If you’re still on the fence about buying a Chromebook, this article may just push you over- to the “buy one” side that is.
I wrote a list of 10 benefits of getting one based on my experiences as a Windows user. These are all personal opinions and I tried to be as non-biased as possible.
I’m assuming you’re browsing to look for more information to help you decide to buy one or not. You’re reading facts, reviews, and now a list of Chromebook benefits. Or maybe you’re just a superfan who already owns one and you want to see if you share the same experiences.
I know I do that sometimes myself.
First, some background. I’m a Windows user by default. I’ve learned to master the basics of Windows and learned almost everything about it- from the user interface to the settings, to hacking and modifying files, and even to fixing up hardware issues. I’d consider myself to have a pretty advanced knowledge of the Windows operating system. I know how to treat my PC right and what makes it tick. I’m writing for PlatypusPlatypus on a Windows-based PC right now and I’d rather be doing it on my laptop.
When I first used one, I was very skeptical based on all the things people say about the laptop. Things like:
- “They’re useless when they’re offline and have no internet connection.”
- “They’re a joke.”
- “They can’t run any programs.”
- “They’re can’t connect to printers.”
- “They’re just an over-glorified netbook.”
Let me tell you, in about two hours, I found all those statements to be false.
Every single one of them.
Last updated: 5/23/17.
In fact, when you first start up your laptop, it boots up and asks you to sign in using your Google account. After this, it auto-updates and then gives you a welcome screen with all the information you’d need and addresses many questions you may have.
From browsing around these FAQs, I’ve learned that all those rumors are just that- rumors. If people who go around spreading these negative things about them actually took 5 minutes and played around on one, they’d learn their lesson.
I’m not going to go in-depth to answer all those statements above.
Because at PlatypusPlatypus, we already wrote articles addressing almost every single of one those statements. You can see what a Chromebook can do when it’s offline, or what programs a Chromebook can run, or how to connect your Chromebook to a printer, or even the difference between Chromebooks and Windows laptops.
In this article, I’m just going to list the top 10 Chromebook benefits I’ve encountered coming from Windows to the Chrome operating system.
Here we go.
Benefit 1: It’s blazing fast
Compared to my PC, it boots up in about 6 seconds from a cold boot. For non-techies, that means when the laptop is off, it takes only 6 seconds to go from you pushing the power button to the laptop is ready for action at the home screen. My PC takes about 45 seconds (for techheads- PC stats: Intel Pentium Duo Core 2.6GHz, 4GB SSD2 RAM, and 1TB HDD running Windows 7).
Regardless of the PC being a computer or laptop, it would be similar in boot speed with the same stats. It feels nearly instant when I start it up. The best part? When it auto-updates, it needs to do a system restart just like Windows. When you do this restart, it’s done in 6 seconds. How amazing is that? Try that on a Windows-based machine. It’s a PAIN. The fast boot is very, very convenient for when I just want to check email or do something quick. If I’m on the go, I’ll use it over the PC. No competition. Hands down.
Benefit 2: The trackpad gestures are well thought-out and intuitive
Mind you, I don’t really use laptops. I’ve been using a PC desktop for 99% of what I do until I got one. Now, I’ve had experience with Windows laptops, and I know how to use a mousepad/trackpad. However, the gestures on them…just suck.
You have gestures for nearly everything you want to do. It’s super convenient and you don’t even need to move your fingers to the keyboard. There are dedicated buttons for some functions, such as back and forth, but you can use the trackpad instead. It’s fast and intuitive.
Want to go back? Swipe left with two fingers.
Want to go forward? Swipe right with two fingers.
Want to switch tabs? Swipe left or right with three fingers.
Want to right click? Tap with two fingers.
Want to see all your windows at once? Swipe down with three fingers.
I’m sure there are more gestures I’m missing, but I use these nonstop.
Now, I know on a PC you can download mouse gestures for whatever browser you’re using. But even then, you’ll have a hard time configuring it to work the same way, or even provide the same functionality. I have to say, the mouse gestures are just win.
Benefit 3: The Search key
Google replaced the “caps lock” key with a search key. When you push it, it brings up a window that lets you search Google, the Chrome web store, and your apps simultaneously. You can just start typing a phrase and it’ll auto-populate a list as you type, just like how Google Instant works. No matter where you are in the system or what you’re doing, just press the Search key and look anything up or find anything in your system. It’s super convenient. I even use it instead of using “CTRL + T” to open a new tab. It’s one less button, actually.
Benefit 4: The Google Suite
Don’t get me wrong, I like Microsoft’s office suite. I use Word and Excel almost daily. However, I found Google’s Google Docs and Sheets much more intuitive and convenient. Why? Because they eliminate all the fluff you don’t need (just like PlatypusPlatypus…zing!). Seriously though, if you’ve never used Google Docs, go open up a document. The toolbars (or “ribbon”) at the top is compact and cozy. Google took out a lot of the functions you rarely use, or tucked them away in a menu. All the stuff you need is there. The same goes for Google Sheets over Excel. Both of them are really easy to use.
The best part? It automatically saves as you work. Not like how Excel and Word do. But literally, like every other second. All your work is saved in your Google Drive, which is basically a cloud-based service, for those who don’t know. If you don’t know what a cloud service is, it’s basically a server that stores your stuff so you can access it from any device. So, if you’re typing on Google Docs on your PC, you can type whatever you want, close it right away without saving, access it on your phone at work, then access it again later on your laptop. All your work is saved instantly and you can work on it from any device that has an internet connection and lets you connect to Google Docs. What exactly does this have to do with them? Well, I never really used the Suite until I got one. So, I’m gonna give it the benefit.
Benefit 5: Google Drive
This kinda goes hand-in-hand with the Google Suite. Google Drive is Google’s cloud network and they give you a free 10GB to store all your stuff. Upon purchase of a new laptop, you get 100GB for a period at no charge. I’ve always despised using cloud services because I’m afraid (and still am) of security issues. I use Google Drive to store my not-so-important stuff, and let me tell you, it’s convenient.
I can make a to-do list on my laptop and check it off on my phone. I’m using the free space Google provides on the device and plan to sign up. It got me using Google Drive (which is probably exactly what Google wants), but now I’m a big fan. They’ve converted me. How does this add to Chromebook benefits? Well, they generally have a 16GB SSD for storage. What this means is you can only store 16GB of data on your machine. The rest needs to either go into a USB drive, or into Google Drive. Most of your work, such as your Docs and Sheets, along with your photos and videos will be stored in Google Drive. It integrates really well with Drive and they both play nice.
Benefit 6: The Apps
Okay. Let me clear something up. The app store is called the Chrome web store. This is the same web store you can get on the Chrome web browser, which you can download on PC. The web store offers you thousands of free and paid apps that you can add to Chrome. You can get productivity tools, social networks, themes, games, movies, shows, etc. and they launch straight from your Chrome browser. They download directly to your machine but launch from the browser. Now, it works the same way.
However, it’s integrated fully with the apps you download. If you download an app into your laptop, it stores it locally. It’s saved on the 16GB drive. When you search your device using the Search key, it’ll show up right there. You can’t do that on a PC. Launching an app is as easy to double-clicking an icon on your PC’s desktop. You can even use voice commands on the Search screen to find apps on your machine, as well as in the app store. The apps I’ve downloaded are all high quality so far. The app store lets you read reviews, filter by paid and free, and by category.
That’s not all though. If you’re an Android smartphone user, think about your favorite apps. What if I told you that it’s coming to Chromebooks? Oh yes. Google’s bringing millions of apps over to Chromebooks.
Benefit 7: Multitasking Power
Multitasking is a breeze. Usually, multiple tasks mean multiple windows open. On a Chromebook, your windows will be multiple instances of the Chrome web browser and probably some apps. Most models have 2GB of RAM, which is enough to handle the majority of daily tasks. I can launch my email, 2 Google Docs, 2 tabs for research, 1 Google Sheets, a free clicker game (for when I get bored) app in the background, and YouTube for music.
It can handle all of this easily with no slowdown.
When I need to switch between any of the windows, I just use 3 fingers and swipe down. This brings up a screen overlay with all my windows at once, sort of like on a Mac. I’d rather much prefer this than using “ALT+TAB” or hovering over taskbar icons and finding the right window.
Benefit 8: Integration with Google products
Let’s face it. For most of us, Google controls a big part of our daily tasks and has a role in what and how we do things. So, with Google having so much power, it only makes sense to make it easier to work with Google, right? I’m talking about things like GMail, Google Map, YouTube, Google Play, and Google search. They have all of these built-in using an app, so it’s easy to launch any of these as an app. You can just hit the Search key and type it in, or click on it, or say it. Your laptopwill instantly launch any Google service and you can be on your way.
On a Windows PC, you have to launch your Chrome web browser, then click on apps, then click on the service you want. Or you have to click on your bookmarks bar, which I personally despise using an ugly bar across the top of my browser since I’m a minimalist (or at least wannabe minimalist). Or you have to actually type it into your address bar (Omnibar, on Chrome). They make this much easier and faster by providing integration.
Benefit 9: They automatically update
So, whenever you get an update from Windows, you may experience a few things:
- Your system annoys you with a popup
- Your system slows down as it downloads the update
- Your system restarts itself, maybe without your permission
- You need to wait for it to update, shut down, restart
- You have no idea what changes the update made
Sound familiar? As a Windows 7 user, I’ve experienced all of these.
On a Chromebook though, it’s almost the complete opposite. Well, maybe not opposite, but a convenient process.
When Chrome OS has an update, it’ll automatically download it into your system. Your browser will turn orange with a notification, and you simply click on update. There is absolutely no slowdown when it’s downloading a new update. You won’t even notice it. You can also update whenever you feel like it. It won’t bug you other than a color change. It’s very subtle.
Then, after you click update, it does it while you can work on other things. The update will complete, and it’ll then ask you to restart it to complete the update. Again, you can choose to keep working or restart it. Chances are, you’ll restart your device to finish the update.
Because it’ll only take like 6 seconds for it to restarts. Seriously.
After it restarts, you can view the changelog and see exactly what the update did, if you care. It’s not vague and doesn’t give you generic descriptions like “updated a Microsoft core service.”
For people like me who need to know everything, it really calms my nerves. I also like to see how Chome is improving itself. But that’s just me. Most people probably don’t care.
Benefit 10: They’re the cheapest bang for your buck for a laptop
Yes, the main reason why many people who are new to laptops are speculating buying one is the price. They’re super cheap and easily affordable, whether you don’t know the difference between Chrome OS and Windows OS, or if you’re a developer designing the next biggest app.
Most are under $300, and come with everything you need to get the most of your laptop.
All models have at least 2GB of RAM, a 16GB SSD drive, and most have an Intel processor. If you’re a poweruser, manufacturers such as HP and Acer have already begun making high-end models with performances that match entry-level Macbooks. You can check out the HP Chromebook 13 or the Acer 14 Chromebook for Work. Both of these are high performance. If you’re on the other side of the fence and you’re just looking for a cheap laptop, check out our guide of the best Chromebooks under $200.
You can do almost everything you need to do on one, ditch the clunky Windows. Save it for the heavy lifting. For everything else, there’s Chrome.
So, should you buy one? I say go for it.
So that’s my list of the top 10 Chromebook benefits. All of these points are real and personal. I’ve had firsthand experience with all of them and I could list 10 more, but honestly, I’m too lazy to type it out. Mine is quickly replacing my Windows PC and I pretty much use it to do everything other than Windows-exclusive programs, which is rare. The only other reason is that my PC has a bigger screen, so I use it to watch movies and play games. However, you can easily remedy that by hooking up your laptop to your monitor. I just don’t have a cable right now, but I’ll buy one later. In fact, earlier I was typing this benefit list on my PC, as you may remember. But now I’m in my bed, typing this on my laptop, using the power of Google Drive, heh. This is awesome.
Do you own one? How do you like it? Let me know in the comments.