Getting back to school in these crazy times when you are unsure if school will be in classrooms or virtual makes the tech decisions even harder. Either way, most students need a Chromebook or computer for class. I am going to go over the 5 things you need to think about when shopping for a Chromebook. Make sure to read till the end for some recommended models.
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#1 Battery Life:
Having a Chromebook battery that lasts a long time either at home or in school is key to having a productive day. No student wants to have to run around and find a power outlet and plugin their Chromebook when their battery is running low. Then the case of the missing chargers!
When it comes to a Chromebooks battery the mAh (miliamps) number is key. Basically that comes down to how big the battery is in the Chromebook. So higher is better. Good Chromebooks have greater than 3000 mAh. This means this Samsung Chromebook that has a 3490 mAh battery will get about 7-10 hours of use before needing to be charged again. Also understand that advertised battery charge times are never correct. If they say 10 hours, expect 20%-30% less.
#2 Screen Size:
With students having to stare at a screen all day long now for school it makes sense to get a Chromebook with a larger screen. This will allow the text on the screen to be a little bit bigger and help avoid eye strain. The average Chromebook comes with a 10-13 inch screen but they do come bigger in sizes like 15.6.
I would recommend going with a 13 or 15.6 inch screen. They are still very portable but students wont have to squint to read what is on the screen after hours of use. The text and images are bigger and students wont strain their eyes looking at tiny text causing them to get headaches. Here is an example of a 15.6 inch Chromebook.
#3 Touchscreen vs. Non-Touchscreen:
Some students LOVE touchscreens and other HATE touchscreens. Really this all comes down to a personal preference. Some things to consider are...
- If a touchscreen breaks it is more expansive to fix.
- Chromebooks with touchscreens will generally be more expensive vs their non-touchscreen competitors.
- Most touchscreen Chromebooks have shiny glass on them so there may be more glare.
Again this is all personal preference, and if you are going to spend a little extra of a touchscreen make sure to check the reviews to see what actual users say about the use of it. This Acer R13 has many good reviews saying the touch screen is good quality.
Looking at the specs of a school Chromebook makes most people's eyes glaze over. There are GB, MB, Ghz, NVME, Flash Storage, and so much more. Good news is there are only 3 things you need to care about.
Processor: This will either be Intel or AMD. Either way the key here to get pick one that has multiple cores. Just read the specs sheet and it is says dual core or quad core as they will perform better (2 is higher than 4). Here is an example of an amazon listing Chromebook with a quad core processor.
Ram: You need to select a Chromebook with at lest 4GB. This helps with the speed and overall performance of the device.
Storage: Since Chromebooks save pretty much everything on the students Google cloud. There is no need for major amounts of storage. Typically 12GB to 50GB is perfectly fine. Most Chromebooks come with 32GB of storage.
Especially when shopping online make sure to read the reviews from actual people! When it comes to Chromebooks. Don't pick a Chromebook that only has 10 reviews. Look for one that has over 100 positive 5 star reviews like this highly rated Chromebook.
Make sure to actually read some of them and make sure there is nothing that sticks out as a red flag.
Bonus #6 Good Brands:
The brands you want to stick with are name brands such as: Lenovo, Acer, Samsung, Asus, or HP. Do not purchase any random brands even if they are inexpensive. They are inexpensive for a reason and usually the reviews reflect why that is.
Recommendations for Back to School 2020
These 3 Chromebooks really meet all the criterial that I mentioned above.
I hope that this guide has helped you work through purchasing a new Chromebook.