Today, computers are part of the classroom because they make learning easier and more fun. Online learning is also becoming more popular, thanks in part to the pandemic, so kids need access to a computer. Before you rush out to buy an expensive tool, you need to make an important decision: Chromebook or laptop?
The Chromebook vs. laptop debate has been going on since the Chromebook hit the shelves in 2011. However, there are significant differences between the two devices that you need to take into account. In this article, we’ll compare Chromebooks versus laptops to help you decide which is best for your kids.
What is a Chromebook?
In a world dominated by Windows laptops and Macs, Chromebooks are often overlooked. Some people compare it unfairly, not realizing that Chromebooks play a role. For example, if all you’re looking at is hardware, you might want to stop right there, as traditional laptops are better for heavy gaming and software development configurations. A Chromebook doesn’t replace a laptop.
A Chromebook is a lightweight computer that runs the Google Chrome operating system. The main interface is the Chrome browser. However, you can also install various applications, such as text editors, and use them offline.
Chromebooks are primarily designed for web browsing and light work. This makes Chromebooks ideal for research and learning, especially on a budget.
Which device is more affordable?
Chromebooks are also the best when it comes to internals. The local storage is comparable to what we have in smartphones and tablets, and the processors are much weaker than in traditional laptops. This is what makes Chromebooks significantly cheaper than Windows and macOS laptops.
Since kids usually don’t take good care of their devices, you should probably spend as little money as possible. Fortunately, you can find a wide variety of Chromebooks ranging from $150 to $300, all of which are suitable for studying and schoolwork.
You can also find inexpensive Windows-based laptops for around $400, but they tend to be very poor in terms of performance. Windows is a robust operating system that requires more hardware power than a Chromebook. Chromebooks benefit greatly when it comes to affordable prices. This is one reason why cash-strapped schools are investing in Chromebooks for their students.
Laptops and Chromebooks are portable devices. It is obvious. However, Chromebooks are even smaller and lighter than most laptops. It would be much easier for kids to carry a Chromebook everywhere.
Chromebooks are thin devices, mainly because of less hardware and smaller screens. They’re comparable to the MacBook Air, but they’re still smaller and lighter. Many also rely on passive cooling, so they don’t have internal fans. This makes them much lighter than regular laptops.
If your kids take online classes or if they can use a computer during class, you’ll need a device with a powerful battery. Access to the outlet can be limited, especially if there is a whole room of children with laptops.
A typical laptop has enough battery power for several hours, depending on the intensity of tasks. However, it may not last through a busy day at school or a Netflix marathon with friends. On the other hand, Chromebooks are famous for being energy efficient.
As mentioned earlier, Chromebooks have less hardware and computing power than Windows or macOS laptops. This is not a disadvantage for most children. Less powerful equipment means that the device needs significantly less power. Many Chromebooks can last more than 10 hours on battery life.
Ease of use
A convenient tool allows children to focus on a lesson, homework or entertainment. This is especially true for young children who are about to get their first computer.
Windows and macOS laptops are quite complex. There are countless distracting apps, features, and settings that confuse kids. This also means that a lot of things can go wrong if you mess up the wrong settings or files. This does not apply to Chromebooks.
Chrome OS is incredibly simple. Chromebooks don’t have a lot of apps and games, so it’s hard to distract kids. The device is created primarily for viewing, learning and processing text. This allows children to instantly familiarize themselves with the virtual environment and focus their attention on important things.
Children tend to click on anything that catches their attention. They rarely pay attention to malicious links or sources of suspicious images, so they click only to download viruses and viruses. Sometimes Windows Defender will protect the laptop, but sometimes you will need to clean the system. Fortunately, this is unlikely to happen if your kids are using Chromebooks.
First of all, Chrome OS is very secure simply because it is not a popular operating system YET. Viruses aren’t created that often to target this platform because it’s not worth it to a 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.
Another interesting security feature is the sandbox. Each program is in an isolated software environment, so infections cannot spread from program to program. Add to that regular OS security updates and you have a nearly unbreakable device.
In general, Chromebooks are the safest devices for children because getting them infected is a problem even for them.
All major operating systems have parental control features. This includes all traditional laptops as well as Chromebooks. You can decide which websites your kids can access, monitor how much time they spend online, what they do, and more.
Chromebook vs Laptop for Kids: How to Make the Right Choice
A Chromebook might seem like the best choice if you want a cheap plug-and-play computer for your kids, and it is in many cases. However, there are several external factors to consider that are not directly related to hardware, software, and features.
The first thing you need to consider is your age or education level. The needs of elementary school students are completely different from those of high school students.
Chromebooks lack advanced features, and many programs like Photoshop are not available. They’re not great for photo editing, but they’re great for browsing and doing simple homework without distraction.
Get a Chromebook as a first computer or for general school work that doesn’t require demanding software.
Whether you’re buying a Chromebook or a laptop, you need to think about your kids’ needs. Do they need a device for studying, writing and sharing assignments and watching videos? In this case, a Chromebook is perfect.
However, if your child is older and has already started programming, editing photos, or doing other complex tasks, a laptop is recommended.
If your budget is very tight and you just can’t afford a decent laptop, just buy a Chromebook without even 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 kids? If you’re still not sure, here are the best budget laptops for kids and the best Chromebooks for kids.