The Chrome has me all Googley-eyed
July 30, 2011 8:07 PM   Subscribe

Does an elementary school student need more than the cloud? The hand-me-down laptop that my 7 year old daughter has been using to do homework and online lessons on has bit the dust. I'm all google-y eyed (pun intended) about a Chrome book as a replacement... but does it make sense?

I started looking at netbooks as a replacement, thinking that as long as she can get to google docs and her online lessons, she should be covered. Now i'm wondering if I should just go for this chromebook. My inclination towards the Chrome book over a Windows netbook is based primarily on the security (no installed apps) and speed (booting in 8-10 seconds).

That said, i'm looking for anecdotal support or detraction for a chrome book (or win/nix netbooks) that will be primarily used by an elementary school student, for online lessons and word processing for the next few/several years.
posted by tdischino to Computers & Internet (14 answers total)
With the Chrome OS, you only have the browser available. You cannot install apps to the PC itself. If your daughter only uses the web, it's probably fine. You'll be riding an edge tech -- but ultimately, it's what most of us will be using one day.
posted by bprater at 8:26 PM on July 30, 2011

Th e cost of a chrome book exceeds that of a Mac Air, and is half as useful.
posted by tomswift at 8:43 PM on July 30, 2011

Maybe I'm missing something, but how does the cost of the linked chrome book possibly approach the cost of a MacBook Air?

I think the inability to install apps could be a hindrance. What if, eventually, your daughter needs to install something for school that isn't available on Chrome? I tend to think that a Windows or Ubuntu netbook might be a better option.
posted by DMan at 8:48 PM on July 30, 2011

It works until you need to install something like MIT's Scratch (which my daughter used in 7th grade), or run something off of a DVD (like she's doing now for summer school).
posted by dws at 10:27 PM on July 30, 2011

You might want her to be able to do homework somewhere that doesn't have wifi, like in the car. Or are you paying for a data plan for her?

Also, there might be games you'd like to install, or maybe she'd like to learn to use a spreadsheet without the Internet lag...
posted by amtho at 10:55 PM on July 30, 2011

It kind of blows my mind that 7 year olds are expected to have laptops in school at all, but for a lot of reasons (security and cost), i think a chrome netbook is a good idea.

And a macbook air costs 3 times as much as the chrome netbook.
posted by empath at 12:06 AM on July 31, 2011 [2 favorites]

I'd just buy her a cheap Windows 7 netbook, a 1 gig RAM upgrade and the Microsoft Office student edition (or Open Office if you really can't afford that). Samsung make some nice ones.

Install any apps using ninite, set that up to run regularly as administrator (for easy software updating) and make sure she has a limited account without the admin password and you'll be sorted.

It'll be the same price as a Chrome netbook and infinitely more useful for her - especially in areas where there is no WiFi.

That should last her quite a few years, it won't break the bank and it'll be small and light enough for her to carry around.

If she wants a macbook air, let her buy it when she's older.
posted by mr_silver at 1:54 AM on July 31, 2011 [1 favorite]

Forgot to add, for a faster boot up speed change the default shutdown action and lid closing action to hibernate and teach her that whenever she's finished with the laptop, just close the lid.

Next time she powers it up, it'll take only about 10 seconds to come alive again and right where she left off.
posted by mr_silver at 1:57 AM on July 31, 2011

Dman.. In addition to the purchase price, You are required to purchase a three year contract at 20 per the math
posted by tomswift at 9:07 AM on July 31, 2011

Chromebooks only have a subscription if you buy the one with 3G service (which of course requires 3G)... for the linked chromebook, which only has WiFi, it's just the purchase price, and then no extra. No contract required... or even optional.
posted by brainmouse at 9:35 AM on July 31, 2011

Hmm, now that I've said that I've confused myself. I thought that was true for consumers (as opposed to business), but I can't find proof either way. Sorry, you may want to do more research.
posted by brainmouse at 9:40 AM on July 31, 2011

Thanks for the feedback. It would seem most of the detracting arguments are against netbooks in general, except for the ability to install something from the web. That said, I think I am fine with this. I've done some investigating and all of her school activities will be purely online, and won't require installed apps till she gets to 5th grade (at least based on current curricula). At that point, her little sister will be ready for it, and once she's done with it, it will be 7 yrs old. If it is still running, i'm sure it will be a good kitchen computer. I've got a feeling that Google that will likely be supporting these machines very well (i.e., very robust updates to the OS), whereas when I think about windows netbook, I just get depressed thinking about how bloaty it could be out of the box.

@tomswift, I don't see anything that would indicate there is any contract related to the Acer WiFi chromebook. Please help me understand what that subscription is you are referring to, as this would be a deal breaker for me.
posted by tdischino at 5:28 PM on July 31, 2011

tomswift, the contract is for enterprise users, in which case they notebook is free if you buy the contract. For consumers, you just buy the chromebook with no contract.
posted by empath at 7:28 PM on July 31, 2011

Sounds like you've made up your mind - but you might want to consider that a netbook running Windows 7 and Chrome will do everything that a Samsung Chromebook will do (and then a whole lot more without the need to be constantly connected to WiFi) for exactly the same price.
posted by mr_silver at 12:29 AM on August 2, 2011

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