Best Laptops For Kids

BEST LAPTOPS FOR KIDS

 

INTRODUCTION

In earlier times, when laptops were only for corporates and rich people, children were not allowed even to touch the technology as it was considered very expensive in those days. I don’t blame the parents, yes! Laptops were expensive and still are, but back in the time, there were no cheap laptops which everyone could afford. There were still computer desktops on which games could be played by children and do their homework or play on Microsoft Paint; all these activities were restricted to children by the invention of portable laptops. But time has changed, and everything has advanced technologically; we have laptops for every age, starting from 5 years old up-to old people. This is the change of time, technology has taken over our lives and unlike earlier, now it is a necessity more than luxury, there are still laptops worth thousands of dollars which are robust and premium, and on the other hand, there are cheap laptops made of not so luxurious materials and generally perform well to provide features to its users. These cheap laptops are capable of performing every task, and if it is cheap, it does not mean that you can give them to children to explore. Children are becoming technologically updated as well, and they require a decent laptop to work out their projects, homework, explore the internet to widen their scope of knowledge and everything that one can imagine. Parents need to buy laptops for their children with features like parental controls and with a solid outer body to withstand shocks and fall protected the laptop, a material which is not prone to many scratches, etc. All these types of laptops can be given to children, and if your children are wise enough, elementary premium laptops can also be provided, if there is no constraint financially.

Those are the days when Windows was the alone king in the market, now there are better options for kids, like the Chromebooks. The Google Chromebooks are perfect for children, they are cheap, and they have the Chrome OS installed on them and not the usual Windows, and the Chrome OS is better for children. It is simple to use, and you can also install phone applications on the same, so there are a lot of connecting points. The battery life matters to children and I will provide you with the best laptop options available in the 2018 laptop market which are perfect for your children and also for you as well.

So, what are the criteria for you to decide a good laptop for your kids to learn about the world? I know this is a crucial decision that is why I am here to guide you through a list of the best five laptops for kids in the market ranging from cheap to expensive and with all the specifications and reason to buy the products. Let’s see what 2018 line-up has got for kids.

These are the best five laptops for kids based on looks and performance:

  • Dell Chromebook 3180
  • Lenovo IdeaPad 120s
  • Acer Chromebook 15
  • MacBook Air
  • Asus Transformer Mini T102HA

DELL CHROMEBOOK 3180

Pros and Cons

The Chromebook 11 3180 is a very highly durable and simple looking laptop. The keyboard and the overall performance is very snappy on this one; it is a very student-friendly laptop regarding performance and expenses. Let’s check out the features of this Chromebook.

DESIGN

The basic design of the Dell Chromebook 3180 is actually very cliché. The outer body of the laptop is a black slate covering with Dell Logo in the centre and Chrome written on the top left corner. On the right corner of the laptop, there is a white LED indicator which actually digitalises the ‘raising the hand’ gesture, and the teacher knows that the student has a question by looking at the light. This feature is actually very intriguing as this is the first laptop which has this unique feature which can be used in a classroom. The surface is solid which gives it a rough look with rounded corners and it makes the laptop handy for some reason. Talking about the protection of the laptop shell, Dell has provided the laptop with a rubberised outer covering around the bottom panel of the laptop, which acts as a shock absorber and provides with protection against shocks and unintended falls. Opening the lid, there is a beautiful widescreen which measures 11.6 inches in size, and underneath that, the Dell logo is made. The webcam is placed on the top bezel as usual, and it is a perfect place for it to be as some laptop companies have tried setting the webcam in the bottom bezel which gives awkward viewing angles. The design of the keyboard is island styled, and the keys are snappy enough to be praised. The laptop measures 11.9 x 8.1 x 0.8 inches in size and weighs 2.83 pounds which makes it thinner than most other category laptops. Overall, the design of the 3180 is excellent and praiseworthy concerning protection and toughness.

PORTS

Dell has provided with a number of connectivity options for its laptop which it usually does for the benefit of its users. In this particular laptop, there is an HDMI port, two USB 3.0 ports, an AC power slot, an SD card reader (mini), a 3.5millimeters headphone jack, a noble wedge lock slot, and a battery indicator. The laptop has decent port options, and this actually helps a lot of students in the universality of usage as sometimes, one of these ports might come to the rescue.

DISPLAY

The display on the Dell Chromebook 3180 might not be the brightest or with the best resolution, but it is definitely a display with a lot of details in the picture quality. The display measures 11.6 inches and has a resolution of 1366 x 768p. The colours on the laptop are very vibrant, and it is a fantastic experience with all the colours looking exactly like what they are, and with a lot of detailing as well. The pictures are crisp and clear like they should be, and all this leaves the user with the best of experience. On the sRGB Colour Gamut, the display covered 73.3percent which is probably below the ultraportable category average of 100percent. The good thing about these is that, for mostly all other competitors of this laptop, each of them has a similar score, but the screens make up for the fewer numbers with its vibrant colours. Talking about the brightness test, the laptop scored 215nits which are again lesser than the laptop category average of 302nits. This laptop is not meant for you to take it on the outdoors as the Anti-reflective coating is not up to the mark on this one. The viewing angles on the laptop are pretty decent for individual use and can work up-to 45degrees tilt on the left or right. The display is not dependent on the colourimeter or brightness tests, the look of the display and the colours make up for the numbers.

KEYBOARD AND TRACKPAD

The keyboard on the Dell 3180 is an absolute success. The keys are island styled, which are snappy and responsive for the sake of fast typing. The keys are well spaced, and the error rate on this keyboard is less than most other budget laptops. I was happy to notice that there was absolutely zero flex in the keyboard which is usually present on a low budget or cheap laptops. This makes the keys and the keyboard more durable and kid-proof. On the 10fastfingers.com typing test, I scored around 80 words per minute which are decent enough for a keyboard of this type and close to my personal best of 88 words per minute. The keys feel firm and light with the key-travel of about 1.5millimeters and actuation force of 69grams which is perfect for smooth, effortless typing.

On the contrary side, the touchpad on the deck is smooth and big enough to navigate and explore the whole screen. The touch is sensitive and registers a touch command very quickly and efficiently. The buttons are great and click positive with no unnecessary lag in command response. Overall, the keyboard and trackpad combination is perfect, and there are absolutely no complaints about the same from neither any critic nor any customer.

PERFORMANCE

The Intel Celeron N3060 processor runs the laptop with superior power and efficiency. This fast CPU consists of 4GB RAM and is reasonably good for multitasking and intermediate performance. Heavy multitasking like playing HD movies with games open in the background and 45 chrome tabs might be an issue for lag, but otherwise with low or medium load performances are relatively smooth. Running the JetStream benchmark test, the CPU scored 49.8 points which measure the JavaScript performance. This score is in the line-up with its best competitors in the market but is otherwise behind the average category score of 165 points. Moving on to an integral part of the performance which is the graphics! The graphics on the laptop are integrated Intel Graphics which scored 26 frames per second on the WebGL Aquarium graphics test that measures 3D graphics which shows a tank with two thousand fishes swimming. The performance on this laptop is impressive when looked with the perspective of a budget laptop for kids.

AUDIO

On this laptop kids and watch their favourite movies or listen to their favourite songs with a great experience because the speakers are amazing. I was listening to Beyonce, with the high notes being clear and loud without any sign of distortion anywhere, the song felt terrific. One mistake which you should avoid is to connect these speakers with a stereo system because the sound at only 70 per cent of the volume, the sound becomes distorted and the whole experience ruins and it can’t even fill a room full of people. Otherwise, the sound is perfectly clear and loud.

DURABILITY

The Dell Chromebook 11 3180 has passed 15 different MIL-STD tests according to the company. It is evident that no parent would want to give their children sensitive laptops which can’t withstand significant bumps and bruises. The STD tests included some extreme shock tests, extreme temperature tests, and drop tests from several inches vertical. The rubber sheet around the bottom panel helps a lot with the durability; also, the keyboard is spill proof which means there is a membrane beneath the keyboard which prevents it from the water of liquid spills. The screen is no less, with Corning Gorilla Glass 4 which is scratch-resistant. The durability of the laptop is a primary reason for parents to buy this laptop for their children so that they can explore the device without the worry of breaking it.

BATTERY LIFE

The battery on the Dell 3180 is enough for students to forget their chargers at home deliberately. The battery on this laptop lasts for 8 hours and 59minuits which are approximately 9hours on maximum conditions. This battery life is decent for a budget laptop and is better than most of its other competitors in the market. The kid can freely play with the laptop without the worry of charging the device.

PRICE

The Dell Chromebook 3180 with 2019 Flagship Dell Premium 11.6″ HD Energy-efficient Chromebook, Intel Dual-Core Celeron N3060 Processor,  clocked at 1.6GHz with 4GB of RAM and 32GB flash storage is priced at $199.99 on Amazon.com/US. 

VERDICT

The Chromebook 3180 is an entry-level laptop from Dell and is somewhat better than other laptops on the market. The display is small with only 11.6 inches, but who cares; your kid is small too. The coolest features about this laptop are the LED white light indicator on the front of the laptop which allows a student to raise his hand digitally; the other one is the spill proof keyboard which saves the keyboard from kid’s experiments, it makes the keyboard spill resistant. The bottom panel of the laptop is covered with rubber panel which makes it drop proof and shockproof as well. The Chrome OS comparatively has more parental control features and options than windows, and this might actually help a kid. The price of the laptop is nothing for what features it delivers, and one should definitely go for this one as it might be the best option for most kids.

RATING

8/10

 

LENOVO IDEAPAD 120S

Pros and Cons

The Lenovo Ideapad 120s is a laptop with a stylish and modern design, a solid state performance and excellent battery life. The best part about a laptop within this price range is that it supports USB Type-C charging. For less than $300, you get the full package of an excellent affordable laptop for kids as well as adults for their official purposes. There are some imperfections with the design like the usual problem of flex, poor washed out display quality and not a good webcam for those detailed video calls. All in all, the laptop is perfect for kids and is probably the best windows laptop available on the market right now. Let us have a detailed understanding of what the laptop has to offer.

DESIGN

This laptop is cheap and affordable, but it does not look that way. The design of the Ideapad 120s sports a grey chassis with a metallic texture which looks precisely like aluminium. However, the deck and the body are made up of polycarbonate which results in a certain amount of flex in the keyboard and the deck. The polycarbonate body is not as robust as metal, but it surely gives away the metallic feel which a student may desire. On the top left corner angle, there is a silver LENOVO logo which gives the branding of one of the most popular companies in technology. On opening the lid, there is a spectacular keyboard which consists of a stylish island-style keyboard which is responsive and very responsive when it comes to typing. The deck on the laptop is as comfortable as it looks and one can type for hours without noticing any tiredness. The screen on the laptop looks impressive with the appropriate amount of bezels, neither too much nor too less and it is glorified with a Lenovo logo on the bottom left of the bezel. The hinge is flexible as in, it can be pushed back up to 180 degrees, but again, the polycarbonate body restricts us from applying inappropriate pressure which might break the hinge. For a fact, Lenovo should have inserted some rubber at the back of the laptop which would prevent it from slipping from my desk. Well, nobody is perfect, and Lenovo is the ‘nobody’ in this case.  The measurements on this laptop are 13.14 x 9.25 x 0.73 inches which weighs around 3.25 pounds. The weight on this laptop is entirely appropriate, and it equals the category average. The laptop is slightly thinner and lighter than the average portable category laptop which is a positive thing.

PORTS

The ports on this laptop are sufficient for students to perform their regular tasks as kids. On the left panel, there is a USB Type-C port, a USB 3.0 port, a charging port, and an HDMI port. On the right panel of the body, there is another USB 3.0 port, a 3.5millimeter headphone jack, and a micro SD card slot. These options of connectivity are more than enough for kids as well as office going people. Lenovo is always generous when it comes to connectivity options, and that encourages us to go for the Ideapad 120s.

DISPLAY

The IdeaPad 120s consists of a 14-inch display which has a resolution of 1366 x 768p which might not give you the sharpest image which some competitors may provide you with at the same price. The display otherwise is absolutely amazing, and the movie experience on this one is absolutely gorgeous. Talking about numbers, the colourimeter test resulted with 72percent of the sRGB colour gamut which apparently does not meet with the ultraportable category average, i.e., 100percent.  The higher models of the Lenovo IdeaPad are better when it comes to a sharper and more vibrant display. The viewing angles of this display depend on the brightness; if the brightness is full, it may provide with better angles as compared to the low ones. The colours are just beautiful but nothing special about it, but more than complaining or feeling disappointed, one should understand that this laptop is a low budget laptop which is not expected to provide with a retina display quality and hence, one shall have contended. On the brightness test, the laptop punched 221nits which is almost close to the category average of 230nits and is better than its predecessors and most of the competitors out there in the market.  One thing that caught my attention personally on this laptop was the poor anti-reflective coating. I had to put the brightness to its maximum level literally and that too just satisfactory experience. Otherwise, the viewing angles are always the best when viewed from a 90degree angle.

KEYBOARD AND TOUCHPAD

The keyboard on this laptop is just perfect for kids as they learn to type faster. Parents while buying this laptop for their kids, I shall assume it to be their first experience on the keyboard which means that they have no prior experience on a regular 1.5millimeter key-travel keys. The keys on this laptop have a key-travel of 1.2millimeters which is less than the regular, but that should not matter as kids will learn to type on these as regular. The keys on this laptop are well spaced which decreases the error rate and gives a snappy feel to typing, snappier than most other laptops. On the 10fastfingers.com benchmark typing test, I scored 82words per minute which is closer to my best at 86words per minute. The typing on this keyboard is comfortable and responsive for the best record.

Moving on to the counter touchpad, it measures 4.1 x 2.7-inches which is about the perfect size of a touchpad enabling full navigation throughout the window. The touchpad is accurate and extremely touch responsive. The gesture detection on this one is on the line with perfect multi-touch and pinch to zoom gestures.  Overall, both of these components are best at what tasks they perform, fast and responsive.

PERFORMANCE

The central brain of the system consists of powerful Intel Celeron N3350 CPU with the combination of 4GB RAM and 64GB eMMC flash storage. These components in combination provide a reliable, robust performance which is capable of performing all multi-window tasks without any sign of lag or freeze. The only time I encountered a freeze was when the window got overloaded with too many tabs open at the same time, like 32 chrome tabs, HD 1080p video playing in the background, 4GB downloading data in the background, etc. the moral of this story is not to overload the system with unnecessary open tabs and not to run heavy software and programs. On the Geekbench4 synthetic benchmark, the laptop scored 2,628 points which is more than the category average which is 2000 points. The 64GB flash storage is also high-speed and responsive when it comes to performance; I can say this with surety as it converted 4GB of mixed media files within 30 seconds at the rate of 45.6 MBps.  The overall performance of the CPU on this laptop is enhanced with the quality of Graphics used on this device.

GRAPHICS

The laptop is fitted with an integrated Intel HD Graphics 500 GPU which is the most used GPU in a budget laptop. On the Ice Storm Unlimited test which is a synthetic benchmark test, the GPU scored 20,646 points which is better than the scores of both its predecessor and the laptop category average.  I know that I have been claiming that the graphics on this laptop are better and everything, but it still cannot be called as a gaming laptop, the reason being its power as a processor. The GPU is powerful enough to perform all the software related tasks, but gaming needs higher RAM as well, but it can run elementary games such as candy crush saga and super Mario bros. and even little higher configuration games but at the lowest graphics settings. Otherwise, the graphics on this laptop are suitable for kids.

BATTERY LIFE

The battery on this machine is more than what you can expect from an under budget laptop. This laptop serves for around 7 hours and 34 minutes on a single juice which is fantastic. Kids can happily forget their chargers while playing with their respective IdeaPad 120s’. The battery life is excellent and probably better than most of its competitors and its predecessors as well.

PRICE

The Lenovo IdeaPad 120s with an 11.6inches display, Intel Celeron N3350 Dual Core Processor which is clocked at 2.4GHz with 2GB of RAM and 64GB eMMC flash drive is priced at $229.09 on Amazon.com/US. This machine is worthy of what it serves at this price range; dominant performance and aluminum like design and excellent battery life.

VERDICT

The Lenovo IdeaPad 120s is a ruggedized machine which is capable of surviving mild slips and drops, which is possible when you hand over a laptop to kids. The laptop is future proof as in; it has got the USB Type-C port which is the latest fast data transfer port in the laptop and PC industry. This laptop is perfect for your kids as it is entirely under budget with powerful performance and great robust design. Of course, the usual problem of flex persists in the budget devices, especially when it is built with polycarbonate material. I recommend this laptop to almost every parent who is looking for a laptop for their kids.

RATING

8/10

 

ACER CHROMEBOOK 15

Pros and Cons

The average size of regular Chromebooks is 13inches, but Acer has it all covered with an up-a-notch 15.6inch gigantic display which looks unbelievable. The HD display, an aluminum design frame, and the comfortable typing experience, is all one needs in a Chromebook. The battery is never an issue with Acer, but let’s finds out the specifications with a pinch of details.

DESIGN

The design of this big machine is ‘big,‘ the chassis measures 14.9 x 10.1 x 0.8 inches and is light-weight at 3.7 pounds which is bigger than most other competitors in the market and not just Chromebook competitors but windows as well. The big display is an advantage to kids as they get to stream the latest movies and games on a big screen and need not strain their eyes for entertainment or work. The body is covered with silver aluminum which looks very premium and ‘slate’ like. All they have on the outside is a shiny mirror-finished Acer logo and above that is the chrome logo. The laptop looks stylish and sleek when kept on a table. The screen is cornered by thick, big bezels, the keyboard looks classy, and on the deck, there are matching speaker grills for the sound that everyone desires. All In all, the design of this laptop is minimal and advanced, and every kid must fall in love with its first look.

PORTS

It is said that one does not require many ports on a Chromebook as it is mainly used for web browsing and online streaming which is, of course, true but Acer despite of that has provided us with a ton of connectivity options. There are two USB Type-C ports on both left and right panel, one USB 3.0 port, a Kingston lock slot, a headphone jack, and a micro SD card slot. These connectivity ports are more than sufficient for any kid as well as adults.

DISPLAY

On opening the lid, the display bezels remind me of the Apple MacBook Air with thick silver bezels; these are almost identical but with even thicker bezels and a webcam sitting on the center top. The screen is gigantic 15.6 inches but is HD for a fact, full 1080p display. The display is big, and it is reasonably great, but when compared to other laptops, it looks dim and little dull. For testing the display, I conducted the colorimeter test which resulted in almost 71percent coverage on the sRGB Color Gamut. The average category coverage must be 100percent to be called as a good display. I have watched a ton of Netflix shows on this big screen, and the difference was never that evident to me, or it will be to you unless you get a side by side comparison between this device and other laptops. Another test was the brightness test which was conducted, and the results were fairly 220nits which is lesser than the Chromebook predecessors and the category average as well. Otherwise, the picture quality and the detailing on the display are excellent, and one will enjoy watching movies and favorite Netflix shows on the big display. For kids, the big display might be very beneficial and may become a significant point for some parents to opt for this machine.

KEYBOARD AND TRACKPAD

The keyboard on this one is something which you should never miss typing on. This keyboard has island styled keys because of which the keys are very well spaced throughout the keyboard. The color of the keys is black which looks stunning contrasting with the silver on the bezels and the deck. The key-travel on the keys is less than regular, i.e., 1.4millimeters with the actuation force of 70grams. This combination is perfect as the actuation force makes up for the shallow depth of the keys and results in comfortable and faster typing. The keys were bouncing back which is absolutely fabulous, and because of this responsiveness, I could hit my best 120words per minute on the 10fastfingers.com benchmark typing test with evenly around 3percent error rate. After a regular term of use, my fingers were literally dancing on the keyboard with higher speeds and lesser error rates. For anyone who has a typing job or for any kids who likes typing, this should be your first consideration as the typing on this one is absolutely effortless.

Moving on the drag and drop of the laptop, which is the touchpad. It measures 4.1 x 3-inches which is big enough for two fingers to navigate throughout the screen comfortably. The touchpad is very smooth and responsive to the special Chrome OS multi-touch gestures. The ‘swipe to switch’ and ‘pinch to zoom’ gestures are butter while sliding those fingers across it. Both these components are absolute greatness, and one must appreciate Acer for that.

AUDIO

The speakers on this laptop are just regular and not very great to talk about. The speaker grills on the sidebars of the deck are loud to fill a small room with sound, but once you’re a little away from the machine, the sound starts to become all muddled up and not that crisp. The bass on the speakers could not reach a satisfactory point, and it is just okay for it to be ‘just fine’ and not ‘great.

PERFORMANCE

The performance on this laptop is governed by the powerful quad-core Intel Pentium N4200 processor with RAM upto 4GigaBites and 32GB of internal storage. These specifications are enough for smooth multitasking and performing moderately heavy functions on the laptop. The heavy photo editing and 1080p video editing can also be done but with a considerate amount of patience. The laptop becomes slow and ‘slaggy’ when the performance meter is pushed to the extremes. For testing, I opened 32 chrome tabs, a 1080p YouTube video and downloading a game on the background and there was only minimal lag experienced while switching between tabs and that wasn’t enough for my testing. On the JetStream test, the laptop scored 67.2 points which are below the category average of 70.3points making other laptops or Chromebooks better or maybe worse. On the other hand, the graphics on the system were 53 frames per second on testing with the WebGL Aquarium graphics test which surprisingly surpasses the category average of 39 frames per second. The overall performance on this laptop is better than most competitors in the market and is also behind some potent machines. But I would totally recommend this laptop to a parent if he/she wishes to invest for kids.

CHROME OPERATING SYSTEM

The Chrome OS is lighter and faster than Windows, and one thing that beginners should know about this OS is that it runs largely on the Google Chrome Browser, I’m sure most of you must have used it in your Windows or MacBook machines, but if you haven’t, this must not be that difficult to adjust with. The Chrome OS is very easy and straightforward, and most of the tasks are done online, which lessens the burden on the system making it faster and lighter. The Chrome OS now supports the Google Play Store, and one can download mobile Applications on your laptop and enjoy the experience on the big screen. This is not universal with all the Applications, but Google is intended to work on it and make it universal for everyone to use.

BATTERY LIFE

The battery life on this Chromebook is absolutely amazing, and it happily gets you through your day without worrying about the stupid charger. The battery lasts for about 9hours and 54minuits which is approximately 10hours, and that is just amazing. Acer has never disappointed its users when it comes to battery life, and now with the lighter and faster Chrome OS, the battery is blessed. According to the performance capabilities and size of this laptop, having an all-day battery life feels terrific.

PRICE

The Acer Chromebook 15 costs $339.07 on Amazon.com/US for basic configurations of a 15.6-inch display, Intel Dual Core Pentium N4200 Processor, 4GB of RAM and 32GB of internal flash storage with Integrated Intel 505 Graphics. This price feels genuine for a laptop with such powerful performance and great design.

VERDICT

This laptop is primarily for kids who have entered their teens because it delivers a premium feel to the laptop and giving it to younger kids might destroy it. This laptop brings in sophisticated experience for a child’s computing skills, and he may be able to do his projects and homework on this machine with ease and comfort. From its aluminum body design to its performance and then battery life, Acer does not disappoint. However, it is designed for not so small kids as it lacks some kid proofing features like rubber grills for anti-drop and anti-shock proofing, etc. This laptop provides you with a luxury experience at a meagre cost for under $400. I would recommend this laptop for every parent who wishes to provide their children with the best of technology and features.

RATING

9/10

 

MacBook AIR

Pros and Cons

The 13inch MacBook Air is one of the most popular laptop among students and kids! One of the best keyboards ever in a laptop, with all-day spectacular battery life, is the source of fame for this laptop. The performance is remarkable on this laptop, and the overall design was initially introduced by unraveling it from an Envelop by Steve Jobs. It is one of the first laptops with such great design and achieving the level of sleekness and thinness. Let’s find answers as to why this laptop deserves to be on this list.

DESIGN

The iconic wedge-shaped design of this laptop stressed all other competitors in the market at one point in time. No one ever imagined that a laptop this thin could even exist until Apple made it true. The laptop has a uni-body design which is entirely made up of aluminum. There were no competitors for this laptop back then, but now every company is developing even thinner laptops with more significant and more powerful features. The laptop weighs only 3.0 pounds and is only 0.7millimeters thick at its thickest point. At that time it was a discovery, but now Apple has created the MacBook 12inch which is only 0.5millimeters thick at its thickest point. The design of the MacBook Air is a successful design and one of the most popular designs of all time in a laptop.

PORTS

The Air is a skinny and lightweight laptop, but Apple does not compromise on any connectivity options, at least in that era of MacBook variants. The laptop consists of two USB 3.0 ports on either side of the panel, the spectacular MagSafe charging port which we no longer have in the latest generations but it was a world-class design, a 3.5mm headphone jack, a Thunderbolt 2.0 port and finally an SDXC memory card reader. These options are enough for students to satisfy their media needs on a laptop and there is no necessary port left to fit in. Nowadays, the invention of the USB type-C port and its absence on the MacBook Air 2017 is an issue to some users but I, as a student am contented with what the Air has to offer, at least there are no adapters and cables that I have to carry everywhere with the device. The MagSafe adapters which have been upgraded to USB Type-C in the latest generations have been lamenting to most Apple users.

DISPLAY

The display on the MacBook Air is one of the thinnest of that generation with a resolution of 1440 x 900p. At the time of its launch, this was the best displays ever in a laptop, but now things have changed, and this laptop has aged at least in the display aspect. The colors look dull with poor screen contrast ratio and the lack of HD display kind of ruins the experience now. The display looks dull and less vibrant than other laptops, even the latest generation MacBook with Retina display. Even the text does not look as sharp as it does on budget laptops these days, so that’s a bummer. On the colorimeter test, the display covered only 72percent of the sRGB Color Gamut which is way lesser than the 100percent category average; hence dullness appears. Apple has tried to cover the loss of colors with a brightness which is up to 338nits at its brightest and surpasses the 289nits category average and is relatively close to the 341nits in the MacBook 12inch. The brightness does only some good to the display; otherwise, the lack of colors is quite evident on this display. The viewing angles are also harmed by the lack of colors even up to 45 degrees left and right. The display is a big turn down for a laptop in this generation, but the Air recovers its prestige with its overall performance and design.

KEYBOARD AND TRACKPAD

The keyboard experience on the MacBook Air is beyond anything. I found this keyboard to be one of the best keyboards in the laptop market even today. With the key travel of 1.4millimeters accompanied by an actuation force of 72grams, I could hit 78words per minute on the 10fastfingers.com benchmark typing test which is not far away from my personal best of 83words per minute. The key travel has been an issue with the MacBooks; lately, the latest generation laptops are equipped with key travel of only 0.5millimeters which takes time to adjust to when compared to the Air. The typing experience on this laptop is way better than most laptops in the current generation, and the comfortable feel to typing persists undoubtedly. One can type for hours and hours on this laptop without experiencing any fatigue.

Below the keyboard, there is a touchpad which measures 4.0 x 2.9-inches in size and is superb. The feel of the touch on the touchpad is absolute smoothness and fingers literally slide on it to navigate the desktop. It is big enough for your fingers to explore thoroughly. The multi-touch gestures and the pinch to zoom is an experience of a lifetime as it is different from other budget laptops and is excellent. The left and right clicks are actually buttons which are no longer physically present on the latest generation of MacBook laptops. The touchpad is not force-touch on this one as it is one of the latest generations, but honestly, this will be more comfortable to use and less sophisticated for kids and students.

Both the components; keyboard and touchpad are absolutely amazing on this laptop, and there is no complaint from any critic or user till date which is major or which may convince you to not go for this premium laptop.

PERFORMANCE

The display might not be great on this laptop, but as far as performance is concerned, this laptop leaves no stone unturned. Under the hood of the aluminum chassis, the Air is powered by an Intel Core i5-5350U processor in companionship of 8GB RAM and 128GB PCIe solid-state drive. The level of multi-tasking on this laptop is absolute amazement. I tried running twenty Chrome Tabs simultaneously with 720p YouTube video and Adobe light-room running in the background, and there was absolutely no sign of lag even while switching between the tabs. The laptop did not slow down nor did it stop responding. On the Geekbench 4 benchmark performance test, the laptop scored 6,453 points which is close to the laptop category average score of 6,521 points. The laptop does reasonably well on the performance tests and beats most of its competitors and is close to the 6,822pointer of the MacBook 12inch. The SSD on this machine is also amazingly fast. The 128GB PCIe solid-state drive is capable of transferring 5GB of mixed media files in only 23seconds at the speed of 214 MBps which is ridiculously fast. The transfer speed of the SSD is faster than most of its competitors and surpasses the category average too but lags behind the latest MacBook 12inch which recorded a transfer speed of 476MBps.  The performance on this laptop is absolutely fast and powerful with no sign of aging as a laptop and using this; one cannot claim that this is such an old laptop which runs perfectly at par with most budget laptops of this age.

GRAPHICS

The MacBook laptops as we all know are not gaming machines. These laptops are premium in range as well as looks. This is a perfect candidate for office purposes or even school purposes, but if you want to game on this one, you are looking in the wrong direction. Talking about the graphics on this laptop, it is sporting the integrated Intel HD Graphics 6000 processor chip which can run any number of programs and software but is limited in the world of gaming. On the Dirt 3 benchmark gaming test, the laptop played the game at 25 frames per second which is lesser than 30 frames per second category average. These scores are at medium graphics settings of 1920 x 1080 pixels. It is not a gaming laptop, and it should not be considered one, for gaming you can have a look at my article, “Best gaming laptops.”

BATTERY LIFE

The battery on this laptop is higher than any other MacBook till date and is ahead of many competitors even after so many years. The battery on this laptop runs for 10 hours and 32 minutes on a single charge which means that one does not have to worry about bringing the charger adapter along anywhere. The battery on this device is one of the major reasons why students prefer to purchase this laptop instead of any other because they won’t have to carry their charger to their schools or high schools any longer.

PRICE

The MacBook Air with a 13-inch display, 128GB Solid State Drive, 8GB of RAM is priced reasonably at $855 on Amazon.com/US. The price of the Air has fluctuated ever since its launch, and there are reasons as to why it still exists in the market after so many years. This is one of the best laptops for anyone who wants to use the Mac OS and loves the premium feel of this device.

VERDICT

The MacBook Air is not a budget laptop for sure, but it sure is cheaper than any other Apple MacBook in the market. It is quite obvious that your kids will grow with time and they will need a laptop to match their requirements. Here the MacBook serves as the best candidate with a reasonable premium look, thin and light which makes it ultraportable and the great 11hours of all-day battery life. MacBooks are known for outlasting most windows laptops, and having the Air for particular could last quite a long time serving your kids. It is one of the best laptops in the market for your kids, and I recommend this device to most users and their kids as well. The display might be a bit of a bummer but for kids, it may not be so important but apart from that it is a great laptop, and one should definitely consider it.

RATING

9/10

 

Asus Transformer Mini T102HA

Pros and Cons

The Asus Transformer Mini is an extremely popular amongst kids and their parents, of course, simply because of its bright display, long-lasting, all-day battery life, loudspeakers, and great futuristic design. This laptop is a two-in-one laptop which is not too heavy to carry like the other two-in-ones under this price range. The 10inch display is small but may become your child’s cutest toy because of its portability and affordability. There are obviously some flaws with this machine which come with the package, but once you start to use this laptop, you will get used to it eventually. Talking about the performance; for a kid, it is fast and productive, but for an adult, this may not be the right choice. Let’s find out the reasons why?

DESIGN

The design of the transformer mini is evident by its name itself. It is a mini laptop, and it transform back and forth from a laptop to a tablet. The design is slate-like with simple magnesium outer which looks like a premium looking device when viewed from above. On flipping the laptop over, there is an Asus logo which is engraved with a darker silver color to create contrast and looks amazing. Under the logo, there is a pull-out mechanism which is an adjustable stand for you to watch movies or work according to your comfort. The laptop cum tablet measures 10.2 x 6.7 x 0.5 inches and weighs only 1.76 pounds which makes it lightweight.  The display contains a resolution of 1280 x 800p which makes it brighter than ever. The Transformer mini is better in a way than its other competitors, and it is because of the addition of a round fingerprint sensor on the back which resembles more or less like the Touch ID on the iPhones and iPads. It is somewhat useful to have a more secure fingerprint sensor than typing the passcode every time, but the location of that sensor is less convenient than it should have been. The keyboard is magnetic which attaches itself on the bottom of the display; the keyboards come with different color options like the orange, red, gray and green, so kids would love it. More or less, the design of the laptop is not much complicated, and kids will enjoy using this machine.

PORTS

The connectivity options on this tablet are limited because of its 10inch size, but it has almost every necessary and important port that one may require. On the left, there is a 3.5millimeteers headphone jack, a USB 3.0 port, a micro-USB port, and an HDMI port. On the top, there is a single micros SD card slot to transfer data from a camera or any other device. The selection of ports is quite limited on this one, but it has got you covered. People in this era may cry over the lack of USB type-C port, but honestly, kids don’t require it much, and kids don’t even care!

DISPLAY

The 10inch display on this laptop cum tablet is surprisingly very bright. The display is Touch sensitive with a resolution of 1200 x 800p which emits more brightness than any of its competitors. The bright display cures the lack of anti-reflective coating, and it provides with excellent viewing angles. I watched a ton of TV shoes on this tablet, and all the characters and their looks are fully registered in my mind because of the clarity and detailing provided by the display. On testing with the colorimetersRGB color Gamut coverage was  92.8percent which is excellent and surpasses mostly all of its competitors and is close to the 100 percent category average. Although, so much colour and brightness in a small display causes the color accuracy to go down; On the Delta-E color accuracy test, the display scored 4.0 which is not so great and far away from the absolute 0. In terms of brightness, it is a beast display which covered 381 nits of brightness which is better than the 301nits of category average. The display on this laptop is far greater than any other laptop or tablet under this category.

STYLUS, KEYBOARD, AND TOUCHPAD

The keyboard on this device is magnetic and detachable which means that according to the 10-inch display, it is very tiny and petite. The keys are cramped and tiny which makes it difficult to type and especially for a person who is used to typing on old devices like Dell or HP, switching to this keyboard may turn down his expectations. The key-travel on these keys is 2 millimetres with 60grams of actuation force. The keys are otherwise very appropriate, but the small cramped keys are tough to get used to. The error rate increases and the typing gets slowed down. On the 10fastfingers.com benchmark typing test, I scored the lowest with only 64 words per minute which is way less than my personal best of 85 words per minute.

Next, we talk about the touchpad which felt too stiff to move my fingers on. The touchpad measures 3.4 x 1.7-inches in size which is again small. It is a task in itself to navigate through the display using that touchpad. The buttons on the touchpad are hard as well and tight to click on. The multi-finger gestures worked fine, but there were undoubtedly movement constraints because of the small size of the touchpad. My review in this regard is for adults and with my own perspective. The main reason for this laptop to be in this list because these issues with the touchpad and the keyboard may not be major when kids use it!

Asus has provided its users with a convenient Asus pen or the stylus which helps the users to use the laptop and the touchscreen display as a tablet. The stylus is made up of the same aluminium as used in the chassis. It is almost the same size of a regular pen, but a little heavier obviously. The stylus is equipped with two buttons; one serves as a right click command and the other as an eraser which genuinely is very fun to use. The clicks on the stylus are customizable, and one can personalise it according to his/her requirements. The stylus is powered by an AAAA battery which may work for up to 11 months of use.  On the pressure sensitivity test, the stylus scored 1,036 points which is comfortable to use on a Touch-sensitive display.

PERFORMANCE

The laptop is ‘dieseled’ by an Intel Atom x5-Z8350 processor which is clocked at 1.44-GHz, accompanied by RAM of 4GB and 128GB of flash drive. This combination of specifications is not the best at multitasking which makes it just fine for single task. The CPU is not very powerful but will work absolutely flawless when viewed with the perspective of a kid. On the Geekbench 3 benchmark performance test, the laptop scored 2,432 points which does not cross the ultraportable category average of 5000 points. The 128GB flash drive isn’t that great either; it transferred 5GB of multimedia files in 3minutes and 27 seconds which is slow when compared to other flagship or even budget model laptops. The rate of transfer being 26.2 megabytes per second, it took forever to copy those files.

Talking about the graphics on this mini-computer, it comes with the integrated Intel graphics which manages to achieve the score of 16,154 on the 3DMark Ice Storm Unlimited benchmark graphics test. These graphics numbers look really bad when kept along-side the ultraportable category average of 52,763 points.

Even on the OpenOffice Spreadsheet macro benchmark test, the laptop was able to pair around 21,000 names in 17 minutes and 32 seconds which is longer, longer and longest.  Overall, the performance on this machine is meant for kids, and it will be difficult for adults to use it for office or even personal purposes.

AUDIO

The Audio on this tiny 10-inch laptop/tablet is surprisingly louder than expected. I played ‘In the End’ by Linkin Park, and it was very much loud and clear to every person in the room. The sound did not crack and as the guitar and drums played there was this unprecedented clarity with the sound. Watching a movie on this tablet is definitely an excellent idea, and one will definitely enjoy the experience. There are two speakers on either sides of the tablet and the problem with this is that, as soon as I switch to tablet mode, my hands cover the speakers as I hold it and that shuts the volume down which is something which I did not like about the tablet, it could have been on them, but they are unfortunately added along the side panels. The sound is otherwise loud and clear.

BATTERY LIFE

The tablet has proved to be the best in this area of the review. The battery on this tablet usually lasts for a whole day which is about 12 hours and 32 minutes. The battery is the best feature about this laptop and makes it ultraportable for the use of kids; they no longer have to worry about the charger while taking along their tablet/laptop.

PRICE

The Asus transformer Mini T102HA with a two-in-one 10-inch display, Intel Quad Core Processor with 4GB of RAM and 128 GB of Flash storage including the touchpad and the detachable keyboard is priced at $289 on Amazon.com/US.

VERDICT

Any parent should be willing to buy this laptop as their kid’s first laptop because of the above-mentioned reasons.  It is a tablet as well as a laptop, what could be better?  The tablet has a ton of necessary connectivity ports which every laptop should have leaving the USB Type-C port which is a popular port these days. The laptop comes in handy with a stylus which increases the productivity of the laptop and a fingerprint sensor located at the rear, for enhanced privacy and security. All of this comes with a cherry on top which is the 12 Hours of battery life which makes it ultraportable in a literal sense. It is absolutely the best choice for kids, being considerate with the price of the machine.

RATING

8/10

 

CONCLUSION

The right laptop for your kids is the one which is neither too expensive nor is too useless in terms of performance. It should be a balance between good and affordable. Mostly parents cringe while giving their kids smartphone because of addiction or any reason and the same goes with laptops; they tend to think a lot before providing their kids with such source of knowledge which may lead them to various paths and open them to the social world. There are schools where it is mandatory for kids to have their own personal laptop and bringing them to school, these schools consider it as important educational tools which will help kids grow and be filled with knowledge. The crux of the dispute is that, whether you support it or not, your child has to buy a laptop and use it, both for having fun and gaining immense knowledge. The main purpose of children having a laptop is ‘Education,’ but kids using it as a means to social networking, gaming and what not. Apart from that, they use it for home-works, assignments, browsing the internet or typing research, etc.

There are various suggestions that parents should have in mind before buying a laptop for their kids, like parental controls to start with, durability of the laptop, spill or waterproof keyboard, etc. because kids may not be that responsible to handle a premium expensive laptop. The laptop should be kids friendly and also affordable. It is a hoax among the people that investing in an inexpensive budget laptop will provide you with slow, sluggish performance, well that does not happen! Even with extremely budget friendly laptops, the performance and battery life are the top features.

These five laptops mentioned above are primarily selected for kids to use, if you are looking for laptops suitable to college or university students, you may check out my article, i.e. ‘Best Laptops for College Students.’

Kids will eventually grow up, and giving them this powerful tool called a ‘Laptop’ may faster the growing process by some percentage. For your kids to be safe using the internet, the teachers and the students must make sure that their kids are having a safe surfing on the internet and this powerful world of internet, teaches them good and knowledgeable things rather than harmful ones.

In my personal opinion, the best laptop for kids is the Asus Transformer Mini (T102HA-D4-GR) which is overall an affordable and handy laptop, specially made for kids with a petit compact design which features a powerful performance and ton of connectivity ports to use. The laptop is a two in one device which can also be converted into a tablet and sports a stylus to widen the scope for productivity. There is a lack of USB type-C port, and small keys on the keyboard make it perfect for kids and frustrating for adults. It is an excellent machine which is handy and portable and also serves a battery life of up to 12 hours which is impressive and truly defines the meaning of ‘PORTABILITY.’

 

 

 

 

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