Chromebook benefits and disadvantages. See the pros and cons.

10 (Real) Chromebook Benefits I’ve Discovered as a Windows User (2017)

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 just for you.

These are all personal opinions and I tried to be as non-biased as possible, but sometimes it’s very difficult not to.

Nonetheless, read them over and see if you can resonate with a few of them.

Let’s go over some of the reasons why you may want to get a Chromebook for yourself.

Last updated: 8/6/17.

 

Should you buy a Chromebook?

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 myself.

First, some background so you can put this whole thing into context.

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 PC right now, but I’d rather be doing it on my Chromebook.

When I first used one, I was very skeptical based on all the things people say about the laptop.

You may have heard a few of them yourself:

  • “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.

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. It’s sort of like an interactive FAQ module that a lot of websites use nowadays.

And let me tell you- just from reading this intro to Chromebooks, I learned that a lot of those rumors are just that- rumors. And this is just when I first started up my Chromebook.

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.

But…I’m not going to go in-depth to answer all those statements above.

Why?

Because I’ve already written tons of 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.

For this list specifically, 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 (literally) blazing fast

Chromebooks boot up very quickly.
Chromebooks are super fast. They boot up in less than 10 seconds and have a very lightweight operating system.

You’ve probably heard from the commercials that Chromebooks boot up crazy 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. (Of course, I’d rather use my phone, but that’s just a (bad) example.)

If I’m on the go, I’ll use it over the PC. No competition. Hands down.

Benefit 2: The trackpad gestures are convenient and intuitive

Chromebook have awesome touchpad gestures.
The touchpad gestures are awesome. You can go back, forward, switch tabs, and switch apps in a single touch or swipe of your fingers.

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 recently.

I’ve had experience with Windows laptops, and I know how to use a mousepad/trackpad. However, they don’t really have any gestures. If you want to go back a page in your browser, you have to click the “back” button or press the Backspace key.

(Remember when using Backspace to go back was a thing? The “go back with backspace” function has been removed from Chrome OS, but you can easily get it back if you want.)

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 navigation in the browser, but you can use the trackpad instead.

Pretty much all the common actions you perform on your laptop are covered with a gesture:

  • 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.

These are just a few of the common ones. I’ve written a complete list of all the gestures if you want to see them all.

I know on a PC you can download mouse gesture apps for whatever browser you’re using. But even then, having it built-in is nice. The mouse gestures are just win.

Benefit 3: The Finder key

The Finder key launcher the app launcher.
The Finder key brings up your app launcher and a Google search box instantly.

Google replaced the “caps lock” key with a search key. I call it the “Finder” key.

When you press it, it brings up the Launcher that lets you search Google, the Chrome Seb Store, and your apps simultaneously.

You can even search Google (wow).

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 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 to press actually.

 

Benefit 4: The Google Suite

Google's Office Suit makes it easy to get productive.
Google’s Office Suite makes it easy to get productive.

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, try it out. It’s one of the best apps for word processing (and it’s free).

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 essential stuff you need is there. The same goes for Google Sheets and Slides. They take on a minimalist approach and makes creating documents, spreadsheets, and presentations very easy and intuitive.

The best part? It automatically saves as you work.

Not like how Excel and Word autosave, but literally, like every other second.

All your work is saved in your Google Drive account, which is basically a free (with paid options) 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. You have access to your stuff anywhere on the planet with a WiFi connection.

Benefit 5: Google Drive

Google Drive is a free cloud service with paid plans.
Google Drives gets you more storage capacity on your Chromebook without having to pay for it, unless you need a lot of space.

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.

That’s decent, but if you have images, videos, drafts, files, and other stuff saved on your hard disk, it fills up quickly.

Then you need to either expand your storage space using a USB drive, external hard drive, or SD card.

Or you can just use Google Drive. Most of your work, such as your Docs and Sheets, along with your photos and videos can be stored with the click of a button (or touch of your finger). 

Chromebooks are made to integrate with Drive. You can exclusive options and convenience that you can’t get with Drive on Windows or Mac.

 

Benefit 6: The Apps

Chromebooks have thousands of free and paid apps to customize your Chromebook.
The Chrome Web Store has thousands of apps that let you completely customize your Chromebook.

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.

The store offers you thousands of free and paid apps that you can add to Chrome (whether you’re on a Chromebook, Mac, or PC).

You can get productivity tools, social networks, Skype, mesmerizing themes, awesome games, movies, shows, etc. and they launch straight from your Chrome Browser. No downloads required. Just add to Chrome and go.

After you install an app, you can use the Finder key to launch it like nothing.

Need to quick-launch Arcane Legends? Just press the Finder key and bam, it’s right there. Or you can search for it using the search box. It’s like all your stuff that you actually use in one handy window.

You can’t do that on a PC.

 

Launching an app couldn’t be easier. You can even use voice commands on the Launcher screen to find apps on your machine, as well as in the app store.

I’ve installed dozens upon dozens of apps throughout my time writing all these articles here. The Chrome Web Store has an app for everything (literally). And you can read reviews, filter by paid and free, and by category to make sorting easier.

That’s not all. If you’re an Android user, think about your favorite apps.

What if I told you that they’re coming to Chromebook?

What if I told you that you’ll be able to play your favorite games or use your favorite social apps on your laptop?

What if I told you that you’ll be able to install apps from the Chrome Web Store and the Google Play Store so you’ll literally have two platforms and thousands of apps to play around with?

Oh yes. Google’s bringing millions of apps over to Chromebooks.

Update: The Play Store has been released and is rolling out. You can read more about it or see if your Chromebook is getting the update.

If it is, you can force the update now so you don’t have to wait.

Benefit 7: Multitasking Power

Multitasking on a Chromebook.
Multitasking is easy on a Chromebook with the overlay view to make switching apps fast and simple.

Multitasking is a breeze.

Usually, multiple tasks mean multiple windows open and a messy work area.

On a Chromebook, you have an overlay view that shows all your apps just like on a PC or Mac.

You’ll also probably have multiple tabs running which is also easy to switch between tabs using a trackpad gesture.

And you’ll probably have some apps. Most models have 2GB of RAM, but that’s quickly being replaced with 4GB models in the newer 2017 Chromebooks- this is enough to handle the majority of daily tasks.

I can launch my email, browse the ‘net, have a few apps running, and watch some news clips without any lag.

It can handle all of this easily and only really stutters if I intentionally try to slow it down.

When I need to switch between anything, I just use 3 fingers and swipe down. This brings up the screen overlay with all my apps on one screen.

I’d rather much prefer this than using “ALT+TAB.” Have you tried using it with lots of windows and programs running simultaneously? Or how about hovering over the taskbar icons and finding the right window or application? It’s a pain.

 

Benefit 8: Integration with Google products

Integration with Google products on a Chromebook is built-in.
Integration with Google products on a Chromebook is built-in.

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 Maps, YouTube, Google Play, and even Google search.

Chromebooks are completely compatible with these apps and tons of other Google products. You can install these apps and your laptop will integrate directly with them no sweat.

They also launch directly from your desktop rather than having to navigate to Google Maps or Gmail. You can just hit the Finder key and type it in, or click on it, or say it. Your laptop will instantly launch any Google product in a snap.

On a Windows PC, you have to launch your Chrome Web Browser, and then click on apps, and then click on the service you want.

I know I’m being nitpicky, but if you think about the aggregate time you save. They make this much easier and faster by providing direct integration with their product.

 

Benefit 9: They automatically update

Updating a Chromebook requires no effort.
Chromebooks update automatically so you get the best and most secure operating system always.

Whenever you get an update from Windows, you may experience a few things:

  1. Your system annoys you with a popup
  2. Your system slows down as it downloads the update
  3. Your system restarts itself, maybe without your permission
  4. You need to wait for it to update, shut down, restart
  5. You have no idea what changes the update made

Sound familiar? As a Windows 7 (now Windows 10) user, I’ve experienced all of these.

On a Chromebook though, it’s almost the complete opposite.

Well, maybe not complete opposite, but it’s a lot more convenient. That’s for sure.

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. Or it’ll do it automatically when you restart your laptop.

There’s 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 about updates. I’m freakin’ serious.

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.

Why?

Because it’ll only take like 6 seconds for it to restart.

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.” It’s pretty transparent about them.

I like to know what exactly the update did (since I’m paranoid), but that’s just me. Most people probably don’t care. And that’s completely fine.

Benefit 10: They’re the cheapest bang for your buck

Chromebooks are extremely cheap and good for kids and students.
Chromebooks are very cheap and affordable. Perfect for kids, students, and professionals.

The main reason why many people find Chromebooks an attractive option is the price.

They’re super cheap and easily affordable. Students, kids, and professionals can all take advantage of the price. It makes it very easy to bite and snag one for yourself.

In fact, they’re taking over schools across the nation. Dozens of schools have already made the switch to Chromebooks because of their affordability, speed, ease-of-use, automatic updates, and price.

The average price for an entry Chromebook is around $150, but you can even go lower and buy one used for under $100. The performance versions can go all the way up to $999, but that’s for the hardcore enthusiasts. are under $300, and come with everything you need to get the most of your laptop.

All models have at least 2GB of RAM and a 16GB SSD for storage.

If you’re a poweruser, manufacturers such as HP and Acer have already begun making high-end models with performance in mind.

Update: The Samsung Plus and Pro are probably the most powerful Chromebooks of 2017.

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. Ditch the clunky Windows. Save it for the heavy lifting.

For everything else, there’s Chrome.

Things I don’t like about using a Chromebook (Chromebook cons)

Of course, no operating system is perfect. Here are few things I wish could be improved:

Lack of hardware options

Some laptops offer you the ability to upgrade to a more powerful processor, add more RAM, or get more storage space. But the majority don’t. They’re not built to handle resource-hungry applications, so they suffer in performance when you launch something that’s resource demanding.

Bigger screen

If you look online, the majority of them will have 11.6” screens. This is a shame because the screen is pretty small. I’ve grown up with Windows on a desktop, so I’m used to a big screen.

On Chromebooks, they’re generally pretty small unless you’re willing to shell out more cash for an upgraded display. But then you’re entering Windows territory in price. You could pay for a Windows laptop for the price you’re paying for a big screen Chromebook. Then you have weigh your decisions based on OS wars.

Better keyboards

This may just be me, but the travel on the keys is way too little. When I’m typing, I prefer the keys to have some resistance and some travel distance. But after trying out a few different laptops, I’ve noticed they all have little-to-no travel compared to a Windows laptop.

A prettier OS

Okay, so I like eye candy.

On Windows, you can make your desktop look pretty amazing- transitions, effects, and transitions. On Chrome OS, you can’t customize any of that and it barely has any effects. This is part of their material design which emphasizes minimalism, and their OS is definitely on the boring side.

A more durable build

I’ve tried a few different Chromebooks, and they all have a cheap plastic feel to their lids and touchpads. This was the same across different manufacturers like HP, Acer, and Dell.

Update: Some Chromebooks have been created just for durability. Everything from being waterproof to drop-proof to weatherproof to shockproof.

So, should you buy one?

I’d say give it a try.

It’s easy to give in and listen to all the rumors about them. But you really have to own one for a bit to see for yourself.

(Here’s a buyer’s guide to get you started.)

I thought they were junk before I tried one. Now, I do almost everything on it- from checking emails, playing games, and getting stuff done. It’s all possible.

I still use Windows, but just for the stuff that the Chromebook can’t do. For instance, using programs that are native to Windows or applications that require performance hardware.

So that’s my list of the top 10 Chromebook benefits.

All of these points are based on my own experience. Yours may vary.

I could go on with a few more reasons. My Chromebook quickly replacing my Windows PC and I pretty much use it to do all the daily tasks at this point.

In fact, earlier I was typing this 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.

The only other reason is that my PC has a bigger screen, so I use it to watch movies and play AAA games.

(If you play games or need a big screen, you can easily remedy that by hooking up your laptop to your monitor.)

Do you own one? How do you like it? Let me know in the comments.

About Andy Z.

Andy is a casual-hardcore Chrome OS fan and contributes to the site regularly. He likes computers, tech, sports cars, videogames, and of course, Chromebooks. Thinker. Introvert. Geek. You can find him on Twitter (@platytech), or send him an email (platy@platypusplatypus.com).

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