Using a Chromebook in lectures/on campus?

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matthias97
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I was wondering whether it would be feasible to use my Chromebook whilst on campus and in lectures once I start university in October? Currently I have two laptops, a heavy (>2kg) 15" gaming laptop, running windows 10, and office, along with a much lighter, (and obviously limited) Chromebook.

Due to the weight, and relatively poor battery life (2-2.5 hrs) of my Windows machine, it would be limited to around my uni accommodation, where I plan to do any intensive work. So i have two options regarding on campus work, which are either buying another more portable (cheap) Windows laptop (which is not ideal, considering the debt I will already be in) or to use my coexisting Chromebook.

Any thoughts would be appreciated. Thanks.
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shadowdweller
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(Original post by matthias97)
I was wondering whether it would be feasible to use my Chromebook whilst on campus and in lectures once I start university in October? Currently I have two laptops, a heavy (>2kg) 15" gaming laptop, running windows 10, and office, along with a much lighter, (and obviously limited) Chromebook.

Due to the weight, and relatively poor battery life (2-2.5 hrs) of my Windows machine, it would be limited to around my uni accommodation, where I plan to do any intensive work. So i have two options regarding on campus work, which are either buying another more portable (cheap) Windows laptop (which is not ideal, considering the debt I will already be in) or to use my coexisting Chromebook.

Any thoughts would be appreciated. Thanks.
What would you be using it for?
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spotify95
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(Original post by matthias97)
I was wondering whether it would be feasible to use my Chromebook whilst on campus and in lectures once I start university in October? Currently I have two laptops, a heavy (>2kg) 15" gaming laptop, running windows 10, and office, along with a much lighter, (and obviously limited) Chromebook.

Due to the weight, and relatively poor battery life (2-2.5 hrs) of my Windows machine, it would be limited to around my uni accommodation, where I plan to do any intensive work. So i have two options regarding on campus work, which are either buying another more portable (cheap) Windows laptop (which is not ideal, considering the debt I will already be in) or to use my coexisting Chromebook.

Any thoughts would be appreciated. Thanks.
Have you had a look about upgrading your battery in your Windows machine? You could buy (say) a 9 cell battery and have a better battery life.
In fact, if you've got a good enough carrying case, you could carry with you the larger capacity battery and the battery that came with your laptop - so you could switch batteries and get a bit more battery life.

Also you could put the laptop on "Power Saver" mode for when on battery, to eek out every last drop of battery life

And if you still think that 2 batteries won't give you enough life, you can carry your charger too, to top up the batteries if needed (assuming your laptop carrying case can fit all of that in there). That would be your best bet since it has Office.

Wouldn't really recommend a Chromebook because all of the storage capacity is via the cloud, so you need an Internet connection with a Chromebook. If your campus has a ropey Wifi service then that will cause problems.

Hope that helps.
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shadowdweller
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(Original post by spotify95)
Have you had a look about upgrading your battery in your Windows machine? You could buy (say) a 9 cell battery and have a better battery life.
In fact, if you've got a good enough carrying case, you could carry with you the larger capacity battery and the battery that came with your laptop - so you could switch batteries and get a bit more battery life.

Also you could put the laptop on "Power Saver" mode for when on battery, to eek out every last drop of battery life

And if you still think that 2 batteries won't give you enough life, you can carry your charger too, to top up the batteries if needed (assuming your laptop carrying case can fit all of that in there). That would be your best bet since it has Office.

Wouldn't really recommend a Chromebook because all of the storage capacity is via the cloud, so you need an Internet connection with a Chromebook. If your campus has a ropey Wifi service then that will cause problems.

Hope that helps.
Personally I'd say the weight is still going to be a significant issue, especially if you're adding another battery and a charger to the mix. Taking a full sized laptop to and from uni is just a faff really, and pretty heavy if you've got anything more than a short commute. Plus you don't need it if it's just for writing lecture notes and what not, it's only if additional software is needed that not having Windows would pose an issue.

Also, needing internet with Chromebook shouldn't be an issue, as most campuses will have a good enough WiFi for basic browsing, which is all you'd really need. That said, it's not actually accurate that all the storage capacity is in the cloud, they have a limited amount of internal storage too, which would be more than enough to store lecture notes to upload later. It has Google Docs too, which works well enough, and opens Office documents, so shouldn't be an issue on that front.

Personally I used a Chromebook in lectures/on campus last year, and found it to be far more convenient than my laptop was, which I just used to work on when I was back in the accommodation.
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spotify95
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(Original post by shadowdweller)
Personally I'd say the weight is still going to be a significant issue, especially if you're adding another battery and a charger to the mix. Taking a full sized laptop to and from uni is just a faff really, and pretty heavy if you've got anything more than a short commute. Plus you don't need it if it's just for writing lecture notes and what not, it's only if additional software is needed that not having Windows would pose an issue.

Also, needing internet with Chromebook shouldn't be an issue, as most campuses will have a good enough WiFi for basic browsing, which is all you'd really need. That said, it's not actually accurate that all the storage capacity is in the cloud, they have a limited amount of internal storage too, which would be more than enough to store lecture notes to upload later. It has Google Docs too, which works well enough, and opens Office documents, so shouldn't be an issue on that front.

Personally I used a Chromebook in lectures/on campus last year, and found it to be far more convenient than my laptop was, which I just used to work on when I was back in the accommodation.
You're correct in that I opted for usability of the laptop, and didn't really consider the weight of what the additional extras (i.e. batteries and charger) would add to the already heavy laptop. However, if you've got a suitable carrying case, like a rucksack, then you should be ok. You're right about writing lecture notes; your best option is to use an A4 jotter to write notes on. Or by downloading the lecture notes off a VLE, like my university allows you to.

With regards to the Wifi thing; Wifi access can still be an issue around university campuses; I know that DMU has only recently upgraded their Wifi, and although the upgrades have made it better (certainly in terms of usability and speed), the Wifi still drops out every now and then when my phone is connected. Most other places I use Wifi on my phone, there are no issues. Google Docs would be the equivalent of Office, and should work for note taking. I have had a look and some Chromebooks do have ample storage in them for note taking etc, but some Chromebooks come with as little as 16GB internal storage, which is only really enough for the OS. So depending on which Chromebook you get, you may (or may not) be reliant on Wifi and cloud storage.

All in all, from what I have found out, Chromebooks are fine for things like note taking, so long as your campus has decent WiFi. Though personally, I'd go for something like a Microsoft Surface, which has a long lasting battery life (not sure about battery life of Chromebooks), can be used as a tablet or a laptop (with the additional keyboard) and has Microsoft Office, meaning that you can transfer documents from other Windows PCs and have no compatibility issues. And the storage capabilities of a Surface will be much bigger than the storage capabilities of a Chromebook, so you won't be reliant on Wifi.
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shadowdweller
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(Original post by spotify95)
You're correct in that I opted for usability of the laptop, and didn't really consider the weight of what the additional extras (i.e. batteries and charger) would add to the already heavy laptop. However, if you've got a suitable carrying case, like a rucksack, then you should be ok. You're right about writing lecture notes; your best option is to use an A4 jotter to write notes on. Or by downloading the lecture notes off a VLE, like my university allows you to.
Nah, even with a proper carrying case, carting a full-sized laptop around all day gets heavy. If you don't have an alternative, it's manageable - but definitely not something I'd recommend. Whereas a Chromebook is more than light enough to be carried around for the day, and you shouldn't need a charger/extra battery either.

(Original post by spotify95)
With regards to the Wifi thing; Wifi access can still be an issue around university campuses; I know that DMU has only recently upgraded their Wifi, and although the upgrades have made it better (certainly in terms of usability and speed), the Wifi still drops out every now and then when my phone is connected. Most other places I use Wifi on my phone, there are no issues. Google Docs would be the equivalent of Office, and should work for note taking. I have had a look and some Chromebooks do have ample storage in them for note taking etc, but some Chromebooks come with as little as 16GB internal storage, which is only really enough for the OS. So depending on which Chromebook you get, you may (or may not) be reliant on Wifi and cloud storage.
You definitely won't be reliant on WiFi - the minimum memory storage a Chromebook comes with is 16GB, and that's more than enough for the OS. You'd have plenty of memory left to take notes or store uni files etc in the internal storage, plus all the extra you get with the cloud, when you do have WiFi.

(Original post by spotify95)
All in all, from what I have found out, Chromebooks are fine for things like note taking, so long as your campus has decent WiFi. Though personally, I'd go for something like a Microsoft Surface, which has a long lasting battery life (not sure about battery life of Chromebooks), can be used as a tablet or a laptop (with the additional keyboard) and has Microsoft Office, meaning that you can transfer documents from other Windows PCs and have no compatibility issues. And the storage capabilities of a Surface will be much bigger than the storage capabilities of a Chromebook, so you won't be reliant on Wifi.
You don't need WiFi for notetaking, at all, and the storage capacity of a Chromebook is more than sufficient. If you're wanting something for use on campus as well as lectures, I'd say you'd be better off with a Chromebook than a tablet - it's just easier to do proper work on, and you get a bigger screen size - though a tablet would be sufficient if it was purely for notetaking. There wouldn't be any compatibility issues though, I'm not sure where you're getting that from?

Especially given the OP already has a Chromebook, unless there's a particular reason it wouldn't be suitable, it seems counter-productive to suggest they buy something else.
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spotify95
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(Original post by shadowdweller)
Nah, even with a proper carrying case, carting a full-sized laptop around all day gets heavy. If you don't have an alternative, it's manageable - but definitely not something I'd recommend. Whereas a Chromebook is more than light enough to be carried around for the day, and you shouldn't need a charger/extra battery either.
Okay, I get what you're saying; I was just suggesting ways in which the weight of the laptop could be managed to the best of the OP's ability. I don't even take my laptop to university; I use A4 ring binders, A4 jotterpads and my bag gets heavy with those (and a few other essentials, such as a waterproof coat in case I am caught out with the weather). I've heard that Chromebooks have good battery life; is that the case?

You definitely won't be reliant on WiFi - the minimum memory storage a Chromebook comes with is 16GB, and that's more than enough for the OS. You'd have plenty of memory left to take notes or store uni files etc in the internal storage, plus all the extra you get with the cloud, when you do have WiFi.
I thought that the 16GB internal memory on those type of Chromebook was just used for the OS, and that most other things were done via cloud storage? I also know that you can't really install any other programs on a Chromebook, especially one with just 16GB storage. Though please do correct me if I'm wrong, as I know more about Windows laptops than Chromebooks

You don't need WiFi for note taking, at all, and the storage capacity of a Chromebook is more than sufficient. If you're wanting something for use on campus as well as lectures, I'd say you'd be better off with a Chromebook than a tablet - it's just easier to do proper work on, and you get a bigger screen size - though a tablet would be sufficient if it was purely for note taking. There wouldn't be any compatibility issues though, I'm not sure where you're getting that from?
Especially given the OP already has a Chromebook, unless there's a particular reason it wouldn't be suitable, it seems counter-productive to suggest they buy something else.
The storage on one of the Chromebooks with a larger HDD would be totally fine. I was just thinking that, for the smaller models (16GB HDDs) you wouldn't really have a lot of space to do much on, hence the need for cloud storage and WiFi. You're right, you do get a larger screen on a Chromebook, but personally I would want to use a convertible tablet/laptop for situations where portability is key; if portability wasn't the top priority, I'd use a Windows laptop. With regards to the compatibility thing, I was just saying that in case the file formats between Office and other office suites were different, because certain documents might not open with different readers/programs. Having said that, Google Docs is pretty much universal anyway, so I guess you're right

In that case, if the OP already has a chromebook, they should use that; I was just thinking if the OP didn't have an alternative and was going to go out and buy a laptop/tablet/chromebook.
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shadowdweller
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(Original post by spotify95)
Okay, I get what you're saying; I was just suggesting ways in which the weight of the laptop could be managed to the best of the OP's ability. I don't even take my laptop to university; I use A4 ring binders, A4 jotterpads and my bag gets heavy with those (and a few other essentials, such as a waterproof coat in case I am caught out with the weather). I've heard that Chromebooks have good battery life; is that the case?
Yeah, Chromebooks have like 8+ hours I think, depends what model. I use mine for uni and it'll comfortably last for a day of lectures without needing charging.

(Original post by spotify95)
I thought that the 16GB internal memory on those type of Chromebook was just used for the OS, and that most other things were done via cloud storage? I also know that you can't really install any other programs on a Chromebook, especially one with just 16GB storage. Though please do correct me if I'm wrong, as I know more about Windows laptops than Chromebooks
I'm fairly sure mine is a 16GB one, and I have 8GB memory free :dontknow: The not being able to install other programs is more an OS issue than a memory one, there just aren't many compatible programs.

(Original post by spotify95)
The storage on one of the Chromebooks with a larger HDD would be totally fine. I was just thinking that, for the smaller models (16GB HDDs) you wouldn't really have a lot of space to do much on, hence the need for cloud storage and WiFi. You're right, you do get a larger screen on a Chromebook, but personally I would want to use a convertible tablet/laptop for situations where portability is key; if portability wasn't the top priority, I'd use a Windows laptop. With regards to the compatibility thing, I was just saying that in case the file formats between Office and other office suites were different, because certain documents might not open with different readers/programs. Having said that, Google Docs is pretty much universal anyway, so I guess you're right
Space should be fine, but I'm sure the OP will know whether that aspect will be an issue, especially if they've had the Chromebook for a while. In terms of portability, there's not actually that significant a difference between Surface Pro and a Chromebook, whereas a full sized laptop jumps up the weight by a good kg or so. I see your point about compatibility though, but shouldn't be too much of an issue here.

(Original post by spotify95)
In that case, if the OP already has a chromebook, they should use that; I was just thinking if the OP didn't have an alternative and was going to go out and buy a laptop/tablet/chromebook.
As I understand it, they already have a Chromebook and a Windows laptop, but are asking if they need anything additional
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spotify95
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(Original post by shadowdweller)
Yeah, Chromebooks have like 8+ hours I think, depends what model. I use mine for uni and it'll comfortably last for a day of lectures without needing charging.

I'm fairly sure mine is a 16GB one, and I have 8GB memory free :dontknow: The not being able to install other programs is more an OS issue than a memory one, there just aren't many compatible programs.

Space should be fine, but I'm sure the OP will know whether that aspect will be an issue, especially if they've had the Chromebook for a while. In terms of portability, there's not actually that significant a difference between Surface Pro and a Chromebook, whereas a full sized laptop jumps up the weight by a good kg or so. I see your point about compatibility though, but shouldn't be too much of an issue here.

As I understand it, they already have a Chromebook and a Windows laptop, but are asking if they need anything additional
1) In which case, if the chromebook has 8 hours of battery life (when new, obviously) then it will be fine. To get that sort of battery life on a Windows laptop, you'd have to have two brand new, high capacity (at least 6 cell, preferably 9 cell) batteries. Though chances are a Windows OS is more battery intensive than Chrome OS anyway, there are so many things running on Windows (certainly on my laptop!)
2) I get you - I wouldn't personally choose a 16GB Chromebook (I'd choose a Chromebook with more storage) but for basic word processing and lecture notes, as you said it should be ok. I guess that program manufacturers don't develop programs for Chromebooks then? And anyway most things I need (certainly up to September 2015) will work on Chrome anyway.
3) If they've had the Chromebook for a while, and space hasn't been an issue so far, then chances are it'll be fine. I know that laptops are a good chunk heavier and less portable than Chromebooks/tablets/Surface Pro, but didn't realize it would be that much. And that's before you factor in having to have a second battery and a charger (and for my computer, a separate mouse too).
4) If they were asking if anything else was needed, in addition to their Windows PC and their Chromebook, then I'd say just use the Chromebook - however, if they didn't have the Chromebook, and needed something other than their Windows laptop, that's when I'd recommend a convertible such as the Surface Pro.
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Iqbal007
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(Original post by matthias97)
I was wondering whether it would be feasible to use my Chromebook whilst on campus and in lectures once I start university in October? Currently I have two laptops, a heavy (>2kg) 15" gaming laptop, running windows 10, and office, along with a much lighter, (and obviously limited) Chromebook.

Due to the weight, and relatively poor battery life (2-2.5 hrs) of my Windows machine, it would be limited to around my uni accommodation, where I plan to do any intensive work. So i have two options regarding on campus work, which are either buying another more portable (cheap) Windows laptop (which is not ideal, considering the debt I will already be in) or to use my coexisting Chromebook.

Any thoughts would be appreciated. Thanks.
Just use the chromebook, and use google drive to access between it and the other laptop
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username1050473
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Chromebooks excel in battery life and portability from what I hear, and these are probably the qualities you're looking for in a laptop for lectures. I personally don't like ChromeOS that much (seems a bit barebones), but if you're just using it for typing notes and browsing the web it'll be fine. If you really need to, there are ways of putting full fat Linux onto a chromebook (depending on the model), but that may not be worth the hassle. Many cloud apps exist for Chrome, for instance Drive and Dropbox, so if you already have storage set up you need to do very little to sync documents between devices (if you find discounts and promotions you get loads of space - my OneDrive capacity is something like 140GB )
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