Do Chromebooks Come In Different Designs
Chromebooks makers take different approaches to meet users’ needs, with some using a traditional clamshell laptop design. Others, like many of those offered by Acer and Samsung, add touchscreen functionality, which is useful if you want another way to interact with your device. Samsung and Google also offer Chromebooks with pen support, which you might use often if you need to make quick and accurate selections. Some Chrome OS devices are 2-in-1 devices, meaning that in addition to being able to use them as laptops, you can use them as tablets.
What You Can Do On A Chromebook
With the recent explosion of web-based apps and the arrival of Chromebook apps and Android apps, there is very little you cant do with a Chromebook. For example, while you cannot install and run the desktop version of Microsoft Office on a Chromebook, you can either use Google Office Suites, use Microsoft Office Online, or install the Android version of Microsoft Office. Those with support for Linux apps can even install a Microsoft Office alternative, like LibreOffice.
Chromebook is not totally reliant on the Internet connection either. There are over 200 Chrome apps that you can access while offline, and many of the Android apps also work without an Internet connection. Offline apps will automatically save your work and update it on the cloud the next time the machine connects to the Internet.
Who Are Chromebooks Not Right For
You will want to stick with a traditional laptop if you work on a Windows or Mac software that has no online version or alternative or if you are a serious gamer. However, gamers, be aware that Googles new platform for gaming, Stadia Streaming Game Service, will be released in 2019 and claims to be capable of streaming AAA games like Assassins Creed and Doom to Chromebooks. In addition, there are also plenty of games for Chromebook that you can play.
If you use your laptop mostly for web browsing, emails, binging on Netflix, using online apps, and watching videos on YouTube, a Chromebook could be right for you. They dont cost as much as a traditional laptop, are portable and these machines are super-fast to boot up and run smoothly.
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How Much Is A Premium Chromebook
In short, not as expensive as you would think. The days of cheap Chromebooks with limited functionality are long gone. Now youve got premium powerhouse Chromebooks made to stand up to your business, entertainment, and multitasking needs. And the price tag? Anywhere from $500-$1500 and up.
Looking for a Chromebook thats built toughinside and out? Premium Chromebook devices are starting to enter the market with eye-catching features and specs.
Why Should You Try One
Why should you take a risk and try a Chromebook if you have always used a traditional laptop?
- Chromebooks have outstanding battery life. On average they last for over nine hours on a single charge.
- Boot-up time takes only about five to fifteen seconds.
- Chromebooks are durable. They can survive falls other computers might not, and some are even waterproof.
- The Chromebooks price is right. You can get a dependable entry-level Chromebook for around $200. On the high end, you can buy one of the best Chromebooks for about $500.
- Your work is safe. If your Chromebook dies, you can access all your apps, settings, and documents on a new one just by logging in. There is no time wasted downloading and reinstalling everything from your old device.
- Updating is easy. The operating system updates every time you boot up and runs in the background. Chromebooks do not hold your computer hostage like many traditional laptops when it installs updates.
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Chromebook: Google Drive And Other Cloud Storage
On a Chromebook, you automatically save documents, photos, and videos to Google Drive. Since Chrome OS is specifically laid out for this, a Chromebook often has limited offline storage. That’s why you receive 100 gigabytes of free online storage when you buy a Chromebook. You’ll always have the option to buy extra storage or use other storage services on your Chromebook, like DropBox.
Do Chromebooks Need An Internet Connection
When Chromebooks first launched they basically became paperweights when they were offline — a real issue if you were in the middle of editing an important document you suddenly couldn’t save because your web connection dropped. Things have thankfully gotten better as Google improved offline capabilities and common apps like Netflix, YouTube and Spotify have offline options as well.
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For a regular laptop, being offline is a little less of a problem since you’re using installed software that saves to internal storage. While neither experience is great offline these days, Chromebooks are not a great choice if you’re not willing and able to be online most of the time. On the upside, Google has made it very easy for Android users to turn their phones into instant mobile hotspots and to have Chromebooks and Android devices work better together.
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The Bottom Line The Right Kind Of Laptop Dependson You
We wish we could give an easy, definitive answer on a case-by-case basis to every shopper, but more than anything else, whether you should buy a Chromebook or a Windows laptop really does come down to your particular workload or playtime needs. Everyone’s different.
The above guidelines should help you see which category you fall into, though, and those who need specific programs only available on Windows or macOS likely know who they are. If you can get through your work almost entirely in a web browser, or youre buying for a student, a Chromebook can be a good money-saving choice. For everyone else, look through our best budget laptops or best laptops overall to find one thats best for you.
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What Is A Chromebook And Should You Buy One
Our advice on whether to leave Windows 10 and macOS to buy a Chromebook
Whenever visiting family and friends, I expect one question to come up: “What is a Chromebook?” It’s a query I’m getting a lot more now that Chromebooks have invaded the mainstream, giving people capable budget options at well below $500. So, what is a Chromebook? Instead of a Windows 10 or macOS laptop, Chromebooks run Google’s Chrome OS.
Originally seen as a platform built around Google’s cloud apps , Chrome OS has done well in the education market. Over time, however, the appeal for Chromebooks has widened, and the best Chromebooks are some of the best laptops overall today. In fact, the demand for Chromebooks spiked during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and Google outpunched its rival Apple by selling more laptops with Chrome OS than MacBooks in 2020 .
If you’re considering buying one for your kid, our Chromebook drop test gives us a sense of which Chrome OS laptop is the most durable. Students should also check out our Windows 10 vs. macOS vs. Chrome OS guide when the back-to-school season comes around.
Below is a comprehensive guide for anyone who is considering buying a Chromebook. We’ve put our collective knowledge together to look at pricing, features, and comparisons with other laptops, including MacBooks and top Windows 10 laptops, to see if a Chromebook is best for you.
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Buy An Ebay Certified Refurbished Chrome Laptop Or Netbook
eBay also offers Certified Refurbished Chromebook laptops and netbooks. These are like-new items that are only sold by eBay-approved sellers. All our Certified Refurbished products come with a free return/replacement policy valid for 30 days after the buyer receives the product, along with a 2-year warranty. We also regularly monitor all our Certified Refurbished sellers to ensure they’re meeting our stringent quality control metrics, so all our buyers can shop in confidence.
Chromebook Laptops Offer Enhanced Battery Life
Because Chrome OS is a sleek, undemanding operating system, Chromebook laptops tend to have batteries that last longer on a single charge. Overall, Chromebooks will give you above-average battery life but you’ll find differences even among them. You might have to make a trade-off between longer battery life and another factor like, say, processing speed. An example is an Intel® Celeron processor Chromebook that works well with run-of-the-mill work and school applications or a dual-core processor notebook that can handle more intensive applications but has shorter battery life.
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What Can And Can’t I Do With A Chromebook
When Chrome OS launched it was essentially . For those used to an operating system like Windows and Mac, it made the average Chromebook seem like little more than a laptop that runs a web browser and that’s all.
Even if the Chrome OS never matured beyond that, the fact is quite a lot can be done entirely on the web these days. Take stock of everything you do on a daily basis and you may find there’s nothing you can’t accomplish with Chrome at its most basic level.
That said, a Windows laptop or MacBook can run the Chrome browser as well as other software supported by those operating systems. Even if you don’t immediately need a particular piece of software, it’s nice to have the option. Plus, if you’re shopping for a Chromebook for remote learning with Google Classroom, a Mac or Windows PC will work as well.
Samsung’s Galaxy Chromebook 2 is a premium model with better performance than most.
One of the big hurdles here for many people is access to Microsoft Office. You can’t install the full Office software on a Chromebook, but Microsoft makes both web-based and Android versions available in the Chrome and , respectively. But generally speaking, if you need or want a specific Windows or Mac application — and there’s no suitable web or Android app substitute and you don’t want to use VMware — don’t get a Chromebook.
Does A Chromebook Need To Be Online All The Time
Almost everything youll do on a Chromebook will be done in a web browser using whats called a web app. This includes Google Docs , Google Sheets and Pixlr . You can also access Microsoft Office Online software if you prefer it.
Our wi-fi tests
Four separate wi-fi speed tests in a range of conditions make up our dedicated laptop wi-fi score. You can use this to see which laptop will best help you stay connected on the move.
It used to be the case that a Chromebook had to be online all the time for all web apps, but theres plenty you can do without an internet connection. All the Google apps Docs, Sheets, Slides, Files and Mail have an offline mode . This means you can work on spreadsheets and presentations or write documents and emails without being online.
The next time you do go online, all your work will be synchronised with the cloud. Offline editing should be enough to keep you going on a plane or train journey without a wi-fi connection.
Modern Chromebooks come with a surprising amount of storage, too: most come with at least 64GB, and some come with more. While that would be tight for Windows, the Chrome OS doesnt take up much hard drive space, leaving more room for your files. That means you could easily download a few films to watch offline, for example.
Cheaper models might only come with 16GB – so if you need more than this, check the specification sheet carefully before you buy.
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How Much Does A Chromebook Cost
Figuring out your budget for a Chromebook has gotten more complicated in recent years now that more high-end products like the Samsung Galaxy Chromebook 2 and the Goggle Pixelbook have brought some pretty powerful hardware, flashier designs, and better quality construction to the table.
Chromebooks have historically been among the cheapest laptops you could buy, and that’s still the case today, but now you’ll need to figure out if the Chromebook you want is in line with your budget, much more so than in the early years of Chromebook development when even the best models were priced on the lower end.
You can still find plenty of excellent Chromebooks for less than $300/£300/AU$500, but the best Chromebooks are now edging towards $1,000 / £1,000 / AU$1,500, which would have been unheard of six or seven years ago.
Laptops Vs Chromebooks: Hardware Head
Because running a web browser and apps is not particularly strenuous, Chromebooks usually dont include high-end components. Additionally, the fact that theyre built for simpler workloads means theyre often targeted more at young users, students, or less tech-savvy users who just need to access the web. Both of these factors mean that, generally speaking, the prices for Chromebooks are lower than for many computers based on Windows or macOS.
An important thing to note: The use of Googles OS doesnt mean that all Chromebooks are made by Google. In the same way that Acer, Asus, Dell, HP, and other PC makers create their own laptops that run Microsofts Windows operating system, many of these same major manufacturers produce Chromebooks that utilize Chrome OS. Like other laptops, they come in different shapes and sizes, and you can find hybrid 2-in-1 Chromebooks, as well.
To get more specific about the component differences, let’s run through them one by one.
PROCESSORS. Chromebooks employ low-power processors that suit the less-straining jobs theyre meant for. Right now, in inexpensive Chromebooks, these CPUs are most often Intel Celeron chips, though you will run across some Pentium processors, which are a step up from Celeron, and Intel Core i3 and Core i5 processors. You may also run across the occasional AMD-based Chromebook, but these are less common and are low-power options in their current iterations.
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Speaking Of The Cloud
Chromebooks can live on low storage space because they rely heavily on the cloud, especially Googles own internet services. If you already use cloud storage for most of your files, stream music, watch movies online, and store your photos on the web, you may not even need that much local storage.
Bear in mind Chromebooks can operate offline to a certain extent. You can download emails and work on them offline. Similarly, you can edit documents offline too. Many Android apps can also run without an internet connection, not to mention Linux ones.
While everyone gets 15GB of cloud storage for free with , upgrading to more costs money. Luckily it isnt too much. A $1.99/mo subscription can get you 100GB of cloud storage. You can also pay $2.99/mo for 200GB or $9.99/mo for 2TB. There are higher plans for those who need them, too.
Chromebook Vs Laptop: Which Is Best For You
Now that you know the main differences between Chromebooks and laptops, which side are you picking?
In a nutshell, we would recommend Chromebooks to anyone who uses a computer for web purposes and can live on Android apps for more complex processes. Chrome OS is faster, more affordable, more secure, and much simpler to use. Windows, macOS, and other Linux-based operating systems can run more advanced programs and are more efficient offline. They also have a healthier selection of apps optimized for the laptop form factor.
Regardless of your preference, we have lists of the best laptops from each realm. Check it out below.
The best laptops you can get:
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Our Favorite Budget Windows Laptops
However, because Chromebooks are so web-focused, the limited amount of local storage should be okay, as your data will be synced and saved within the Google cloud, or in the individual app youre using. Meanwhile, the browser-focused interface means you dont have to worry about installing programs or moving around files on your desktop. Instead, your Google account is your key, allowing you to use Googles most popular programs and download Play apps.
SCREEN AND BATTERY. Outside of those nitty-gritty component details, Chromebooks are much the same as other laptops. They have displays that come in various sizes , most of which will be full HD . The lowest-end Chromebooks still use 1,366-by-768-pixel panels and are best avoided, at this point, except perhaps at the smallest screen sizes, on the smallest budgets.
Both laptops and Chromebooks offer varying chassis build qualities and materials by manufacturer and price tier, batteries that can last more than 10 hours to get you through the day, and basic ports like USB and perhaps an HDMI output. Battery life is where independent testers like our own PC Labs come in to gauge it, consult reviews with defensible comparisons, rather than relying just on vendor claims.
How A Chromebook Is Different To A Windows Laptop
Chromebooks are powered by Google’s Chrome OS and can serve as an alternative to a Windows or a macOS laptop, but there are some differences.
A Chromebook is a computer powered by Chrome OS, Google’s Linux-based operating system that is lightweight and designed to run on a variety of devices, including laptops. While most people tend to think of a laptop as a device that’s powered by either Windows or macOS, it is wise to think of a Chromebook as a Chrome OS laptop. However, there are some differences between a Chrome laptop and a Windows laptop.
Chromebooks have come a long way since they first hit the market ten years ago. Not only has the hardware gotten better, but the Chrome operating system has received significant upgrades taking the experience from one that’s just an operating system built on top of a browser to one that’s capable of doing so much more, including running Android and Linux apps. The popularity of Chromebooks has also increased over the years, with devices powered by Google’s OS even outselling Macs last year.
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