How is a Chromebook in 2020 when using it to study

In a decade, Chromebooks have become a popular tool in education . And they have done so thanks to offering a very interesting combination of attractive prices and robust, free software adapted to the needs of students. How is a Chromebook in 2020 when using it to study?

How the platform has evolved

The evolution of Chrome OS goes hand in hand with greater compatibility , which has allowed different agents to enter the platform that have been improving its usability in terms of quantity and versatility of software. But, let us start at the beginning.

Over time, Google has been implementing options to use it offline and expanding its compatibility , as well as growing along with the maturity of Google services, offering a simple and fluid workflow.

One of its milestones was getting Android to Chrome, or what is the same: that Android applications could run in its environment. Almost a decade later, Google Chrome opened the doors to applications created for GNU/Linux systems .

In this way they killed several birds with one stone : in addition to increasing the available software, the programs that could be used offline were increased and the community of free developers contributed their grain of sand to this young operating system.

As a result, Chrome is currently a robust and complete operating system with its own native applications and other essential ones for day-to-day use such as a media player, file manager, printer configuration … it even has a free version called Chromium OS.

To continue bringing the Chrome ecosystem closer to the user, not only at the student level, but also at the business level, the landing of Microsoft Office and other Windows apps on Chromebooks is planned for this fall. Of course, they will do it as virtualized apps by Parallels.

And how Chromebooks have evolved

But the evolution of the platform remains lame if we don’t talk about the device to which we dedicate this article: Chromebooks. The same on the outside as the rest of the laptops on the market – obviously with the variations that exist between the different models – the difference is on the inside, with Chrome OS as the operating system .

Much has happened since the first official prototype and the first model to be marketed, manufactured by Samsung in 2011 . Although Google has launched its proposals in the form of its own models such as its Chromebook Pixel , it has chosen to open its operating system to other manufacturers, so that the offer and the ecosystem grow . Thus, since its inception we have seen Chromebooks from brands such as HP, Samsung, Acer, Asus, Sony, Dell, Lenovo or Toshiba, among others.

Its initial premise was the educational field , offering simple equipment at reduced prices — 200 or 300 euros — essentially oriented to basic tasks such as surfing the Internet or office automation without much fanfare.

From “battle” laptops for students to fighting one-on-one with Windows and macOS computers

However, over time they have been gaining in pretensions and performance , launching high-end laptops with specifications on par with traditional Windows and macOS laptops. Take the Google Pixelbook or more recently, the Pixelbook Go as an example . Another ambitious brand in this ecosystem in recent times has been Acer and its Acer Chromebook 714 .

Although they enjoy a small share of users but settled in the United States compared to other operating systems, their future is more uncertain outside its borders. However, Google Google revived Chromebooks in Europe and Spain with a renewed offer .

Pros and cons of using a Chromebook to study

After going over the state of the art of Chromebooks as devices and the evolution of Chrome OS, it’s time to put its capacity as a study tool on the table. What advantages and disadvantages do Chromebooks offer compared to traditional laptops?

The main asset of Chromebooks is the simplicity of use for students , with an intuitive interface where the office suite is installed as standard, thus avoiding having to buy licenses for tasks such as preparing work in a word processor, graphs and tables in sheets of calculation, presentations…

Chrome OS provides a suitable environment for education in terms of software and file transfer that is reinforced by Gsuite for Education , a free Google service for elementary schools, secondary schools, colleges and universities that provides a space and tools for teachers and students.

This pack includes unlimited storage space, security and administration controls, software for video calls and conferences, monitoring of activities, creation of user accounts… in Spain, many communities have opted for Gsuite Education for students and teachers to work safely in this ecosystem .

In addition, Chromebooks offer very adequate performance according to their features and price , something that is especially interesting in the more affordable models. Within the discounts offered for the educational sector, it is common to find Chromebooks offers for educational centers to acquire them at a lower price.

Considering that their primary market niche is education, Chromebooks have been mostly student-proofed. That is to say, with a robust design, moderately light and with good autonomy , so that they are comfortable to move and support the day-to-day life of the students. In this sense,

Of course, before buying a Chromebook it is essential to take into account what we want the computer for and what software we will use , since its simplicity acts as a limiting factor. And it is that with Chrome OS you are tied in a certain way to the Google suite on the one hand, at least in offline work or that does not depend on web apps.

In addition, although it offers a robust and effective experience for office automation, it is not the best solution if you carry out technical studies or photo, sound and video editing and require common software such as Photoshop, AutoCAD or MatLAB. In this sense, the software offer for computers with Windows and macOS operating systems is superior .

We highlighted above the good performance of these teams in relation to their hardware. Of course, if we take a look at their specifications, we will discover that in general they are noticeably more humble, especially in terms of processor and storage, to their Windows and macOS counterparts. The reason? They are optimized for Chrome OS and its operation in the cloud, with a strong dependence on the Internet connection .

Finally we will consider the price . And it is that as the proposals in Chromebook format are growing in aspirations and prices, the Windows computer market offers a very wide price range, with moderately powerful and versatile laptops at a cost similar to Chromebooks .

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