Kids and adults are fundamentally different. Therefore, laptops for children require distinct elements to cater to their needs and growth. There are various laptop brands out there, but Chromebook is certainly one of the greatest laptop choices for kids. Now let’s dig into what are the best Chromebooks for kids.
1. Build quality
We all know that kids may spill water onto the keyboard or drop the device easily because of how fast and energetic they are. For that reason, it’s a good idea to choose durable Chromebooks. The best Chromebooks for kids should be durable with spill-resistant keyboards. On the premium end, Google Pixelbook and Samsung Chromebook 3 are among the most rugged and long-lasting Chromebooks you can find.
You should also choose Chromebooks that are made of metal finish over plastic as they are easier to clean. It is advisable to choose a Chromebook that is in darker colors. But if your kids prefer something more colorful, you can buy a Chromebook shell case to decorate it.
Chromebooks are well-known for their thin and lightweight design. This is suitable for kids as they may have to travel with it from home to school and vice versa. They are mostly available in two options: standard or convertible.
Standard Chromebooks are just like your conventional laptops. This form factor allows you to tilt the screen up to 180 degrees. It is a good start for your kids to get familiar with the feel of using a laptop.
On the other hand, convertible AKA 2-in-1 Chromebooks such as HP Chromebook X360 feature a touchscreen and allow you to fold the device to 360-degree. You can fold the keyboard behind the screen and use the device as a tablet. Alternatively, you can transform the Chromebook into a standing “tent” form. This tent form allows the kids to watch cartoons or movies while leaving the device stand on its own.
in my opinion, the best Chromebook for kids should have as many features as possible. This is to help them get more interested in using the machine and explore everything by themself.
Chromebooks are cloud-based devices. It means that the heavy lifting is done on the cloud, not by the hardware. Therefore, a Chromebook doesn’t need high-end specs to be able to run smoothly. A Chromebook with a Celeron, Pentium or an ARM processor and 4GB RAM is more than enough to handle daily tasks.
As for storage, 16GB is plenty adequate as Chromebook mostly use web apps. Only Android apps and documents use local storage. Some kids are older or using a lot of Android apps, they need more disk space. The best Chromebooks for kids like them must have at least 32GB or 64GB of storage. HP Chromebook 14 is a solid choice in terms of performance.
Chromebooks screen size spans from as small as 10.1 to as large as 15.6 inches. The most popular screen sizes you would find are 11.6, 13.3 and 15.6. I recommended choosing between 13.3 or 14 inches as that is the right balance between portability and screen estate. Acer Chromebook R 13 is a great choice for its small yet crisp 13 inches screen.
Another thing you need to know is the resolution. Some Chromebooks would have resolution as low as 1,366 x 768, avoid these if you can. 4K maybe a bit too much since your kids won’t probably need it as much as a creative professional would. The best Chromebooks for kids would have a FullHD (1,920 x 1,080) display, the sweet spot for resolution. Never go for a screen with a resolution lower than 1080p, your kids’ eyes will thank you for this decision.
You should consider the touchscreen feature since it helps your kids with their activities. For example, they can draw directly on the screen, engaging with creative drawing apps on the device. Homework could also be done faster as your kids can navigate the screens easily with their fingertips.
Some Chromebooks such as Lenovo Chromebook Flex 5 allow your kids to interact with what’s displayed on screen. Touchscreen is mostly found on convertible Chromebooks.
Most Chromebooks come with built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth features and your kids will mostly use them while connecting to the Internet wirelessly. A kid’s Chromebook doesn’t need a lot of ports for wired connections or peripherals as they can use wireless mouses. One thing to keep in mind is look for 802.11ac Wi-Fi standards rather than older standards.
Having said that, one or two USB or video output ports wouldn’t hurt. USB-C is preferable over USB-A as one port of the former type has more features over the latter. This Lenovo Chromebook Duet may have only one USB-C port but it is adequate for your kids’ needs. A USB-C port can be used to connect to all kinds of peripherals and output the laptop screen to monitors.
As mentioned above, Chromebooks for kids rarely have more than 64GB of storage. Chromebooks with 128GB+ of storage is the exception rather than the norm.
In case your kids have to stock up textbooks or Android apps, you want to expand the storage. Look for card reader slot(s) on your Chromebooks. It allows you to store more files by inserting memory cards and transfer data to them. You can purchase these cards separately or find them included on some Chromebooks such as Lenovo Chromebook S330 14.
6. Extra Features
Webcams and microphones are also another essential feature. These are must-have for attending online classroom or meetup with friends, a HD 720p webcam is enough. Some Chromebooks have better webcams and microphones than others. Make sure you read all the specifications about them before buying.
You could find built-in speakers on all Chromebooks. These are nice to have but if the young one wants to use headphones; you want to look for audio outlets. You can connect a headphone through combo jack or external speakers through Bluetooth.
Battery life is exceptional on Chromebooks. Most would last about 6-8 hours thanks to not being resources hogging in nature as traditional laptops are. You see, being the web-based devices they are, Chromebooks don’t draw out much power.
One of the best Chromebooks for kids in terms of battery life is Acer Chromebook Spin 13 CP713. It could last up to more than 10 hours which is more than enough for a long day at school.
7. Chrome OS version & Expiration date
Remember to consider the Chromebooks with the latest Chrome OS installed. This could help you avoid bugs and have access to new features and improvements.
Another important thing you need to know is the Auto Update Expiration date. What it means is that when this date is passed, your Chromebooks won’t receive new updates from Google. You can still use your device as usual but it won’t be as secure as before. The best Chromebooks for kids should have at least 4 years of support.
You can find the AUE date on the back of the device or on the specifications sheet. For instance, Lenovo 100E’s AUE date is June 2025, which means it will receive updates for another five years from now (2020).
1. What are the advantages of Chromebooks for kids over other types of laptop?
Chromebooks are a different breed when compared to other laptops such as Windows or Mac. They don’t have the powerful specs as those laptop brands but they also have their own strong suits:
Affordability: The majority of Chromebooks cost a lot less than traditional laptops. You can find decent ones at the $200 price range.
Security: Chromebooks have various strong built-in security features.
Portability: Being thins and light as they are, you can take them with you everywhere without any problems.
Speed: Due to their lightweight OS, a Chromebook and boot up within below 20 seconds.
Battery life: Chromebooks can last more than 6 hours of continuous use. You can use them for a long day at work and when you get home, you still can use it for extended time.
Android apps support: This feature expands the functionality of a Chromebook drastically. Now you can enjoy the most popular Android games.
2. Can I use Chromebooks without connecting to the Internet?
Being the web-based device they are, you can still get things done on Chromebook when the Internet’s down. Fortunately, some apps allow you to use them while offline. Sometimes you need to enable “offline modes” for your apps. When you turn this feature on, your documents will be downloaded to the local storage and synced automatically when there’s Internet. Another option is finding Android office apps.
3. How do I childproof my Chromebook?
If you want to childproof your Chromebook physically, you can purchase additional accessories. To protect your device from physical harm, you can buy a case or a cover. Some other stuff you can buy include a screen or keyboard protector.
If you want to safeguard your child from sensitive or harmful content on the Internet, use parental control. First you set up a Google Family Link account. Then follow the instructions to implement Parental Control on the Chromebook. Consult the manual or contact the manufacturer for the detailed step-by-step instructions.
All in all, the most effective way to childproof any electrical devices is providing guidance. You need to teach them the proper way of using and maintaining the device. Another noteworthy thing to do is explaining to them how things work and why they should take a proper approach of using the Chromebook. The best Chromebooks for kids are the ones used correctly and appropriately.
4. Are Chromebook good for students and adults?
Yes, they are. Chromebooks are not exclusively designed towards children. They are ideal for on-the-go word processing, taking notes, checking emails, etc. Due to their lightweight design and long-lasting battery life, Chromebooks are increasingly popular among business people. They are the perfect choice for light users in general.
5. Do such and such apps work on Chromebooks?
Just like any OS, there are some apps that may work on other OS but won’t run on Chrome OS devices. Specifically, you don’t have access to Windows, MacOS, and Linux programs. However, you can still find web apps or Android apps equivalent to replace these programs and apps.
For example, instead of using Microsoft Office Apps like on Windows, you can use web-based Office apps or the Android versions of it. In fact, there are ways to get Windows programs to run on Chromebook devices, but you have to work around and tinker with a lot of stuff.