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Chromebook & Android Device Recommendations

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Started by Kate Friedwald 12 Aug 2014 7:58pm () Replies (10)

Hi all

We are about to extend our BYOD proramme to 1to1 for Y5/6 and optional for Y3/4.  Our pilot programme this year has been 1to1 iPad/iPad mini which has been highly successful.  For next year we wish to extend our accepted devices to include 1-2 Chromebooks and 1-2 Android tablets.  Are there any that your school has/is using that you could recommend ?   We don't want to go any smaller in capability including screen size (7.9") than the iPad mini.

Thanks in advance



  • Hamish McLean (View all users posts) 12 Aug 2014 8:55pm ()

    Hi Kate,


    Our school currently has:

    120 acer netbooks that are almost 3 years old. (don't go down that path, been one headache after another!)

    80 Chromebooks that are coming up 2 years old (Samsung - Have been good, but only have 2Gb of RAM)

    - We are now going to buy HP chromebooks with 3Gb of RAM [16 SSD, 1024 resolution LCD)

    The only reason we chose HP is because of the RAM upgrade, and the INTEL processor, not to mention thats basically all thats available thats high end for the cheapest cost.

    The old samsung chromebooks has the 5250 Exynos processor, and while battery efficient, in my opnion isn't really a powerhouse suitable for a chromebook.  More of a smartphone or tablet.  

    3Gb of RAM is the standard, so don't go below this.  Otherwise you will get google famous

    "kill pages" or "Jim's dead" or "oh snap" and while a slow internet connection may cause some of these issues, its the RAM and multipule tabs that really suck on RAM usage.

  • Roimata Baker (View all users posts) 12 Aug 2014 11:04pm ()

    Hi Hamish

    What was your experience with the Acer netbooks?

  • Hamish McLean (View all users posts) 13 Aug 2014 7:54am ()

    Because we had so many, we needed a robust repair portal.  My job is fullltime elearning, and about 60% is taken up with repairs and sending away if needed. The average repair turn around from acer is 4 weeks.  Very few come back after 2 weeks, but we still have 2 units that were sent away in March!   Fair to say parents not happy, as well as the school.    Also the hinges are not very strong.  The metal brackets are attached to plastic base, so break off very easily.  Hinge and Screen repairs are the most common.   The 522's and 570's only had 1Gb of RAM, and I upgraded them all to 2Gb RAM, but they are almost now unusable.  Thats just the way with technology.  We do more things with them, so they start to struggle.

    ** Although if you buy any device from Harvey Norman then you just replace the unit if there is any hardware issue, so that may be a good avenue to go down **

    Screen repairs for the Acers are $140 which is not to bad.  

    Samsung screen repairs are $290 so after 2 screen repairs thats the price of a new Chromebook...  another point to be aware of buying Samsung.

    Every device we buy has a 3 year warantee.  Thats a must! 

  • Innes Kennard (View all users posts) 14 Aug 2014 8:52pm ()

    Would be totally scary if indeed 60% of a fulltime job is taken up with repairs and or returns - that is not elearning, at a rough guess that is $100000+ over your 3 year span? Are the screen repairs because they are being dropped Hamish - sounds like you have more than one or two, or are they not up to normal robust classroom use. Total cost of ownership is an interesting concept when we start to deploy 'cheaper' machines. I don't agree that "this is just the way with technology" Thanks for the input, sure helps decision making.

  • Hamish McLean (View all users posts) 14 Aug 2014 9:38pm ()

    Most repairs are from user damage.  Sometimes this is covered under warantee  (a moderate drop causing hard drive failure that can be disguised as manafacturer issue)  But most of the time its a cracked screen or hinge from students sitting on their devices, or dropping them from over 1m high onto hard surface. 

    This year so far we have had 87 devices repaired.   On average a repair will take me 30 minutes, (a chromebook reimage will be 8 minutes, a hard drive install about 30 minutes. A full frame refurbishment about an hour.   But if this was outsourced, it would be a minimum repair of 1 hour at a rate of $80 per hour.  Plus cost to ship and recieve.  Then there is the turn around of the outsourcing plus admin time..      Over the course of a year thats massive!  

    Each device has a protective cover/ sleeve/ case.  But I actually think that students are of the opnion that their case will save their device.  All it will really do is stop scraches and small bumps.

    ... unfortunately keeping devices up and running is necessary to enable modern learning.  I have run student workshops on repairing devices, but becasuse to keep a devices warantee intact, you need to be certified, all the studnets can really do is a reimage.  

  • Andrew Wooster (View all users posts) 13 Aug 2014 6:22am ()

    We bought 32 acer chrome books and have had no issues. Teacher dash board, Hapara, google drive/docs etc. quick start up and cost us $350 to the door each.

  • Hamish McLean (View all users posts) 13 Aug 2014 7:59am ()

    When buying a chromebook or netbook the difference is what you want to use them for.

    Netbook - Windows operating system, so software able to be installed is a lot higher than chromebooks.  Run google docs' ok (not as good as chromebook)  Boot up time isn't too bad...


    Chromebook - Google docs.  Extentions, apps.  Video editing is possible, but all online through websites.  So has limited ability.  


    Simple answer.  If you are a GAFE school, then chromebooks are the better choice.   If not, then a netbook would be the better choice.    (I would still go for a chromebook Cool)

  • Kate Friedwald (View all users posts) 14 Aug 2014 5:19pm ()

    Thanks all.  We will be replacing our leased netbooks with Chromebooks at the end of the year as yes we are a GAFE school and this is a much more user friendly device for our uses.  As we are doing this we will also offer chromebooks as a BYOD option.  Is is just what chromebook models?  Souds like Acer or HP is the way to go and min 3Gb Ram.  Same with Android devices, anyone had much experience in Androids in this environement?


  • Hamish McLean (View all users posts) 14 Aug 2014 9:52pm ()


    I know Dell have a very good model coming out.  But I haven't heard if its even coming to New Zealand.  That would have been my pick, but we needed to buy a new model this year.   Acer make good chromebooks (just not netbooks) and asus even better.  


    We choose HP because of the price we were offered, as well as RTB warantee.  They repair the unit themselves, and don't send it on to another company.  This reduces turn around time.   If we didn't have a very good deal with HP, I would have gone through Harvey Norman.  They replace any defective unit.  So don't even repair it.  That would be fantastic!  Hope that helps.. 

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e-Learning: Technologies

e-Learning: Technologies

Where we explore how different technologies can support learning.