Chromebook Purchasing




Chromebooks are an inexpensive electronic learning tool and come in many form factors and at different price points depending on specifications. Entry level devices are priced in the $250- $400 range and should offer reasonable performance and a considerable lifespan. This document is designed to help you make the best buying decision to suit your needs.

Form Factor: Chromebooks are available in a number of physical formats and the correct type for your learner is dependent on how you see them using it.

  • Classic Clamshell: look and feel like a small laptop and include a keyboard
  • Foldable: offer a tablet or tent option and may include a stylus for input
  • Screen Size: entry level Chromebooks start with an 11.6 inch screen
    • Larger screen sizes may reduce battery life
  • Touch: allow for input using fingers on the screen and may include a stylus
  • Tablet: does not include a physical keyboard and uses an on screen keyboard instead
    • A traditional external keyboard may be connected
    • Typically lower performance compared to similarly priced Classic Clamshell models


Since most of the applications used on a Chromebook are Cloud based, performance is most greatly impacted by the reliability of your wifi and the speed of your Internet connection. Other factors to consider when choosing a device include:


  • Battery Life: impacted by the processor type and screen size; batteries are typically charged each night for next day use so 8 hours of battery runtime is plenty
  • Memory: typically 4 gigabytes but can be larger
    • More memory allows more browser tabs and extensions to be used
  • Storage: typically 32 gigs but can be higher
    • Most content should be stored in GSuite Cloud and therefore local device storage is not typically used outside of temporary use
    • When multiple users share a device more storage is used
    • Some functionality such as using Android Apps will use additional storage for each user that has signed on and uses those types of apps.
  • Processor: there is a balance between performance and battery life
    • Mobile processors extend battery life but may be slower in performance
    • Traditional processors often have a cooling fan which may be subject to damage

End of Life:

  • Google supports Chromebook devices for a specified period of time after which important security updates and new features are no longer available
  • Visit Google's Auto Updated Policy site to determine when you can expect a device to go End of Life

First Time Setup: The first account that signs into a Chromebook should not be your learner’s school account but instead should be a public Gmail account. The first account that signs in on a device receives a few extra privileges and can only be removed by wiping the device. Additional profiles are easier to remove and removing a user profile is a common troubleshooting step for schools and organizations.

Conclusion: Most people will choose the most economical Chromebook with 4 gigabytes of memory, 32 gigabytes of local storage space, and the physical characteristics such as screen size and keyboard type that they prefer. Technology is in a constant state of change and the planned lifespan of your device is an important factor to consider.