Sooner or later we all need a new laptop. Whether that’s for work, play, or somewhere in between. Computers are constantly updating and with it, so are our expectations. There’s a reason we don’t use dial-up internet anymore so if doing something as simple as opening up an internet browser takes more than a few seconds it might be time to look at getting an upgrade.
I purchased one back in August of 2015, so I’ve had it for about a year now and it’s been able to handle pretty much everything I’ve thrown at it. I’m extremely happy with it! (*Side note: I am not in any way affiliated with Google or Acer and I am not getting paid to write this review. I just believe that it has been so helpful to me that I should spread the knowledge.) I know, first thing most people worry about when getting a new computer is price. Well, Chromebooks are well-rounded computers that can stay within your budget. Most of them sit in the $150-$300 range, while some of the premiums are pushing $1,000. But if you’re willing to pay that much you might as well go for a PC or Mac.
However, just because it’s cheap doesn’t mean these things aren’t good. Chromebooks run on Google’s Chrome OS (operating system) that is based on the Linux kernel. In layman terms, its based off a similar OS as Macs. Hold on PC people, don’t let me lose you here. I’m a PC guy myself. I grew up with one, went to school with one, and currently do about half my work on one (the other half is on Ubuntu, a Linux OS). So I understand the skepticism, but this thing works. Like I mentioned earlier, I’ve thrown a lot of different tasks at my Chromebook and it is able to handle it fairly well. From doing research, to writing papers, to setting up a development environment to code on, to basic web browsing, this thing can do it.
Now, it will be a little different from what you’re used to. Chrome OS is web-based, meaning there’s not really much the computer sitting in front of you is doing. Google Drive is basically your file system, you will look here to save and load documents and files. Applications are web-based. If you’ve used the Chrome browser at all, these are the extensions and add-ons you see in there. So you won’t be installing games and programs directly to your Chromebook. The tech industry has embraced this kind of change and many software companies have web-based apps which means you can use them on a Chromebook. No more of these PC-only or Mac-only compatibility issues. Also, because it’s web-based, you can pick up where you left off even if you don’t have your Chromebook on you. Google Drive stores everything to the cloud so you can get to it later from any computer, anywhere, as long as there’s internet.
The Chromebook is also very lightweight, and I mean this in 2 ways. One, it literally weighs very little. My Acer Chromebook comes in at a whopping 2.4 pounds. This is great for me because I’m always on the go and it’s not a pain to lug around and try to shove into my book bag. Two, the OS is lightweight. Like I mentioned earlier, there’s not a whole lot going on in the computer sitting in front of you, it relies on the web apps you’re using to do most of the work. So this computer is very quick. Whether that’s surfing the internet, opening up a document to edit, or turning on your computer, it is very efficient at what it does.
Which to buy?
So, now that you’ve been convinced to buy one, all you need to figure out is which one to get. There’s a lot to choose from and they all offer something a little different. I can’t speak for every situation out there, but if you’re just looking for a solid computer to do a lot of web browsing and writing documents, spreadsheets or anything like that, I would highly recommend the Acer Chromebook I bought. It’s in the lower-end price range, it’s very portable, and I haven’t had any complaints with it after having it for almost a year. If your looking for something with a little bit more capabilities or just want to shop around and see for yourself, here’s some things to keep in mind.
Price: Seems obvious, but just don’t fall in love with one and spend more than you can afford on it. If you’re paying top dollar just to have the most powerful processor, it’s probably going to be outdone within the year.
Processing Power: Like I mentioned, these Chromebooks are fairly lightweight which means they don’t kill your processing power. I’ve been able to have over 20 tabs open in multiple browsers and work on a presentation without seeing any issues lagging. If you need more for developing or media work (music and graphic design) you’re going to have to pay for it and if that’s the case, you might want to look into getting a PC or Mac instead.
Screen Size: I was looking for portability so the smaller the better for me. However, I know some people like to multi-task and squeeze a lot onto one screen. If that’s you, then just be aware how big the screen will be. My alternative when I do need more size is to plug in an extra monitor and split screen, but obviously I don’t drag the extra monitor with me wherever I go, just when I’m at home.
Just think about what all you need to be able to do before you start searching. If you already have your criteria set, then you can search for the one you need more efficiently and it will keep you from wondering on to ones with accessories you don’t really need.