Best overall

Surface Go

While mainly a tablet, the Surface Go can easily be used as a laptop with the optional Type Covers. Starting at $399, it's a great option for kids who need to do a little learning on the side but enjoy a capable portable PC for their favorite games. It's easy to implement parantal controls to keep your little ones safe while using the device, and Windows 10 ships in S-mode, which only allows the installation of apps and games from the Windows Store.

Bottom line: Surface Go offers some serious amounts of fun at a solid price.

One more thing: It's actually rather powerful, sporting an Intel Pentium processor, 4GB RAM, and Intel HD 615 graphics.

Why the Surface Go is the best

Why is the Surface Go tablet our recommended laptop for kids?

You're forgiven for asking that, but the truth is the new Surface Go is a stellar piece of technology. It's a 2-in-1, tablet come laptop that can be used in a variety of scenarios. This makes it ideal for kids who may want to do a little homework at the table, followed by some reading or light gaming in the bedroom thereafter.

A great display, good hardware and excellent battery life.

Building on the foundations of the Surface 3, the Surface Go doesn't cut obvious corners that others in this kind of market would at this price point. You get a great looking display, for example, as well as 4GB of RAM, which makes a difference in practice.

It also looks stunning, as all Surface hardware from Microsoft do. It's well made, sturdy as can be and has enough battery life to get through a day and beyond. At less than $400, it's virtually impossible to do better right now for an inexpensive laptop.

Best small laptop

ASUS VivoBook E203

This 11.6-inch notebook from ASUS brings some of the style of the company's more expensive models at a really affordable price. It's not all good looks, though, as underneath you'll find a quad-core Intel Celeron processor, up to 4GB of RAM and 64GB of internal storage for around $229.

Despite the size, there's still a full-size keyboard, a microSD slot, HDMI out, USB-C and full-size USB ports. The display is on par with competitors at 1366 x 768. And with up to 13-hours battery life, you'll be able to head out for the day and leave the charger at home. It's also well priced with a free year of Office 365 tossed in as well.

Bottom line: Stylish, durable, packing a great keyboard and the best 11-inch notebook you could get your kids.

One more thing: You'll also get a free year of Office 365 thrown in for good measure.

Best 2-in-1

ASUS Transformer Mini

If you love the design of the Surface Pro, you'll love the Transformer Mini from ASUS for $379. It has the same hinged kickstand to prop up the tablet when the keyboard and touchpad are attached, and it even includes a pen for inking and a fingerprint scanner for Windows Hello.

The 10.1-inch touch display has a 1,280 x 800 resolution, and there's a front-facing webcam tucked in at the top. Inside, you get an Intel Atom x5-Z8350 CPU, 4GB of DDR3 RAM, and 128GB of eMMC storage for $400. Which is a lot less than a Surface Pro.

Bottom line: A more child friendly alternative to the Surface Pro.

One more thing: It has full Windows Hello support with an included fingerprint scanner.

Conclusion

You can't go wrong with any of these laptops for your kids, but they are each in their own right stand out models. The outright winner is the Surface Go because it offers incredible hardware, quality and durability at a very attractive price. ASUS has some great options though for the smaller laptop hunter as well as those looking for a Surface-like experience on a more child-friendly budget.

Best overall

Surface Go

While mainly a tablet, the Surface Go can easily be used as a laptop with the optional Type Covers. Starting at $399, it's a great option for kids who need to do a little learning on the side but enjoy a capable portable PC for their favorite games. It's easy to implement parantal controls to keep your little ones safe while using the device, and Windows 10 ships in S-mode, which only allows the installation of apps and games from the Windows Store.

Bottom line: Surface Go offers some serious amounts of fun at a solid price.

One more thing: It's actually rather powerful, sporting an Intel Pentium processor, 4GB RAM, and Intel HD 615 graphics.

Updated August 03, 2018: We have new top picks for the small laptop hunter and in the 2-in-1 category.

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