Let’s Talk Chromebooks

When it comes to Chromebooks there seems to be a general fog of confusion that falls over the crowd. In this short article I will try to help to eliminate some of that confusion and help you make the decision if a Chromebook is right for you.

First off as opposed to regular laptops that run a Windows or Mac operating system, the Chromebook runs on Google Chrome OS. The units are designed to work primarily on the internet where all your data is stored on “The Cloud”.  This means that if you are a Microsoft Office Junky, the Chromebook is probably not a great fit for you, as Google strongly encourages you to use its office-like online suite of software products.

Having said that if you can handle a bit of change, the Google Office-like Suite of products is pretty close to the Microsoft versions you know and love, if you have an android phone you’ve likely already tried them and may not even know it.

Who are Chromebooks meant for?

Chromebooks are a lighter weight notebook geared for people who spend most of their time online, or working in a cloud environment.  They come in multiple sizes 11.6”, 13”, 14”, and even 15.6” and are manufactured by all the major Manufacturers: Acer, Dell, HP, Lenovo and Samsung.

**In case you were wondering, here at Source I.T. we recommend Acer. We are an authorized Acer parts partner and are more comfortable knowing that if our customers need support, we can always help them with their Acer product.  If you want something done right do it yourself I guess.

The Chromebook Up-Side

  1. Price: The price point of most Chromebooks is a huge advantage. In fact it’s so good that a number of educational institutions have moved towards Chromebooks. Great for the cost conscious mind.
  2. Specs: These units are FAST powered up and ready to surf in approximately 10 seconds, because of how little hardware is being used their batteries tend to last between 6 and 15 hours. The units update their software themselves; they have parental controls, built in Virus protection, and weigh virtually nothing.
  3. Storage: With all new Chromebook Google provides a 100GB of Drive Storage free for two years. 100GB of online storage should satisfy your needs easily.
  4. Android Apps: A few different versions of Touchscreen Chromebooks are also available allowing you to run Android apps on your Chromebook. Having access to Android applications helps to enhance your Chromebook experience by giving you access to apps available through the play store such as Microsoft applications, Adobe and more.

The Downside

  1. Office: As mentioned early if you are a Microsoft office snob, than the Chromebook definitely presents some challenges. Although the Google Suite is comparable it does lack some of the benefits of the True Microsoft office Suite.  Don’t get me wrong, you can still use Microsoft office online applications or android options, but these versions just aren’t as functional as the desktop versions in my opinion.
  2. Local Storage:  The average Chromebook comes with 16 to 32GB of local storage space so if you access to your documents off line then you’re out of luck.
  3. Printing:  You can absolutely print from the Chromebook however depending on your printer it may not be quite as easy as it used to be, Google Cloud print is now required which may take a bit of set up work but can be done.

Should my next computer be a Chromebook or a Windows based Laptop then?

The answer to this question depends on your answer to the following questions;

  1. Do you spend most of your “Laptop time” online working within web browsers, and don’t need or use loaded programs?
  2. Are you comfortable with the idea of only being able to work within that environment?

If the answer is yes to both of these questions, then congratulations you’ve just joined the next generation of Computer users and you should buy yourself a Chromebook.

If the answer is no, that’s OK there is no shame in that. Your just more of a traditionalist and have a different set of needs and should buy yourself a Laptop.

Thanks for the read, I hope it was helpful. Please remember if you have any questions or concerns please do not ever hesitate to ask.