Dell Latitude 13 Education Series -- Windows battles Chromebooks for the classroom

Google's Chromebooks are becoming synonymous with education. Schools are embracing them for the low cost and ease of use. It's hard to argue with that, but I am dubious that it is the best choice for students.

A Windows PC is still the best option for readying a student for the world of business. Outlook, Excel, Access -- these are the programs that a future successful person will learn. Today, Dell announces a new laptop that is focused on education and gives Chromebook a run for its money -- the Latitude 13 Education Series.

"Today, Dell has announced the new classroom-ready Latitude 13 Education Series laptop that is built to meet the needs of any student computing program. This laptop is designed to be tough to withstand heavy use by students in classrooms -- it has been subject to military-standard testing", says Brandon LeBlanc.

LeBlanc further explains, "the Latitude 13 Education Series laptop opens at 180 degrees to reduce stress in the hinge as it is carried around in weird ways by students and can also 'tattle' on students with a network activity light that illuminates when students connect to the WLAN. And finally, it is also built to be really secure as well with comprehensive encryption and advanced authentication and integration with Microsoft System Center".

Yes, you've read that right -- the laptop tattles on the student if they connect to WiFi. This is funny, as it means the student may be encouraged to use the Windows computer offline, while a Chromebook is almost useless offline.

My favorite thing about this Dell (other than it being super-sexy) is that it is extremely rugged. Kids these days are very careless with devices, so it is imperative that the laptop can withstand abuse. The trim of this computer is rubber and the keyboard is sealed, so a spilled drink won't destroy it. Plus, on touch-screen models, the screen will utilize Gorilla-glass for extra protection.

Pricing will start at $539 and comes in several configurations and colors -- red, blue and black. Of course, this pricing means that Chromebooks will continue to be more attractive for schools looking to save a lot of money. However, they should remember an important lesson -- you get what you pay for.

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