Does your high school student need a MacBook?Source: Rene Ritchie / iMore

Best answer: A MacBook of any type is an excellent tool for most students. For high school students, a MacBook Air is a great choice, with its balance of portability, a decent amount of power, and battery life.

MacBooks are excellent tools

Pro & AirSource: iMore

Kids that don't have access to technology are increasingly left behind. It's true that many schools nowadays have computer labs, or provide easy access to laptops, tablets, or other computers. However, for a lot of students, having their own laptop will make it easier to do things like taking notes, work on assignments, study, research, or even just stay in touch with friends.

Speaking as someone who grew up in a house that always had a single desktop computer that sat in one room, a laptop would also be great for your student to have for home use. They can work where they feel most comfortable, whether that's in their room or down in the kitchen near the rest of the family.

Macs are well-built computers, and the MacBook lineup, from the now-discontinued MacBook to the portable powerhouse known as the MacBook Pro should be capable of completing any academic task. For most students, the MacBook Air is the best choice and will perform well throughout their high school career. In fact, when it comes time to head off to college, your MacBook Air should still be going strong, and will easily make the transition to higher learning.

What's so great about the MacBook Air?

linedock 13 space gray with space gray macbook air 2018Source: iMore

The MacBook Air is a perfect balance of power and portability. The 13-inch laptop weighs in at 2.75 pounds, so it's light enough for any backpack. It won't be weighing your student down throughout the day.

The MacBook Air is light and speedy enough for most tasks.

While it only has a dual-core processor, it'll be enough for nearly any task your high schooler will encounter, such as writing papers, messaging with friends, and browsing the web (research-only, of course). 8GB of RAM is generally enough for most needs, but you can always pick the 16GB option for maximum multitasking.

Finally, there's the software. macOS runs well on any MacBook and is packed full of useful features. It supports not only Apple's own Pages, Keynote, and Numbers, but Microsoft's Office suite of productivity apps, as well as a library of excellent third-party apps, from writing apps like Ulysses, note-taking apps like Agenda, and unique calculators like Soulver.

You've also got every major web browser, like Safari, which is built into macOS, Google Chrome, and Firefox. Microsoft is even making a browser for the Mac again with the latest beta versions of Edge.

Price (pain) points

2019 MacBook AirSource: Apple

MacBooks can be fairly pricey. While you'll get the longest life out of a top-of-the-line, current year MacBook Air, Apple provides certified refurbished MacBooks at a bit of a discount. It's not that impressive, and if you went on sites like eBay, you might be able to get an even better deal. But when you buy through Apple, you know that you'll be getting a "like new" experience at a bit of a discount.

Refurbished items arrive with complete documentation, and every unit has been rigorously inspected to meet Apple's quality standards. Getting a refurbished Mac is a lot like getting one brand new. If you're so inclined, you can even get an AppleCare protection plan with an extended warranty, just as you can with a new Mac.

Our pick

Apple MacBook Air (2020)

The Mac laptop for most people.

Apple's current lightest laptop balances power and portability and is a perfect companion for both high school and college students.

Save some money

MacBook Air (2019, Refurbished)

Refurbished, but still great.

The refurbished 2019 MacBook Air lets you save a little money, while still delivering a great Mac experience, complete with a Retina display.

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