A few years ago, picking up a Chromebook meant compromising. However, that’s not the case anymore. Chromebooks have become more powerful, durable, and reliable.
Now, are Chromebooks good for kids and children? Should you opt for a Chromebook for your kid rather than a traditional laptop? What advantages do Chromebooks for kids have over most traditional laptops?
This article answers these questions in greater depth.
What is a Chromebook?
A Chromebook is a laptop which runs Chrome OS as its operating system. Traditional laptops and Macbooks run Windows OS and macOS as their operating systems respectively. Chrome OS is Google’s operating system, so you get lots of applications from Google which often require an Internet connection.
Advantages of getting a Chromebook for your kids
Why should kids have Chromebooks? Well, if you aren’t sure if Chromebooks are good for your kids, here are advantages of getting a Chromebook for your kids.
1. Chromebooks are cheap
Unlike many laptops on the market, a decent Chromebook with good internals for taking care of your kid’s day-to-day computing needs does not cost an arm and a leg. At the time of writing, you could get a good Chromebook with as little as $400.
2. They are easy to use
One advantage Chromebooks have over traditional laptops is that they are pretty easy to use from the get-go. If your kids are a little familiar with the Google Chrome environment, they are good to go.
Additionally, Chromebooks are less prone to technical glitches associated with traditional laptops and MacBooks. Little wonder some schools have adopted Chromebooks as their learning machines.
With Chromebooks, your kids do not have to wait several minutes for their machine to boot up when they are in the classroom or at home.
3. Chromebooks are secure
Another reason Chromebooks are good for your kids is security. ChromeOS which powers most Chromebooks offers good security as all user data is encrypted.
Chrome OS is not very popular with malware authors as do Windows OS and macOS. So the chances of your Chromebook being infected with a virus are slim.
On the other hand, Google has some in-built structures to help restore your Chromebook to its original state if gets infected by a malware.
4. Chromebooks work offline
Even if you don’t have access to the internet, you can still perform some tasks on a Chromebook while offline. Your kids can work on their documents without the internet via Google Drive and everything syncs automatically as soon as they connect to the internet.
Furthermore, your kids can access their Gmail without having to connect to the internet, thanks to Gmail Offline.
Additionally, some light Android games can be played offline if your kids download them on their Chromebook.
It is worth noting that your kids need a reliable internet access to get the most out of a Chromebook.
5. They are portable
Many Chromebooks are light, thin, and portable. They are not as heavy as some laptops or gaming PCs. Your kids won’t have a problem hauling their Chromebooks in their bags going to and from school. The Google Pixelbook Go, for instance weighs 2.3 pounds (1.04 kg).
6. Chromebooks are durable
With Chromebooks, you need not worry about wear and tear. Many Chromebooks are designed with some degree of drop protection. Some ship with spill-proof keyboard and are resistant to water.
These are desirable features given that many kids may not be as careful as adults with regard to handling a Chromebook. Some kids might treat a Chromebook as one of the toys in their repository.
Are Chromebooks good for kids who enjoy gaming?
In a word, no. Chromebooks are not designed for gaming. They are not well-suited for AAA games. That said, some Chromebooks on the market can handle very light games or cloud-based games that do not tax a Chromebook’s internals.
Why? This is simply because Chromebooks have weak specs (processors, and graphic cards) as well as limited storage.
Again, some games and gaming apps may not scale well on a typical Chromebook display or screen.
What should you look for in a Chromebook for kids?
These are some things to keep in mind when shopping for a good chromebook for your kids.
More RAM will help your kid’s Chromebook handle numerous tasks and run countless apps simultaneously without problems. The least you should go for is 4GB of RAM.
There are Chromebooks which offer even more RAM options. The Google Pixelbook Go for instance has 8GB and 16GB RAM variants.
If your kid is going to download and run heavy apps, we recommend opting for Chromebooks with 8GB of RAM or more.
Your kids will download apps and store their documents and other media on their Chromebooks. This requires a good Chromebook with ample storage.
Your best bet is a Chromebook with at least 32GB of storage. By today’s standards, this is even small.
There are Chromebooks on the market with more storage. You can find Chromebooks with 64BGB, 128GB, or even 256GB. Remember, you pay more to get more storage.
Most Chromebooks have lower processing power than lots of traditional laptops. Processors typical of most modern Chromebooks include Intel Celeron N3350, Intel Core m3-8100Y Intel Core i3, Intel Core i3-10110U, and Intel Core i5-8220Y and so on.
Some high-end Chromebooks ship with higher configurations like the Intel Core i7-8500Y.
You want to go for Chromebooks that are durable, without skimping on performance and portability.
Some Chromebooks have a 360-degree hinge so your kids can turn them into tablet as well.
Other things we consider minor include touchscreen, having a stylus, an HD screen, and backlit keyboard.
Whatever you do, go for a Chromebook with lots of connectivity options. Connections typical of most modern Chromebooks include USB-C ports, a USB-A port, HDMI, Display Ports, and a headphone/mic port.
As we mentioned previously, you need not worry about price because most Chromebooks are affordable. This does not imply that there are no Chromebooks with the price tag of most traditional laptops. As a matter of fact, some Chromebooks cost as much as $1400.
That said, for kids, a Chromebook priced anywhere from $300 -$600 should serve them well without issues.
What is the best Chromebook for a Child?
There isn’t a ‘best’ Chromebook for a child or kid. However, there are good Chromebooks for kids on the market which provide the best bang for the buck.
Here are some good Chromebooks for kids worth considering.
1. Google Pixelbook Go
2. Acer Chromebook 15
3. Asus Chromebook Flip C436
4. Samsung Chromebook Pro
5. HP Chromebook 14
6. Lenovo Chromebook Duet
7. Lenovo Chromebook Flex 5
Best Chromebook apps for kids
For your kids to get the most out of a Chromebook, here are some of best Chromebook apps which can educate and keep them entertained.
To access some of these apps from Play Store on a Chromebook, be sure to update your Chrome OS with the latest version.
- YouTube Kids
- Where’s My Water
- Alto’s Odyssey
- Scratch and ScratchJr
Can you put parental controls on a Chromebook?
Of course, you can put parental controls on your kid’s Chromebook.
How to monitor your kids’ Chromebook activity
We know you care about your kids and what they do offline and online. Here are a few steps you can take if you want to monitor what your kids do on their Chromebooks.
- On your device, download and install “Google Family Link for parents” from Google Play Store.
- On your kid’s Chromebook, download and install “Google Family Link for children & teens”.
- Log in to app on your device by entering your Google account details.
- Again on your device, tap add and enter the Google account to be used on the Chromebook. It should be different from what you used on your own device.
- Enter your child’s Google account on the Chromebook. Create a new one for your kid if there’s none.
- You’ll receive a message on your device instructing you to input a 9-character code on the Chromebook.
- Input the code and you are all set.
So, should you buy a Chromebook for your kids?
Yes. They are cheap, very perfect for learning-centric tasks, portable, durable and well-designed for media viewing. As a matter of fact, if you are on a limited budget, but still need a laptop with good specs for your kids, a Chromebook is your best bet.