Should Graphic Design Students Buy Chromebooks?

Google Chromebook is a great tool for students because of its low cost, long battery life, and light weight. It is an excellent tool to carry for miles around campus in a backpack and whip out just before the professor starts speaking, ready to take notes. Graphic design students will find it does not meet all their needs, however. Chromebook can be used as a supplemental option that would benefit the graphic design student.


Chromebook Benefits

  • Chromebooks are inexpensive
  • Chromebooks are lightweight
  • Chromebooks are fast to use
  • Chromebooks have a long battery life

Students are often worried about theft around college campuses and about the care of expensive technology. A stolen, broken, or lost laptop is hard to replace. They are heavy to carry, and often lack the battery life to last through a day of classes. The Acer Chromebook is a solution to this problem at less than $300.

In general education classes, the Chromebook may meet all the regular needs the student has with google docs to take notes and write short papers. For larger end of the semester projects, students have use of the computer labs on campus. Many majors do not require much more than this being directly lecture related.

Chromebook Limitations

Chromebook has limitations in the fact that it is more like a tablet than it is a computer. It is powerful but it cannot hold computer programs because it is not a computer. It is not designed to do all that a computer does.

Graphic Design Incompatibility 

Graphic design students have specific software needs that a computer can handle. Although much work is done in lab time, in order for students to log enough work hours to prepare them for their careers they often have to work outside of class time to achieve this goal.
Adobe Creative Cloud is needed for the designs the students do, often contracted with businesses as part of their education. Adobe often offers students to use Creative Cloud for as low as $20 per month, they just have to have a computer and internet connection to download the programs. Without the use of Illustrator, Photoshop, and InDesign, the students will not gain the skills to make them employable.

Laptops are known to cost more, but they are coming down in price, and are not much more than Acer’s Chromebook. Even low cost computers can handle this software. The only Microsoft Surface that can download programs is the Surface Pro, and is more expensive than many laptops at about $600. A student may find they can afford both a laptop and an Acer Chromebook, sometimes for less than the cost of a Surface Pro.


The security of leaving the laptop in their apartment or dorm for the heavy work, and bringing the lightweight, low cost, always ready Acer Chromebook just might be the ticket to a great education.