Note: This post was originally uploaded in November 2017, but hopefully it can help a budget-minded student today.
As a college student, it’s nice to have a laptop to throw in the backpack for notes and work. The downside is the amount of stress being placed on said laptop, because a backpack isn’t the safest place for anything, let alone fragile laptops. So, I decided to have a dedicated laptop that stays in my backpack. However, I don’t have the cash for a brand new one, nor do I want to risk damaging a new one, so I use a 2008-ish Dell Latitude D630 I had lying around. I initially installed Windows 10, which ran pretty well. Now I’m giving Chrome OS a try. How does it stack up?
Now this isn’t full-on Chrome OS, as only OEMs can get access to that. It’s a version of Chromium OS being developed by NeverWare for their CloudReady operating system. Installation is simple with a USB flash drive, and while I could’ve dual booted, this solid-state drive is just 60 GB, so I decided against that. Compared to Windows 10, startup is not as fast, but it’s only by a few seconds. The overall use of Chrome OS is not faster than Windows 10, but it’s not slower. If anything, it just runs smoother. There were hiccups with Windows 10 if I began to use more than Chrome, but since Chrome is the only thing on here, the hiccups are eliminated. Battery life is another huge factor I pay attention to, due to taking notes in class. It hasn’t improved, however the “time left” it gives is more accurate and reliable. It still changes rapidly, but not to the same degree as on Windows 10.
The advantage to Chrome OS over Windows isn’t so much a greater performance increase, but a better interface for me personally. Because everything I do would be done in Chrome anyway, it’s nicer having an entire taskbar just for Chrome apps and websites for organization. Because of that, I’ll be keeping NeverWare CloudReady on this laptop. It creates a streamlined, smoother environment, and since I didn’t have Windows activated anyway, I’m not missing out on a full Windows experience.