Please see Choosing a Device for more information on devices to host assistive technology.
A Chromebook is a laptop device that uses Google Chrome OS as its operating system. These devices are primarily used to perform a variety of tasks using the Google Chrome browser, with most applications and data residing in the cloud rather than on the device’s internal storage. Chromebooks are very popular in public education settings as they are much more affordable than their typical laptop counterparts. Since these devices run on Chrome OS, some applications will not operate on Chromebooks (IE Microsoft Suite, Photoshop, etc.), however many of these software products have web based alternatives (such as Microsoft Online).
Since Chromebooks rely on cloud-based storage, they usually have very meager on-board storage. This means that users will be required to pay a cloud based storage fee, usually an annual charge. This is important for educators to consider when planning their budgets as laptops have more onboard storage and would not usually require this additional annual fee. However cloud based storage does increase ease of connectivity and data sharing between devices, which is beneficial in a school setting.
Since cloud-based storage is a system that relies on the internet, these devices have significantly impaired operability when disconnected from the internet. If the student’s school/home environment does not have a solid Wi-Fi connection then this product may have limited use to the student.
Generally more affordable than laptops
Less powerful: slower when multitasking or running complex applications
Is the assistive technology that you plan on running on this device compatible with Chrome OS?
Due to the continuous updating of Chromebook models, a more general buying guide has been created below to guide users through the highly saturated market.
For a current breakdown of popular Chromebooks, visit: https://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2413071,00.asp
Special Consideration: Workflow
Exact prices change frequently, which is why only approximate ranges are listed.
$ - Under $5
$$ - Between $6 and $50
$$$ - Between $51 and $250
$$$$ - Over $250