What is a Chromebook?
A Chromebook is a portable computing device, which is similar to a laptop. With other laptop computers, various applications are run from the desktop, one of which is a web browser. With a Chromebook, your computer is a web browser, and applications are run through the internet. Files are stored on the internet in a cloud, and not on the Chromebook itself.
What’s different about using a Chromebook?
- All work is done in a browser: email, scheduling meetings, working on documents, editing graphics, using custom apps, and more – all in a Chrome web browser.
- Use any Chromebook to access your information. Your apps, documents, and settings are all stored safely in the cloud, and not on your Chromebook; therefore, you can sign in with your Google Apps account on any Chromebook or computer, and you’ll find your personal workspace and your documents exactly as you left them.
- No updates or maintenance are needed. Unlike a traditional PC, your Chromebook stays fast and up-to-date on its own. Each time you turn it on, it updates itself with the latest apps, features, and system upgrades.
- The Chromebook has a fast boot, and long battery life. A Chromebook needs little processing power or local storage, since all the heavy lifting happens in the cloud. As a result, it usually boots in just 8 seconds, and the battery can last up to eight hours.
- The Chromebook has built-in security. It employs the principle of “defense in depth” to provide multiple layers of protection, including sandboxing, data encryption, and verified boot. Each webpage and application you visit runs in a restricted environment.
- The Chromebook has managed & supervised users, as well as parental controls.
Why are we using Chromebooks?
The Chromebook is the least expensive, most durable, and most appropriate solution for our needs. There are more versatile devices like laptops, but they are usually more expensive, heavier, less secure, and susceptible to Malware. Netbooks are less powerful, susceptible to Malware, and not as sturdy. iPads are more fragile, more expensive, and do not support Flash.
In these tough economic times, we want to move forward with technology, while placing the least additional financial cost on our school families. Chromebooks are the best resolution to this issue. For more information, click here.
Where do I purchase a Chromebook?
You can purchase a Chromebook directly from manufacturers such as Google or Samsung. Stores such as Best Buy, Microcenter and Staples have Chromebooks available. You can also order Chromebooks online from an authorized vendor: Amazon.com, TigerDirect.com, BestBuy.com, Microcenter.com, & NewEgg.com. Amazon regularly seems to offer the best prices.
Which model should I buy?
Presently, there are several companies that manufacture Chromebooks: Acer, HP, Samsung, Dell & Google all sell various models of Chromebooks. Prices range from $199 to over $1499. We recommend parents purchase an entry level model. Christ, Costa Mesa recommends the Samsung ($229-$249) because of the hinge for the screen/lid, which may minimize the stress on the machine from the daily use of the students.
Please consider closely the differences between each Chromebook, such as USB ports, memory stick inputs, etc. Though these items are not required for school, personal preference needs to be considered when choosing a Chromebook. As mentioned previously, think about your child’s usage style and which Chromebook design supports long-term use for him/her. It is important that the battery life be a minimum of 6.5 hours. Newer models may have stronger battery life. In reading online comparisons of maker and model, please review dates (2012 vs 2013-14).
Though it is tempting to purchase a refurbished model, we recommend a new model. You may save money initially, but the machine may not last in the long run. If you do consider a refurbished model, you may wish to purchase a maintenance agreement. Here is a great link to help you: http://www.gizmag.com/2014-chromebook-comparison-guide/32518/
Should I buy the 3G or the Wi-Fi model?
We recommend that you do not purchase the 3G model Chromebook. We hope your student uses it primarily for school work while on campus or at home. To use the Chromebook at home, you must have a wireless router installed. If you decide to buy the 3G model, the price is $80-100 more. The data plans can also become expensive if you use 3G frequently.
What about warranty or insurance?
The Chromebook comes with a one year warranty and one year of technical support. This protection only covers original manufacturer defects, and will not apply towards any damage caused by the user. You can purchase an accidental damage insurance plan through a third party vendor. These policies are available for one to four years, and include all forms of damage or loss. A popular company called Square Trade (http://www.squaretrade.com) sells accidental protection on Amazon.com, or on their website. Worth Ave. Group (http://www.worthavegroup.com) also sells accidental insurance policies.
What about accessories and other considerations?
It is recommended that skins (decals) and other custom touches are used to physically identify your device from others. Additionally, protective cases for technology are encouraged. You can purchase protective sleeves, bags or cases for your Chromebook from a computer store or Amazon.com. Amazon sells many inexpensive cases for $20 or less.
You will also need a set of in-ear headphones, sometimes called ear buds. These need not be high fidelity or expensive. You can find them at electronic stores, pharmacies or supermarkets for about $5.
Thanks to Christ, Costa Mesa for sharing Chromebook information!