Chromebooks: Are They Really a Contender?

By June 27, 2018Chromebook, News
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How Do Chromebooks Actually Stack Up Against a MAC or Windows

If you think you’re stuck between choosing a Windows or a MAC for your next major computer purchase, think again, because Chromebooks are in town and they are a very solid contender.

Chromebooks run on the Chrome OS, which is a Linux-based system, and although they are only 7 years old, they’ve come leaps and bounds making them very popular with students. In part, this is because they are lightweight and affordable, meaning that, according to Futuresource Consultings’  latest report,  more than 60% in the US education system are actually Chromebooks

With such a high popularity in schools, it begs the question if Chromebooks are worth it, even if you’re not a student? Could they work for you day-to-day or in business? If you’re considering giving a Chromebook a chance, whether, for their specifications or their price tags, it’s important to know what you’ll get. So, let’s find out if they really are worth it and how strong they compare to their direct competitors.

There’s a Wider Range Than You Realize

Much like a MAC or Windows, there are a variety of Chromebooks available to select from and although they are most known as “Chrome-notebooks” aka Chromebooks, they have desktops and a tablet model too.

Chromebook prices currently average between the $250 and $350 range and their power and features depend on the price—the more you pay, the more you get. For instance, a smaller screen, less RAM, and storage often result in much lower prices, so if you just require basic functionality to access your company emails and word processing resources on the go, this is a very good investment.

But, they aren’t limited to the affordability factor and have well-received options throughout the range like:

Google’s Pixelbook is a hybrid convertible model that can be used as both a notebook or a touchscreen tablet because of their ingenious design: the screen attached with a hinge that can rotate 360 degrees available from $999 that is one of their sturdier devices for business use.

The Samsung 3 Chromebook is the affordable favorite that is easy to carry and lightweight which is the stripped down basic model starting at $169.

Acer Chromebook Tab 10 is the latest (and currently only) tablet available in the Chromebook line for those with a penchant for their tablet device currently starting at $329.

Acer

Although Chromebooks owe their popularity to the student population, Google has also started making models specifically aimed at business professionals. Acer has quickly caught on the popularity of Chromebooks and the latest [email protected] event revealed several such models, like the Chromebook Spin available in 13.5- and 15.6-inch versions. It’s a novelty for them as it’s their first convertible 15.6-inch Chromebook. It’s also neatly located at the very middle of their price range at $449.

Internet Connectivity Turns Every Chromebook Into a Powerhouse

When you buy a Chromebook, you get a number of already available apps, like Gmail, Chrome, Google Calendar, YouTube, Google Docs, and Google Drive which is great for the many users who want to keep all of their services in one place. Plus, all you need to do is log in with your Google credentials and you’re ready to go. The sync process doesn’t take long and you will easily pick up where you left off. Another great thing about Chromebooks is the Google Assistant, formerly only available for mobile and smart home devices. Now, it is available in the newest Chromebook models, like the Pixelbook, which also sports a dedicated Google Assistant keyboard button, perfect for busy business owners.

The other great advantage of this is that Chromebooks are “hop-able” meaning that you can log in with your Chromebook details on any Chromebook device and it will have all of your settings and preferences waiting for you, allowing you to hop from one device to the other because everything is cloud-based.

The most prominent critique of these devices is how dependent they are when it comes to Internet connectivity. Most critics take this Internet dependency as their most prominent flaw—if you don’t have an internet connection, you can’t use them to their fullest. This was once an issue but Google quickly realized that they needed to find a solution, and they delivered. The majority of their apps can be run offline and sync the data while you’re offline too.

Because of the nature of Chromebooks using Cloud storage, it’s important that you get a memory card for your Chromebook to avoid running out of space when you’re working offline.

Most Chromebooks Work with Android Apps

You may be attracted to MAC or Windows because of their range of apps that they run, but Chromebooks are no longer behind as they run Chrome OS-based and Android apps available through the Chrome store.

Although it is true that the first models had a limited number of apps that they could run, this is far from true when it comes to the newer models. Google upped their game and is now offering access to the Google Play Store and Google Play apps. For instance, the Acer Chromebook R series, ASUS Chromebook Flip, as well as Samsung Pro 2-in-1 and Google’s Pixelbook are all models that support Android apps. Just make sure that your Chromebook has the minimum requirements to run them smoothly. This can easily be checked though, as each game states how much performance power you will need.

Another thing to take into consideration is that some games might not be adjusted to play on Chromebooks, so their display might only be available in a vertical position, native to the one used on your phone. It’s best to check with the developer of each game whether they have a native Chromebook version or plan to release it and if your sole reason for buying a Chromebook is game-playing, you may want to reconsider.

Chromebooks Have the Best Update and Security Features

Chromebooks are praised far and wide because of their security features, and many cybersecurity experts call others to follow their lead. The Chrome OS utilizes all the security measures offered by Google, so malware issues are not a big concern. Even pop-ups or additional toolbars can’t sneak past them. Chrome OS is cloud-based, as well as Google apps, so you do not have to worry about checking whether you have the latest version—they all update automatically and just prompt you to restart in case of major updates.

In addition to this, the two-factor authentication makes these systems highly secure. Couple this with making sure that the apps that you download come from familiar and trusted publishers, and you have ensured that you’re as safe as possible.

One of their strongest skills, in addition to security, is their battery life. You can easily use your Chromebook all day without the need to plug it in which is perfect for those that are on the move. Most Chromebooks can easily work on battery for more than 9 hours. The Laptop Mag Battery Test revealed that the average battery life of Chromebooks with Wi-Fi web surfing is about 9 hours and 15 minutes, which is superior to most other notebooks out there.

Are Chromebooks a Good Fit for You?

Even though Chromebooks are most popular among students and educators, they have come a long way and have become perfect solutions in other areas as well. Their appeal is growing each day, especially with those who require a smaller device for quick or regular business tasks.

Even with a small budget under $200, you can afford a Chromebook and while the only people who may not benefit from one are gamers, they seem a good fit for everyone else. Easier access to your Google services and Android apps, with the lightweight accessibility, better security and superior battery life that wins every time.

With bigger budgets come better features and functionalities so ultimately there’s a Chromebook for pretty much anyone.