In an ever-evolving tech world, it can be difficult to keep up with the newest innovations and trends. Some come seemingly overnight while others evolve until they are impossible to ignore.
Chromebooks fall into that latter category. They have gone from novelty way back in June 2011 to a solid, reliable, and simple-to-maintain school choice too – in the past couple of years, a genuinely serious business use laptop.
While Windows and Mac laptops have traditionally been the primary choice for most consumers, Chromebooks have now become an attractive and viable alternative. In fact, Chromebooks offer a number of advantages over both Windows and MacOS machines that can be highly beneficial to laptop users, making them a great option to consider when purchasing a new device.
Here are 9 reasons why you should consider a Chromebook as your next laptop (and a couple of possible reasons you should not).
1. Chromebooks Are Low Cost
One of the primary reasons you should consider a Chromebook as your next laptop is the cost. Chromebooks are generally much cheaper than traditional laptops. In fact, you can find decent models for as little as $200. We mean brand-new, still-in-the-box Chromebooks. That pricing makes them ideal for anyone on a tight budget.
To add to that value equation, they also come pre-installed with Google’s free office applications. These include Docs, Sheets, photo and video editing, conferencing, and just about every tool you need in a business environment.
As a dollar-saving bonus, some Chromebooks double as tablets. Wonderful examples are the Duet models from Lenovo which I’ll cover in more detail below. I’ll also cover some seriously beneficial features, such as very fast boot times, long battery life, and lightweight designs.
2. Most Chromebooks are Lightweight and Very Portable
When it comes to portability, Chromebooks are a great choice. They often weigh significantly less than traditional laptops and are much more compact, making them perfect for carrying around all day.
This smaller weight and size make them ideal for students and professionals alike or anyone who needs a computer that’s reliable and lightweight.
In addition, many Chromebooks come with useful features like real use, and all-day battery life, so you won’t need to be tethered to a wall outlet.
3. Chromebooks Tend to Have a Long Battery Life
Number three on the list of reasons why you should consider a Chromebook as your next laptop is its long battery life. Chromebooks are designed to use less power than traditional laptops, so you can enjoy a full day of work without having to worry about plugging in your laptop.
Most Chromebooks have a battery life of up to 10 hours of continuous use. That means you’ll be able to use your laptop for a full day of work without having to worry about recharging. This makes them perfect for those who travel and need to stay productive while away from their desk. This long battery life, together with maintenance simplicity, is the reason many schools prefer to issue Chromebooks to students.
4. Chromebooks Offer a Secure Operating System
Chromebooks run on a secure operating system. They are built on a Linux-based system called ChromeOS. Linux and ChromeOS are inherently designed to be more secure than the Windows operating system.
ChromeOS also has an automatic feature that keeps different software on your Chromebook separate from sandboxing. That means that even if one part gets infected, the rest is designed to stay safe.
Every Chromebook – regardless of manufacturer – includes a built-in security chip that encrypts your most sensitive data. In addition, Chrome OS uses automatic updates to keep your laptop secure, and all your applications and data are stored securely in the cloud, so there’s no need to worry about losing any important files.
ChromeOS also has full virus protection built into the operating system so when you add up all these security features, it becomes obvious why Chromebooks are a great choice for individuals and businesses.
5. Easy-to-Use Interface
Chromebooks feature an easy-to-use interface and are incredibly user-friendly. The operating system enables users to quickly access the apps they need and to multitask with ease. ChromeOS has what Google calls the ‘Everything Button’. It provides fast, easy access to your app, files, and internet searches.
In addition, Chromebooks are designed to be fast and responsive, allowing you to work without lags or delays. If you’re looking for a laptop that’s easy to use while offering excellent security, a Chromebook is the perfect choice for you.
6. Chromebooks Update Automatically (and Frequently)
Chromebooks are designed to provide users with a seamless experience and with the latest features and security updates. As such, expect updates to be delivered on a weekly basis, and oftentimes even more frequently as new functions and features get added to ChromeOS.
These updates are downloaded in the background and are installed when the Chromebook is turned back on. In my experience, the updates install in less than a minute. And since a normal boot only takes seconds, you will still be ready to go within two minutes of turning your Chromebook on.
These automatic updates ensure that all users are receiving the latest features, functions, and upgrades, ensuring maximum performance and user satisfaction.
7. Chromebooks – There’s an App for That!
Chromebooks have become increasingly popular due to their value and functionality. With Google ChromeOS, Chromebooks are able to run millions (not a typo) of applications available from the Google Play Store.
These apps range from productivity to games and offer a great way to get the most out of your Chromebook. The Google Play Store provides users access to around 3.5 million apps, including the latest games, music, books, and more. The vast majority of these Android apps also run flawlessly in ChromeOS.
With so many apps available, there’s something for everyone. Whether you want to stay productive, stay entertained, or just explore the world of apps, Chromebooks have you covered.
And, of course, any SaaS software that you want to use is accessible via your browser just like it is in Windows or MacOS.
8. Built-in Cloud Storage
Chromebooks offer this unique advantage to users: cloud storage. Typically, Chromebooks come with either 64 GB or 128 GB of internal storage. While that sounds restrictive, this should not be taken as an indication of their capacity.
All Chromebooks come with automatic cloud storage that allows users to access their files and documents from any location with an internet connection. Of course, you can also store files locally if needed.
Full cloud storage eliminates the need for bulky local hard drives while providing a reliable and secure way to store your files. Additionally, this cloud storage provides an easy way to back up data, ensuring that your most important files are always safe.
If you don’t have current access to the internet, ChromeOS has full ‘offline’ functionality and simply uploads your work when internet access becomes available again.
9. Most Chromebooks have touch-screens
As Windows laptops seem to be moving away from touch-screens, Chromebook models are embracing them. Between our phones and tablets, we have become very adept at using our fingers to point, click, swipe, and enter.
Personally, the longer I work with Chromebooks, the more I find myself intuitively working with those touch screens. It’s fast, it’s easy and it’s surprisingly natural.
Now take that touch-screen and separate it from the keyboard (or fold the keyboard 180 degrees) and you have a tablet!
The Negatives of Chromebook Ownership
1. Chromebooks will not run Windows or most Windows programs natively (though the development towards compatibility is likely underway via a Linux kernel).
HOWEVER, you can run Microsoft Office on a Chromebook (I do). Microsoft Office 365 PWA is currently the optimal choice for experiencing the familiar look, feel, and features of the desktop software on a Chromebook.
Microsoft Office 365 PWAs, such as Outlook and OneDrive, are easily accessible and work efficiently on Chromebooks. To ensure continued use of Microsoft Office applications on a Chromebook here is how to install them.
2. If you are a big gamer, a Chromebook might not be for you as many of the most popular games have not been ported to ChromeOS. On the other hand, Google has begun to address this deficiency with its new Google Steam service.
3. Many Chromebook models only offer 4GB of RAM. However, unlike Windows, ChromeOS isn’t a memory hog. This makes 4GB of RAM fine for browsing, video conferencing and emailing, etc, but you will need 8 GB for more serious business use and certainly if you intend to play anything but basic games.
While the choice is more limited, Chromebooks with fast processors and 8GB of RAM are readily available. My personal favorites are the Lenovo Duet 3 and Duet 5 with the gorgeous OLED display. Both are available with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of onboard storage offering optimal performance for business tasks such as working with large spreadsheets and even occasional video editing.
The Lenovo Duet 5 OLED is a fantastic example of how good a Chromebook can be, especially in terms of value. Not only does it have 8GB of RAM, but it also comes with a stunning 2200x1200px, 13.3″ OLED screen that rivals the best in the industry. Now add a detachable folio keyboard of impeccable quality, a 15-hour battery life, and a combined keyboard and pad weight of only a touch over 1kg (2.2 lbs) and an ultra-competitive price! The bang for bucks equation is – to my mind, impossible to beat. As an aside, in my opinion, the Duet 5 keyboard is superior to my Windows laptop – a high-end Microsoft Surface Pro!
The Lenovo Duet 3 is the ‘little brother’ in size but not performance. The 10.95″ screen is also full 2k and the unit uses the same fast Qualcomm SnapDragon processor as the Duet 5. However, the Duet 3 does not have an OLED display and I personally find the keyboard a bit cramped for my ‘hunt and peck typing. On the other hand, if I need (or want) to take a laptop with me, the Duet 3 wins every time.
Note that both the Duet 3 and Duet 5 also come in lower-cost 4GB RAM models. If you are buying for business use, choose the 8GB model.
While I may be in love with the Duets, there are other, excellent, high-performance Chromebooks well worth considering:
ASUS Chromebook Flip CX5
Designed for heavy-duty business use, this ASUS model uses an Intel processor. Choose an i3, i5, or i7 processor and up to 16GB of RAM paired to either a 256GB or 512GB SSD drive.
The 14″ display is 1080P, touch and the unit comes with a stylus and Harmon/Kadon speakers.
HP Chromebook x360 14c
Another Intel-based machine, this unit offers solid value. It uses the i3 processor with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of onboard storage. The display is 14″ with full 1080p resolution with touch.
System options and specifications are available here.
Acer Chromebook Spin Series
While these start from as little as $300, you need to move up to around $500 to get anything more than a browsing machine. At the top end, the latest and greatest Spin models have a list price approaching $2,000. For that, you do get an excellent laptop but the value equation gets a bit shaky.
Because different models are available in various regions, go to the Acer store to see what is offered in your locale.
Samsung Galaxy Chromebook 2
Samsung leads the pack in Android phones and tablets so it’s not surprising that they also offer a full range of Chromebooks. For my money, don’t even look at the lowest-spec models. On the other hand, if the Samsung brand is ‘your thing’, the top models offer all you can ask for… but at a premium price.
The Wrap: Get More for Less with Chromebooks
Overall, Chromebooks are a great option for those looking for an affordable, easy-to-use, secure, and easy-to-maintain laptop. They are lightweight, very user-friendly have a long battery life between charges, and have a wide range of apps. The Google Play Store gives you access to millions of apps and games. Add the built-in cloud storage, Google’s office suite, and the ability to run Office 365 if needed, and Chromebooks offer excellent value.
Whether you are looking for a laptop for work, school, or just for leisure, a Chromebook is an excellent choice.