Chromebook: The Best Choice for Students

When you’re a student it can be hard to know what computer offers the best value for your dollar. Names like Apple may have name recognition, but a simple computer will set you back by hundreds! Not to mention the hassle of set up and maintenance. But a Chromebook saves you not only time, but money as well! Read on to learn why Chromebooks are the perfect computer to meet a student’s needs!

Chromebook

1. Google integration 

Full integration with Google makes it easy to work from any computer, be it at home or on campus. Pick up and leave off wherever you need, knowing any edits or changes will be saved automatically in Google Drive. No more emailing yourself papers or losing track of your latest revisions!

2. Battery life

Chromebook’s long battery life makes marathon study sessions a breeze. You won’t have to worry about your computer powering down suddenly with Chromebook’s up-to 7 hour battery life. But just in case you do run low on battery, your Chromebook will give you plenty of notice so you have time to wrap up your project or find an outlet. Just one of many ways Chromebook is looking out for you!

3. Light-weight

Chromebook is light-weight and thin, so it won’t take up much room in your bag. It’s easy to bring your Chromebook to campus without struggling with an overloaded book bag. In fact, the Chromebook is probably lighter and smaller than a few of those textbooks you have to carry around!

4. Virus protection 

Built-in virus protection keeps your Chromebook safe without a headache. With the number of viruses swirling around the internet, the peace of mind offered by Chromebook is a huge perk. No additional cost involved! It’s an end to pop-ups and sales pitches.

5Fast downloads

Downloads are fast, easy, and immediately available. Plus, Chromebook makes it easy to keep files at your fingertips with simplified organization. Create folders, save to either the Drive or your computer, and know that you’ll have access when you need it. And when it comes time to download your papers, you have a variety of choices for format. It makes it easy to meet all your professors’ needs and land an A!

6. Easy search

The search button makes last minute fact checks simple! Just hit the button you’re used to using for Caps Lock and a Google Search will be pulled up instantly without opening another window. Access all the information of Google without losing your place!

7. Access anywhere

Never worry about losing your files again! Things happen, drinks get spilled, and sometimes computers become casualties. But say good-bye to the stress of recovering files with Chromebook! Anything saved to your Drive or any other Google site, any websites bookmarked, and any apps can be accessed from any computer with an internet connection.

8. Affordable

All this for a low price! You don’t have to drain your savings to get a computer that works for you. With prices starting at $249, Chromebooks are among the best value on the market, and you’ll be paying low prices for top-of-the-line performance. Nothing beats that when you’re a student on a budget!

Chromebook: The Best Bang for Your Buck

Considering a Chromebook? With the many different models available, finding the perfect one to suit your needs can be challenging. But don’t let that overwhelm you. Here’s are the top reasons to consider a Chromebook.

Chromebook

1. Speed

Chromebook is fast! Like, crazy fast. Over computers can take minutes to get going, with surprise updates adding to time between when you hit the power button and actually get to work. But not with Chromebook! You won’t have to sit around waiting for your computer to start up. Just give it a few seconds and you’ll have full functionality!

2. Affordable 

Chromebook has no hidden costs. No additional expense for key programs, no costly virus protection, no shelling out for unexpected needs. Chromebook has it all at your fingertips from the first time you log on.

3. Google integration 

Chromebook makes life easy with full Google integration. Your computer should work for you, not make work for you. Chromebook keeps it simple by syncing to your Google account anything you do on your computer. That means easy access wherever you are, be it at work, home, or school. Chromebook makes it simple to get your projects done when you need to!

4. Perfect for travel 

Chromebook’s lightweight design makes it perfect for travel. When you’re on the go it’s important to have a computer that’s reliable and easy to carry. Chromebook is just that, from its sleek design to its compact size. Slip it into your bag (fully charged to avoid bringing your charger!) and you’ll still have plenty of room for other essentials!

5. Up to date

Chromebook keeps you up-to-date on all the latest upgrades without inconvenience. With easy updates done in the blink of an eye upon shutdown, Chromebook makes sure you have access to the latest Google products and apps. A simple arrow icon in the taskbar alerts you to when an update is waiting, but you won’t have to deal with annoying pop-ups! If you decide you’re ready to complete any waiting updates, Chromebook’s fast restart means you’ll have only seconds between shutdown and being back at it.

6. Ready to use

Chromebook arrives ready to use! Just start it up, sign in to Google, and you’re ready to go. No lengthy instructions or difficult installations necessary. Once signed in to your Google account, Chromebook will quickly sync any bookmarks or links saved on any Google Chrome browser. It will also automatically connect to your Google email, Drive, and Maps, as well as any other services you currently use.

7. Sleek 

Chromebook gives you top-of-the-line looks for discount prices. Not only is the computer itself minimalist and sleek, but the desktop is free from a jumble of icons with Chromebook’s simple taskbar. You won’t have to hunt around for the right program or document, just another way Chromebook helps keep you organized!

8. Battery life

Chromebook’s long battery life means easy mobility without the worry. With up to seven hours of life when fully charged, your Chromebook can stand up to the most grueling tasks even when a charger isn’t handy. And in case you do run low, a simple warning system will alert you in plenty of time so you aren’t interrupted by a sudden shutdown.

 

Top Ten Reasons You NEED a Chromebook

Like them or loath them, the Chromebook is here to stay. Or at least it looks like it. These reliable and highly efficient machines are changing the way experience computing. Here are some of the reasons why you need a Chromebook now.

Chromebook

1. Incredible design

Chromebooks are gorgeous. They are sleek, shiny, and minimalist — and one would look great anywhere from your desk at home to the table at the local coffee shop. Plus it stands up to day-to-day wear without losing any appeal!

2. Life is too busy for a slow computer

You’re always on the go, and Chromebook has you covered. Not only is the lightweight computer easy to bring with you, but the fast start-up time means no lag in your productivity. Meeting deadlines can be stressful, but you won’t have to bite your nails while waiting for your computer to start!

3. The Cloud

You have more important things to worry about than whether your projects are safe. Chromebook’s Cloud storage system and automatic integration with your Google account means you can rest assured that your documents are available wherever there’s an internet connection with no extra work on your end. Simply log in to see all your latest edits and pick up exactly where you left off. It’s a versatility few competitors are able to offer!

4. Safe 

Viruses? What viruses? Chromebook has built-in virus protection, to keep you protected from Day One without annoying pop-ups or additional cost. You won’t have to worry about downloads or third-party programs. Talk about ease of mind!

5. Cost-effective 

Your wallet will thank you! Chromebooks are amazingly affordable, with models starting as low as $249. That price with no hidden costs makes for incredible savings, and who doesn’t love that! The best part: All the features mentioned here are included in the $249 model.

6. Apps 

No more worrying about where to find programs with the Chrome Store. All it takes is a quick search and fast installation to have new apps ready for use on your Chromebook. No more special ordering disks or lengthy wait times. Just find an app that meets your needs and you’re done!

7. Sync it 

Sync your Chromebook with your other Android devices for easy use on-the-go. Can’t remember the name of that hilarious website you went to last night? No problem! Just pull up Chrome on your Android phone or tablet and have instant access to your favorite sites.

8. Hassle-free

Logging out doesn’t mean closing out, so you can easily pick up where you left off! Just log back in and all your tabs will be waiting for you, right where you left them. Chromebook makes it easy to pause for a break without losing your place!

9. Cool 

The silent fan means no obnoxious noise and no burning up! A Chromebook is perfect for lounging on a lazy day because the unique fan releases no heat. Just cue up Netflix and you’re ready to go! Your cat may not appreciate it, but your lap certainly will.

10. The perfect package 

But really, have you seen one? Chromebook design is on point! The perfect look, the perfect perks, and the perfect price? It doesn’t get much better than that! So what are you waiting for? Check out a Chromebook!

Recommended Chromebooks for Students

Among the binders, crayons, paper, pencil boxes and new clothes needed on the list of supplies for this coming school year, you may see an additional item that you might not be sure what to do with; the Laptop. If immediately you begin thinking of a device costing around $1000, boy have I got great news for you! Consider purchasing one of the many Chromebooks available on the market.

Chromebook

A Chromebook is an inexpensive (as low as $200), lightweight and portable device that is cloud connected; perfect for students from grade school through College age. Many of whom have grown up or are growing up in the era of mobile web access via Smartphones and Tablets and are not locked-in to the Microsoft ecosystem and local files on the hard drive / storage ways of doing things.

To be sure, you will run across reviews where individuals state how insufficient the Chromebook is for multiple reasons. But, you’ll also find that this is primarily because these machines aren’t designed to handle everything. For example:

• Intense Gaming
• Software Development
• Video Production
• Graphic Design
• Advanced Software applications, such as Architecture and Diagramming

But due to their low price point and simplicity for everyday use, like staying connected, doing Internet research, writing a paper and accessing online communities and classes, Chromebooks are a very satisfactory alternative to the costlier and complex Windows machine.

Instead of relying heavily on desktop applications, Students would easily be at home utilizing the Google browser to gain access to app services. And, instead of storing files on the local hard drive, they would be fine with accessing their data on Google Drive.
And, although Chromebooks require Internet connectivity, there is a capability to use some apps offline, if this feature is turned on.

Some additional benefits to using a Chromebook would include:

  • Extremely simple set up
  • Boots up within seconds
  • Wakes from sleep in less than a second
  • Built-in security
  • Low maintenance
  • Fast recovery in the event of a crash
  • Automatic, free updates
  • Everyday apps are included or easily installed from the Chrome web store
  • Files are backed up on the Cloud
  • Seamlessly syncs with other devices running Chrome

With just about every PC brand selling a Chromebook, the decision over which one to choose basically comes down to what works best for what you need. In this case, we are recommending these four Chromebooks based on low cost (under $400) for functionality sufficient for a Student.

BRAND Dell 11 Acer C720P HP 14 Samsung 2
Price $279 $199 $295 $320
Screen Size 11.6″ 11.6″ *Touchscreen 14 inches 11 inches
Screen Resolution 1366×768 1366×768 1366×768 1366×768
Processor 1.4 GHz 1.4 GHz 1.4 GHz 1.9 GHz
Memory 2GB RAM 2GB RAM 2 GB RAM 4 GB RAM
Hard Drive 16 GB 16 GB 16 GB 4 GB RAM
Number of USB Ports 2 USB 3.0 1 USB 3.01 USB 2.0 2 USB 3.01 USB 2.0 1 USB 3.01 USB 2.0
Item Weight 2.9 pounds 2.76 pounds 4 pounds 2.43 pounds
Battery Up to 10 hours 8.5 hours Up to 9.5 hours Up to 8 hours

 

Review: The NEW Chromebook 2

Over the 2013 Holiday Season, Amazon was able to record that of their best-selling laptops; two out of three were the Samsung and Acer Chromebook!

Chromebook

Remarkable, considering that since its original release in June 2011, the idea of an inexpensive, lightweight, simple machine brought on its share of skepticism; due in part to the inability of its predecessor, the netbook, to make any lasting impression in the highly competitive computing market.

Nevertheless, sales numbers have begun to indicate that Chromebooks are making strides in popularity in the budget laptop arena, and should sustain this level of growth in popularity as long as the systems continue to evolve in design and functionality, while maintaining low price.

Chromebook 2 

Enter into the arena, the Chromebook 2 series.

Available in two sizes (11.6” and 13.3”) and priced accordingly (MSRP $320 and $400 respectively), Samsung’s subsequent entrant to its well-received 2012 Chromebook, the Chromebook 2 boasts a slightly more distinctive design and an option for higher screen resolution with a larger display.

Scheduled to ship in May 2014, both devices boast a faux leather finish on the lid, much like Samsung’s Galaxy Note 3 and Note Pro 12.2.
Samsung describes this new look as “a durable textured lid and elegant stitched design”, which includes the Chrome emblem and Samsung Logo for a touch of color. The 11.6” version can be purchased in either white or black and the 13.3” will be available in a gray color scheme.

Aside from that, The Chromebook 2 is still constructed from molded plastic. Mind you, though not as sturdy as its bigger brothers, Google’s Chromebook 11 or Chromebook Pixel, these are still less tinky and more solid than its predecessor; including those from other Manufacturers in the under $400 price point.

Although both machines in the Chromebook 2 series measures about 0.65 inches thick, the 11.6” weighs in at just under 2.5 lbs. The 13.3” Chromebook 2 weighs in slightly higher at 3.1 lbs.

Improvements

One major improvement over its predecessor is battery life: On the smaller Chromebook, the battery is rated at eight hours and on the larger one at half an hour longer.

The 11.6” model of the Chromebook 2 series boasts a 1366 x 768 LED display, a 1.9-GHz Samsung Exynos 5 octa-core processor with 4GB of RAM and a 16GB eMMC Flash Drive.

The 13.3” model of the Chromebook 2 series boasts full HD resolution with its 1920 x 1080 LED panel, a 2.1-GHz Samsung Exynos 5 octa-core BPU with 4GB of RAM and a 16GB eMMC Flash Drive.

In addition, Samsung says that these will be the first Chromebooks in the Market to get certification for Google Hangouts chats; meaning that Samsung has equipped these machines with dual array microphones, 720p HD webcam and video processing capabilities and a “Software Value Pack” that includes the AirDroid device-management Web app.2.

New contender

Remaining consistent with Google’s original goal of designing an inexpensive, light-weight portable laptop that is simple to use and easy to maintain, the Chromebook 2 series, with its distinctive design, larger display and reasonable price, has entered the computing arena as a new contender.

 

Chromebook 5 or Chromebook 2?

So, you bought your Samsung Series 5 Chromebook over two years to 3 years ago and things between it and you are going just fine. You haven’t had any issues with your Chromebook nor has it become insufficient for your needs. However, you’ve heard about this new Chromebook; the series 2 and you’ve begun wondering…

Chromebook

Is it time for an upgrade?

Much like any one of us who have owned our car for a few years, when the new models start rolling out, even if it’s the same make produced by the same auto manufacturer, we will start considering it. We begin looking at our current mode of transportation and thinking that maybe we are now missing something.

But, just what might we be missing? And, even if we are missing something, do we really need it?

Mixed reviews

The initial introduction of the Samsung Series 5 was met with mixed reviews. While some felt that the machine could do with more local storage space for the price, others appreciated the improvements in speed, battery life and aesthetics from the bland CR-48 prototype; this, plus the fact that the price was still below the cost of an IPAD.

Since the original release of the Series 5 in 2011, Samsung has released the 550 Chromebook (May, 2012), the Series 3 (October, 2012) and most recently, the Series 2.

More distinctive 

Available in two sizes (11.6” and 13.3”) and priced accordingly (MSRP $320 and $400 respectively), Samsung’s newest model, the Chromebook 2 boasts a slightly more distinctive design and an option for higher screen resolution with a larger display. Both device sizes boast a faux leather finish on the lid, with a rubberized finish that gives it a slightly leathery texture.

Aside from that, The Chromebook 2 is still constructed from molded plastic, just like the one you have now. The 11.6” version can be purchased in either white or black and the 13.3” will be available in titanium grey; which are all different color choices than the silver colored plastic of our previous model.

Specs

Let’s take a look at these specs for these Samsung models side by side:

  • Series 5 1.3 GHz
    •  8.5 hours
    • 2 GB
    • 12.1 in
    • 1280×800
    • 3.06–3.26 lbs
    • 16 GB
  • Series 2 1.9 GHz
    • 8 hours
    • 4 GB
    • 11.6 in
    • 1366×768
    • 2.60 lbs
    • 16 GB
  • Series 2 2.1GHz
    • 8.5 hours
    • 4 GB
    • 13.3 in
    • 1920×1080
    • 3.10 lbs
    • 16 GB

Hmmm… so, basically what we have between the previous model and the current models are the following:

  • Slightly more processing speed
  • Same amount of battery life
  • Double the amount of Memory (RAM)
  • Either more or less screen size ( depending on which Series 2 version you like)
  • Greater screen resolution
  • Negligible difference in weight
  • Same exact amount of storage space
  • Upgraded look on the new models

Well, there you have it; to upgrade or not to upgrade? Now that is a question that only you can answer, based on your particular needs and situation. But, at least now you have the facts. No matter what you decide… Happy surfing!

The Chromebook Pixel: Too Costly?

For the past week, I’ve been having the pleasure of reviewing various Chromebook models and have primarily stayed on the lower end of the spectrum – under the $400 manufacturer’s suggested retail price. I steered clear of the Chromebook Pixel. Which makes a lot of sense; considering that the original expectation of Google was that they would basically produce a simple computer that would provide a portable means of getting online via Google’s web browser at a low price goal of around $200. In my opinion, they succeeded.

Chromebook

So, consider my interest being peaked at the discovery of a Chromebook being advertised way on the upper end of the spectrum!

It’s called the Chromebook Pixel and it comes with a hefty price tag:

  • $1299 (WiFi)
  • $1449 (LTE)

When I tried to figure out why Google would do such a thing, I found this comment made by Sundar Pichai, Senior V.P. of Engineering in charge of Chrome and Android. Pichai said that the goal behind the Chromebook Pixel was,

To push the boundary and build something premium. Google engineers set out on the ‘labor of love’ project two years ago, asking themselves, ‘What could we do if we really wanted to design the best computer possible at the best price possible?’

Well, while that is a noble goal and objective, I’m not so sure the Pixel hits it out of the park. It’s not because the machine itself isn’t a design beauty or because it doesn’t obviously have many more capabilities than the lower end Chromebook devices. But is it really the best computer possible at the best price possible?

To me, they missed the mark because in order to make that claim one would have to compare the Chromebook Pixel against its Window and MacBook Air counterparts, which are both much more than the Internet packaged in a box.

We all know that cheap sells. We also know that cheap and easy sell even more, so at the lower end of the spectrum, Chromebook wins on both points hands-down. At the same price point of the higher end machines – that’s a tough sell!

Here’s where Google will have to do the hard work. There has to be some work invested in helping the Consumer to shift his or her thinking from having everything stored and managed on the local drive to the value of Cloud-based applications and storage.

At the lower end of the price spectrum, I believe that Google is doing an amazing job at this. At the higher end, we’ll have to see what the next year or so reveals.

Google Chromebook Pixel (WiFi)

  • Screen Size 12.85 inches
  • Screen Resolution 2560×1700
  • Processor 1.80 GHz Core i5-3427U
  • Memory 4 GB ddr3 RAM
  • Hard Drive 32 GB SSD
  • Graphics Coprocessor Intel HD Graphics 4000
  • Chipset Brand Intel
  • Connectivity 802.11bgn
  • Number of USB 2.0 Ports 2
  • Bluetooth compatible Yes
  • Operating System Google Chrome OS
  • Item Weight 3.4 pounds
  • Audio-out Ports (#) 1
  • External Ports SD/multi card reader
  • Battery Expected use time 5 hours
  • Storage 1 TB Google Drive cloud Storage and 32 GB Solid State Drive

 

Chromebook: The Perfect Toy?

So, School’s out for the summer and my rising ninth grader wants to dominate my Home Office because this is where the PC Desktop is. Only there’s one problem – I’m using it!

Chromebook

See, I work from home and earn my living by writing and coaching; which means I must have access to the Computer. Although at times I step away from it for the requisite bio breaks and nutrition, for the most part I’m sitting right here at the Desk.

This isn’t so much a problem when he’s in school; because I have all day to do what I need to do and can easily concede in the evening for an hour or so, without issue. Not so much when he has much more time on his hands and has quickly bored of the family game console and the Kindle device.

And yes, I’ve bought the ‘play’ laptops that have learning games to help, but its time is regularly spent collecting dust on the shelf in his bedroom closet, because well… to him, it’s extremely limited and boring.

I needed something that would encompass all of the things he needed: Variety, Fun and Learning, while giving me what I needed: Security and a low cost equivalent of a high end toy. I found all of these things in the Acer C7 Chromebook.

At just $199, the Acer C7 seems like the perfect partner for my younger one.

Now, before you fight me on this, let me explain what I mean by ‘toy’. I’m referring to what is, in essence, going to be used by my son to play on a few games, apps and the Internet. He’s not writing a novel or handling any real business at all. He’s just hanging out… literally!
Here’s the deal – Acer’s C7 is basically a cheap netbook; not an inexpensive one; a cheap one. Its molded plastic construction is not flashy or elegant at all, yet sturdy; making it perfectly fine for generic use.

The keyboard’s navigation keys are very small (Home, End, Ins, Del, Pg Up / Dn) as are the modifier keys (Ctrl and Alt). And, although the keyboard itself is quite usable, one would get tired trying to write a novel on it anyway.

The glossy display provides a perfectly useful 11.6”, 1,366 x 768 LED-backlit screen and the built-in speakers, although a bit tinny sounding, work just fine for his purpose; also, the battery charge lasts around 4 hours, which is more than enough time to keep him out of my Office.

Load these specific details on top of the Chrome Operating System, with its simple setup, Google’s suite of applications (both present on the machine or easily acquired from the web store), the built-in security and automatic updates, and “cloud-based” data retention, this device is the perfect partner to keep my son connected to the internet while he hangs around the house for the summer.

Hmmm… maybe I can get him to do some writing for me while he’s here. Oh, what was I thinking? Never mind!

 

Why I Bought A Samsung Chromebook

I used Windows computers for years without even thinking about it. I put up with freezes, annoying pop-ups, random shut-downs, and long installations processes because I thought that’s just how computers were! But that was only until I decided to break out of my rut and try a Samsung Chromebook.

Chromebook

The difference was clear immediately! As soon as I took the lightweight, sleek computer out of the box I felt great about my choice in computer. That sense was reinforced when the startup instructions were literally a matter of hitting the power button and logging into my Google account. Within minutes I was surfing the web and setting my preferences, while with my Windows computers it took a long list of tasks to get it up and running for the first time.

No more pop-ups

One of my pet peeves when running Windows were the annoying pop-ups and the updates that required me to shut  my computer down for updates. Thankfully, my Chromebook freed me from those pesky interruptions! Not only is virus protection built in, but updates are done automatically upon shutdown. And there’s no long waits for updates either — my Chromebook still takes mere seconds to restart!

Low Cost – Not low quality 

While using Windows I got used to paying a lot for a computer that would last, so I was a bit nervous about only paying $249. Would my Chromebook last long enough to even make the cost worth it? Well, 18 months since first starting it up, my Samsung Chromebook is just as fast, sleek, and awesome as ever! It hasn’t lost any functionality or speed — two things I was used to losing over time with Windows computers. I took it for granted that eventually the perks that first appealed to me would fade away, but my Chromebook has shown me that low cost doesn’t mean low quality. In fact, with Chromebook it’s the opposite! It’s an affordable computer that holds up to everyday use.

Ready to go 

I couldn’t believe it when my Chromebook didn’t come with any CDs or discs in need of installation to have full functionality — it was all ready to go! That ease is something I still enjoy with the Chrome Store. With the easy-to-use Chrome Store, it takes only a simple search and quick installation to find and use the tools I need to get any job done. With Windows, I lost count of not only the time it took to install, but also the hidden cost associated with some crucial programs. Fortunately, the Chrome Store has plenty of free options that meet a wide range of needs, so you won’t be caught of guard!

After 18 months of using my Chromebook, I know I won’t be going back to the Windows operating system. The entire experience has been great, from start to now! If you’re an avid Google user, you should definitely consider a Chromebook for your next computer!

Is A Chromebook Right for You?

A Chromebook is a unique computer for many reasons. Some consider them nothing more than a fad. But to others, they’re a versatile and very cost-effective alternative. Here are six questions to ask yourself before you decide to buy one!

Chromebook

1. Are you a Google user? Chromebook is fully integrated with Google and requires a Google sign-in to log on. If you’re already a user of Google’s extensive services or if you plan to switch over, a Chromebook will give you easy access to all the best Google has to offer!

2. Do you require a great deal of local storage? Chromebook offers free Cloud storage to all users, but the amount of memory on the computer itself is limited. For typical documents and images, it will be more than enough. But if you have out-of-the-ordinary needs, you may want to look into external storage options.

3. Do you primarily use your computer for accessing the internet? Chromebook is fully functional when connected to the internet, and for surfing it’s a safe bet. If you have additional needs, speak to someone before buying to make sure the computer is a strong option.

4. Do you travel with your computer? Chromebook is lightweight and easy to bring along, so if you often leave home with your computer it is a great option!

5. Do you need a computer with long battery life? Chromebook has up to seven hours of charge, giving you plenty of time. If it’s important to you that your computer last a long time between charges, a Chromebook will not disappoint.

6. Do you like having control over updates? Chromebook updates automatically and has built-in virus protection. This means you don’t have to worry about pop-ups or going unprotected. But it also means you aren’t able to set your own system up, so if that’s important to you a Chromebook may not be right for you.