Chromebooks stand out in the world of technology. Most premium laptops with a recognizable name such as the MacBook, the Dell XPS and the Lenovo Yoga cost well over $1000 depending on configuration. Many Chromebooks can be purchased for under $300! Many negative perceptions of these budget laptops are a result of incorrect expectations. Chromebooks are a satisfactory choice for many and an excellent choice for some.
Who Should Buy a Chromebook?
The main appeal of Chromebooks is price rather than power. Chances are, you won’t see someone commending the incredible speed of their Chromebooks. This is the point where the incorrect expectations come in. If one were to buy a Chromebook expecting a powerhouse laptop that can handle the most grueling tasks, they will be disappointed. If one is looking for a laptop like this, they will need to spend a premium price. Chromebooks are more than adequate for the most basic tasks: internet browsing, YouTube videos, email, social networking, document viewing and editing (using Google Drive) can all be done with minimal stutter. With that said, attempting to stream video in 4k or having 10+ tabs open at once may be a struggle. Chromebooks are great backup devices that can cover the basics if your main machine were to be compromised. Chromebooks are also great to take on vacation or to school or work. If the laptop were to be damaged or stolen, it would only be a loss of a few hundred dollars as opposed to over $1000. For some consumers, a Chromebook may be a perfectly adequate main computer. I often see consumers using premium laptops when they would be more than happy using a Chromebook. Why spend $1500 when you can spend $250 for a device that meets your needs?
How do Manufacturers Keep Prices so Low?
With the exception of a few models, Chromebooks mostly aim to impress those on a budget with what they can do for under $500. Admittedly, most of what I do on a regular basis on my Windows laptop is through the Google Chrome browser. Virtually anything that is done in Google Chrome can be done with a Chromebook. The main difference between a Windows machine and a Chromebook is the lack of Windows operating system. Instead of Windows, Chromebooks come with Chrome OS: a cloud based OS.
There is minimal internal storage with Chromebooks because a user is meant to utilize Google’s cloud service to store pictures, music, documents, etc. Because Chrome OS is significantly lighter than Windows, Chromebooks require less processing power and RAM than a Windows device would. On paper, Chromebooks look severely underpowered. This doesn’t translate to performance. It is similar to the comparison between iPhones and Android devices. If you were to look at the processing speed and RAM capacity of an iPhone in comparison to a Samsung Galaxy Note 5, for example, you would expect the iPhone to be laggy and slow. Realistically, iPhones often perform on par with if not better than Android devices. This is because IOS is significantly lighter than Android. Because Chromebook manufacturers spend less on software and internal hardware, they can focus their spending on build and screen quality. Lower end Chromebooks that cost next to nothing (so to speak) come with cheaper build qualities and 720p screens. If you pay a little more, you can get a Chromebook with a 4k screen and metal build comparable in quality to some premium devices.
Like with Windows machines, there is a large variety of Chromebooks available. Prices range from $150 (yes, seriously) to $1299. There are even Chromebook 2-in-1s available. Whether you are a basic user looking for a main machine or a tech enthusiast looking for a throw around laptop, consider a Chromebook. Assuming you aren’t attached to the Windows ecosystem, you may be surprised by the simplicity of Chrome OS.
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