The days of computers being strictly for adults are long gone. Today, kids are more reliant on computers than ever, and many schools have even resorted to issuing students their own laptops or tablets to use for class.
While a kid may not need a MacBook Pro, or some high-end laptop full of power and speed, they still need one that is capable of handling all of the basic tasks a normal computer should. Confused on which laptop to get for your kid? We’ve taken the time to narrow down three of the best laptops for kids
Why Does My Kid Need A Laptop?
Just a few years ago, laptops were considered a luxury for a kid. Most families had a shared desktop computer, and if there was a laptop in the home, it was usually reserved for a parent. Today, computers are more prevalent than ever, especially in classroom settings.
Thankfully, the progression of laptop technology has resulted in a slew of affordable laptops that would’ve been three times the price a decade ago. This makes it easier than ever for a family to afford a laptop for their child.
Giving your kid their own laptop provides several advantages. One of the biggest ones is giving your kid a leg up in regards to being acclimated to the computers they’ll be using all throughout their lives, whether it’s for school now, and perhaps a career later.
It also teaches them responsibility. Their laptop becomes their own space in a way, where they can learn to research various subjects, jot their thoughts down on a word processor or notepad, and store their favorite pictures and video. And of course, any games they enjoy playing.
Regardless of all this, your kid will eventually need a laptop by the time they reach high school, so it’s best to get them familiar and used to having their own at an early age, so the laptop becomes a familiar tool in their life.
Note: Parents are obviously going to be concerned with what their kids see and do on their laptops, especially at an early age. Fortunately, nearly every operating system has easy to use administrator settings that allow you to block certain sites, set time limits on use, and view any of their activity as well.
Important Characteristics To Look For In A Kids Laptop
While you may have a certain set of standards for your own laptops, kids’ laptops have some unique characteristics that should be given more attention than some of the more technical aspects you may favor with a normal laptop.
The younger your kid is, the bigger chance they are going to be a little more rough with their laptop then they should. There are plenty of laptops that feature a more durable body that can withstand small drops and falls, and others may even have waterproof keyboards in case of a spill.
You always have the option of placing a case on the laptop and using a fitted cover for the keyboard for extra protection if needed. Many Chromebook-style laptops are made to be more durable than other models.
If your kid is bringing the laptop to school or study groups, they may not always have a place to plug in a charging cord. Battery life is already a main priority for normal laptops, but it’s even more so for a kid’s laptop.
Adequate Speed And Power
Your kids don’t need the latest hardware technology and blazing speeds to get by with their homework, web browsing, and word processing. While they may not require the performance of a high end or gaming laptop, they still need a serviceable amount of performance to prevent any lagging.
There are three main factors you can examine to be sure they are getting the bare minimum for a more seamless performance.
- Processor – A computer’s processor is responsible for directing all of the data traffic, and for, well, processing. If the computer has an outdated processor, you can expect quite a bit of lagging and delays when going back and forth between programs and tabs on a browser. Look for processors with at least 1.5GHz if they are a single core.
- Memory – This is equally important. A computer’s RAM amount is the available memory it has to run tasks and programs Each task takes up a certain amount of RAM, so if you have a few tabs open along with some programs, if you have low RAM, the computer will begin to freeze up and create unnecessary delays that can be pretty frustrating. 4GB of RAM is considered the minimum for solid performance.
- Storage – Your kid doesn’t need a massive storage amount, but they should at least have enough to store a decent amount of files, including video and music. 128GB is often considered the minimum. If you get a notebook laptop, it may be even less, but the notebook often includes free cloud storage.
- Drive Type – There are two different drive types: hard disc drive (HDD,) and solid-state drive (SSD.) Hard disc drives are the older drive types that have a spinning disc inside. Solid-state drives are much faster and have no moving parts. Many newer laptops use SSD to save space while ensuring a high operating speed.
While this isn’t crucial, it may be a good idea to find a kids laptop that is easily upgradable. This means you can insert a new hard drive to increase storage space as they get older, or add some additional RAM cards to increase memory space so it remains operating a a higher speed. This saves you from having to buy a new laptop every few years and keeps your kid’s laptop current.
Most notebooks and Chromebooks won’t offer this, but many standard laptops now do.
Three Recommended Kids Laptops
The following laptops are three of our favorite picks for kids laptops, Each one has a good combination of the characteristics we just went over, and all of them come at a very affordable price.
Acer Chromebook R11 Convertible
- Processor: Intel Celeron Quad-Core 1.6GHz
- Memory: 4GB RAM
- Storage: 32GB SSD
- Display: 11.6-Inch Widescreen HD Touchscreen
- Battery Life: 10 Hours
This Chromebook from Acer offers one of the best values you’ll find, combining a fast internal system with the functionality and versatility of a tablet. The result is an easy to use laptop hybrid that can easily be used in a classroom setting, or wherever else your child may need it.
The Intel Celeron processor isn’t the top tier, but it still has enough power to provide a lag-free user experience when using basic programs. Just don’t open too many tabs on a browser. The 4GB of included RAM is the bare minimum, but it works well under normal usage.
The 32GB of storage isn’t very appealing, but if the Chromebook is used for basic school tasks, and maybe the occasional video or two, this should be enough. Your child can always use cloud storage as well or store documents online.
The 11.6-inch touchscreen is an ideal size, not too big, and not too small. This makes it slightly more portable than other laptops, and the tablet feature can come n very hand when doing certain assignments, or taking notes. The tablet feature is easy to use: simply open the screen all the way back and affix in place.
We were impressed with the battery life, as 10 hours should be plenty to get through the day. This means your kid can almost always take it with them and use it all day without having to worry about recharging.
Additional features include USB 3.0 and HDMI support, and the ultra-fast 802.11ac wireless support. There’s even an HD webcam, and the two speakers are surprisingly full in terms of sound quality.
Overall, this is one of the best laptop hybrids you can get for such a low price. The Chrome operating system is incredibly simple and efficient, and the laptop’s speed makes it great for class use. The tablet feature is simply an added bonus that your kid will love.
Dell Inspiron i3179 11.6” 2-in-1
- Processor: 7th Generation Intel Core 2.6GHz
- Memory: 4GB RAM
- Storage: 500GB HDD
- Display: 11.6-Inch Touchscreen
- Battery Life: 8 Hours
The Inspiron i3179 is on a more serious level as far as kids’ laptops go, as it has a more traditional approach that prioritizes system features and hardware. That’s not to say it isn’t a modern laptop though, as it does have a touchscreen and a unique appearance
The 7th generation Intel processor is one of the big plusses with the Inspiron i3179. With 2.6GHz, it’s easily the most powerful processor on this list. You can definitely tell the difference when using it as well. Processes run faster, there is little wait time when opening a program, and graphics are smooth.
The 4GB of RAM isn’t the greatest, but it’s all you can expect from a laptop in this range. Still, the Intel processor helps makes up for this and keeps the load off the low RAM amount quite well.
With 500GB of storage space, your child will be able to hang on to this one for a while and can store all of their music and video in most cases without any issues. It is an HDD, so do keep in mind that you’re sacrificing some speed there.
The screen is very vibrant, and you get the added bonus of having a touchscreen without this being a hybrid tablet laptop. The 11.6-inch size makes traveling very easy as well. An Intel HD Graphics card helps ensure a high frame rate with movies, games, and video.
We were very impressed with the MaxxAudio sound system. While this may not be a priority, your kid will appreciate not having to use headphones for a decent sound experience.
As a whole, there is a lot to like with the Inspiron i3179. It’s certainly a legitimate laptop that can be used for many years to come and has all of the multimedia your kid prefers as well.
HP Chromebook 14-ak060nr 14-inch Laptop
- Processor: Intel Celeron 1.83GHz
- Memory: 4GB RAM
- Storage: 16GB SSD
- Display: 14-Inches
- Battery Life: 8 Hours
HP’s Chromebook 14-ak060nr is a great example of a no-frills kids laptop that is engineered to routinely handle all of the normal tasks they will need. It’s slim, lightweight, and even has an appealing color to set it apart.
The Intel Celeron 1.83GHz processor is nothing to boast about, but it does provide adequate performance for system tasks and internet browsing, while also optimizing battery life, giving it a solid 8 hours of operation time.
4GB of RAM should come as no surprise for a Chromebook, but do keep in mind that the Chrome operating system is incredibly simple and to the point, so 4GB of RAM goes a lot further with it. Don’t expect any lagging.
Storage amount is about what you’d expect from a Chromebook with just 16GB to mostly store important programs and a view media files. Everything else will need to be stored in a cloud drive, so your kid will always need an internet connection to access them.
The 14-inch screen offers a much larger size than other kids’ laptops, giving them a better media experience. Graphics and resolution are decent enough, but nowhere near a high level.
Overall, the Chromebook 14-ak060nr is a great school-oriented laptop that has all of the features your kid will need while remaining fast and simple to use. For just under $300, it’s a great deal.
We hope this guide was helpful in explaining all of the reasons your kid should have a laptop, and the many things you should look for in one. While everyone’s needs are different, always make sure to consider what your kid needs out of their laptop, and do your best to find a laptop that is suited for them both and now for the next few years.
Do you have any recommendations of your own for a kid’s laptop? Have you used any of the ones we’ve gone over? Please let us know your comments and suggestions below!