What makes Chromebooks more attractive, functionality, or price?

I would say both.

Chromebooks are very affordable compared to more traditional laptops like PCs and Macbooks unless you’re going for a more premium feeling one, as they fall into almost the same price category.

While I have tried my hands on multiple Chromebooks over the past few years, it was my 10-year-old son who ended up spending more time on the most recent one I had. And since kids nowadays live on the internet for most of their day, I thought it was best suited for him anyways.

I found him not only enjoying games on it but also using it for his homework. That led me to a realization that Chromebooks are actually very well suited to be the first computer for a child who has never owned one.

The List of Top 7 Best Chromebooks For Kids & Elementary School Students

So, I invested my time, effort, and money in finding a Chromebook to gift my son as his first computer. The experience allowed me to compile this list of best Chromebooks for kids, according to me, to help out parents who are searching for a computer to give to their children.

Here are my top picks, in no particular order:

#1. 2-in-1 Convertible Chromebook for Kids by Lenovo

Starting off this list is Lenovo’s highly portable 11.6-inch convertible Chromebook, the C330. As the name suggests, this Chromebook boasts a 360-degree rotatable hinge attached to an IPS touchscreen panel with a resolution of 1366 x 768 pixels. The hinge is very sturdily built and can hold onto every position effortlessly.

The machine is entirely built with plastic but doesn’t feel cheaply put together. When closed, it’s just about an inch thick and weighs a little less than 3lbs. All this makes it very portable, especially for kids.

On the connectivity side, the C330 doesn’t fall short of anything either. You get the standard HDMI port along with a 3.5mm standard audio jack. There’s also an SD card slot for memory expansion, a USB 3.1 port, and a multi-function USB type-C port. Unfortunately, there’s no information about the size of the battery available on the packaging, but during my time with it, I was easily able to juice out almost 8 and a half hours with mediocre usage and about 10% of power to spare.

Pros
  • Plastic lightweight built makes it very portable for daily use
  • Convertible design with tent, tablet, and laptop modes
  • Out-of-the-box support for Google’s play store and android apps
  • Comes with full hardware connectivity options
  • Has a highly affordable price tag
Cons
  • Comes with only 4GB of RAM

#2. Asus Convertible Chromebook 2-In-1 C302

Like the first entry, the second one on this list is also a convertible. Don’t be surprised if you see a couple more down below, since the best way to experience Google’s Chrome OS is on a convertible. I could get into more detail on the why, but I don’t wanna get side-tracked and off-topic, so we’ll just leave it at that.

Anyways, the C302 from Asus shares a lot of similarities with Lenovo’s C330 in terms of internals like the onboard storage, RAM, and battery life. They both weigh almost the same. It even has support for Android apps. But that’s where the similarities end. It has a bigger, 12.5-inch full HD display, and the machine runs an Intel M3 processor at its core.

Built-wise, the screen has gorilla glass protection, the top of the lid is aluminum, while the bottom is plastic. You also get a backlit keyboard that offers great key travel and is very comfortable to use. On the connectivity end, you get two  USB type-C ports, an SD card expansion slot, and a 3.5mm dual audio jack.

Pros
  • Powered by an Intel processor
  • Has a full-sized backlit chiclet style keyboard
  • Houses a large 12.5-inch screen with Gorilla glass protection
  • Metal finish top gives it a premium look and feel
  • Has a convertible form factor
Cons
  • No USB 3.0 or any other legacy USB ports
  • Comes with only 4GB of RAM

#3.  Asus Chromebook C202SA-YS02 – Best for Elementary School Students

If you’re looking for an affordable Chromebook that comes with a rugged design, Asus’s C202 is made for you. Unlike its successor, the last entrant on my list, this one is built tough to the core. The whole thing is covered by a rubber wrap which allows it to safely absorb shocks during accidental drops. There are also two special rubber grips placed on the bottom so your child can easily carry it between classes without needing to put it inside their bagpacks.

While It has an 11.6-inch display only, the laptop is reasonably big and houses a full-sized keyboard with great key travel. The keyboard is clicky, spill-proof, and fun to type on.  This laptop may not be a convertible but it sports a full 180-degree hinge which enables it to lay flat on a table when opened. This feature becomes very useful for sharing visuals between a small group.

It’s powered by an Intel Celeron processor supported by 4GB of RAM and 16GB or 32GB of disk space. Other hardware ports worth mentioning include two USB 3.0 ports, a memory expansion slot for SD cards, a standard HDMI port, and a 3.5mm audio jack.

Pros
  • Rugged design for worry-free handling
  • Spill-resistant full-sized keyboard for comfortable typing experience
  • Can be bought with either 16GB or 32GB of internal flash memory
  • 6-inch anti-glare display for easy viewing even under direct sunlight
  • Runs on an Intel Celeron processor
Cons
  • No support for Android apps
  • No touchscreen support
  • Feels a bit heavy due to the rubberized design

#4. Acer Chromebook R 11 Convertible Laptop

Another 11.6-inch convertible on the list, the R11 is Acer’s one of the more famous models and rightfully so. It’s powered by an Intel Celeron processor, namely N3060. You get 4GB of RAM on this one as well, along with 32GB of storage space. It’s got support for Play Store apps so you can be as productive as possible.

And like all new Chromebooks, you get 100GB of Google’s cloud storage for free on this one as well, for two years.  As for the ports, there’s no USB type-C present here, unfortunately. You only get one USB 3.0, one USB 2.0, and an HDMI port. On the plus side, there’s a built-in webcam that supports a 1280p x 720p resolution output for fun Skype or other video calls.

The display is an IPS panel that supports 10-point multi-touch for excellent functionality and easy navigation. The display panel provides wide viewing angles and well-saturated colors. The battery life on this one is amazing and can last you over 9 hours easily. The R11 is mostly made up of plastic that has a matte black finish. While the built quality feels just average in hands, the matte black finish of the body is visually stunning and attention-grabbing even from afar.

Pros
  • The hinge connecting the screen to the bottom feels strong and sturdy
  • The 10-point multi-touch panel makes it very easy to use all of Google’s supported touch gestures
  • The matte-black finish plastic built is very attractive
  • You get a high-quality webcam for video calls
  • The battery life of the R11 is simply amazing with over 9 hours of juice
Cons
  • Feels a bit heavy for a completely plastic built laptop
  • A bit pricey compared to the competition
  • It’s a little chunky

#5. Samsung Chromebook Plus With 13MP Webcam

One of the more pricier options on this list, Samsung’s Chromebook Plus has been a hit since the day it released. A 12.2-inch convertible, this one is made for productivity on all counts. Apart from the sturdy 360-degree rotation hinge, the Chromebook Plus comes with a stylus. Like Samsung’s Galaxy Note line of smartphones, the Plus is capable of doing a lot with its pen. From taking screenshots to sketching and navigating, everything is a breeze with the stylus.

But the stylus is not its only highlight. The whole package is simply amazing. The top lid is aluminum and the bottom deck is plastic. Even though it’s built using two separate materials, it doesn’t feel cheap or quickly put together in any way.

The keyboard here is chiclet-style. It’s big enough and offers great travel between the keys, and the typing experience itself is flawless. Let’s just say you, your kids or anyone typing on this keyboard for long hours won’t have any regret.

Pros
  • Large 12.2-inch screen with a 16:10 aspect ratio
  • Comes with a stylus for added functionality and features
  • Runs an Intel Celeron processor under the hood
  • Supports up to 400GB of SD card expansion
  • Has a 13-megapixel camera for clear and crisp photos
Cons

There’s hardly anything wrong with this Chromebook that is worth mentioning.

#6. HP Chromebook 14-inch

The only 14-inch Chromebook on my list of best Chromebooks for kids, it’s also one of the more affordable ones here. And it’s from HP. Powered by a dual-core AMD A4 processor, supported by 4GB of RAM and 32GB of eMMC flash storage.

The shell of the laptop is all plastic and feels cheap. But since it’s priced at a bargain, there isn’t much to complain about. Also, this one is not a convertible. You do, however, get a  hinge that can flatten to 180-degrees for easy topdown viewing during group study sessions.

On the connectivity side, HP has made sure there’s no shortage of ports with two ports of USB type-C, two ports for USB 2.0, a MicroSD card expansion slot, and of course a 3.5 mm audio jack. You also get a huge battery that can easily last you anywhere between 7 – 8 hours on mixed usage.

Pros
  • Large, 14-inch HD display
  • 180-degree hinge for easy sharing of visuals among groups
  • A very affordable price tag
  • Dual speakers for immersive audio output
  • Large battery for uninterrupted use throughout school hours
Cons
  • The AMD A4 provides average performance and can lag at times
  • Feels a bit heavy for a laptop that’s entirely made of plastic

#7. Samsung Chromebook 3

Last on the list, I have added Samsung’s Chromebook 3. It’s 11.6-inches and very affordable. So, without going into its details first, I would suggest here that if your child is somewhat irresponsible or you’re getting them their first laptop, you should buy this one with your eyes closed. Not because it’s a great machine for the price, but because it’s so affordable that you won’t feel bad if your child loses or breaks it.

Performance-wise, it has an Intel Celeron N3060 processor at the helm with 4Gb of RAM and 16GB of in-built storage space. The plastic body along with a sleek and small design makes it very lightweight. In fact, it just falls short of 2.5lbs on the scale.

The small screen size and low power consuming processor make its already giant battery very long-lasting. I was able to juice it for almost 10-hours on multiple occasions, which is quite impressive.

Pros
  • Its lightweight and small size make it highly portable
  • Long battery life makes it a perfect school companion for kids
  • The plastic built feels very strong and sturdy
  • It’s spill-resistant so you can be worry-free of any accidents
Cons
  • No support for Google’s Play Store
  • Has visibility issues under direct sunlight
  • Very limited ports for connectivity

How to Pick the Best Chromebook for Kids & Elementary Schoolers – Full Buying Guide

I understand that it can be difficult to buy the right kind of Chromebook for your kids, even when presented with choices if you are not too tech-savvy. But you don’t have to worry about it anymore. Because through this buying guide I am going to share everything you need to know to buy a Chromebook that best suits the needs of your child.

Screen Size & Resolution

As the variation in my list of chosen devices shows, Chromebooks come in a variety of screen sizes ranging from as small as 10.1 inches to a maximum of 15.6 inches. A few manufacturers also offer 17 inches of screen real estate, but that’s very rare.

I personally prefer the screen sizes around the lines of 12.5 to 13.3 inches as they are comfortable to use, and suggest the same to my peers. However, what you choose can totally be your personal preference or according to the preference of your child. Bear in mind though, the bigger the screen size, the heavier the device will be.

As it is with the screen size, you also have multiple options available for screen resolution, with more premium machines offering up to 2560 x 1700 pixels. But 1920 x 1080 is the mainstay in most Chromebooks, which, usually, is more than enough for general day to day usage.

Touch Screens

Another choice regarding the screen that you will have to make will be to either go with a touch screen or a normal screen. If you’re planning on buying a device that supports Android apps (which most new Chromebooks do, by the way), chances are the machine already sports a touch screen.

Random Access Memory (RAM)

Here’s a little something that you might find amusing. You might have heard that Chromebooks are incredibly fast in starting up. And it’s true too, but only to that extent.

You see, the Chrome OS that runs on Chromebooks is a glorified version of Google’s browser, the infamous Chrome. And while Chromebooks may start-up fast, that’s just about it. Once you get down to business on the browser, Chrome becomes one heck of a RAM guzzler. And as more and more tabs are opened, the machine starts lagging, regardless of the brand of Chromebook.

The only workaround for this is to make the right decision when buying the Chromebook. So, my suggestion, avoid going for any machine that houses less than 4GB of RAM. However, if your budget allows, only settle for 8GB of RAM or more. This way, you can ensure your child will not be complaining about the computer slowing down whilst they are studying.

Processors

Okay, okay! I may have emphasized a tad too much on the RAM, I agree. But that doesn’t mean it should be the only decisive factor in your purchase decision. One more thing that’s just as important as system memory or RAM is the processor powering the machine at its core.

You can commonly find two different architectures powering Chromebooks; Intel and AMD. If you haven’t heard about AMD before, you aren’t alone because the desktop and notebook scene has long been dominated by the Intel processors.

AMD has also been around for as long as Intel, but it’s mostly popular among tech geeks who like to build their own machines. While both processors perform along the same lines, intel powered machines tend to perform somewhat better. They are also a little expensive.

When you’re buying a Chromebook for a child, I wouldn’t give preference to one processor brand over the other, since they both perform well. Nonetheless, if you have limited spending, there’s no harm in choosing an AMD-powered cheaper machine.

Internal Storage

One last thing that you need to look at before finalizing your purchase is the internal memory of that specific model that you’re feeling inclined toward. If I haven’t already shared it above, Chromebooks mostly rely on Google’s cloud storage to store data and the OS itself doesn’t require as much space to run on a system.

In fact, during the early days of Chromebooks, Google heavily marketed its OS’s capability of storing all data online on a cloud.  However, most apps on a Chromebook can function offline, including Google’s docs, slides, and sheets. And since most new Chromebooks also support Android apps, having onboard storage is a necessity that your child will want.

You can find models with a storage capacity of as low as 16GBs and as high as 512GBs in upper-tier premium models. Ideal capacity is anywhere between 64GBs to 256GBs. Any more or less is your call.

Conclusion

So, there you have it. Everything from the list to the buying guide. Hope the information shared here turns out to be useful for you. I am sorry I won’t be suggesting any one machine over the other. All of them are great for school-going children or they wouldn’t have made it to my list of best Chromebooks for kids. I would say this though.

Before you consider anything else, give preference to what falls under your budget and provides most of the features that you’re looking for. Until next time.

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About the author

Lisa Scholfield

Lisa Scholfield is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of "The Digital World". Her books have received starred reviews in Publishers Weekly and Booklist.

Lisa lives in the Rocky Mountains with her husband, a medium-sized dog, and an attack cat. Before she started writing "The Digital World", she experimented with various occupations including, Computer Programming, Dog-Training, Scientificating, & Traveling.

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