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Device Recommendation

Over the last few years, the College has increasingly seen the value for students whose devices support touch and a stylus. We urge parents and caregivers to consider this when they are looking to purchase a new device for their child.

Research has indicated that the creation of more diagrams, symbols and numbers when using pen (stylus) interfaces 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 also is touchscreen and has a stylus. Our recommended device range reflects this.

What experience has shown us

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

Transitioning with a Macbook

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. 

ICT and Music specialisation

A small number of Year 10–13 students specialising in certain areas of Music at a high level may wish to use a Macbook, as an Apple laptop offers more software and peripheral compatibility, although school iMacs are available to students if required. Accordingly, parents of students specialising in this area are encouraged to contact both the Head of Music and the Director of ICT for advice.

Minimum Device Specifications

We have some minimum requirements, and that is for a “full” operating system. This means Windows 10 or Apple’s MacOS.

By inference, this excludes Operating Systems such as Apples’ iOS (commonly found on iPads, iPhones and iPod Touches) and Google’s Android or 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 MS Office 2016 (desktop version and online version).

Further minimum device requirements are as follows:


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

Memory / RAM:

  • 4GB minimum, 8GB or equivalent.

Processor CPU:

  • Intel i5.

Screen Size:

  • 11” minimum;
  • 15” maximum.


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

Battery Life:

  • ideally six+ hours on a single charge.

Preferred Supply Partner

Cyclone Computers is a New Zealand owned company with head offices in Christchurch. We recommend them as a great company to work with, however there is no requirement for you to purchase from them and we do not profit from purchases of devices through this channel.

  • both devices have a three-year warranty in the buy price;
  • both models have a Solid-State Disk (SSD) for storage. This results in faster speeds, lower failure rates and better battery life;
  • the recommended devices, the Surface Pro and the Acer Aspire Spin 5, are both of a sufficient specification to last for at least three years;
  • repair options in Christchurch.

To avoid disappointment when preparing for a new school year, we strongly encourage parents to place an order with Cyclone Computers before the end of December. Due to high demand and supply levels, some models may not be available at short notice if ordering is left until mid-to-late January.

To purchase please click here.