Chromebooks: What is a Chromebook? Should I Buy a Chromebook? Which Chromebook is Best?

chromebookWhat is a Chromebook?  A Chromebook runs on Google’s Chrome OS (Google’s operating system) and is primarily designed to be used when connected to the Internet; with most of its applications and documents living in the cloud and relying heavily on Google’s suite of applications.  Chromebooks do not require extremely high-powered hardware.

Advantages of Chromebooks

  • Cheap – most under $300, some less than $200
  • Secure – based on the Linus OS system so virus risk is almost zero
  • Fast – up and running in under 10 seconds
  • Free upgrades from Google
  • Comes with Google Drive, which is the Google Cloud Storage
  • Many free Google Apps –  Gmail, Google Drive, Google Hangouts, Google Calendar, and Google Docs.

Disadvantages of Chromebooks:

  • Optical drives are absent with Chromebooks and they don’t support external optical disks – can’t use  CD/DVDs.
  • Chromebooks are not good for gaming.
  • Chrome OS doesn’t have a direct printing option in its OS. In order to print a “Cloud Printer” ready printer is required.
  • Only Google chrome and other Google products and be installed in Chromebooks.  No other software and apps will work on Chromebooks

2015 Reviews of Chromebooks

Consistently Highly Ranked

  • Toshiba Chromebook 2
  • Dell Chromebook 11
  • Acer Chromebook 15
  • HD Display Pixel1920 x 1080 resolution1366x768 / HDMI 1080p outputFull HD 1,920 x 1,080 resolution, LED-backlit display
    Screen Size, Inch13.3" Full HD display11.6” LCD Min15.6-inch FHD (1920 x1080) IPS display
    ProcessorIntel® Celeron® processor N2840 .Processor Speed: 2.58 GHz 4th Gen Intel® 2955U processor. 2M Cache, 1.40 GHz1.5GHz Intel Celeron 3205U (dual core, 2MB cache)
    Memory (GB)2 GB($225)* or 4 GB ($310)*2GB (259*), 4GB ($379*)4GB ($329) 2GB ($239)
    Harddrive (GB)16GB solid state drive (SSD)16GB Solid State Drive32GB SSD ($329)* 16GB ($239)*
    Battery Life (hour)9108
    SD Slot Y/NYYY
    HDMI Support Y/NYYY
    USB Ports, #122
    Sound SystemSound system tuned by Skullcandy®Integrated 720p HD video webcam, High Quality Speakers, Stereo headphone/microphone combo jack, Integrated microphone two upward-facing stereo speakers
    Weight, lb32.94.85

    Parameters to Consider When Picking a Chromebook

    Chromebook Screens

    • High-definition screens: High definition is better for streaming videos.
    • Touch screens option
    • Screen sizes ranging from 10 to 15 inches or greater.
    • Lower-end Chromebooks have1366 x 768-pixel displays, which is fine for most tasks but for sharper images, video and graphics, a full-HD display (1920 x 1080 pixels) is needed.

    Chromebook Processor –  The overall speed of your processor is determined by a few factors:

    • Processor speed, measured in gigahertz (GHz): This rating indicates how fast the processor performs calculations. The higher the number, the faster the calculations.
    • Number of cores: Each core can perform one operation at a time. Multiple cores means multiple processes can happen at once. Hence, more cores = a faster processor.
    • Processor cache, measured in kilobytes (K) or megabytes (MB): Cache is ultra-fast memory.
    • Core i3 CPU.11.  offers long battery life and responsive behavior over Intel Celeron chips

    Chromebook Memory

    • Memory is high-speed, short-term storage and measured in gigabytes (GB). When you open a program, the program is loaded into memory so that it can be run. So, the more memory you have, the more programs can be run simultaneously.
    • Chromebooks, however, the only real program that runs in memory is the Chrome web browser and the websites and applications that run within Chrome, so Chrome doesn’t need a lot of Memory.
    •  Chromebook should have anywhere from 2GB to 4GB.

    Chromebook Hard Drive

    The hard drive is where a computer’s data, including software, music, videos, etc  is stored.  A Chromebook with 32GB to 64GB of hard-drive storage is more than adequate because software is not install on a Chromebook and Google offers cloud storage where music, documents, videos, and other files are stored

    Internet Connection

    • All Chromebooks have built-in Wi-Fi to connect to wireless networks.
    • Some Chromebook models have cellular options so that you can activate a wireless Internet data plan with a national provider like Verizon or AT&T.
    • A Chromebook be connected to the internet with phones  through a mobile hotspot.

    Chromebook battery

    Battery life that is over seven hours is ideal.

    Chromebook SD card slot

    Chromebooks with an SD card slot have the ability to quickly add external storage.  This is valuable, especially if you have a large collection of photos or other files that you want to access quickly.

    Chromebook HDMI Support

    HDMI ((High-Definition Multimedia Interface) is a type of interface primarily used for high-definition video and audio.  A HDMI port is needed in order to use a high-definition external monitor and make it possible to use a television as an external monitor.

    Chromebook USB Ports

    Have enough USB ports to accommodate a mouse, keyboard or other external storage devices.

     Chromebooks Apps

    • Microsoft Web Apps –  free cloud version of Office
    • Google Drive  – create text documents, spreadsheets and presentations.