Chromebooks vs. Netbooks for Students: What’s Right for You?

Chromebook and netbook are two tools that college and high school students can use to help them with their coursework. A Chromebook is a laptop that uses the Google Chrome operational system. A netbook is a smaller version of a laptop that does not have a disc drive or the ability to hook up other types of equipment and devices to the unit. These two forms of technology are basically the same thing but they are uniquely different. Let me explain.

As I had already mentioned, A Chromebook is a laptop but a Chromebook can also be a netbook. Why? If a netbook was built with Google Chrome’s OS it would qualify as a Chromebook. There are some netbook brands that feature Google Chrome’s OS system. Technically they are considered Chromebooks.Even though this is the case, most Chromebooks are laptop models. The difference between a laptop and a netbook has to do with the hardware. Laptops are generally bigger and more powerful than netbooks. They are also more versatile with function. Here is an evaluation of a basic Chromebook based laptop and its strengths and weaknesses when compared to a netbook based unit.

User Interface

Google Chrome OS has a unique interface that simply does not allow users to keep their files on the desktop. Instead, users will have to access them from the web. As of 2015 Google Chrome OS systems have added improvements which allow users to perform offline computer-related functions, but most computers with the Chrome OS system will not have this feature unless they download updates. Chrome OS is a great tool for students when they have web-based activities that they must complete for class. However, if they need to do work offline; then they will be restricted without the updates. Keep in mind that Google Chrome’s OS is simply a web browser.

A netbook is usually outfitted with an OS that will allow users to use their devices online or while they are disconnected from the web. Netbooks do not require a WiFi access to be useful, even though they usually cannot provide users with more storage space and security than Google Chrome’s online cloud storage system.

The verdict: Chromebooks are the superior device as long as they stay connected online. Netbooks are better for students who do not have a steady or reliable internet connection. Students who have to do term papers or record notes with their device would be limited if they use a Chromebook without a web connection.

Applications and Programs

A computer is a piece of hardware that is designed to run a program or application. Computers can still work without software but people would have to know how to write a bunch of code to make them perform certain activities. Software, programs, and apps simplify this process for computer users.

Chromebooks cannot run CD-ROM based discs. This means that a student will not be able to install a hard disc program onto their unit. Chromebooks only allow users to access programs from the web. These programs can be a part of the Google Play market or exclusive to Chrome OS.

Netbooks do not have disc drives for installing software. This means that users will not be able to install programs unless they download them onto their machines. Unlike Chromebook, netbooks can download different types of programs as long as they have the ability to operate this software in terms of specs.

The verdict: Students who want to use their Chromebook or netbook to watch DVDs or to install the latest programs should not use the Chromebook or netbook for these purposes. Both of these machines are best suited for downloading and operating online applications and software.

Google Chrome OS is a quick system that is not slowed down by extra protocols and processes that are typically found with standard OS systems. Chrome OS will load up to 8 seconds and users will be able to zip around the web at a faster pace since it was designed for this purpose. Netbooks are inherently slower than most Chromebooks and they are restricted as well. While it is true that some netbooks do allow users to add various pieces of hardware and extra equipment they still restrict users in terms of functions, power, and upgrades. Again, both of these machines are limited in terms of using hard disc programs. Some online sites such as Laptop Mag makes comparisons between these two units that help to point out their pros and cons.

The verdict: A student would be better off using a Chromebook if they have constant access to the internet. Chromebooks are the superior product in this regard. However, if a person does not always have the ability to get online they should use a netbook since they will be able to use their machine offline. Ultimately, both products are great for students depending on how they are going to be used.

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