A+ School Ready technology: work smarter, not harder this year

By Mike Agerbo

There are so many choices when it comes to personal computing devices, it can be a little confusing when shopping for the best option for back-to-school. Luckily, Staples and Microsoft have the school ready devices you need to make it a little easier. It’s easy to get lost in all the speeds and feeds, so let’s break it down to what I consider some of the more important things to consider. For me, it comes down to three P’s – Price, Power and Productivity.

What will device be used for? Basics, like creating documents, email, web browsing? Or will it be used for more intensive things, like video editing, maybe a little gaming on the side? Do you want to be able to use a pen to take notes, tablet style?

Let’s start with Price. If you’re looking for some options that won’t break the bank, I would recommend looking at either the HP Stream 14 or the ASUS W202. Both laptops offer features that are great for the budget-minded, while still giving you the power to get your schoolwork done. Both have batteries that can run for 10 hours so you don’t have to worry about recharging during the school day, and are preloaded with Windows 10 to run your favourite programs.

Power is important if you’re looking to take things up a notch. Photo, video editing and gaming require more speed, and storage. I recommend checking out the ASUS Zenbook UX430. It has a 7th Generation Core-i3 processor, Intel HD graphics and 128GB SSD for storage. Speaking of storage, most of these devices have some type of solid state drive (SSD for short). They’re essentially hard drives with no moving parts – digital memory, like you would use in your camera or smartphone. The advantage is the durability and increased speed. Many of the laptops come with some type of free cloud storage for the 1st year. The best value if they don’t is an Office 365 subscription, which gets you all your favourite Microsoft Office apps, and 1TB of One Drive cloud storage – more than enough room for most students.

Productivity is important for students, and there are a lot options to help in this department. Windows 10 is a big help with its built in voice assistant Cortana. It makes it a breeze to find the information you need for your school project, get the latest sport scores, or double check your math equations, all by just using your voice. It’s very cool and incredibly useful. If you have the budget, look at the HP Pavilion x360 and Microsoft Surface Pro. Both have touch screens, and convert to tablet mode to use Windows Ink You can use a special stylus to write out your notes, edit photos, do math… the possibilities are literally endless. It’s like writing on paper, but with powerful tools like hand writing recognition built in.

No matter which device you look at, make sure you have the connectivity you need. Look for an HDMI port, to hook up to a projector, monitor or TV. Make sure there’s enough USB ports to connect things like printers, scanners, graphics tablets and music keyboards. If you’re planning on using some of the newer gear on the market, look for USB C connections. I also find having an SD card slot super handy for transferring documents or pictures from digital cameras or smartphones.

Most of all remember that your device is a tool to help you get your school work done and you’ll be working and living with it. If you can, hit a Staples store and check out the different options – look at the screen, type on the keyboard. It’s important that it fits you. With Microsoft and Staples in your corner with the A+ School Ready Windows Collection, it will be that much easier to choose.

Stay updated with all things Staples this summer by checking out our Back-to-School centre at www.staples.ca/bts


About the Author: As one of Canada’s most well-known technology figures, Mike Agerbo is an award-winning television producer and veteran TV personality. You can watch him weekly on his GetConnectedTV show on The Business News Network, AMI, CityTV and CHECKTV across the country.

By Michelle Janzso

July 05, 2018

Staples Canada