Buying a Chromebook
Buying a Chromebook
This document is not about which Chromebook to choose. It is about what you need to be aware of when you buy a Chromebook. Chromebooks are an inexpensive electronic learning tool and come in many form factors and at different price points depending on specifications. Entry level devices are priced in the $300 to over $400 range depending on the memory, storage and features it has. Most school devices neighbour in the $300 - $400 price range and should offer reasonable performance and considerable lifespan. This document is designed to help you make the best buying decision to suit your needs.
Chromebooks are available in a number of physical formats and the correct type for your learner is dependent on how you see them using it.
Classic Clamshell: look and feel like a small laptop and include a keyboard
Foldable: offer a tablet or tent option and may include a stylus for input
Screen Size: entry level Chromebooks start with an 11.6 inch screen. Larger screen sizes may reduce battery life
Touch: allow for input using fingers on the screen and may include a stylus
Tablet: does not include a physical keyboard and uses an on screen keyboard instead
A traditional external keyboard may be connected
Typically lower performance compared to similarly priced Classic Clamshell models
Since most of the applications used on a Chromebook are Cloud based, performance is most greatly impacted by the reliability of your wifi and the speed of your Internet connection. Other factors to consider when choosing a device include:
Battery Life: impacted by processor type and screen size; batteries are typically charged each night for next day use so 8 hours of battery runtime is plenty. Batteries only carry a 1 year warranty even if extended warranty is purchased. Check with who you are buying the device from if this is a concern for you.
Memory: typically 4 gigabytes but can be larger
More memory allows more browser tabs and extensions to be used
Storage: typically 32 gigs but can be higher
Most content should be stored in GSuite Cloud and therefore local device storage is not typically used outside of temporary use
When multiple users share a device more storage is used
Some functionality such as using Android Apps will use additional storage for each user that has signed on and uses those types of apps. Currently we are not doing Android apps in our district.
Processor: there is a balance between performance and battery life
Mobile processors extend battery life but may be slower in performance
Traditional processors often have a cooling fan which may be subject to damage. Generally mobile processors are not subject to this.
End of Life:
Google supports Chromebook devices for a specified period of time after which important security updates and new features are no longer available
Visit Google's Auto Updated Policy site to determine when you can expect a device to go End of Life
Once your device reaches end of life you should plan to replace it since it will get no more security updates.
First Time Setup:
The first account that signs into a Chromebook should not be your learner’s school account but instead should be a public Gmail account. The first account that signs in on a device receives a few extra privileges and can only be removed by wiping the device. Additional profiles are easier to remove and removing a user profile is a common troubleshooting step for schools and organizations.
All in all, Chromebooks are secure devices. They were designed that way, and Google has taken steps to ensure ongoing security. You won't need to run an antivirus on your Chromebook. It's simply not required. You can read more about some of their security features here.
Most people will choose the most economical Chromebook with 4 gigabytes of memory, 32 gigabytes of local storage space and the physical characteristics such as screen size and keyboard type that they prefer. Technology is in a constant state of change and the planned lifespan of your device is an important factor to consider.