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Chromebook vs laptop


Just wondering which would be best for uni between a laptop & Chromebook for essays etc.

Original post by Chloe_maria08

Just wondering which would be best for uni between a laptop & Chromebook for essays etc.


Chromebooks are laptops.

But yeah, the perks of a Chromebook over a Windows or MacOS laptop can essentially be boiled down to price and the perceived performance-per-quid of low end options. Chromebooks start extremely cheap, often cheaper than Windows machines running the same barrel-bottom hardware because they don't include the cost of a pricey OS license. On top of this, ChromeOS generally performs much better on this crappy hardware because it was specifically designed to run as resource-light, and a bargain bucket Chromebook will feel much snappier on a low end Celeron or Atom than the same laptop would with a Windows 10 installation. They also have the niche advantage of running Android apps natively, performing better than other OS's can offer via emulators.

The main disadvantage is that it's a substantially hobbled OS with a heavy reliance on web-based solutions and lacking the same third party app support as a Windows or MacOS machine, with Android apps being the best, or even only, option for a lot of things beyond "core" tasks in a frightening number of scenarios. For a lot of people who really only want their laptops for the golden trio of web browsing, social media and an Office suite, this isn't an issue, but if your needs ever extend beyond that, your experience compared to doing the same thing on Windows is going to be worse, it's just a question of by how much.

If your budget is under £250 and you don't want to risk the minefield of buying used, laptops, Chromebooks are a solid way to go and will probably offer the best user experience as long as you maintain realistic expectations of what can be achieved. If you're spending £350 or more, then you can get a laptop running an i3 or Ryzen 3 processor which will have zero issues with Windows and the advantages of a Chromebook evaporate in the face of a well running, fully featured operating system.
A used premium business laptop always makes more sense than Chromebook, regardless of how much you want to spend.

In the context of an 18 year old, looking to have a device to do word processing, email, web based applications, video conferencing throughout their time as a student, used premium business laptops are no more of a minefield than buying a brand new consumer grade laptop.

When the 12 month warranty runs out on a brand new consumer grade laptop runs out you have - in effect - a used laptop with relatively poor engineering. From a reliability and longevity point of view, you are then better off having an older premium laptop that was built with better engineering.

Bear in mind that most laptop failures are caused by "user error". Dropping them, leaving them in freezing car boots overnight, getting viruses onto them, spilling coffee over them etc etc etc. The warranty that comes with a new laptop does not cover user error failures. They are warranties, not comprehensive insurance policies.

And used premium business laptops are relatively reliable items.

Plus the items that are most likely to fail in a laptop: the hard drive and the battery are relatively cheap and easy to replace anyway.

You do get a lot of people on the internet with an agenda of selling or promoting new IT equipment. You can fall for their scaremongering marketing or you can reject it.

For all of the applications that you can run on a Chromebook, you can also do the same tasks lightning fast on any premium business laptop from HP, Dell and Lenovo made in the last 10 years that has an SSD hard drive.

You can get used business laptops for as cheap as free. By contacting IT departments of large organisations and asking if they have any old spare laptops you can have.

If you go on ebay or Facebook Marketplace, you can get some very nice used premium business laptops for under £250. Especially if you have some patience.
EG HP 830 G6

Windows laptops are more versatile than Chromebooks. And if you don't like Windows (Windows 10 is a relatively poor and annoying operating system) you can always install Linux.
Reply 3
I have a top spec Dell XPS 13 laptop which, since I bought my Chromebook, sits in a corner unused. The Chromebook has better battery life, starts quickly, plays nicely with my Android phone, runs all the Linux apps I need to carry around.
As ChromeOS has been gotten more mature, I can no longer find anything that I couldn't do with it. Of course, that depends a lot on what your needs from a computer are.
The Chromebook is a nicely thought out machine with longer battery life - I just wish it had a more standard keyboard and relied less on magic key combinations.
Of course, that depends a lot on what your needs from a laptop are.
(edited 10 months ago)
A Chromebook usually packs similar hardware (an ARM processor) to what you'd find in a mobile phone. They're okay for the price but they've not got the flexibility of a standard laptop (some with Intel chips can be hacked to run a Linux distro). I'd suggest going for something like a Dell laptop which lasts days off a single charge and can be configured to do anything you want; costs roughly the same too!

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