Just some years ago, picking a laptop meant a mental conundrum between a Windows laptop and MacBook. Being the two main giants, it was either down to Windows or Mac operating systems and if the users settled on Windows, deciding on the processor came next and the job was done. However, now another contender is added to the mix; the Chrome OS-powered Chromebook. Chromebooks use cloud-based computing and most of the work is done using Google Chrome browser with applications and data stored in the cloud instead of the machine. They’re most talked about primarily for their faster and smoother performance, enhanced productivity, security and streaming your favourite movies. In theory, however, Chromebooks might not seem to do much with their limited storage, restricted number of applications and the meagre possibility of gaming. But Chromebooks score big in the area of price and battery timing.
If you find yourself drawn to Chromebooks, you can also look at our roundup of the best Chromebooks from the leading manufacturers, but for those of you who are still puzzled between a Windows laptop and a Chromebook, you need to ask yourself the following set of questions.
How important is portability for you?
Chromebooks are quite portable with their featherweight design and thin models which is hard to find in Windows laptops unless you are willing to throw in a few hundred pounds. If you are a student who is always running between the classes on campus or a professional who has to fly often or keep moving from one meeting to the other, a lightweight and smart Chromebook will be the ideal computing companion. ASUS Chromebook Flip C434TA and HP Chromebook x360 are slim and sophisticated Chromebooks suited for both students and professionals.
Do you want a laptop for casual use?
Chromebooks are mostly suitable for casual use. This is not to say that they are not powerful to take care of your computing needs. But since they use Chrome OS and the computing is cloud-based, you cannot expect to run some heavy-duty photo or video editing software or take on some power-intensive tasks. Some might argue that the Google Play Store available on Chromebooks provides you with a wide array of applications but the truth is that except a handful, they are not very well-designed to suit your needs. Chromebook is great for checking emails, browsing the web, using social media, and crunching numbers in Google Sheets. If you think most of your work can be done in the browser, then Chromebook might be for you.
How much storage space do you need?
Most affordable and mid-range Chromebooks don’t go beyond 32GB of storage while the high-end ones provide about 128GB of storage capacity. While 128GB seems sufficient in theory, you will eat up this space sooner than you realise. If you have a huge collection of photos, videos, movies, music, documents and more such stuff, a Chromebook might not be able to house it all. In that case, a Windows laptop or a MacBook will be more useful.
Do you require specific software?
While Chromebooks are great when you consider the price and portability, they lack the appeal if you are someone who often runs specialised software. Power and graphics-extensive software like Adobe’s Lightroom, InDesign, After Effects and Premium Pro is widely used by graphic designers, illustrators and video editors. Similarly, people belonging to different professions, like accountants, engineers, architects and more might want to run their own specialised software which Chromebooks don’t allow. Also, gaming is a huge no unless you are happy with a few Android games.
How security-conscious are you?
Windows laptops and MacBooks have not yet achieved that level of robust security that Chromebooks enjoy. From Sandboxing and automatic updates to verified boot system and power washes, Google has taken multiple security measures to prevent outside threats and help users rest easy. Every application you run and every tab you open on Chrome OS has its own sandbox which breaks your tasks into separate processes and kills any virus before the process ends. Google also gives you automatic updates and notification whenever there’s a potential threat or vulnerability. Verified bootups also ensure that your computer stays protected against viruses by checking all files upon booting and correcting anything that looks infected. Lastly, power wash lets you wipe everything off of your machine and since everything is in the cloud, there are no risks of losing any data.
Price and Battery
If your work doesn’t require you to run power-hungry, specialised software and you are fine with the cloud-based computing, then Chromebooks provide you with the most value among other machines out there. Giving you the benefits of fast, smooth and secure computing and long-lasting battery, Chromebooks are available at affordable prices that won’t burn a hole in your pocket. From £300-£600 price range, you can get yourself a Chromebook to handle all your cloud-based computing needs.
If everything checks out and you have concluded that a Chromebook would best suit your needs, we offer a wide range of versatile Chromebooks that you can browse.
Stay tuned in our blog for more tech advice, news and insight into what’s hot and what’s not to make an informed tech decision.