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Students: Chromebook vs Laptop

Students: Chromebook vs Laptop

If you’re a student heading to University this Autumn, chances are you’ll be buying a shiny new laptop for your work. Choosing which laptop to buy is always a tricky choice but this article could help you narrow down your options between a traditional laptop and a Chromebook.

Unlike traditional laptops that run Windows or MacOS, Chromebooks run ChromeOS, a linux based operating system that uses significantly less storage space and processing power. ChromeOS is based off the Google Chrome web browser and operates through an internet connection, with most of your files and applications accessed through the Cloud. This means that Chromebooks have lower hardware requirements.

Advantages of a Chromebook:

  • Price – As the operating system is lighter and most of the storage is cloud-based, the hardware costs are a lot cheaper. For students operating on a tight budget, the lower prices of Chromebooks are very attractive.
  • Battery life and Speed – Chromebooks are billed as having better battery life, often around nine hours of internet browsing. Additionally, as Chromebooks are cloud-based, they run faster too.
  • Weight – Most students carry their laptops around with them everyday and therefore a smaller, lighter computer is definitely an advantage.
  • Security – ChromeOS is less of a target for malicious attacks than traditional Windows laptops. They also come equipped with their own anti-virus software to keep you safe.
  • Cloud – The entire point of the Chromebook is its Cloud access. Chromebooks don’t have much local storage (usually around 16-32gb) and use Cloud storage instead. This means that your files are always safely backed up and you won’t lose them if your laptop is damaged or stolen. And by using your google account, you can also sync your settings and files across devices easily.

Disadvantages of a Chromebook:

  • Internet Access – As Chromebooks rely on Cloud storage and online applications, if you lose connection to the internet you will lose a lot of functionality. While some applications will run offline, if you’re going to be working somewhere without internet regularly, a Chromebook isn’t for you. Furthermore, slow internet speeds could equally prove frustrating when you’re trying to hit your deadlines.
  • Compatibility – Many common applications cannot be installed on a Chromebook. For software such as Microsoft Office you would need to use the Android or online versions (many Universities these days provide Office 365). Otherwise, Google Documents provides enough functionality for writing notes and essays.  But you will also find that you won’t be able to use a wide variety of applications (Photoshop, for example) that usually require Windows or MacOS to run. If your course requires special software this is something to keep in mind.
  • Gaming – The only games available on a Chromebook are those available through Android. If you’re only looking for casual games this is fine, but you won’t be able to access your Steam library on your Chromebook.

Which is the best for students?

This depends on the student. If you mainly use your laptop for browsing the internet and social media, researching and writing essays, and streaming music or TV, then a cheaper, faster Chromebook is a good option for you. If you want to do anything more than that, you should think about looking for a traditional laptop.

If you’re interested in buying a Chromebook or Laptop, give us a call on 01335 81 80 81 or fill in the contact form.

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