Should You Buy a Chromebook?

When I set out to buy a new laptop a few months ago, I was completely overwhelmed with the number of options. Sure, having choices is a good thing, but with an expensive purchase, you want to make sure you’re getting the most bang for your buck (and all of the features you want). I came across Chromebooks in my search for a new laptop, but wasn’t too sure about the benefits or disadvantages to owning one. So, here are the pros and cons to help you decide whether a Chromebook is right for you.

Pros:

Low price

One of the best selling points for Chromebooks is their cheapness. They’re available for as low as $250! If you’re looking at other laptop options, you’d be hard-pressed to find such a bargain. As Jason L. Bauman, SEO Associate at Trinity Insight, says, “It’s a cheap laptop built to show you the Web and everything the Web can do...Finding a Windows laptop with a 1080P screen, 7 hour battery life, and a decent keyboard for under $400 is hard, but finding a Chromebook in that range gives you a host of options.”

Bottom line? If you’re on a budget, a Chromebook is a great way to go!

Can do Windows-like tasks in Office Suite

Although Chromebooks don’t come with Microsoft Office, you can still get the same tasks done with Google’s Office Suite. It might take a little time to get used to these programs if you’ve been using MS ones, but then you’ll be able to enjoy storing all your files to the cloud - it can definitely help with productivity if all of your documents, slides, sheets, etc. are in one place! You can also encourage your colleagues or friends and family to use Google programs - that way you can all share files seamlessly.

Long-lasting battery

Toshiba’s Chromebook 2 has a battery that can last up to 11.5 hours! This makes it perfect for people who like to work on the go. Mark Knapp, Senior Tech Editor at Cheat Sheet, says, “These can make solid options for students, as they’re very cheap, have long-lasting batteries (great for working in cafes or taking to lectures), and should allow them to handle email and write up assignments.” You can’t beat the combo of a low price and a long-lasting battery life!

Comes with Google Chrome

Although, as David Bakke from Money Crashers points out, Google Chrome is your only option for an Internet browser, most people are more than fine with this. He even says, “Although this may be debatable, I do believe that Chromebooks are safer than Windows laptops when it comes to security and protection.”

Google Chrome OS also comes with a built-in and up-to-date virus protection. With traditional PCs, you have to update them manually, but Chromebooks update automatically, so you’ll always have the latest version of everything. Not to mention Google Chrome comes with tons of apps like Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Docs, and Google Play to keep you productive, organized, and entertained!

Lightweight

Another huge benefit of the Chromebooks is their lightweight quality. Wes Rogers, Director of Stadel Communications, notes that he “ditched PCs for a Toshiba Chromebook 14” specifically because of how lightweight the Chromebook is. You’ll be hard pressed to find a laptop as light as the Toshiba Chromebooks - they weigh just 3 pounds! So, they’re super portable and easy to carry around in your backpack or briefcase.

Cons:

Low storage space and RAM

One of the main complaints about Chromebooks is that they don’t have a ton of storage space. “Chromebooks don’t have a lot of storage for files, so external devices, cloud storage, and streaming become essential,” says Knapp. “In addition to minimal storage, they tend to run with minimal RAM and lower end CPUs, meaning they’re not workhorses...Having too many tabs open can bring the system down to very slow speeds (10 tabs on a 2GB-RAM system has been enough in my experience.)”

Rogers echos this aspect, noting you’ll have to get “used to not having a large on-board, document storage space...so you’ll need to get used to storing in the cloud.” However, if you’ll mostly be using the computer for basic stuff (like checking email or looking at Facebook), the low storage space won’t really bother you at all.

No installed apps (like Microsoft Office)

For folks who are used to using Microsoft Office, it can be a disadvantage to not have access to these programs. However, as mentioned above, Google offers their own Office Suite with pretty similar services. But, for die-hard Word or PowerPoint users, this could be seen as a downside of the Chromebook.

Only web-based gaming

Hardcore gamers might not want to choose a Chromebook over a traditional PC or Mac because you can only access web-based games. Bauman says some gamers might be disappointed with the options on a Chromebook. “From Steam to the Sims, since Chromebooks don’t have installed apps, you won’t be able to play anything but web-based games,” he says.” Plus, because Chromebooks are considered a budget option, you might not be getting super impressive graphics or other features gamers go for.

Hard to do video or photo editing

Folks who do a lot of video or photo editing will probably be frustrated with Chromebooks as well. Bauman says that it’s difficult to do these tasks because of a lack of storage space or installed apps. “Adobe is working on a ‘streaming’ version of Photoshop, but I don’t think it’s quite ready yet,” Bauman says. Similarly, people who use their laptops for activities other than just Internet browsing might be frustrated with the Chromebook. Knapp says, “Power users, people who rely on specific programs (like architects, engineers, photographers, etc.), and people with unreliable Internet connections will likely only want to consider a Chromebook as a secondary computer.”

Have to sign up for a Google account

Want to remain somewhat anonymous on your computer? You probably won’t like that you have to sign up with Google in order to use a Chromebook. Bauman notes you should probably skip Chromebooks if you’re “trying to avoid the Google ecosystem. Chromebooks require a Google account to ‘set up’ beyond guest user, so if you don’t want to do this, you’re out of luck.”

Still not sure if a Chromebook is right for you? Knapp says “These computers are for people who have reliable and fast Internet connections (as streaming and many web apps require an Internet connection to function) and who mostly do basic computing tasks, light browsing, some streaming, and are comfortable sticking with Chrome over other browsers.”

Need more in your laptop? Consider looking into other options instead. But, overall, it’s hard to beat what Chromebook can offer you for your money!

If a Chromebook sounds like it will work for you, head to Toshiba for the best deals. You can score even better bargains when you use a Toshiba coupon code at checkout! Hope this helps your purchasing decision-making!

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