You don’t have to pay a lot to get a lot
Samsung Chromebook Plus
Chromebooks have been around for some time now but have hardly made waves in the local market. Folks used to Windows and IOS often feel let down by the perceived “limitations” of the first generation Chromebooks running on Chrome OS. Indeed, what could one accomplish if everything is done on an internet-dependent browser in a country where internet speeds are meh? How can Google Docs replace MS Word? How can Hangouts replace Skype? What do we do without Photoshop?
These may all change in 2017 as Chromebooks have leveled up in both hardware and software. As a Windows user for the longest time, I believe Chromebooks are the future. Here are 5 reasons why.
Value for money
Chromebooks are way more affordable than Windows or OS X devices. This advantage has been obvious from the start. Considering that some Chromebooks are sold locally between P8,000 to P14,000, it’s a great option for cash strapped users, since you won’t be paying for the the Windows license key and other Microsoft Office apps. Chromebooks are usually lightweight but well-built for the price, and rely on basic computing power usually from Intel Celeron, M3, Core i3 and even Tegra K1 chips. But not all of them are el-cheapo notebooks – some also have full HD displays, some have touchscreens and a few also have quad HD displays (for reasons we can’t fathom). But despite this they’re still relatively affordable – even the so-called premium Chromebooks are way cheaper than premium or flagship level notebooks and Macs. A device with 4GB RAM, full HD display and 16GB internal storage plus 100GB online storage will still be more affordable than the average Windows laptop with a lower HD display. And if you’re bother with the lack of decent offline storage, fear not as many Chromebooks come with an SD card slot for expandable storage.
Since they do not demand much processing power, Chromebooks can easily outlast the battery life of most Windows laptops. Chromebook battery life can run from 8-10 hours, depending on factors such as display settings. You can work all day at the office without having to charge. In my experience, battery life is so good that I only need to charge my unit when I get home from work. Charging time is also not so bad.
It works even when offline
Sure, reaping the full benefits of the the system requires Internet access, but that shouldn’t stop you from working offline. Thanks to Google Drive, you can still edit documents and slides even when offline. There is also an app that allows you to check and write emails while the Gmail app is offline. The Evernote app now works on Chrome OS and allows you to write notes even when offline, and the Chrome Web Store lists other offline apps for productivity.
Software is always updated
You are always protected. It’s as simple as updating the OS on your Android phone. The updates are applied depending on what you use, whether you’re on stable channel, beta channel and developer channel. The entire UI is clean, user-friendly and allows customization. Google Now is also available on the app launcher. The Chrome Store offers a range of useful online apps including those used for photo editing in the absence of Photoshop.
Chromebooks will soon integrate the Google Play Store
The most exciting development in Chromebooks is the integration of Android apps into the system. Some units like the stylus-equipped Samsung Chromebook Plus and the Chromebook Pro now feature Google Play Store out of the box. Also capable of running Android apps are the Acer R11 and the Asus Chromebook touchscreen versions. Other earlier Chromebooks are just waiting in the wings with Android apps running on the beta or developer channel. This year could see more and more Chromebook devices from different manufacturers able to run many of your favorite Android apps, thus allowing greater productivity even when offline.
With the full integration of Google Play Store and Android apps, improved hardware and software features at a very competitive price, Chromebooks will soon carve a significant niche in the local market. Educational institutions using Google Classroom may recommend Chromebooks as an affordable alternative to Windows laptops. It can be the first laptop you buy your kid. Offices doing most of its work online will like the versatility and affordability of the Chromebook. There is a lot of potential in this device once it gets things together.
*This article was written on a Toshiba Chromebook 2 that has 4GB of RAM, a full HD display and 16GB of built-in storage.