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Educational Tablet & Laptop Guide Spring 2019

Tablets: iPadsWindowsAndroids | Chromebooks | Laptops: AppleWindows

Device Requirements

We’ve made some changes to what we consider acceptable devices based on feedback from teachers and students. This does not mean that you have to buy a new device for your student. But when you do buy a new device, it should meet these new guidelines:

Battery life: The minimum battery life requirement remains the same at 7 hours. You might consider a device with a longer battery life if you will want your student to use their device after school as well as during school. Students are expected to come to school with a fully charged device each day.

Screen size: A few years ago we upped the minimum screen size to 9 inches.  Students tended to have more problems with smaller screened devices and students with larger tablets report that they are happier with their devices.

Tablet Storage: The minimum storage requirement has been changed to 32GB (increased from 16GB). Please note however that this is the amount of space that we recommend for school use. If a student will have their personal games, music, photos and videos on a device then you should look for a device with more memory, expandable memory or cloud storage.

Tablet Type: Students have had more problems with certain types of tablets than others. While these devices might work fine for some applications, they don’t work well for school work. We no longer recommend Android devices (including Kindles and Nooks). We also don’t recommend Windows Tablets that use any discontinued version of Microsoft Windows (e.g. Windows RT).

Wireless: Lincoln Lutheran Access Points are setup to work best with the 802.11ac wireless standard (commonly referred to as WiFi 5). All new devices should support this standard, but if you’re looking to repurpose a device for student use, you should make sure it will work with our wireless network.

NOTE: In previous years we recommended specific devices. We are no longer doing so, but if you would like to see the devices we recommended in the past, here is the list from 2018, the last year we gave specific recommendations

Tablets (iPads)

The majority of our students use the Apple iPad. They report very few problems with the full size iPads. The iPad mini can be too small for some of the things we do. Our teachers all have iPads and will be more likely to be able to help with iPads than with other devices. You can lease an iPad from Lincoln Lutheran for $17 per month (less if you qualify for free or reduced lunches).

All of the current models of iPads are good, and last year’s models will work fine as well. If you purchase or use an older iPad, just know that you might only get a couple of years use out of it. At the recommendation of students, we no longer included the iPad mini in the list.

You might consider checking out the Refurbished iPads from the Apple Store. They come with completely new exteriors and a full warranty. Mr. Sommerer has been happy with the refurbished Apple products that he has purchased for school and personal use. The iPad models that are available from their refurbished section change frequently.

Tablets (Windows)

If you are a Windows household, but would still like to use a tablet, you should have any problem as long as you stay away from Windows RT. Note that some Windows tablets come with keyboards and some do not.

Tablets (Android)

Android tablets were the devices that students were least satisfied with for school related uses. We no longer recommend Android devices (this includes the Amazon Kindle and the Barnes & Noble Nook). There are hundreds of Android devices. The only student who were at all happy with theirs use Samsung devices. Be wary of purchasing a similarly named, but older version of current devices. If the prices are a lot cheaper than the prices you see in other places, make sure you are getting the same device. Again, based on our student survey results, we do not recommend these devices. But if you need to purchase an Android device, a Samsung is probably your best bet.


Chromebooks were rated highly by our students this year.  They seemed to work well for school related tasks. Mr. Heibel has been using a Chrombook for the past 5 years. Chromebooks are not full-featured laptops. They are designed to use Google’s internet based applications. They also don’t cost as much as a laptop. There are many Chrombooks available, make sure you check their battery life before purchasing. The combination of a Chromebook and a smartphone may be a good combination for some students.

Apple Laptops

Apple laptops received high scores from our students. We recommend that you take a look at the refurbished ones on Apple’s online store. If you are buying local, Computer Hardware Inc (just South of O street on 70th) has always been very good to Lincoln Lutheran.

Windows Laptops

There are many more Windows Laptops with an acceptable battery life than there were just a few years ago. There are a wide range of brands and models of Windows laptops, and you generally get what you pay for, so if you find a really cheap one, make sure that it meets the general requirements above. Look for at least 4GB and preferable 8GB of RAM and at least 8 hours of battery life.

Updated on September 4, 2019

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