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Chromebooks vs Netbooks

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Started by Lynne Crowe 05 Nov 2014 6:32pm () Replies (13)

I have a colleague trying to promote a HP Stream Netbook (2gb Ram, 32 Gb Hardrive) as an alternative to a chromebook for students. I am sold on Chromebooks but would really appreciate any comments about Netbooks in schools.


  • Hamish McLean (View all users posts) 05 Nov 2014 6:41pm ()

    Hi Lynne,

    Firstly do you mean a 320Gb hard drive?  I'm sure thats a typo.  

    A bit about us.  We run a 1:1 programme from Y5-8.  117 netbooks are almost 3 years old, and about 80 chromeboks are 2 years old with another 60 Chromebooks that were purchased this year.  

    Netbooks have a few advantages to chromebooks, and similarly chromebooks have some advantages also.  It really depends on what you want to use them for.  Netbooks run flash, and all websites... so will run everything possible including Minecraft (an awesome tool for learning when used properly)

    Chromebooks use google doc's very well (obviously), so if you are a GAFE school then thats the device you'll want to stick with.  

    All devices have limitations in respect to their processor and RAM.  2Gb as you mentioned is not enough for 2014 and especially 2015.  As time goes on, we require more from our devices and operating systems also require increasingly more.  So 4Gb would be minimum for my school purchases, bearing in mind we want 2-3 years of usage from our systems... 


  • Lynne Crowe (View all users posts) 05 Nov 2014 6:50pm ()

    Hi Hamish

    No mistake re the hard drive size according to the info sheet from HP! It runs Windows 8.1 Bing and sells for about $400 (educational)!

    Yes we are a GAFE school so will be going with chromebooks but just wanted to have some more knowledge about these netbooks.


  • Hamish McLean (View all users posts) 05 Nov 2014 6:54pm ()

    wow... that really annoys me.  Companies producting a product thats essentially useless.  No doubt some schools will buy this, and then have wasted their money....  :(

    (As you can get a 4Gb RAM, 2Ghz intel haswell processor, 16Gb of SSH storage in a chromebook for under 400  [$387])

    I've never heard about a hard drive thats 32Gb for a windows or OSx device.  As after formatting the hard drive will only be 29Gb, and windows 8.* requres 2.5Gb of space.  so essentially you have a 25Gb alotment for space.   The only reason for netbooks is the use of windows based applications.  25Gb would get used up pretty quickly..  

    The only advantage is

    -software that you can install which requires windows.  (very little with 32Gb)

    -browsers that support flash.  (as a chromebook user you'd know that chrome is a HTML5 browser so can't run flash.

  • Patrick Dunford (View all users posts) 13 Nov 2014 10:30am ()

    32G device is likely to be an SSD, which are available in much smaller sizes due to high cost. 

    I have not heard that Chrome on a Chromebook cannot run flash and have not yet seen any website which could not run Chrome due to a lack of flash.

  • Hamish McLean (View all users posts) 13 Nov 2014 10:34am ()

    Chrome in a Chromebook is based on and uses HTML5.0 which doesn't use flash correctly.    Other browsers like iE, firefox, safari still have plugins that alow flash.  There are many reason that chrome wont alow flash, the most being power consumption and viruses. 

    Flash is a thing of the past, and HTML5.0 doesnt need to use it.  Most websites now have a HTML compatability, so you shouldn't see much difference.  But there is always the exception.   

  • Patrick Dunford (View all users posts) 13 Nov 2014 11:16am ()

    Chrome includes the Flash player, which has been integrated into all versions of Chrome for quite a long time. 

  • Hamish McLean (View all users posts) 13 Nov 2014 11:24am ()

    Some applications do not support the Chrome web browser or have a limited 
    feature set when running in Chrome. Other applications require plug-ins like Java 
    and Silverlight. While Chromebooks have Flash built-in, they do not support most 
    flash enabled plug-ins.  So saying chrome supports flash is correct.  But they still wont run flash like it runs on a OSx or windows system.  

  • Rob Gunn (View all users posts) 13 Nov 2014 2:35pm ()

    We are utilise a variety of platforms across the school. In Yr 5-6 we are a developing 1:1 environment using GAFE and chromebooks. These devices are supported by hardware that the school purchases including ipads and iMacs. 

    We have found very few limitations with our chromebooks except for some initial connectivity issues. We have found that within the programmes the web tools that we use have been hassle free and have had more issues with our 3 year old iMacs than the chromebooks software wise. I personally do not like windows due to the extra management required. Anybody with some technical interest can manage the chromebook environment with ease. I agree that 2GB RAM is a limitation of all devices but this will increase (as will cost) but has been sufficient for our programmes form multimedia creations, streaming to basic applications and browsing.

    In the end it is what you want to achieve for your students and the path that you want to talk. Just my 2 cents :)


  • Shane (View all users posts) 13 Nov 2014 3:09pm ()

    We've been running a mixed bag in our BYOD programme at Yr 7-8. From our perspective of the school devices I'd recommend the Chromebooks if you have GAFE. Otherwise, I'd probably still recommend them as we find they are easier to manage, have better battery life than the netbooks and are more robust.

    I haven't run across any limitations with running Flash on these - but if I did, I'd try disabling the inbuilt Flash and loading the latest Adobe version.

    2gb is getting a bit low these days - but we haven't noticed it very often.

  • Patrick Dunford (View all users posts) 13 Nov 2014 5:38pm ()

    2 GB is a Windows desktop-orientated memory specification. ChromeOS is a much lighter operating system as can be seen by its startup time. It would be incorrect to assume that the memory specifications for different operating systems are the same.

  • Shane (View all users posts) 13 Nov 2014 6:49pm ()

    Ah - thanks for that Patrick; explains why they don't seem to notice that they 'only' have 2 gb.

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