The 8 Best Laptops to Buy for Kids in 2017

For school or play, here are today's best laptops for children

Dell Inspiron 11.6-inch 2-in-1
Courtesy of Amazon.com

With so many laptops on the market today, there’s no question that certain ones are better for your kids than others. From the best design, to the best parental controls, to the most durable, our picks for the top laptops for kids will keep both you and your child happy.

Compact and affordable, the Dell Inspiron 11.6-inch 2-in-1 offers a well-rounded set of features that can assist with both school and fun. The Dell is powered by an Intel Core m3 processor, 4GB of RAM, 500GB hard drive and has a 1366 x 768 LED-backlit touch display. What’s notable for parents is the inclusion of parental controls inside Windows 10 through the Family Web portal. It’s here that you can block specific sites, set a screen timer, as well as limit app and game downloads, essentially creating a fully protective environment for your child.

Beyond specs and parental controls, laptop durability matters, especially for kids, and Dell has tested its hinge more than 20,000 times along with 25,000 twists of the 2-in-1 display, ensuring this laptop is durable enough to last for years. With the integration of a touch display with Windows 10, the Dell offers the latest in Microsoft features, including support for Word, Excel and PowerPoint for schoolwork. Battery life lasts around nine hours.

Lenovo’s Ideapad 100S laptop marks a fantastic entry into the kid’s laptop arena and at a price that parents are sure to love. The 100S offers an 11.6- inch 1366 x 768 display, 2GB of RAM, an Intel Atom processor and 32GB of eMMC memory. It weighs 2.2 pounds, is .69 inches thin and manages to pack in just under 10 hours of battery life. The 32GB of eMMC storage won’t allow for a whole lot of music or video downloads, but, with Windows 10 and Office support, kids will have no trouble fitting in schoolwork.

Fortunately, you can add additional storage (up to 64GB) with an inexpensive microSD card purchase. Like other Windows 10 models, Microsoft’s Family portal is on-board, providing parents with peace of mind by blocking websites, as well as controlling any potential downloads. Additionally, parents can set a timer forcing the laptop to shut down to make sure kids aren’t staying up too late.

If you can overlook the long-in-the-tooth design, Apple’s MacBook Air is still one of the best all-around laptops. Powered by a dual-core Intel i5 processor, 8GB of RAM, 128GB of SSD storage, the Air offers up to 12 hours of battery life. Additionally, it weighs just 2.98 pounds and is .68 inches thin, so it’s light and easy for kids to carry.

Beyond its solid performance, the MacBook Air couples with Apple’s parental controls to ensure a safe and happy experience for both kids and parents. Parents will rest comfortably knowing they can control the websites kids can visit, block the use of the built-in camera and restrict the people that can be messaged through the included e-mail and chat applications. There’s even more control available for limiting app, music and iBook downloads, as well as removing access to the printer and scanner settings.

For parents who want a higher level of control over their kid’s time online, the Acer Chromebook R 11 convertible is an outstanding choice. The Acer Chromebook offers all-day battery life and a multi-purpose 2-in-1 convertible body alongside an 11.6-inch touchscreen display. While its performance might be more than good enough, it’s the parent-friendly features that really stand out.

Upon its first startup, a parent can create an account as the Chromebook “owner,” and turn on a feature labeled “supervised users.” Once enabled, parents establish a separate login for kids and can have blacklisted websites, prevent Google’s safe search from being turned off and capture all the Web activity that’s being used. Additionally, the “supervised user” cannot delete their Web history, making it viewable for parents who can also enable parental control on YouTube videos. Unlike Apple and Windows laptops, Chromebook has limited app download potential, so you’re free from worrying about viruses. Designed for quick and easy access to the Internet, the Acer R 11 represents a parent's best hope at complete control over what their kid does or does not do online.

Microsoft’s Surface Pro 4 might be a bit pricey, but the versatile machine offers a tablet and laptop-friendly design that kids love. Weighing 1.73 pounds, internal specs include an Intel Core i5 processor, 4GB of RAM, 128GB of storage and eight hours of battery life. The 2-in-1 design offers quick and easy detachment from the Type Cover to convert the Surface into a tablet. The 12.3-inch PixelSense display was made for viewing, touching and writing on via the Surface Pen, a feature that will quickly be adopted by kids. With its superb feature set, parents will rest comfortably knowing that Microsoft’s Family Web portal is on-board and to help lock kids out of questionable websites, as well as limiting screen time to make sure they're not tuning out the real world.

The Asus Chromebook C202 is a great kid’s laptop because it can withstand all the bumps an bruises that are bound to happen. There's a reinforced rubber guard that goes around the entire laptop and protects against drops as high as 3.9 feet. And the addition of a spill-resistant keyboard will provide parents even more peace of mind. Even with all this protection, it's still lightweight at 2.65 pounds and has 10 hours of battery life.

Beyond protection, the C202 is powered by an Intel Celeron N3060 processor, 16GB of storage, 4GB of RAM and has an 11.6-inch 1366 x 768 anti-glare display. Additionally, as a Chromebook, parents won’t have to contend with potential viruses that could come from other computer platforms. Parents will also discover a slew of parental controls that can limit visits to certain websites, add screen time limits, as well as block potentially harmful extensions to Chrome that could compromise the computer experience.

Asus T102HA marks another 2-in-1 kid-friendly entry, but does so with a far more wallet-friendly price tag. Powered by an Intel Atom quad-core X5 processor, 4GB of RAM and 128GB drive, there’s more than enough under the hood to handle both schoolwork and play. Kids will love the lightweight design (just 1.7 pounds) with the keyboard attached. The 10.1-inch, 1280 x 800 display offers an adjustable kickstand for maximum viewing comfort, as well as a magnetic attachment keeping the keyboard locked to the display.

The keyboard and touchpad feel a little cramped for adults, but they're near-perfect for kids, providing an easy and smooth typing experience. Additionally, the laptop hides loudspeakers that are great for movie viewing and music listening. As a Windows 10 laptop, the T102HA includes Microsoft’s Family Web portal for additional controls over day-to-day use and keeps kids safe and protected when online.

The VTech Tote and Go laptop is a true beginner laptop. Appropriately suited for kids ages 36 months to six years, the VTech is a gateway entry into teaching kids real-world basics such as words, spelling, shapes, animals and more.

Kids will learn problem-solving skills through puzzle and logic games that help improve hand-to-eye coordination, which will come in extra handy when they jump into the adult laptop category. All totaled, there are 20 unique interactive activities, including teaching children to spell their own names, count their ages and explore shapes and numbers. There’s no question the VTech is a far cry from the Windows 10 and Apple’s OS X world, but you must start somewhere and the VTech Tote and Go makes it super easy.

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