Buying my kid’s first Chromebook was harder than I thought

Buying my kid’s first Chromebook was harder than I thought

My son commenced next quality this past September, and his college issued him an previous, beat-up Chromebook to his backpack as his initial laptop computer. Unacceptable! As a tech author, I could not settle for what the university was providing. So, I did what any tech nerd dad would do and took my boy shopping for a new Chromebook.

But as I quickly learned, the entire world of Chromebooks can be dizzying. If I was going to uncover the correct choice for my child, I’d will need to check out my individual tech awareness and preferences at the doorway.

A college-aged student interacts with his HP Chromebook x360.

Much too several Chromebooks

For starters, there are a good deal of Chromebooks out there. I did not completely know just how lots of there were being until eventually I began procuring for 1.

The very first place I appeared was Amazon. That was a miscalculation. There are extra than 200 pages of Chromebooks. You get well-identified names these kinds of as Lenovo, Acer, and Asus. But you will also get weird manufacturers with names like Mighty Skins and VEIKK. I was definitely cautious of the Basrdis Chromebook.

Even recognised makes have an enormous library of machines. There ended up 6 pages of Chromebooks for Asus, ranging in price tag from $57 to in excess of $700. Samsung Chromebooks get up 17 webpages on Amazon.

My neighborhood Best Buy had 17 Chromebooks on screen.

Alright, Amazon was not doing the job out for me. With some assistance from our very own Chromebook evaluations, I made the decision to take my son to Finest Invest in because undoubtedly they must have a respectable vary of good Chromebooks to see in person, right?

As it turned out, my area Best Obtain had 17 Chromebooks on show, right throughout from the Windows laptops. Which is a good deal of Chromebooks. Their charges ranged from $200 to over $1,000. That is superior than the 200 pages of possibilities on Amazon, but it still left me a bit overcome by all the possibilities.

Specs never tell the complete story

A young woman has a video chat on her HP 14-inch Chromebook.

I walked the shows at Greatest Obtain scratching my head, asking yourself how my possess ordeals with tech would advise our conclusion about this new Chromebook.

Intel Celeron! 4GB of RAM! Two-in-one particular! Ought to be a superior deal, appropriate? Very well, not automatically.

Chromebooks have the luxury of not demanding a good deal of processing energy to attain most tasks, and Chrome runs surprisingly sleek on a Chromebook regardless of memory. Go figure.

But I learned you have to have to glance at the specs of a Chromebook as element of a larger sized whole, alternatively than as person figures. What I imply is you might have respectable overall performance with a baseline Main i3, but what if the gadget comes with a 120Hz OLED touchscreen display screen and no GPU? Do you assume that small 10th-gen Main i3 is heading to ability every thing you require?

This is the trouble I ran into with my son. At 1st, we picked up a nominally affordable Samsung Chromebook. Samsung helps make a quantity of good Chromebooks, and even while this a person was a little bit more mature, but I figured it was just for school, right? It arrived with an Intel Celeron CPU, 4GB of RAM, and 64GB of storage. It was an update more than the college-issued Chromebooks in seems to be, but as we found out, it wasn’t quite ample performance.

That very poor CPU could hardly electricity the equipment, and my son’s faculty makes use of some intensive web internet pages complete with animations and interactive video clips. My boy experienced to wait around for minutes as the online video froze or lagged, although his classmates powered ahead.

It was again to Finest Obtain for us — and this time, I was heading to goal for one thing with a bit additional oomph.

You (usually) get what you shell out for

HP Elite Dragonfly Chromebook rear view showing lid and logo.
Mark Coppock/Electronic Traits

Just after returning that instead ineffective Samsung Chromebook, I held my nose and bought a substantially far more expensive HP equipment for my son. It price tag around $500, in comparison to the $180 I put in on the Samsung.

HP makes some excellent Home windows laptops and I have a tender spot for their design aesthetic, which it carries about to its Chromebook line. My son did not complain at all about it. It came with an 11th-gen Intel i5 processor, 6GB of RAM, and 120GB of storage. The display screen was a normal 1080p 60Hz LED display screen, but it could fold backward and turn into a tablet.

The HP looked in good shape for a male in a go well with, not a kid with a Minecraft hat.

I was confident that I experienced ultimately landed on the right gadget for my boy, but there was one particular disadvantage. This HP Chromebook was fragile. It was in the fingers of a seven-year-outdated accomplishing who-knows-what all day extensive at university, and I was not snug with that.

Additionally, the HP looked healthy for a gentleman in a go well with, not a child with a Minecraft hat. 1 night time I advised my son I experienced to consider the Chromebook absent due to the fact it was not doing work. He shrugged. It was just some thing he used at faculty and, therefore, of no curiosity to him. As a great deal as it damage my tech-loving coronary heart, it forced me to comprehend that my hunt for the correct Chromebook for him may have been misguided from the outset.

The lesson I discovered

Someone holding a Samsung Chromebook in their hand.

I never returned the HP Chromebook. I retained it for myself. Immediately after all, I appreciated the equipment, and Chrome OS is a pleasure to use on a fantastic computer system with decent specs. If you are searching for a Chromebook, make sure to get anything with a first rate processor and plenty of RAM to tackle what you toss at it. These computer systems have appear a long way, and our expectations of them have developed.

But my son was happy more than enough to go again to working with the college-provided Chromebook. It’s rugged, straightforward for him to use, and receives the position accomplished. And when it comes down to it, that’s really all it wants to be. As a great deal as we might like to scoff at these cumbersome, plastic laptops, possibly these college directors know what they’re carrying out.

I’m certain there will come a working day when he’ll want a thing a little bit extra refined — one thing that he in fact enjoys applying. But for now, the university Chromebook is all he necessary.

Editors’ Recommendations