Today, computers are part of the classroom because they make learning easier and more enjoyable. Online learning is also becoming increasingly popular, partly because of the pandemic that children need to have access to computers. Before buying an expensive tool, you need to make an important decision: Chromebook or laptop?
The debate between Chromebooks and laptops has continued since Chromebooks hit shelves in 2011. That said, there are major differences between the two that you need to be aware of. In this article, we’ll compare Chromebooks to laptops to help you decide what’s best for your child.
What is a Chromebook?
In a world dominated by Windows laptops and Macs, Chromebooks often overlooked. Some people compare it unfairly without realizing that Chromebooks have their own section to play with. For example, if all you are looking at is hardware, you might stop right here because traditional laptops are superior due to heavy configuration for gaming and software development. Chromebooks are not intended to replace laptops.
A Chromebook is a lightweight computer that runs on Google’s Chrome operating system. The main interface is the Chrome browser. However, you can also install different applications, such as word processors, and use them offline.
Chromebooks are primarily intended for web browsing and light work. This makes Chromebooks ideal for research and study, especially when on a tight budget.
Which device is more affordable?
Chromebooks also stand out when it comes to the internals. The local storage is comparable to what we have in smartphones and tablets, and the processor is much weaker than what we find in traditional laptops. This alone makes Chromebooks significantly cheaper than Windows and macOS laptops.
Since kids often don’t take good care of their devices, you should probably spend as little money as possible. Luckily, you can find a variety of Chromebooks in the $150 to $300 range, and they’re all good enough for schoolwork and homework.
You can also find budget-friendly Windows laptops starting at around $400, but they often have really poor performance. Windows is a powerful operating system that requires more hardware power than Chromebooks. Chromebooks win by far when it comes to affordable prices. This is one of the reasons why low-budget schools invest in Chromebooks for their students.
Laptops and Chromebooks are mobile devices. That is obvious. However, Chromebooks are even smaller and lighter than most laptops. It’s much easier for kids to take their Chromebook with them everywhere.
Chromebooks are slim devices, mainly due to less hardware and smaller screens. You can compare them with a MacBook Air and they’re still a bit smaller and lighter. Many of them also rely on passive cooling, so they don’t have an internal fan. This makes them a lot lighter than regular laptops.
If your child takes online classes or if they can use the computer during class, you’ll want a device with plenty of battery. Access to electrical outlets can be limited, especially if there’s even a kid’s room with a laptop.
A typical laptop has enough battery life for several hours, depending on how intensive the tasks are. However, it may not last through a busy day at school or a marathon on Netflix with friends. Chromebooks, on the other hand, have a reputation for being energy efficient.
As mentioned earlier, Chromebooks have less hardware and processing power than Windows or macOS laptops. This is not a disadvantage for most children. Having less powerful hardware means that the device requires significantly less power. Many Chromebooks can run on battery power for more than 10 hours.
Easy to use
A user-friendly tool that allows kids to focus on class, homework or entertainment. This is especially true for young children who are about to receive their first computer.
Windows and Mac OS Laptops are quite complicated. There are tons of distracting programs, features, and customization options that will confuse kids. This also means that a lot of things can go wrong if you use the wrong settings or files. This is not the case with Chromebooks.
Chrome OS is extremely simple. There aren’t many apps and games included with Chromebooks, so kids can’t be easily distracted. This device is built primarily for browsing, learning and word processing. This allows children to become familiar with the virtual environment immediately and focus their attention on the things that matter.
Children tend to click on anything that catches their attention. They rarely pay attention to malicious links or suspicious image sources, so they just click to download viruses and bloatware. Sometimes Windows Defender will protect the laptop, but other times you will have to clean the system. Fortunately, this won’t happen if your child is using a Chromebook.
First of all, Chrome OS is highly secure simply because it’s not a popular OS YET. Viruses are not made to target this platform often because it is not worth the hacker. Second, being developed by Google means you need to sync your Chromebook with your Google account. As a result, your data is encrypted and cannot be easily stolen even if the device is infected with a virus.
Another cool security feature is the sandbox. Each app is sandboxed, so an infection can’t spread from one program to another. Add regular OS security updates on top of that and you have a device that’s nearly unbreakable.
Overall, Chromebooks are the safest devices for children because infecting children with viruses is a challenge even for them.
All major operating systems come with parental control features. This includes all traditional laptops as well as Chromebooks. You can decide what websites your kids can visit, track how much time they spend online, what they do, and more.
Chromebooks vs Laptops for Kids: How to Make the Right Choice
Chromebooks seem to be the best option if you want a cheap plug-and-play computer for your kids, and it fits a lot of situations. However, you should consider some external factors that are not directly connected to the hardware, software, and features.
1 year old
The first thing you need to consider is age or grade level. The needs of elementary school students are completely different from those of high school students.
Chromebooks lack complex features, and many programs like Photoshop aren’t available. They’re not great for photo editing, but they’re great for browsing and doing simple homework without distractions.
Get a Chromebook as a first computer or for general work that doesn’t require rigorous software.
Whether you’re buying a Chromebook or a laptop, you need to think about your child’s needs. Do they need a device to learn, write and share assignments, and watch videos? Chromebooks are ideal in this case.
That said, if your kids are older and have started to program, edit photos, or perform other demanding tasks, you’re better off going with a laptop.
If your budget is very limited and you simply cannot afford a suitable laptop, just buy a Chromebook without thinking about other factors. You have much better options for Chromebooks in the lower price range than laptops.
So, have you decided which is the best device for your child? If you’re still not sure, here it is best budget laptop for kids and the best Chromebooks for kids.