The question of what laptop to get for your kids is one the most common questions we get here at Discover Coding. The answer is always “it depends”; but here’s the run-down of our picks:
What we use
For our Code Explorers and Code Builders programs for students aged 8 to 14, we currently use the HP Stream 14″ HD Laptop it’s an affordable,entry level option that is perfectly suitable for the target age range. Its physical dimensions are ideal to work with (large screen, yet light), and running Windows provides the most options for software such as Minecraft with Code Connection.
If your students are going to carry their laptops around and you want to be an option that will likely last a bit more physical abuse, the ASUS W202NA VivoBook is a “durable” option with similar specifications and capabilities as the HP Stream listed above, but it comes at a slight price premium. The Asus C202 Chromebook is a lower-cost, rugged option as well, but it runs ChromeOS. This is a popular platform for use in schools because of its simplicity and easy of use and maintenance. However,you’re limited to only running things that run in a web browser, and you won’t be able to install traditional software and games. The other specification to note is these are both 11” screens, which some students may find a bit small to read.
For a more capable, mainstream option that is affordable and suitable for students, the Asus X540UA VivoBook is a great option.It has a larger, better screen, and respectable specifications to run more software smoothly, compared to previous options. Obviously, the trade-off is that requires a bit larger of a budget; and is more appropriate for students in junior high or even high school.
Lastly, the most premium for families to explore is the Apple Macbook Air.We would only “suggest” this if you insist on using the Apple ecosystem of products and software. It is a very versatile and capable machine; but it is more appropriately suited for students in university and adults. It’s premium features, speed, (and price) are much higher than what fits a young student; however, it is the cheapest laptop option available if you must stick with Apple for whatever reason.