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Top 5 Best Chromebook Laptop (and Pros and Cons of Chrome OS)

Chromebook LaptopChromebook runs on Chrome OS.

If you’ve been thinking about buying a chromebook, you should first decide whether Chrome OS is an appropriate choice for you or not.

We’ll explore the following in this article:

  • Why you should buy chromebook?
  • Why you shouldn’t buy chromebook?
  • Top 5 best chromebook laptop to purchase

Why You Should Buy Chromebook?

1. You live in the browser: If most of the work you perform are from your browser (especially using Chrome), you should take a look at chromebook. In other words, if you spend 90% of your time just on your browser, you might want to consider this.

2. Cloud storage: If you embrace cloud storage and store all your documents, pictures and videos online (especially using google drive), you might want to consider chromebook. If you are using OneDrive for cloud storage, you might still want to consider Chome OS, as there is OneDrive App for Chrome.

3. Auto OS updates: When a new version of the Chrome OS is available, the system will automatically upgrade the new version in the background. You’ll never have to manually upgrade the Chrome OS. You’ll always be using the latest OS on your chromebook.

4. No virus and more secure: Since there is no application to be installed on the chromebook OS itself, the possibility of getting a virus is slim to none. Also, the Chrome OS itself is built from the ground-up keeping security in mind by incorporating security features like: Verified boot, system call filtering, rollback protection, etc.

5. You use Google products everyday: This is pretty obvious. If you are already using google products like GMail and Google Drive, Google Apps for Work, etc, chromebook might be the right choice.

Few additional points to consider:

  • Most chromebooks boot-up within 10 seconds. Some of them take as less as 5 seconds. It is pretty much instant boot up.
  • The chromebook price is way less than Windows or Mac laptops. Also, these laptops are so light in weight, you won’t even feel that you are carrying a laptop.
  • Most chromebooks have multiple USB ports, HDMI port, and MicroSD slots to expand your local storage capacity.

Why You Shouldn’t Buy a Chromebook?

1. Desktop based application: If you are dependent on any desktop based application (For example: Microsoft Office products, Photoshop, iTunes, Graphic intensive games, etc.), Chrome OS might not be the right choice. While there are alternatives for these desktop based application that runs on the browser, it will still be limited in terms of feature rich functionality, as it runs inside a browser. You have to take a inventory of all the desktop based application that you are currently using, and see whether you can live without most of them (or find a equivalent Chrome OS app) before buying chromebook.

2. Store files locally on the hard disk: For whatever reason, if you don’t like to use cloud storage, and like to store the files locally on your system, chromebook is not the right choice for you. Most chromebook have only 16GB of hard-disk, and some have 32GB hard disk.

3. Lot of off-line work: Chrome OS is built on the assumption that you’ll always be connected to the internet. If you are performing lot of off-line work, and can’t be connected to internet all the time, you might not like chromebook. While some Chrome OS app has offline capability, it is still limited in terms of functionality.

4. No Skype: There is no Skype app for Chrome OS. So, if you are using Skype, you are out of luck. You have to use only Google Hangout for collaboration.

5. Printing: You can’t connect to your printer through local wi-fi network, or using direct cable connection. Printing is available only through Google Cloud Print service and your printer should support cloud printing.

5 Best Chromebook Laptops

If you’ve decided to purchase a chromebook after considering the above factors, the following are my recommendations. You cannot go wrong with any one of these chromebooks.

1. Acer C720-3404 11.6-Inch Chromebook (Intel Core i3, 4 GB) Granite Gray

  • Pros: This is the fastest chromebook out there in the market now. The only chromebook that uses the Intel Core i3-4005U 1.7 GHz processor.
  • Cons: Slightly expensive when compared to the Celeron C720 model.
  • Misc: 11.6″ Display and 32GB SSD hard drive
  • With 2GB RAM Price: Less than $290
  • With 4GB RAM Price: Less than $350

2. Acer C720 Chromebook (11.6-Inch, 2GB)

  • Pros: Less expensive. This is the most popular chromebook which has the right amount of combination of price and speed. This also uses Celeron processsor that is based on Haswell micro-architecture.
  • Cons: 4GB RAM not available in this model. From pure performance point of view, slightly slower than the core i3 processor model. But, for regular usage, you’ll not feel much difference.
  • Misc: 11.6″ Display
  • With 16GB SSD Hard drive price: Less than $200
  • With 32GB SSD Hard drive price: Less than $250

3. Samsung Chromebook 2 (13-Inch, Luminous Titan)

  • Pros: 4 GB RAM. If you prefer a little bigger screen, you’ll like this 13″ Display.
  • Cons: Only 16GB SSD hard-drive. This has Exynos processor with ARM architecture, which is not as fast in performance when compared to the above two processor. But, you’ll still not notice a difference for regular usage.
  • Price: Less than $380

4. HP Chromebook 14 – New Version (Snow White)

  • Pros: Very large 14″ display. Great battery life of 8 hours.
  • Cons: Only 2GB RAM and 16GB SSD hard disk. Little heave when compared to smaller display models. This has the NVIDIA Tegra, which is realtively new.
  • Price: Less than $270

5. Google Chromebook Pixel

  • Pros: The best chromebook. Touchscreen. Awesome display with 4.3 million pixels. Super fast with Intel Core i5 Processor (Dual Core 1.8GHz). 4GB RAM. 32GB SSD hard-disk. Excellent finish and extremely high-quality.
  • Cons: Absolutely nothing! This is the best. Except for the price, ofcourse. :-)
  • Price: Less than $1,300

Additional Chromebooks

Apart from Acer, Samsung, HP and Google, there are also few other manufactures like ASUS, Toshiba, Lenovo who have released affordable chromebooks. There are more than 20 different chromebooks out there. While I consider the above 5 as the best chromebooks, you may want to browse the all Chromebook laptops.

If you are still not sure which chromebook to choose, I recommend the #2 from the above list. Acer 720 2GB-RAM 16GB-SSD for $199. You can’t go wrong with that.

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{ 10 comments… add one }

  • Aivaras November 24, 2014, 2:01 am

    Hello,
    Just few points about things that should keep you away from buying chromebook:
    1. MS office has browser version now it’s called office 365. Also you can install linux inside chromeOS and have any linux desktop application.
    2. You can use USB 3.0, SD cards to expand memory on-the-go. Or just upgrade SSD http://www.amazon.com/Samsung-Electronics-mSATA-0-85-Inch-MZ-MTE250BW/dp/B00HWHVOC2/
    3. Offiline office tools (what you need to do most of work) works nice even offline. Also you can select to have any of your drive content to be kept in chromebook’s memory.
    4. http://mashable.com/2014/11/14/skype-web-version/
    5. You can use linux crount to do that.

    Been using C720 (2GB version) since September. Upgraded SSD to 120GB and could not be more happy about it.
    The only thing I would like to say that it might not be the best computer to buy if you have and plan to use it alone.
    Since I use workstations in work, university and home – this is cheap and really portable way to have almost everything in 1.25kg and all-day battery.

  • Russell November 24, 2014, 2:18 am

    Great article. I have the HP Chromebook 14. 2GB RAM is fine and you don’t need any more than 16GB SSD because you’re working online in Google Docs and Sheets. Also look at Chromebase PCs – see howtoreplaceyourpc.com

  • Frank November 24, 2014, 5:24 am

    For a more complete advice/review it might prudent to highlight the possibility to install a member of the Debian/Ubuntu/Linux Mint family of distros on a Chromebook.

    Ubuntu is known working very well on a Chromebook

  • Johnbuk November 24, 2014, 9:17 am

    Good article Ramesh.
    I also have a HP 14 CB like Russell and am delighted with it.
    The only program I used that initially couldn’t be run on a browser was KmyMoney (a linux based finance package) but as Aivaras mentioned above you can run, as I do, Linux Ubuntu alongside ChromeOS and Skype etc will run on that if you do not wish to use Google Hangouts.
    Currently there is an offer of 1Tb of Cloud with new Chromebooks as well.
    John

  • Herman Tutanava November 24, 2014, 7:18 pm

    Great article. I have an Acer chrome-book also and really appreciated you did the pros and cons for Chromebooks. Will use this article as reference when approached by other Chromebook users. Thanks!

  • Aivaras November 24, 2014, 7:33 pm

    I used Arch on mine.
    All I needed was custom kernel at first for a touch pad to work as it should (it worked a little weird with mainstream at first). Now mainstream contains proper drivers and I used Arch with no problems for like month or so.

  • Frank November 25, 2014, 5:46 am

    Aivaras ,
    Interesting you changed the original SSD (16 GB ?) on your C720 for one with 120 GB capacity . Was this an easy job from an access point of view and did you need any additional connection accessories ?

    TIA for any advice

  • evan April 19, 2016, 8:24 am

    yes chrome books for life

  • Durae June 19, 2016, 10:37 am

    I am having trouble with hackers for a while – replaced computers pc’s & mac’s/routers/smartphones/printers – anything that can buffer and store a beacon. When I saw chrome book and its claim of no viruses I thought this is for me. Made sense too- why would a hacker need my computer if there is little or no storage or resident programs? I’m convinced my hacker is using my computers/ip for selling games/movies/music.

    But…my chrome book has been hacked and why?? The most convincing evidence is looking at the certificates. They all begin with the word Bogus. If anyone reading this has any ideas on why or how to fix PLEASE contact me!

    Typing this message on my iPhone because yesterday I changed my chrome book / Google password and removed all stored passwords and devices and now can’t get into my chrome book unless I set up new network and the setting for “share this network with other users” is checked and won’t let me change it. I did not setup my Chromebook to share anything.

  • Durae June 19, 2016, 10:48 am

    I want to add that your article is very good and the readers comments are helpful. I don’t usually comment but your article is easy to read and you obviously are interested and not just reporting. The reader comments seem to be in the same spirit-a community for sharing knowledge and tips.

    Unfortunately I’m sharing a problem with no solution- but welcome any ideas or help!!

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