Pros and Cons of buying a Chromebook

Buying a Chromebook? Don’t buy until you’ve read these Pros and Cons.

Thinking of buying a Chromebook? Whether you want to replace a sluggish laptop or are searching for a more affordable system that can cater with your online activities, Chromebooks definitely can be good replacement and perfect value for your money. However, does it really have what it needs for a professional system? Is it as fit for a complicated technical assignment as for small online tasks?

You can only find this if you analyze different aspects of a Chromebook. Let’s explore black and white aspects of Chromebooks and decide yourself if it is a good fit for you.

Pros of Buying a Chromebook:

We all know that Chromebook is easy to use and is excellent for simple online functions. It is cheap; an average Chromebook is available in $200-$400 and is quite user-friendly. Furthermore, Chromebook is very lightweight and can be easily carried on while you are travelling.

All of these things have resulted in Chromebooks generating a community of raving fans. But, what are the other factors that make Chromebook stand out among different other computer systems? Let’s explore different positive aspects of a Chromebook.

Chromebook Reduces Your IT Costs Considerably

There are four main reasons that show us how Chromebooks can considerably cut our IT costs.

  1. First, average cost of a decent Chromebook is around $200 -$400, but you can also get a very good Chromebook (used) in as low as $150 to $180. Thus, it saves hundreds of dollars that would have otherwise spent on other operating systems.
  2. Secondly, Chromebook does not require special software to run its programs thereby saving you a lot of costs that would have otherwise gone on maintaining and installing different software.
  3. Thirdly, Chromebooks do not have extra hardware parts that mean they are less likely to require mechanical maintenance.
  4. And lastly, you do not need to spend extra amount on storage devices as you (as well as your team) will be saving almost entirely in the cloud.

Chromebooks are Nearly Invulnerable to Viruses

Chromebooks are invulnerable to traditional malwares and viruses. Traditional viruses need to be installed on your computer in order to harass the data. But since Chromebook uses Chrome OS system it provides you a good protection against all such attacks. It is as if specialized and highly professional Google anti-hackers team is on 24/7 vigilance to prevent your system from coming under any such attacks. Chromebook has a very strong rebooting system and therefore, in case of a small system glitch you reboot your device, and it will become as fit as it ought to be. If you repeatedly encounter a bug in your Chromebook, then you should get the plug-ins checked as in most of the cases viruses enter into Chromebook through an effected wire connecting your Chromebook with another operating system.

Chromebooks Reboot Fast…Really Fast!

Chromebook restarts in blink of an eye. The boot-up time is no longer than a few seconds. You might need to reboot your Chromebook when it is slow or is supposedly infected by a bug. You can reboot your Chromebook by simultaneously pressing power button and “refresh” button.

Chromebooks Have Excellent Battery Life

An average Chromebook gives you 6-8 hours battery life. Some might give you as high as 13+ hours. You can only dream of getting this long battery life on other operating systems. Longer battery life means that you no longer need to carry your charger with you all the time. Just charge your Chromebook once and the battery is enough to last for an entire day.

Chromebook Automatically Updates to Latest Version

Chromebooks update by automatically default, without requiring manual action on your part. Therefore, the system starts upgrading itself (security/protection and software updates) as soon as you turn it on.

This means no more waiting for the dreaded notice: “Please do not power off or unplug your machine. Installing update 1 of many…”

Your Chromebook is Interchangeable

Yes, you read it right! You can get a replacement of your Chromebook (plus your data that is stored in the cloud) back if it is stolen or destroyed.

You Get 100GB Google Cloud Storage and Data Backup

All Chromebooks get 100GB Google Drive Storage, a similar amount of storage space if purchased on DropBox, OneDrive or other data storage sites will cost a significant fortune. Simultaneously, Chromebook keeps updating your data as long as long as you are online. Therefore, work done on a Chrome browser from any other operating system is instantly synchronizd with your Chromebook.

Chromebook Excellently Integrates All Google Apps

Do you know 500+ companies are using Google Apps in the US alone? If yours is one of them, then there isn’t any other better device that will allow you to integrate all your Google apps at one place.

Chromebook Synchronizes Your Apps and Passwords with Google Browsers

Chromebook synchronizes with Google browsers. Therefore, when you use Google browser on any other device all your data, preferences and bookmarks will be synchronized with your Chromebook resting back at home.

Cut Your IT Costs with Chromebooks

A complete professional package of Google office apps will cost you approximately $3.30. These apps include Google Apps for Work, Google’s suite of productivity apps (including word processing, spreadsheets, email and diary management). And don’t forget the savings of the costs that would have been otherwise spent on a virus protection system and hiring and paying a professional team for securing and protecting your data.

A Perfect Robust Platform for a Cloud Based Business

Google provides you ample apps that run in a web browser. Almost 89% of online businesses rely on major Google online apps. Take for example CRM (customer relationship management) tools like Salesforce, Google email service Gmail, accounting management Xero, e-newsletter apps Mailchimp and so many others. If your team is already using these browser based apps to perform tasks, control, and project monitoring, then there isn’t any better option other than the Chromebook. The system offers you fast speed, excellent security, extra data storage and unmatchable connectivity with all your online activities.

You Can Activate Parental Controls on Chromebook

Buying a Chromebook means you can protect your children. Chrome OS, and thus Chromebooks, allows you to create “supervised accounts” to track and/or limit online activities of your children. The “supervised accounts” help you track activities by allowing or blocking websites, reviewing history (websites that have been visited by your children) and preventing children from creating new profiles to counter your moves.

You Can Run Your WordPress Blog from Chromebook

Chromebook can be easily used to manage WordPress blogs. Since WordPress performs most of its functions online, you will not feel any hindrance in updating your blog with fresh content. Pixlr can be used as a substitute of photoshop, although it is not as professional as other multimedia editors (especially photoshop), it can perform simpler photo editing functions flawlessly. Similarly, Dropbox can be used to share documents and “Writer” provides a distraction free writing platform.

You Can Use Almost Any Hardware with Your Chromebook

Thanks to Logitech app, you can now use any hardware with your Chromebook. Interestingly you can use as many accessories to enhance your newly bought Chromebook experience as you want. The accessories include keyboards, mouse, sophisticated stereo headsets and many more.

Cons of Buying a Chromebook

Everything that we have in this world has its shades of black alongside the brightest aspects. That said, Chromebooks might not be right for everyone. Let’s have a look at the cons of Chromebooks.

Most of the Web Applications Can’t Operate Offline

While Google offers you offline versions of some applications, most of the apps do not work offline. Therefore, for your data to be stored and updated in Chromebook, it is necessary that you must have a permanent internet connection. If you have done some local changes while offline, you will need internet connectivity to synchronize them with your Chromebook.

Outer Storage Needed for Media (Music/Movies)

Chromebooks do not have enough memory to store large files; hence, most of the files are stored in the cloud. This storage set up might be inconvenient when you want to play music/movies without an internet connection. Therefore, in order to carry those extra files, you will need removable storage devices (i.e. SD cards).

Nearly Impossible to Plug-in a Printer

You cannot plug-in a printer with your Chromebook. Therefore, if you want to print out a page, you either connect another computer with Chromebook (transfer data to a Linux or Windows computer) or use a cloud-enabled printer.

You Are Stuck on Google Apps

With Chromebook, you are stuck with Google Chrome, docs, sheets and other Google apps. You cannot download your favorite games or cannot use any other browser. You cannot use Skype (a Microsoft product) video or audio service; however, you can use Skype chat. Although Google offers Google Hangout to substitute for Skype, but Skype has been used by the majority of the professional as well as domestic users for quite some time now, therefore, ultimately you’ll need to connect with your business partners, colleagues or family through Skype only.

MS Office is Web-Based

Microsoft offers a web-based version of MS office for Chromebook users. This web-based version, which is popularly known as Office Online, contains Word Online, Excel Online and Power Point Online. Although you can use it on your Chrome browser, those who are used to using fancy features of MS Office downloaded on their laptops might feel a little disappointed for online version lacks those fancy features. Even though it has a familiar interface, it is disappointing to see that it does not offer offline support.

Chromebooks Are Not Ideal for Working on Multimedia

Chromebook offers good offline as well as online editors for simple multimedia functions and image editing. Then there are some powerful Chromebooks like the one you get when buying a Chromebook Pixel (this one has an i7 processor). These are specially designed for performing multimedia functions but are a bit more expensive. However, if your work requires highly professional and technical multimedia tools, both audio as well as video, a Chromebook might not be a very good option.

Most of the powerful multimedia software; i.e. Pro Tools, Final Cut Pro, etc. are not available of a web browser. Although a “streamed” edition of Photoshop is available for Chromebook users, it too lacks pro features that are available in the offline version of the app. Moreover, it is a Beta version that is currently available only to North American customers under a paid program called Creative Cloud Membership.

Chromebook is Not a Very Good Option for Programming Students

It is often said that a Chromebook can be used to develop languages and programs. However, that is not completely true. While you have many options to develop basic programming languages (i.e. cloud IDE – Integrated Development Environment, Ubuntu, Koding, etc.) more advanced programming on Chromebook can become a very complicated and convoluted task because of limited storage capacity of the system. You can connect Linux with a Chromebook and then run programming on it, but again, why not rely on a simple traditional computer than to take so much trouble with a Chromebook.

Google Password Synchronization May Make Your Personal Data Vulnerable

Chromebook synchronizes all your Google passwords. All your passwords including Gmail and various other apps will be jeopardized in case your system is stolen or is hacked.

Chromebooks are lightweight, easy to use operating systems that are affordable and quite secure. However, they might not be very helpful in performing complex programming tasks, offline work, and printing documents. Nothing is perfect, however, in the end, it is you who have to decide whether you can benefit from Chromebooks. As tech industry is rapidly moving towards cloud computing the time is not far away when a Chromebook will beat the rest of the operating systems.

What are YOUR reasons for buying a Chromebook or not? Feel free to share your invaluable experience in the comments box below.

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Chromebook Vs Windows 8.1 laptop: Which One to Choose?

Chromebook vs Windows 8.1

Chromebook vs Windows 8.1

The battle of which is the best between Windows and Chromebook is an old one and is probably going to stay for quite a long time. Whichever may be the best, one thing is for sure; Google’s Chromebook is definitely giving Microsoft’s Windows 8.1 computers a tough time. Continue reading

Google Chrome Beta 43 Highlights

Google finally unveiled Chrome OS Beta 43.0.2357.65 update. Don’t get scared of the huge name, it has got a simple and elegant pet name and that’s Chrome 43 Beta, or simply Beta 43.

Interestingly this new OS update has instantly garnered appreciation from even the hardest critics; they can no longer call Google Chrome a sluggish browser; not even on an Android or Linux device. Continue reading

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Chromebook Printing

You’ve got your classic printers and your Cloud Ready printers. Contrary to popular belief, Chromebook printing is possible with old printers that are not Cloud Ready… and, no, it’s not by plugging in your printer directly to the Chromebook as you may have already, undoubtedly, tried. But with the help of Google Cloud Print; it brings the best of the old and the new in one technological and manageable tandem. Read our step by step instructions below. Continue reading

Do You Need 2gb or 4gb of RAM On a Chromebook?

One of the things that spill out from the lips of a Chrombeook user is the amount of Chromebook RAM that the current devices ship with and whether the manufacturers should or should not add more to it than the default 2GB or 4GB RAM.

So, you want a Chromebook because you need something lighter than a laptop, faster than a netbook and something a lot more suited for writing than a tablet. Because, let’s face it, writing is awkward without a keyboard…  Continue reading

love chromebook

Reasons you love your Chromebook!

Reasons we love Chromebooks!

Reasons we love Chromebooks!

While the Chromebook community spoke about the features they desire but lack in their current Chromebooks, (with the occasional Mac user snide comment!) there are also reasons to celebrate being a Chromebook user, and, again, we thought of taking the opportunity to make this discussion into a small feature. So, what we’ve done, we looked at some of the replies that users have posted and tried to find what was hid behind the community’s reasons to love Chromebooks. So feel free to add to the original Google Plus page discussion, or leave us a comment in our comments section, on what it is that makes you love your Chromebook machine…

Continue reading

Chrome OS, MS Windows OS, OS X, Steam OS end of year reflections and expectations

Chrome OS, MS Windows OS, OS X, Steam OS end of year reflections and expectations

Various operating systems

Chrome OS’s thing in 2013 has been, mainly, it’s long wrought fight to become more appealing; to shed the stigma of being less of an OS and more of a fancy browser running directly on the hardware (like some of those BIOS barebone software suites that modern UEFI BIOSes have made possible). No, 2013 has not been the year of drastic change for Chrome. It’s been, however, the year of bits and pieces of maintenance work, and of trying to appeal more to Microsoft Windows and OS X crowds. But, rather, not in the paying-a-homage type mentality, but more in a reaching-similar-conclusions, though from different perspectives kind of thing!

Probably, less noticeable for those that use but a handful of applications, Chrome has also underwent changes in terms of how it handles its own Google apps versus everyone else’s. The Google “approved” ones have become easier to install, more streamlined and, as expected, more prominent in the Google Play repository. But, about this changing our perception in terms of platform politics, a little later.

For now, let’s consider a regular productive day cycle in Chrome, so we can happen onto some of the hurdles that the OS is home to, while also trying to find out what issues are no longer plaguing the system.

A productive day in Chrome OS

As I’m mainly a freelance writer, I hardly ever need to mess around with Photoshop, let alone do any video capture or editing work in Chrome. Still, there are some times when I find myself frustrated by Chrome, even with the simplest of tasks. Mainly for ever-so-often kind of tasks, for which I don’t already have a go to application.

So, what happens for a new Chrome user migrating from Windows to Chrome is learning to hunt for applications, learn what sort of plug-in software you need, and being flexible enough to overcome that initial frustration that can creep in.

So, for instance, it took me quite a bit of time to find a suite that had enough oomph and straightforwardness to use for some low level image editing (and sometimes, for that one-time task that needed something very specific, that you haven’t already figured an application for, since it’s not something you bump into frequently!).

What I needed to do was your usual run-of-the-mill cropping and resizing with the additional red-eye reduction. I eventually narrowed it down to Pixlr, but, coming from a background where I used Adobe Elements, (which still had of on-the-hard drive principle), it took me a bit of getting used to. However, towards the end of 2013, I had become more accustomed to it, figured the proper workload step-by-step. While more a question of getting used to the tool, also, for me, it demonstrated that Chrome had it in itself to allow you to get the work done, but indeed, it was I that needed a bit of an education!

The usual writing and text editing I found even easier and more streamlined, and also more accident-proof in case of a random system reboot or crash, or some other similar issue.

With my Windows setup, I’d was used to swapping files thumb drive style from my desktops to my laptops and vice versa; always a bit afraid of forgetting to get some files synchronized, or copying the wrong file; with my cloud account I’m always a lot more intrinsically organized, knowing that it’s all there, with chances of file loss or misplacement reduced almost to null.

Instant messaging difficulties

Chrome OS wants you to use Hangouts! And, while I could be persuaded to just do that, many others still insist on using yer olde Yahoo Messenger or some other apps! But, employing Hangouts as well as Trillian that issue was (almost) solved.

Still, what lingers as a question is why other developers don’t just write applications that will do the simple trick of using multiple windows, you know, allowing you to interface with an instant messaging app like you would on any other OS: your main window with your contacts in one window, your instant message boxes in separate windows. Basically, to simulate a classic IM application environment…

What I think it is, unfortunately, is that Google is trying to promote their own platform, rather than allow Chrome apps to become available either on those other platforms, perceived as competition, (Windows and OS X , namely). And, this is, it seems, part of a developer mindset flaw as well – getting applications to open more than one webpage at a time. It’s not that the OS doesn’t allow it, but for some reason that developers have yet to properly use it, aren’t yet used to doing it as an everyday modus operandi.

If you’re planning on using DropBox in Chrome, you’re going to have a (relatively) bad day!

Here’s an unfortunate example of Chrome undermining itself, so as to promote its own cloud capabilities and storage… I mean, I used DropBox consistently on Windows and I knew it was usable without issues on Mac OS.

However, in Chrome DropBox you are denied unpacking of zip files, image previewing; plus no editing is available either. Which is a sword with two edges, because even if I were to impose it on myself to give DropBox up, others that send me files DropBox style may not be persuaded to choose an alternative method…

More aggravating is the fact that on Mac OS and Windows all of these options are available, which, again, raises the question of political agendas undermining Chrome. Quite bleak…
Yap, you can use DropBox Syncing, but you’ll have to do some digging for that one, plus it feels like a patch, like a last minute fix, not as well, “natural” way to get things done.

So, yeah, if there is something to look forward in 2014, it would be DropBox working (properly!) in Chrome. Lack of flexibility is not particularly a Chrome only issue; it is a general OS problem. Probably it would be less of a hassle if Chrome was used by many more; however, truth is, Chrome is more interoperable with other OSes than any other OS has ever been. But, yeah, I’d love for Chrome to be the freer OS, the one that can support users coming from OS X and Windows as well as Linux.

Other OSes and Chrome

I won’t go as deep into details about Microsoft’s OS moves in 2013 or the meaty OS X Mavericks update, but, definitely, there are common threads and ideas worth mentioning. What I think we’re noticing, beginning with 2013, though signs of this were always looming about for as long as OS competition has been around, is a move towards closed platforming from all parts. Maybe less evident in the case of OS X, which has always been a closed platform by design, but Microsoft wasn’t that kind of player…up until now.

Also, in a very specific way (the way Win8 aggregates Windows Start page results from web results as well as from your own file system, to offer an info page on that keyword you searched for) Microsoft has veered towards a closer, more tightly knit combination of online and off-line data management for their OS, in my view taking cues from Chrome. Maybe they were targeting that ever before Chrome showed that it is a viable way of producing an OS, but, nonetheless, I think that in the future the “battleground” of the OSes will be won by the one OS that manages to integrate the web in the most useful of ways in the fabric of the OS itself.

And that raises questions about closed platform development, as the future might not bring about diversity and interoperability, but rather cannibalization of the market, where users in one ecosystem become less capable of interacting with one another. Which, in my opinion is quite a bleak prospect, yet again!

Also of note, for the end of 2013, especially from a (hardcore PC) gamers’ perspective, the recent unveiling and deployment of the Steam Boxes with their proprietary OS, has also been of quite some notice.

If Steam should catch some OS ground, we’re probably going to have a true replacement for Win7 for gamers. Which, is actually for the better, as Microsoft is surely going to keep barricading itself in its Metro walled garden, allowing more open minded platforms space to breathe and develop an audience.

Yeah, maybe Chrome OS users don’t care as much about (hardcore) gaming, not on the Chrome OS platform, at least, but, definitely, this could well be a point on which Chrome catches some more ground, by trying to offer what Windows7 used to offer for gaming in the past (yes, I know, it’s farfetched, but as a long-term project definitely worth looking into, for Google).

Still, it’s too early to see where it is all going, for Chrome and for everyone else, but I’m pretty sure that Google’s main priorities for 2014 will still be in the area of dismantling the many false preconceived ideas of what Chrome is and whom it addresses. Which is also what we wish for the OS!

That and, hopefully, a move (this time from the part of developers) towards meatier applications, so as to make the OS a home for more expansive software suites, so as to expand the base of users, becoming a home for more.

So, don’t forget to let us know what your OS of choice has been in 2013, whether it was a combination of OS X and Chrome, or some Win (hopefully 7!) with Chrome, or whether you feel more compelled now to try some Chrome for yourself, if you haven’t already, in whatever combination or on its own!

As always, your comments are appreciated!