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How to Choose the Best Kid-Friendly Laptop

While your kids may consider the "cool factor" the most important consideration when choosing a laptop, parents know that other assets are just as important before making a purchase. Think about what your kid uses their laptop for most of the time. The answer is likely some combination of schoolwork, playing games, watching videos and communicating with friends. The following is a guide for choosing the best laptop for your kids along with some laptop recommendations to consider.

Preparing Your Kids Early for a Laptop

Laptops are no longer something to considered for only high school and college kids. Many schools introduce kids to computers even before the first grade. Granted, a first grader doesn't need a supped up laptop with all the bells and whistles. However, some type of laptop is certainly a practical investment, even a "training" laptop can be a worthwhile investment to introduce kids to the basics.

Make a List of Likely Uses for A Kids Laptop

Before you get hooked with various sales pitches, take a moment to put together a list of your child will likely use their laptop. Depending on the age of your child, this is likely to include the need for easy Internet access and the ability to view video images, whether it be a full-length movie or an educational tutorial. Don't forget to include security features since not all children consider the consequences of obtaining a nasty virus before downloading attractive apps or opening emails with attachments.

Most Popular Kid-Friendly Laptops

WolVol (White) Mini Laptop 7 inch Android 4.1

• Max screen resolution of 800 x 480
• 1.2 GHz processor, 1 GB RAM
• 4 GB hard drive
• Built-in WiFi and Ethernet port
• 2 USB ports, SD card slot

This laptop is an update of the Android 4.1 System. It's light weight makes it easy for children to carry in the backpack or when traveling. The SD memory card allows for convenient uploading of files, photos and videos. It takes a 3200mAh battery that has a standby time of 6 hours and work time of 2-3 hours.

    Amazon Price: $129.94

Apple MacBook MC207LL/A 13.3-Inch Laptop

• Max screen resolution of 1280 x 800 pixels
• 2.26GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor
• 250 GB hard drive with 8x double-layer "super drive"
• GeForce 9400 card

Kids will love the LED-backlit glossy widescreen display since it's rich in colors. Parents will appreciate the fact that it ships in "frustration-free" packaging. A spacious trackpad is ideal for smaller fingers. The built-in battery lasts for up to 7 hours between charges.

    Amazon Price: $399.99 (new)

DirAction Classmate PC NL2

• 10.1 inch resistive touch screen
• Windows 7 Home Premium 32-bit
• 2 GB memory, 160 GB hard drive
• Intel Learning Series Software Suite

Designed with kids in mind, the unique hardware and software combination makes this laptop ideal for elementary school and high school children. Parents will appreciate the spill-resistant keyboard and scratch-resistant touch screen.

    Amazon Price: $399 (new)

VTech - Brilliant Creations Beginner Laptop

• LCD color screen
• 80 learning games

Designed with younger children (ages 4-7 recommended) in mind, this beginner laptop has a working mouse and joystick to help kids learn how to use a laptop while having fun at the same time. Kids will love this bright, lightweight role-play laptop while learning basic skills in a fun, interactive way.

    Amazon Price: $31.49

VTech - Brilliant Creations Advanced Notebook

• 4.5 inch LCD color screen
• 120 learning games

This advanced notebook is a step up from the previous "training" laptop. Also from VTech, this laptop is a real computer with a working mouse designed to give kids a safe, engaging way to learn.

    Amazon Price: $39.99

Acer Aspire V5-131-2629 11.6" Laptop (Black)

• Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit version)
• 1.5GHz Intel Celeron 1007U processor
• 4GB DDR3 memory, 500GB hard drive
• 11.6-Inch LCD display (1366 x 768)

Older kids will appreciate the Webcam and Bluetooth features. Parents will appreciate the solid customer rating and the value when you consider what you get for a reasonable price. A nearly 7-hour battery life between charges gives kids plenty of time to do their homework and have a little fun too. Parents get the added peace of mind of a 1-year limited warranty.

    Amazon Price: $364.95

Lenovo B590 Windows 7 i5 15.6-Inch Laptop (Black)

• Intel Core i5 3230M 2.6 GHz
• 500 GB Hard Drive
• Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
• 11.5-inch screen

Since this laptop is more of an investment, it tends work best in terms of getting more bang for your investment for high school students getting ready for college. It can easily be upgraded with additional software as your young student's needs change. An innovative rescue and recovery feature comes in handy for those accidental delegations or other emergency situations where data may be lost. The battery life is about 5 hours between charges.

    Amazon Price: $569.99

WolVol Worlds Smallest Internet Laptop (Works with WIFI or Ethernet cable)

• 7-inch screen with 800 × 480 resolution
• 4 GB hard drive
• Android 4.1 OS
• 2 USB ports, SD card slot

Kids who appreciate style will enjoy this laptop, which is affordable enough for parents to appreciate too. It comes with the following options already installed: Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, NetFlix and ToonGoogles Cartoon Videos. The only drawback is that it has about 2-3 hours of work time, but that tends to be sufficient time for kids transitioning from a learning laptop to a more functional one like this model.

    Amazon Price: $129.94

WolVol GREEN NETBOOK Laptop 7" Netbook Computer with WiFi, Built-in Camera

• 7-inch screen with 800 × 480 resolution
• 4 GB hard drive
• Built-in camera, 2 built-in stereo speakers
• 3 USB ports, SD card slot reader

Trendy kids will enjoy the bright color. There's plenty of storage space available to store school work along with videos, games and photos. As an added bonus, it comes with a velvet pouch case to prevent scratches while being transported from one place to another. It also comes with a mini optical mouse and a charger.

    Amazon Price: $139.94

Apple MacBook 13" White Intel Core 2 Duo T7200

• 13-inch screen with 1280 x 800 resolution
• 160 GB hard drive
• Intel Core 2 Duo T7200 Processor 2GHz
• Apple Mac OS X v10.6 Leopard

The refurbished version of this laptop has all the features your child is likely to want at a fraction of the cost of buying new. You still get plenty of options, a decent amount of storage and the ability to customize with compatible software. The 3-hour battery life between charges is a slight drawback, otherwise it's a cost-effective choice for most usage needs.

    Amazon Price: $279.99 (refurbished); $1,184.99 (newest model)