Many schools around the U.S. are bringing students back to school digitally this fall, and with transitioning to an online classroom comes a slew of possible technical issues. The most you can do is be prepared for any eventuality, and having the right tools can help you be better prepared for online learning. We've got recommendations for the best laptop you can buy, the best laptop for students, and even the best laptop under $1,000. And there's one thing all three lists have in common—HP sits at the top.
Seeing HP at the top of our laptop roundups isn't surprising. The company boasts an impressive line of high-performing and affordable laptops that are perfect for students, whether they're in college or primary school. But if you venture over to the HP Store, you'll see the company sells far more than just laptops, and when you catch the site during one of its sales, you can snag some of our favorite products for a great discount. We've gathered some of the best items from HP that can help students prepare for whatever their semester looks like.
1. A new laptop for a great price
If you didn't have a laptop in a pre-coronavirus world, taking your classes online might mean you now require one. Laptops are an investment, but fortunately HP offers a laptop that can hold its own against the Macbook Pros of the world and still keep you in budget—the HP Envy x360. The Envy x360 laptop is a great option for students, with a touch display, 8GB memory, and the opportunity to save some money on Microsoft Office products built-in.
We reviewed the HP Envy x360 and it quickly became our recommendation for the best laptop for students, namely due to its eight hours of battery and unbeatable price. In the words of our executive editor TJ Donegan, "it's a fantastic laptop for students, professionals, or anyone that needs a highly portable, powerful laptop at a great price."
2. A second screen for your workspace
The merits of the dual screen cannot be denied. As someone that has worked from home for the last year or so, I can genuinely say that having a dual-screen makes me more productive, and gives me a sense of place in terms of the area I've designated for work so that I don't just spend my days in bed on my computer. If you have the desk space for it, consider investing in a secondary monitor you can plug your laptop into.
The HP P204 19.5-inch Monitor is well-priced, big enough to be useful, but not so large you'll feel overwhelmed by its presence on your desk.Reviewers enjoyed having this monitor as part of their home-office setup and mentioned that the monitor is not adjustable, so keep that in mind if you need to adjust your monitor to a certain angle to feel comfortable.
3. A separate keyboard for easier paper-writing
Sometimes there's real value in having an essay-writing session in a library, where you can use a computer that's not your own and immerse yourself in work. Having a separate keyboard can help duplicate that effect, and this keyboard from HP is easy to set up with your device and comes complete with a wireless mouse. Reviewers enjoyed the reliability of this keyboard and said it works across a range of computer models.
4. A printer for all your paper needs
Whether you're printing out syllabi, class notes, papers, or worksheets, you need a reliable printer that can get the job done. This HP DeskJet printer is cost-effective, compact, and mobile-friendly, even allowing users to print from the HP Smart app.
This printer is affordable, which is always a great consideration for students working within a budget. Reviewers praise the printer for its performance at its price point.
5. A USB-C to HDMI adapter
If you have a Macbook to do schoolwork on, or even a lot of the other more recent laptop models by other brands, it's likely you've found yourself in need of a USB-C converter. This converter will allow you to connect your computer to an HDMI cord. If you want something a little more heavy-duty, check out this more comprehensive dock that includes other cable ports.
6. A great laptop for school (and other hobbies)
Since normal after-school activities might not be on the roster this semester, why not invest in a laptop that will be great for school as well as your other hobbies? We reviewed this OMEN Laptop when we looked at other great school laptops and recommended it for its gorgeous displays and processing power. It's also a well-reviewed gaming laptop, so you'll be able to hop onto Steam after class if you want (and why wouldn't you).
7. A desktop for a more permanent home office
Continuing on the track of investing in school materials that will up your gaming game, consider checking out a desktop computer if you know you'll be doing schoolwork primarily within the same place every day. If you don't need the mobility of a laptop, a desktop is a great option and is often a favored choice among gamers.
Reviewers love the HP Pavillion Gaming Desktop for its easy setup and compact look.
8. A better printer for better note-taking
If you're taking a course that requires a high volume of printing, or you're a visual learner that prefers learning materials you can highlight manually and take notes on, having a printer with more capabilities might be the right move. This HP Envy photo printer has the ability to scan and print items from your phone, as well as tablets and laptops, and can print high-quality photos and papers quickly and efficiently. Reviewers primarily purchased this printer for their home offices and recommended it for the high resolution photos it printed.
9. Headphones so you can shut out the world
One of the hardest parts of working from home comes in the form of distractions, and having over-the-ear headphones can help you reduce background noise for yourself as you listen to lectures or do homework. These headphones were a favorite among reviewers for how comfy they were during long-term wear. Just remember that you're wearing them before you hop on a video call and notice that you're casually cosplaying as a pilot.
10. A photo printer for last year's memories
It's bittersweet, but we're all remembering better days this summer. While you're reliving memories from semesters past, you might want to take the time to finally put together the scrapbook you've been thinking about. The Sprocket printer can help with that. It's compact and Bluetooth capable, so you can print photos right from your phone. This tiny printer will allow you to print photos and stickers so you can decorate to your heart's content.
11. A laptop sleeve for class on the go
If you're planning on traveling to parks or even remote cabins to study and attend class this year, then having a safe way to store your laptop is essential. This laptop sleeve from HP is big enough for most lightweight laptops and has soft padding to keep this year's study companion (your computer) safe and cozy for class on the go. Reviewers recommended this laptop case for its reinforced corners and light weight.
12. A backup laptop charger
If you're taking class at home with another sibling or your parents, it's highly likely that at some point someone might misplace someone else's laptop charger (stares directly into the camera). Having an extra charger on hand is always helpful, and this USB-C travel adapter will allow you to ensure that your computer doesn't die mid-Zoom. It's also great for use with converters, so if and when you travel at some point it will serve you well abroad.
13. A cheaper version of Office
If you're just looking to get through this year with your Office products, look no further than the year-long Office 365 subscription package, which will give you apps like Word and Excel and is currently reduced on HP's website. The package is compatible with iOS, Windows, Android, and Mac OS. It's a great way to nab these essential programs at an affordable cost, especially since you'll be using them a lot more during the school year.
14. Some more gaming gear... for school
OK yes, you may use these accessories for gaming, but not until after school, right? This bundle combines every tech accessory you'd need for a home office in one package, including high-quality headphones, a sturdy keyboard, and a comfortable mouse. Reviewers enjoyed the headphones that came with this bundle and mentioned that the products worked well for everyday use, as well as gaming. If you need to stock up on new computer supplies for school, you may as well get a set that you can use during your free time too!
15. A wireless mouse for when school needs to be a little mobile
Maybe someone has a conference call, maybe you have class. Whatever the reason, it's likely that you'll need tech that can be easily relocated on the fly while you're at school this semester, and this wireless mouse from HP is perfect for a grab-and-go scenario. Reviewers enjoyed this mouse for its ease of movement on a lot of different surfaces and precision. This particular model is also our favorite mouse of 2020.
Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.