5 Things you should consider before buying a Chromebook.
What is a Chromebook?
Well, if you have already decided to purchase one…you probably already know what it is. But for those of you who don’t – Chromebook is a relatively new breed of laptop. However, on the first look, they look no different than your regular laptops.
They even pack laptop-like hardware, but the software is the thing that actually characterizes Chromebooks. Chromebooks are not running Windows or Mac OS, but ChromeOS. This ChromeOS is developed by Google as a free and simple to use Web-Browsed interface that can perform the typical activities all of us usually expect from a computer: browsing, streaming movies, editing documents, listening to music and so forth. Chromebooks have been gaining popularity rapidly, but as tempting as they may seem, they don’t necessarily suit everyone’s’ needs. So before you buy one, following are the 5 things you should look into:
- Are you only comfortable with MacOS and Windows? – As mentioned previously, Chromebooks are not based on operating systems of Apple or Microsoft. In case you are currently using a Google Chrome browser, Chrome OS shouldn’t be alien to you. Actually, Chromebooks are designed to be used generally online, with your documents and other files saved to the cloud. Many of the applications are bookmarks that navigate you to a web page. You won’t get to use most of the apps you’re used to with your Windows and MacOS. You can use Microsoft Office online (available in the Chrome store) on your Chromebook. But the default is Google Drive, which is where you’d go to create documents and other files using Google Docs, the company’s online productivity suite. Docs is compatible with versions of Microsoft Office from 2007 on (you can upgrade documents from earlier versions before editing from within Google Docs). Therefore, you can edit Word, Excel, and PowerPoint files in Google Drive, and you can share items you create with other Office users.
- If you need a lot of power…think again – In such an affordable price, there has to be a catch. Chromebooks are not speed demons. Majority use low-power Intel Celeron processors, which boost battery life but don’t provide the best performance. So yes, they are good enough for creating and sharing documents, and other tasks that are not challenging.
- Screen Size – Once you reach the decision of buying the Chromebook, move on to the specs. Chromebook’s screen size lies somewhere between 11.6 and 14 inches at the moment. Typically, the smaller the screen, the lighter and more compact the device. The screen quality however, is nothing to die for. IPS panels or high resolution displays are usually not frequently found on Chromebooks.
- Hardware – Starting from ARM-type processors and Intel Atom, Celeron and Core platforms on some units, there are some options for you to choose from. You will also have to know the amount of RAM you’ll want on your device and whether or not you want a HDD in your machine. Choose wisely because picking some features over the other will make a huge difference in respect of the speed, battery life and compactness of your Chromebook.
- Cloud – Chromebooks do not use traditional hard drives. The solid-state drives used normally tend toward the small side, as in 16GB. 32GB are also available nevertheless, like the Chromebook Pixel. Those smaller drives keep the price down (the Pixel being an exception) and the weight less. They help the Chromebook start up faster than your standard laptop and they also save on battery life. Now, with so little storage space, Chromebooks are all about working online. Even the Chromebook’s offline capabilities work best when you have Internet access. All your files are stored in the cloud. The downside: You’re bound to Google and whatever it decides to do as far as free cloud storage in the future.