A little known fact is that the Samsung Chromebook has been the best-selling laptop on amazon for the past two years, in the UK and US. There are no figures to indicate how many units this equates to but it’s safe to say it will be a lot?
The idea behind the Chromebook was greeted with a fair degree of disdain when it was first announced but over time even the most cynical of critics have had to concede that as an inexpensive and portable laptop the Chromebook has a lot going for it. The Chromebook wasn’t specifically designed for kids to use but as a first laptop it makes an excellent choice.
- Cost a lot less than a standard laptop
- No anti-virus software or constant updates to worry about
- Long battery life
- Fast start-up
- Cloud storage
- Lots of apps
- Little or no on-board storage
- No CD/DVD drive
- Can’t use anything that has to be download
- Requires a reliable network connection
- Not as cool as an iPad
So why a laptop instead of a tablet?
For day-to-day browsing, using email and Facebook, playing games, watching films, etc a tablet is the ideal device. However, if you need to create a document such as a spreadsheet or write an essay the touch screen interface of a tablet can be somewhat frustrating and not very efficient.
Your kids may prefer the idea of a tablet to a laptop but as they get older they are very likely to be required to be able to use a conventional PC or laptop with a traditional keyboard; and if they can only use a touch screen device they are likely to be at a distinct disadvantage.
Like it or not conventional computers with a keyboard are still the best way to do a lot of things in the real world of work and education; so if you’re thinking of buying your child the latest tablet at least give the option of a laptop some serious consideration?
Chromebook laptops are widely available from a range of High Street and online retailers. They generally retail at around £200 or less and you don’t need to buy any software such as anti-virus programs because the Chrome Operating System is browser-based and not stored within the machine itself.
Key points to bear in mind will be the weight of the machine if it is going to be portable and the power of the processor. Some on-board storage (hard drive storage) is needed for running apps and the more you have the better, but because files are stored ‘in the cloud’ you don’t need it so much as you would with a Windows machine.
At the end of the day the final choice of whether to invest in a laptop will depend on your own family’s current set up. If you already have a desktop PC or a decent quality laptop in the home then your kids may well find a tablet the better choice? But if it’s going to be the only computer they have access to then a laptop will generally make sense.
More importantly, you’ll need to consider what your child really wants because if they have their heart set on the latest cool tablet device they may not thank you for making the decision in their absence?