Chromebooks are light, inexpensive notebooks built for online computing. These small laptops have just 16GB of internal storage and connect to the Google Drive, where you can store your videos, music and pictures. Chromebooks are neither powerful nor meant for intensive use (especially gaming) but instead offer you a convenient way to access your information on the cloud. You do need an internet connection for cloud computing, but Google is making both their operating system and Chromebooks more offline friendly. When you find yourself offline, Gmail, Google Docs and other apps will save your progress then automatically sync your files and update your system next time you have a connection.
And while the Chromebook closely resembles an ultrabook for portability and quick startup times, these are a better solution for anyone on a budget. Since the hardware isn't as powerful as traditional laptops, you won't be using these for gaming. Chromebooks like the Samsung 550, Series 3 and Acer C7 work best if you are looking to take work with you, just browse the web or bring your movies and music with you using Google Play, just to name a few uses. When you don't have internet access, a Chromebook's features are severely limited, but more Chromebook apps are gaining offline functionality. The Chrome Web Store shows you which apps are offline-friendly by displaying a gray lightning bolt. For even more information, read our articles about Google Chrome devices.
The few available Google Chromebooks are similar, but each new device adds improvements, especially with their offline capabilities. They are designed to be mobile so their screen sizes range from 11 to12 inches. These notebooks are instantly updated as soon as you connect to the internet, so there will be no hassle with OS updates. Here are a few other features to look for when purchasing a Google Chromebook:
Power & Performance
Chromebooks won't function as a gaming laptop or a video editing hub, but these devices are perfect for doing presentations and other work. Chromebooks only have a 16GB solid-state drive, which supports the operating system, the apps you download and any small Word files you save on the device. The solid-state drive helps the computer power up quicker than traditional laptops. The best Google laptop has a battery life of at least 6 hours and supplies you with at least 2GB of RAM.
The design of a Google Chromebook is one of the best features of these personal laptops. The smallest of the notebooks weighs 2.5 pounds and is less than an inch thick. This small design allows you to carry the laptop in a backpack or even a large purse – without even knowing it is there.
When looking at these laptops, you will want to consider the size and resolution of the screens. Since they are small laptops, you can expect to see smaller screens, but the best resolution is still 1280 x 800, which gives you high-definition viewing. The largest Chromebook has a screen size of over 12 inches, which is perfect for watching a movie on the airplane or working on a presentation for the big meeting. The smaller Chromebooks have screens around 11 inches, which is still big for such a compact device.
While these Chromebooks let you store almost anything on the cloud, you don't want to sacrifice the extra ports that come with laptops. Look for a Chromebook that has a memory card slot so you can upload photos from your camera. It should also have several USB ports. The best Google laptops have a DisplayPort++. These ports are compatible with HDMI, DVI and VGA cables. This makes it easy to display vacation pictures or work presentations on a larger monitor. Some even have an Ethernet port for internet hookup and are 3G capable.
With all the different types of mobile computing devices on the market, it can be hard to decide what to get. Google Chromebooks make a strong case for themselves. These mini computers are based around the cloud, so you can upload anything from movies to music and even edit your documents using Google Docs. If you just need a simple computer for surfing the web, listening to music or watching videos without sacrificing HD capability it may be time to look at a Chromebook.
At TopTenREVIEWS We Do the Research So You Don’t Have To.™
|Samsung Chromebook 550||Samsung Series 3 Chromebook||Acer C7 Chromebook|
|Power & Performance|
|Performance Rating (%)||95||85||75|
|Processor||Intel Celeron Processor 867||Samsung Exynos 5||Intel Celeron 847|
|Processor Speed||1.3 GHz||1.7 GHz||1.1 GHz|
|Number of Cores||2||2||2|
|Battery Life (Hours)||6.5||6.5||4|
|Google Drive Cloud Storage||100GB||100GB||100GB|
|Startup Time (Seconds)||8||10||18|
|Audio||4W Stereo Speaker (2W x 2)||3W Stereo Speaker (1.5W x 2)||3W Stereo Speaker (1.5W x 2)|
|Graphics||Integrated Intel HD||Integrated Intel HD||Integrated Intel HD|
|Design Rating (%)||100||85||80|
|Screen Size (Inches)||12.1||11.6||11.6|
|Screen Resolution (Pixels)||1280 x 800||1366 x 768||1366 x 768|
|Display Brightness||300 nits SuperBright Technology||HD LED Matte Finish and 200 nits||LED backlight 200 nits|
|Features Rating (%)||90||95||100|
|Memory Card Slot|
|HD Webcam (Megapixels)||1||1||1.5|