When you are browsing the internet and looking for a new laptop to buy,you may see a ton of Reviews about computers called chromeBook, and in most cases you will like them because of their low prices compared with other computers.
But before you buy it you should know what a Chromebook is. Otherwise you may buy it and end up returning it a few days later.
To learn more about it and see our top Picks, please feel free to read until the end of the article.
What is a Chromebook?
Just a little reminder for those who have not followed the news about ChromeBooks …
Chromebook Is a laptop that runs Chrome OS, which was developed by Google, and it depends on the internet. Without it you will not be able to work with this computer, but you can do a few tricks with it.
Via its name, you can understand the mechanism of this system as it depends on the Chrome browser for many tasks, such as music, games, documents … etc.
In addition you can use Google applications such as Youtube, Gmail, Google Maps, and of course you can download additional applications through the Chrome store.
The Chromebook is a type of super-fast laptop, late, silent, cheap and offered by Google. Still little known in another country, but in the US it is a very popular laptop.
Chrome OS is built around the Chrome browser by Google:
Chrome OS is based on the principle that most operations that are done on a computer are now performed in the web browser.
From there, to do everything in the browser it was only a step that Google has taken in proposing Chrome Os. Usually launched in a dedicated program application, ChromeOS offers equivalent solutions in the Chrome browser such as Google sites, Chrome apps or extensions.
- The speed is very fast. It boots in 10 seconds or less.
- Chrome OS system is very light, which gives power during operation of the device, and ease the problems at work.
- Low Price, ranging from $ 200 to $ 350.
- Good protection through antivirus from Google.
- The biggest feature of the Chromebook, which is highly effective for simple works that require Internet or if you have slow internet that makes it difficult for you listen to music, video, and other things that don’t need a computer with high specifications, Chromebook can do all of these things simply and with speed.
ChromeBook Cons :
- Heavy dependence on the Internet.
- Non-availability of enough applications yet.
ChromeBook or PC, which to choose? (Or Mac)
The question you should ask yourself is: do you really need a complex operating system that became Windows and OS X? Updates and security have become heavy on these systems.
Chrome OS may be an attractive alternative because it is a little greedy operating system resources and can meet the needs of 90% of PC users such as: office , surfing on the internet, playing videos, streaming, gaming “mainstream” and even web development (yes there are some very good web development environments).
If you plan to buy a laptop and your budget is less than $400 then I invite you to look closely at purchasing a chromebook because for this price you will have an excellent, silent and fast configuration … For the same price you will have a PC heavier and slower under Windows …
Best Chromebooks reviews
Toshiba Chromebook 2
If you spend the majority of your time online using google services? If you need longer battery life and a better keyboard?Toshiba chromebook 2 is suitable for you. This is one of the excellent chomebook available on the market. It has a fantastic 13.3-inch, 1080p IPS screen, The device is fast, light. Its ideal combination of screen size.
- Average Battery Life: 9 hours
- Screen Size: 13.3 inches
- Processor: 2.16 GHz Intel Celeron
- RAM: 4 GB DDR3L SDRAM
- Memory Speed: 1600 MHz
- Screen Resolution: 1920 x 1080 pixels
Acer Chromebook 15
This chromebook is very affordable and among the excellent ones that you can choose.Do u know why? :/ Because Acer knows how to make strong, good, news Chromebooks, You can buy it for only $249 at amazon, which is perfect for people who cant’ spend a lot of money on an laptop.
- Average Battery Life: 9 hours
- Screen Size: 15.6 inches
- Processor: 1.5 GHz Celeron 3205U
- RAM: 4 GB DDR3L SDRAM
- Max Screen Resolution: 1920 x 1080 pixels
Test: A chromebook for whom?
if you have these 3 conditions, a Chromebook might suit you:
- You prefer the simplicity and speed and you use Already at least one Google service (Gmail, youtube …)
- You have a classic use of your computer based on surfing or office (wors, excel, powerpoint) or you are looking for a secondary computer in addition to an existing Desktop.
- You are much curious to use new laptop or you love discover a new operating system.
However if you meet one of these conditions so think twice before buying a ChromeBook:
- You are allergic to Google…
- You refuse to put your data in the cloud because you do not trust it.
If you passed this stage then chromebook is for you. But stop you Must Read my Experience with ChromeBook before buy it.
2 Years with a Chromebook – My Chrome OS experience
There are about 2 years, I discovered a new operating system,I found a great tablet against a laptop.
After spending thousands of hours on PC and Mac, having stored my Mac Mini in the TV into a media center, I cracked up a few euros to buy a Chromebook …!
It is never easy to change computers, to change habits, to re-learn new reflexes … but I must say though that it was a really nice experience! Before you begin, it is important to say this basics: Chromebooks are mostly laptop less than $350 . We not talking about material to $1000 or more, eh?
Passing in Chrome OS and Chromebook, I discovered that ultimately the laptop that I need is a Laptop “browser”,
When I need to make complex and lengthy work, I’m not on a laptop, I installed on my office chair,on my “big” mac. The, I am to spend hours doing video editing, there to write articles and edit photos … I also pass on the “big” mac to do all my media storage tasks, downloads movies & series (although … this is my NAS that does all that, and therefore I can do it from any interface …). So all this to say that when I need to power and time I’m on the mac … but that’s not all the time. The rest of the time I’m on Chrome: blog, email, social networks, RSS feeds, YouTube, music … All this is Chrome. And so, a machine to that of the “Chrome”, do it well, do it fast, and do so effectively, I like it.
Before starting to discuss the details of that system, you still have to make an important point: if the system is based on a web browser, it is necessary … to have access to the web! Exactly! This is important, because people are not necessarily immediately think: Chrome OS works perfectly when you have a web connection (at home, in shopping malls, airports, schools, libraries …). Lost in the middle of the mountain, Chrome OS frankly loses value (but still we will see later that there is a way to do things …) and you have to use your smartphone as a “wireless access point” for the computer to connect to a minimum of things …
After this important note, I invite you to get a little more in detail of the use of Chrome OS.
You still have to say that the “user experience”, it’s really good from my point of view. Being an owner of a gmail account (like 80% of you?), It feels good quickly. First start (a few seconds), you must enter their wifi code … then quickly his Gmail login. And … that’s all it was a very empty office, but pretty.
Basically, you can put anything on the desktop (for now?) But at least it will not be a mess (yes, those who have a full desktop as an icon of directories and egg all kinds will recognize!). Bottom right information “system” was with the time, wifi, battery, and access to the machine settings (settings are very limited … bluetooth, wifi, and then it’s all or almost ). Bottom left one has the access to applications and other shortcuts. That’s all, no menus to borrow was started, no complicated application launcher. It’s simple, clear and a little empty as early …
So first instinct we click the Chrome button. And the browser starts. It was at that moment we realize what we have in our hands: a single application running on this machine. Chrome and nothing else. Everything is done in a flash. Even my big mac under core i7 seems slower. a second tab is opened, you load the pages here and there, a third tab is opened, a fourth, a fifth … and it works just as fast. No waiting time, no latency in the software (it’s internet rowing to raise the pages …), it responds to finger & the eye. After some minutes of use, I noticed that my favorite favorites arrived alone. Similarly, my logins & passwords are also present, via a magical cloud sync Google!
To overcome the “empty” side of the machine, there must be a reflex not obvious: go to the Chrome Web Store, an application store (free for most) and that will allow to install some good applications. the app you want is found, then click on “install” and Chrome OS does it all. No need to specify an installation path, no parameters, nothing, it settles somewhere, but we do not know where (you do not need to know anyway?). Within seconds, the application appears in the Applications directory, and can be run! Similarly, if you want to delete this application, it is “right click” on the app, and “clear”, and the application disappears without having to tweak or adjust something. Ultra easy, ultra fast and efficient.
One should be very clear from the beginning: the Office suite, that many of you use (Word, Excel, Powerpoint) can not be installed natively on Chrome OS and complete. To the office, so we will have to go through two alternatives. The first is a result of Google, the famous Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, articulated around a common storage: Google Drive. The second alternative is to use the services and Microsoft Office Online.
During the past 2 years, I used very slightly but still regularly service Google Docs and company. Files “excel” shared some letters to editors via docs, not by Google slide against, I do not need it … These services are basic, but very effective. We can work together on a single file (you can see the cursor to the other person that changes in real time), backups are transparent to the user (this alone backup in the background). Obviously it appropriate for very basic tasks, do not imagine to make macros, insert or heavy videos among your documents, but it does the job and it does it well. I even surprised myself to say that ultimately the few options available made me cut to the chase, no frills, quite to resume files in a “real” Word or Excel later if necessary. Super-level productivity.
I mentioned a second alternative at Microsoft this time, there is the following Office Online, which is based on the onedrive storage. In the same way as Google Docs, are working on a remote server and access to Word, Excel or Powerpoint via the browser.
This result seems more complete in the possibilities of layouts, one really has the impression of working on a “real” word, with a layout familiar options … I did not really tested this solution at the collaborative work, but know that it also makes perfect job for standard office tasks (and all free of charge), and thus enable the creation & editing of Word, Excel and PowerPoint with more basic & classic options.
The downside however is at the level of printing capabilities directly from the Chromebook: today only the “cloud print” compatible printers are directly accessible (but this is still a large number of recent wireless printers …). If your printer is standard, it is also possible to print but via a not so obvious approach (you need a PC or Mac computer on, with Chrome installed on it, which will serve as a relay for printing). We see that the printing is not yet ready for the layout adjustment options are not many, it is basic to print an email or a web page that’s fine. To print photos, a research paper or things a bit complicated, I do not advise the Chromebook but rather go through a PC or Mac (this is the magic of cloud, a working file on the Chromebook will be available on my other machines without the need to transfer anything …).
Another downside: the scanners are not compatible. Okay, I have a smartphone that works fine for help with ScanBot or CamScanner, it works and it helps out on top!
Apps & extensions
Apart from the “office” my Chromebook still serves me to do many other things. I pass each time with the installed apps or extensions. For example, I use more Hangout on my smartphone to share with friends. The Hangout strength is that it works on all platforms (Mac, PC, ChromeOS, Android, iPhone, iPad …), and finally a universal system! And of course it works on ChromeOS on top. One can send files, make video calls (Skype anyone?), Exchange messages … Note that a version of Skype Web existed for some time, it finally opens the Skype platform on the Chromebook (Skype quality picture and sound a little over Hangout it seems …). To see.
Inbox, the new system to manage its mail works fine on Chrome OS (without application, the browser that does all the work), but the most interesting is Gmail: it keeps in its local mails. This means concretely that when you do not have internet (for example on the train 😉) you can still view the messages in your inbox, reply … and the next connection to the web messages will be sent (in reserve your Chromebook is turned on of course …). Offline Gmail, a good idea, so …
Another example of not bad implementation is Pushbullet: an application to install on smartphone & its Chromebook that can bind with one another: when a notification arrives on my smartphone, I have a small notification appears on the screen … IF the Chromebook is a text or a Hangouts message, which I can even reply directly from the Chromebook! Super convenient for those who keep the smartphone in your pocket and want to use the keyboard Chromebook to respond with greater speed and accuracy.
On holiday, I used my Chromebook to unload the camera and camera, every day, in the evening, and I made a first selection of photos. Missed the pictures are erased, pictures recovered if necessary, I can crop and reframe those who need it … In short, the basic functions that work well. Beware though, the RAW is not (yet?) Supported and RAW photos from my OnePlus One have not could not be processed. Pity.
Then 2 or 3 free and useful tools complement the basic functions. I mainly use Pixlr and Polarr Photo Editor, if I need more advanced features. These applications will not replace Lightroom but agree with 80% of non-professional photographers as is nearly everything in it: retouching red-eye, auto contrast enhancement, retouch some unsightly details (you can clear a small button on the granny chin remove the ugly trash on the beach …). In short, on the go, these functions are more than sufficient to “non-pro” photo.
Big announcement for the “pros” precisely. It was learned that Adobe is currently in beta launches a version of Photoshop for Chromebooks: everything is in the cloud, it is the Adobe servers who work for you. The interface is very close to what you know on a PC or Mac, and it will appeal to some I think.
At multimedia level, I am a fan of Google Play Music, I also subscription for $7.90 per month for unlimited music. It allows me to listen anywhere my library! Sometimes I connect my Chromebook on Chromecast to listen to music via the home theater. Or even plug on the Chromebook bluetooth portable speakers for better sound, wherever I go! Nothing to say, it works on top.
For movies, it gets complicated, a lot of movies in 1080p (large MKV 8 or 10GB …) are not recognized by the base system (this is the sound that is often a problem) so it’s a little Russian roulette. But Google has ensured this work with the arrival of Play Film on Chrome OS platform. In a few days I think we will be able to read anything from its Chromebook.
Note that I’m running Plex at the top of Chromebook, and, it works regardless of the movie format: it’s Plex server that is responsible for encoding on the fly the film to make it compatible with my Chromebook.
The evolution of Chrome OS in recent months
Almost 2 years, I have witnessed the constant evolution of the OS. Unlike Windows & Mac OS, which are updated annually one violently (see less often for Windows), Chrome OS gets updated about every month. Unlike competitors, where any update can break everything and make the unstable machine here on Chrome OS is much more “safe” I think. Anyway, the important data you are working on are never (or almost) stored on the device memory, suddenly if a crash is not a big deal, we lose nothing.
In addition, the updates are done transparently. No need to start a download, Chrome starts to himself as a great day. Updates on major, a pop up asks us to reboot to finalize the installation, but it is very rare. Over the past 10 months, there are tons of new features that have appeared (films readings, compatible Android applications, integration of Chromecast, Google Now, the intelligent management of the windows …) and I still have so many enjoy reading news from Google announcing new for my machine. Note that the deployment of a Chrome OS update is almost instantaneous, and that, on the whole Chromebook park (it changes a little Android :-)). Furthermore, by soon, Android & Chrome OS will be even more “nested” with full functionality to the “continuity” of Apple. I looked forward for example not having to enter the password in the machine when it detects my smartphone not far …
So basically, Chrome OS is slowly changing, but in the right direction I would say. It has not yet access to natively network drives (but do I get through my NAS interface), there are still some things to do to manage all audio & video codecs, or even printers but overall it’s going well.
The different models of Chromebook
I got lucky, I think, in the history of Chromebook. Lucky because the model I bought by chance, it was the “best of the best” in February 2014. This is the 14-inch model sold by HP: the HP Chromebook 14. I bought it in a “disgruntled” user leboncoin, the poor person had been advised by the device vendor unscrupulous I think, because he sold the $200 a month after purchase … And he had not even turned the offer Google to have 100 GB of space available in the cloud (besides now it’s 1TB in the cloud, free for 2 years, obtained with each purchase of Chromebook).
This model has proven to be much better than all models under Exynos (Samsung & Acer early …) who rowed a little. It runs on Intel processor and has 4GB of RAM, an SSD for storage of 16GB. With that, you a trick that tears, really.
I also liked the many finishing & the look of the machine, a pearly white (it is not seen on the photos … but the finish is matte with little pearly flakes inside look great!), keyboard & trackpad as good a machine to $1000 . Only small problem: the 14-inch screen is not very good in terms of color rendering & viewing angles. Not (too) serious.
The HP Chromebook 14 is available on amazon (affiliate link).
We arrive at the end of this small panorama of the Chromebooks. You felt, following the 2 years of use, I conquered (and my girlfriend). Chromebook is constantly in the living room, on the basis table, and I often go out to pick 2 or 3 things on the web, order products on Amazon, or go write a long article on my blog. Evident, there is no more than an android tablet, but it does well with comfort. Having a keyboard & trackpad good, not bad also (the touch has its limits …) when you have to write more than 2 or 3 lines of text! Concretely this complete machine perfectly the rest of my equipment, and I find myself out the more, even if eventually I am well equipped to android or Mac. The reactivity of the tool, the timing of “everything” in the cloud, the minimalist side and very easy to use, I really like.
Author: Chaya Vaizman
Chaya is a 24-year-old Blogger from Romania. She loves to review different products and share her views on Paradise Ratings.