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Laptop guidelines


Laptops are the multi-purpose workhorse device for students, with most utilising a ‘desktop’ environment and productivity programs. Modern operating systems also connect to dedicated App stores similar to tablets and phones.

Laptops have multiple connection ports for external devices, such as USB and can also connect to ‘cloud’ internet based storage such as the school provided Office 365/OneDrive tools from the Portal@TWC page.

Parents and students have the option to choose their own device that must meet the minimum requirements, or select a compatible laptop from the BYOD purchase portal.
Click here for a BYOD purchase checklist which helps explain some of the options


Laptop capabilities in class:

  • Accessing work via SEQTA LEARN
  • Internet research
  • Accessing online services such as email and clickview via the Portal@TWC page
  • All Office 365 features (Email, Onenote, OneDrive etc.)
  • Complex document creation
  • Photo/Video editing
  • ‚ÄčAudio recording
  • For more information about how to use your BYOD click here


BYODs must meet the minimum requirements of:

  • A 6 hour battery life
  • Dual band WiFi
  • Active anti-virus
  • A protective sleeve/case


Also consider the following when choosing a laptop:

  • Avoid Chromebooks or Windows 10S laptops - Although cheaper, these are often restricted by storage, warranty and the ability to install programs, as only apps installed from their respective app store will work. They will not allow BYOD versions of music studies or visual arts programs to be installed.

  • Screen size – Useful sizes are between 10 and 13 inches for average users,  larger screen sizes can affect portability, weight and battery life. Specialist courses such as graphic design utilise larger, more vibrant screens.

  • Processor performance – For normal school use, any of the current generation laptop processors are suitable and ‘mid range’ models (e.g. Intel i3 or i5) work very well. Higher performance (e.g. Intel i7) processors may benefit students who wish to focus on intensive multimedia or design applications. For an i5 vs i7 comparison, click here.
    Rather than having the fastest processor, consider a Solid State Drive (SSD – discussed below) which can provide an excellent performance gain over a standard laptop hard disk.

  • Hard drive type and capacity Solid State Drive (SSD) recommended – Standard hard drives have much larger capacity, but are slower, more prone to failure and sensitive to ‘knocks and drops’. Solid State Disks have lower capacities, but are MUCH faster, use less power and contain no moving parts. For comparison information, click here.

  • ProtectionMake sure you protect your laptop against drops and knocks with a sleeve or shell cover and a padded laptop bag. Students should keep their device in its protective bag when not in use. For more information about protection, click here.

  • InsuranceIt is recommended parents check their home insurance coverage to see if your students laptop is covered against theft or damage at school.

  • Warranty – If within budget, obtain an extended warranty (e.g. 3 years) for your device, as most are only covered for a single year. With a more expensive laptop, the warranty will guarantee its use for more than 1 year. Check to see if the warranty covers accidental damage and batteries with reducing run times.

  • Touchscreens can make laptops easier to use and are more common on Windows laptops.

  • Convertible tablet/laptops, as shown in the Windows image below, combine the benefits of a tablet and laptop (with keyboard), in a hybrid device.

  • A printed flyer of device options is also available at each of the school’s admin offices.


Click a title below for more information

Microsoft Windows


Multiple price points and variety from inexpensive to premium devices
Performance varies depending on price
Windows 10S - although devices are cheaper, they have less capability and storage compared to normal Windows 10 Home/Pro versions. A free upgrade from Windows 10S to Windows 10 Home is available as a once off from the Microsoft store, although the lower storage space available with Windows 10S devices may prevent students from installing needed software.


Apple MacBook Air


Less expensive than the MacBook Pro
Combines portability and performance


Apple MacBook Pro


 Premium devices with high performance, quality and design, but can be expensive

Tenison Woods College respectfully acknowledges the Boandik people are the First Nations people of the Mount Gambier South Eastern region of South Australia and pay respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, past, present and emerging.