How We Test Chromebooks
Testing Chromebooks isnt too different from testing laptops and gaming laptops, though perhaps the paces are a little less intensive or game-heavy.
Since Chromebooks rely heavily on the Chrome browser, we push that browsing prowess to its limits, opening 20 or more browser tabs on different types of websites, from productivity ones like Google docs to streaming sites like Netflix and Hulu. For good measure, we try to play media on those streaming services simultaneously. Because Chromebooks are now much more capable of running apps, we also open and use several apps at the same time.
Because a Chromebook is only as good as its peripherals, we take a look at its display, keyboard, availability of ports, and how good its overall design is. We also test its webcam and touchscreen capabilities, if theyre on hand.
We then take everything weve learned about the Chromebook and compare it to its price whether or not its performance and features are worth that price tag, and whether or not it offers the best value to customers.
How To Turn A Laptop Into A Chromebook
Intriguingly, you dont necessarily to buy a Chromebook to get one!
If you have an old laptop that is really struggling to run the latest version of Windows or Mac OS, you might find that repurposing it as a Chromebook gives it a new lease of life and turns it back into a useful machine.
This can be done by downloading Chromium OS an open-source product which is related to and extremely similar to Chrome OS and installing it on your old machine.
Chromium OS makes much lighter demands on your computer than traditional desktop operating systems, and accordingly can turn a sluggish computer into one that boots up quickly and works perfectly fine as a tool for web browsing, consuming content or working in the cloud.
If this sounds of interest, you should check out Android Centrals guide on how to install Chromium OS on a Windows computer, or 9 to 5 Macs guide to bringing an old Mac back to life by installing Chrome OS on it.
Who Are Chromebooks Meant For
Are you looking to replace a sluggish PC laptop or an older Macbook that you just don’t have the money to buy all over again? If so, a Chromebook may be just what you need.
If you use your computer primarily for email, Facebook, and general internet surfing, then you will probably really enjoy a Chromebook. However, they are not necessarily a good fit for everyone, so here’s what you need to know.
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Chromebook: Apps For Different Purposes
You can use a Chromebook for the most diverse tasks, like using the internet and watching movies, but also to play games. Either you work directly from the Chrome internet browser, or you install Android applications from the Google Play Store. While you depend on the apps available for your Chromebook in the Play Store, there are thousands of apps and the number is constantly growing. You can always find an app in the Play Store that’s suitable for what you want.
Customize The Search Key
Personally, I like the search key as-is, but if youd rather have Caps Lock functionality or set the key to serve as a backspace, heres how to do it.
Open settings again, choose Device in the left-hand rail, and then select Keyboard. On the next screen, youll see a drop-down menu next to Search. Click that menu, select the functionality youd like the Search key to have, click OK, and youre all set.
You can also adjust the functionality of Ctrl, Alt, Escape, and Backspace.
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Chromebook Vs Laptop: What Can And Can’t I Do With A Chromebook
Sure, a laptop has more functionality, but maybe you don’t need all that.
Senior Editor / Reviews
Joshua Goldman is a senior editor for CNET Reviews, covering laptops and the occasional action cam or drone and related accessories. He has been writing about and reviewing consumer technology and software since 2000.
Acer’s updated Chromebook Spin 713 two-in-one is the first with Thunderbolt 4 support and is Intel Evo verified.
Chromebooks are a tempting option for the budget-conscious, especially if you’re looking for a new computer that you can easily take on the go. The main thing to keep in mind when comparing a laptop to a Chromebook is that it’s not an apples-to-apples comparison. The main difference, besides price, is the operating system. If you’re used to using Windows or MacOS, Google’s minimalist Chrome operating system may not have all the functionality you need. But then again, maybe it does, and with some Chromebooks even dipping below $300, maybe you stand to save a bundle of cash by nixing the features you don’t use anyway.
Read more: Best Laptop Under $500 for 2022
Log Into Your Google Account
If you installed CloudReady to the laptops storage drive, you now only need connect to the internet , set your data sharing preference, and log into your Google account. Youll then reach the desktop, where youll see a pop-up window that shows info on the paid editions and current release notes.
Close it to start using your DIY Chromebookyoure all set to go. As of version 89 of CloudReady, proprietary media plugins no longer need to be installed manually. You can start streaming video from services that rely on DRM right away!
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What Applications Can I Run On My Chromebook
Mostly web-based applications, which Google just calls Apps, but also Extensions, which latch directly onto the browser and allow for interaction and notifications. Apps are written in the same language as web pages, but theyre specialized for the Chrome experience. Search around in the Chrome Web Store, and youll see apps from the New York Times, Popular Science, popular social media manager TweetDeck, and more than a few interesting games including the modern gold standard for any platform, Angry Birds.
On the Extensions side, youll find notifiers that can ding and show unread counts for almost any web mail service, and extensions that shuttle pages around for you print-to-PDF tools, screenshot captures, and the like. But youll also find essential utilities like LastPass for managing passwords, FlashBlock for preserving CPU and battery life , and more.
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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Edit Video On A Chromebook
Some people may tell you that you cant edit video on a Chromebook, but theyd be wrong. There are actually two great ways you can do this. The first and easiest way is to pick one of the highly-rated and easy-to-use Android apps for video editing.
For example, try Video Editor & Video Maker from Inshot. Its got a 4.8-star review from 4.2 million users and counting.
Want a more robust video editing experience? You can use Adobe Premiere on a Chromebook, with a little fudging. No, you cant download and install Premiere, but use Google Remote Desktop if you have Premiere on a home PC and you can work on the most involved editing jobs remotely.
How To Manually Connect Your Wi
If, for some reason, your printer does not appear on the list in the Add Printers section, dont worry. You can still add your device manually and print from a Chromebook.
In the Printers section, click on the Add Manually option. Then type in the printers name, its IP address, its protocol , and its queue . Click Add when all of that information is filled in.
A box should pop up asking you to select your printer manufacturer and model. If you find it, click Add. If it doesnt show up, you should then check your printers information for its printer language or emulation, then go back to the list and select the Generic option that looks similar. You might need to upload your printers driver. If thats the case, click on the Browse option to upload it.
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Can I Edit Photos Using My Chromebook
Yes – Theres an in-built photo-editor in Chromes operating system. If this proves unsatisfactory, web-based photo-editing alternatives such as Pixlr are available.
This isn’t the same as running a program on your Chromebook, of course. You won’t be able to install Photoshop, for instance – although you can install Adobe’s Android apps such as , and Lightroom.
Can I run iTunes on a Chromebook?
No – Apple hasnt created an iTunes app for Googles Chrome OS and due to the two companies ongoing rivalry something unlikely to end any time soon. If you’re an iPhone or iPad user, you won’t be able to manage your device using a Chromebook, plugging it in to sync files or change settings.
If you’re thinking of buying a Chromebook, check out our advice and reviews here.
Get Google Cards Form Chromeos Launcher
The ChromeOS Launcher now shows Google Now Cards at the bottom of the launcher box.
At the bottom of the ChromeOS Launcher theres a black box with an arrow pointing right. This shows Google Now Cards with a suggested search based on your search history. Scroll down on smaller screened devices and the cards will expand. Click the reload button to refresh the content and update it. Click on the More button, if it shows up, to see more Google Now Cards.
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What Chromebooks Do Schools Use
- Asus Chromebook Flip C434: Best Chromebook overall.
- Acer Chromebook R 11: Best budget convertible.
- Google Pixelbook Go: Best for display quality.
- Dell Inspiron 11 Chromebook: Best for younger students.
- Lenovo 500e Chromebook 2nd gen: Best for stylus.
- Lenovo IdeaPad Duet Chromebook: Best display on a budget.
Is Excel free on Chromebook? Although, Chromebooks come preloaded with free software for working on spreadsheets , many users still prefer using Microsoft Excel.
How can I get Microsoft Office for free on my Chromebook? How to Use Microsoft Office on Chromebook for Free
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The Differences Between Chromebooks And Laptops
A Chromebook is a special kind of laptop, different from standard Macs and PCs.
Its operating system the software that decides how the computer works and what programs it can run is called Chrome OS. It’s made and updated by Google.
As you might expect, Chrome OS is primarily built to run Google apps like , Docs, and YouTube, which are all installed on the Chromebook by default . You log into the device itself using your Google account and password, and will need an internet connection to use most of its features.
The keyboard also has keys you won’t recognize. Instead of a Caps Lock key, it’s got a button called “Search” or “Launcher” that lets you search your device or the internet for anything you type. And in place of the Windows or Command key, there’s a key that’ll bring up .
Finally, they’re not as powerful as most high-end MacBooks, and nowhere near as powerful as high-end PCs. If you want a computer for gaming, animation, or image and video editing, look elsewhere.
The chart below compares a top-of-the-line Chromebook with similarly priced PC and Mac models. The best of every category will be highlighted.
*Based on third-party benchmark tests, as Apple hasn’t released their own stats.
But when it comes down to it, a Chromebook is just another type of laptop. You can think of it like this: All Chromebooks are laptops, but not all laptops are Chromebooks.
If you mostly use Google apps, or are tired of Macs and PCs, Chromebook laptops might be worth a look.
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Chromebook Vs Windows Laptop: What You Can And Can’t Do
The best place to start when this topic gets discussed is to mention the things even the best Chromebook won’t be able to do that a Windows laptop can, then talk about what a Chromebook can do that a Windows laptop can’t. Most everything here isn’t going to be a one-size-fits-all affair because we all do different things.
Your Chromebook won’t be able to play most of the games you play on a dedicated gaming laptop. With Linux support baked into Chrome OS, you can install the Linux client for Steam, but you won’t get much mileage even on the best Chromebook. This goes double if your current Windows 10 laptop has a discrete GPU because Chromebooks all use integrated graphics, at least for now. If you use a laptop with a separate graphics adapter, you already know this.
Your Chromebook also can’t use the same titles for productivity apps that a Windows laptop does either at least, not exactly. Android support means Chromebooks can use a million or so apps, and the recent Linux support adds another set of even more powerful apps, but some products just aren’t made for any operating system other than Windows. You can find an equivalent for almost any program that works on a Chromebook Google Docs for offline office programs, Polarr editor as an image editing and processing tool, or Power Director for video editing are just a few examples.
Chromebooks don’t have the wide range of enterprise-grade apps that Windows does.
Asus Chromebook Flip C434 Keyboard And Touchpad
The island-style, backlit keyboard on the Flip C434 offers a solid typing experience, despite providing just 1.3 millimeters of key travel .
The keys are large and nicely spaced, and they have 71 grams of actuation force , which gives them a tactile click. I prefer a slightly lower actuation force, since the keys felt sticky to my fingers, but that’s a matter of preference.
I typed at 115 words per minute with an accuracy rate of 94% on the 10FastFingers.com test. That’s a good result, but it doesn’t quite meet my 119-wpm, 95% accuracy average.
Outlined in chrome, the 4.1 x 2.4-inch touchpad on the Flip C434 was a tad jumpy at times but responded quickly to my swipes and taps as I browsed the web. I also had no problems using Chrome OS gestures, like pinch-to-zoom and two-finger swipes to move back and forth between pages.
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Are Chromebooks Good For Students
Chromebooks for students may fit the needs of many looking looking for an everyday device for school, but perhaps not all. These laptops are extremely light and portable, among the least expensive systems available, and the Chrome OS is very easy to learn and use. However, since Chromebooks have less internal storage than comparable devices, and function mainly via remote cloud services and web apps, these laptops are best suited to users who are comfortable working that way â less so for those who prefer loading programs and saving multi-gigabyte files locally.
A Chromebook could be a good, cheap laptop for a student who will mostly read books, write papers, and conduct web research. Google has built a broad universe of useful word processing and other applications that Chromebooks come pre-optimized for, like Google Photos, Docs, Music, Drive and more. Outside of the Google universe, other software companies have released Chrome OS or cloud-based versions of popular programs, as well.
A Chromebook may be less well-suited for a student who will often work beyond the reach of a wireless internet signal , who wants to spend off-study hours playing processor-intensive computer games, or whose course of study will require the use of advanced software programs that aren’t available for Chrome OS. Plus, most Chromebooks have fewer ports to attach external devices for battery charging or direct data transfer when short- or long-range wireless options won’t suffice.
Asus Chromebook Flip C434 Audio
The bottom-firing speakers on the front of the Flip C434 pump out clear sound that’s loud enough to fill a large room. I tapped my foot along to the energetic rhythm the speakers brought to Glass Animals’ “Pools.” The low-frequency bass tones were a bit weak, but vocals sounded clear and I could distinctly hear each of the instruments, even in the chaotic chorus.
The speakers had some difficulty with the piano chords in Sampha’s piano-driven ballad ” Like the Piano,” which sounded distorted. It’s a shame because the buzzy noise marred otherwise-excellent sound quality highlighted by the clarity in Sampha’s emotive falsetto.
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