Students often get confused when choosing the right device to meet their needs and budget. Laptops, tablets, and even desktops all present viable choices. However, over the past few years, Chromebooks have become popular for different professions.
This article discusses what is Chromebooks, their pros and cons and whether Chromebooks are good for college.
What is a Chromebook?
A Chromebook is a wallet-friendly alternative to traditional Windows laptops, with prices starting at $250. What sets Chromebooks apart is their operating system. They run on Google’s Chrome OS, a lightweight platform that closely resembles the Google Chrome web browser.
What can you do with a Chromebook?
Unless you’re going for a high-end Chromebook with the Intel Core i5 or higher processor, Chromebooks are generally good for getting your work done on the internet. Entry or mid-level Chromebooks typically aren’t powered by the latest or greatest hardware. Here’s what you can do with an entry-level Chromebook:
- Browsing Websites: Chromebooks are great for browsing websites, offering a fast and seamless online experience.
- Managing Emails: Stay connected with your inbox and manage your emails effortlessly.
- Online Streaming: Whether it’s educational videos or your favourite shows, Chromebooks can handle streaming without problems.
- Cloud Gaming: Chromebooks support cloud-based gaming, allowing you to enjoy various games without needing high-end hardware.
Key Features of Chromebooks
- Seamless Google Integration: Chrome OS seamlessly integrates with Google’s suite of apps, including Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides. This means you can easily work with your teachers and friends on projects.
- Security Features: Chromebooks have built-in virus protection and various security features, including a mic mute button, camera shutters, and data encryption, ensuring your personal information and academic work are safe from digital threats.
Also read: How to get FL Studio on Chromebook?
The Pros and Cons of Chromebook
Here are a few pros and cons of Chromebook.
- Affordability: Chromebooks are cost-effective, with many models priced under $300, making them a budget-friendly choice for students. Perfect for tasks like web browsing, word processing, and streaming.
- Extended Battery Life: Whether you opt for a budget or premium Chromebook, you’ll enjoy significantly longer battery life compared to most laptops, providing up to 10 hours of use on a single charge.
- Portability: Chromebooks are lightweight, weighing only 3 – 5 lbs, making them exceptionally portable and easy to carry around campus.
- Seamless Integration with Google Workspace: Chromebooks effortlessly integrate with Google Workspace apps, including Docs, Drive, Sheets, Slides, and Meet. This enables efficient collaboration and secure document storage with automatic version history.
- Low Maintenance and Security: Chromebooks require minimal upkeep, thanks to built-in virus protection and automatic updates. Chrome OS ensures secure logins, allowing students to focus on their studies without tech-related worries.
- Fast Startup Time: Chromebooks are renowned for their rapid startup, typically booting up within 5 seconds. This quick start ensures you can dive into your work immediately, maximising productivity.
- Cloud-Based Storage: Your files are stored in the cloud, guaranteeing that your documents and photos are continually backed up and accessible from any internet-connected device, reducing the risk of data loss.
- User-Friendly: Chromebooks are simple to use and work for everyone, whether you’re tech-savvy or not. To get started, just sign in with your Google Account, and all your stuff is ready. The Everything Button in Chrome OS makes it easy to find what you need, making your work and research easier. If you can use Google Chrome, you can use a Chromebook.
- Not as Flexible as Windows Laptops: Chromebooks are best suited for online tasks and may struggle with demanding software or specialised programs. This could be problematic for students in majors like engineering and graphic design programs that require powerful hardware and specific software.
- Limited Storage Space: Chromebooks typically have less storage, sometimes as little as 32GB. While cloud storage helps, students needing ample space for large files or offline work might find this limiting.
- Relies on the Internet: Chromebooks heavily depend on the Internet because most of their apps and services are web-based. This could be inconvenient for students with unreliable internet access or those who prefer to work offline.
- Not for Serious Gaming: Chromebooks aren’t designed for high-end gaming due to their hardware limitations. Students who enjoy gaming in their free time may need a cloud gaming service to access top-tier games.
- Software Compatibility Issues: Chrome OS, the operating system on Chromebooks, isn’t compatible with many popular Windows or macOS software. This can be a challenge for students needing specific programs for their coursework. They might need to find alternatives or use web-based versions with potentially fewer features and performance.
A brief difference between laptops and Chromebooks
Here’s a comparison chart highlighting the key differences between Chromebooks and laptops:
|Lightweight hardware (suitable for web-based tasks)
|High-performance CPUs, GPUs, and additional memory
|Less local storage, most come with 64GB of storage, due to reliance on cloud storage
|More local storage (at least 256GB) for apps and files
|Generally higher price range
|Extended battery life (about 10 hours)
|Typically shorter battery life (varies, but usually shorter)
|Fast boot-up (within 5-15 seconds)
|Longer boot-up time
This comparison chart should help you quickly understand the primary differences between Chromebooks and laptops, making it easier to decide which device suits your needs best.
Are Chromebooks good for college?
Yes, Chromebooks can be good for college, especially if you prioritise affordability, portability, and online tasks. They’re ideal for web browsing, document editing, and collaboration through Google Workspace. However, they may not be suitable for resource-intensive software or specialised programs, such as Adobe Creative Cloud or Games, so it depends on your specific needs and courses.
Also read: How to get audacity for Chromebook?