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Inexpensive laptop for teenager (Read 107 times)

    My oldest's birthday's (14) a-coming up. There's this weird unspoken vibe in my house that says I really want a laptop but know better than to ask since they're expensive.

    So. $300.00 budget....I know they're out there but don't know what I'm getting. For instance, does a $199.00 Chromebook come with a word-processing program? (school papers and all that)  I've been pleased with the versatility of my Nexus tablet, can navigate the Android OS, and certainly like the price-point of a Chromebook. I'm hearing, though, that their features are limited (at $199, go figure)

     

    Here's what I know: the two years that I had a Dell Inspiron were the worst two years of my life. Not going back there.

     

    Suggestions? Thanks.

     I like running alone.


    Joggaholic

      What do you need the laptop to do? Email, word processing, and...?

        A 14 year old doesn't need a laptop.  You will get a lot more computer for your money if you buy a desktop.  When my daughter started college, I thought she needed a laptop, so I gave her mine and bought myself a new one.  It turned out she never takes a laptop to school and only uses it at home.  I don't like the Chrome laptop because it relies on web-based applications and "cloud" storage.

         

        You can make an argument for the Mac, but on your budget, a windows based desktop is going to be your best bet.  Linux is less expensive, but if you or your son are not technically inclined, I don't recommend going that route.

          A 14 year old doesn't need a laptop.  You will get a lot more computer for your money if you buy a desktop.

           

          Couldn't agree more. But she splits her time between two households, so portability is somewhat of an issue.

          Primary uses are e-mail and word processing, 'net access for school, some design/ graphics stuff (she likes Sketchup to doodle with, e.g.)

           

          "Cloud" storage gives me the willies, too. But I chalk that up to a generational thing.

           I like running alone.


          an amazing likeness

            As long as he/she has a google id, sounds like a Chromebook is exactly what you're seeking.

            Choosing my words carefully has never been my strength I've been known to be vague and often pointless

              "Cloud" storage gives me the willies, too. But I chalk that up to a generational thing.

               

              Chromebook may work for your daughter, or an inexpensive netbook.  I have a few problems with it that are not generational, but may not apply to a fourteen year old.

               

              Privacy - Other people have access to your data.  Google sysadmins at the very least, but possibly the government also.

              Availability - I don't always have access to a broadband Internet connection.  I work on planes and in remote areas a lot.

              Long term support and availability - Google could decide to discontinue support of their web-based applications and storage.

              Compatibility - Most of the corporate world uses Microsoft Office.  Google apps may not be 100% compatible with documents created in MS Office.


              Not dead. Yet.

                I always buy cheap laptops.  The last few have been Lenovos, but whatever is on special from Fry's is the best deal.  Here are a few Asus full size laptops (15.6") under $300.

                 

                http://www.frys.com/search?query_string=&cat=-68384&pType=pDisplay&fq=100331%20Everyday&sort=price%20asc&start=0&cat=-68384&from=0&to=24

                 

                Actually, this Gateway looks good too: http://www.frys.com/ads/computer-tablets-notebooks-accessories#AdNavi

                How can we know our limits if we don't test them?


                Interval Junkie --Nobby

                  The best reason not to give a kid a laptop, is because their computer access needs to be monitored.  There's lots of crap out here on the net.  Getting "CyberNanny" or something like that isn't going to work either -- because your kid is tech-smarter than you.  They have a lot of incentive to find a way around your measly anti-pr0n program.

                   

                  The only computer they should have access to should be in a public space in your house.  Somewhere with the screen viewable, so you can just glance over and make sure they aren't Facebooking with cyberPedo17.  Think living-room.  You can also monitor their time spent in front of that seductive time-wasting screen.

                   

                  As for the two houses: thumb drive.  Or if that's too much physical trouble: Google-drive (online cloud harddrive) -- with a bit of work you can figure out how to mount it to your local computer so it's always just there (as if it were a local harddrive).

                   

                  I'm a software engineer for a living and this is the approach I would take.

                  2014 Goals:  sub-3 Marathon 

                  Current Status 11/10: Back to building up miles.  Junk feels mostly okay.  Kinda.

                    I'm a software engineer for a living and this is the approach I would take.

                     

                    I'm a parent of multiple teenagers (plus two elementary aged kiddos) for a living and without two interchangeable laptops that can easily be moved to a bedroom or  home office when quiet working space is needed, there would be a whole lot of domestic violence en mi casa not to mention two lower GPAs.

                     

                    We have two cheap ($300 ish) Acer laptops that are community property. Neither kid has her own laptop. They use cloud storage and Google docs or other web-based apps for 99% of their work so it basically doesn't matter which one either of them uses for school work. We try to instill good values and teach them to be safe and not screw around too much online and all that, and they know we have the right to audit anything they are doing online or on their cell phones, but it's not practical to monitor their online activity 100% of the time and it's pointless to try.

                    Runners run.


                    Not dead. Yet.

                       

                      I'm a software engineer for a living and this is the approach I would take.

                       

                      You meant to say:

                       

                      "I'm a conservative in life and this is the approach I would take."

                      How can we know our limits if we don't test them?


                      Interval Junkie --Nobby

                         

                        You meant to say:

                         

                        "I'm a conservative in life and this is the approach I would take."

                         

                        I'm still working on a fail-safe structural backup system for my belt-n-suspenders. Wink

                        2014 Goals:  sub-3 Marathon 

                        Current Status 11/10: Back to building up miles.  Junk feels mostly okay.  Kinda.

                          I always buy cheap laptops.  The last few have been Lenovos, but whatever is on special from Fry's is the best deal.  Here are a few Asus full size laptops (15.6") under $300.

                           

                          http://www.frys.com/search?query_string=&cat=-68384&pType=pDisplay&fq=100331%20Everyday&sort=price%20asc&start=0&cat=-68384&from=0&to=24

                           

                          Actually, this Gateway looks good too: http://www.frys.com/ads/computer-tablets-notebooks-accessories#AdNavi

                           

                          I agree with the cheap laptop route. As you yourself experienced with Dell, brand name laptops do not necessarily deliver.

                           

                          The Acer that the Mikeys have is a great value.

                           

                          Also, I'd go with a generic laptop over a brand name "netbook." My general sense is that they are at about the same price point. 

                          A 14 year old does not need a laptop, but I believe having one is important for keeping pace these days (whether we like it or not).

                          "If you have the fire, run..." -John Climacus