Buying a laptop for a child can be difficult and a bit stressful. The laptop they use will have a direct impact on their school performance, so you have to pick a machine that will perform tasks well and fast. You can’t put just any type of machine in a child’s hands, however. You’ll have to strike the perfect balance between budget and performance, and you might have to learn a thing or two about PCs yourself before you start shopping. Let’s take a look at a few essential tips for buying your child’s first laptop.
Windows Laptop or Chromebook?
You may have noticed that Chromebooks are popular with educators, and they do have a few things going for them. If you don’t know what makes Chromebooks different, the main difference between them and other laptops is that they run on Google’s Chrome OS. They also tend to be much more affordable than other laptops and are very user-friendly.
There might be a case where an application will be available or compatible with Windows but not Chrome, however, so you have to think about that. Or there may be a Chrome version of a program like Word, for instance, but the experience won’t be as good as on a Windows computer. This is why we suggest that you speak with your child’s school and ask what type of programs they use and see if they are compatible with Chromebooks.
If budget is your main issue, we suggest that you look at both Chromebooks and entry-level Windows laptops. If you’re looking for a great place to start your search, you should check out the selection of Chromebooks and entry-level models from Lenovo. You have entry-level models with great constructions and it’s not uncommon to see things like Ryzen processors over the 2.5ghz mark on those, so don’t assume that they won’t have enough power.
Look for a Versatile Machine
You also need to look at what your child will do outside of schoolwork. If you want your child to be able to play games on the machine, then things like the GPU will start becoming more important. If your child wants to play games like Roblox for instance, you’ll need something with at least an RTX-20 series card in it. These will cost a bit more, however.
If you want to allow your child to play games but can’t handle the price tag, you could look at some integrated chips out there. Integrated chips combine the graphics card with the processor, and allow you to play light games and some AAA games on low settings. If you see a computer with a Ryzen chip, then you’ll be able to run lots of games no matter it’s level since these chips were made for this purpose specifically. They can often be found on affordable models too.
Choose the Right Screen Size
The size of the screen is also very important. The sweet spot for smaller children is 14”. Anything below that will simply be too small and will not provide the best experience. Something over 15” will be too big and probably too expensive.
Another thing that makes 14” laptops so great for children is the size of their keyboards. A lot of people will feel like the keys are too small or cramped on these kinds of computers, but they are perfect for a child’s hands. So, if you’re looking for the perfect size, go for something around the 14” mark.
Check its Durability
Durability needs to be a priority when you’re looking for a laptop for a child. Unfortunately, this isn’t something you can see easily by looking at a spec sheet. This is why you’ll need to do a little bit of research. You’ll need to start looking at different reviews or consider looking at the unit you are thinking of buying in person first if you are thinking of buying it online.
When looking at reviews, pay very special attention to screen flex. Flex refers to the level of flexibility or rigidity of a computer’s screen and is a very important thing to know before you pick one for a child. Screen flex is not something you’ll see in all written reviews, but most good video reviews will check the flex on the screen before giving their verdict. The reason why it’s very important to pick a screen with minimal flex is that children are not always careful when they lift their screens, and if they lift it from the wrong angle with too much force, they could end up damaging the screen and other computer components.
This is why you need to at least check out a few video reviews before picking a laptop. Pay attention to the construction of the chassis and the materials being used. Aluminium is the best, but it’s expensive. Also, if you see things like carbon fibre or reinforced plastic being used, you’re usually looking at a very sturdy unit.
You also have computers that have special features like drop-proof bodies, reinforced rubber edges, and spill-resistant keyboards. They might be a bit more expensive, but the extra protection will be well worth it, so consider looking for a laptop with these kinds of options too.
Check the Battery Life
Battery life is also very important when picking a laptop for a child since they often get forgetful or prefer to use the laptop unplugged most of the time. The laptop you pick should have at least eight to ten hours of advertised battery time. We say advertised because there’s a slight gap between what’s advertised and what you’ll get. A machine like this should provide you with six to eight hours of solid use, which should be more than enough in your case.
Now that you know more about what to look for in a good child’s laptop, you can start looking at different options. Be reasonable with your choice but don’t skimp on build quality or you might regret it later on.