How to Choose a Laptop for Kids

How to Choose a Laptop for Kids

If you wish that your children become tech-savvy from a young age, you might want to consider getting them a new laptop. In this Techspirited article, we shall tell you how to choose laptops for kids, and also list some of the best ones in the market at present.
Kids and Computers
At the East Rock Magnet School in New Haven, Connecticut, laptops are assigned to students from the third grade onwards. This has led not only to an overall improvement in their test scores, but has also motivated them to learn more.

We are all aware of the growing need of present times, for introducing children to the world of computers and the Internet. After all, if they are conversant with the use of these machines from a young age itself, they will be in a better position to perform well, both in school and the professional world when they grow up. Yet, how many of us would willingly hand over our pricey over-the-top laptop to these little ones?

Clearly, we need to look for other options that our children can use to play and get their hands dirty with. Presently, there are a number of laptops in the market to choose from. However, we can't just pick one from them by using the same criteria of selection that we would use while purchasing one for ourselves. For kids, a different set of points have to be taken into consideration.

In the following lines, we shall look at some of these major points of consideration, and then list out five of the best laptops for kids that you can choose from presently.

Points of Consideration
Mobility and Screen-Size
Since kids are usually active and would be moving around a lot with their laptops, it is advisable to choose those with smaller screen sizes, as they will be easier to carry under the arms or in backpacks. Also, the less overall size of these laptops would result in minimum bulk and reduced weight, making them more portable.

Typically, laptops with screen sizes of up to 11.6 inches would be ideal. For teens, you can consider higher sizes of 13.3, 14, or even 15.6 inches, but these sizes will surely affect the portability aspect.

Processor
The basic games and educational software that most smaller kids will be using won't require a lot of processing power. Hence, it is advisable not go overboard while choosing the laptop processor.

An Intel 3rd or 4th generation Core machine or an AMD A8 of the recent two generations should pack more than enough punch. However, do note that you must try to stay clear of the older generation budget chips, such as Intel Celerons and Pentiums, as well as old AMD chips.

RAM and Storage
RAM ranging from 2 to 4 GB will be enough to ensure that the computer isn't bogged down when multiple application software and utilities are installed and running.

Nowadays, 500 GB hard drives are standard in most laptops, which is sufficient storage space for kids.

Connectivity
As far as connectivity goes, a laptop having the basic array of connection options should be enough for the limited use that children are likely to put them to. Wi-Fi, Ethernet, and a couple of USB ports is all that would be required, and anything more would be plain unnecessary.

Battery Backup
A good battery backup is desirable for any portable device. However, one shouldn't invest in laptops with mammoth batteries, especially for younger kids. A battery backup of 5 to 8 hours should be more than sufficient even for teenagers who might need to take their PCs to school.

Laptop cum Tablets
For increased portability, you should consider going in for a laptop which can be converted to a tablet by detaching the screen. This way, you can get two popular devices for your kids in one go.

Price
You must keep in mind that the laptop you'll be purchasing for your child is going to handled roughly (especially if the child is under 10 years of age). No matter how durable a model might be, in a hands of the little ones, it is guaranteed to take a beating, and will need maintenance or even replacement.

As such, spending too much on a child's laptop is not advisable, and instead, one must go in for one that is on the lower end of the price curve. Ideally, one must opt for a laptop in the price range of $200 to $400.

Note: For very young kids (5 to 8 years), special educative laptops are available, which have a much lower specification than the ones noted above. Accordingly, they are priced much lower as well.

Top 5 Laptops for Kids

1) VTech Brilliant
Best Price: $64
If your kid is under the age of 8, then perhaps a full-fledged laptop computer might be an overkill for him/her. Hence, it would instead be better to opt for the VTech Brilliant, which is a toy-cum-learning laptop, ideal for small children. This laptop comes preloaded with a total of 120 fun activities that kids can enjoy doing on the brilliant 4.5-inch colored screen. These activities are designed to help little kids learn useful arts, such as foreign languages, math, science, etc., all in fun and interactive manner.

2) Asus Transformer Book
Best Price: $247
The Transformer book from the stables of ASUS is a very good choice for kids. It's a 2-in-1 laptop cum tablet, and so, you are spared the dilemma (and perhaps your kid's tantrums!) of having to choose between those. It packs in a 1.33 GHz Intel Quad Core processor, along with Intel HD graphics, making it a very capable little machine. It runs Windows 8.1, and has a 10.1-inch display, which should be quite sufficient for all your kid's gaming and learning needs.

3) Acer Aspire Switch Detachable Laptop
Best Price: $249
Another 2-in-1 laptop, the Aspire Switch is the perfect candidate for a capable first laptop for a kid. Featuring a 1.33 GHz Intel Atom processor, and Intel HD graphics, this little machine packs more than enough juice to run a plethora of educational software, fun games, and other entertainment multimedia. It comprises an internal 2 GB of RAM, and 32 GB of storage - both of which we feel are enough to satisfy the needs of preteens. Additionally, the pre-installed Windows 8.1, and the 10-inch screen which can be detached and converted into a tablet, significantly ups its desire-quotient.

4) HP Chromebook 11
Best Price: $229
Clearly, business and professional software such as the Microsoft Office Suite aren't going to be of much use for young kids. Therefore, instead of going in for a full-fledged laptop, you can consider going for the HP Chromebook 11, which is both lighter and cheaper.
The Chromebook 11 runs on the Samsung Exynos 5250 ARM chip, instead of the regular Intel CPU, and is therefore able to provide a solid battery backup of 6 hours on a single charge. The 11.6-inch screen should be sufficient eye-candy for the little ones, and the lesser malware-susceptibility of the pre-installed Chrome OS will ensure that the Chromebook 11 stays protected and functional without needing any additional attention.

5) Dell Inspiron Convertible
Best Price: $399
The Inspiron Convertible is no child's play toy, neither in terms of its performance nor with regards to its heavy price tag. This laptop, we feel, should be considered only if your teenage kid indulges in a lot of CPU-intensive activities, such as video editing, gaming, multimedia, etc., which this laptop will easily be able to handle, thanks to its Intel Pentium N3530 processor and Intel HD graphics. Further, its 4 GB internal RAM, 500 GB hard drive, 11.6-inch screen, and 7.5 hours of battery backup, all speak volumes about its performance capabilities. To top it all off, it can be used both, as a laptop as well as a tablet.

Prices are for informative purposes only. They may vary as per location and offers available.