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NOOBS seems like it would save time for beginner. Is there any con of using it versus installing from a regular image?

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Unless you want the dual boot capability NOOBS is "wasting" 1.3GB of the available space on your SDCard for zero benefit.

NOOBS has been forked to PINN - see https://www.raspberrypi.org/forums/viewtopic.php?t=142574 which has some wonderful extras (like password reset and filesystem checking). If you want dual boot use PINN.

For a user who just wants plain Raspbian - you should use a plain download and Etcher to write your SDCard.

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