassis, which allows it to be extremely light, weighing less than 2.2lbs. It’s also just 17mm, so this is a very portable laptop. What’s more, the laptop comes in a few different colors, which is also rare for this price point, especially for a laptop made of metal. You can choose from silver, white, gold, and rose gold.
And for ports, you get a solid selection, too. It has one USB Type-C port, two USB Type-A ports, HDMI, and a headphone jack, so it covers most basic needs you could have. You can connect a handful of peripherals and a second screen if you have one, which is all most students should need.
The HP Pavilion Aero offers more value than almost any other Windows laptop you can buy right now, and it’s easily one of the best choices if you want something to use for remote learning.
Best 17-inch laptop for remote learning: LG gram 17
If you want a large-screen laptop for your school work, the LG gram 17 is probably the best option around. This one is admittedly a bit expensive for just remote learning, but if you want a great experience on a large laptop, this is one of your best bets. Going for a lower price on a 17-inch laptops usually means some bigger sacrifices have to be made.
The LG gram 17 is powered by an Intel Core i7-1195G7, a quad-core, eight-thread processor with boost speeds up to 5GHz, which is one of the fastest 15W processors you can find today. It also includes Intel Iris Xe graphics, so you can use it for some light GPU workloads. This model also comes with 16GB of RAM and a 1TB SSD, giving you plenty of performance for multi-tasking and a lot of space for school projects and files.
If you’re here for the display, there’s a lot to love in the gram 17, too. It’s a 17-inch panel and it comes in the 16:10 aspect ratio, so it’s going to feel massive. As we’ve mentioned, taller screens give you more surface area, thus more space for content. When you apply that to a 17-inch display, it feels huge. It’s a sharp display, too, coming in Quad HD+ (2560 x 1600) resolution. Full HD is generally a good place to start already, but on a 17-inch laptop, not so much. The extra resolution really pays off here.
For everything it gets right, the LG gram 17 still has a 720p webcam, so it’s not exactly a standout among premium laptops. It does the job fine, though. There’s no Windows Hello facial recognition, but LG builds a fingerprint sensor into the power button, so it’s very easy to unlock your laptop as soon as you turn it on.
Being lightweight is the whole design philosophy behind the LG gram 17, which means this is one of the most portable laptops you can find, somehow weighing under 3lbs. Sure, you’re using it for remote learning, but if you also want to take it to school or anywhere else in the future, this is probably the only 17-inch laptop that lets you do that comfortably. It comes in either white, silver, or black, so it looks professional in just about any setting.
And for ports, you’re looking at two Thunderbolt 4 connections, two USB Type-A ports, HDMI, a headphone jack, and a microSD card reader. It covers all your needs and then some, and it’s hard to complain about any of it.
The LG gram 17 is one of the best laptops you can buy today, and while it may be great for remote learning, it can also be great for much more than that, so it’s an easy recommendation.
Best for gaming on the side: Dell G15
You may be buying a laptop for school, but if there’s one thing kids love using their laptops for, it’s gaming. If you want to unwind after your school work and play some games, the Dell G15 is a great laptop that can play most modern games with some tweaked settings, and just about any older game you could want to. Of course, it’ll also do a great job for school work.
First off, this model of the Dell G15 is powered by an AMD Ryzen 5 5600H processor, which is a 45W processor with 6 cores, 12 threads, and boost speeds up to 4.2GHz. Because it has a higher power rating, this is going to be noticeably faster than most laptops we’ve mentioned above, especially if you’re playing games. Backing that up, there’s an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050 graphics card. As we’ve mentioned, that’s more than capable of running most modern games, though you may need to adjust some settings in more demanding titles. You also get 8GB of RAM of the box (you can upgrade it later), and a 512GB SSD that should be able to store school documents and games alike.
For the display, you’re looking at a 15.6-inch panel that comes in Full HD resolution (1920 x 1080), which is just fine for gaming. It doesn’t have a tall screen like many laptops on this list do, but wide screens are still very popular for gaming. It also has a 120Hz refresh rate, which is also great if you want your games to run as smoothly as possible. This should do a great job for both work and play.
Just like most other laptops on this list, the webcam on the Dell G15 is a 720p camera, and there’s no Windows Hello support either, whether that be via facial recognition or a fingerprint sensor. That’s a feature most gaming laptops don’t have, so it’s not too surprising.
The big caveat with this laptop is that it’s only ideal for learning remotely. Like most gaming laptops, especially more affordable ones, the Dell G15 is thick and heavy, so it’s not something a student should be carrying around all day to school. If the laptop can stay at home, then that shouldn’t be a problem. The laptop does look cool, though, using a textured great chassis with black spots that gives it a pretty unique look. It’s not as obnoxious as some gaming laptops can be, which you might like.
As for ports, the Dell G15 has a pretty complete setup. You get one USB Type-C port, three USB Type-A ports, HDMI, 2.5Gbps Ethernet, and a headphone jack, covering pretty much all you could need. You even get fast wired internet if you need it for gaming or if your Wi-Fi just isn’t reliable enough for online classes. It’s certainly a solid selection of ports that makes good use of this large chassis.
It’s not for everyone, but for the student who’s learning remotely and wants to play games, this is one of the best choices.
Best budget tablet: Surface Go 3
If you want something affordable, compact, and versatile, the Surface Go 3 is a great laptop for students, especially younger ones with lighter workloads. It doesn’t have top-notch specs, but it’s got a great display, a great webcam for online classes, and it can still handle basic day-to-day tasks like writing documents and browsing the web without a problem.
It’s powered by either an Intel Pentium Gold 6500Y or an Intel Core i3-10100Y, and the latter of those is the more powerful model. It’s a dual-core, four-thread CPU that can boost up to 3.9GHz, so it can still handle basic tasks just fine. It has a low 5W TDP, so it’s not going to be as fast as more expensive laptops, but it should give you solid battery life in return. You can also get the Surface Go 3 with 8GB of RAM and a 128GB SSD, wand that’s something we’d really recommend, even if you stick to the lowered Pentium Gold processor. The base model uses slower storage, which makes a bigger difference than you might think.
The Surface Go 3 makes up for its lesser performance with a great screen, though. It’s a 10.5-inch panel and it comes in Full HD+ (1920 x 1280) resolution, which is very sharp for a display of this size. It’s also using that 3:2 aspect ratio Microsoft always uses for its devices, so it feels a bit bigger than it may seem on paper. It’s a great screen for reading, typing, and watching content, and the small size helps this be a very portable device.
Something else that’s great on the Surface Go 3 is the webcam. It’s using a 5MP on the front with support for 1080p video, making it one of the best cameras out of any laptop on this list. It’s great for online classes so everyone can see you clearly. It also supports Windows Hello facial recognition, a rare feature for laptops at this price. As bonus, there’s another camera with an 8MP sensor on the back, so you can record videos or take pictures for school in a pinch.
Portability is also something the Surface Go 3 excels at. It’s a small tablet that weighs just 1.2lbs, and it’s just 8.3mm thick. Even if you add the Type Cover, which is sold separately, it only adds up to 1.74lbs and 12.9mm, so it’s still super portable. The design is also nice aesthetically, with a clean and minimalist look using a magnesium chassis. It comes in either Platinum or Matte Black colors, so you can choose what fits your style best.
The port selection on the Surface Go 3 is about what you’d expect from a tablet. You get a USB Type-C port, a Surface Connect port, a headphone jack, and a microSD card reader. For LTE-enabled models, there’s also a nano-SIM card tray. And yes, you can get the Surface Go 3 with LTE if you want to stay connected to the internet while away from home. That way, you can attend classes from anywhere.
As we’ve already mentioned, Chrome OS is very popular in some schools, and if you want a more affordable option that’s also very lightweight and portable, the HP Chromebook x2 11 is a fantastic choice, especially for younger children.
It’s powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 7c chipset, which is based on the Arm architecture. This is an 8-core chipset with four performance cores and four efficient cores, and it can handle most day-to-day tasks just fine. Chrome OS is a lightweight operating system, and it’s the perfect fit for this kind of hardware. It also has 9GB of RAM and 128GB of eMMC storage (there’s also a cheaper 4GB/64GB configuration if you want something even cheaper).
The display on the Chromebook x2 11 is also great: An 11-inch panel with a 3:2 aspect ratio that’s great to get work done, but also watch content on. it comes in a very sharp 2160 x 1440 resolution, even sharper than the Surface Go 3, and it also supports touch and pen input. Plus, unlike the Surface, the pen is included in the box, so you don’t have to worry about buying it separately.
You also get great cameras for video calls, online classes, and recording video in a pinch. The front-facing camera is a 5MP sensor, and on the back, there’s an 8MP camera that you can use to record videos or show off something that’s in front of you. There’s no facial recognition because that’s not something Chrome OS supports, but you do get a fingerprint reader built into the tablet so it’s easy to unlock.
The main chassis of the HP Chromebook x2 11 is made of aluminum, which allows it to feel premium and durable. It also has a detachable back plate that serves as a kickstand so you can use it like a laptop, and a detachable keyboard to go along with it. These attachments are grey, or blue in the lower-tier model. By itself, the tablet weighs a mere 1.23bs, but the keyboard and kickstand take that to a total of 2.27lbs. It’s still very much portable and lightweight, though it’s not quite on the same level as the Surface Go 3.
As for ports, you get two USB-C ports and a microSD card reader, which isn’t far from what you’d expect out of a tablet. The lack of a headphone jack may be a problem for some users, and it’s kind of surprising to see it missing, but this is a very thin device when you don’t have the kickstand attached, so it probably wouldn’t be possible to fit it in here.
The HP Chromebook x2 11 deserves a spot among the best laptops for remote learning, especially if it’s for a younger student. You can buy it below or find the cheaper 4GB/64GB model here.
Whether you’re buying for a younger student or someone in the later years of their school journey, there are a few great laptops to choose from for remote learning. We gave the top spot to the Envy x360 15 because it’s a premium laptop with great performance, a great display, a versatile design, and because Windows is the operating system most people are familiar. However, these are all great choices depending on your specific needs and preferences.
If you’re a college student and you want something a little more suited for your needs, be sure to check out the best laptops for college students.
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