Buying a Laptop for Kids

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Buying a Laptop for Kids

Let’s face it: Computers are an integral part of the modern world.

And when it comes to kids and computers, it’s a natural if not necessary match. In addition to playing games or connecting with friends via social media, kids today use computers for everything related to education from doing homework to taking tests to communicating with teachers.

With more and more schools adding remote education and distance learning to their offerings, a computer is an important part of a young person’s life. In fact, young people often serve as a sort of informal tech support when it comes to keeping a parent’s computer up and running.

But when it comes to purchasing a computer for a child or high school student, the task may seem insurmountable. With hundreds of options what’s the right choice when it comes to choosing a laptop for kids?

While there’s no clear answer to that question, hopefully we can provide a road map that makes the process just a bit easier.

Choosing a Laptop for a Child

Clearly, the type of computer one might purchase will differ significantly depending on whether it’s for a 5-year old just beginning elementary school or a teenager approaching high-school graduation (and preparing for college).

When it comes to the younger group, factors that may influence your decision on a laptop for kids include the ruggedness of the machine. In the hands of a 5-year-old, the chances are good that a laptop will get bumped and jostles, especially if they’re going to be carrying it with them to school.

The ability to take advantage of parental controls will be an important factor as well. The Internet can be a wild (and unsavory) place. Anything a parent can do to protect children while they’re surfing the Web can be invaluable.

And of course, price is a primary concern. With an increased chance of damage or loss that may come with entrusting a youngster with a laptop, it doesn’t make much sense to provide them with a high-priced machine that may end up getting dropped or suffer a soft-drink spill.

The first step, though, and the easiest to address, is the type of operating system running the computer.

There are three main types of computers from which to choose: Windows machines, Chromebooks or Macs, which run the Apple OS. Although Macs certainly have their advantages, with the lowest-price Mac carrying a price tag of around $1,000, they’re probably not a good choice for a youngster.

Chromebooks are gaining in popularity in the educational market thanks to their ruggedness, low price and ease of use. The Chrome operating system is based on the same Chrome web browser you’re likely already using. Chromebooks come with minimal storage, with most files instead stored in the cloud via a service such as Google Drive.

Installing apps involves little more than a visit to Google Play or the Chrome Web Store. There, you’ll find hundreds of apps designed for kids ranging from games and social media apps to educational tools.

On the downside, Chromebooks can be slow when it comes to more resource-intensive programs. In addition, they aren’t compatible with Microsoft Office products, although the Chrome Web Store offers a number of comparable productivity tools. And of course, you’ll need to be comfortable with storing your files in the cloud.

The alternative is a Windows machine. Windows, of course, is the most popular operating system in the world today, running more than half of the computers around the world. It’s compatible with virtually every educational platform as well as most software packages.

When it comes to use by kids, Windows 10 S Mode is geared for the education market and includes security features such as the ability to block the installation of games and apps from the Microsoft Store based on their content ratings.

And both Chromebooks and Windows machines include parental controls that can be used to limit your child’s Internet browsing, preventing them from accessing objectionable material.

Lenovo Recommendations

To make the process of selecting a laptop for your child a bit easier, Lenovo has compiled a list of laptops to meet your needs.

Education Chromebooks - For the classroom and beyond

Trusted by teachers and students across the world, Chromebooks are fast, easy to use, secure and affordable. Access to the extensive library of apps in the Chrome Web Store and Google Play gives learners the tools they need for schoolwork, collaboration, and exploration.

IdeaPad laptops - Windows laptops that empower students

Whether you're a K-12 student, heading to college, or making the lesson plans, these laptops are affordable, easy to use, and ready for the modern collaborative classroom. Plus, with a long-lasting battery and built-in speakers, these lightweight IdeaPads are a perfect entertainment center for those times when the kids are taking a break from their studies.

Lenovo Thinkbooks - Powerful processing, seamless memory and vast storage

For precocious youngsters who need a bit more power, Lenovo’s Thinkbook line offers outstanding performance in a lightweight package. But recognizing kids will be kids, every ThinkBook undergoes stringent tests to withstand spills, bumps, drops, dust and extreme temperatures.

Choosing a Laptop for a High School Student

When it comes to purchasing a laptop for a high school student, the considerations are likely to be much different than those involved with choosing a laptop for a child in grade school. Although ruggedness certainly remains a factor, high schoolers (we hope) are likely to be more responsible and take better care of their computer.

The student’s needs will likely change as well. Although they’ll still need to be able to access educational platforms and use productivity programs, they may also need to perform more resource-intensive tasks such as computer coding or video editing.

High schoolers will face the same challenges as younger kids when it comes to remote learning. Although chances are the COVID-19 pandemic will subside at some point, schools are likely to retain their remote learnings programs for the foreseeable future.

At that age, students are more likely to engage in late-night study sessions with friends, so light weight and extended battery life are critical. Touchscreen capabilities and tablet functionality may be important as well.

Those students are also likely to use their laptops as an entertainment center, so factors influencing a laptop choice should include the ability to play music and watch videos, and maybe even play online games. As such, speakers and graphics capabilities are bound to be prime considerations.

Style can be important to teenagers, so the look of the device is also a factor. And because high school students are likely to continue their education after graduation day, the ability for that computer to serve as their go-to device for colleges should be part of the decision as well.

Lenovo Recommendations

Parents are likely to invest a bit more in a laptop for a high-school student. Here are some of Lenovo’s suggestions:

Education Chromebooks - For the classroom and beyond

Lenovo offers several Chromebooks suitable for high schoolers as well. Features available include touchscreen functionality and optional digital pens for on-screen writing and drawing.

Lenovo’s Yoga line - Smart and intuitive, with expert attention to design and detail.

The latest Yoga devices combine innovative AI features powered by 10th Gen Intel® Core™ processing as well as Dolby Atmos sound, enhanced NVIDIA graphics and unique stylish cover designs.

Lenovo Thinkbooks - Powerful processing, seamless memory and vast storage

Offering a combination of performance and security, these powerful laptops are suitable for kids of any age. Plus, they’re light and slim enough to slip into a backpack for easy transport.

IdeaPad Laptops & Ultrabooks – laptops for any budget

Whether you are looking to stream your favorite movies, play your favorite games or get down to work, IdeaPad has a laptop for you with top-notch performance at a variety of price points.

The Bottom Line

More and more, the type of laptop a student uses will have a major impact on their academic success. In addition, that laptop will serve as an accompaniment to everything from enjoying a quiet night at home to connecting with family and friends.

Parents seeking a laptop have dozens, if not hundreds of options, at their fingertips. Choosing the right laptop can be a difficult task. Lenovo stands ready to help!

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