Thinking about getting a Chromebook? You’ll want to read this first.

By | 12/25/2015

Want a super fast laptop for under $199? Heard about Chromebooks and their awesomeness? Don’t even know what a Chromebook is? We don’t care. Read on.

chromebook-acer

The Acer Chromebook 11- one of the most popular models. (Source)

In essence, Google launched a line of laptops that are made to be efficient, affordable, and fast. Chromebooks are made by all the major brands you know, such as Acer, HP, Samsung, Dell, Lenovo, and even some random lesser known brands like Hisense and Haier.

 

Google_Chrome_icon_and_wordmark_(2011).svg

 

All Chromebooks run Chrome OS, which is Google’s own proprietary operating system (OS). If you don’t know what an OS is, it’s basically the core application that runs the entire system. You know how Mac and Windows look different (menus, keyboard shortcuts, etc.)? That’s simply because of the OS. So, Google has their own OS built into Chromebooks that’s different from Windows and Mac.

Chrome OS

Chrome OS has a slight learning curve. (Source)

Does it look and feel different?

Yes, if you’re used to Mac. Windows users will have an easier task navigating through all the menus.

Is it easy to learn?

Yes, provided that you’re willing to look up certain keyboard commands and other functions.

Notice the missing "caps lock" key and up/down arrow keys.

Notice the missing “caps lock” key and F1-F12 keys are gone. And the weird up/down arrow keys. (Source)

Pros:

  • Super fast boot (Chromebooks start up in seconds compared to Windows and Mac)
  • Built-in virus protection (Chromebooks have tight security features which means you don’t need to buy antivirus programs)
  • Updates automatically (Chromebooks automatically update when new versions come out)
  • Fast browsing for simple tasks (Browsing the internet is a breeze)
  • Efficient battery (Batteries last all day in most Chromebooks)
  • Very competitive pricing (You get a lot of power for a very low price)
  • Free stuff from Google (including a 100GB Google Drive subscription)
  • SSD flash hard drive for quick access to memory
  • Browse from thousands of apps and run them on your laptop
  • Almost everything is free- no need to buy any extra programs (such as MS Office)
  • Built-in SD ports for additional memory
  • USB 2.0/USB 3.0 ports on most models
  • Constantly improved by Google

Cons:

  • Compatibility issues (This is the main reason why many avoid Chromebooks- they don’t run many programs that exist. You’ll need to either use Google’s apps as a substitute, or you can dual boot with Linux. Most of the programs are actually web apps such as Google Hangouts in place of Skype, or Google Docs instead of MS Word)
  • Low quality builds (A budget laptop comes with a budget piece of plastic. Chromebooks are fragile and the majority of them consist of just plain plastic. The keyboard and trackpad may be difficult, clumsy, or simply cheap)
  • No internet = $200 digital wallpaper (Another main drawback is that without an internet connection, Chromebooks can’t really do much, if anything. Since the majority of programs that run on a Chromebook are web apps which require an internet connection, you definitely need to always have a WiFi connection. Google is working on this to make more apps available offline)
  • Small hard drive space (If you have a lot of media to store, you’ll need to buy SD cards. Most Chromebooks come with only 16 or 32GB of SSD memory)
  • No Ethernet ports (You can only connect to the internet via 3G or WiFi)
  • File compatibility (Chrome OS doesn’t support a lot of common file types, such as .wmp, mp3, mp4, etc.)
  • Game support is poor (Chromebooks aren’t really made for heavy gaming other than light web-based games, nor do they offer the compatibility)
  • No support for common programs (You can’t install many popular programs such as MS Office, you’re forced to use Google’s apps)
  • Tied to 1 Google Account (The registration is tied to a single Google account, you need to reset it to switch accounts)

So all in all, if you want a simple computer to browse the internet, check email, and handle simple tasks, then look no further. Chromebooks are perfect, especially for their price tag. If you need more, we suggest you look into a Windows or Mac based computer. There are multiple manufacturers trying to go for the “cheap laptop” model, so this idea isn’t exclusive to Google. However, we think Google currently leads the trend with the Chromebook. There are models running as cheap as $130 for a fully-fledged machine. Fast, affordable, and portable- the Chromebook’s 3 shining features. Other competitors don’t come close to the price/performance ratio.


 

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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