Saturday, 10 November 2012

Miser's Guide to Cheap Laptops, Home Computers and Netbooks for Kids

Getting kids ahead at school often means finding affordable laptops or Netbooks after stretching your purse beyond breaking point. Schools now have IT classes as standard, and kids who do not have access to a laptop or personal computer at home are sure to miss out. Having kids myself, I felt I had to do the same or I would suffer a guilt complex when it comes to finding the funds.

Refurbished Laptops for Kids

Cheap laptops can be found at recommended sites such as Dell, PC World or the LapTopCentre. With good reviews, these renovated laptops have simply been refurbished to work like new. Most have long warranties and voucher-offers on purchase to save money on computer accessories when required. Being refurbished, some minor scratches will be found on the laptop or the colour of the model may differ.

Guidelines for Buying Cheap Netbooks, Laptops or Personal Computers

  • Stick to a well-known brand such as Dell or Advent. The lesser-known ones might be fine, but being little tried and tested, why take the risk?
  • Look out for customer reviews. Firstly, check Amazon itself. Read the comments and the ‘helpful’ votes. Differentiate between the quality of the laptop from customer service. A one-star because of late delivery says nothing about the product. Sift out reviews that say something about the quality of the laptop itself. Next take a look at the external website such as PC world or Portable Universe. Do the two marry up?
  • If purchasing from an external supplier, check their customer service. Are they local? Is their return policy fair? Read the small print to avoid disappointments on Christmas day.
  • Make sure that all vital accessories are included in the price. Is there a portable WiFi? Does the Laptop come with a lead? Is Microsoft Word included?
  • Some refurbished laptops come with a 6 month warranty. Personally, I would go for a year. Under the Sales of Goods act, you are protected even if the laptop breaks down shortly after the warranty has run out. Find out how to complain about faulty goods on this article.
Retailer’s Policy on Damaged Computers on Delivery

I have had a look at the return’s policy of larger vendors such as Amazon and PC World. Basically, you may return any computer that is ‘dead on arrival’ or damaged on arrival for a full refund within 30 days of purchase. The retailer may test the computer to establish if the computer was damaged through misuse or transit and act accordingly. However, the aforementioned Sales of Goods act protects the customer for up to 6 years if the computer shows to be defective or inferior in quality in proportion to the price tag. Each vendor will differ, so read the small print.

Advice for Buying Second Hand Laptops

Every laptop or home computer should have basic software as standard, such as, picture library, email, decent memory capacity and word processor. Check these are included. If extra memory is needed, consider purchasing an external hard drive, although this can be inconvenient. Compare prices at MegaShopBot.

Netbook or Laptop for Kids’ Home Computing?

Netbooks have advantages over their larger laptop counterpart for kids, for the internal battery lasts longer (being a smaller device), making it more mobile. It also fits nicely on a child’s lap, and a child can easily carry it around, being lighter and smaller. However, visually-impaired kids may struggle with the small screen. Bear this in mind when making the decision.

Software for Kids’ Computers

Inevitably, extra cash will need to be spent on essential software, such as graphics, image editing, anti-viral software and file compressors. Take a look at Free Office Software for the best free downloads available online. Otherwise, shop around for the best deals in software. I found out after purchasing my kids’ Netbooks that Microsoft Word was not included. Watch out for this! Some laptops also do not have Webcam software.

How to Get Cheap Computers for Children

Computers have become essential in everyday life and school, so kids may miss out if they do not have access to a computer or laptop at home. I opted for a couple of Netbooks for my kids and managed to get some money off just before Christmas. Look out for money-off deals. Alternatively, vendors that sell renovated computers (with repute of course). Watch out for missing essential software or inadequate memory. And lastly, read the small print for their returns policy as it will not be the same as buying a brand new computer. Vigilant shopping for computers for kids will yield affordable laptops or Netbooks for kids.

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