Should I Buy a Chromebook? Buying Guide and Advice

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A Chromebook is a laptop of a different breed. Instead of Windows 10 or macOS, Chromebooks run Google's Chrome OS. These machines are designed to be used primarily while connected to the Internet, with most applications and documents living in the cloud. These machines have done quite well in the education market, but their appeal has broadened.

chromebook_BG_leadLow prices, long battery life and ease of use are just a few reasons why Chromebooks are attractive. Chromebooks outsold Macs for the first time in 2016, and Gartner is predicting that Chromebook sales will grow by 16.3 percent in 2017. In 2016, U.S. schools purchased 5.4 million Chromebooks for use in the classroom, just under half of the total laptops, according to the Associated Press.

But is a Chromebook right for you? Our Chromebook buying guide has the answers to these and other questions.

  Chromebook Price
Best Overall Asus Chromebook Flip C302CA $499
Budget Pick Lenovo N22 Chromebook $159 
Best for School Dell Chromebook 3189 $329
Best 2-in-1 Chromebook Samsung Chromebook Pro $549
Best for Business Acer Chromebook For Work 14 $542

Should I Buy a Chromebook?

Chromebooks run Chrome OS, Google's operating system, so they heavily feature Google's suite of applications and often times rely on a working Internet connection. Although you can log in to Chrome OS as a guest, we recommend you log in to the system with a Google account to have the best experience.

Apps

Chromebooks are optimized for Google's apps, such as Gmail, Google Calendar and Google Drive. This deep integration can be either positive or negative, depending on how you use a PC. Chromebooks will be easy to set up if you already use those apps.

MORE: Best Chromebooks Available Now

Unfortunately, popular software applications, such as Adobe Photoshop and the Microsoft Office suite, aren't available on Chromebooks. However, Microsoft Office Online, the free cloud version of Office, is available as a webpage in the Chrome browser, and you can always use the native Google Drive to open and edit documents and spreadsheets.

app store2 675403

It may be best to stick with Microsoft Office Online if you already have a lot of Office files that you're bringing over to your Chromebook. There are often formatting issues when importing third-party documents into Drive. Fortunately, Google Drive allows you to save documents to Microsoft formats, so you'll still be able to share files with non-Chromebook users.

On the other hand, there are a handful of photo editors available for Chrome OS, including Pixlr (free), which looks a lot like Photoshop. But those with existing files are out of luck — there is no Chromebook app that can edit Adobe's .PSD files.

If those limitations concern you, Android apps are now coming to Chromebooks. However, only a select few systems can access the Google Play store at this time. The idea is to give Chromebooks access to more games, productivity options and other apps to make these machines more versatile.

Right now, Android-capable Chromebooks include the Samsung Chromebook Plus, Asus Chromebook Flip, Acer Chromebook R11 and Google’s own Chromebook Pixel. If you’re looking to take a Chromebook to school with you, make it one of those.

Offline Use

Chromebooks are designed to rely heavily on the Internet, which means that many apps simply won't work if you're out of Wi-Fi range. There are more than 200 offline Chrome apps that can work without Internet connectivity, including Gmail, Pocket and Google Drive, and tons of the Android apps coming soon will also work offline.

Games

You'll still be able to play games on the Chromebook, but your options are sparse. The Chrome Web Store offers casual titles such as Bejeweled and Cut the Rope, but you won't have the same selection as you would on a Windows machine or a Mac. Of course, Chromebooks with Android support get more modern titles such as Fallout Shelter, Star Wars: Galaxy of Heroes and Minecraft.

games

Chromebooks generally have limited graphics processing power, so you'll want to stick to less demanding titles.

Special Features

While Chrome OS currently allows for voice commands once you say "OK, Google" with the launcher open, reports suggest that will not last. According to Chrome Unboxed, the source code in Google's Chromium respositories suggests that the notebooks will soon deprecate this functionality. It seems likely that Google Assistant will fill the void. While the launcher is currently integrated with Google Now, giving you info cards for the current weather and local news stories, we could see it switching to Google Feed.

Google redesigned the on-screen keyboard for touch-screen use, making it easier to use on 2-in-1s like the Asus Chromebook Flip. With a minimalist design, the on-screen keyboard recognizes your scribbles and gives you choices of text to input. When we tested that feature, it was almost always accurate in recognizing our writing. Also, soon, Android smartphone users will be able to get text and call-pop-up notifications on their desktop.

Battery Life

Chromebooks typically offer exceptional battery life, but not as much as they used to. Of the 10 Chromebooks we've reviewed in the past year, we've seen an average of 9 hours and 15 minutes of endurance on the Laptop Mag Battery Test, which involves continuous Web surfing over Wi-Fi. On the top end, you'll notice standouts like the Acer Chromebook R 13's runtime of 11:00, though the average is down from the 9:59 time we previously found.

acer chromebook r 13 nw g02We recommend shooting for at least 9 hours of juice, which half of the Chromebooks we've reviewed offer. While some affordable Windows 10 notebooks, like the Lenovo Miix 310 (12:24) and the Dell Inspiron 11 3000 (13:39), offer amazing battery life, the ultraportable notebook average is a shorter 8 hours and 21 minutes.

Durability

Similar to business notebooks made to survive drops and other minor disasters, Chromebooks for Work are built to withstand falls, scrapes and similar punishment. In our testing, the Acer Chromebook 14 for Work proved durable, surviving unscratched and fully functional after our Dropbot 5000 test bench dropped it from a height of 48 inches onto a plywood plank. 

Both the Acer Chromebook 14 for Work and the ThinkPad 13 Chromebook (another For Work model) are MIL-STD-810G certified, meaning they're capable of passing durability testing that U.S. Military equipment must pass. The Acer Chromebook 14 For Work can survive extreme temperatures (minus 20.2 degrees to 140 degrees Fahrenheit), humidity, vibration, rain, sand and dust.

Durable Chromebooks aren't just for adults. The kid-friendly Acer Chromebook 11 N7 C731T survived a full glass of water getting spilled onto its keyboard, as well as the 48-inch high drops from our Dropbot 5000. It may have gotten scuffed along the way, but it's a good option for clumsier users.

Manageability and Security

Chromebook for Work models also offer tools that IT administrators need to manage laptops in and out of the office. The Lenovo ThinkPad 13 Chromebook includes a Trusted Platform Module, a security chip that helps keep malicious attackers away from your passwords.

What Size Screen Do I Need?

Most Chromebooks fall between 11 and 13 inches. That means you won't have trouble choosing a smaller model, such as the 11-inch Acer Chromebook 11 N7 , the 12.5-inch Asus Chromebook Flip C302CA and the 13-inch ThinkPad 13 Chromebook.

These models often weigh less than 3 pounds, making them the most portable, and great options for kids. However, the screen size and keyboards may seem cramped for adults.

acer chromebook 15 g01The Acer Chromebook 15 is the only 15-inch Chrome OS notebook available.

Those looking for more real estate for Web surfing, getting work done, watching movies and playing games can pick up the 14-inch Acer Chromebook 14 for Work, or the 15-inch Acer Chromebook 15, the only Chrome OS notebooks above 13 inches. Unfortunately, both are on the older end of the spectrum, as there hasn't been much demand for large Chromebooks. Don't even look for a 17-inch Chromebook; they're not out there.

What Specs Do I Need?

Because Chromebooks are meant primarily for online use, the specs aren't as important as they are for Windows laptops, but you'll still want to know how much power and storage you're getting for your money. Here's a quick guide.

RAM

When it comes to RAM, Chromebooks come with either 2GB or 4GB. While models with 4GB are more expensive, we've found that difference to be worth it for multi-tasking.

MORE: How Much RAM Do You Really Need?

Both the HP Chromebook 14 (4GB RAM) and the Lenovo 100S Chromebook (2GB RAM) featured the same Celeron N2840 processors, but the HP notebook handled more than a dozen open tabs without a problem while the Lenovo stuttered with 10 open Chrome tabs and Spotify playing. Our tests of the Windows version of the Lenovo Ideapad 100S ($180) show that similarly spec'd PCs can handle a larger stack of tabs.

CPU

The processor in your Chrome OS machine helps determine how smoothly your Chromebook performs, especially when you have multiple tabs open and you're streaming video or playing games.

We find Intel Celeron chips in many Chromebooks, and they often provide acceptable speed. The $229 Acer Chromebook 11 N7 C731T (Celeron N3060, 4GB RAM) for example, could run 8 concurrent Chrome tabs, but stuttered after we opened another.

You can get a Windows 10 laptop with similar specs and price, such as the Dell Inspiron 11 3000 ($229), but it might not be as capable. That machine has the same processor and memory, but while it lasts more than 13 hours, its performance was less than that of the 11 N7.

If that doesn't sound like enough for you, certain Chromebooks pack Intel Core CPUs for even more speed. The biggest downside to these Core M Chromebooks, such as the Asus Chromebook Flip C302CA ($499) and Samsung Chromebook Pro ($549) is their heftier price. Don't worry about that powerful CPU affecting the battery life, as the Samsung Chromebook Pro (Core M3) provided more power and longer longevity (8:05) than its weaker Chromebook Plus (ARM MediaTek; 7:46) sibling.

If you want a Chromebook without an Intel Chip, there's always 2014's Acer Chromebook 13, the only Chrome OS machine with an Nvidia chip (the Tegra K1). While it offers excellent graphics performance, it doesn't offer a touch screen.

Storage Size

Since Chrome OS is so lightweight, Chromebooks often don't need much storage. Most pack just 16GB of onboard storage, and that's likely all you'll need at this stage. Once Android support lands on the platform, users will find ways to make use of the SD card reader in notebooks such as the Acer Chromebook 14, where you can expand the storage up to 64GB.

Spring for a 32GB model now if you're buying with Android apps in mind. Similarly-priced Windows laptops often include 32GB by default, but that operating system takes up so much space that you're left with a similar amount of free storage as a 16GB Chromebook.

Google gives you 100GB of free Google Drive storage with every Chromebook purchase, though that only lasts for two years, after which you'll only have the standard 15GB of free space.

Screen

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The size of the screen isn't the only thing that matters. While we appreciate the bright, color-accurate panel in the$179 Samsung Chromebook 3, its 1366 x 768-pixel dimensions mean it's best for writing and reading. But if you want sharper images, video and graphics, spring for one with a full-HD display (1920 x 1080 pixels), such as the $359 Acer Chromebook R 13.


screen reso3

Windows 10 has been built for touch screens, but you can get the same functionality in Chrome OS. You just have to know which one to get — and expect to pay about a $100 premium. The $280 Acer Chromebook R 11 can bend into a tablet, making use of its IPS touch-screen display.

asus chromebook c302c nw g01The Asus Chromebook Flip C302CA is our overall favorite Chromebook. Image: Jeremy Lips/LaptopMag.

The $449 Asus Chromebook Flip C302CA also has a touch screen, and it's one of the few to currently support Android apps, though others will gain that support later this year. If the prospect of using What's App, Super Mario Run and other apps on a Chromebook sounds like an option for you, make sure your next Chromebook includes a touch screen.

Who Are You Buying It For?

Overall, the best way to tell if someone will enjoy owning a Chromebook is if you know they already spend most of their time in the Chrome browser. Those users will take to the notebook naturally.

If you're buying this Chromebook for someone else, you should take a few moments to consider how they're going to use the device. Chromebooks are especially good for younger students, as they are ease to use and are fairly secure.

Children who are still learning how to use computers may be more receptive to learning how a new operating system works, and while there's no official Minecraft title for Chrome OS, the Android-based Minecraft: Pocket Edition will become available on certain Chromebooks later this year.

children

Some elder relatives may have never truly understood Windows enough to use their PC frequently, but others who have learned just enough to make do may become frustrated that they need to relearn where downloads go, or that their favorite app is not available for Chrome.

How Much Should I Spend?

There's a pretty narrow price range for Chromebooks. At the low end, you can pick up the affordable and light $169 Acer Chromebook R11, which has an 11.6-inch HD display, an Intel Celeron N3150 CPU and 2GB of RAM. On the other end of the spectrum is the $549 Samsung Chromebook Pro, a stylus-equipped 12.3-inch notebook with a 2400 x 1600-pixel display, an Intel Core M3 processor and 4GB of RAM.

You can even wind up spending as much as $749 on the 14-inch Acer Chromebook 14 for Work, but that's after it's upgraded to a Core i5 processor that Chromebooks don't really need. The most you should spend on that notebook is $600, which gets you a Core i3 CPU, a 1920 x 1080-pixel display, 32GB of storage and 8GB of RAM.

You'll probably wind up paying more for a Windows 10 notebook, as the average selling price for a PC is $448, according to NPD. There are more affordable options, as we've detailed here, but the PC laptop market has a much higher cap than the Chromebook market.

Bottom Line

Chromebooks are affordable and offer decent performance, and the introduction of Android apps is increasing their capabilities. Microsoft is fighting back with low-cost Windows 10 S laptops, but if you're looking for a simple way to get online and you prefer Google's services, you'll be happy with a Chromebook.

Author Bio
Henry T. Casey
Henry T. Casey,
After graduating from Bard College a B.A. in Literature, Henry T. Casey worked in publishing and product development at Rizzoli and The Metropolitan Museum of Art, respectively. Henry joined Tom's Guide and LAPTOP having written for The Content Strategist, Tech Radar and Patek Philippe International Magazine. He divides his free time between going to live concerts, listening to too many podcasts, and mastering his cold brew coffee process. Content rules everything around him.
Henry T. Casey, on
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94 comments
  • Bob C. Says:

    I'd say this. Do your homework. Think about what you use a computer for. If you surf the web, write and read emails, watch Netflix and youtube, do some basic word processing or spreadsheet work or do minor picture editing, a Chromebook may be right for you. If you purchased a Mac or Windows PC in the past and never added any programs, and don't run programs outside what I've described, a Chromebook may be for you. If you already have a workhorse PC at home and want a lightweight, grab and go computer to do basic browsing and work on, a Chromebook may be for you.

    Understand what you need and what a Chromebook can and cannot do. People who purchased a Chromebook and then act surprised they can't run Windows programs and games didn't do much research beforehand. I see a lot of talk about not being able to do anything unless connected to wifi. I wonder what these people are doing with their Windows machines without wifi. Not that there's many places you can go these days without wifi anyway. But you can certainly respond and write emails, watch downloaded movies and shows, write and work in spreadsheets offline in a Chromebook.

    I use Turboxtax, Quicken and Quickbooks. For work, I do complex spreadsheet work. As such, a Chromebook couldn't be my primary computer. My son does some heavy gaming. A chromebook couldn't be his primary computer. If you do none of those things and don't install programs on a windows machine, think about a Chromebook. No antivirus updates or subscriptions; no long to install Windows updates. It's a joy. The OS updates itself often, and it takes virtually no time at all.

    I will grab my Chromebook for a lot of things. The battery life is amazing. Its lightweight portability is amazing. It starts up in seconds, compared to my heavily loaded Windows Laptop. It's great to use in bed to watch Netflix or Hulu on. It runs so cool compared to my big laptop. I'm not even sure it has a fan. I reach for it more and more, unless it's something I really need my Windows machine for.

    I think of my daughter going away to college, taking her macbook with her. I'd almost rather she took a Chromebook too. She could take it from class to class with less worry about it being damaged. I saw an Acer 11 inch on sale the other day for $129. I mean really. What a great investment. I bought mine a couple years ago for $109. It was a steal considering what it does for me.

    One other thing...a printer. If you have an existing printer that can't connect through google print, then that might be an issue. Other than that, I'd say a Chromebook could easily work for a lot of people.

  • john rice Says:

    the only honest advice I can give is dont by a chromebook.Bought mine three weeks ago and selling it and getting a laptop same as my last one.

  • John S Says:

    Reality is Chromebooks are mainly sold into the educational market and only in the US. They provide a simply OS locked to a apps store and mostly use weaker hardware. I think they sell because they are cheap, and some deal with side effects and weak hardware and some probably go back to a PC. My experience is that even for a second or third device they lack enough performance for my liking and Chrome OS is too restrictive. It gets old after a while.

  • RKDahl88 Says:

    I honestly don't know which part is worse, my expensive laptop falling apart after using for less than 6 months, or their terrible, terrible, "customer support."

  • xracecar Says:

    Y'know, a 2010 Macbook Pro runs better than this stuff.

  • Chris Says:

    Unequivocally: NO.

    I have a piece of beautiful hardware sitting next to me that is completely useless as a computer. Now I've got to risk rendering it useless by forcing Windows or Linux onto it.

    I figured this was basically an Android phone/tablet with a keyboard attached. Not by a long shot. Usability is nil.

    I basically bought a supremely well engineered ruggedized laptop for a great price, but it is completely useless.

    I'd be 100% happy with the device running Android, Windows, or Linux.

  • Thomas M. Edmonds Says:

    Forgot to say: Overall, the performance to price ratio is much higher than a Windows machine. You need a Windows backup (cheap one) for resident programs, but the Chrome works so much better for everything else. The biggest feature I like is automatic backup, and absolutely no maintenance. No worries about viruses, virus software and updates. It never crashes, and is always super quick.I would never go back to Windows!

  • Thomas M. Edmonds Says:

    Another option is a ChromeBox. This provides all of the guts of a computer, minus the keyboard, display, and mouse. You can get a used one off of ebay with 4gB RAM and an i3 micro for $150! Works awesome!

  • Rod Moore Says:

    Your article shows that it was posted "November 28, 2016 01:30 pm". Yet, most of the limits mention are years old. Which means no longer valid.

  • john b Says:

    if yu just want to get on the internet great. as for me im goin back to pc..

  • John S Says:

    I've had a couple Chromebook's and am now using a Chromebox for a desktop. I also still use Win 10 PC's but actually I could do most tasks with the Chrome OS. But clearly if your using Chrome on a PC your really using Chrome OS. Not much different and frankly you can buy a cheap PC with Win 10 and install Chrome and have a more flexible device when you need it. But if your fine work just within the Google ecosystem I don't see a reason not to try a Chromebook. Probably the easiest Linux based device you can use.

  • DONT BUY ONE Says:

    if you like offline things such as games like minecraft or listening to music dont get one get a regular laptop

  • Rose White Says:

    Stop asking if you can load lotsa extra apps and stuff on Chromebooks - they are intended and work super as email and YOutubers!

  • Rose White Says:

    Forgot to say it will let me surf for practically all day on a charge and recharges in an hour and half!
    CB5-311 is amazing!

  • Rose White Says:

    Love my Acer CB5! 2.5 years without a hiccup!
    Shame I cannot run OpenOffice but I can load long documents onto a memostick.
    Just a few weeks ago I bought a cheapo HP Win10 with Celerion and it is so slow - but is has goregous keyboard!
    If only someone would blend all the good bits we love into one super Chromebook it would be wonderful!

  • John S Says:

    I have a Asus Chromebox mounted on a Dell 23" monitor. It's a great web device but not much more. But then again, do many users over buy what they really need? I know of plenty of people who would do just fine with a $300 Chromebook over a $700 PC notebook. But they probably were over sold on what they needed. It's that old adage buy more than you need for the future. Obviously some need PC power, have to run more than web apps, and need Windows abilities. My only resistance to Chrome OS devices was there small screens and weak hardware. But these days spend a bit more and you can find better Chromebooks. Just don't spend a lot, because it's still the same old internet device with a web browser and web apps. Maybe with Android app support too. But still, not really a OS that requires you to spend oodles on hardware.

  • Kim Vora Says:

    I've had nothing but problems with my Acer Chromebook. First the charger port started being faulty. I did some research and a lot of people were saying they too had the same problem. They said not to send it in to be fixed as it costs a lot and when they send it back the same problems started again a month or two later. It shuts down on its own and not low the screen has turned black and other than the blinking backlight, there's nothing on my screen. I know it's not the screen itself as when I hard reset it, the screen comes on and tells me I there's a fault with the OS thing. I've given up on them. It's been nothing but one problem after the next. I've only had it less than two years and have taken great care of it but I'm at my last tether now. Especially since I need a reliable laptop/book for my work.

  • joelHFX Says:

    get a chromebook. it is so liberating to not have to deal with the endless pit traps that the expanded functionality windows presents.

  • SMH at Chromebook Says:

    Ahm... a BIG advertisement article for chromebook, and it completely skips over the fact that you NEED a very very very large high speed Internet connection. IMO, you are an idiot if you buy a chromebook, unless you live in Korea and got that Fiber connection and 1000Mps speed. SMH.

  • CajunMoses Says:

    Hybrid Android in pre-beta is working well on the Flip. Therefore, ASAP, please delete remarks that specify applications that Chromebooks cannot run. They can now run these in the hybrid Android container.

  • Vera Mathis Says:

    Yes I have a chomebook and I can't get in it so where can I get a guide book so I can turn on my internet and my wifi thank you

  • ChromeShine Says:

    Lots of strange comments. Not sure if they are paid or not. Comments such as I could not save, will not work with router, and such are simply not true.

    The article states that you must use Google docs, which is not true, the Outlook.com email, Excel, Word and all the rest of the online apps are there.

    As for the gent that said you can't scale, and was considering Apple, all I can say is good luck changing the fonts on the bookmarks and tabs on Chrome or Safari, as you can not do so on OSX. Only on Windows and Linux.

  • David Olivari Says:

    I have bought a Chromebook 2 , toshiba cb30-104-b precisely.
    I can only say good hardware, substandard OS. No SCaling, only change of resolution will enlarge OS font. -very very poor.
    I feel so conned by Google. Just so jealous of people with Apple Gear

  • Phillip Says:

    Nice and thorough review. One thing though. You stated that "There are a growing number of "offline" Chrome apps that can work without Internet connectivity, including Gmail and Google Drive."..... How is that even remotely possible. The computer could cache your recent documents and emails, but it is odd that the "offline" apps include two apps you need internet connection to actually use.... Does it turn your email into rainbow sprinkles that travel the magical winds of Narnia until they find an unsecured WiFi connection? It sounds pretty magical to me.

  • Joan Soo Says:

    Does Chromebook support the Dvorak keyboard arrangement?

  • Bill Williams Says:

    Have you heard if the Chromebook is going to support a Bluetooth-enabled printer connection ?

  • Allen Says:

    I purchased an HP Chromebook because I only use my laptop and iPad for writing on Googledocs. Surprisingly google docs works perfectly on my iPad and mac pro but google docs is always a problem on the Chromebook: Whole chapters disappeared. Does not keep docs updated like my old Mac Pro at home, and pages are often unresponsive. Yes the Chromebook is cheaper and lighter than my old mac pro but now, after
    all the hours of writing I lost, I wish I had never purchased one.

  • curious Says:

    can i create a pdf file on an acer chromebook?

  • Ashley Says:

    The Google Chromebook was the worst purchase I have ever made. It sounded appealing initially...built in browser, high speed internet. But this thing is not functional. I was told I would not be able to download, save, etc. because of limited hardware but I would be able to save to a hard drive. No. The apps are quick to download but they are a joke. All that I have come across thus far have been the least bit of helpful. Actually, trying to become accustomed to the app is more of a waste of time than it is when actually using it. You literally can not do anything functional on this "computer" besides access the internet. If you are looking to invest in a laptop DO NOT do so with this thing. It is not user friendly and has given me nothing but a headache while using it. I will be purchasing a Macbook tomorrow.

  • Jacinta Says:

    Can you play Highlightskids.com Hidden pictures on this chrome book?
    Does it support Adobe flash?

  • Somya Sharma Says:

    It is such a nice buying guide on the Chromebooks. I really like Chormebooks, because they are light weighted and available at a low price as compare to Laptops. Thanks to share this impressive post with us. You shared such a great tips.

  • STAYlow Says:

    A lot of mixed reviews about Chrome OS and the user's experience with it and the hardware. It appears that the students using school purchased Chromebooks hate the hardware, and hate that you can't put games on the device.
    Let's be honest, one of the beautiful things about Chrome OS is that you can't download any sort of third party program on it. This means no viruses and the system won't bog down overtime from a hard drive that has to sift through gigs of files before finding the one that you need. Basically your kid or even elder will have a difficult time messing up a Chrome OS device up.
    I think the other problem we're seeing is bad experiences with the ridiculously cheap hardware that Chrome OS tends to end up on. I highly recommend doing your research and spending the extra $100-150 of your hard earned money to get; a better screen, better build, better trackpad and keyboard, and so on. Doing this will likely ensure that your experience is a pleasant one.
    I'm a full-time college student and was looking for something in the 13 inch form factor that could replace my tablet hybrid I was using last semester. I thought for sure I'd settled on a Core M powered Windows device but came across a review about the Toshiba Chromebook 2. Everyone raved about the screen and most reviewers said you couldn't buy better for less. This would be my first Chromebook, cause sure enough the first time I say that screen in person I was instantly sold at the $300 is was selling for at the time of purchase.
    I'm a bit of a gadget junky so I figured the price was right for an interesting experiment. I wanted to see if Chrome OS could serve all my college needs. Most of what I'll be using it for is research, document creation, and presentations. So far this device and Chrome OS does all that, and it does it well.
    Like other reviewers on here have asked, you should ask yourself, "how often am I using my laptop offline?" The reality for most is, "never or rarely". Chromebooks will do most of the work you need to do offline anyways, like document editing and creation.
    So far my experience after a month of use has been quite positive. I thoroughly enjoy the screen and the keyboard is solid. The trackpad might feel a bit abrasive to some, but it's accurate and never misses any of my gestures. I really like the two finger tap that acts like a right click on a Windows machine.
    The ecosystem has been fluid and responsive with few if any hiccups. Consuming multimedia has been pretty awesome with this HD IPS display, not to mention the speakers are shockingly good.
    I'm convinced the moral of the story here is that you should do your research and spend a few extra bucks for the better hardware. The popularity of cloud based and browser based computing will only continue to grow and consequently improve with time. This type of computing allows manufacturers to create truly ultra portable devices that have excellent battery life and great productivity all in one.
    At this point I'd definitely be willing top pay more for the same experience but on high end hardware. Something thin and light with an HD screen like the Asus Zenbook UX305 or the new MacBook ultra portable. The Chromebook Pixel 2 is looking more and more tempting everyday but I still find the price to swallow considering the maturity of the OS running on it.

  • Greta S Says:

    If you are getting this for school or communication, I wouldn't recommend it. Everything is either an extension that doesn't work all that great or a google app that isn't compatible with Microsoft computers.

  • cooldudegood Says:

    a chromebook is useless I hate the 1 I am using and I wish that chrome os had never been invented because we can't get minecraft and there are other games I want but can't get and even at schools there are chromebooks so if the chromebooks are ment to be for a school then buy them

  • diego Says:

    I am normally a Mac user, but I have been using chromebooks for two years. Althouh my chromebook cannot replace my Mac because of specific statistical software I have to use for work, everything else I do on my chromebook. As a matter of fact, my chromebook is my workhorse. I have the hp 14 inch, and i loooove it. It has a huge screen, it is super fast, and tough. I totally love it.

  • Arobindo Dutt Says:

    I like your evaluation of a system, not messed up with technical terms oreign to a abeginer like I am.

  • Arobindo Dutt Says:

    I like the review. I am going tobuy ACER Chrombook 13CB5-311-T7NN(13.3" HD) NVDIA TEGRA K1, 2GB OR T1UU(13.3', Full HD, NVDIA TEGRA K1, 4GB, 1920x1080 resolution.

    I am a first time user, learning, any suggestion will be welcome.

  • Arobindo Dutt Says:

    Good review, but I need more, to educate my self. I am visiting India, need to be in in touch with my investestment advisors. So I am looking for a simple hardware like Crome bOook. Any suggestion?

  • po chung Says:

    can chrombook convert analog videos to digital? can an AV transfer card be connected to a chrome book?

  • George Says:

    Don't buy a Chromebook. This has been the worst piece of technology I have ever owned. It doesn't save unless you upload it to Russia and even then it might be erased.

  • David H Says:

    Errm... I'm just saying that you can dual-boot a chromebook so that it will run linux on it (and thus getting all of the desired apps like libreoffice).

  • charlie Says:

    ithink it is good help but i didnt read all so i might be roung maby you did but you should of put the regulure prise in it

  • AmyInNH Says:

    Less than forthright about Chromebook.
    - only free online storage for 2 years, after which you'll pay (??/anything) to get your hostage docs.
    - maybe in little Silicone Valley internet is 100% present and reliable, but not elsewhere.

  • Darrell Says:

    Chromebook is so fast so nice so light...so great....except...no ebay buy and sell. What? True. Sent it back the next day as I have an ebay business. Nice for surfing.

  • Anna Attkisson, Laptop Mag & Tom's Guide Managing Editor Says:

    If you play the web-based version that's on Facebook, yes. It should.

  • Brenda Jones Says:

    Anna, I read your article on Chromebooks vs notebooks. I just bought a Asus 13" Chromebook for my backup. I only intend to play "farmville" on it. My laptop is in the shop so I got this to use when it might go to the shop again. Do you think it will let me play my game? Thank you.

  • bill sliger Says:

    how do I get out of being a guest

  • part fight Says:

    I do not know if it's just me or if perhaps everyone else encountering problems with your blog.

    It seems like some of the written text within your
    posts are running off the screen. Can somebody
    else please comment and let me know if this is happening to them too?
    This could be a problem with my internet browser because I've had this happen before.
    Thank you

  • Daavidn Says:

    I'm hook after getting my first Chromebook, an Acer 13 full HD, very lightweight, great battery life for $250. I've been compiling a list of things I CAN'T do on my chromebook and, so far, I only have 2 items: can't run the Logitech Harmony remote setup since their app won't run in this version of browser and can't run their desktop app, and the other is (most ridiculous yet) Google Earth. All the other "Office Apps" can be overcome with plugins and browser-based options. So far, the benefits far outweigh the limitations.

  • Fellow Chromebook buyer Says:

    Dont buy you no play no games at all

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