What Is a Chromebook? | Digital Trends


Google Pixelbook running Adobe Lightroom CC

Chromebooks may well have taken their time to turn out to be section of the community lexicon, but just after several years of demanding regard, they’ve lastly gotten it. Chromebooks have carved out their own area of interest in the notebook current market with their combine of snappy overall performance and rather lower price tags when compared to their Home windows counterparts.

So, what is a Chromebook? It’s not so in contrast to a Home windows notebook these days. The change is that it operates on a distinctive type of functioning procedure termed Chrome OS. It is built on Google’s Chrome browser and is intended to be mainly made use of with an world-wide-web link. Most of Chromebook’s files and apps exist in the cloud and Google instantly gives 100 GB of Google Travel cloud storage for all Chromebooks.

Should you invest in a Chromebook for your next upgrade? That is dependent, but there are some very fantastic causes why you ought to at the very least consider it.

Chromebook 101

You can imagine of a Chromebook as a typically World-wide-web-dependent laptop computer that starts off up super quickly and performs snappily many thanks to the low-overhead of its working technique. Its programs are targeted on Google’s very own products and services and applications, like Chrome, Maps, and YouTube, but there is a developing checklist of 3rd-celebration apps that operate with Chrome OS natively, and several other individuals that work with it by way of the Google Play Keep.

Some applications can run offline, but the greater part of them are world wide web applications or applications that run when you are linked to a network. Area storage is limited, but with 100GB of space on the internet presently and the alternative to broaden that drastically if you pick out, there is enough for most tasks and laptop use variations. There are also some Chromebooks that appear with significantly additional expansive local storage, despite the fact that you’ll will need to fork out for the privilege.

HP Chromebook x2 Review
HP Chromebook x2 Mark Coppock/Electronic Developments

The gain of virtually every little thing getting saved on the Internet is that you are going to have obtain to it from any pc. Moreover, if your Chromebook at any time bites the dust, you will not have to fret about dropping all your applications, documents, and settings.

Chromebook Offline

Most Chromebooks can hook up to the Internet with equally Wi-Fi and mobile facts connections, but there are times when you simply can’t find a sign. Fortunately, there are workarounds for a great deal of regime responsibilities. You can nevertheless compose and examine emails with Gmail Offline and work on documents with Google Push Offline. The offline applications will instantly preserve what you have been undertaking and sync back again up with the on the web providers when your laptop or computer has an World-wide-web connection.

Gaming, having said that, is not truly a Chromebook detail, partly due to Chromebooks’ smaller storage and comparatively weak specs (extra on that down below). Even so, thanks to the introduction of Android Application assistance via the Google Participate in retail outlet, if you have beforehand downloaded certain game titles from there, you should be capable to engage in most of them offline.

Do notice, having said that, that some Android apps don’t scale effectively with the more substantial Chromebook screens, so really don’t count on every single video game to perform beautifully on a Chromebook.

What about functionality?

Chromebook specs generally seem weak in contrast to their Home windows laptop computer counterparts, but there are fantastic motives for that. Chrome OS is light-weight more than enough that you really don’t need to have the exact processing heft of a Windows laptop computer and the lessen-end components typically involve significantly less ability to operate, aiding lengthen Chromebook battery lifetime appreciably.


There are some standouts, while. Google’s Pixelbook paved the way for a new generation of top quality Chromebooks with substantial-end hardware and even higher efficiency. Most Chromebooks don’t have this kind of outstanding requirements, having said that. They normally provide entry-amount processors that are created to save electricity a lot more than quantity crunching or 3D rendering, and memory can be limited to 2-4GB. That is not a lot by Windows notebook specifications, but it’s extra than more than enough for most Chrome OS jobs.

Regional storage tends to be minimal to among 16 and 64GB and it is nearly solely eMMC Flash storage. That indicates it’s rather quick, but place is restrictive. The notion is that any substantial documents and folders will be kept in the cloud in its place, even though 64GB is adequate place to retail store some online games and flicks if which is of fascination to you. And hey, you could normally develop it with an external hard push if you really want additional nearby storage place.

There are no Chromebooks with dedicated graphics chips, although there are some with more able onboard graphics than other people. The not too long ago introduced Acer Chromebook 315 has an AMD APU with Radeon graphics, but it’s still designed for accelerating internet expert services more than it is gaming.

Chromebook screen sizes are inclined to be extra comparable to their Windows counterparts, with anything from miniature 12-inch Chromebooks like the Pixel Slate to 15-inch products like the Lenovo Yoga Chromebook C630. There are not any much larger than that, but Chromebooks operate well with exterior monitors for those who need to have a lot more monitor place.

Resolutions can be substantial, having said that. The Pixel Slate’s screen has a resolution of 3,000 x 2,000, and it appears to be extraordinary for it. Not all Chromebooks are like that, but there is no explanation to feel a Chromebook’s display simply cannot seem as great as Home windows laptops. There is even a 4K Chromebook created by Lenovo that we especially like.


Acer Chromebook 15 Spin Review
Acer Chromebook 15 Spin Mark Coppock/Electronic Developments

Chromebooks have their strengths, but they also have their weaknesses. There is no denying that the Windows and MacOS working methods have much more robust libraries of purposes to draw from. There are lots of wonderful Android and Chrome OS applications that can fill the niches usually taken by Windows or MacOS apps (these are the best Chromebook video games), but they aren’t often as good as the additional popular applications utilized on other platforms.

Examples contain photo modifying purposes like Adobe’s Photoshop or alternate browsers like the Mozilla Foundation’s Firefox. Whilst there are workarounds that can get some of those pieces of software package functioning on Chromebooks, it’s not quick and Chrome OS or Android counterparts are not often a ideal alternative.


None of this is particularly problematic if you are a prolific Google product consumer, as all of those companies and apps are wrapped all around Chrome OS and work perfectly with it. The challenge lies with all those who want and have to have a lot more than that from their laptop. That’s where by Chrome OS exhibits its weaknesses most keenly.

Peripheral aid is not ideal either, with new extras at times missing the necessary drivers to function effectively on a Chromebook. Even though aid may get there down the line, it may perhaps not, in some cases leaving Chromebook users restricted by choice of components when compared to all those on Home windows laptops.

Really should you acquire a Chromebook?

google pixelbook review stylus on keyboard
Google Pixelbook and Pen. Dan Baker/Digital Tendencies

Chromebooks may perhaps not be as able as a large amount of Home windows laptops or Apple’s MacBooks, but they are extra than plenty of for some folks. If you use your notebook generally for viewing Netflix, browsing the world wide web, and composing e-mail, we can heartily recommend the greatest of them. They’re much less expensive than their Windows counterparts and are fast and responsive. They work notably well with Google’s software package and providers, so if you use Gmail, Google Travel, and Google Docs routinely, a Chromebook could be a great suit for you. Most importantly, if you are on the lookout at purchasing a laptop computer for a lot less than $500 or so, you’ll most likely stop up with a greater encounter with Chromebook. Windows laptops at that rate are usually cumbersome, have bad battery existence, and never conduct all that properly.

They are not for mainstream gaming though. Nor are they notably superior at managing the legendary apps that you are utilised to applying on Windows. Android applications have loaded lots of of the holes that Chrome OS native apps simply cannot, but the Windows and MacOS application environments are simply more expansive and fleshed out. Chromebooks’ lack of storage place can be problematic far too, specifically with the most inexpensive versions.

But they are great at what they do. The small selling price tags are of particular notice, creating them fantastic for specified audiences. Observe-having and media viewing are extremely college student-centric duties and a limited spending plan is a hallmark of that time period of numerous people’s life. Chromebooks aren’t for everyone, but if it appears like it may well be a fantastic match for you, give a person a check out, you could possibly be astonished by how a lot you like it.


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