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Chromebooks, Netbooks, Notebooks & More – What’s right for you!

One of our clients recently wrote a grant to get federal funding for new computers for their classroom, and they based the grant request on the price of Chromebooks.
When the grant was approved and funded, the person who wrote the grant discovered that the Chromebooks would not work on their internal network and she contacted me for advice.

I transitioned the school into NetBooks, which are network ready and were able to be used on their internal network.

People get tripped up on the terms and types of mobile computers. There are Chromebooks, Netbooks, Notebooks and mobile workstations. All of which have distinctly different uses.

Chromebooks first and most importantly, do NOT use Windows for their operating system. They use the Chrome OS, the operating system produced by Google. Although Chromebooks look like a regular notebook they are not at all; they are specifically designed for the best web experience, but they are typically not suitable in a business environment and not capable of being utilized on an internal business network.

Chromebooks typically have a screen size that varies from 11” to 15” and the weight, although lighter than a Netbook or Notebook, will vary based on the screen size. The price is the typically below $200.

Since Chromebooks are web-based devices, they don’t need a lot of high-end specs or storage, they typically come with 2 to 4GB of memory and something like 16GB of internal storage, and are usually maxed out at 4GB – having virtually no expansion capability.

Moving on to the NetBook. Netbooks do utilize the Windows OS or operating System. Like the Chromebook they tend to be lightweight, but they typically ONLY come with an 11.6” or 12” screen, sometimes smaller but never bigger.

You can attach your Netbook to a windows-based network. Once again tho, a Netbook doesn’t typically have a lot of firepower. It will have a low-end processor and usually 4GB of RAM, and a small hard drive.

You would definitely NOT want to try to use a Netbook for gaming or high end accounting work – nothing with the need for fast processing speeds or lots of calculations.

The price is great, usually around $300 to $350, but it’s not a true business-class machine. You can get a full-blown Notebook for about the same price.

Notebooks can vary in specs, size and price from around $300 to over a thousand, depending up on processing power, memory, hard drive size and other features. They are intended to be the mobile version of a standard desktop computer.

Depending upon the specs of a Notebook, you can use it on a network, use it for basic gaming or high end processing, and you can choose any windows-based application to use with it.

A standard Notebook probably won’t have a dedicated graphics card, so wouldn’t be the best choice for high-end gaming or CAD work. Most people know this, but just in case, I should mention that a notebook and a laptop are the same thing.

A Mobile Workstation, which is still considered a notebook, is a very high-end powerful laptop with a dedicated graphics card, which means it doesn’t share the computer memory for the graphic interface, it has its own dedicated memory on the card.

The price matches the specs so Mobile Workstations don’t come cheap, not in terms of quality or price. Depending upon the model, you can even have multiple hard drives and processors.

It’s also important to note that all of these systems, the ChromeBook, the Netbook, the Notebook and the Mobile Workstations, have models with a touch-screen interface.

I didn’t even mention Tablets, which really refers to any unit with a keyboard that can either fold back away from the keyboard or be removed from the keyboard all together.

And, then there is the UltraBook; super thin, lightweight, high-end specs and sometimes a convertible tablet-type unit. The price goes with sizzle tho!