As a high school student, having a laptop or tablet computer can come in really handy, especially for doing research and completing assignments on the go. However, laptops are often heavy and expensive, and bringing them to and from school can be a hassle along with all the books and binders that we have to carry. Tablets and cell phones can be used for quick research and browsing, but they cannot function like a computer or save much information. There is another option though, which could be extremely useful depending on a student’s preferences.
For the past few weeks, I’ve had the chance to try out the new Samsung Google Chromebook. It is a super light portable computer/notebook that functions based on the Google Chrome web browser; users log in with their existing Google accounts. It costs around $250, so it is very affordable and worthwhile for students. It is very different from a regular PC, since there are none of the usual installed programs you would find on a computer, such as Microsoft Office and Photoshop. Instead it uses apps, which can be downloaded from Google’s Web Store, so in a way it is like a cross between a laptop and a tablet. The main application is of course, Google Chrome, from which stems other useful ones like Gmail, Google Drive, Google Calendar, etc. It also uses an SSD instead of a hard drive, so the memory capacity is much smaller, but the device is much lighter.
Although there are some limitations in this setup, such as Microsoft Office being unavailable to the user and having a small space to save files and other info, the Chromebook can be very useful for students who are always on the go. Any assignments that need to be shared or transferred can be done on Google Docs/Slides/Spreadsheets, which works mostly in the same way as the Microsoft versions. They can easily be converted into the Microsoft versions and vice versa depending on what device you are using, and while I was using this the format was not affected during conversion, so it is definitely reliable. While this can all be done on a laptop as well, the Chromebook works much faster and smoother. There are less glitches when saving files from Google Drive on the Chromebook than on PCs, since it is solely focused on Google Chrome; therefore, the web browser works much faster than the usual computer.
This in turn makes doing research much easier; looking up information on the Chromebook is so fast and reliable, there’s no need to wait for a website to load. If it is connected to a wi-fi network, it will function in the same way at the same speed no matter where the user is. That being said, there will have to be a network available, with the exception of a few apps that don’t need wi-fi to function. Whatever the research is for, users will have to keep in mind that, since this is all done while logged in on a Google account, there will be a record of everything they look up and save on the Chromebook.
To conclude, there are many pros and cons to the Chromebook: it does not work like a PC with programs and lots of storage space, but it does make sharing files, doing research and browsing many times faster and easier. It is very portable, and fun to explore while using! It is also very cheap, so any students who are comfortable with using Google and are looking for something simple, fast, lightweight, and budget-friendly the Samsung Chromebook is definitely recommended.
This blog was written on the Chromebook 🙂