Thursday, April 5, 2018

Podcast Episode 010: Chromebook Buying Tips

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In this episode: Chromebook Buying Tips 

Episode 010: Chromebook Buying Tips 


Picking up where I left off yesterday today's episode is all about Chromebooks. As far as processors go most education users will find a standard entry-level processor to be more than sufficient for light computing needs associated with school work. You can step up to more advanced Intel i5 and i7 processors if you plan on doing a lot of graphics or photo editing work with your Chromebook. However for most of us the standard processors will perform pretty well no matter which model you choose.

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Chromebooks with 11.6 inch screens are chosen by many schools for their students. If this is a personal device you can find screen sizes anywhere from 12 to 14 in commonly available. You can even find a full size 15 in screen if you look hard enough. If you are looking for bigger screens, check into other form factors, like Chromebases, Chromebits, or Chromeboxes.

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Some people who have used a PC with a separate keyboard for most of their Computing lives have told me that they find Chromebook keyboards to be a bit cramped when they first get started with them. In my experience, most of these complaints quickly go away after the user lives with the device for a short period of time.

Chromebook keyboards tend to be pretty standardized. While 15 in PC keyboards often include a separate number pad on the right, a 15 inch Chromebook will not. The Google pixel book which offers a roughly 12in screen has an extra key in the bottom row for quick access to Google Assistant.

Like PCs, Chromebooks are also moving increasingly toward 360 degree hinges and touch screen input. this could be extremely helpful when using a device in a classroom and utilizing Google Cast EDU to lead instruction. some Chromebooks now also support stylus input. Recently I splurged and treated myself to a Google pixel book which offers stylus input as well. I must say that this is one of the finest computing devices I have ever used, and has a very roomy keyboard.

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 As far as memory and storage go many of the early Chromebooks were released with two GB of onboard Ram. This is usually more than sufficient foremost online word processing and document creation needs.  16 GB of onboard storage  was widely accepted for quite some time because most document storage occurred in Google Drive in the cloud. With newer devices supporting Android apps this will need to change quickly. If you are buying a new Chromebook off the shelves, I would encourage you to look for no less than 4 gig of RAM and no less than 32 gig of onboard solid state drive storage. you can run this up to 128 gig all the way to 512 gig in some Chromebooks if your needs require. however most of us will be fine with a 4/32 arrangement.

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price is one of the key features of Chromebooks. most of us will be very pleased with a Chromebook that we spend less than $300 for. Some very good professional-grade Chromebooks from Samsung, Asus, Acer, and others may come in around $500, and you will be very happy with their upgraded performance.  Google pixel books can quickly exceed four digits, and in my opinion even the lowest end will exceed most expectations and computing needs.

Before I close, I would like to reiterate my statement in the opening episode of this podcast. I do not receive any compensation for products or brands mentioned in this episode, nor will I seek or accept any payments, incentives, or gifts for doing so. These are my personal opinions and do not reflect those of my employer in any way.

All in all, many casual users will find Chromebooks a surprising and refreshingly simple alternative to traditional laptop computers. That coupled with they're relatively low price can make Chromebooks a great choice for your next personal computing purchase.

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