laptop recommendations for 11 year old, please? and Microsoft Office?

Found 30th Aug 2016
Hi everyone, would really appreciate some advice...

I need to buy my son a laptop this week before he starts secondary school but haven't really a clue what I need in terms of specs? Looking to spend about £300 (have a little leeway on that, though) for a 15" laptop. Already been in Currys last month but am not keen on their customer service already - also thought that I may get a better price buying online?

Just need laptop really for general internet browsing and using Microsoft Office, but I want it to last and not become quickly outdated, if you get what I mean?

I also need to buy Windows Office but in Currys it was rather expensive and I was confused by the option of paying annually... Is there a way of buying it cheaper?

Thank yous

18 Comments

See if his school has some sort of MS Office academy license which allows students to buy Office at a reduced rate.

If not then buy MS Office Home and Student for £100 or so. It is not the complete Office (that can be hundreds of pounds) but is the main components - Word, Excel etc.

Of course does he NEED MS Office, there are free equivalents like Libre Office.

libreoffice.org/

Outlook has free online versions of word, excel etc - that may well be enough for his homework/assignment needs. They aren't full applications but a lot of the basics are there.
Edited by: "scrumpypaul" 30th Aug 2016

Have you thought about a chromebook? There a lot cheaper and a lot of schools recommend and use them in class. My daughters secondary school provides them with chromebooks for classroom work and assignments. The chromebook will gain you access to googles own version which is similar to Microsoft office.

Also worth considering a purchase from John Lewis, extended warranties and customer service second to none!
Edited by: "Bluefusion" 30th Aug 2016

When it comes to laptops then there are hundreds of them around the £300 price point (above and below that price).

Here is a Lenovo 15.6" from Argos for £329.

argos.co.uk/sta…htm

With an i3 CPU (better than a Celeron or Pentium), 8GB of memory, 1TB hard drive, Windows 10, DVD drive (many don't have them nowadays)

It is £329 but says at the top says reduced from £399 and at the bottom it says it has been £349 (but I am always wary of laptop price reductions).

You can always search the web and see who else it selling it and at what price (make sure you match specs exactly as often companies sell similar laptops with slightly different hardware - different CPU, less memory, smaller hard disk etc)

Edited by: "guilbert53" 30th Aug 2016

Original Poster

Thank you everyone, I will ask his school about an academy license. We always seem to have problem after problem with computers so just want to buy a fresh computer and stick an official Office software on it in the hope of things being straightforward!

Original Poster

Bluefusion

Have you thought about a chromebook? There a lot cheaper and a lot of … Have you thought about a chromebook? There a lot cheaper and a lot of schools recommend and use them in class. My daughters secondary school provides them with chromebooks for classroom work and assignments. The chromebook will gain you access to googles own version which is similar to Microsoft office. Also worth considering a purchase from John Lewis, extended warranties and customer service second to none!



Please would you mind explaining what the difference would be compared to a standard laptop? I definitely don't want smaller than 15" screen

Original Poster

guilbert53

When it comes to laptops then there are hundreds of them around the £300 … When it comes to laptops then there are hundreds of them around the £300 price point (above and below that price). Here is a Lenovo 15.6" from Argos for £329.http://www.argos.co.uk/static/Product/partNumber/5499317.htm#pdpFullDescWith an i3 CPU (better than a Celeron or Pentium), 8GB of memory, 1TB hard drive, Windows 10, DVD drive (many don't have them nowadays)It is £329 but says at the top says reduced from £399 and at the bottom it says it has been £349 (but I am always wary of laptop price reductions). You can always search the web and see who else it selling it and at what price (make sure you match specs exactly as often companies sell similar laptops with slightly different hardware - different CPU, less memory, smaller hard disk etc)



This is the problem I found when having a look myself online. It doesn't help that I'm not clued up as to what specs are essential and what are more give and take, but it seems that many models are only sold by one retailer so cannot compare price, I guess they jig the specs a bit at different retailers and then change the model name?

>>Just need laptop really for general internet browsing and using Microsoft Office, but I want it to last and not become quickly outdated, if you get what I mean?

All technology becomes outdated, but buying a new laptop now it should give you a few years of use (they often break or get dropped before then, particularly if used by children).

Microsoft don't plan to replace Windows 10 any time soon, and the rest of the components in that laptop I posted above are all generous.

It has 8GB of memory (I use desktop PCs at home with 2Gb or 4Gb so 8Gb is more than enough for home use)

The hard disk is 1Tb which I doubt he will ever fill (again I use 500Gb drive - half that size - and they are plenty big enough).

It has a DVD drive and while DVD use is dropping they are still useful to have.

It is also wi fi enabled (which all laptops are)

So it is a future proof as any other laptop to be honest.

The only "future proof" thing you might consider is an SSD drive. This replaces the hard drive with flash memory with no moving parts (like in tablets and smartphones) so less likely to sustain damage when dropped. However SSDs are more expensive than hard disks so you wont get a 1TB SSD in a laptop at this price point.

Original Poster

guilbert53

Just need laptop really for general internet browsing and using Microsoft … >>Just need laptop really for general internet browsing and using Microsoft Office, but I want it to last and not become quickly outdated, if you get what I mean?All technology becomes outdated, but buying a new laptop now it should give you a few years of use (they often break or get dropped before then, particularly if used by children).Microsoft don't plan to replace Windows 10 any time soon, and the rest of the components in that laptop I posted above are all generous. It has 8GB of memory (I use desktop PCs at home with 2Gb or 4Gb so 8Gb is more than enough for home use)The hard disk is 1Tb which I doubt he will ever fill (again I use 500Gb drive - half that size - and they are plenty big enough).It has a DVD drive and while DVD use is dropping they are still useful to have.It is also wi fi enabled (which all laptops are)So it is a future proof as any other laptop to be honest.The only "future proof" thing you might consider is an SSD drive. This replaces the hard drive with flash memory with no moving parts (like in tablets and smartphones) so less likely to sustain damage when dropped. However SSDs are more expensive than hard disks so you wont get a 1TB SSD in a laptop at this price point.



Thanks so much for your help, I have reserved the laptop - it has great reviews too

It had an offer to add on one year subscription of Office for £39.99 so I have also added that for now - will have a think about it before collecting but it says we can use it for up to five computers which may well be handy as we have three other computers in the house

I repair computers and I see a lot of laptops used by children being accidentally damaged (usually smashed screens, broken power sockets or smashed keyboards) or get terrible virus infections before they become obsolete. Used to look after banks of laptops in primary schools and it was an endless cycle of repairs.

Any new laptop should do the basics you want. The one suggested by guilbert53 looks like a good deal. Have you asked the school what level of computer equipment pupils are expected to have at home?

On an aside I wonder if it is worth looking at a desktop PC rather than a laptop. I doubt pupils are expected to carry their laptops to and from school (you need to check this with the school). Desktops are less likely to get damaged and parts are easier to upgrade over time. Also you can set it up in an area where it would be easier to see what your child is doing on it. Just a thought.

Original Poster

Cfcb

I repair computers and I see a lot of laptops used by children being … I repair computers and I see a lot of laptops used by children being accidentally damaged (usually smashed screens, broken power sockets or smashed keyboards) or get terrible virus infections before they become obsolete. Used to look after banks of laptops in primary schools and it was an endless cycle of repairs.Any new laptop should do the basics you want. The one suggested by guilbert53 looks like a good deal. Have you asked the school what level of computer equipment pupils are expected to have at home?On an aside I wonder if it is worth looking at a desktop PC rather than a laptop. I doubt pupils are expected to carry their laptops to and from school (you need to check this with the school). Desktops are less likely to get damaged and parts are easier to upgrade over time. Also you can set it up in an area where it would be easier to see what your child is doing on it. Just a thought.



I haven't asked the school about specs, that's a good point - they didn't actually state that he needs a computer but I know it's pretty standard to have access to one at home.

I am concerned about viruses because he does like to play online games, I will install Malwarebytes and Avast on the machine.

I have no intention of my son carrying the laptop around with him (he's not responsible enough!), I just want a laptop for him so that he doesn't have a PC taking up his desk space as it can be put away when not being used. It's also portable in that he can bring it downstairs if he needs help with something - hopefully this means it will last

This is also why I am HOPING we can do without an SSD...

If you can, enable an internet filter, that really helps. If you are on BT internet it's easy and is done at BT's end so very hard to bypass. There are other ways to do it for other ISPs but usually not so easy to do.

Original Poster

Cfcb

If you can, enable an internet filter, that really helps. If you are on … If you can, enable an internet filter, that really helps. If you are on BT internet it's easy and is done at BT's end so very hard to bypass. There are other ways to do it for other ISPs but usually not so easy to do.



Ooh I don't know anything about that, we have ee broadband at the moment

Mrs.Z

Ooh I don't know anything about that, we have ee broadband at the moment



Looks like ee suggest using Norton Family software which is only ​free for 1 year if you download it from ee.

For a free alternative checkout K9 Web Protection (Not used this one myself but looks good)

I personally use openDNS but that needs some technical expertise to setup especially if setup at the router side, if you can follow the instructions worth doing.

Lots of other options available.

Cfcb

Looks like ee suggest using Norton Family software which is only ​free f … Looks like ee suggest using Norton Family software which is only ​free for 1 year if you download it from ee.For a free alternative checkout K9 Web Protection (Not used this one myself but looks good)I personally use openDNS but that needs some technical expertise to setup especially if setup at the router side, if you can follow the instructions worth doing.Lots of other options available.



​The Standard version of Norton Family might be free forever, it's the Premier version that is on a 1 year license. Not sure reading between the lines.

Original Poster

I had Norton once before, I think from Barclays and found it really slowed my computer?

The Norton Family software is separate from the Norton Internet Security Anti-virus Software, but as I mentioned I have not used it so do not know how much it will affect your computers. Only way to tell is to install it and see, if it is no good take it off again. Make sure you have saved a system restore point before installing.

My son just got this ' Acer Aspire ES 13 Intel® Celeron® Processor, 4Gb RAM, 32Gb eMMC SSD Storage, 13.3 inch Laptop'. Laptop only £161.99.
Add microsoft Office 365 Home for a total of £235.
just buy a usb hard drive or subscribe to cloud storage and ready to go. Very fast, with a bright, full size screen.
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