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Chromebooks have certainly come a long way over the years, and there are a number of reasons why someone might look at a Chromebook when considering a laptop purchase. They’re lightweight, inexpensive, easy to learn and easy to use. There are thousands of applications available via the Google Play store, meaning there’s a good chance that you’ll be able to find one that will meet your needs.
Still, the same things that make Chromebooks so attractive is what makes them so limited, and what may make a Chromebook alternative a better choice.
Reasons To Pick a Chromebook Alternative
Although Chromebooks have their place, there are a host of factors that would make a Windows laptop the perfect Chromebook alternative.
To consider just a few:
Chromebooks store most files in the cloud. Although the lack of a spinning hard drive makes a Chromebook lighter and less susceptible to damage when bumped or dropped, most of their best features aren’t available unless they’re connected to the Internet.
Chromebook apps run in the Chrome browser. While it’s true there are a wide assortment of apps in the Google Play store, a Chromebook can’t run third-party programs. Although there are Web versions of some of the most popular Microsoft productivity programs that can run on a Chromebook, in many cases that won’t be an option. Professional applications such as Photoshop or AutoCAD won’t run on a Chromebook, so if you need a laptop for business a Chromebook alternative may be a better choice.
Chromebooks generally come with lower-end processors, meaning that they’re not suitable for resource-intensive applications such as video editing. Although there are Chromebooks appearing on the market that feature more powerful processors, their higher price eliminates the one feature, a lower price, that makes a Chromebook an attractive option for those considering a laptop purchase.
Chromebooks can be slow. Although the lightweight operating system boots up quickly, because most programs actually operate in the cloud the speed at which they run can depend in large part on the speed of your Internet connection.
Because Chromebooks don’t include the powerful graphics card featured in some Windows machines, they’re not suitable for high-end gaming. And because Chromebooks don’t offer optical drives, there’s no way to play a CD or DVD.
There’s no way to connect a printer directly to a Chromebook. Instead, a printer that’s connected to the Internet is required. That can make getting your ideas from the computer screen to a piece of paper a complicated chore.
Chromebook Alternatives Under $500
One of the biggest selling points of a Chromebook, of course, is their low price. But for those who want the power of Windows 10, the latest version of the popular Windows operating system, there are a number of Windows laptops for those on Chromebook budget, with some carrying a price tag less than $500.
Lenovo’s IdeaPad laptops and Ultrabooks, for example, start at a price comparable to many Chromebooks. Features include the Windows 10 Home operating system in S mode, powerful AMD processing, integrated Radeon™ graphics and up to 8 hours of battery life.
Other low-cost options are available in Lenovo’s ThinkPad L-Series, with features including Windows 10 Home as well as 10th Generation Intel® Core processing, a 128GB SSD PCIe hard drive, and 4GB DDR4 RAM.
Chromebook Alternatives Under $1,000
One of the things that helped drive the acceptance of a non-Windows laptop and the limited functionality that came with it was the Chromebook’s rock-bottom price. Over the past several years, though, more expensive Chromebooks with more powerful features have hit the market.
But if you’re going to buy a more expensive laptop, it only makes sense to go for one that’s compatible with the majority of the other computers around the globe as well as virtually every professional software package, a Windows machine is the way to go.
For those who desire more in the way of functionality and processing power (and who are fine with spending a bit more), there are plenty of Windows 10 laptops offering higher-end features with a price that’s still well within the range of many budgets.
When it comes to powerful Chromebook alternatives coming in at less than $1,000, consider Lenovo’s ThinkPad E-series. Available with the Windows 10 Home or Windows 10 Pro operating systems, 10th Gen Intel® Core™ processors, a choice of HDD or SSD storage and Dolby Audio™ as well as optional features such as dual-drive storage and fingerprint readers, the ThinkPad E-series is performance you can count on.
If it’s a computer built for business you need, there’s Lenovo’s ThinkBook Series, designed for productivity and engineered for success. Options available in the ThinkBook line include the Windows 10 Pro operating system, a 10th Generation Intel® Core processor and Integrated Intel® UHD graphics. Other available features include a 512 GB PCIe SSD hard drive and as much as 8 GB DDR4 2666MHz RAM.
For those seeking 2-in-1 tablet functionality, there’s Lenovo’s IdeaPad Flex Series, with up to 10th Gen Intel® Core™ i7 or AMD Ryzen™ 7 processors and outstanding battery life. The IdeaPad Flex 5 14 (Intel) 2-in-1 comes with Windows 10 Home in S mode and features a 14-inch FHD IPS touchscreen with 360-degree hinge.
Enjoy added security features such as a physical webcam privacy shutter and fingerprint reader. Capture your ideas directly on the screen with an optional digital pen. In addition, the Flex series has the ports and Wi-Fi connectivity essential for today’s non-stop world.
When it comes to the best in style at a modest price, Lenovo’s Yoga Series can be a great option, with 2-in-1 models offering tablet capabilities for the best of both worlds. These lightweight laptops are ideal for business travel, and offer 10th-gen processing power, a fingerprint reader, a 15.6" FHD (1920 x 1080) IPS touchscreen and integrated Intel® UHD Graphics.
And if it’s an affordable gaming laptop you need, consider Lenovo’s IdeaPad Gaming Series. The IdeaPad Gaming 3i laptop, for example, comes with a premium 10th Generation Intel® Core™ processors and offers up to 2x performance with NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 1650 Ti graphics for an outstanding gaming experience at an affordable price. In addition, the IdeaPad Gaming 3i features a more robust dual fan and vent system than previous generations and allows users to control their fan speed. Other models come with a 1 TB 5400 RPM HDD and a 256 GB PCIe SSD for smooth gameplay.
Making the right choice
When it comes to choosing a laptop for school, business, or just casual Web browsing, the last thing you want to have happen is to find out the computer you’ve chosen can’t handle a task you need to accomplish, whether it’s loading a program you need for productivity or playing a game for entertainment.
Although a Chromebook can be a great option for someone seeking a basic computer at a budget price, there are still limitations you won’t encounter with a Windows machine. And with a choice of Windows computers in a price range comparable to many Chromebooks, there’s no need to compromise on capabilities.
Lenovo offers laptops in a variety of sizes, from compact 11-inch models to larger 17-inch models. If you're looking for a laptop that's easy to carry around, the 11-inch model might be the perfect fit for you. For those who need a larger screen for work or entertainment, the 17-inch model offers a spacious display. Lenovo also offers 13-inch, 14-inch, and 15-inch models, so you can choose the size that works best for your needs. From mice to headsets to power cords and more, Lenovo is your stop for a great selection of computer accessories too!
Here are the direct links to some of Lenovo's most popular laptop size categories: