The 7 Best Portable Electronics to Buy for Teens in 2018

See our top gadget picks for older kids and teens

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The Rundown

Our Top Picks

Best Video Game System: Nintendo Switch

Nintendo Switch
Courtesy of Amazon.com

Concerned parents who fear a gaming console will isolate their teenager shouldn’t worry any longer. The Nintendo Switch is specifically designed to encourage your teen to get out of their cave and play with their friends. This means your teen (and one other) can go out in the sun and enjoy a few rounds of Mario Kart 8 Deluxe or Super Bomberman R by just using one shared console.

Of course, you can get up to four players or more on the Nintendo Switch as long as you buy an extra Joy-Con controller. Based off Amazon reviewers, the portable battery for the system lasts about 3 to 5 hours depending on the type of game played. More intense graphic heavy processing games will limit the battery life, while lighter more quick games will preserve its power.

Best Gaming Mouse: Logitech G502 Proteus Spectrum

Logitech G502 Proteus Spectrum
Courtesy of Amazon.com

Is your teen a competitive computer gamer? Do they play intense shooters such as Overwatch, Rainbow Six: Siege or Call Of Duty? Want to make sure they’re not screaming over losing matches by giving them an extra competitive edge with one of the most powerful gaming mice on the market?

The Logitech G502 Proteus Spectrum is a mouse made for competitive online first person shooters. It features an advanced optical gaming sensor designed by Logitech that makes it their most accurate and responsive mouse to date. It comes with customizable weights that can be placed under the mouse to conform to the perfect fit and feel. DPI settings are customizable, too, allowing for 200 to 12,000 DPI to adjust for any intense gaming situation for primed sensitivity.

The Logitech G502 also includes customizable lighting, surface tuning and button macros. Your teen can change its color scheme and lighting frequencies with its included Logitech Gaming Software application. It's compatible only with Windows 10, Windows 8.1, Windows 8 and Windows 7 operating systems.

Best Virtual Reality System: HTC VIVE

HTC VIVE
Courtesy of Amazon.com

Want to really impress your teen with the latest technology? Want to send them to another world? Get them the HTC VIVE, the ground-breaking virtual reality system that will make even parents want to get in on the action. It provides room scale VR, emerging your teen into another dimension where they can physically interact with 3D objects and play VR specific games.

The HTC VIVE is perfect for any teen gamer that wants the best in virtual reality. The system is compatible with over hundreds of games on SteamVR, so there are countless worlds to play in and environments to interact with. You can even condition your teen’s bravery by sending them on a first person rollercoaster, boxing match or to the dentist’s office. Included are wireless controllers designed to make interacting in virtual reality more natural and intuitive.

The device features an adjustable headset for comfort and provides multiple eye relief adjustments, including lens distance so you won’t have to worry about your teen having strained eyes or soreness. It features SteamVR tracking, too, so your teen will always experience the best of virtual reality whether they’re sitting, standing or in a room-scale space.

Best E-Reader: Amazon Fire HD 8 Tablet

Feature-rich at a price that’s tough to beat, the Amazon Fire HD 8 makes a great device for teens. Available in both 16GB and 32GB configurations, each model offers up to 400GB of additional storage, which you may end up needing when you consider the depth of content available. Teens will be able to choose from millions of movies, TV shows, songs, eBooks and more. And all their favorite apps are available too, from Prime Video to Netflix to Hulu and much more. Up to 10 hours of battery life ensures all day fun.

Books, videos, games, and all other kinds of media look great on the Fire HD 8’s HD (1280 x 800) display, and dual stereo speakers with Dolby Audio technology ensure that every piece of audio content sounds crystal-clear. Teens will also love the hands-free Alexa capabilities. They can make video calls to friends using the front-facing camera and use the AI assistant to inquire about sports scores, weather, homework or music. 

Best Gaming Headphones: ASTRO Gaming A40 TR Headset

ASTRO Gaming A40 TR Headset
Courtesy of Amazon.com

Maybe there’s too much noise coming from your teen’s room? But there's a way to keep their noisy TV or computer volume down when they're playing a video game and that's be investing in the ASTRO Gaming A40 TR Headset (one of the best out right now).

The ASTRO Gaming A40 TR Headset features pro quality audio designed specifically for pro gamer. It's designed to give clarity to every detail at every frequency and volume level. It comes with Dolby Surround 7.1 technology, as well as a Dolby Headphone output, which allows for clarity in sound (those gunshots might sound a bit too real) and voice chat, so your teen can politely disagree with opponents.

The ASTRO is lightweight and features an ergonomic design intended with the user’s comfort in mind. It’s adjustable and won’t cause your teen any neck cramps or blown out eardrums. It’s compatible with the Windows and Mac operating systems and comes with two models used for either the PlayStation 4 or Xbox One.

Best Gaming Laptop: Alienware AW15R3-3831SLV

Alienware AW15R3-3831SLV
Courtesy of Amazon.com

The ultimate gaming system isn’t always a PlayStation or Xbox, but a computer. Alienware is famous for making some of the best gaming laptops on the market that any teen could die for. The AW15R3-3831SLV is Alienware’s latest in powerhouse laptops; it’s sure enough to be relevant for more than half a decade, so you don’t have to worry about buying anything else for your teen.

The AW15R3-3831SLV features a 15” FHD 120Hz display and boasts an Intel Core i7-6700HQ 3.5 GHz processor with an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 and 6GB GDDR5 graphics memory. In other words, this means it can play virtually any video game in existence for the next five years. Your teen won’t be complaining about game speed either, as the laptop comes included with 16GB DDR4 RAM with a 32GB maximum. The 128GB SD drive with a 1TB 7200RPM means countless data storage and immediate program launches without the wait.

Want to pair it with the HTC VIVE? It comes VR-ready and supports the highest video output of a 4K HD resolution. The powerful laptop includes a pre-installed Windows 10 operating system. Amazon users who own the product say it’s one of the best gaming laptops on the market. More critical reviewers mention that building a PC desktop is cheaper and initial setup can take time.

Best Robot Kit: Robot Kit: Makeblock mBot Kit

Makeblock mBot Kit
Courtesy of Amazon.com

The machines are taking over! In a few years, machine learning and programming will become one of the hottest and most lucrative careers in existence. What better way to set your teen up by giving them a toy that teaches them to build their own robot all while learning a valuable skill?

The Makeblock mBot Kit comes with everything you need to build a Bluetooth-operated robot. This educational kit is perfect for any teen that wants to become familiarized with graphical programming, electronics and robotics, but doesn’t know where to start. Teens will get their chance at building their robots by assembling 32 included parts, use drag and drop graphical programming and explore and customize various functionalities.

The Makeblock can be programmed as a car that avoids obstacles and an in-line following vehicle. It can even be played with in programmable games such as soccer and sumo wrestling. With its “infinite extensibility,” your teen can add on their old Lego blocks to the mBot’s mechanical body and further develop functionality with the Arduino open source eco-system that allows for endless possibilities in robot building. Just make sure your teen doesn’t build the T-1000 from Terminator 2.