Laptop for school?

I’m browsing around looking for a laptop for my sister (who is terrible with technology) and I need some pointers. Do you guys think that Chromebooks are worth it? They are cheap, but I hear you need the internet to work on word documents. She will only use it for internet browsing (Facebook) and working on homework.

Chromebooks are good laptops for school. You definitely need internet but it doesn’t have to be always-on or it won’t work. They’re designed to work well with Google Drive and Google Docs, so you’ll want to be able to sync.

However, there are a lot of different models of Chromebook made by different manufacturers. ASUS, Samsung, etc. I don’t know much about that aspect though. ASUS is a strong brand overall and if I were to buy one I’d probably go with them.


I really like the hardware I have bought form them. I’m also looking at something like this. 500GB hard drive that is in the keyboard, which is neat. The tablet option is nice though for taking notes, not angry birds.

I hate tablets for note-taking personally because keyboards or written word are faster, IMO. Plus, there’s a lot of science surrounding memory and writing (basically, you’re more likely to remember something if you wrote it). Finally, if she’s a bit technically challenged, consider the risk that break-away screen poses and how much more fragile the overall product is with that tiny linchpin.


My wife, who deals with tech for our local school system, is a big fan of Chromebooks. If you just want a laptop for internet browsing and word processing they seem like a great choice.

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Comparing the Chromebook to a laptop, it’s hard to stay with the Chromebook. It had a much larger hard drive and screen.

The easiest way to look at a Chromebook is, “Can I do everything I need to do in a web browser?” If you can, then you can get by with a Chromebook. If there’s any doubt there will be a need for applications you might want to consider a laptop.

It’s going to need need Microsoft word, she is not good with Google Docs.

I don’t know if you can install the Microsoft Suite on it. Chromebook uses Software as a service from the cloud, and the word processing would come from Google Docs. The ASUS one you are looking at has 32 GB of flash memory only. The 100 GB is cloud storage so everything you work on is saved to the cloud. If it cannot connect to the internet the Chromebook is a paperweight. That being said because those files are saved in the cloud they could be pulled off from any computer.

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If she’s dealing in school work HDD size isn’t that big an issues and shouldn’t be a huge limiting factor as you’re shopping around, IMO; Word file are tiny and even PowerPoints aren’t but a handful of MBs unless you’re making an hour-long presentation

My fear is that she will not be able to get Wifi for some reason and be out of luck. Plus she is comfortable with microsoft word.

The harddrive space on the Chromebooks scary me honestly. It states it has 32 GB, but we all know it wouldn’t have that much space. I’m not sure what types of videos or assignment she will have to be able to access and I don’t want to limit her. The download for Microsoft Office 2013 alone is 3.0 gigabytes. I just feel more safe getting her something with some buffer.

Chromebook isn’t like a regular computer, you don’t install things on it. The 32 GB flash memory is basically there to hold the necessary files with leftover space for updates. It sounds like the safer bet would be a standard laptop for her needs, that’s what she would probably be more comfortable with.

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I’'m not speaking for or about the Chromebook necessarily (I’ve no personal experience with them) I speaking in generalities; if you find yourself in a situation where it’s, say, 320 GB or 500 GB, that shouldn’t be a deciding factor when it comes to storage of her school work. I still assert the break-away model you linked earlier is a bad idea for the technically incompetent; remember it’s not what you would like, need, or think is awesome, it’s what she needs and won’t break halfway through the semester :wink:

Also, she’ll almost assuredly have free wiki at school in this day and age and if she’s only comfortable with Word then the decision regarding the Chromebook has already made itself :wink: