Are you still using a Windows computer? That’s so…I got nothing.
Well, it’s been about 5 months in since I first starting using a Chromebook. At this point, I think I’ve learned pretty much everything there is to know about Chromebooks- including all the pros, cons, advantages, disadvantages, or whatever else you want to call it. Why get a Chromebook? There are more reasons than you think.
Why get a Chromebook- because a Chromebook does pretty much everything you need it to do….without all the bloat
At this point, my Chromebook has pretty much replaced my Windows desktop. It’s actually pretty surprising how this happened. When I initially bought a Chromebook, I was thinking I’ll use it in bed or whenever I’m out in public (which I’ve never actually brought it outside yet), but I wasn’t expecting much from Google’s Chrome OS. I’ve heard all those negatives about Chromebooks, such as how they’re useless or can’t do anything without any Internet connection. So I thought, I’ll just use it for some quick web-browsing, YouTube-streaming, and typing up some documents on Google Docs.
Now, I pretty much don’t even touch my Windows desktop, the computer I’ve grown accustomed to since I can remember (well, I should say OS that I’ve grown accustomed to). The only reason I switch it on is if I need to use Windows-native programs, which I’m constantly finding replacements and substitutes for on the Chrome web store. I also use my Windows computer to play a few games, watch movies (still can’t get used to a small screen), or if I can’t use my Chromebook because it’s charging since I don’t like to charge it while using it (cables).
Buying a Chromebook depends on what you do
My work consists mainly of writing articles about Chrome and Chromebook-related stuff, such as this article you’re reading. I used to load up the super laggy Microsoft Word, which was bloated, slow, and had way too many buttons on the “ribbon.” Now I just go to Google Docs and start typing up a storm with that minimalist toolbar and constant saving, which has saved my work on more projects that I can count.
I also like to have some kind of background noise running…in the background. This is usually via YouTube, but I have my own music as well. The Chromebook’s built-in media player works just like how you expect it to. You can play audio, video, and all the other formats you commonly find media saved. It just works. Of course, Windows has Windows Media Player, but I think it has too many controls, once again, and it loads slowly on a cold boot.
Should I get Windows or a Chromebook?
Now, the part that differs from my Windows experience is the Chromebook’s performance and functionality.
First, the performance. The Chromebook I have comes with your standard 16GB SSD. Everything loads snappy and quickly. Starting up the machine only takes about 6 seconds. Updating requires a restart, but that again is super quick. Think of updating a Windows computer. You need to download the update, which slows down the system and eats your bandwidth, then you need to restart your machine to actually let Windows install the update. Then Windows may restart depending on the update. It’s a whole ordeal and makes me delay the update every time the window pops up asking me to restart. Now, I run Windows 7, so I’m not sure if it’s changed for later versions, but all I know is that I hate updating Windows.
Besides the updates, my Chromebook loads apps, tabs, websites, media, files, and everything else I need in a pinch. If I load an image via the native image viewer on Windows, it lags, struggles, loads the program with a blank image, then loads the image. This applies to everything. Web browsers, programs, applications, whatever. It’s always faster on my Chromebook no matter what it is.
Of course, this isn’t exactly a fair comparison considering my Chromebook is well-specced compared to my desktop. However, I think it’s a fair comparison for Windows OS vs. Chrome OS. If you took two systems with equivalent specs, I’d bet the Chromebook would win in performance on nearly every test.
Second, the functionality. Chromebooks obviously run Chrome OS, which is Google’s open-source operating system. You don’t download programs and install them like you do traditionally on a Windows or Mac device. Instead, you use the Chrome web store, find an app that does what you need, and install it. This usually takes seconds depending on the size of the app and your ‘net speed, but there’s nearly an app for everything. It’s pretty much like your smartphone and the app store.
The thing is, there’s tons of free and paid apps that do literally everything you can do on a Windows-based machine. So basically, instead of MS Office, you can use Google Docs, Sheets, etc. Instead of Photoshop, you can use an image editor. Instead of Skype, you can use Google Hangouts, or not, since you can now run Skype on Chromebook or you can wait for the update of the Play store coming to Chromebooks. Yes, the Play store has already been confirmed to be released on specific Chromebook models. This means you’ll have the Chrome web store, and the Google Play store on the same machine. Skype, Minecraft, and Clash of Clans will all be playable on your Chromebook.
Chromebook versus Windows
How does this compare to Windows? Well, instead of paying for software that you may rarely use, or going through the hassle of finding, installing, updating, removing, scanning for bugs, and learning to use new software, you can just download anything you need on your Chromebook like an app. Use it once? Delete it. Needs update? Automatically done. Install? In a jiffy. Learn to use? All apps share a common template with instructions so you can always find it. Need support? Click the support tab and contact the author. It’s well-organized and super simple to use.
Every instance where I needed something extra, like editing an image, I can just search for an app that does what I need, install it, use it, and keep it if I think I’ll need it again. It hasn’t failed me yet. There are thousands of free apps that will fulfill whatever you need.
Chromebook over Windows (for now at least)
So far, so good. My Chromebook has taken over my Windows desktop. I’d never have thought a laptop would be more productive than a desktop, but I guess so. Keep in mind, I’m not a laptop person, so this is why it’s surprising to me. Ive always used desktops and hated laptops since you always get more for your money going with the tower. Now that I’ve experienced how much more productive a laptop, well a Chromebook, can be, I stand corrected about my previous opinion.
The only problem with my Chromebook so far that really bugs me is the small screen and trackpad. I’m so used to using a mouse and keyboard with a big monitor that it’s annoying. Of course, I can always connect the Chromebook to my monitor or just buy a bigger Chromebook. As for the mouse, it’s just my sheer laziness of not connecting one. Actually, nevermind these issues. They’re problems with laptops in general, which is why I’ve always preferred desktops instead. Given the productivity I get from using a laptop running Chrome OS, I’ve since then reconsidered laptops and viewed them in a different way.
However, if you hand me a Windows laptop, I may not have the same stance.