12 Best Laptops for Teens in 2018
Teenagers… where do we start? They can be quite temperamental at times, especially when it comes to picking out new gear. Unless they are raking in the dough at a summer job, chances are they are going to need some help from the parentals when it is time to buy something expensive. That would include laptops.
While kids can go through a smartphone or slate in just a few years, tablets are usually a little tougher and have a longer lifespan. Some of them do anyway, as if your teen is rough, it may not make it a month. If that’s your child, have no fear as we have included something for you as well on our list of the best laptops for teens.
As our picks are geared towards kids that still live at home and not little professionals, we are going to focus on a few key areas while keeping it simple. All will suffice for school work, but these are better suited for casual use, gaming, and good old social media. There is a price point for everyone as well, so we have you covered whether your child is still your little princess or a total teenage terror.
Top 12 Laptops for Teens Comparison Table
The 3 Main Things to Consider When Choosing a Laptop for Your Teen
Choosing the top laptop for teens can be like finding a needle in a haystack with thousands of options available. With the table above and our guidance below, your decision is going to be much easier.
- Storage – Anytime there is a “laptop list,” there are going to be a few similarities. Having a product from Apple on any list is a lock, and so is a talking point for storage. In some professions or usage cases, storage is not going to be a problem as you don’t need to hold thousands of mp3s, video files, and games. If you are a teenager, it’s a different story.
While plenty can be stored in the cloud these days for easy access, it is not the preferred method for most. If you have enough storage out of the box, you won’t have to worry about that and can always opt for a USB stick which has grown quite large over the years. In a nutshell, if your teen is media hungry you will want to make sure they have plenty of space.
- Gaming Capabilities – Kids like games. Adults love them as well considering it’s a trillion-dollar industry, and parents are usually the ones buying those high-end titles. Whether your teen needs a laptop for Algebra or Warcraft, you will want to ensure it can play more than flash-based games from their browser.
Most laptops have something called integrated graphics or Intel HD graphics; this basically means you are not going to be able to play top-tier games at the full frame rate or at all in some cases. It varies by game along with your RAM and processor, but it is something to consider. If your teen is an avid gamer, look for something with NVIDIA graphics or a dedicated slot.
While the RAM and processor are important as well, 8GB of memory and an i7 won’t help you play the new Splinter Cell if your graphics card is weak.
- Durability – Is your teenager the rough & tumble type? If so, you are going to want to skip the Ultrabooks and anything with a price tag north of a grand. With today’s tech, a good laptop can hold its own for 5-7 years before you need to upgrade. That is only if it is still in one piece, however.
Ultrabooks tend to be thin, and while some have metal casings, those components are still closer to the outer shell. How durable they are depends on the brand, but they do make specialized units that can take a beating. That includes laptops with water-resistant keyboards as well. We all know what a coke can do to your keys.
Top 5 Best Laptops for Teens Reviews
Was your teenager a good kid all year with great grades and an awesome attitude? If so, you will be hard pressed to find a present better than the Apple MacBook Air. It is our top pick for our best laptops for teens list, and while pricey, it will make them the envy of all their friends. It is also powerful as well with 8GB of LPDDR3 RAM and the speedy 1.6GHz Intel i5 with turbo boost up to 2.7GHz.
The latest version of the MacBook Air can deal with any programs you put in its path and allows your teen to chat and Facetime with the built-in webcam. It is not necessarily a beast when it comes to gaming due to an Intel HD Graphics 6000 setup, but can handle most without issue as long as you adjust the settings.
Other tech specs of interest include Bluetooth, Dual-Band Wi-Fi, a 128GB SSD, and an array of ports including the popular USB Type-C. The Apple MacBook Air MMGF2LL/A is the 13-inch model with a resolution of 1,330 x 900 and is a great all-around laptop for teenagers.
Remember that part where we talked about teens being rough on expensive tech? Well, if your child fits that bill, check out the ASUS Chromebook C202SA-YS02. This one lives up to its namesake as it is “Ruggedized” to withstand more than the usual wear and tear of daily use. That means you will get reinforced rubber to go along with a spill resistant keyboard. It also has and easy grip lip on the bottom to boot.
While rugged, this laptop is a bit on the small side with an 11.6-inch display sporting a resolution of 1,366 x 768. Beneath that tough shell beats an Intel Celeron N3060 processor which is backed by 4GB of DDR3 RAM. The storage is listed at 16GB and is of the “flash” variety, but you can expand through the USB port on the side or turn to the cloud.
This one is good for school use, or as a laptop your teen can take on the road. If it does hit the ground, it should be able to take it. The fact that it is in the budget-friendly range is the icing on the cake. The only downside is the fact it is a Chromebook, which means it doesn’t run Windows or the Mac OS. In other words, you are going to lose the ability to use some applications and games.
Samsung produces everything from appliances to those smartphones half the world carries around. They also produce fine laptops although that isn’t necessarily their strong suit. One exception would be the Samsung Notebook 7 Spin, which is a powerful little laptop that’s great for gaming and has all the bells & whistles you could want from an all-around machine.
The Samsung Spin’s claim to fame is it the touchscreen display which can be turned around backward for use in several different positions. Want to go into tent mode? Not a problem as the Spin if more flexible than most and has a thick, sturdy hinge. It also has plenty of horsepower with an Intel i5 processor and 8GB of RAM. You can game on this one, and you will have plenty of storage space courtesy of a 1 terabyte hard drive.
As for the display, it’s a touchscreen with a resolution of 1,920 x 1,080. The graphics aren’t the best, considering they are of the integrated variety but will get the job done – especially with 8GB of RAM onboard. There is no optical drive on this model, but you do get a wide array of ports including HDMI out.
Convertible 2-in-1 laptops are slick and a trend we are going to see more of in the future. Who wouldn’t want a laptop that transforms into a slate on a whim? If your teen like cool tech, they will appreciate the Acer Chromebook R 11 Convertible. It is one of the smallest laptops to make the cut, but we think you will be surprised by what it brings to the table.
Despite its flexible nature, the Acer Chromebook R 11 has a 32GB SSD drive and 4GB of RAM. The processor is listed as the Intel Celeron N3150, which is a quad-core chip with a speed of 1.6GHz. The display itself is 11.6-inches and has a resolution of 1,366 x 768. Throw in a pair of stereo speakers, Bluetooth 4.0 and two USB ports (one is 3.0) and you’ve got yourself a fine laptop that can handle casual games but is better suited for general usage and media.
One of the beefier laptops on our list from a specifications standpoint is the ASUS K501UW-AB78. While it does not have the smoothest moniker, it’s an all-purpose PC that is built for gaming which makes it a great fit for teenagers that like to stay portable.
You won’t have to deal with a lowly i3 or even the i5 in this laptop as you will get the speedy 2.5GHz Intel Core i7-6500U. That chip gets a nice boost from 8GB of RAM while the storage is listed at 512MB and comes in the form of an SSD drive. Connectivity will be speedy as well thanks to Gigabit Dual-Band Wi-Fi and an RJ35 LAN jack. Like ports? The AB78 has plenty of them with 2 USB 2.0 ports, 2 USB 3.0 ports and a variety of other plug-ins and slots.
Another advantage with this laptop is the fact that it is full-sized at 15.6-inches. As the name implies, the resolution is 1,920 x 1,080 otherwise known as FHD. The laptop with run Windows 10 when it arrives at your doorstep and will run more games than most of the devices on our best laptops for teens list with a NVIDIA GTX 960 graphics card.