Back to School Tech Buying Guide - What You'll Need and How To Get More From Your Tech

By Mike Hart, Editor | Published 31st Jul 2023

Back to School Tech Buying Guide


When it comes to preparing your child for a new year of schooling, there’s a lot to consider. You may already have a lot of technology at home that will suffice and enable them to continue their learning away from school, but there’s also the opportunity to be blindsided by what’s to come, which can leave you un-prepared and scrambling around for a solution.

Our back to school guide aims to help demystify what’s required and roughly when, so that you can be safe in the knowledge that you’ve got everything to hand to help best prepare your child, enabling them to get the most out of their learning.


A laptop of any description is often the go to all rounder for young children through to college and university students. The ability to research through a plethora of online sources including Google Books, trusted websites, Google, Wikipedia and Youtube can be a great way to gain quick and extensive knowledge on a subject matter. Dependent on your child’s age will alter the criteria required for a good laptop fit for purpose. Children between 8 and 11 will often only need to utilize basic programs like a web browser and Microsoft Word for any research and homework assigned, so a standard slim laptop with a Core i3 processor would be ideal. For those a little older and working on projects including video or photography at GCSE and A-Levels may look for something more powerful to handle the increased load. A gaming laptop can make a great choice as its versatility for work and play will help reduce the need for a higher powered laptop for educational purposes and gaming PC for recreation.


When it comes to choosing the right computer this can be a tricky decision as often it’s intended use will differ greatly depending on how many family members will be using it as well as how it grows with the learner getting older, thus changing their needs and wants for the PC too. Much like our advice on laptops, choosing a solid middle ground gaming PC can be a great decision, as this can ensure everyone in the household can utilize a computer that will match their needs. With Gaming PCs often having faster processors, GPUs, plus more memory and storage, the speed at which they can handle simple to large tasks greatly improves over typical home PCs more inclined for light use. Plus what’s more, as your Children get older and their interest in online gaming intensifies, you’ll be ahead of the curve with a PC that can truly keep up.


When it comes to choosing the right monitor, there’s a few things to consider. First of which many monitors you’ll need. This can be determined by how you as a family like to work, with most people being condition to working from at least two monitors. Studies have shown that you can increase productivity by 42% when working from two monitors instead of just one. A staggering increase when extrapolated over the duration of their use. For those not looking for two monitors but still wanting the increase their productiveness, a curved monitor may be a good middle ground.

Another area to consider when thinking about purchasing a monitor solution will be how adjustable the stand is, or actively the mounting options available through a monitor mount. This is especially important when sharing a work-station that may be used for extended periods of time, as users with different height and eyelines will require a different adjustment in order to get the optimal viewing conditions. This may sound trivial, but positioning your PC set-up in the correct manner can reduce a number of serious long-term issues such as eyestrain, carpal tunnel syndrome, neck pain and posture issues.

Ensuring that your monitor or monitors that force the user to tilt your chin up or down, are likely to cause strain and bad posture. Your screen’s distance away from you will also play a large factor, with the optimal position being around a full extended arm’s length away to ensure prime conditions for extended use.

Get these things basics right and not only can you reduce any likelihood of serious long term issues, but you can also increase productivity and how long you can utilize your PC for at any given time without issue.


When it comes to choosing the right peripherals it isn’t always about style. While a flashy RGB gaming keyboard or gaming mouse might be most people’s go to, there are plenty of other things to consider when choosing the right tools to accompany your PC or laptop. For those looking to extend the ergonomic support, an ergo mouse and keyboard often stand out as a great choice. Allowing for extended use without the risk of carpel tunnel issues down the line. Another factor to look at will be portability. If moving between school, college or university and home, then you may want a small portable mouse that compliments your laptop and allows you to work more conveniently when on the go. Studies have demonstrated that using a mouse with your laptop is 50% more efficient than using the trackpad. So being able to pack away a mouse in your laptop bag can definitely make the difference over time.

If studying at home or within your dorm at a PC then a wireless mouse and keyboard could easily be the go to choice for those looking to create a sleek look, but also have the freedom and portability that a wireless keyboard and mouse can provide.

There are plenty of other key peripherals to consider for your young learners, including headsets for listening to information or lecturers, as well as webcams for communicating with teachers and fellow students.


With so much work now produced digitally at all age ranges within learning, it’s very important to have a way to backup your important files, as well as the ease in which portable storage devices can allow you to work on a variety of different workstations.

We’d heavily recommend opting for a portable SSD given the enhanced speeds and the relatively low cost they can now be obtained for. Yes flash drives are now insanely cheap and the storage amounts can be incredible for the price tag, but ultimately they’re slow and easily lost / stolen.

Whichever you choose, the ability to back-up files away from your PC or laptop, plus the ability to present and or work on them across PCs at your school, college or university makes this a must have for all ages.


Surprisingly you’re still going to need to print off work, yes even in this digital age people still like seeing physical copies of digital work. From homework in secondary school to your final dissertation at university, the need for a good printer remains. You certainly don’t need to spend loads on a printer, as much home use printers can be picked up from under £60 and often come with a black and colour ink set of cartridges to get you going instantly.


A tablet or iPad may seem like a luxury device for those in learning, but this under-rated versatile option can be a great alternative to the laptop when you prefer working for the most part on a PC.

With Children as young as 4 now receiving regular digital homework, games like SumDog and alike offer a great way to educate your child in a fun and modern way, which also helps aid their technological advancement. Tablets can often be housed in a more robust drop-proof case, allowing them to be great for young learners. What’s more they also offer easy ways to lockdown certain apps and settings, so as to protect them online.

Not just for the younger generation, tablets can also be extremely helpful for older children and young adults. Their speed in which they can jump to life and access information makes for a great research tool and with advancements in accompanying accessories / application support, they can even be used as a portable laptop.


Ultimately everyone’s need is different and will depend on a variety of factors including age, location, and subject/s being studied. Hopefully our back to school buying guide will have provided you with enough information to make some informed decisions when thinking about purchasing tech to help your child continue their learning.

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