Manufacturers such as Dell, Lenovo, and ASUS have introduced new laptops in recent months

Dell and Lenovo have introduced new laptops designed specifically for students.

With so much recent focus on tablet computers and Chromebooks, it might seem as if traditional laptops have become passé for education. But that’s not the case, as manufacturers have continued to make laptop innovations designed to appeal to schools.

On March 6, Dell announced a new series of laptops for students. Dell’s Latitude 13 Education Series features a durable design, a 13.3-inch screen, and a full-size keyboard—making it ideal for content “creation as well as consumption,” said Jon Phillips, director of worldwide education for the company.

The Latitude 13 laptops include rounded corners and a rubberized, shock-absorbent trim. Phillips called the laptops “student friendly and backpack tested,” but he said they stop short of meeting the fully “ruggedized” specification—allowing them to be lighter and less costly for schools.

The devices’ keyboards feature a fully sealed design, so they can withstand spills—which “happen commonly” in schools, he noted.

Schools can choose from among Windows 7 or Windows 8 operating systems and touch-screen or non-touch options. The touch-screen version includes scratch-resistant Corning Gorilla Glass, and the non-touch version includes a choice of red or blue trim as well as black.

Another innovation in the Latitude 13 laptops is a more “robust” hinge, Phillips said, that allows for flexibility beyond 180 degrees.

Through field observation and customer input, he said, Dell had determined that many of the screen breakages schools were experiencing came from students trying to open their laptops beyond their intended range of motion.

With the Latitude 13, however, students can push the device fully flat on a desk or other surface.

(Next page: How the Latitude 13 can help teachers make sure their students are on task—and new laptops from Lenovo and ASUS as well)

Dennis Pierce

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