You have heard about them, haven’t you? Chromebooks are essentially lightweight, small and [mostly] cheap laptop notebooks running Google’s Chrome OS. This is the major difference between Chromebook and other laptops.
Chrome OS is an operating system based on Linux kernel. However Chrome OS is a lot different than most of Linux Distributions and than any other version of Windows. Instead of having dozens of pre-installed Tools, Backup utilities, accessories, Text Editors and other software, Chrome OS has just a web Browser and only a few important utilities. This is what Google has thought about OS of a modern era. Google’s Chrome OS relays heavily on Internet to do tasks. The Results? Chromebooks are a lot faster on startup and shutdown times, are really easy to manage and diagnose and are a lot cheaper than other expensive Notebook PCs.
What you get with a Chromebook?
Chromebooks begin at a small price of $200 and go up to $999 and up for Premium Chromebook Pixel, the fastest (and most expensive) Chromebook on earth. After paying that price you will get a 11 inch to 15.6 inch display notebook. Running mostly ARM Processors for cheaper models. Many models come with Intel Processors. Rest of the hardware will be just like any other Notebook. All Chromebooks come with Wi-Fi connectivity and some also ship with 3G or LTE connectivity options.
Chromebooks: The Showrunner Chrome OS
The main thing differing Chromebooks with other Notebooks is Chrome OS. Chrome OS is basically a Linux Operating system with Google Chrome Web Browser. When Google first Introduced Chromebooks it was just a Google Chrome Browser running Maximized. All the Apps and setting could be found on New Tab Page. Now Google has made some changes and OS now looks much familiar with a Taskbar on the bottom and a notification area on bottom right side Just like Microsoft Windows. This area hosts several icons such as Wi-Fi and Data management along with a clock and and a button to switch User accounts.
Chrome OS also has some apps other than Chrome Browser. It includes an Offline File Manager that is able to open and preview some Common File Formats. Chromebooks has an offline Music and Video Player too.
Strength and weakness of Chromebooks
- Easy to use and configure.
- Low cost and lightweight.
- Longer Battery life than other haviour laptops.
- Less risk of Malware and other nasty, No need to install antivirus.
- Chromebooks are running a different OS and because of that app library is really smaller than the competition.
- Granted that they can work offline but it is really limited at some task, Internet connectivity is needed to perform most of the stuff.
- Google Chrome is the only web browser in Chromebooks, you don’t have any alternatives to use.
Chromebooks are good for
People who are most of the time online, who just need a computer to check emails, use social media, do lightweight productivity tasks and who use laptops for entertainment. You can do many things online and this is where promise of google with Chromebooks seems to be true. Due to their simplicity, you can think of them as an excellent choice for older – or not so tech savvy – people.
Chromebooks are not so good for
Granted that most of the work people do on computers nowadays can be done under the tabs of a web browser, still we do need some heavyweight application who sadly run only on full-blown Windows or Mac OS X systems. Chromebooks are good for many day-to-day tasks. If you are into editing heavyweight Video Clips, making complex vector graphics or running professional desktop applications, you will feel trapped with the limitations of chromebooks. Simply put For power users who are happy about maintaining their systems, backing them up and are able to deal with Malware, Windows, Mac or Linux are better options.
If you have already bought a Chromebook and you are feeling bad about the limitations here is what you can do: Install Linux on it.
Linux can easily be installed on Intel Processor based Chromebooks. How to Geek has a good guide to do that.
What do you think about Chromebooks? share with us in comments…
Image Credit: Lachlan Tsang on Flickr