There isn’t much to say about a $200 Google Chromebook and that is the beauty of it.
I bought a $200 Acer Chromebook in January off the shelf from Best Buy not expecting much. I figured for $200 it wouldn’t be much of a loss if I didn’t like it. I have a Nexus 7 Android tablet, a couple Android phones and a powerful Windows work laptop.
I have to admit, I am not much of a tablet person, although I love large screen phones. Most of my computer day, when I don’t need a laptop for editing still photos or video, is spent on large screen Android phones. I can do pretty much anything on a 5 inch smartphone and the screen size is comfortable and portable.
Sometimes, when you really need to be productive and type fast, it’s just nice to use a physical keyboard and a screen on a hinge that tilts at the right angle for viewing on any surface. Most web sites are more robust and do more in their desktop browser versions, like running Flash and run all video players. Many financial sites don’t have complete mobile counterparts.
The Chromebook has become my go to, always on laptop at home. If I am not editing photos or video, I am in a web browser. There are no virus definitions or an operating system to update. The operating system is so small that when you do shut it down it boots up in about 15 seconds. Every few weeks Google pushes an updated operating system that refreshes the system without needing to do anything, so the Chromebook will never get slow or need troubleshooting. It just works once you have your network connection.
A Chromebook has limited functionality, like using offline for Docs and Gmail, when it is not connected to a network, but when was the last time a computer was useful to you when it didn’t have a network connection?
Google gave me 100 gigs of cloud Drive storage for two years with the purchase of it. (15 gigs is free with any Google account.) If I decide I don’t want to pay for cloud storage after two years, I keep what I have stored in Drive cost free.)
I use Drive between my work desktop, laptops, and Android devices so that all my current working files are always on hand.
Sync, backup, share visuals Google Drive, Android iOS MAC PC
The Chromebook has USB ports that I can pull files off a media storage card (camera) and save to Drive as well as web apps that I can edit those files. There are many web apps and extensions for Chrome that work in combination with the operating system providing notifications when you are logged in. It also has an HDMI and video port that I can use it with a projector.
You can sign into multiple accounts and use as a “guest computer” for a person without a Google account. The laptop is a clean slate for every user with every log-in.
The battery lasts about three hours with constant use. Remember, we are talking a $200 laptop with a small battery and a mechanical hard drive. More expensive Chromebooks have chip drives and better screens. Google Chrome website.
As a really inexpensive alternative laptop to cut down wear and tear (and food and spills) on your main unit and to use in higher risk moments, it’s perfect. If all you do is web based tasks, it’s the perfect laptop that can’t be beat for $200.
(As of April)… more than 3,000 schools worldwide, from Edina, Minnesota to Point England, New Zealand, have deployed Chromebooks.
In research sponsored by Google, research firm IDC found that Chromebooks yield three-year cost of ownership savings of $1,135 per device compared to traditional PCs or tablets, require 69% fewer hours to deploy and 92% fewer hours to manage. (Google)