Relatively cheap and easy to use, Chromebooks are steadily growing in popularity around the world and India. They also do more than you might think. Here are a few things to know about machines running the Chrome OS.
Chromebooks don’t require an internet connection to use.
Although they work best connected to the Internet, many Chrome OS apps like, Gmail and Google Docs, allow a user to work offline till a connection is resumed and then syncs the data. Some apps have a built in ability to do so, others require their settings changed or additional extensions installed from the Chrome store.
Chromebooks are available on different processors.
Although all Chromebooks are capable of starting up and loading webpages relatively fast, machines with Intel x86 processors tend to be comparatively faster than machines operating on ARM-based chips. The speed and performance of Chromebooks may vary depending upon their processors.
Chromebooks are not completely dependent on the cloud for storage.
Although Chromebooks were designed to be Internet-based machines, they do offer local storage. Samsung’s Chromebook 2 and Acer’s C720P are new offerings equipped with 16 or 32 GB of storage space, along with slots for SD or USB memory sticks. Quickoffice allows Office docs to be read and edited without the internet connection.
Google Drive isn’t free of cost.
Chromebooks offer 100 GB of online storage from Google Drive which is free for two years after which users will be charged $2 a month for the privilege of storing documents on Google’s servers. Users who choose not to pay can continue to access their existing files but won’t be able to add any new ones.
Chromebooks are cheaper than Windows laptops and MacBooks in their segments, with several models available at $199. They are dramatically cheaper than MacBooks — a MacBook Air being more than four times the price of a Chromebook. As a result last year, there were five times more Chromebooks sold than MacBooks. Easy to manage and inexpensive, Chromebooks have become the first choice of schools with limited resources. According to NPD, a popular market research company, one out of five notebooks sold to schools in 2013 was a Chromebook, a number that is only expected to increase.
Very Low Maintenance.
Just like Chrome, a Chromebook automatically updates itself and apps installed, in the background. A user need not worry about doing any system maintenance or keeping his installed programs updated.
The time Chromebooks take to boot up and resume from sleep is relatively fast. New Windows 8 devices claim to have caught up but they also tend to be comparatively expensive.
Use Microsoft Office
Contrary to popular belief that Chromebooks don’t have the full desktop version of Microsoft Office, which is true but Microsoft offers a completely free web-based version of Office called Office Online, complete with Word Online, Excel Online, and PowerPoint Online. Microsoft even makes these apps available in the Chrome Web Store.
Like MacBook users, Chromebook users won’t have to worry about buying expensive antivirus software or getting their machines infected as Chromebooks are immune to Windows malware.
Chrome OS launcher can be used as a calculator.
A user can get quick calculations done by launching the new Chrome OS launcher. By typing in the problem and adding an equal sign at the end, it will offer the solution along with some other related calculations. Apart from simple calculations, the new Chrome OS launcher also works with simple and complex equations. The new Chrome OS launcher can also calculate some unit conversions such as inches to centimetres or ounces to grams. A user will only need to type the number and unit identifier. For example: Try “8 ounces in grams.” Tip: Put the resulting unit identifier last.
If the user is someone who uses a computer primarily for browsing the web most of the time, Windows and even Mac desktops tend to be unnecessarily complicated and can confuse them. Chromebooks are designed for being used primarily as browsers and are just simpler if that’s all a user needs.