Less is More
By relying on the cloud and Google’s rapidly expanding family of Chrome software, Samsung’s Chromebook 5 and Chromebox 3 are two of a kind for schools looking to cut down on the cost of getting and operating computers on campus. Because they are by their nature minimalist, they cost less than comparable desktops and notebooks to purchase, plus everything from programs to student data is stored on a server, so they’re easier to administer and keep running smoothly.
Which you choose depends as much on how mobile you want your teachers and student body to be.
The Series 5 Chromebook 550 picks up where the last Chromebook left off. It has a 12.1-inch screen that can show 1,280 by 800 resolution and weighs just 3.3-pounds. Inside is an Intel Celeron 867 dual-core processor that runs at 1.3GHz and has 2MB of on-bard cache. The system has all the ports you’re likely to need for either doing homework or teaching a class, including the ability to send high resolution images to a projector or monitor via Displayport, HDMI or DVI. The system has an SD card reader and a HD Web cam. It comes with 4GB of RAM and 16GB of solid state storage and costs $450 with WiFi and $100 more with a 3G data card built-in.
By contrast, the Chromebox 3 is meant to stay put in a computer lab, library or office. It’s a micro desktop unit that weighs just 2.5 pounds and is smaller than most classroom box. It can be screwed into a table or attached to the back of a monitor, creating the equivalent of an all-in-one computer. The Chromebox can drive up to two displays via a pair of Displayport connections and can be mated with either an optional wired or wireless keyboard. It’s powered by a 1.9GHz Celeron processor that has 2MB of on-chip cache and comes with 4GB of RAM as well as 16GB of solid state storage. It’s got WiFi and wired Ethernet and 6 USB ports.