Chromebooks are a computer that runs on Chrome OS, which is a simple operating system based on the Chrome browser. As a basic option, Chromebooks are a popular computer for children, students, the elderly and those looking for a budget laptop. Chromebooks are known for being cheap and accessible, but are they worth the price?
Chromebooks are cheap because they fall on the lower end of the computing power spectrum. They are smaller, have less storage, and less processing power than more expensive laptops. Plus, some software, like Photoshop, is not fully supported on a Chromebook. However, Chromebooks are good for basic computer use.
Whilethey don’t have all the capabilities of traditional operating systems, Chromebooks are a great simple, lightweight computer option. You can purchase a new Chromebook for as low as $189. And a used Chromebook can go for under $100. However, some Chromebook models offer more processing horsepower, memory and resolution and run up to $999.
Chromebooks are great for simple setup, security and ease of use. However, they cannot compete with laptops with higher processing power to perform more demanding tasks like video editing and gaming. Overall, deciding if a Chromebook is worth the money will depend on your budget and what you will be using it for.
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Advantages of a Chromebook
Chromebooks are good for users who want a simple, budget computer and are familiar with Google services. They are simple to use and make security automatic. Chromebooks are also lightweight and portable, averaging about 3 pounds. Plus, Google offers a few perks for purchasing a new Chromebook.
Transitioning to a Chromebook from another device is designed to be easy. Just upload your files to Google Drive on your old device, sign in to your Google Account on a Chromebook and your files are all there. If you already use Google Docs, Chrome, YouTube, and/or Gmail then a Chromebook will be a smooth transition for you. You can even edit files, watch movies and continue working offline.
Some Chromebooks also offer touch screens and with a detachable screen so that it can double as a tablet. And Google assistant with voicer or keyboard access can control your smart devices, answer questions and help you get tasks accomplished faster. It also starts up quickly, with the average boot time taking about eight seconds. And Chromebooks have an average battery life of nine hours, according to Laptop Mag, so you can go all day on one charge.
Chromebook is Secure
Chromebooks automatically and quickly update their software, so no sitting and waiting for the next OS update. This makes your Chromebook easy to maintain and keep secure.
Besides being secure from security breaches, Chromebooks are also safe from wear and tear. They are durable enough to survive falls, scrapes, etc. Some have been proven to survive water spills and drops from four feet. In fact, the Latitude 5400 Chromebook Enterprise and Acer Chromebook 14 are U.S. military-grade durable.
Chromebook has Additional Perks
Chromebooks are compatible with Google features like Chromecast, which allows you to expand or share your screen, without connecting cords, on Chromecast -enabled TVs.
Google also offers free perks with a new Chromebook including:
- VSCO membership free for a year
- 100GB of Dropbox free for a year
- Google One with 100GB storage in Google Drive free for 12 months
- Disney+ free for three months
- Calm premium free for 30 days
Related: Full list of perks on Google google.com/Chromebook/perks/.
Disadvantages of a Chromebook
The disadvantages of a Chromebook are that it relies on web applications and has less memory, less storage, and less processing power. Unless you want to pay more, in which case Google does offer some higher-end Chromebooks.
Chromebook is Web-based
You will need to use mainly web apps, besides Android Apps available on the Google Play Store. Chromebooks do not support software downloads like Photoshop, iTunes or Skype. Google does offer alternative photo-editing, music streaming and video conferencing apps. So, if you’re partial to Adobe Photoshop then a Chromebook probably isn’t the best choice for you.
On the bright side, Chromebooks now support Microsoft Office through the Google Play Store so you can use Word, PowerPoint and Excel instead of just Google Drive.
Chromebook has Limited Memory (RAM)
Most Chromebooks offer either 2GB or 4GB of RAM. That means you may get slower response speeds. Some tests showed that the 2GB models struggled to perform with ten tabs open while streaming music.
Chromebook has Limited Storage
Chromebooks come with up to 32GB on the device, significantly less storage than traditional laptops. But you can still store your files in the cloud. Google offers 100GB of storage on Google Drive free for the first year, and after that, you can get the standard 15GB free or pay $20 a year to keep the 100GB.
Chromebook has Lower Processing Power
Chromebooks have less processing power than many popular laptops. Some models have Intel Celeron chips, but you can pay more for Intel 10th Gen Core i5 and i7. Still, this is not a good gaming computer; Chromebooks have limited graphics processing power. However, you can connect to cloud-based games. For example, Google Stadia is an online gaming platform for $10 a month. And Minecraft: Pocket Edition will become available for certain models later this year.
Are Chromebooks Worth It?
Ultimately, a Chromebook is worth the money if it fits your needs and is within your budget. Chromebooks are not worth it if you plan to frequently use your computer for video editing or gaming because they will perform slower and don’t support the software that traditional laptops do. And, if you’re not a fan of Google products then a Chromebook is not for you.
However, Chromebooks are worth it if you’re looking for a cheaper alternative to Windows or Mac laptops and don’t need the extra processing power and apps they provide. If you’ll mostly be writing, emailing and accessing Google Services like YouTube and Google Drive, then a Chromebook may be all you need. Many reviewers explain that Chromebooks are perfect for children, students who don’t need a ton of demanding apps and the elderly. They make a great first laptop because of their simple use and security. And parents can supervise activity and set limits like Night Light and Do Not Disturb settings.
Chrome books are a basic laptop that is perfect for the user looking for simplicity at an inexpensive cost. And for the price, they offer great performance. Let’s take a look at some of the best Chromebooks on the market right now.
Best Chromebook Under $500
The Asus Chromebook C523 is super portable without sacrificing on quality. It has a 15.6 inch screen which is extra-large compared to most Chromebooks. It also comes equipped with a battery that can last up to 10 hours. The large display features an anti-glare coating and a 6mm bezel on the edges to reduce glare and shine from bright lights. It also has an optional multi-touch screen that allows you full control right at your fingertips. The 10-point design allows the screen to be more responsive than most touch screens. This Chromebook also features dual stereo speakers with large resonance chambers for high-fidelity sound.
The Lenovo Chromebook Duet is all about versatility. It features a unique design that allows the keyboard to detach. This means you can easily switch from laptop to tablet mode. The Duet also has 10 hours of battery life. It features a 10.1 inch display with a 1920×1200 resolution. That means you don’t have to sacrifice on image quality. You can access all your Google cloud applications and tools, and even run Excel and PowerPoint from Microsoft. This Chromebook even features front and rear cameras for ease of use.
With an AMD A-series dual-core processor, the Acer Chromebook 315 is a powerhouse. It features another extra-large screen at 15.6 inches. This screen has a widescreen resolution of 1366×768 and is backlit by LEDs. Just like its Asus counterpart, the 315 has a 10 hour battery life. It also features a wide viewing HDR webcam to make video chats go smoother. With two reversible USB C connectors, it’s easy to hook up to just about anything you need. This Chromebook also features two speakers that face upward to prevent any muffling.
The HP Chromebook 15 features a dual-core Pentium Gold processor from Intel, the latest processor on the market. It also has an astonishing 13 hours of battery life for you to work with. This Chromebook comes equipped with a full-size keyboard and number pad to help keep your work flowing smoothly all day. The HP Chromebook 15 even has a 64GB embedded multimedia card. Its 15 inch full high definition screen allows you to view images in perfect clarity. It also has a touchscreen, dual speakers, and a screen with 178° extra-wide viewing angles to give you the best picture possible. It’s the ideal Chromebook for both work and play.
Featuring the dual-core Intel Celeron processor, the HP Chromebook x360 12b has HD graphics and a fanless design to make your computer experience nearly silent. It also features a solid metal keyboard deck with a universal stylus support. The computer itself has a 360° hinge that allows for extreme versatility of use. The HD touch screen has a 3:2 aspect ratio. This convertible Chromebook will fit well into any situation and can adapt to suit your needs.
At the $200 price point, there aren’t a lot of quality options for laptops. Luckily, the Chromebook design lends itself to being cheaper to manufacture. They don’t require much memory as all of your data is stored by Google’s cloud.
This Samsung model of Chromebook features an 11.6-inch HD LED display that can handle most everyday pictures and videos. Samsung uses its own Exynos hardware to power the computer. It comes equipped with 2GB of RAM and a storage capacity of 16GB. That may not sound like much, but remember that the majority of your applications will be running from Google’s cloud.
What sets Samsung’s Chromebook apart is its extremely thin profile. Samsung’s designers moved all of the ports onto the spine of the computer, thus saving valuable space. You still get two USB-A ports as well as an HDMI port. That way you can hook up to multiple devices, including a TV or other screen.
Asus C300MA Chromebook
The C300MA Chromebook by Asus is fairly similar to the Samsung model. The biggest difference? This Chromebook features a 13.3-inch display. While that’s not a huge difference, every little bit counts when you’re streaming a movie or getting some work done on a spreadsheet.
This Chromebook features 2GB of RAM and 16GB of storage, identical to the Samsung Chromebook. It also has two USB-A ports and an HDMI port on the sides for versatility. Asus has equipped the C300MA with up to 10-hours of battery life and an extra-large trackpad for easier use.
Another thing that sets the Asus Chromebook apart is its customization options. The laptop has a plastic outer shell that comes in multiple colors like red, blue, yellow, and brushed metal. The only downside to this model is that it’s only under $200 when purchased used or refurbished.
Rounding out our list is another option from Asus. With its 11.6-inch screen, it offers the same resolution as the Samsung model. While it may not have the extra screen space as its 13.3-inch sibling, the 11.6-inch Chromebook still has all the bells and whistles you might expect from Asus. For such a low price point, the Asus 11.6” Chromebook is surprisingly sturdy. It doesn’t weight much, but it will still hold up well to regular household usage.
This laptop comes with a nice gray finish on the outside that gives it a classy, premium look and feel. This makes it perfect for the professional on the go. With its full-sized, ergonomic keyboard, it doesn’t just look the part. It is very easy to operate and even comes loaded with intuitive smart gestures on the trackpad to help you save time while you work.
This laptop’s processor runs very smoothly for the price, and it has 4GB of RAM, which is 2GB more than the Samsung model. It also features 16GB of built-in storage. If that isn’t enough offline storage for you, this model has a memory card slot where you can add more storage.
Equipped with Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity options, the Asus Chromebook 11.6″ is a great option for working on a budget.
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