Woman working on a tablet with a monitor

The past year and half has proven just how important it is to have a laptop or tablet available for home use. For many Canadians, school has always been a prime candidate for one of these devices, but with hybrid schedules that saw many students remote learning, they became essential. The same thing with work. For many people, working from home became a new reality. Even as things begin to return to normal and workers make their way back to the office, working form home at least on a part-time basis is expected to continue for many employees.

It’s now more important than ever to pick your laptop or tablet carefully to boost your productivity. Features like a webcam that you may not have paid attention to in the past are suddenly very important. That being said, with hundreds of options to choose from, it’s not easy. So to help you out, here are five top picks from the models available at Best Buy. 

Top 5 laptops and tablets for school or work15.6-inch HP 2-in-1 laptop

The first pick on the list is a big-screen productivity powerhouse with 2-in-1 flexibility. This 15.6-inch HP 2-in-1 laptop is powered by an 11th generation, quad-core Intel Core i7 processor running at 4.7GHz. The powerful processor has 16GB of fast, 3200MHz DDR4 RAM to work with, and there is 512GB of solid state storage. 

The 15.6-inch IPS hybrid micro-edge touchscreen display is FHD resolution and rotates 360-degrees. Wireless connectivity is as fast as it gets with Wi-Fi 6. It also offers a full complement of ports including USB-C (5Gbps), a pair of SuperSpeed USB Type-A, HDMI, and an SD card slot. The keyboard is backlit for use in dim conditions. Naturally, there is an integrated HP Wide Vision HD webcam.

In other words, this laptop isn’t just flexible, it has the performance and features needed to be a mobile workstation.

Top 5 laptops and tablets for school or work14-inch HP 2-in-1 Chromebook

Next up is another offering from HP, and once again in a convertible form factor. However, this is a 14-inch HP 2-in1 Chromebook.

Chromebooks are the go-to choice for students and increasingly popular in general. This one offers a nice combination of portability, flexibility, and performance. The Intel Core i3 has 8GB of DDR4 RAM on tap. This means you can have many Chrome tabs open without slowing. 128GB of eMMC storage is plenty for working on critical documents offline. The 14-inch touchscreen display is Full HD, and it’s protected from drops by Corning Gorilla Glass NBT. Rotate it 360-degrees and run Android apps as a tablet!

This Chromebook has impressive specs all round, including Wi-Fi 6, dual USB-C ports, a SuperSpeed USB Type-A port, Bluetooth 5.0, a Micro SD card reader, and even a fingerprint reader.

An HP Wide Vision HD webcam plus Bang and Olufsen speakers and dual array microphones make this Chromebook a great choice for remote meetings or classes.

Top 5 laptops and tablets for school or workMicrosoft Surface Laptop Go

The final laptop on the list is an ultra-compact with style, the 12.4-inch Microsoft Surface Laptop Go.

This ultraportable (just 1.1 kg and 15.7 mm thin) has a stylish, premium design with an aluminum top and eco-friendly polycarbonate composite resin base. It’s equipped with a 10th generation Intel Core i5 CPU, 8GB of RAM, a 256GB SSD, Wi-Fi 6, and a beautiful, 12.45-inch PixelSense touchscreen display. In addition to a Surface Connect port, the Surface Laptop Go is equipped with both USB-C and USB Type-A ports.

You’re covered for videoconferencing with a 720p HD webcam designed to make you look your best in any light, plus dual far-field Studio mics, and Omnisonic speakers with Dolby Audio. And with up to 13 hours of battery life, you can Zoom, stream, or work from anywhere in your home, without worrying about being near an electrical outlet.

11-inch Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 Android Tablet

Top 5 laptops and tablets for school or work

When it comes to mobile productivity, a tablet has the advantage of being thinner and lighter than any laptop. Android tablets don’t get much better than the 11-inch Samsung Galaxy Tab S7.

It’s built around a big, beautiful, high resolution, edge-to-edge display with 2560 x 1600 pixels. Despite the huge amount of screen to work with, it’s just 6.3 mm thick and weighs only 502 g. It’s no performance slouch, either, with an eight-core Snapdragon 865+ processor, 6GB of RAM, and 128GB of storage (expandable using Micro SD cards). The Galaxy Tab S7 is also equipped with both front and rear cameras, quad-speakers, and Samsung’s innovative S Pen digital stylus—perfect for writing, marking up, or for creatives.

The all-day battery allows this tablet to stream video for 15 straight hours. Running Android apps, Office online, or Google Workspace, this tablet has everything you need to get work done.

5 best laptops for school and workMicrosoft Surface Pro 7

Finally, the latest version of the prosumer tablet that kicked off the trend of blurring the line between tablets and laptops. The Microsoft Surface Pro 7 features the power of a 10th generation Intel Core i5 processor and 8GB of RAM, with 128 GB of solid state storage. It runs Windows 10, so you can install and run all your favourite software. The touchscreen PixelSense Display offers a resolution of 2736 x 1824, so text and spreadsheets are crisp, while video is smooth, and images pop.

Add an optional Signature Type Cover (as shown in the photo) and this Windows 10 tablet is transformed into an ultra-compact Windows laptop. Remote meetings? The Surface Pro has you covered with dual cameras, Full HD 1080p video conferencing, and high speed Wi-Fi 6.

Time for a new laptop or tablet?

The start of the new school year is approaching. If it’s time for a new laptop for in-school and remote learning, or for working from home, any of the five picks I mentioned would make a great choice. If you’re looking for more ways to boost your productivity, visit Best Buy online or in-store.

Brad Moon
Editor Computing solutions
I’m a long-time electronics and gadget geek who’s been fortunate enough to enjoy a career that lets me indulge this interest. I have been writing about technology for several decades for a wide range of outlets including Wired, Gizmodo, Lifehacker, MSN, About.com, Kiplinger, and GeekDad. I’m in my 10th year as a senior contributor for Forbes with a focus on reviewing music-related tech, Apple gear, battery power stations and other consumer electronics. My day job is with the Malware Research Center at AI-native cybersecurity pioneer CrowdStrike.