Chromebooks are a powerful and cost-effective alternative to Windows laptops and MacBooks. While they can meet almost any need, choosing the right one is crucial. To choose the Chromebook that's right for you:
What's a Chromebook?
Imagine a netbook that actually works. That's the basic idea of a Chromebook. These are affordable laptops with Chrome OS, a simple and lightweight operating system for surfing the Internet.
Chromebooks are great for people who do not need complicated laptops. In-browser tools like Google Docs or Microsoft Office work fine. Facebook and Netflix are easy to access without stumbling across strange menus or a non-intuitive design.
Chromebooks are not limited to occasional use only. If you're tech savvy, you can take the operating system to the extreme and download Android or Linux apps (like GIMP or LibreOffice) or load Ubuntu next to Chrome OS. You can even use a touchscreen Chromebook to create digital artwork or control smarthome products like Chromecast or Google Home Mini.
Chromebooks have shortcomings in only two areas. First, they can not run professional desktop software (like Photoshop or CAD). They also do not have the performance for most games, although in-browser games work well. If you are a player or use professional software, you may prefer a Windows laptop or a MacBook.
Otherwise you are right! First, let's take a look at Chromebook form factors and specifications and look at details like displays and connectors.
The shape and size of your Chromebook affects its features, specifications, and price tags. Before you start shopping, think about what your Chromebook should look like.
Let's start with a disclaimer: All Chromebooks are thin and portable, but some are thinner and prettier than others. If you are not interested in 2-in-1 products and are looking for the best for your money, forget about the look and focus on the specifications. Some of the cheapest and ugliest Chromebooks have excellent internal behavior and should last for years to come.
2-in-1 Chromebooks are tempting. They are very popular and you've probably heard all about their great portability and versatility. Everything you have heard is true. Some of the best 2-in-1 models on the market are Chromebooks (the Pixelbook and ASUS Flip are notable examples), and it's really fun to use them.
The problem is that cheap 2-in-1 Chromebooks tend to be under-challenged. We recommend spending less than $ 300 on a 2-in-1 Chromebook only if you're using it to browse Netflix and search Facebook.
The same goes for Chromebook tablets. They're great on the go, but you should probably stick to options over $ 400 like the HP X2 and the Pixel Slate. Cheap Chromebook tablets such as the Acer Chromebook Tab and the ASUS CT100 are designed to be as cheap as possible so they can afford public schools. They are much weaker than Chromebooks for the same price.
Get the specifications you need
But how powerful does a Chromebook have to be? Not as powerful as Windows laptops or MacBooks. Chrome OS is not very resource intensive, and manufacturers tend to make Chromebooks with easy-to-understand specifications (thankfully).
Forget for a minute what you know about laptop specs. Find the right spec for a Chromebook:
- CPU / Processor : This is the brain of your system that accounts for most of your Chromebook's speed. This will allow your Chromebook to run software. For casual surfing and schoolwork, all you need is an ARM processor. If you're looking to push your Chromebook to its limits, or need a lot of speed, buy one with an Intel processor.
- R AM : This will allow your Chromebook to perform various tasks. In most situations, a Chromebook with 4GB of RAM will work just fine. However, if you expect things to go to the limit, you'll find one with 8GB or more, like the Pixelbook.
- eMMC or SSD : Chromebooks run on solid-state drives, not hard drives and some solid-state drives Drives are slower than others. If you value speed, skip Chromebooks with an eMMC drive and look for one with an mSATA SSD.
- Disk space : Chromebooks can be used with tools like Google Drive and therefore do not require much disk space. However, if you want to download Android or Linux apps to your Chromebook, you should get at least 64GB of storage.
- Battery life : Manufacturers typically give a best-case battery life estimate It's good to look for real results on Google. Do not worry about something that has a battery life of less than four hours.
Okay, most of the hard work is done! You'll have an idea of what your Chromebook should look like and have figured out all of your specifications. Now it's time to think about screens and connections.
Display Quality and Touchscreens
No one wants to spend the whole day staring at a dark, ugly screen. If you buy a Chromebook, try to find one with a decent screen. The most important factors are brightness and resolution. Dark screens are ugly or unreadable in bright environments. A low-resolution screen may be outdated, especially if you are drawing or watching videos.
To select a Chromebook with a good screen, consider the following:
- Brightness : The brightness of a screen is expressed in nits. In most cases, displays with 250 to 300 pixels look crisp and will not be washed out in sunlight. If a manufacturer does not specify nits, you may want to search the name of the Chromebook with the word "brightness" for information.
- Resolution : This term refers to the number of pixels in a display. An increase in resolution usually results in an increase in visual quality. Most mid-range and high-end Chromebooks feature high-resolution 1080p or 2K displays. Cheaper, smaller Chromebooks can have 1280 x 800p or 720p displays. These may look ugly or outdated if you are used to HD screens. Currently, the Lenovo Yoga C630 is the only 4K Chromebook.
- Touchscreens : Chromebooks work very well with touchscreens. If you're not trying to save as much money as possible, or if you hate touch screens, we recommend that you purchase a Chromebook with one, especially if you use Android apps or want to use your Chromebook as a tablet.
Well, if you know what to look for in a screen, you need to look at the details: ports!
Which ports do you need?
ports and drives add a lot of unnecessary storage to a laptop. Therefore, we recommend the "less is more" approach. A USB-C port fulfills the functions of most ports (including HDMI). You can charge laptops quickly and work great with cheap USB C hubs.
If you do not want to make that jump (cables are confusing), we recommend that you find a Chromebook with at least one USB-A port. and maybe even an SD card slot.
Where should you buy your Chromebook?
Buying a laptop online can be a daunting task. But it is much cheaper than buying in an electronics store. Let's try to make online shopping as easy as possible.
Most major websites that sell laptops have filters to help you find the right Chromebook for you. Filters let you search for Chromebooks by size, form factor, or specification. We recommend that you search as far as possible and search other sites with cross-references to find the best deal.
Some sites that sell Chromebooks:
- Best Buy : The site is easy to use You can even choose to pick up your laptop today at a Best Buy in your area. In addition, Best Buy sells remanufactured Chromebooks and Showroom Chromebooks at a discount that's pretty cool.
- Newegg : Another easy-to-use website that regularly sells Chromebooks at a discount.
- Amazon : Its search filters are not the best, but of course there are plenty of great Chromebook offerings. We recommend that you use Amazon as a price verifier.
- Google : You can also buy a Pixelbook or Pixel Slate directly from Google. It's not always the best place to find deals and discounts, but the biennial funding plan is a bit nice.
Now you can buy your new Chromebook! We recommend that you stop by a Best Buy or Walmart for a test run. That way, you can check the keyboards, trackpads, and screens to find the one that feels right.