Buying school supplies is easy (there are only so many different types of pens you can buy). But buying a new laptop? Not so much. With hundreds of brands, styles, and features to choose from, it can feel overwhelming at best and near impossible at worst.
To help you shop smarter, our experts spent hours testing some of the most popular laptops out there and found the one that is best for high school students in particular: the Asus Chromebook Flip C434.
Why the Chromebook Flip is our top pick for high schoolers
To put it simply, this laptop has all the features that you want—or rather, need—at a price that won't completely blow your budget. "The Asus Chromebook Flip C434 is just about perfect for high school students," our Exec Editor, TJ Donegan, says. "It's inexpensive, but has a high-quality design and just enough power and storage for basic tasks like writing papers, filling out college applications, and browsing the web without being frustratingly slow."
And not only is the Flip super slim and lightweight (it weighs just three pounds!), but it also has a 360-degree hinge so you can rotate the screen to stand it up or use it in tablet mode.
What makes the Chromebook Flip better than other laptops
So why would you choose the Flip over the uber trendy MacBook or even the Surface? "While you can certainly pick up a higher-end Windows laptop or a MacBook, for $600 you're getting a Chromebook that is sturdy, has great battery life, and feels fast," Donegan explains. "You can't even get a new MacBook for that cheap and most $600 Windows laptops will feel much slower and have worse battery life by comparison."
Not to mention, spending a lot of money on a high-end laptop that will just get tossed in a backpack and jostled on the bus ride to school isn't the smartest choice. The Flip is less expensive so you won't feel bad if something (inevitably) happens to it, yet it still gives students what they need.
What to know when buying the Chromebook Flip
While the Flip may be enough on its own, some students may need more storage space, particularly if they plan on using their laptop for photos or large documents. Donegan says, "We would recommend getting a microSD card to add extra storage (you can nab a 128GB card for less than $20 these days) but otherwise this should handle everything your student needs." He suggests adding this SanDisk Ultra 128GB microSD Card to your cart while you shop.