Chromebooks are those cheap laptops you find online and in stores usually for under £300. You may be thinking; What good will such a cheap laptop do for me? In this article, I will discuss how powerful a Chromebook can actually be and my experience with using a Chromebook as my everyday laptop at University.
To begin with, I don’t like to carry many things around with me that might either be heavy or unnecessary to me, so since I was in the market for a new laptop I decided that this new laptop should be small and lightweight. I looked at many laptops, including netbooks running on Windows 10 and Chromebooks running on Chrome OS, but the netbooks seemed to be slow, whereas the Chromebooks seemed to be up and running in no time.
Before I purchased my Chromebook, I have done some research into what types of web apps there are, I already knew about Google Docs and Microsoft Office Online. There turned out to be thousands of online web apps which work on Chrome OS and that’s not mentioning the browser apps that can be downloaded from the Chrome web store.
I also found that some Chromebooks support Linux, this meant that I could have a fully functioning Linux operating system. The only issue I found was that Chrome OS runs in the background.
I found a decent device on Amazon, it was the Lenovo N22. It was perfect for what I wanted it to do, it even had a carrying handle so that I can carry it like a mini suitcase, which I thought was useless. I did manage to install a run down version of Ubuntu which I used for basic programming tasks and local usage using the pre-installed Libre Office. In terms of performance, I didn’t expect much, especially when considering the price I paid but actually, I was in for a surprise as I didn’t get any lag or performance issues. This particular Chromebook also came with free cloud storage space for Google Drive.
Differences worth considering
If your like me and used to systems like Windows or Mac it can take time to get used to it, it didn’t take me long to get used to it, but hey we’re all different! In fact, from using it every day, I didn’t find it much different from the other systems. Obviously, you don’t need to purchase software for it, unless you are wanting to subscribe to Office 365, which on a Chromebook is only good if you want the 1TB cloud storage or if you are an organisation, but that’s a different story. The other major difference is the fact that it’s technically a web browser unless you purchase one with Android app support, but once again, that’s a different story! The fact that it’s only a web browser means that there is no reason for users to have performance issues unless you are carrying out heavy tasks like photo editing using one of many wonderful online tools.
So are Chromebooks suitable for everyday use?
The short answer is YES! however, there is a but! and that’s the fact that I would not recommend them if you are a heavy user. It’s a simple as that! They are perfect for basic tasks but tend to get complicated when it comes to the more demanding tasks. The only trouble is that they rely on an internet connection, although it is possible to use them offline, it depends on whether the Chrome plugin can be used offline. On the other hand, if you are using Linux then they are fine!