If you’re a parent that doesn’t want to buy an expensive Windows, Linux, or iOS laptop for your kid, a Chromebook could be your best option.
First developed and shipped in June 2011, these laptops have grown into popularity because of their solid design, processing power, and premium built-ins.
But what does a Chromebook mean to a kid? How much does it cost? And how do you choose one for your child?
What is a Chromebook?
A Chromebook is a laptop that uses Chrome OS as its Operating System. Unlike Windows and iOS laptops, Chromebooks run on Chrome Browser, which means kids must have access to the internet to use them. All the Chromebooks released from 2017 can run Android applications and there are models that can Linux apps.
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How is a Chromebook Important to Kids?
Chromebooks are suitable for kids because you can restrict what your child can access on the web and when. Thanks to the parental control features built into the device, you can optimize the machine so kids can access kid-specific content alone.
Chromebooks are also lightweight and portable. Kids can bring them to school in their laptop bags and never have to worry about the weight of the device.
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How to Choose a Chromebook
Brands such as Asus, Samsung, and Lenovo have one thing in common. They all claim to sell the best Chromebooks for kids of different ages.
But how do you know if a model supposedly sold for kids is even worth the money in the first place?
Here’s what to look for in a Chromebook for kids:
Processor speed is measured in gigahertz (GHz). It shows how fast the central processing unit can perform calculations. The higher the GHz on a Chromebook the faster it will be.
Number of Cores
The number of cores varies from Chromebook to Chromebook. A Chromebook with multiple cores can run multiple operations at the same time. And multiple cores in a Chromebook laptop mean a faster processor.
Processor caches are superfast memory built inside the laptop and they are measured in Kilobytes or Megabytes. When your child instructs the Chromebook laptop to execute an operation, the system gets the instruction from the computer memory and then loaded to the processor cache.
The more memory a Chromebook has the more programs it can run. Keep in mind that, unlike Windows laptops, Chromebooks do not load multiple programs into the memory. The only program the machine loads into its memory is the Chrome Browser with its applications.
With a Chromebook, larger storage space isn’t necessary. A Chromebook for kids should have a memory of at least 2GB RAM.
Look for a Chromebook that can work for longer hours to support your child’s studies and entertainment. A Chromebook laptop with a battery that can last between 8 to 9 hours is a good option to consider.
To date, there are various Chromebook screen options available. These are HD screens, touch screens, big screens, and small screens.
- HD screens: These are necessary for streaming videos and playing video games
- Touchscreens: Children are tactile persons. If yours falls into such a category, you should get them a touchscreen Chromebook.
Is your child visually impaired? A Chromebook with a larger screen would be ideal for him or her. Bigger screens would also be great for boys and girls who open multiple windows while doing school assignments. Kids who dislike bulky things can go for Chromebooks with smaller screens
Chromebook USB Ports
The number of USB ports should matter whenever you want to buy Chromebook for kids. One port may be for a mouse, another one for a keyboard, and another for an external storage device.
Chromebook SD Card Slot
SD cards are small portable storage devices that are used to transfer photos, songs, and other files between devices. Chromebooks that come with SD card slots are good for older kids who would like to transfer files from or to the laptop for personal or educational purposes.
HDMI is an interface used for high-definition audio and video. Make sure the Chromebook you choose for your child features this port. That’s because they will find it useful in the case when they want to use an external display.
All Chromebooks require internet access to function. Make sure the Chromebook you choose features a built-in wireless Wi-Fi network.
Advantages of Chromebooks for Kids
- Chromebooks are portable as they are small and light
- Chromebooks saves data to the cloud. For that reason, when the Chromebook is broken or lost your kid can still have access to files through the web. Updates are automatic, so your child does not need to worry about losing all what he or she has worked on for hours.
- Chromebooks are affordable.
- They are easy to set up and customize.
- It features a parental control so it is easy to protect children from unsuitable online content.
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Disadvantages of Chromebooks for Kids
- Chromebooks are likely to get damaged because they are small and light. Also kids, especially the smaller ones are prone to dropping things and a Chromebook cannot support frequent drops even if rugged.
- The onboard storage is a little disappointing
- Your son or daughter will need an internet connection to have access to some applications and files