There is a lot to like about Chromebooks. They are economical, have many options, and are powerful enough to get things done. If you buying a laptop for school, it can be quite attractive. For some children, Chromebooks are a smart buy, but for others, it’s a nightmare waiting to happen. Let’s see where you fall.
First, understand what you get with Chrome OS
In most cases, Chromebooks are just laptops. Of course, their specifications are somewhat different from those of your traditional Intel laptop. But the great feature that sets them apart is Chrome OS.
Chrome OS is, essentially, the Chrome browser as an operating system. It is designed to use your Google account to centralize your work as much as possible and store everything in the cloud. Most of the applications you will use are web-based and almost all of them will store their data online. That’s the beauty of Chrome OS: if something should happen to your laptop, ideally, you’d be back and running quickly by connecting to another.
That’s great for backups and security, but it also means that Chromebooks have serious limitations. Because they are designed to be “terminals” and not your main computer. They do not have powerful graphics cards, they generally do not provide much storage, and often use power.
Some may have high-end displays and keyboards, but they will still have drawbacks compared to a traditional laptop. The Chromebook comparison site mentioned earlier can help you browse the Chromebook specifications and see what is “normal” compared to other laptops.
This means that regardless of the specifications recommended by your school, as we mentioned in our guide to choosing a laptop for school. You will probably need to reduce them a little to reflect the fact that Chromebooks perform most of the their work on the web.
It also means that you have to be comfortable with everything you do online, in the cloud, and you have to trust Google with, well, everything (and it’s a tough job for a lot of But if it works for you, they can be great little machines.
For whom Chromebooks are good
They’re generally affordable, and while Chrome OS isn’t exactly a super flexible operating system. It’s mature and robust enough that you can do almost anything you need to do, especially if your world is around the web. Here are some children or students who can benefit from a Chromebook:
- Students who do everything on the web: For most of us, the majority of the tools and services we work with are on the web, or have great web applications that we could use instead of locally installed programs. We all have Google accounts, use Gmail, use password for our photos, work with free online office suites like Google Docs, use Facebook and Twitter, stream music with Spotify or Google Music and watch streaming movies via Netflix or Hulu. Even if you swear you can’t find a Chrome or web-based replacement for your favorite app, chances are there is something that will do the job. If most of your work is (or can be) online, a Chromebook will let you do just about anything you need to do.
- Students with reliable Internet access: Even though Chrome OS has offline capabilities and applications, most of its power comes from the fact that it is always connected. Your data and changes are all saved and saved automatically to your Google Account. Of course, all of this means that reliable internet access is essential for using a Chromebook to its full potential. However, if your school is covered with comfortable broadband Wi-Fi coverage and tons of Ethernet ports, you will be in good shape.
- Students who want to use one computer on the go and another as a home base: one great thing about Chromebooks is that they are really affordable. A voucher can cost you a few hundred dollars, compared to the thousands you will spend on a more powerful laptop. That means it might be cheaper to get two computers: a Chromebook for work on the go and a regular desktop computer for the home. So if you want a custom desktop for gaming or video editing, but still want something better than a tablet for taking notes or taking to the library and writing documents, a Chromebook is a solid option that don’t break the bank (or exhaust your PC building budget.) Plus, its always active and always backed up nature means you can even access your notes and documents from your Chromebook on your other PC when you need them.
- Students who don’t play video games (or just don’t play them on their Chromebooks): Playing on a Chromebook is practically not a game, unless the games you play are primarily games based on the Web. As we mentioned, don’t expect high-end graphics on a Chromebook, or even the availability of platforms like Steam, unless you decide to install Linux. However, PC gamers can use a Chromebook to work, and then keep their game on a gaming PC, as we mentioned above, or on a console if you prefer. Your Chromebook can keep you productive and productive when you’re on the go. When you’re at home, it’s free for everyone.
More people fall into these categories than you think. After all, students spend thousands of dollars each year on laptops only for Facebook, Google Docs, Netflix and Spotify networks. These students could have the same experience, or better, on a more affordable Chromebook. Addition, they wouldn’t have to worry as much about backups and security issues like malware or adware. (We’re not saying you don’t have to worry at all, just less.)
Which is better with a traditional Windows or Mac laptop
Of course, even if Chromebooks are great for a lot of people, there are others for whom they just aren’t a good option. Maybe you just need power, or maybe you want something specific from your laptop. Here are some people who should probably buy a different chromebooks:
- Students who have specific requirements for a school or application: If your school or school expects you to use very specific tools or a specific operating system for your lessons, a Chromebook will not make you like your teachers. Instead, it will be an obstacle that you will have to overcome. If everyone in your class is using special CAD software or your design teacher is teaching everyone to use Photoshop and you are using Pixlr, you are disadvantaged and trust us, no one will be interested in helping you. have exceeded.
- Students need ports, processing power, or can’t find webapps for their work: similarly, if you can’t find a webapp equivalent for your favorite desktop program, or the things you do require usually a lot of local processing power (games, video editing, audio encoding, etc.), a Chromebook may not be for you. Likewise, if you need to connect a ton of devices or if you need special ports like Thunderbolt, good luck. You might fall into the “two computers better than one” camp above, but if you want one, a handy machine, a Chromebook probably isn’t for your use case.
- Students who want to return their technology purchases for regular upgrades: this app will increase a bit depending on what you buy, but considering the price of most Chromebooks you shouldn’t expect. Wait for them to keep a ton of resale value. You’re not going to return Chromebooks every year to get the latest model, and if you do, you could see yourself making more money than you’d like. All of this means that the resale market will likely be full of good deals and low prices that you will have to compete with if you want to sell. However, with low entry costs, the value is higher over the long term, if you use them over the long term. You can keep your devices longer, reuse them for light work later, or put them back without feeling like you’re giving up on a big investment.
- Students invested in Windows or OS X, and uncomfortable without them: Chrome OS is not for everyone. Don’t get me wrong, it’s simplified and well-designed, but it’s still not for everyone. There will still be students – especially if they don’t know what they’re getting into – who will download executable files or .app files and wonder why they can’t use them. These same people inevitably call their campus IT line, hear, “Oh, do you have a Chromebook?” We can’t help you, “and I think they wasted their money. They will wonder why they cannot download the same applications that everyone uses. They’ll have smartphones they can’t really connect to and read tons of new apps that they won’t be able to install. They will look at how iPhones and iOS pair with OS X and Apple computers, and will either want this experience, or miss the familiarity of Windows. After all, Chrome OS is more or less Linux, and if you’re not ready for the challenges of using and troubleshooting Linux (no command line, because Chrome OS has very few), you might being dissapointed.
If one of these sounds sounds like you, maybe a traditional ultrabook or a Macbook is more your style. This is not to say that it is an impossible option however; as we said, some people can use a Chromebook as a computer on the go, and then settle back into their comfortable relationship with OS X or Windows when they return to their room. People with little interest in resale value won’t care if there is an aftermarket for the Chromebook Pixel. However, if you just want to buy a technology that does everything you need and already understand, a Chromebook may not be your best choice.
However, if you’re on the fence, don’t forget that you can somehow “test the drive” Chrome OS on a laptop you already own if you wish. With a little elbow grease, you can try it out ahead of time, decide if it’s the type of experience you want (or get used to), and then make a smarter buying decision. . Doing this could, if you like what you see, completely mitigate this last point above.
At the end of the day, however, these shouldn’t hold you back if they don’t look like you. Chromebooks are great options for more people than you might think. They’ll save you money, centralize your IT, make backups and commuting between computers easy, and they’re very easy to use once you get used to them. Just be sure to include them when you think about best chromebook for kids.