Is this the right laptop for my 9-year old?
June 8, 2018 10:30 AM   Subscribe

It’s time to buy my nine-year old (nearly 10) her first laptop, and this one is right at the top of our budget. I’m relatively uneducated on hardware stuff, so is this a good option?

She’ll perhaps use this a bit for school (research, brushing up on math, etc.), but primarily she’ll use it for watching AND creating YouTube videos, and gaming (mostly Minecraft and Roblox - she’s not much into violent multiplayer games and such). This ASUS seems like a good deal for her, but is my lack of knowledge missing any obvious flaws?

Also, while it’ll take us a bit over budget, is it worth the extra cash ($60) to get the model with the 128GB SSD? Based on my limited understanding, this would make loading times faster, yes? Is it as simple as making sure relevant apps/files are stored there rather than the HDD?

And, to show how hopeless I really am, I assume this would come with an AC cord, or is that an additional purchase?

Thank you in advance! I’d like to make sure this lasts her several years, and that we don’t hate it right out of the box.
posted by tr33hggr to Computers & Internet (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Do not buy a computing device without SSD in 2018. Spend the extra. To do anything else is to invest in obsolescence.
posted by DarlingBri at 10:52 AM on June 8, 2018 [5 favorites]

Best answer: Yes, it is worthwhile to get an SSD! The speed is so much better, especially with tasks such as video editing. With no moving parts the unit will be less likely to die from accidents. To archive those videos or other big files and to backup everything, you can easily add an external disk later.

This Acer laptop has similar specs and sports a 256 GB SSD for $60 more than the ASUS unit you mention.
posted by gregoreo at 10:57 AM on June 8, 2018 [2 favorites]

SSDs are great. When installing software, it's good to think about whether the software would benefit from the speed-- mainly the speed of loading the application -- or not-- if not, then put it on 1TB storage drive. I'd go with that.

Asus sells a universal dock (I'd call this a port extender, not so much a dock) if you think she'd be using it as a desk, and would therefore benefit from having a permanent setup of monitor/mouse/keyboard.

However, all those purchases can wait until the next gift holiday or budget cycle or whatnot.

AC adapter comes with it. You can buy an additional one.

When giving electronics to a 9-year-old, you need to install not ASUS/Amazon's return or replacement policy, but your own: "If you and your friends are horsing around and break this, (I'll replace it once|I'll never replace it and it's gone for good)." Also, 9-year-olds are new, and don't always draw what to us are logical conclusions about using electronics in various places: don't use it near sinks or bathtubs, don't spill on it, don't set it on carpet while running, don't drop it, don't put it on things that fall over, don't yank or force the cables. That goes in addition to the briefing you'll be giving as your kid starts interacting with strangers online.
posted by Sunburnt at 12:44 PM on June 8, 2018 [2 favorites]

Hopefully relevant enough to be useful: have you considered a desktop? that will allow you to get an SSD *well* within your budget, and as my parents learned the hard way, it is much easier to (appropriately) monitor and limit kids' tech use when they're tethered to a table in a central area rather than sneaking their laptop into their bedroom until 2 AM. Plus they're more difficult for kids to break.
posted by mosst at 1:39 PM on June 8, 2018 [6 favorites]

9 years old? Get a chromebook.
posted by trbrts at 3:21 PM on June 8, 2018 [1 favorite]

Unless portability is important for some reason (do 9 year olds bring computers to school these days?), get a desktop. The lifespan of even high-end laptops is much shorter than that of a desktop -- with a desktop, you can always replace constituent parts as you go, whereas with a laptop you have to buy fresh. That's not even considering the safety issues mosst mentions.
posted by basalganglia at 3:43 PM on June 8, 2018 [1 favorite]

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