What Is a Chromebook? And Why Should I Get One?

You’ve heard about them. Now you’ll learn about them.

what is a chromebook

Okay, so you’ve been hearing about Chromebooks a lot lately. Whether it’s on the news or reading an article online or from Word of Mouth you’re just hearing about these little machines everywhere. Maybe you’ve heard are cheap or maybe you’ve heard that fast or maybe you’ve heard they’re useless. Do you want to know what’s a Chromebook? There is a lot of controversy going on around right now about Chromebooks and we think it’s because, honestly, these machines aren’t for everyone.

As the name says, a Chromebook runs Chrome OS which is basically Google’s operating system- similar to how Windows is owned by Microsoft.

First and foremost, let’s address the question of what a Chromebook is.

A Chromebook is basically an over glorified web browser. At its most basic form, Chromebooks run Google Chrome, the internet browser, and has functionality through web apps. As you may have noticed or heard, web apps require an internet connection to function. Chromebooks require an internet connection to offer maximum functionality. So, in comparison to Windows, a Chromebook offers many of the popular programs that you would use on a regular Windows machine, such as Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, to all the entertainment applications that you’re used to like Skype. What a Chromebook does is it offers Google’s version of all these programs- you can think of them as substitutions rather than replacements. Google has Google Docs in place of Microsoft Word and Google Hangouts in place of Skype. You also have the Chrome web browser built in which also acts as your interface for managing a lot of the system’s resources. For example, instead of having a separate application for the Task Manager on a Windows computer, you have a built-in to the web browser on a Chromebook.

So for the majority of people who use these applications, a Chromebook has some kind of alternative application made by Google. And it does this all through web applications via your Google account, which is why it requires an internet access.

Another point, an internet connection is pretty much critical to a Chromebook. Without an internet access, you won’t be able to use a lot of the same programs you can use on a Windows computer when you’re offline. A Chromebook requires an internet connection to do many of the things you can do on a Windows machine.

Chromebook features

So now that we have covered some of the functionality of the machine, let’s talk about the machine itself.

difference between chromebook and laptop

These laptops were probably made for people who want a minimalistic interface with a lot of mobility. Google offers you free cloud storage when you buy your machine as these laptops don’t have a lot of onboard storage. All Chromebooks have a minimum of 16 gigabytes of flash storage, which is basically enough to store some files, photos, videos, and some basic programs. Google wants you to use their cloud service, which by the way they are very generous and how much storage they give you for free because they want you to have the mobility of accessing your files and media no matter where you are as long as you’re connected to the internet.

Other than onboard storage, Chromebooks also have with some decent processors such as the Intel Celeron and are also equipped with integrated Intel HD graphics. Most of the low-end Chromebooks are actually pretty decent in terms of specifications and performance you get for the price. Since Chromebooks don’t have a lot of clutter and boat built into the system, they’re super fast. This is one of the main selling points of a Chromebook. Chromebooks are known to be one of the fastest laptops available on the market today that you can use to browse the internet. Of course, you can browse the internet on pretty much any device in today’s tech world, but the Chromebook performs exceptionally well at it. This is due to the lightweight Chrome OS.

So, you have a machine with low prices comma high performance in basic applications and offers extreme mobility.

Should I get a Chromebook?

What kind of person would want a Chromebook?

As you may know, Chromebooks have entered the market recently and are mainly being sold to school districts as an educational laptop. However for the everyday user, is there any benefit to getting a Chromebook? If you want something that’s simple to use, cheap, and extremely portable, then the Chromebook may be a fit for you. If you’re familiar with technology or have a basic understanding of it, you’ll appreciate the feeling of how you’re always connected no matter where you go.

Google Chromebooks are perfect for people who travel, business owners, entrepreneurs, and Developers. They’re basically a machine that has all the major functionalities that you could want from a laptop built in, but without all the extra stuff that you might not need. They also have all day batteries that run up to 9 and a half hours depending on the model and make you get. as you know, this is double and even triple the battery life of modern Windows laptops. So, you can have all day productivity without having to think about recharging.

Chromebook apps

how-to-enable-developer-mode-chromebook

If you’re already an avid user of Google products you’ll be glad to see that all of this is already integrated into a Chromebook. There’s a deep integration of Google Apps such as Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Drive, Google Docs, and Google Hangouts. Setting up a printer with Google Print is also something you’ll need to learn how to do in order to print from a Chromebook. However, if you use Microsoft Outlook or Yahoo mail, you may have to get used to using Google products exclusively.

If you use popular software applications like Adobe Photoshop, Sony Vegas, or Microsoft FrontPage, you may be disappointed to hear that you can’t use these applications on a Chromebook.

You’ll have to use Google’s Google delete versions of these products. There there are ways to get these applications that run on a Chromebook, but it requires modifying and accessing the core files of the system which we do not recommend if you are not familiar with computers on a programming level. However, you’ll be able to use Google’s Suite of Office Products and be able to import your Microsoft Word documents or PowerPoint presentations directly into Google Drive, which allows you to work on your previous files. There are also many Photoshop Alternatives available for Chrome OS- many which of no cost.

Gaming on a Chromebook

If you’re a gamer, you’ll be able to play games on the Chromebook, however, it’ll be a limited selection. On the Chrome web store you can play classic games like Cut the Rope and Angry Birds, but the Chromebooks don’t have the compatibility for many of the popular games today and don’t have the capability to run many clients like the Steam and Origin client. Chromebooks also have a limited GPU for processing your graphics and videos. Most systems include Intel HD graphics has integrated onboard memory. You’ll be able to run some basic video editors, games, and other applications with low graphical demands.

Difference between a Chromebook and laptops

Chromebooks do have some special features and differences that are exclusive to Chrome OS. For example, you can say “Okay Google” and you’ll get virtual assistant similar to the iPhone’s Siri or Microsoft’s Cortana. This virtual assistant can’t help you move around, perform actions, and access different files within your machine. This feature is also integrated with Google Now, which gives you instant information at the bottom of the window that shows things like local restaurants, store hours, and the weather. The keyboard on a Chromebook is also redesigned compared to a traditional windows qwerty keyboard. if anything, the keyboard is easier to use. It has a minimalistic design, with some keys removed and some keys combined together. It may require some getting used to, but we think you’ll appreciate the easier and more efficient design of the keyboard. It eliminates a lot of keys that are not popular and are rarely used on a regular keyboard. If you have an Android phone, you can get text messages and incoming call notifications on your laptop screen as well. We think that’s pretty cool.

Chromebook prices

If you travel a lot you appreciate the size and weight of Chromebooks. Chromebooks to play typically come in three sizes comma 11.6, 13.3, and 15. They also weigh just 2 to 3 pounds which offer a super lightweight solution to bring along with you wherever you need to go and get work done.

The screen also has a decent resolution, with lower-end models sporting a 1366 X 768 pixel display which is the most common resolution on the market today. They’re also higher and Chromebooks which offer sharper images sporting a full HD display of 1920 x 1080 pixels. However, you’ll be dishing out about $100 more to find these higher and this place. There are also Chromebooks with full touch screen integration, and just like the HD display, you’ll be paying about $100 more. These displays are accurate and work just like a phone Many of the same functionalities such as pinching resume and swiping left and right up and down to navigate around the screen. You can also swipe left and right on the touch pad to go back and forth instead of clicking that little back button in your browser.

Pricing for the Chromebook laptops is very decent. They start out at about $149 and can go all the way up to $1,000 depending on the model you get with the features you want. The lower-end Chromebooks typically have and 11.6 HD display, 2 gigs of RAM, and a Celeron Processor with Intel HD graphics. This is enough processing power to run Chrome OS without any hiccup. But if you’re looking for something more, you can go all the way up to a 15 inch display in full HD with double the ram and higher and processor, but you’ll be dishing out anywhere from 500 to $1,000.

Overall Chromebook review in summary

We think Google’s Chromebook is and Incredibly capable and affordable laptop that’s made for people who want to get things done or are prone to being mobile. Chrome books are not made for the user who wants to have it all. It’s more like a work laptop- built for productivity and getting things done rather than entertaining and editing. These machines are cheap, lightweight, and fast. They’re pretty much made to carry around with you so you can check your emails, check your stats, program, or whatever else you may need to do when you’re out and about. We think the main selling points are the price to performance ratio, because it packs a punch for the price you pay. We think it’s an exceptional machine that offer is great Mobility provided you have an internet connection. It’s in it excellent work of art, provided it’s in the hands of the right person. Check out more Chromebook stuff on PlatypusPlatypus.

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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