If you’ve been shopping for a new laptop, you’ve probably come across several Chromebooks. Chromebooks look almost exactly like traditional laptops. Is a Chromebook right for you? I’ve got 5 important facts to take into consideration before you buy.
Chromebooks are typically less expensive than Windows or Mac computers.
Check out this Acer model:
It has a screen and a keyboard just like any other laptop. At first glance, the big difference is the price. This Chromebook retails for around $200. Most Windows laptops are typically priced starting about $100 more. Mac laptops start closer to $1,000. Expect to pay more than double the price of low-end Chromebook for even a used Apple laptop.
That’s not to say there aren’t pricey Chromebooks out there. Acer also offers a $1200 Chromebook model.
It’s Designed For The Internet
While a Chromebook looks like a laptop, think of it more like a tablet in a laptop’s body. Like a tablet, a Chromebook is designed to be used as an Internet appliance.
It counts on a strong, steady Internet connection to access the cloud. While you can do somethings without an Internet connection, Chromebooks are really meant to work with the web. So, if you don’t regularly have a high-speed Internet connection, these devices are probably not the best choice for you.
It Relies on Gmail and Google Drive
Chromebooks are meant to work with your Gmail account and the Google Drive Office Suite. Google Drive offers its own free word processing, spreadsheet, and presentation software and cloud storage space.
If you want to install apps, you must download them from the Chrome Web Store and the number of programs available is fairly limited.
That’s not to say you can’t access Outlook, Yahoo, or other email providers via a web browser.
For the most part, Chromebooks don’t have a lot of internal storage space. Google expects you to use the cloud. Most Chromebooks do allow for external storage
You Can’t Use Desktop Programs
If you count on using the desktop versions of Microsoft Office or Photoshop, this isn’t the device for you. You cannot install the fully-functional desktop versions of these programs
You can use the online version of Microsoft Office in a browser and download the Adobe mobile apps. But you won’t have the full function of the desktop versions.
If there’s a particular program you rely on, make sure it’s available in the Chrome Web Store and is well-reviewed. And don’t necessarily take the word of a salesperson in a store if it’s important. I’ve talked to multiple people who were assured that one program or another would work fine and found out otherwise.
Sometimes the salespeople simply don’t know the right answer and sometimes they just want to make a sale. Verify for yourself before spending any money.
Great For Browsing and Email
If you mostly use your PC or Mac as a Facebook machine – or just for browsing the web and answering emails, a Chromebook could work out very well for you.
Just don’t expect it to be a PC or a Mac. Truthfully, a smartphone or a tablet could be all that you need. Though, many people do like the convenience of having a keyboard if they need to type a document or a long email.