I have it narrowed down to two fairly different laptops. I need two on a limited budget...here are the links with my view.
Used by youth for:
Construct 2 development & testing
NXT-G LEGO robotics programming
Here is a cheap option. DELL Latitude E6400 Notebook Intel Core 2 Duo 2.80GHz 14.1" 4GB Memory 320GB HDD DVDRW NVIDIA NVS 160M
+ Bigger Screen
+ dedicated graphics gpu
+ Can be upgraded to 8GB (not sure if that would help much here)
+ Can buy 2 for $550
- older processor
- Windows 7 Professional instead of Win8
- Refurbished is okay but sometimes not
ASUS VivoBook X202E-DH31T 11.6-Inch Touch Laptop
+ Energy efficient
+ Light and very portable
+ Touch screen (help in basic Win 8 app testing)
+ Win 8 Home Premium (64-bit)
+ HDMI output
+/- Smaller Screen (could be plus since it is closer to standard 10.1" tablet size).
- Integrated graphics gpu
- Cannot add memory (may not be a big deal)
- 2 of them cost $800 vs $550 of the other laptop
Even though it's $250 more total for two, I'm leaning towards the Vivobooks because of the touch screen, Windows 8, newer generation processor, and portability.
I know you mentioned a tablet is a much better for testing due to the way you hold a tablet vs notebook, but I have a couple of android tablets to test...assuming I am developing for Android & Win8 I will have a true feel of how it plays in tablet form.
The screen is smaller, but I do a lot of work on my Transformer Prime 10.1" tablet remotely accessing my desktop (now becoming ancient)...while the 14.1 inch would definitely be nicer to work with, I think the kids will be fine with the 11.6"...this is my biggest concern and I may just be rationalizing the decision.
Also...since it has HDMI, I can use it with my monitor or my HDTV television.
In theory, I believe the Vivobooks will last the kids 3-5 years of use vs an estimated 2 years with the E6400
Am I missing anything and thinking straight? Thanks for all your advice and input so far.