Toshiba launches $499 children’s laptop

Has remarkably good specifications

WE’VE SEEN A fair few netbooks targeting kids from both Asus and Dell to mention a couple of companies that have tried to cash in on the educational market, but it now looks like Toshiba has decided to one-up everyone with a laptop for children. We’re not quite sure what makes it specific for children, but the press release claims that it has been made “for children aged five to 10”.

Toshiba has developed the Satellite L635 Kids’ PC in co-operation with Best Buy of all partners, and it will, of course, be sold exclusively through Best Buy. It seems to be based on Toshiba’s Satellite L630 notebook and this should hopefully prove to be a good thing. On the hardware side of things the Satellite L635 is actually remarkably good when you consider that the asking price is a mere $499, that’s only $36 more than Dell is asking for its Atom powered Dell Latitude 2110 educational netbook.

So what do you get for $499? Well, for starters the Satellite L635 has a 13.3-inch screen with 1366×768 resolution which is a big step up from the standard 10.1-inch netbook screens with 1024×600 resolution. The CPU is a yet unannounced model from Intel, namely the Celeron P4600 which is a 2GHz dual core Arrandale based chip with 2MB of L3 cache and 64-bit support and integrated Intel HD graphics. It lacks Hyper Threading and Turbo, but at least the graphics will go from 500 to 667MHz if needed.

You also get 2GB of RAM, a 250GB hard drive and even a built in DVD drive. Add to that a pair of USB 2.0 ports, an eSATA/USB 2.0 combo port, an Ethernet port, a D-sub connector, a memory card reader, a pair of audio jacks and a webcam and you have a pretty impressive “educational” laptop. However, it doesn’t quite stop there as Toshiba has come up with a special wipeable keyboard which uses a chiclet layout. The notebook is also meant to feature a new surface that is supposed to be finger print resistant. What’s missing is the HDMI port from the L630 and the press release didn’t mention battery life, but we’d guess it’d be similar to the L630 which has a claimed battery life of just over three hours.

As for the actual design itself, we’re not sold on the grey and neon green colour scheme, but it does at least look a lot more grown up than coming to school with a pink Barbie netbook. As far as software is concerned, Toshiba has pre-loaded NetNanny, KidZui’s web browser and a few games including Lego Batman.  We’re not entirely sure that Toshiba and Best Buy have figured out the age group for this machine though, as we can’t see many parents spending $499 on a 4.2lb (1.9kg) notebook for a 5 year old. Still, this is a pretty enticing package, especially considering how much more powerful this notebook is compared to the “educational” netbooks that other companies offer. The Satellite L635 will go on sale on the 26th of September.S|A

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