What to consider when buying a school kid’s laptop?
Different schools have different ages when a child can bring a laptop to school, Bring-Your-Own-Device (BYOD). Some starts in secondary school (12 – 13 yrs old), some starts in Year 5 (10 – 11 yrs old).
The school will set out its BYOD policy (example below).
Form Factor: require physical keyboard attachment
Max screen size: 15″
Max weight: 2kg
Windows 7 Windows 8.1 Windows 10
OS X 10.7 or newer
Windows 8.1, Windows 10
Min screen size
Min storage (SSD or HDD)
Min battery life
11″ MacBook Air
Microsoft Surface Pro
Ensure laptop is not too heavy & bulky, as child will have to take it to school in their backpacks with books, etc. Avoid the 2kg laptops and big ones ~ 34 x 24 x 2.37 cm.
Ensure the screen is not too small to avoid straining a child’s eyes. Avoid the 11″ displays
Ensure the laptop is performant, not too slow where child spends ages waiting for computer to respond. For budget laptops ~ $350, may have to consider eMMC (cheap flash drives like SSD, but not SSD) for better performance compared to spinning hard drives (HDD).
Personally, I’d prefer a laptop so kids can learn to touch type. Though possible to get a tablet with attachment keyboard
Get a light & compact device, aiming more towards ~ 1.2kg, 31.7 x 21.5 x 1.82 cm (if laptop)
Get a larger display, aiming more towards 13.3″. Bonus if you can find a FHD resolution (eg 1920×1080) compared to standard HD (1366×768). Can’t get too large, as max size could be 15″
Get a performant computer. Best to check before you buy that typical 4GB RAM, 64GB eMMC performs ok