This year when I was at CES, I came across the Hack computer. As soon as I saw it I dropped everything and made a beeline for the booth. I knew that my son would absolutely adore this laptop. They sent me one earlier this year, and my son was THRILLED!
What is unique about the Hack computer is that it is not only a great affordable laptop for kids just starting out, it helps teach them so much about the inner workings of a computer and coding. The kids are able to unlock the ability to hack different parts of the computer.
For example, when they are using a specific app, they can flip the app around to change certain aspects of the game or system. All the while the characters on the screen are explaining what is happening and what they are changing.
My son, who at the age of 4 was able to completely factory reset our Wii, is obsessed with figuring out how things work. Usually, this is to his detriment, as he constantly breaks things in the process. A long time ago I gave him an older laptop of mine that was broken so he could take it apart and put it back together frequently without ruining anything.
The Hack computer allows you to download specific apps like Minecraft, YouTube and more. The operating system is not Windows, or Android it’s called Endless OS which allows the kids to “Hack” the source code. Since it is not one of those standard operating systems, there aren’t a ton of apps and games for it. You also are unable to use some functions of different websites, since they only work with Windows or Mac.
Lacks Parental Controls
Since it is not any of those standard operating systems, the ONE complaint I have about the system is the lack of parental controls. My son LOVES his laptop, and while we have parental controls on the entire network that will lock down the internet at specific times, I would like more reporting on how long he has spent on the device and what he was doing while he was on it. Call me a stick in the mud, but boy do I love my parental controls!
The device itself is a legit laptop. Built by Asus it has an Intel processor, 4 GB of RAM and a 64 GB Hard Drive. It’s definitely not the top of the line, but it’s a perfect way to get your child started with coding and also allows them some ability to get some homework done on the device as well.
My son’s favorite part of the Hack computer is the story mode. The mode takes you on a coding adventure where you meet different characters that help you solve problems and unlock new games. You can just play these games or customize them through code. During the adventure, you can solve mysteries that also help you learn more about how computers interact with their hardware and programming.
If your child is into coding, this is the perfect gift, and will definitely be on our holiday gift guide, coming at the end of this month! The laptop is only $300 and is currently available on Amazon.
This post may contain affiliate links, which means I receive compensation if you make a purchase using the links.
Sarah Kimmel is a digital parenting coach and family tech expert. She has spent the last 16 years of her career as a Microsoft Certified IT Manager supporting over 100 small businesses. During that time she started Family Tech LLC to help families understand and manage the technology in their home. She has regularly appeared as a family tech expert on KSL News, BYUtv and Studio 5, and has been invited all over the world from tech companies like Lenovo, Verizon, Microsoft, Dell, and Samsung. Find out more on her website SarahKimmel.com