Chromebooks are the lightweight, cloud-based alternatives to mainstream laptops. If you’re considering purchasing one, it’s important to know more about the operating system behind the machine, Chrome OS, before you commit.
In this article, we’ll run through the unique features of Chrome OS, its benefits, and potential drawbacks.
What Makes Chrome OS Unique?
Unlike most mainstream operating systems, Chrome OS is entirely web-based. Instead of relying on conventional PC software that is hard-installed, Chrome OS benefits from the flexibility of web-based applications, similar to the experience of using a smartphone. It’s pre-installed on every Chromebook and ready to roll, straight out of the box.
When you open a Chromebook, you’ll have the option to use your own account, which is linked to your new or existing Google account, add friends and family, or allow guests a one-time login. Once you reach the desktop, there are pinned application icons at the bottom left, settings and connection options on the bottom right, and a toggle button that allows you to view all of your downloaded apps. To add more, simply browse the Chrome Web Store or Google Play Store, just the same as you would on an Android device.
The principal user interface in Chrome OS is the Google Chrome web browser, and documents are managed through Google Docs. If you’re already using these platforms, you’ll find a switch straightforward. If not, you’ll pick them up easily, thanks to intuitive controls.
Early Chromebooks had a reputation for being effectively useless without an Internet connection due to the web-based Chrome OS format. Over time, the operating system has been finessed to accommodate offline use and automatically sync once a connection is re-established. This is especially helpful for people who travel for work; sketchy or non-existent Wi-Fi on planes, trains, and automobiles won’t stop you from writing that crucial report. Although, we wouldn’t blame you for using your offline time for a little relaxation!
Chrome OS is basically a fusion of the traditional operating system and a streamlined, smart device experience.
The Best Features:
Due to its lightweight cloud-based structure that relies on central computers to do the bulk of the work, Chrome OS is significantly faster than Windows and MacOS. In fact, a Chromebook will load up in as little as eight seconds! You’ll also notice that web browsing is snappy, with fewer instances of lag than on PC laptops and MacBooks. In addition, the lightweight nature of Chrome OS also promotes the long battery life for which Chromebooks are renowned.
Clean, intuitive, and easy to use
Chrome OS has been designed for a straightforward user experience, straight out of the box. Initial setup is minimal; simply log in using existing Google account credentials. The interface is clean, with no unnecessary embellishment. Controls are placed intuitively and can be customized to each user’s preferences.
Chrome OS also takes care of crucial tasks, such as antivirus protection, system upgrades, and app updates, without any manual intervention from the user.
Seamless interaction with Android devices
If you’re an existing Android user, you’ll find the interaction between your device and a Chromebook straightforward. Simply use the same Google account for all of your devices and they’ll automatically sync. For example, you can start watching a YouTube video on your Chromebook, pause it, then pick up exactly where you were, using the YouTube app on your Android phone.
Great for working on the move
Thanks to the minimal infrastructure required to run Chrome OS, Chromebooks are usually light and portable, making them perfect for people who work whilst on the move. They are ideal for travel, and some models are enabled with 3G, so they’re not reliant on external connectivity to run smoothly.
Chrome OS includes Google’s Office-equivalent productivity apps—Docs, Sheets, Slides, and Calendar—as well as Google Drive for cloud-based document storage. Customizable access also allows several users to collaborate on a document or project. Other productivity apps can also be found in the Chrome Web Store and Google Play Store.
Ultimately, one of the key features of the Chrome OS is its ease of use, which is why Chromebooks are growing in popularity.