Six Reasons Why a Chromebook Is the Perfect College Laptop
Gone are the days when buying a reliable notebook for college meant breaking the bank. Today, the market is swarming with laptops that are perfectly capable of getting you through school, at a price that won’t deplete your college fund in one sweep.
Among the many choices at your disposal are Chromebooks; a relatively new breed of laptops that run Google’s Chrome OS. Essentially the Chrome browser disguised as an operating system, Chrome OS is designed to centralize all your work under one platform: your Google account. This means that nearly all applications are web-based, storing their data in the cloud.
It’s understandable if this dependence on the Internet comes as off-putting, but that hasn’t stopped the Chromebook from achieving mainstream popularity. In fact, Chromebooks outsold Macs for the first time in 2016, and as Gartner predicts, sales will have grown by 16.3 percent by the end of 2017.
If you’ve been planning to buy a laptop, therefore, a Chromebook is at least worth considering. Why? Here are six good reasons.
Much of your college life will involve ferrying learning material from one study room to the next. It, therefore, makes sense to get a laptop that will fit easily in your bag, without adding much weight.
Chromebooks are remarkably light and compact. Most weigh less than 3 pounds, and their screen sizes fall between 11 and 13 inches, which means they’re some of the most portable laptops around. Even larger choices like the 14-inch Acer Chromebook 14 and the 15-inch Acer Chromebook 15 are admirably compact compared to most other laptops in their class.
When it comes to laptops, cheaper often means slower. For many, therefore, the premium price tag on high-end notebooks is worth the speed they offer.
Chromebooks lack powerful graphics cards, high-end processors and large storage drives. However, the good thing about Chrome OS is, thanks to being stripped down to the bare necessities, it manages to be lightning fast despite running on an underpowered system.
Specs like storage space don’t mean much for Chromebooks as they do for Windows laptops because, not only is Chrome OS impressively lightweight, but there’s also cloud storage, in which most of your files will be stored.
A Chromebook with an Intel Core M or Core i3 processor, 4GB of RAM, 32GB of internal storage, and 100GB of cloud space is enough to chew through all your college work without breaking a sweat.
Compare that to a similarly priced college laptops and you’ll find that for their price, Chromebooks offer a superior design edge and more premium features at the expensive of that flexibility that Windows brings.
The stripped-down nature of Chrome OS means that Chromebooks trade away unnecessary features in favor of a minimalistic, low maintenance working environment. Therefore, your study time won’t be wasted by laborious cleaning, defragmenting or optimizing processes.
Software updates are downloaded and applied silently in the background, which means you won’t get distracted by random popups telling you that your operating system or an application needs upgrading.
While Windows and Mac OS constantly require a user’s attention, a Chromebook just works.
The prevalence of malware has left many PC users in constant fear of system infections. Although MacBooks have long been the go-to option for reliable security, recent cases have proven that macOS isn’t that much safer than Windows. This leaves the Chromebook as the best choice for those looking for a secure computer ecosystem.
Chrome OS doesn’t have anything a virus can attach itself to, which means you won’t need to install an antivirus application. All extensions are safely sandboxed, data is encrypted, and every booting process is scanned and verified to ensure nothing suspicious is loaded when the system starts up.
Additionally, Google frequently issues security updates to Chrome OS, which are applied automatically. And, in the unlikely event that malware finds its way into the system, probably through an unsafe flash drive from your classmate, you can easily access your Chromebook’s recovery mode and restore the operating system to an earlier clean version.
With a Chromebook, you can rest a little easier knowing all your school work is secure, at all times.
5. Battery life
Thanks to power-efficient internal hardware and a light operating system, Chromebooks typically offer exceptional battery life. You, therefore, won’t have to worry about your device running out of power when in the middle of a lecture or studying in the library.
Also, using a Chromebook for long hours won’t require you to find a studying spot that’s close to a power outlet. You can take it out on school grounds and comfortably carry on with your work.
A college Chromebook minimizes the time a student spends managing power issues and, therefore, allows more time for studying.
6. Extra features
Chrome OS is entirely different from the Windows and Mac OS computers you may have gotten used to over the years. In addition to the essential apps and functions, a Chromebook offers special features that make the experience more intuitive.
For instance, saying “OK, Google” with the launcher or a Chrome tab open will trigger the voice assistant, with which you can use your voice to control various elements of the Chromebook. The Chrome OS launcher is also integrated with Google Now for real-time information like the current weather and news stories, which appear as info cards at the bottom of the launcher window.
Furthermore, although a Chromebook is a personal computer, you can easily share it with your college friend or roommate. Everything on a Chromebook is stored on the Web, which means that a new user only needs to sign in with their Google ID to use the laptop, with no trace of your files or what you were previously doing.
One device can, therefore, have multiple user profiles, allowing you to spread the Chrome OS cheer to your friends, without compromising the security of your data.
More often than not, students get sucked into investing in a MacBook, or another similarly powerful, fast and attractive machine, only to end up using it for little other than Facebook and Google Docs.
A Chromebook offers the same, and perhaps even a better experience for a fraction of the price. And, to sweeten the deal even further, the latest crop of Chromebooks now accommodates full access to Android’s Play Store, effectively increasing the capabilities of Chrome OS.
Microsoft seems to be fighting back with the light and low-cost Windows 10 S. Regardless, if you’re looking for a reasonably-priced, portable college laptop that won’t struggle with the basics, you’ll be happy with a Chromebook.