Maybe you’ve heard or not the word Chromebook being thrown around in tech circles, but what is Chromebook? Many of you might have already guessed the connection with the web browser Google Chrome. A Chromebook is a laptop, but a different kind of laptop. It is low-cost, it runs on Chrome OS – a Google-based operating system – and it is mainly designed to run while connected to the Internet. The reason behind this is that most of its data and apps are stored in the cloud – Google automatically provides you with cloud storage of 100GB for every Chromebook.
Since 2014, Chromebooks have started to double their shipments and become more and more used in schools and universities. But let’s find out more about what is Chromebook and if you should buy one or not.
What Is Chromebook – Features and Benefits
In some respects, the Chromebook can be considered quite similar to a normal laptop – you can access the Internet, create and edit documents, use the email, video conference with your friends, and so on. But due to its operating system, using Google apps such as Google Docs or Google Sheets works like a well-oiled machine, because it does not depend on any type of software stored on the hard drive, which is a huge plus.
But it can also be a disadvantage if you don’t use such services provided by Google and you use Yahoo Mail instead of Gmail for instance. If you are not a fan of Google Docs either and you prefer the Microsoft Office pack instead, you can always use Microsoft Office Online on your Chromebook, which is free and available as an app. If you are a Photoshop user, you might be disappointed – there is no app on the Chromebook that can edit such files. But there are other photo editing programs available for Chrome OS, such as the open-source GIMP image editor.
The Chromebook is extremely lightweight, so easy to carry around with you, and it is also durable. It can be regarded as an alternative to a tablet, because of its built-in keyboard, Intel chipset, and full-size screen. All these features sound even better when you think about the fact that most often than not, you can only find them on desktop devices. Moreover, its battery life is quite impressive, the battery lasting even an entire day with only one charge. After being tested with the Laptop Mag Battery Test, the average battery life was of 9 hours and 59 minutes, while connected to Wi-Fi and browsing the Internet.
Another benefit of the Chromebook is the fact that it only takes approximatively 7 seconds to start up and it has a really clean design. The only app that you have is the Google Chrome Internet browser, and that’s the only one that you need anyway. The rest of the apps (photos, documents, emails) are Web-based, which is great in case you want to access them from other devices, or in case your Chromebook ever crashes.
But what is Chromebook supposed to do while you’re offline? While a Chromebook can connect both to Wi-Fi networks and 3G, there is always the possibility that you don’t have access to any of these two options. But the Chromebook has also though about that. You have the possibility to access Gmail Offline or Google Drive Offline and make as many changes as you want there – they will be automatically synced and saved the next time you have access to the Internet. Here is a list of what you can do with your Chromebook while offline:
- Create and edit documents in Google Drive.
- Write emails.
- Check your calendar.
- Take notes with Google Keep.
- Listen to music that you have stored on its internal hard drive.
- Save webpages that you want to read when you’re online.
However, bear in mind that in terms of gaming the Chromebook is not the best option. When you are offline, you can usually only play 2D games, due to the size of its storage and the weakness of its specs. Moreover, you can only play games that are available in the Chrome Web Store.
And speaking of specs, what is Chromebook in terms of hardware? Well, it usually has 2GB of RAM, but new models with 4GB optional are starting to be made. It has a storage of at least 16GB (some of them have a 32GB SSD) and an entry-level processor. In terms of size, there are plenty of options where you can choose from, starting with the 11.6-inch, 13, 14, and finally 15-inch. If you’re a fan of a full-HD screen, the Chromebook people will make it happen with the Acer Chromebook 15.
The Chromebook also has some special features that might make it worth buying. For instance, it has voice controls, so if you say “OK, Google” while the launcher or a Chrome tab is open, this will enable the voice assistant. Google Now is also available on Chromebook, which means you will be able to see information such as weather and traffic at the bottom of the page. The on-screen keyboard is another plus that has a minimalist design and is quite accurate in recognizing your scribbles.
Why Should You Buy a Chromebook?
Because it would be perfect for you if what you’re looking for is an affordable, portable, lightweight, and durable device. Its extensive use of the cloud makes its performance and speed impressive, it turns on immediately, and it’s extremely safe (since most of the files are stored in the cloud). Plus, you can sync it with all your other Android devices or any device where you’re signed in with your Google account. And even if you’re not so excited about some of its specs, they are constantly updating, and it is not exaggerated to think that you can use a Chromebook as a primary computer.