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Buying a Chromebook: Why choose a Chrome OS laptop?
Sure, most of the world uses laptops powered by traditional PC operating systems like those from Microsoft and Apple. Not everyone, however. For many users, the Chrome operating system (OS) is cheaper, easier to use, and provides all the functions they need. For these buyers, a highly portable, economical Chromebook laptop or Chromebook could be the perfect choice.
What, exactly, is a Chrome OS laptop? It's a thin, lightweight computer that runs on Google's Chrome operating system -- which, in turn, is rooted in the open-source Linux OS and Google's popular Chrome web browser. Typical internal components such as heavy magnetic storage drives are absent, replaced by comparatively tiny Flash memory modules. There are no DVD or other optical drives, and there may be fewer ports to connect video feeds or peripherals (don't worry, all of today's most popular connectivity options are supported).
Chromebooks are built for portability and usability
The focus of a Chrome laptop is on easy mobility and usability. Rather than load conventional software programs and files onto the system, you use the Chrome browser to conduct most of your work online, from storing photos in the cloud to using web-based word processing, spreadsheet and other services. The learning curve is intentionally short -- with no complex OS to manage, experts say that if you can use a web browser, you can use a Chromebook.
The combination of a slimmed-down OS and minimal internal componentry makes the best Lenovo Chromebooks among the thinnest, lightest computing devices on the market today. You can even get a Yoga 2-in-1 Chromebook that you can switch from laptop to tablet and back again as your daily needs change.
There are some sacrifices compared to regular laptops: you can't do much without a live internet connection; processor speeds won't match those of the fastest laptops (a Chromebook's small frame requires CPUs that don't generate too much heat); and some advanced software titles (such as the top video editing tools) aren't available to use via the cloud.
Still, there's a lot to love about a Chrome OS laptop. They generally cost less than regular laptops, making them very popular for school/college use. Plus, as their popularity increases, manufacturers are producing a wider array of models, some of which, while they may cost more, come equipped with big, high-resolution displays, touchscreens, and faster processors.
Advantages of a Chrome OS laptop
Here’s a quick rundown of the most frequently cited advantages of a Chromebook:
- Low cost: Fewer internal parts and a web-based OS helps keep prices low.
- Battery life: Unplugged running times are among the longest in the industry.
- Boot times: The "thin" OS and Chrome browser launch almost immediately.
- Google tools: Systems come optimized to run Google's Gmail, Calendar, etc.
- Portability: Lightweight Chrome laptops go anywhere -- even the biggest models.
Chrome laptops are very popular for personal use such as streaming movies, doing email and social media, and so on. In addition, students who mostly use their PCs for web research and writing term papers sometimes use Chromebooks for school. They're also used in business, particularly by those who value mobility and aren't tied to using specific, on-board software programs.