Friday, 26 April 2013

Chromebook Versus Laptop?

Who is Google’s Chromebook for? Can it really replace a laptop or is it just a really expensive browser? That’s what I tried and am still trying to figure out. Are people buying the Chromebook just because it has Google’s signature all over or is it really that good?
But first…
What Exactly Is The Chromebook?
Maybe you haven’t heard about it.  After all, if I spend all my time between Microsoft Word and my web browser, that doesn’t mean you all do too.
So, there’s a simple concept behind it - to run just about everything within the Chrome browser, obviously with Google’s services and apps taking care of your document storing and management, email, calendar and more.  Some major selling points are the 8-second boot time and a lengthy 8-hour battery life. Plus, the Chromebook comes with a solid state disk drive, which means it’s unlikely your disk drive will crash in case you drop your Chromebook, for example.
So, What Makes It Different From An Average Laptop?
The Chromebook has no file management system whatsoever. With cloud storage being all the rage these days, the Chromebook might seem like the obvious replacement for laptops. But is it really? Think about it – you cannot manage files that aren’t saved on the cloud. In other words, if you have no Internet connection, you have, well, nothing.
So, it’s not really a laptop, nor is it a tablet. It’s… a £200 web browser that you can use to access your email or your calendar, write some documents and share some photos. Did I miss anything? (If you were thinking about watching videos on it, with a meagre 12.1" display, it might not be the best device for watching videos).

Advantages & Disadvantages
Price: On Amazon.co.uk,Acer’s cheapest Chromebook starts at £199 while Samsung’s Chromebook Wifi sells at £223 and it looks like the prices are dropping. On the other hand, an Acer Aspire laptop starts at £315 which is a bit more expensive.
Usability: There are many apps available on Chrome’s Web Store so no reason to complain here. Plus, since everything is online, you won’t have to worry about having to install heavy programs.
Keyboard: The Chromebook’s keyboard might take some getting used to as the usual keys you’re accustomed to won’t be there. No delete key, no function keys. You’ll have to Google a bit to find the work-arounds.
Should You Buy It?
Don’t get me wrong, the Chromebook is fantastic but not as a replacement for your laptop. It’s great for when you’re travelling and need a lightweight device to stay up-to-date with your emails and meetings; or for when you want to have a Skype call to handle some quick business issues; or for when you need quick access to important documents but aren’t at the office or at home. But then again, you can use a tablet for that, if you can live without a keyboard.
At the end of the day, is comes down to what you’re looking for in a laptop. However, do keep in mind that with a Chromebook you need non-stop 24/7 connection to wireless Internet, otherwise you won’t be able to use it.

How about you – have you tried Google’s Chromebook? 
Guest post by Alexandra Gavril who writes for the dedicated server providers heartinternet.co.uk

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