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For students and parents around the world, the new school year will come with unique challenges. Social distancing and remote learning via virtual classrooms are the new norm. To help your student stay on pace we reviewed the top Chromebooks for students and parents to consider this fall.
The Google Chromebook is an excellent product for students. The Chromebook builds upon the netbook of the late 2000s and early 2010s. Today the Chromebook competes with tablets in the low-cost device category. The results have been surprisingly good. With a standard laptop layout and a battery that lasts all day, the Chromebook provides users the ability to use a real keyboard for note taking while being powered on all day. For budget conscious parents it is a relief to know that Chromebooks typically cost half as much as a traditional laptop. This is because your traditional laptop requires a ton of processing power to run an OS such as Windows. The Chromebook, on the other hand, relies on Google’s Chrome OS that is based on the Chrome browser.
Unlike a laptop, every action taken in the Chrome OS is done via a browser window. This is why the device has such an excellent battery life and quality performance. Your children will be able to take notes, edit photos, check email, write essays, and so much more. Best of all is that the device, if properly cared for, will make an easy transition to college life. Lightweight and with all the features mentioned above means your student won’t need to shell out big bucks for a laptop when they head to college.
If you and your child have been searching for a device that can provide enough features to tackle school projects while still providing enough power for gaming, the Chromebook should be at the top of your list. Below I’ll review a few devices that are worth considering.
Top Chromebooks for Students
Asus Chromebook Flip C434
First up on our list is the C434 from Asus. If this is your first journey into Chromebook world it’s worth mentioning that Asus has been a leader in the area for a while now. The C434 comes with an all-aluminium build, giving it a premium look and feel. One could almost be forgiven for thinking the C434 is a MacBook or Surface Laptop after a quick glance. The device is very portable, weighing in at only 3.3 pounds. It’s about a half an inch thick, so this is again a great selection for younger students and those lugging it around a college campus, or your living room, all semester.
Performance is always a key consideration when buying a new device. Sure, the price might be great, but if it can’t hold up under pressure then you’re wasting your money. The Asus C434 delivers on performance. Powered by an Intel Core processor that consumes little power delivers long battery life. The entry level model has 4GB of RAM and 64GB of internal storage. Both of which are stellar when compared to similar models. Of course, you can upgrade to the 8GB RAM and 128GB storage if budget isn’t a primary concern. For your average college student this will be more than enough power to get the job done. However, if you’re child is a hardcore gamer this device won’t make the cut.
Other features worth mentioning include the C434’s ability to turn 360 degrees to form a tablet. Flip is in the name after all so the device delivers on that promise. For students who need to take notes and include drawings, looking at you engineering students, the tablet-esque format of the C434 will be a great benefit.
My only big issue with the Asus Chromebook is the sound quality. The speakers are faint and not very powerful. If your student likes to jam out while studying they will likely want to invest in a set of external speakers or headphones.
Google Pixelbook Go
Next up on our list of top Chromebooks for students is the Google Pixelbook Go.
This is the most recent version of the Pixelbook and is updated from the original model released a few years back. While the entry level price has been lowered, it is still a bit more expensive than other Chromebook options. However, at $650 it is still a deal compared to more traditional laptops. The Pixelbook also packs in a bunch of features that your student will enjoy.
First up is the device’s ultra portable design. Weighing in at only 2 pounds and measuring only 13mm thick, this device is designed to go wherever you go. Which is hopefully to class. The magnesium build gives the device its lightweight, but also a luxury feel.
The next great feature is the backlit keyboard. Using Google’s HushKeys, the keyboard keeps keys quiet and is designed for some serious use. You also get front facing speakers. Compared to other Chromebooks on the market this is a great feature. It makes watching videos a great experience on this device. So good, in fact, your student will be excited to watch and rewatch all those lecture videos 😉
When it comes to speed the Pixelbook uses the Intel Core m3 8th Gen, so it is fast enough for your basic browsing. For more use you will need to upgrade to the i5 of i7. Storage ranges from 8GB to 256GB and it’s advisable to buy the level you think you will need in the future. The device doesn’t have expandable storage options, so factor that into your buying decision.
One drawback of the Pixelbook is that it doesn’t fold or turn. Unlike the Asus device, the Pixelbook is more of a traditional laptop and simply folds up or down. This is really a matter of personal preference. Some students might like this feature and others will hate it.
Lenovo Chromebook Duet
The third and final contender on our list of best Chromebooks for your students is the Lenovo Chromebook Duet.
For budget focused buyers this device combines the features you need with a super affordable price. Coming in at $300 the Duet is a hybrid device with an attachable keyboard. As a standalone device, the Duet comes with a 10.1″ 1920×1200 display. It seems pretty standard until you add on the keyboard attachment. Put up the kickstand and you have yourself a full laptop!
However, the low cost does come with some downside. The keyboard is fairly cramped and the processor isn’t good for much more than simple browsing and using basic productivity applications. The device does have a longer battery life than you might expect which compensates for some of the drawbacks.
The Duet has been very popular this summer. It’s currently unavailable on the Lenovo site and has been hit or miss on Amazon. You will have to be quick and have good timing to snag this device.
As students and parents prepare for what will certainly be an interesting semester, I hope this quick guide helps make the tech selection process a bit easier. There are some great Chromebooks for students on the market and it really will depend on your budget and use case when making the final purchase decision.