Computer

Is There A Chromebook In Your Future?

As we approach the end of the year, our thoughts turn to what has become the sheer unabashed gift-giving season. It’s not too early to start thinking of the December holidays (clearly, the retailers who put out Christmas decorations in mid-October have no such compunctions!) and what to not only get for someone else, but also to ask for yourself.

If you’re in the market for a new computer or a mobile gadget that allows web access but is not a smart phone or tablet, then you may want to consider a Chromebook. In fact, if you were considering getting a PC laptop or MacBook, you may want to reconsider once you find out a little more about the Chromebook.


Chromebooks are not only an awesome Internet-dedicated computer, it’s also perfect for kids

Definition Of A Chromebook

Call it a “laptop lite”. The Chromebook is a scaled-down laptop for people who are looking mostly for online access. It runs with an operating system known as Chrome OS, an OS that is reminiscent of PC and Mac operating systems, but sits atop a Linux platform. Most Chromebooks have an 11.6-inch screen, though some have a 13 or even 14-inch display, offers around six hours of battery life, and has minimal on-board storage, ranging from 16 to 32GB, relying on Google Drive cloud storage to save files. Chromebooks don’t have an optical drive, so you can’t use DVDs or CDs with them.

Chromebook Advantages

Let’s start with the price. Chromebooks, being in essence a scaled-down laptop, are cheaper. You can pick up a decent Chromebook for around $200, or half of what you can expect to pay for a respectable PC laptop, or a quarter of what you’d pay for a MacBook.

They’re also lightweight, with many models coming in at around four pounds, which is comparable to the MacPro or about two-thirds the weight of the average Windows PC. So you can have the portability of a MacPro, but pay far less for the privilege.

A Chromebook is also the ideal first laptop for kids. It has strong parental controls that allow an adult to supervise the accounts, limiting online activities and access, and even preventing adult-related content from appearing on search results.

Due to the lack of extras usually found on laptops that end up eating processing time, the Chromebook boots up in less than ten seconds. In fact, the Chromebook is dedicated to making the entire online experience an easy one, with a keyboard that’s designed to facilitate browsing. This is not a system for running resource-draining utilities and elaborate applications; it’s for checking e-mail, updating your Facebook page, and web surfing.

The Drawbacks Of A Chromebook

All of the above advantages come at a price. This is a system with a very single-minded purpose: web access. That’s all she wrote. Do you want to alter images, edit your videos, or use powerful tools like Microsoft Office? If so, then look elsewhere.

Whereas PCs and Macs have large hard drives where you can store hundreds of gigs of data, the Chromebook relies on a cloud drive. If you have concerns of privacy and security, especially in light of recent cloud hacking, again, you may want to look elsewhere.

What Do You Need?

The article “Battle Between Laptops and Chromebooks: What Is The Future?” offers some more perspective on Chromebooks versus laptops. But ultimately, the choice comes down to the question of need. What do you want to use a laptop for? If you want a system for both work and home use, stay with the laptops. But if you’re just looking for a system that gives you mobile online access, but you don’t want to deal with smart phones or tablets, then the Chromebook is the perfect choice.

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Born in the Boston area in 1959, I started writing in 1985. I live in Nashua NH with my wife and three cats. We have four kids in our blended family. I am an utter geek who's into gaming, horror, SF/fantasy, the Red Sox, trains, running, history, and a bunch of other things.

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