If you’re looking for a new laptop for school, make sure you at least consider a Chromebook before deciding. If you’re not familiar with Chromebook, I’ll give you a brief overview before I explain why a Chromebook might be the perfect laptop for you.
A Chromebook runs Chrome OS, which is an operating system made by Google. Chrome OS is very lightweight and quick because it’s essentially just the Chrome browser in the laptop. Anything you do is done in Chrome. Email, Docs(Microsoft Word equivalent), Calendar, Drive, Files etc. are all access through the Chrome browser. You can get different Apps or extensions that do certain things like edit photos or show your Android phone notifications but it all runs through the Chrome browser. That means there are no extra programs to buy or install and nothing to bog your Chromebook performance down.
Most Chomebooks these days come with a 16GB SSD (solid state drive). SSDs have zero moving parts so they are noticeably faster and more reliable than the standard hard drives that Windows laptops have. SSDs are also better for carrying and moving around since drops, bumps, or vibrations generally don’t affect them like they affect standard hard drives. You might think that 16GB is not enough in this day and age, but trust me, it’s more than enough for the Chromebook because most of your files are stored in Google Drive.
The majority of Chomebooks will come with 2GB or 4GB of RAM. While this seems like a lot less than most Windows laptops, I can tell you that a 2GB RAM CHromebook will outperform any budget Windows laptop with 8GB+ of RAM. I can notice a small difference between 2GB and 4GB on a Chromebook but that’s only after I open 20+ tabs and have a few YouTube videos loaded. For normal everyday schoolwork or browsing, 2GB is more than enough. I do think Netflix runs just a bit smoother with 4GB, so that’s something to consider if you watch a lot of shows on your laptop.
Now on to what make the Chromebook unique and great for school, Google Drive. Everything you do in Docs, Slides, Forms, Sheets, is stored on the Drive. The benefit of this you have access to those files anywhere. Say you forgot your Chromebook at home. Just hop onto your friend’s and boom, all your files are there. You log in using your Google Account so all of your files are even setting are there. So logging into a different Chromebook will not only have your files there, it will have all your settings, bookmarks, passwords, and layouts the same on any Chromebook. No need to restructure or organize your files or settings because they will always be the same no matter where you log in from. You can even access Google Drive from your phone or Windows laptop so you will never be without your files again.
Ok, what about Microsoft Office and Antivirus? That’s the great part. If you haven’t heard of Google Docs, it’s Google’s free version of Office. You can open almost any file type and save as almost any file type. So if you’re required to submit assignments in .docx format, you just save as a .docx file and submit it. If you weren’t sure, Docs = Word, Sheets = Excel, Slides = PowerPoint, and Forms is a mix of Access and OneNote.
The only time you might not be able to use a Chromebook is if you’re in a specific Excel or Word class that requires functions that Google Apps might not have. But that’s pretty rare and you can just ask your instructor ahead of time. Google has shipped over a million Chromebooks to school and colleges around the US so more and more instructors are used to them. It is very rare to get an assignment that you can’t do with a Chromebook.
Now for the best part, the price. There are plenty of great Chromebooks that cost less than $200. And unlike a Windows laptop. A $200 Chromebook still works great and can do anything you need. I bought a $189 Acer Chromebook 3 years ago and it still works exactly like the day I bought it. I recently switched to a $280 Toshiba Chromebook 2 because I wanted something bigger and I’ve never been more satisfied with a purchase. It’s almost guaranteed that no matter what model you buy, you won’t regret it.
If you’re not sure what to get, just read some of my reviews or head on over to Amazon and read thousands of 5 star reviews about Chromebooks.
Posted JAN 27TH 2016