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best laptop for kids

Discussion in 'Laptops' started by mas, Dec 1, 2003.

  1. mas

    mas Guest

    what laptop should i get for a 8 year old kid i dont want to spend to
    much. she needs it for school and some games.

    thank you
    mas, Dec 1, 2003
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  2. A cheap used one.
    Barry Watzman, Dec 1, 2003
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  3. A cheap used one.

    Better from 2001 or earlier with a real mobile CPU

    2002 started the epedemic with the so called "mobile" P4
    =?iso-8859-1?Q?Roland_M=F6sl?=, Dec 1, 2003
  4. mas

    Bob Regis Guest

    Sorry can't help you with your question, but am intrigued to know why she
    needs it for school?
    Bob Regis, Dec 1, 2003
  5. mas

    mike Guest

    Figure out exactly what software you need to run.
    Figure out exactly what hardware you need to connect.
    Then make sure the hardware you buy can do that. A little extra
    horsepower for the things you didn't think about might be useful.

    Games are some of the most power/display hungry software you can run.
    It takes MAJOR computing horsepower to run a game that's anywhere
    near realistic/responsive.

    Kids are HARD on laptops. I have a friend with what I consider to be
    a VERY careful/responsible 16 year old. He goes thru a laptop every
    other month. YMMV.

    Bunch of stuff For Sale and Wanted at the link below.
    laptops and parts Test Equipment
    Honda CB-125S
    TEK Sampling Sweep Plugin and RM564
    Tek 2465 $800, ham radio, 30pS pulser
    Tektronix Concept Books, spot welding head...
    mike, Dec 1, 2003
  6. Wow! An 8 year old. I'm either very impressed with someone this young
    and his/her interest in computers, or concerned that this is the new
    status symbol for kids. "I've got an IBM, while you just have some
    knock-off brand."

    I hope it's the former!

    Lawrence Glasser, Dec 1, 2003
  7. mas

    Kevin Guest

    I have picked up older machines for well under $100. Old Apple Powerbooks
    are great for this kind of use. Check ebay. For under $100 you could
    probably also pick up a Pentium laptop (P133 maybe) that could run Windows 95.
    Kevin, Dec 1, 2003
  8. mas

    G Tom Guest

    Buy an old Panasonic Toughbook from ebay. They go for less than
    $100USD for a Pentium1 and 48MB of RAM. They are spill/drop proof so
    I'd think they'd be perfect for a 8 year old kid. Hopefully, it
    doesn;t have to be too powerful!

    G Tom, Dec 1, 2003
  9. I'm a bit busy today but since everyone else who responded (so far)
    either doesn't know crap about what they are talking about, or seems to
    be some kind of "next thing the kids will want cell phones" geezer
    (wake-up notice: they have them, old-timer), I'll make some time to give
    another point of view.

    Kids actually need fairly powerful computers. Often more powerful than
    what you need.

    Even the learning software and games for 3-year-olds have bits of video
    in them, and a slow machine will stutter and crash trying to play them..
    The games are unusable on old used laptops, generally speaking
    (Caillou's Birthday Party (2-5) plain wouldn't run on my old Toshiba 4100)

    If your kid is *ONLY* going to write reports in a word-processing
    program, period, then yes they actually could use a low-end machine.
    But on the other hand, then your kid could have a light-weight or
    lighter-weight laptop.

    Used is a really really bad idea. Laptops get beat up and down't last
    like desktops do. And laptop owners have a way-inflated idea of what
    their machines are worth, because laptops depreciate at a ridiculous rate.

    If you afford 700-1100 bucks, you can get a decent new one. If you want
    to spend 300, try looking on eBay. But keep in mind that when a part
    dies you might not be able to get a new part, or it might cost you
    another 200 bucks to fix it.

    Also, laptop batteries don't last forever, they're expensive, and you
    might not be able to get a new one for older models.

    For your 8-year-old, assuming she/he's not a hardcore gamer but just
    doing reports and using learning software (Dicovery Channel CD's, etc.),
    I'd suggest 1.4 mhz Centrino or 1.8 mhz pentium or better, at least 256
    megs of RAM, Windows XP, pro if you can get it but you can live with the
    home version if you have to, a CD with a CD burner of at least 4x write
    speed, 16x read speed (most will be faster).

    Next you have an issue on resolution for the screen. A lot of kids
    software only works well at 800 x 600. Laptop screens don't always
    scale that well from their "native" resolution.

    When you get the computer, decorate it with a couple of stickers on the
    bottom and on the panel (or let your kid do it) so it won't get mixed up
    with the other kids.

    You might also consider a second, external monitor, keyboard, and mouse,
    for at-home use, especially if you wind up with a 12" or 14" screen.
    Hand-me-downs are fine in this department.

    Lastly, consider a 50-dollar HP printer (but the cartridges will kill
    you if your kid prints a lot of stuff, so keep that in mind).

    If you have any more questions, please feel free to ask - and ignore the
    people without kids, they are apparently living in another century - all
    the kids including poor kids have computers these days (not necessarily
    laptops but... they have them) because their parents want them to be

    PS: Don't forget Norton Antivirus 2004 because it will cover
    instant-messaging programs, and your kid might be running that quite a bit.
    Richard Grossman, Dec 1, 2003
  10. This is excellent advice.

    You are retroactively excluded from my dismissive remarks about the
    other posters! <grin>
    Richard Grossman, Dec 1, 2003
  11. Lawrence, I was waiting for you to throw in a phrase like, "by gum!" or
    "in my day...".

    Kids are way out in front, and they've been doing computers from age 3
    for 15 years.
    Richard Grossman, Dec 1, 2003
  12. Do you find it difficult being a pompous, little, asshole, or does it come
    pretty easy?

    Lawrence Glasser, Dec 1, 2003
  13. I think if you just want to get your kid acquainted with computing in
    general, and if he/she wants to write up some essays, and maybe play a few
    really really basic games, then get him/her something really really really
    solid - or else they're just going to break it pretty soon.

    Maybe an old Toshiba/IBM/Powerbook. If you look on ebay, you should be able
    to find an IBM 600 series going cheaply, and they're really solid machines.

    Duncan James Murray, Dec 2, 2003
  14. mas

    David Chien Guest

    A cheap used one.

    Just about anything is fine, such as the recent Black Friday after
    Thanksgiving sale of the Toshiba notebook for $499 at BestBuy.

    Too bad you seemed to have missed the advertisement and sale for
    that, but you can find more cheap laptop deals at
    www.fatwallet.com/forums/ -> hot deals section.

    =really= no point buying an old laptop given how very slow they'd be
    if you tried to buy one much cheaper than the new Toshiba above.
    David Chien, Dec 3, 2003
  15. Yeah, I missed that - solid is a good, very good.

    As you say, the 8-pounders of a year or two ago are more likely to be
    built like rocks.
    Richard Grossman, Dec 4, 2003
  16. Oops.. Did someone get their feelings hurt here?

    Sorry for that but was it really worth your taking *personal* offense to...
    Richard Grossman, Dec 4, 2003
  17. It wasn't a matter of feelings hurt... I've learned, *with age*,
    not to be too thin skinned.

    I do take offense, however, when someone dismisses my observations
    as "incorrect," along with an attitude of "this is the way it is."

    One of the hazards of e-conversations is that "tone" is often open
    to interpretation.

    If you weren't attempting to be pompous, my mistake. If you were,
    my comment stands.

    Lawrence Glasser, Dec 4, 2003
  18. mas

    Joe Davis Guest

    Richard is giving excellent advice here. I'd re-emphasize 4 points:

    1. kids software requires fairly powerful computers
    2. kids are hard on computers
    3. antivirus for instant messaging is important and
    4. batteries don't live long when left plugged in all the time--you
    especially need a strategy for teaching kids to unplug when they're done.

    I would add this thought: kids think about computers as just another
    tool--the way we used to think about a pencil or crayons. This is good, in
    a way, but they have no curosity about how they work or how to take care of
    them. YOU have to teach that, or they will end up helpless and you will end
    up with a full-time job of IT manager of your household.
    Joe Davis, Dec 5, 2003
  19. Well, it had more to do with frustration having little to do with you
    personally and more to do with the general phenomena of people without
    kids-experience giving advice to people with kids.

    Maybe I would have done it once too, but the real world of kids is very
    different than you expect.

    There are all these articles and tips about do this, do that, but when
    your kid starts screaming for candy in the middle of a crowded store,
    sometimes that all goes out the window and you give them the candy this

    But this is the wrong forum... <g>

    PS: FYI, relating to your original post, kids having computers is not a
    "spoiled" or "upper-class" or "keeping up with the Jones's" thing at
    all, it's just a fact of life.

    And computers sure beat video games, but I guess that's coming for us
    too once our kid gets a little older. <sigh>
    Richard Grossman, Dec 5, 2003
  20. mas

    Kevin Guest

    Well, I was a little peeved at the way you phrased it. I don't have it
    word for word here but you basically said, "Hmm, I guess I'll take some time
    out of my busy day to set things straight, since everyone else either doesn't
    know crap about what they're talking about or is out of touch with modern
    Kevin, Dec 5, 2003
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