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Preparatory School Device Recommendations

Over the last few years, the College has increasingly seen the value for students whose devices support touch and a stylus. A stylus is a pen where the tip is able to be detected on a touchscreen computer. We urge parents and caregivers to consider this when looking to purchase a new device for their child.

Research has indicated that the creation of more diagrams, symbols and numbers when using a stylus has the potential to stimulate ideation, problem-solving, and inferential reasoning, when compared to keyboard/mouse-based interfaces. These are key skills we seek to encourage from our students, as they lead to deeper understandings. A laptop device with inking capability gives students the best of both worlds – when they need to type, it functions as a standard laptop, when they need to ideate, draw and annotate, they can use the stylus – and all of this is recorded and able to be accessed again at any time. The stylus does not replace pen and paper, but enhances the capability of students to record, share and develop ideas in a way that pen and paper does and typing does not.

Accordingly, we have for a few years now highly recommended that any student-owned device in the Secondary School is touchscreen and has a stylus. Our recommended device range reflects this.

Device requirement in the Preparatory School

We require that any newly purchased student-owned device for a student in Year 8 and below supports touch and has a stylus. Students are required to bring their own devices from Year 7 and above. They are optional below Year 7 as College provided devices are made available for use during the school day.

What experience has shown us

We are increasingly finding students that have non-touch devices, who observe their peers using a stylus, are asking their parents and caregivers to swap them to a device that does support touch and a stylus.

Transitioning with an existing device

We recognise that students either transition from a previous school with a Macbook, or inherit one from a family member. As such, we do support Macbooks, but ask that parents and caregivers strongly consider the points above when purchasing a new device for their child’s education at St Andrew’s College. 

Each of our recommended devices has been trialled by the College ICT team and have their own particular selling points. Please refer to the short summary below that briefly outlines what the team found that might help you make your decision on a new device to help support learning at St Andrew's College.

We have two recommended suppliers, Cyclone and PB Tech. We have done this to provide increased choice and flexibility around device selection and price.

Asus Vivobook

Link to our supplier's portal for this device: PB Tech. Please note: Use the School code STACBYOD at the top of the page as soon as you login (not at checkout) to get special discounts.

Specification: AMD Ryzen 5 processor, 16GB RAM, 256GB solid state drive, various options available regarding warranty.

The screen is amazing - perhaps not surprising as it is OLED technology. Digital inking on the screen was very smooth. There is no place to store the stylus which could mean it is more susceptible to being lost, but other than that we liked this laptop.

Lenovo Ideapad Flex 5

Link to our supplier's portal for this device: PB Tech. Please note: Use the School code STACBYOD at the top of the page as soon as you login (not at checkout) to get special discounts.

Specification: AMD Ryzen 7 processor, 16GB RAM, 1TB solid state drive, various options available regarding warranty.

We felt this was a great specification for the price. However, as for the Asus above, there is not a place to store the stylus which could mean it is more susceptible to being lost.

Acer TravelMate Spin P4 Convertible

Link to our supplier's portal for this device: CyclonePlease note: Cyclone apply their special discounts by default.

Specification: i5 processor, 16GB RAM, 256GB solid state drive with stylus, 3 year warranty (return to depot).

We really liked the fact that the stylus is docked within the laptop itself and charges (very quickly) when it is in there. While this is on the more cost-effective end of the device range, its specifications meet the demands of a standard class. However, it may struggle a little in resource-heavy programs such as those used in Art and Music (in NCEA year levels particularly). Overall, it performed well in our testing and sports a 14" screen. We did find it a little heavy to use – particularly noticeable in tablet mode when digital inking.

Lenovo 13w Yoga

Link to our supplier's portal for this device: CyclonePlease note: Cyclone apply their special discounts by default.

Specification: Ryzen 5 processor, 16GB RAM , 256GB solid state drive with stylus built-in, various options available regarding warranty.

We felt this offered really good value at this price point when considering its specification. It has a 13.3" screen and built-in stylus. It has a sturdy and heavy feel to it when compared with other laptops at a similar price point, but aesthetically perhaps is not as pleasing.

HP Probook X360 435 G10 Convertible

Link to our suppliers' portals for this device: Cyclone and PB Tech. Please note: For PB Tech, use the School code STACBYOD at the top of the page as soon as you login (not at checkout) to get special discounts. Cyclone apply their special discounts by default.

Specification: Ryzen 5 7530U or Ryzen 7 7730U processor, 16GB RAM, 256GB solid state drive with stylus, various options available regarding warranty.

This model is a step up in processor power versus those above, which might be advantageous for students that want that extra performance for specialist subjects. We weren’t so keen on the tethering for the stylus and can see them potentially being lost or damaged if the owner doesn’t take good care of it. The College has used the HP Probook for many years as student loan and classroom devices and has no plans to change.

Microsoft Surface Pro

Link to our supplier's portal for this device: CyclonePlease note: Cyclone apply their special discounts by default.

Specification: i5 or i7 processor, 16GB RAM, 256GB solid state drive with stylus, various options available regarding warranty.

The Surface Pro range has formed the backbone of our recommended device lists for a number of years now and is still used extensively by our staff.

The Surface Pro range are the only devices on this list with a removable keyboard (rather than a full laptop), giving it a form factor that we feel is best suited for inking or moving around a classroom environment. Helped further by the fact it is lighter than other recommended devices.

However, the College ICT team feel that other recommended devices in this list are now at a point that they represent a better cost to performance ratio. The Surface Pro does still have its individual merits (removable keyboard and a kickstand), although at a premium price.

Minimum Device Specifications

We have some minimum requirements for a “full” operating system. This means Windows 10, Window 11 or MacOS 12 (Monterey or above).

This excludes Operating Systems such as:

  • Apples’ iOS (commonly found on iPads, iPhones and iPod Touches);
  • Google’s Android;
  • Chrome OS (commonly found on various tablets, smart phones and Chromebooks).

If a student has a full operating system then generally they can overcome most compatibility issues that may present themselves.

It also means that our teachers can plan with confidence that the student devices will support certain applications or file formats they choose to use. Additionally, students of St Andrew's College qualify for a free copy of Microsoft Office 365 (desktop version and online version).

Further minimum device requirements are as follows:

Storage:

  • Solid State Disk (SSD) instead of traditional Hard Disk Drive (HDD) – SSD are much faster and provide longer battery life;
  • 128GB minimum.

Memory / RAM:

  • 8GB minimum.

Processor CPU:

  • Intel i5 or equivalent capability.

Screen Size:

  • 11” minimum;
  • 15” maximum.

Networking:

  • wireless 802.11n/ac;
  • laptop must support 5Ghz WiFi.

Battery Life:

  • ideally six+ hours on a single charge.

Preferred Supply Partners

To provide choice and flexibility for parents/caregivers when selecting a device for their child, St Andrew's College now works closely with two providers, Cyclone Computers and PB Tech.

To avoid disappointment when preparing for a new school year, we strongly encourage parents/caregivers to place an order as soon as possible.

Please click the links below to see the StAC portal pages of each of our preferred suppliers:

Cyclone - Special discounts applied by default when you login to the StAC page.

PB Tech - Use the School code STACBYOD at the top of the page as soon as you login (not at checkout) to get special discounts.