Should you buy a Chromebook?
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 and learn.
We’ll tell you all about ’em.
Last updated: 3/8/23. We keep this page updated for your best interests.
Chromebooks are growing in popularity
They’re populating the educational market.
Many schools in the US now have replaced their pricey Windows or Macs with these simple, fast, and affordable laptops.
They’re easy to use, safe, and fast.
Although they’re known for having compatibility issues, or useless without an Internet connection, or even maybe just a laptop with a web browser, they’re much more than that. Critics often accuse them of being too expensive for what they are, but if you really drill it down, you’ll see that they offer much much more than people say.
Even now in 2020, schools continue to adopt to these affordable laptops as more and more students are able to access them. Some schools provide a 1:1 ratio (1 laptop per student) and this has helped garner their popularity over time.
What’s all the rage about these little laptops?
In essence, Google launched a line of laptops that are made to be efficient, affordable, and fast.
They’re 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.
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.
It’s reliable, versatile, secure, self updating, and self repairing. It also makes the entry level Chromebooks easily affordable for the average consumer.
This is why they sold like hotcakes when everyone transitioned to working from home. It’s also why school districts use these things as loaner laptops. Even some businesses do it.
Since so many peeps are now working from home, these little laptops are an attractive option because:
- They’re extremely affordable at only a fraction of a Windows computer
- They can do nearly everything a PC can do through the web
- They can hold video conferences without a sweat
- They’re good for remote workers and distanced learning students
- They’re packed with everything you need, but none of the features you don’t
- They’re easy to use
- Did I mention they’re cheap?
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 them that’s different from Windows and Mac.
A bunch of welcome differences[the_ad id=”2485″]
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 since Chrome OS is built in a way that’s very similar to how Windows’ layout is.
The navigation, UI, and window controls are almost in identical locations.
Is it easy to learn?
Yes, provided that you’re willing to look up certain keyboard commands and other functions. If you’re used to Windows, you’ll have no problem.
- Super fast boot (Chromebooks start up in seconds compared to Windows and Mac)
- Built-in virus protection (They have tight security features which mean you don’t need to buy antivirus programs)
- Tons of apps for every purpose- productivity to get stuff done, notes to jot down ideas with your hand, entertainment like Steam games, and more
- Updates automatically (They 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 models)
- Models available for kids that are learning how to use laptops, students in college, and even business professionals
- 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
- 2017 models are packing a punch with more power under the hood
- Browse from thousands of apps and run them on your laptop
- Almost everything is free- no need to buy any extra programs or word processors (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
- Newer models feature convertible designs with touchscreens
- Lots and lots of free games available on the Chrome Web Store- everything from RPGs to shooters and puzzlers
- Many Chromebooks are provided for rent or “free” to students from more school districts over time
- The ability to ditch Chrome OS and install Windows or Linux gives them extra flexibilty
- Tech-savvy people can use them as basic computing machines for projects
- Many programs are now web-based, which relieves your computer of the rendering since it’s server-sided (i.e. more compatibility for Chromebooks)
- Compatibility issues (This is the main reason why many avoid them- 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 (although Skype now has a web-based version that works), 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, they can’t really do much if anything. Since the majority of programs that run on one 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 models 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. but it does have a file explorer that does support many popular formats)
- Game support is poor (They 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)
- Generally have poor CPU specs so they can’t run extensive programs (games, photo editing, etc.)
So all in all, if you want a simple computer to browse the internet, check email, and handle simple tasks, then look no further. They’re 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.
They’re a good buy for those who just want a laptop that works.