Computer literacy has become a critical component of learning these past years. As much as many parents are worried over excessive gadget use, devices like the best Chromebook for kids can be used for educational purposes. Unlike full-fledged laptops, Chromebooks are more affordable and designed for information search.
Almost all major laptop brands have their own version of Chromebooks. This is why choosing and buying one is also a challenge. As a parent, you want something that’s affordable but highly functional.
When it comes to your kids’ laptop, you wouldn’t want to spend too much. Like clothes, they can easily outgrow this technology as they near high school or college year.
Of course, an Android tablet running in Chrome would be a good option. However, once your child requires an advanced level of computing, it’s inevitable to provide them with a laptop.
Here, we’ll discuss some of the benefits together with a buying guide to help you out:
Chromebook or Windows 10
There’s a big question why you, as a parent, should choose a Chromebook instead of a regular Windows processor for your kid’s laptop. If you’re not seeing yourself to be buying another laptop in a matter of years, you can surely invest in a Windows-based device.
Chromebooks are taking a big leap in the tech industry with more and more brands producing their own versions. To compare this with Windows, let’s take a look in some of these aspects:
To give Windows 10 the benefit of the doubt, it has a seamless and polished look. A click on the start button will reveal all the apps. At the bottom, you can pin apps for easy access aside from the Cortana search feature.
When it comes to the Chrome OS, the biggest advantage here is easy searching. When you click the start button, a Google search button will appear. Since it has a web-first operating system, this is made for young students.
If you want a simple laptop for your child to be used for schoolwork, a Chromebook is a champ. It’s not ultimately good for multitasking, something that’s a blessing in disguise so your kiddo can’t play games on the side while studying.
Both Chrome OS and Windows have voice commands, namely Google Now and Cortana. Cortana uses Bing search to provide you the information while Google Now, by default, connects to Google. If you’re looking for a place, for example, Google Now can provide you with a Google Maps result. Google Now can also talk to you about the distance and other related information. The best Chromebook for kids should have this feature.
However, Cortana does more in terms of search. You can perform natural language searches on your laptop including file search or even a joke! Although you can find the same feature on some Chromebooks, there’s only a few that you can select from nowadays.
But if we are to think about it, your child won’t need to book appointments or to use complicated voice commands. Although Windows has more edge in multi-tasking, Chrome OS is still a good choice.
To be fair, both Chrome and Windows are easy to use for searching the web. The only issue with Chrome OS is it doesn’t support Flash and other plugins. There might be some websites that can’t be opened properly. Compatibility could be an issue at times.
But if your kid wants something that connects easily to the internet, Chromebook is the way to go. Also, the biggest consolation here is that Chromebooks can work offline. Your kid’s work will automatically sync online once the device reconnects to the internet.
Chromebook or Windows 10? If you don’t want your kid to spend his or her time playing games covertly, a Chromebook is the best bet. Chrome OS doesn’t support Steam, Ubisoft’s Play, EA, and other major gaming portals. It’s an excellent way to limit your child’s accessibility and to keep him or her focused on studies.
Benefits of using Chromebooks
If Chromebook has limitations, why buy it in the first place? Well, more than being a downside, the limitation is actually an advantage for parents. Giving your child a high-end device exposes him or her to the perils of the web. Still, as a parent or guardian, you should set up proxy settings accordingly to block unwanted websites. Here are some of the advantages of using a Chromebook:
➕Price. Chromebooks are relatively inexpensive. You can get one for as low as $170. Some high-end brands can be a bit pricey at $400 or $500. If you don’t have enough budget, this laptop is the best pick for your child.
➕Battery. Chrome OS is energy-efficient. You should get one with at least six hours of battery life for a minimum. Some mid-range models can run for as much as 13 hours.
➕Parental control. Chromebooks allow parents to create supervised accounts so they can monitor their kids’ online activities. This makes the device a top choice for parents who want to be hands-on with their children’s use of the web.
➕Speed and weight. Many Chromebooks have SSDs and a very lightweight build. This makes the device easy to carry even by a little kid.
➕Sync. You can sync your child’s account passwords with other devices, say your home computer and the likes. Also, your child can continuously work in an online app without internet connection. The progress will re-sync once the Chromebook reconnects to the web.
➕Discreet updates. Unlike Windows, the best Chromebook for kids does the updates in the background without impeding the usage of the device.
What to look for a Chromebook
Chromebooks aren’t made equal. Before you purchase one for your kid, make sure that you consider some factors first. The very first thing you should think about is whether it still suits your child. Think about the apps and workload that s/he will be doing on the laptop.
Aside from that, there are more aspects to look for:
Most of the Chromebooks released from 2017 and on will have PlayStore in its system. Make sure that you pick this model for more functionality. This makes the Chrome OS more versatile and useful at school.
➕Check the support life
Unlike Windows, the Chrome OS has a fixed support life. For example, the Chromebook Pixel released back in 2015 will have support expiration by June 2020. Once the Chromebook reaches the end of its support life, OS updates aren’t guaranteed. Still, the laptop will work smoothly but expect that compatibility issues will rise in a couple of years.
To be fair, Chrome supports a specific platform for 6.5 years on average. If you purchase it for your kid in grade school, a replacement laptop would already be in place after a few years when s/he needs a more advanced device. Besides, 6.5 years is already worth it even for full-fledged Windows laptops. Imagine your laptop back in 2011, how did the specs progress ever since?
➕Check the CPU power
When it comes to Chromebooks, you don’t necessarily need high-end hardware just to cover your child’s needs. Even a Dual Core Celeron can run pretty smoothly and perform multiple tasks at a time. What you have to avoid here are the notorious laggers. That’s the same thing regardless if you’re choosing Chromebook or Windows 10.
Atom CPUs are the thing of the past and Intel no longer uses these on consumer products. This type of processor is low-powered and even a kid’s needs might prove it to be below standard. As a rule of thumb, avoid CPUs that belong to the Bay Trail and Apollo Lake families. Some of these are Pentium N3510, Celeron N3350, and Pentium N3310. If you’ve used netbooks before, you probably know how lagging these processors are.
➕Size and weight
If your kid will bring this to school, I advise that you consider getting a compact and light model. Besides, your child won’t need a very large screen in the first place.
Should I purchase a touchscreen Chromebook?
Since most kids nowadays are more familiar with how tablets work, buying a touchscreen laptop might be a good thing. It all depends on your choice as a parent and your child’s needs. Remember, though, that touchscreen technologies increase the cost of the Chromebook. If your kid can live without it, you can save some bucks by stirring clear of these options.
Top 3 Chromebooks for kids
Thinking of buying the best Chromebook for kids? Here are some of our personal picks for young students:
Acer CB3-532 Premium Chromebook
First of all, let me say how stylish the skin of this Chromebook is. It shares a little bit of the MacBook look but be reminded that this is a 15-inch model. This also has some of the essential ports your child may need together with speaker bars on each side of the keyboard.
This runs in Intel Pentium N4200 with 4 GB of RAM and 32 GB of internal flash storage. If your child just uses a word processor, browser, and a video streaming site, expect no hiccups with this hardware.
The good news here is that the Acer CB3 supports PlayStore. It also has a touchscreen which adds functionality in using the applications. If you’re deciding whether to get a Chromebook or Windows 10, the Acer CB3 may seal the deal.
When it comes to battery life, its size is surprisingly not an energy sucker. It can run for 9 hours while browsing the web continuously. Also, the good thing about Acer laptops is it doesn’t overheat even during continued use.
The only caveat I have for this is the dim screen. Other than that, it’s an amazing Chromebook.
ASUS C202 11-Inch Chromebook
For a small and non-slip laptop for your child, the ASUS C202 is the best option.
It has an 11.6-inch display and a 1366 x 768 resolution encased in chunky bezels. The best thing about this laptop is it has a durable chassis that can take the beating of bumps and falls – something that’s common to kids.
It can survive different heights, and although it will have physical damages, it won’t affect the functionality of the device. And if ever repairs are needed, it would be easy and hassle-free
This Chromebook comes in 2 GB and 4 GB RAM versions which cost very affordable, nonetheless. It can also run for 11 hours straight in just one charge. As for the display, the colors are reasonable but of course, not as popping as what you’ll see on high-end laptops.
The biggest feature here is the spill-resistant keyboard. If your kid spills juice and stuff, all you have to do is wipe the keyboard and it will work like normal. Also, the keyboard is very ergonomic which allows users to type fast with very minimal errors.
Samsung Chromebook 3
If you want a slim and small Chromebook, the Samsung Chromebook 3 will be a topnotch choice. This runs in Intel Celeron N3060 processor with 4 GB of RAM and 32 GB of usable storage space. You can watch videos and browse the web swiftly without any problems.
Also, the Samsung Chromebook can run for 9 hours and 44 minutes in one charge. Since there aren’t many background apps and Windows-like systems running, your child can use the laptop for long. However, it can get a bit hotter than usual but you don’t have to worry since it won’t burn the lap of your kid since it has plastic insulation at the bottom.
If you want more functionality including a stylus, better camera, processor, tilt recognition, and a 2-in-1 device, you can upgrade the Chromebook 3 into the Samsung Chromebook Plus LTE.
The only downside is that PlayStore is still in beta mode for this Chromebook model. Nevertheless, it’s a work in progress and might be out in the coming months.
In the end, the best Chromebook for kids should be intuitive, functional, and easy to carry. As a parent, you should check if the specs meet the needs of your child, be it for school, entertainment, or computer literacy. The three picks here are great but it’s up to you to choose based on the discussed guide.