Computers act as portals to information, which makes them a key part of modern education. Several school projects require the child to search the internet for information and other data. A Chromebook can come handy for these purposes. But what is a Chromebook, and how is it different from any other computer?
In this MomJunction post, we introduce you to the Chromebook, guide you in buying the right Chromebook for your child, and also list down some of the best Chromebooks for kids.
What Is A Chromebook?
A Chromebook is a laptop that runs on Google’s Chrome operating system and uses the Chrome browser. Since the primary user interface is a browser, the operating system predominantly uses web applications, and most of the data is stored in the cloud instead of the device itself. For this reason, Chromebook is ideal for use at places where there is an active internet connection.
Owing to their limited access to other apps, Chromebooks have been widely used in the education field, where children only need the internet for researching information. The operating system is simple to use and has a fast boot up (start) of just eight seconds.
Chromebooks are quite popular among students and are believed to account for almost 60% of the computers used in schools across the US (1).
How To Choose A Chromebook For A Child?
Consider the following list of features when shopping for a Chromebook.
- Laptop or two-in-one: Some Chromebooks work like conventional laptops, and then there are the two-in-one models that also have a touchscreen and a 360-degree hinge. The hinge allows you to fold the screen fully, moving the keyboard to behind the screen so that you can use the device as a tablet. The two-in-one model can be ideal for older kids or high school students who may use it extensively for projects.
- RAM and storage: The RAM capacity of Chromebooks can be anywhere between 2GB to 16GB. A 4GB RAM should suffice if your child needs it only for homework research, creating basic school projects, and light internet browsing. If your child does all the said activities and is also a heavy multimedia user, then an 8GB RAM will allow for a smooth performance. A 2GB RAM is useful only for light internet browsing while 16 GB is suitable for heavy users such as older teens who code and test software applications.
- Screen size: The minimum screen size is 11.6 inches, and it can go up to 15.6 inches. Chromebooks with an 11.6-inch screen are highly portable. Bigger screens make the device bulky but can deliver an incredible quality of images and videos. It is best to go for 12.3, 12.5, or 14-inch screens for better visual quality and portability.
- Types of ports: Chromebooks can come with slots for USB and HDMI cable as well as a slot for an SD card. Most Chromebooks have a USB slot, while some with an HDMI port can be useful for presenting projects. SD card slots will let you get more storage space outside the cloud.
- Chrome OS version: Prefer Chromebooks that run the latest version of the Chrome OS. The latest versions will have the most number of bug fixes and interface improvements. Also, the older versions are sometimes made obsolete, forcing users to upgrade to the newer versions eventually.
- Chrome OS expiration date: Google updates Chrome OS every six and a half years from the date of the first release. After that, an Auto Update Expiration (AUE) comes into effect, and the device will no longer receive updates from Google (2). The device will continue to work as usual, but it will not receive any new features. AUE should not be a concern for children who will use the device for multimedia consumption purposes. However, children using it for school projects and extensive educational work may be impacted.
The higher you move in the specification range, the more you are likely to pay. The price you pay for your child’s Chromebook will depend on the child’s requirement and the desired features.
The next section contains a list of the best Chromebooks that work great for children.
11 Best Chromebooks For Kids
1. Lenovo Chromebook C330
It is an ideal Chrome OS laptop for teens who tend to store several large files on their device.
- This Chromebook from Lenovo comes with a 64 GB memory, and also has a slot for an SD card, which further expands the total space available.
- The hinge is designed to flip the screen flat and fold the device to use it as a tablet.
- Despite the compact shape, the laptop comes with several essential features such as a USB-C port, an HD webcam, Bluetooth, and WiFi.
- A few buyers felt that the image quality and the touch experience with the touchscreen could have been better.
This is ideal for children who tend to handle their gadgets roughly, leaving their parents anxious.
- The Chromebook’s screen edges have rubber bumpers that can soak in bumps and drops from a low height.
- The rubber on the edges of the lower half of the device offers a firm grip of the device.
- The keyboard is spill-resistant. No more worrying about your child accidentally spilling some beverage on the keyboard.
- The hinge is designed to move up to 180°, which lets the user set the perfect viewing angle.
- The laptop has two memory options: 32GB or 64GB, which makes it a flexible buy.
- The lettering on the non-backlit keyboard is light blue over black keys, which can be difficult to view in low-light conditions.
- Buyers felt that the screen resolution could have been better.
3. ASUS Chromebook Flip C302CA-DHM4
It is a low-weight, ultra-portable touchscreen Chromebook that works great high school kids who want to carry it to school.
- The Chromebook weighs less than 2.8 pounds (1.3 kilograms) and has a thickness of 13.7 millimeters. It makes the device lightweight and compact enough to be placed in any bag.
- The hinge of the Chromebook can rotate 360°, which means you can place the screen in a position of choice. The body of the laptop is made entirely out of metal, which makes it durable.
- The touchpad is large for easy access of the user interface, and the keyboard is backlit.
- It has WiFi and Bluetooth connectivity.
- Some buyers reported problems in the battery.
4. Samsung Chromebook 3
This Chromebook strikes a perfect balance between price, features, and portability.
- You can buy the Chromebook in three memory configurations: 16, 32, and 64 GB.
- The keyboard is spill-resistant, which means it can tolerate a small amount of liquid spilled on it.
- The battery life is an incredible 11 hours, which means it can last a day of usage at school.
- The Chromebook only weighs 2.54 pounds (1.15 kilograms), which makes it convenient for a child to carry around in their backpack.
- The processor may come across as underpowered. Some users reported the device to be slow and good enough for internet browsing but not complicated multitasking.
- A few users felt that the build quality of the laptop could have been better.
5. Samsung Chromebook Pro Convertible
This Chromebook from Samsung provides a comprehensive set of features that work for teens and adolescents who need a laptop for more than just browsing.
- The 12.3-inch LED screen boasts a resolution of 2400×1600, which provides excellent clarity. It is a useful feature for kids who want to see every detail of their work.
- It comes with a touchscreen and a stylus (pen), which can be used to draw or write on the screen.
- The battery life stands at 9.75 hours, which means your child can use the device longer between charges.
- The backlit keyboard allows the child to type easily, even in the dark.
- The Chromebook is on the pricey side. It is best suited for older teens since children may not be able to tap into the full potential of the device.
- Customers report phantom touch (touchscreen responds without any touch) and failure of the touchscreen after some months of use. However, these are attributed to a manufacturing defect in their specific unit.
6. Acer Chromebook 11
If a simple multimedia Chromebook is what you seek for your child, then you must take a look at this product from Acer.
- Chromebook 11 features a widescreen display, which is ideal for watching movies and videos. Your child will enjoy watching educational videos and images on this screen.
- The screen has an anti-glare panel, which minimizes strain to the eyes.
- The ten-hour battery life provides enough power to keep the laptop running through the kid’s day.
- The Chromebook comes with a USB 3.0 port, which allows for faster data transfer when compared to standard USB 2.0 ports commonly found in most laptops.
- Some users reported receiving devices that hardware and software issues, which could be due to a defect in individual devices.
- A few users reported that the operating system tends to work slowly when taxed with multiple tasks.
7. HP 14-inch Chromebook HD SVA
The 14-inch screen size is just perfect for children who want a mid-sized screen for projects or watching videos or images.
- The processor is quite powerful for a Chromebook of its size.
- The 9-hour battery life is sufficient to last through a day of school and projects.
- The laptop comes with a micro SD card reader, which lets you expand the available memory storage available.
- The weight of the Chromebook is 3.7 pounds (1.7 kilograms), which can come across a bit heavy for kids to carry.
- A few users reported some software bugs on their device.
8. Dell Chromebook 11 3180 83C80
This Chromebook offers some significant choices in memory and storage options, and types of screens, among others.
- The laptop is available in three memory choices: 16, 32, and 64 GB. The 64 GB variant is available with a touchscreen. You can explore the options and pick one that is best suited to your child’s style of usage.
- The device comes with a 10-hour battery life, which lets the Chromebook last a working day.
- The touchscreen version comes with Corning Gorilla Glass screen, which has ten times greater scratch resistance than standard touchscreen panels.
- A few users encountered software and hardware issues that were limited to their device.
9. Asus Chromebook C300SA
This Chromebook is for kids who want their machine to stand out from the sea of gray or black laptops.
- You can buy the device in three color options – red, blue, and black. Each version presents a change in the color of the overall exterior of the Chromebook.
- You get a USB 3.0 port and an SD card slot to expand the device’s storage capabilities.
- The battery life is an amazing 10 hours, which is useful for the times when your child needs to work on projects for long.
- A few users reported software bugs and problems in the preloaded Chrome OS.
10. HP Chromebook 11 G4 EE
This Chromebook features a compact size and mid-level specifications to strike an ideal balance of utility and price.
- The screen has a compact size of 11.6 inches but comes with a decent resolution of 1366×768, which is more than HD (1280×720), and thus sufficient to give a good image quality.
- The anti-glare screen panel minimizes the strain on the eyes and allows extended usage of the Chromebook.
- The 4GB RAM provides adequate power for the child to browse the internet and multitask with apps smoothly.
- Many parents shared that HP’s Chromebook comes very handy for completion of their children’s homework and school projects.
- Some buyers reported hardware issues, which was quite likely due to receiving a defective product.
11. Samsung Series 5 Chromebook
If you are looking for a basic Chromebook for occasional internet browsing, then the Series 5 Chromebook from Samsung will do a great job.
- The 12.1-inch LED screen provides good color contrast and brightness.
- Despite the small size, the laptop comes with several useful features like stereo speakers, a webcam, and a memory card slot, which can read memory cards of four format types.
- The small Chromebook manages to get a decent 8.5 hours of battery life, which is sufficient for a child who will mostly use the device for internet browsing.
- Many users love the low weight of the Chromebook and felt that it was as good as a tablet with a keyboard.
- The processor’s capabilities are on the lower side. It is at best good for internet browsing and running simple apps. Do not expect it to perform extensive multitasking.
When you want your child to focus on only research and not games or other distracting apps, get them one of these Chromebooks. Boot up the system for the first time while the child is watching, so that they learn how to handle it better.
Sit with them and show them how to use the browser if needed, download a few apps they may use, and supervise the first few times they use it, to ensure they’re using it correctly. This will also prevent them from misusing or damaging it.
Does your child use a Chromebook? Which device is it? Do tell us about it in the comment section below.
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2. Auto Update policy; Google