The Rise of Chromebook Headphones: Why Are They So Popular?

A cursory glance at Google trends reveals Chromebooks to be a very popular search topic. Lots of people across the world are looking to learn a few things about Chromebooks, with search phrases hitting the 100 mark almost every year in the last 3 years or so.

The popularity of Chromebooks has also lead to another product getting a lot of attention – Chromebook headphones. Every year, more and more people search for Chromebook headphones according to Google Trends. They are essentially one of the must have Chromebook accessories, and for good reason.

Most Chromebooks ship out with built-in microphones and speakers, but there are situations where the built-in audio system might not work out so well. Like when you are in a coffee shop and you want to catch a video on YouTube. You can’t shush everyone to in order to listen to your video. What you can do is get yourself a nice pair of headphones to use with your Chromebook.

Top Audio Equipment Manufacturers Are Getting In on The Game

Another sign that Chromebook headphones are the new popular kid on the block is the fact that top headphone brands have a line of dedicated Chromebook headphones. Bose, Beyerdynamic, Sony and Life is Good (LG) Electronics all have audio solutions for Chromebooks.

But the popularity of Chromebook headphones is all down to the popularity of the platform. To understand why these headphones are so popular, we should look at why Chromebooks are popular in the first place.

Attractive Pricing

The success of Chromebooks, and the Chrome OS is well documented. For starters, most people jump on the Chromebook bandwagon because of the price tag. Before Chromebooks, owning a decent laptop meant parting with more than $500.

Not today though because you can get a laptop powered by Chrome OS for half of that. That’s the same price for a medium range smartphone!

Performance

Once the price draws you in and you buy your first Chromebook, you don’t expect much from it. The hardware specs are not that impressive with some laptops running Celeron processors while their Windows counterparts run the latest core i7 processors with tons of RAM.

You’re however pleasantly surprised to see that your low-spec Chromebook boots a whole lot faster than any high end laptop. In fact, Chromebooks boot almost instantly when you turn press the power button.

That’s because they run on Chrome OS, an operating system made from Google’s Chrome browser. Chrome OS uses relatively few computer resources to get work done, unlike other platforms that require heaps of RAM and CPU cycles just to open a browser.

If you are coming from Windows, you probably know the Chrome browser takes up a lot of resources. Trying opening many tabs at once and you run the danger of having the whole computer freezing up on you.

That doesn’t happen on Chrome OS though. You can open as many tabs as you want without degrading performance. In fact, even if you open 20 tabs concurrently, the system doesn’t even show signs of lagging.

Remember, you are getting all that performance from a computer with very limited resources here, so that’s quite impressive.

Battery Life

Another thing that draws you to make a Chromebook your main computer is the battery life. Most laptops that run on Chrome OS clock more than 10 hours on a single charge. Benchmark tests show that even intensive use such as watching videos online or heavy web browsing doesn’t degrade the battery performance.

Online Apps

Traditionally, you had to purchase or download an application, install it on your computer and run it. With Chromebooks, you don’t have to. All your apps such as word processors, spreadsheets, email, and a whole slew of tools can be accessed through the internet. That means there’s no need to download any apps on your Chromebook. Just connect to the internet and you can do almost everything.

However, even if you are not connected to the internet, you can use some apps offline and later sync them to when you get an internet connection. Google also hinted that later in 2017, new versions of Chromebooks will be able to run Android apps natively. That means you’ll be able to do a whole lot more on your Chromebook.

Those are some of the reasons why people are falling in love with Chromebooks. These reasons also contribute to the popularity of Chromebook headphones. Better get yours today.

Why Schools Should Buy Chromebook Headphones in Bulk

Teaching has evolved over the decades and with each evolution, new teaching methods emerge. Today, classes operate at maximum capacity meaning we have to leverage on technology to maximize learning and facilitate teaching.

Incorporating technology in the learning environment started when the basic whiteboards were replaced with overhead projectors. Later on tablets replaced textbooks, and today, headphones are sort after to overcome audio challenges in the classroom.

Chromebook laptops have leaped into the classroom setting because of several reasons:

  • Price: A Chromebook delivers the same functionality as most laptops, but comes at a fraction of the cost. That means every student can own a laptop.
  • Security: Chromebooks are the most secure laptops in the world because of how their OS operates. Even world-class hackers tip their hat for the Chrome OS.
  • Reliability: A Chromebook on full battery can handle intensive use for an entire day without charging.
  • Instant Power On: Most laptops take anywhere between a few seconds and whole minutes to boot. Chromebooks boot up instantly meaning kids start learning immediately.

To make Chromebooks even more effective as learning instruments, it’s wise to accessorize them with headphones, preferably ones with built-in microphones. Microphones minimize the distractions normally associated with the school environment, thereby maximizing learning and teaching efforts.

Why Schools Should Buy Chromebook Headphones In Bulk

However, buying headphones in singles as opposed to buying in bulk can create a budgetary nightmare. For starters, buying individual headphones means the school doesn’t enjoy the economies of scale. Rarely will you get a discount when you buy a single item, but when you buy in bulk, the seller always cuts off a percentage off the asking price.

Secondly, by buying the headphones in bulk the school’s spending is limited to one budgetary cycle. For instance, a school can buy several thousand headphones at one go in the beginning of the school year and forget about buying new headphones for an entire school year.

However, buying a few headphones at a time means the school is always accounting for money to acquire new headphones. That’s not workable for most schools and districts due to ongoing budgetary cuts.

How to Choose the Right Headphones for Chromebooks

Now that we agree schools should buy Chromebook headphones in bulk, you might be wondering how you should go about choosing the right Chromebook headphones for a classroom setting.

There are only a few things you should really look into when buying headphones for a classroom. Some of these things are specific to the Chromebook laptops, but they can apply in other cases where you need headphones for classroom settings. Let’s kick off with the general variables you have to take into account.

General Variables

  1. Budget and Longevity

The school’s budget and that of the school district greatly influence purchase decisions. Generally, schools would prefer to spend only once on headphone purchases. Therefore, you’ll have to choose headphones that will last all year long. That includes both testing and actual use.

Ask yourself, how much will it cost the school to purchase headphones for testing and all year-long use? If the cost is a bit high, you may contemplate buying small samples first for testing, and when you get the right headphones that won’t affect the kid’s hearing; you can place a bulk order.

  1. Durability

With schools trying to rein in spending at every possible chance, the only way to get the school or district to commit to Chromebook headphones is with a guarantee from the manufacturer. The manufacturer must be able to guarantee the headphones will survive the war and tear of being folded, stretched and dropped expected among in young students.

  1. Comfort

Learning and testing call for high levels of attention that cannot be attained when an object sits awkwardly on the ears. While trying out different headphones stick with the ones comfortable for the kids. That will help them stay focused and get the most out of their Chromebooks at school. That said, the most comfortable headphones are the over-the-ear models because they sit comfortably and block out noise interference.

Chromebook Specific Variables

  1. USB Type C Connections

Chromebooks sometimes may not have a headphone jack. Instead they have a USB port where you can plug in any media you want to use with the laptop. Therefore you have to make sure the headphones you are about to buy have a USB Type C connector rather than a jack.

  1. Stereo

Almost all Chromebooks support stereo sound transmission. That means audio from the laptops goes over two channels before getting to the output device. Stereo headphones have the advantage of making digital signals sound more naturally than mono headphones.

Does Buying a Chromebook Headphones with A Microphone Worth the Extra Cost?

You are probably vaguely familiar with Chromebooks, Google powered netbooks that cost the same amount as a low end smartphone. If you are a ‘power user’ then you may have dismissed the entire Chromebook species as unworthy of anything other than posting a couple of tweets and checking your email. If you are in this group, let’s look at a couple of reasons why you should buy a Chromebook before we talk about separate headsets for your Chromebook.

Why Buy a Chromebook

You shouldn’t be too quick to judge though. There are dozens of reasons why all major laptop manufacturers have jumped on the Chromebook bandwagon. These Chromebooks come with decent hardware specs, and amazing performance levels. And the good news is, with a few hundred dollars, you can own one. That’s a fraction of the cost you’d pay for an Apple or a Windows laptop.

  1. Chrome OS Runs Doesn’t Gobble Up Computer Resources

The reason why Chromebooks are so cheap is because they Google’s Chrome OS. The OS uses fewer resources, unlike other OSes. That means manufacturers can stick cheap hardware on Chromebooks and sell them for a fraction of the price you’d pay for a traditional laptop.

Does cheaper hardware mean poor performance? In the case of Chromebooks, the answer is a definite no. Chrome OS is basically a modified version of the Chrome browser. That means the OS doesn’t require vast system resources to get things done. In fact, low-end Chromebooks boot instantly, which you cannot say for other laptops. The downside however is, you have to connect your Chromebook to the internet to accomplish most tasks.

  1. Instant Access to Online Apps

Google and other third parties have done a lot improve on this with more and more apps supporting offline use. These apps later synchronize with their respective web services once you reconnect to the internet, so that’s not too much of a disadvantage. Also, the newest version of Chrome OS will support Android applications later on this year.

Therefore, if you find yourself doing most of your work on the internet, it’s very advisable to invest in a Chromebook costing a couple of hundred dollars than buying a laptop that costs thousands more.

Those are just two reasons why you should buy a Chromebook. There are lots of other reasons but hopefully these will convince you Chrome OS is a serious contender. Now, let’s move on to the real meat of the article: Do you need to buy a separate headphones and microphone for your Chromebook?

 

 

You Should Invest in a Headset

Most Chromebooks come with an in-built camera, microphone and speaker. Most of the time they go about their job very well, allowing you to take advantage of Google Hangouts and other voice and video conferencing platforms.

However, some circumstances call for a dedicated pair of headphones and a microphone. Take the following situations for example.

  1. You are on the road and someone calls you on Google Hangouts. Obviously, the built-in microphone and speakers won’t help you very much here because of the noise interference. A separate microphone and mic with noise cancellation allows you to hold your end of the conversation.
  2. You are in the library and you don’t want to disturb others around you. If you use the built-in speaker and microphone pair, everyone around you will shush you. A separate microphone and headphone makes allows you to have discrete conversations without being disturbed or getting on the nerves of everyone else around you.
  3. For teachers and educators, separate headphones and microphones can increase productivity levels in the classroom. A teacher can control the volume settings selecting which audio track students listen too. That may very well put an end to classroom distractions where several speakers talk at once.
  4. You are attending a virtual class. The beauty about virtual classes, or online learning, is that you can study from anywhere. During your lunch break, you can jump into one of these classes and get in an hour of class time. Using the built-in speakers and microphone won’t do you a great deal of service, but a separate headphone and microphone will.

Again, those are some of the benefits of buying separate headphones and microphones with Chromebooks. There are lots of other situation-specific reasons to do this, but it’s worth the extra cost. Also, if you are conscious about how traditional headsets look (at times you look like a lost air traffic controller), there are discreetly designed audio systems that don’t have a protruding microphone.