Chromebooks became a hit to students and most individuals who spend most of their online. Several models could provide almost the same specs and experience as what laptops have to offer, if not better. Also, it uses a different operating system apart from the widely used Windows or macOS systems.
Additionally, it is way more portable, has a long battery life, and is very user-friendly. Let's take a peek at how a Chromebook differs from any laptop or mobile device. As you go further in the article, there is a buying guide and some recommended brands for you to consider. So, keep reading!
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Table of Contents
Basically, a Chromebook is a computer that functions the same as any other computing device, but it uses Google's Chrome OS operating system. It is based on Linux and Chrome browser, developed via the open-source Chromium OS project.
In essence, this is a lightweight operating system, so it uses less RAM and internal storage than other systems. Unlike other operating systems, a Chrome OS is designed to work with Google's online web services such as Drive, Docs, or web-based email.
Its user-friendliness, maintenance-free, auto-updating, and immunity to most viruses are some of the best attributes of this system. As of writing, many Android applications on the Google Play Store, which were used on a smart device, can also run on this operating system.
Chromebooks should conform to a particular set of specifications as established by Google. While having its own applications, Google has already expanded the capabilities of Chrome OS with the development of the ability to run Android or Linux applications.
Officially, all Android apps from the Google Play Store can work on the system. Some Chrome devices can install Linux apps, like software for developers or servers.
However, if you want to use Microsoft Office, this isn't possible. You cannot install Windows programs on a Chromebook, but you can settle with the online version, like Microsoft Office 365, or the Android version.
There is a workaround for this scenario where a user can install CrossOver Chrome OS, yet, this is still in Beta version and could be quite slow with limited app support.
Owning a Chromebook is synonymous with having a Google Account, as whatever you do on this device will revolve primarily on your login credentials to the Chrome universe.
It is the main access to all of Google's online services and will be used to sync everything under the same user account. You could create a guest mode for friends or family, but it is only for access to the Chromebook, not to your personal account.
If you do most of your work or interaction via online, then you can benefit a lot from owning a Chromebook. This next section is a rundown of the items to take into account before your purchase.
A device's screen is the first thing to mull over since here is where all the interaction happens. Knowing the right size, resolution, quality, or feedback is crucial.
There are various screen sizes when it comes to Chromebooks, which can range from 10 - 15 inches. The screen size affects the resolution and aspect ratio. The most common sizes are 11.6, 13.3, and 15.6 inches that all have a 16:9 aspect ratio with 1366 x 768 or 1920 x 1080 resolution.
Some models have a unique screen size of 12.3 inches with a 3:2 aspect ratio and high resolution at 2400 x 1600. Nonetheless, if you're into an extremely portable and budget version, you can choose an 11.6-inch model or a 13.3 inch if you want more screen room. If you don't mind the bulkiness, you can settle for a 15.6 inch Chromebook with a sharper and high-resolution display.
Chrome OS now supports multi-touch input, zooming, scrolling, and on-screen keyboards. You may want to shell out some extra cash for a touchscreen Chromebook if you find it more convenient. Some Android apps are optimized for touchscreen interfaces, so it's a must-have for other users.
Being able to jot down notes with the use of a stylus may be one of the best features to come to Chromebooks. This is very beneficial to students since it cuts down the effort of typing on a virtual keyboard, and they could keep notes on Google Keep.
Budget Chromebooks still come in traditional LCD screens, which are less expensive but don't have the best brightness setting, so-so viewing angle, and poor color gamut. On the other hand, an IPS screen may be expensive but will certainly compensate for its performance. It's the best screen overall, and the display quality doesn't suffer even if used outdoors.
Some Chromebook manufacturers prefer to have an anti-glare matte screen to keep light from reflecting off the display. If you happen to have a glossy finish, it will create a mirror-like effect, making it hard to discern what's on display. You will need to purchase a screen protector with a matte finish to resolve the problem.
Chromebooks currently use two brands of processors, Intel, and ARM. Everyone has probably heard of Intel since it dominated the industry in the past few decades. If you're a bit techie with some knowledge of how mobile devices work, you might have heard of the ARM processor. It has been the go-to processor for most mobile phone and tablet manufacturers for some time now.
Chrome OS can run on both architectures, so in terms of performance, there isn't a huge difference. But as of late, Intel's current generation of processors slightly edged ARM processors. This may be an opportunity for manufacturers to formulate their own combination of speed, battery life, and price on their Chromebook models.
Graphic processors on Chromebooks are already integrated or packaged to whichever processor brand is installed. This means that there is no option to add a dedicated graphics card. It can either be Intel or ARM GPU, but both are more than capable of handling all graphical tasks that a Chromebook may demand such as playing HD videos or playing basic 3D games.
RAM, or Random Access Memory, is one of the factors to consider before purchasing a Chromebook. Using a web-based application will surely compel any user to open multiple apps or tabs on Chrome.
Opening websites like Facebook or Google Docs requires memory too. This task alone eats up a lot of memory, and if you don't have enough, the system will lag, or worse, it can crash. Get a Chromebook with at least 4GB of RAM to be on the safe side. But if you can have a model with a higher RAM, then, by all means, go for it.
Chromebooks have two types of internal storage: eMMC or SSD. Both are faster than common hard drives and could load or start programs in a flash. However, an eMMC (Embedded MultiMediaCard) can only handle smaller data transfer at a maximum of 400MB per second, while an SSD (Solid State Drive) could deliver larger files at a much faster rate than eMMC.
Between 16 and 64GB of internal storage is the common trend on Chromebooks, and most might wonder why. Aside from keeping the price lower, Chrome OS was designed to work with Google's cloud services. It expects that every user will store all their data and files on Google Drive instead of its internal storage. In reality, the only storage folder provided by Chrome OS is the "Downloads" folder for storing temporary files.
Almost all mobile or smart devices have Bluetooth or Wi-Fi connections—a Chromebook is not an exception. Out of the box, it has the standard Wi-Fi capability with faster radios to support speedy internet connectivity. File transfer or playing audio on wireless speakers won't be an issue since it has Bluetooth already installed.
Some Chromebook models have broadband modems, so you could still use them even on the go, but these are more expensive than usual. Also, when connecting to a traditional wired Ethernet network, it will need a USB Ethernet adapter.
Every portable device will benefit from a good battery life. While Chromebooks are equipped with energy-efficient processors, the right battery size and capacity can ensure that it could power for hours. As a general rule, the higher the Watt-hours or Milliamp Hours, the better.
Oftentimes, a manufacturer's combination of hardware performance dictates a battery's longevity. Finding out how long can a Chromebook's battery lasts need comprehensive testing, but lucky for us, there are user reviews online that can give us more information.
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Chromebook Spin 713
A Specs Loaded Chromebook for Power Users
A 2-in-1 Chromebook for Light Users
An Expertly Designed Premium Chromebook
ThinkPad C13 Yoga Chromebook
One of the Best Premium Chromebooks Around
An Excellent Chromebook for Writers
A Top-of-the-Line Chromebook for Professionals
A High-End Chromebook That Can Do It All
Galaxy Chromebook 2
A Mid-Range Chromebook With Upscaled Features
Chromebook C202A Laptop
A Rugged Chromebook for the Young Ones
Chromebook Spin 311
A Solid Choice for Educators and Learners
The combination of bright display, fast performance, and versatility are the reasons why the Acer Chromebook Spin 713 takes the top spot on this list. The inclusion of an Intel Core i5 10th Gen CPU on a Chrome OS makes it brutally fast, while the 16GB RAM can manage anything you throw at it.
Looking at its IPS screen, the 2256 x 1504 resolution will provide a vibrant image and a CineCrystal output on a 3:2 aspect ratio. Retrieving apps and saving files is speedier than ever because of the 256GB SSD storage. This convertible Chromebook has a battery capacity that could last up to 11 hours with more than 50 minutes to spare.
The Chromebook has a touchscreen display with a screen size that is just right for most users. For professionals and business owners who are looking for a portable computing machine with powerful components, the Spin 713 won't disappoint.
Lenovo's Chromebook Duet is a 10.1-inch gadget that has a detachable keyboard with a kickstand cover. You have the option to use it as a tablet or a full laptop, and it boots up in less than 10 seconds. The inclusion of a MediaTek Helio P60T processor and a 128GB eMMC storage contributes to its lower price.
This 2-in-1 device has a Chrome OS version optimized for its convertible form factor, including the tablet mode. One of the impressive features is its battery life which clocks close to 11.5 hours in moderate use. Plus, the interface supports an Android-like gesture for faster switching from tablet to laptop mode.
Of course, the Duet is not perfect, and it has some drawbacks like a small keyboard, no headphone jack, and some might find the screen a bit dim. But, if you're a light user and looking for a Chromebook for on-the-go browsing with light schoolwork on the side, you've already found what you're looking for.
If you're searching for the ideal Chromebook experience, you can never go wrong with the Google Pixelbook Go. It is the cheaper version of the Pixelbook, which still packs all the great features but without some, like biometric login.
Yet, the rarest feature that you could find with the Pixel Go is its 1080p webcam with an excellent keyboard and incredible battery life. Whether running a Google or Android apps, playback in 1080p is not a problem. While multitasking is a breeze with the 8GB RAM and 128GB SSD internal storage, this Chromebook boasts of 12-hour battery life on a single charge.
Chromebook enthusiasts will definitely love this device; however, it is a boon to compare it with a powerhouse laptop or a full-fledged desktop PC, as it's apples to oranges.
Another powerful Chromebook that makes it to our list is the Lenovo ThinkPad C13 Yoga. This is a convertible device that is not meant for students and light users. It is part of Lenovo's ThinkPad series for business which includes a myriad of features available to several models in the series, which is comparable to Windows ThinkPads.
Being equipped with a Ryzen 3 dual-core processor can only mean that it has more processing power than most Chromebooks in the market. The discrete touchpad clickers, fingerprint sensor, webcam shutter, and aluminum design are just some of the features that come with the package.
Some would argue that it could be a little overpriced, but with the specifications and military-grade chassis, you are getting what you paid for. The C13 Yoga can last up to eight hours on a single charge which is enough for a whole day of moderate use. If money is not an issue, this Chromebook can provide all the bells and whistles you're looking for.
The price and efficiency of a Chrome OS are evident in the HP Chromebook x360 14. It is a bit similar to the Acer Chromebook 15, but this has a more compact and slight edge in design with its 14-inch display. The Chromebook offers great value because of its 14-hour battery life and above-average performance with its Intel Celeron N4020 dual-core processor.
You can see the difference when you stream smoother in 4K content or run games in 720p as handled by its integrated Intel UHD graphics. Pinch, zoom, tap or swipe the right at the intuitive screen to be more interactive while being productive. The slimmer profile and lighter weight allow you to comfortably carry the laptop anywhere you want.
Unlike other Chromebooks with few ports, this device has an HDMI, a USB 3.0, and a MicroSD card reader that adds to its versatility. The excellent keyboard and trackpad is an attractive feature for writers wanting a more portable setup while working.
Content creators will truly enjoy the Asus Chromebook Flip C434 because of its elegant all-aluminum body with anodized edges. The NanoEdge design projects an ultra-thin bezel that projects a near-borderless experience on its 14-inch display. Its hinge mechanism, the 360 degrees ErgoLift, has a smooth action that holds the display in place at any angle.
The touchscreen display is in full HD resolution, coupled with a premium flagship keyboard and a large touchpad with multi-touch gesture support, so any input type is covered. The integrated Intel processor, together with the full power of G Suite, delivers great performance at longer battery life.
Sound quality isn't compromised despite the thin and light design. The high-quality stereo speakers deliver crisp and powerful sound for a more immersive experience during video streaming or playing music.
Out of the box, the Dell Latitude 7410 Chromebook Enterprise is a convertible 2-in-1 packed with premium specs. It is a well-crafted Chromebook that belongs to the high-end category, which may not be too attractive to budget-conscious buyers. It is a carbon copy of the original Latitude 7410 except for its 360-degree hinges.
Starting with its processor, the device is equipped with an Intel Core i5 10th Gen that has quad-core and has a max turbo speed of 4.40 GHz. This is very overpowered, considering that the device just runs a Chrome OS. The FHD screen is vibrant and bright with accurate color consistency and great viewing angles.
The Latitude 7410 works like a dream and should be a top prospect if money is not an issue. It will serve masterfully on mobile workspaces that constantly use cloud computing. The device can handle all tasks you plan on performing, while it also provides excellent battery life for more than 15 hours on a single charge.
The Samsung Galaxy Chromebook 2 is the mellowed version of the original Galaxy Chromebook. It doesn't have the OLED screen, fingerprints sensor, nor stylus that is why it is much affordable but still very functional at its price point. Taking away the 4K display and replacing it with QLED has significantly cut down the cost.
Sporting an Intel Core i3 10th Gen processor with an integrated UHD graphics card, it is powerful enough for daily work use. The battery life is longer than before since the screen has minimal power requirements and the operating system is lighter. The Chromebook will definitely stand out in the sea of silver devices with its Fiesta Red color.
It may be a bit pricey for a machine that doesn't have the best processor on the high-end spectrum, but the 8GB RAM and WiFi 6 capability is a major upscale. Plus, the battery life clocks at 14 hours and has 128GB of storage to accommodate your files and productivity apps.
If you're a parent searching for a rugged laptop that your little ones can use and abuse, the Asus Chromebook C202 is the best in its class. Designed to take on students' daily rigors and intense use, whether in or out of the classroom, the rugged form is its primary feature.
The spill-resistant keyboard, coupled with sturdy and reinforced rubber guards, provides protection and better grip. All exterior corners and edges of the C202 are covered by a nano-mold technology to protect critical components within. Also, Asus has made sure that the device has surpassed numerous drop tests and durability tests, including the spill test on its keyboard.
Plus, the key characters are printed larger to provide more visibility and accuracy. The 180-degree hinge swivel allows screen sharing, and the anti-glare display makes it less strenuous to the eyes when the device is used outdoors. A 10-hour battery capacity is under the hood to give the students more fun and learning activities.
Spin 311 has a 2-in-1 design that will easily stand out in a market saturated with budget-friendly Chromebooks. The major attraction of this device is its ultra-comfortable keys which have a 1.6mm travel distance. You can use it for extended periods without stressing out your fingers.
Smaller than an A4 paper and weighing only 2.31 pounds, this convertible laptop is very portable, even for younger individuals. It also has the power to keep you going throughout the day with its 15-hour battery life. Easily redirect your screen to share its contents with its 360-degree modes.
Stay connected most of the time with its WiFi 5 capability and Bluetooth 4.2 connection. The 720p HDR webcam can provide crystal clear footage on demand if you're always on video calls. This is a solid choice if you need a small form factor Chromebook for learners, both young and not so young.
Whether you're a businessman looking for a powerful computer or a gaming enthusiast that yearns for an awesome rig, there is always a device that will satisfy your needs. Check out the links below to find the articles that will provide what you're searching for.
It doesn't matter if you're an FB junkie or just need a decent device to check emails and work in Google apps, a Chromebook could be your best bud. It is inexpensive, user-friendly, and very convenient to stash into your backpack while on the go. And once you've found the right one, it doesn't hurt to look at some user reviews online before your purchase.
Author: Chafi Lacson
No. 1：Acer｜Chromebook Spin 713｜CP713-2W-568T
No. 2：Lenovo｜Chromebook Duet｜ZA6F0075US
No. 3：Google｜Pixelbook Go
No. 4：Lenovo｜ThinkPad C13 Yoga Chromebook
No. 5：HP｜Chromebook x360｜14a-ca0030nr
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