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Computer Gifts For Teenagers

Updated on October 8, 2012

Which computer for a teen?

Whether you are hunting down a cost effective computer for your teenager to use in studies, research, and paper writing, or whether you are hunting for something that will last through the high school years, and into college, there are lots of considerations, with more hitting the market each year. Desktop computers and laptops are well known for their prevalent use over the past two decades, while netbooks have been on the scene for only a few years. Tablet pc's are even more recent, but highly popular and prized by teens, as well as younger kids.

What's Popular vs. What's Best

iPad's Popularity Doesn't Detract From Its Usefulness

The wildly popular iPad is finding its way to the top of many teen and tween holiday wishlists. However, popularity doesn't always mean something is the best choice. With an iPad, though, the educational potential is amazing. The more developers work to create apps for iPad and related Apple products, the more extensive the uses are. Whereas you could piecemeal your technological tools, a teenager can make use of calculator apps, astronomy, geography, foreign language, and more.

Ereader apps make it possible for your teenager to access iBooks, Amazon Kindle, and Nook literature, including both purchased and free books, magazines, and other materials. Having the best of all 3 ereader apps available in one device is helpful, and eliminates the need to be loyal to one, or another.

The iPod and camera functions of iPad 2 make additional favorite teen tech gifts a part of this handy tablet PC. When you consider the costs of individual devices to accomplish these varied purposes, the cost of an iPad begins to make a lot of sense.

iPad accessories such as keyboards and case provide utility and protection, and eprinting makes it possible to send information to printers, now.

tablet-for-a-teenager
tablet-for-a-teenager

Contemporary Tablet Options

Kindle, Apple, Samsung and Windows tablets all have spent their time surging and competing in recent years. Many teens are strictly interested in the entertainment value of these devices. I can vouch for that, my 17-year-old son has thoroughly enjoyed his Kindle Fire. He has the basic HD version, and it fits his interests perfectly. He can shoot video, take photos, access Facebook and play Candy Crush. Sounds like the modern version of the gaming console. My tweens aren't yet drawn in by the appeal of the tablet. They would much rather invest their funds in a handheld console. Just as well because they are tough on their equipment!

Apple tends to be pricey, but the availability of apps may be your draw there. The mini offers you an entry level option that keeps pricing down and fun up.

Which Tablet Rules? - Who is king of the tablet world?

Everyone has their priorities when selecting a tablet for a teenager. For many, it's the reliability and the affordability. For some, it's about image as much as experience. Each of these has its high points. What's your fave? Vote for the top option to show other parents which direction you would suggest as they seek the right option for their teens.

Laptop vs. Netbook vs. Chromebook

Portability is Important to a Teen

Your teenager may not like the stationary computer style of a desktop, and further, if a computer gift for a teenager is going to last into college years, then there will be a need for movability. Laptops, netbooks and Chromebooks for teens offer portability, and many are light years beyond the computing potential of those models available just a decade ago.

Netbooks are being improved greatly, but in many cases, they are being phased out in favor of tablets like the Surface or in favor of Chromebooks. If you need a small Windows computer, look for a netbook that has more hard drive and memory. I spend more time updating my low-end netbook than I care to. It has become unproductive for me if my primary computer is down.

If you like the sleek size and can live without Windows features, you may want to equip your teen with a Chromebook. Much of my kids' activities are strictly online, and the need for a lot of storage space and DVD functions isn't really there. The Chromebook provides quick access without all the updating! Excellent choice, and these are available in that low-end price range. I love the display on my Samsung Chromebook, much brighter and more readable than on my netbook.

Laptops may include a DVD drive, and have a larger display, something that can be helpful to a student who might be affected by a smaller screen size. A large laptop can be awkward, and though it will depend on your teen's tastes, a 16-17 inch laptop may be overbearing in terms of portability. A smaller size is less likely to be dropped, or to accidentally tilt off your teenager's lap.

Samsung Chromebook - A Great Low-End Version for a Teenager - Affordable Access

I have this model in a silver finish. I must say that it is sleeker than my netbook and it is very intuitive to set up. Your teen will need a Google account to log into Chrome, the browser that is featured.

This portable computer is easy to look at, has a bright display, and makes it easier to get online and get to work as needed. If your teen needs to work on the go during sporting activities or other extracurricular activities, this provides quick access to the information stored. Just be sure to work on protocol related to signing in and out of the account when computing activities are finished.

Dual Screen Activity - this computer can integrate with an external display to create an extended viewing area, great for research projects. Tie in a wireless keyboard and mouse, and it provides the efficiency of a desktop. Great for those research projects and papers!

Desktop PCs for Teenagers

If you are a budget conscious household, a desktop bundle may be an affordable computer choice, and a better value in terms of memory and storage. Holidays and Back to School sales are prime opportunities to pick up a desktop bundle for your teen, but there are also frequent sales during other holidays.

Desktop computers have the potential to accommodate more intense teen computer use, especially when it comes to games with lots of action, and graphics. If your teen needs a power pc, then look at desktop options.

Some of the hottest new releases include budget friendly all-in-one computers, and touch screen variations. Check out the newest desktop computer releases at Amazon.

Which computer gift for your teenager?

iPad, Tablet, Netbook, Laptop, or Desktop?

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    • profile image

      Jamz 2 years ago

      galbef1o yosi lo veo como el futuro y mas para los que nos moovmes mucho en la calle y manejamos informacion muyyyyy importante; te asaltan o un accidente que destruya fisicamente tu dispositvo tablet o latop, por mas respaldos que manjes siempre habra una perdida importante..las crhomebooks si solucionan cualquier riesgo, hasta yo mismo estoy pensando en en adquirir una ya que en la actualidad casi todo lo manejo en la nube en especial documentos o imagenes fotograficas como familia en la nuebe ya que e comprobado su importancia despues de la muerte de dos discos duros y perdida de DVD y usbs que gracias a dios me decidi respaldar todo haya en el cielo del internet.Porel solo hecho de ser un producto punta de google para marcar tendecia da por seguro que Google le dara prioridad a estos dispositivos por sus servidores que a cualquier dispositivo que no sea este.

    • lesliesinclair profile image

      lesliesinclair 4 years ago

      I think it's a good idea to introduce all kids to Macs when they are young, so they can experience intuitive use of technology.