Is A Chromebook Or Laptop Better For School Work
A Chromebook is a good choice for a student that is primarily using the computer for web browsing, word processing, or streaming video and audio. Storage isn’t a problem if Google-focused students can store their files with Drive. They can also use SD cards and USB drives to keep hold of their documents.
A Chromebook is also a great low-cost option, with prices dipping as low as $100/£120/AU$140 during the holiday season for the low-end models. However, the price of a Chromebook can skyrocket to $1,000/£1,000/AU$1,400 if you choose a corporate or luxury option like the .
For school work, the Chromebook is a winner because it has so few features. Without extra games or a lot of applications, the Chromebook becomes a homework powerhouse, allowing students to access their lessons online with few distractions.
Students can write their papers with Google Docs and share their work straight from the Chromebook to their teacher or parent, no printing necessary. The Microsoft Office suite is also available online, so students can create Word documents with ease.
The Chromebook is also just a hard device to break. If your student is prone to installing virus-laden programs, the Chromebook can be wiped and reset with ease. If the child isn’t particularly tech-savvy, there are few confusing functions: the Chromebook is a plug in and play device. Some of the newer Chromebooks are a little more delicate physically, but most can take a tumble, as many of the parts are plastic.
Best Chromebook With A 15
Folks may understandably balk at the Chromebook Flip CX5s price, but it really is that good. Its sturdy enough to withstand all kinds of jolts and jostles in a backpack or briefcase, and has a unique velvety texture thats very pleasant to hold. Add a wide port selection, a smooth and comfortable keyboard, and a vivid display, and youve got a chassis that can hold its own against plenty of midrange Windows laptops.
The CX5s performance is equally impressive. We never once heard its fan in our testing, even when pushing a workload that slows most devices down. Battery life is quite satisfactory and easily lasted us all day. And the CX5 delivered some of the loudest audio weve ever heard from a Chromebook. While the CX5 isnt a perfect device, its a solid performer all around.
They Can Encourage Collaboration And Improve Productivity
Because Chromebooks arent really about installing standalone pieces of software on your computer, those using them are effectively nudged in the direction of using web apps that allow multiple users to access and edit files together in real time.
This opens up a lot of collaborative possibilities and new ways of working.
Additionally, with a Chromebook, less seems to get in the way of actually doing work. This is because Chrome OS is clutter-free, stable, and free of the bloat or lag that you often get with many other operating systems.
Chromebooks also boot up incredibly quickly and are instant-on from sleep. Any operating system thats fast and comes with lack of distractions, delays and crashes has good implications for productivity.
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Is A Chromebook And Laptop The Same Thing
In almost all respects, yes they are. They deliver a portable computing experience that allows people to work and be creative wherever they might be, and often for significantly less money.
Where Chromebooks differ to laptops is in their operating system, apps, and internal components. The operating system, for example, is Google’s Chrome OS not Windows, Linux or macOS, while the apps that Chromebooks use are from Google’s G-Suite of software.
And, as Google’s software pretty much all runs off the cloud, that means that Chromebook apps are designed to be online at all times. This is an important point to consider when buying a Chromebook. You really need to have an internet connection available to make using a Chromebook worth while.
Lastly, the internal hardware on Chromebook’s tends to be lighter than on a laptop. This is because Chromebooks use web apps and remote hardware to do their work for them. They still have CPUs and hard drives, but they just tend to be more basic as they don’t need to do as much local processing and storing.
It is this lack of need in terms of internal hardware components that often leads to Chromebooks to ring in cheaper than a budget laptop, for example.
However, it can be tricky to pin down the differences between the various models on the market, which is why we’re here to help you find the best Chromebook for your needs so read on for our top picks for a range of uses and budgets.
The Differences Between Chromebooks And Laptops
A Chromebook is a special kind of laptop, different from standard Macs and PCs.
Its operating system the software that decides how the computer works and what programs it can run is called Chrome OS. It’s made and updated by Google.
As you might expect, Chrome OS is primarily built to run Google apps like , Docs, and YouTube, which are all installed on the Chromebook by default . You log into the device itself using your Google account and password, and will need an internet connection to use most of its features.
The keyboard also has keys you won’t recognize. Instead of a Caps Lock key, it’s got a button called “Search” or “Launcher” that lets you search your device or the internet for anything you type. And in place of the Windows or Command key, there’s a key that’ll bring up .
Finally, they’re not as powerful as most high-end MacBooks, and nowhere near as powerful as high-end PCs. If you want a computer for gaming, animation, or image and video editing, look elsewhere.
The chart below compares a top-of-the-line Chromebook with similarly priced PC and Mac models. The best of every category will be highlighted.
*Based on third-party benchmark tests, as Apple hasn’t released their own stats.
But when it comes down to it, a Chromebook is just another type of laptop. You can think of it like this: All Chromebooks are laptops, but not all laptops are Chromebooks.
If you mostly use Google apps, or are tired of Macs and PCs, Chromebook laptops might be worth a look.
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What Can A Chromebook Do
Chromebooks ship with their own operating system called Chrome OS, which is based on Linux and uses the Chrome browser as an interface. It has basic computing elements, such as a file manager and an app launcher, but most of what you use are web-based apps that require no downloading.
That might sound limiting at first, but many popular apps already offer web-based versions like Spotify, Netflix, Slack, and Evernote. Due to the prevalence of web applications, many people spend the majority of their time in a web browser anyway. If your typical workflow resembles this scenario, transitioning to a Chromebook will be relatively smooth. Just connect to Wi-Fi and proceed with your browsing as normal.
However, with the addition of the Google Play Store, you can also download Android apps to fill in any software gaps. Their implementation in a laptop setting might be a little funky in some cases some expand full-screen while others remain locked in smartphone screen mode but Android apps are available if you really need them.
Chromebooks also support Linux software. If you absolutely need desktop applications, setting up Linux is certainly an option. There are Linux versions of Audacity, Firefox, GIMP, OBS Studio, Steam, VirtualBox, and many more, but your favorite application may not offer a Linux-based variant. Check the developers website first before ruling out a Chromebook.
You Dont Need An It Expert To Help You With Problems
Chromebooks are also easier to use than Windows laptops. This is somewhat thanks to the cloud-based environment of Chrome OS.
If youve heavily used Windows, then you know how frustrating it can be to troubleshoot problems. Sometimes, you may need to delve into the Windows registry on in complex configuration screens, which may result in unusable software if you arent careful. Installing drivers can be a headache as well.
With a Chromebook, everythings in the cloud and done for you. Additionally, Google has a fairly decent knowledge base that should allow you to treat most issues.
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What Can And Can’t I Do With A Chromebook
When Chrome OS launched it was essentially . For those used to an operating system like Windows and Mac, it made the average Chromebook seem like little more than a laptop that runs a web browser and that’s all.
Even if the Chrome OS never matured beyond that, the fact is quite a lot can be done entirely on the web these days. Take stock of everything you do on a daily basis and you may find there’s nothing you can’t accomplish with Chrome at its most basic level.
That said, a Windows laptop or MacBook can run the Chrome browser as well as other software supported by those operating systems. Even if you don’t immediately need a particular piece of software, it’s nice to have the option. Plus, if you’re shopping for a Chromebook for remote learning with Google Classroom, a Mac or Windows PC will work as well.
Samsung’s Galaxy Chromebook 2 is a premium model with better performance than most.
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Today’s Chromebooks like the Asus CM5 are ready for playing cloud gaming services, Android games and even Linux games.
How We Test Chromebooks
Testing Chromebooks is very similar to testing laptops, as they are essentially the same thing. However, due to the online nature of Chromebooks, and the fact that they run their own Chrome OS, they very much operate in their own ecosystem and can’t be compared 1-to-1 with Windows 10 laptops or Apple MacBooks.
As a general rule Chromebooks have weaker internal hardware specs than laptops, but also then tend to cost less money, too.
When testing a Chromebook T3 starts as we would for any laptop, in judging its design and build quality. For Chromebooks, as systems that are designed to be portable, this is very important, as a weak fit and finish can lead to rapid deterioration.
This stage also includes analysing the system’s display, as well as its capabilities if present as a touchscreen. Many Chromebooks today come with flexible screens that can be orientated for slate usage, so ascertaining the quality of the touch interface is very important.
We then move onto judging the Chromebook’s hardware and performance. Unlike Windows 10 laptops, for example, this doesn’t lean on benchmark scores as much as it does experiential usage, and specifically usage of Chrome OS and its stable applications. If the system supports Android apps, then we naturally try out a suite to see how the system performs.
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What Is A Good Chromebook
Several years ago, all Chromebooks were pretty much the same regardless of what company made them. Now, there’s a far greater variety of laptops and two-in-ones — convertibles and tablets — to take advantage of Chrome OS’s current capabilities. You’ll still find more sizes and styles when it comes to Windows laptops, especially if you need top processing and graphics performance, but the variety of options is much better than in the past.
If you’re just after a good, basic experience with a Chromebook, the small, lightweight OS has minimal hardware requirements and the same goes for web apps. Having a faster, higher-end processor, more memory and greater storage for files and apps will help keep demanding multitaskers moving along, but otherwise here’s what I recommend when I’m asked what basic specs to look for:
- Intel Celeron or Core i-series, AMD Ryzen or MediaTek processors
- 4GB of memory or more
- 64GB of storage
- Full HD display
Regardless of what Chromebook you buy, before you buy it you should find out the device’s Auto Update Expiration date, or AUE. Currently, non-Google hardware is only supported for so long before it stops receiving Chrome OS and browser updates, including those for security. For models released now, the date is roughly seven to eight years from the initial release of the device, but that’s not always the case. and you should check it before you buy a Chromebook, new or used.
No Reliance On Locally Installed Software
Perhaps the main attractor of Chromebooks for computer users is the fact that they dont rely on locally installed software. Originally, Google conceived Chrome OS as an operating system where all apps would reside in the cloud. Well, Google did deliver on its promises.
Now, you will need to have quite a beefy internet connection to be able to comfortably use such a system. If you are in the US though, then you shouldnt have huge issues with the internet in most areas.
And in the end, those who do have high-speed data plans will be able to enjoy apps and documents shared in the cloud without the need to install anything.
And lets be honest, installing programs on a Windows machine can be pretty annoying, so the cloud-based nature of Chromebooks is awesome!
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Developed And Supported By Google
Chromebooks are supported by Google, a company that is very unlikely to go out of business any time soon. With that in mind, you could be sure that Chromebooks are going to be supported and will stay in the game for many years to come.
These systems have been on the market for nearly a decade too, so we can be sure that Google isnt going to shut them down in the near future.
However, Google is notorious for killing apps as of this posts writing, they had shut down slightly over 200 apps and platforms, including Google Hangouts and Google+. This is very unlikely to happen to Chromebooks and Chrome OS though because they have been highly successful.
Chromebooks Are Not Ideal For Working On Multimedia Projects
If your business is one which deals with a lot of audio or video related projects, you are probably better off working on a traditional desktop.
Its not that there arent high-end Chromebooks available that could handle this kind of work its more that the software typically used for multimedia projects is not currently browser-based.
That said, basic image editing on a Chromebook wont pose any problems there are plenty of simple editors available, both cloud-based and offline.
Similarly, there are some Chromebook options available to you when it comes to video editing Android apps and/or web-based video editors can provide some good workarounds.
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Chromebook Vs Laptop: Battery Life
Other laptops are also catching up in this department, thanks to low-power processors and other enhancements. That is the keyword, though: catching up. Its tough to beat Chrome OS devices in battery life.
Chromebooks usually get at least eight hours of juice. Those numbers are very rare in the Windows or macOS realm unless you pay up.
Of course, you can always get yourself a battery pack thats capable of keeping your laptop or Chromebook alive for longer.
Chromebook Vs Windows Laptop
If youre working to a tighter budget for your next laptop say, under $400 then its a decision between an entry-level Windows laptop or a Chromebook.
The key thing to know about Chromebooks is that they arent as versatile as a Windows laptop. A laptop can handle many uses, and is able to download software and run applications from any source. The Chromebook system is more of a walled garden.
Google App Store
All your apps must come from the Google Play store or Google Web Apps store. As you cant install regular programs or software, a Chromebook isnt able to do as many things as a traditional laptop.
Now, thats not to say you cant do the essentials. You can still browse the web, email, stream videos, and edit spreadsheets or documents. But if you need to use particular software Photoshop, for example, or even Skype, then a Chromebook isnt for you.
The limited approach has its advantages for one, youre less likely to succumb to viruses on a Chromebook, and they tend not to experience the gradual slowdown of a Windows machine that gets bogged down over time with programs and files.
Simple to Use
A Chromebook is also a lot more user friendly theres a lot less to go wrong when youre using Google Chrome OS. In short, you cant do anything that Google doesnt want you to do.
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Stock Up On The Tech That You Need
If youre thinking about what to buy between Chromebook vs laptop vs tablet, the truth of the matter is that the answer depends entirely on what you need. There are great options on the market right now, and its easy to find a great deal particularly when you shop on Black Friday or Cyber Monday.
Use us as a resource when youd like to learn more about technology and business.
What Is A Chromebook Laptop
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