6 Reasons to Switch to Chromebook (and Chrome OS)

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Looking for a new laptop? You may want to consider Google’s Chromebook offerings. No, seriously. They’re not as bad as you’ve heard. In fact, they’ve slowly started to eat away at Windows laptops in competing markets.

The Chromebook centers around Chrome OS. It’s an operating system that is almost entirely Web-based. Despite its semi-negative perception to some consumers, the operating system actually has a lot going for it. Here are six reasons why you should consider switching over to a Chromebook running Google’s Chrome OS.

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I’d like to start this list off by addressing the main point of contention towards Chromebooks. Power users will complain that they can’t use Photoshop, CAD, or some other advanced boutique software bundle. Yeah, those aren’t going to work on Chromebooks. Fair point.

However, when is the last time you saw the average user do anything other than opening a web browser? The simple fact is that basic computer users mostly use web browsers, web applications and simple programs (like video players and music players). Chances are your mother isn’t going to wonder if her steam library or her vast array of boxed software will work on it. She’ll log into Chrome and get going.

This is what Chromebooks are designed for. Like it or not, the way people use computers is changing. Google’s Chrome devices are pretty much perfect for this use. It has everything an average user would need: a video player, a music player, office suite, a file manager and nearly everything else you’d expect a computer to come with.

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Since Chrome OS is centered around the Web, it’s perfect for those who don’t know a lot about computers. There’s not a whole lot to mess up. What’s even more important is that there’s a whole lot less to mess up. You can’t really go to some rouge website on a Chromebook and download some “potentially unwanted programs.” That just doesn’t happen.

When you log in the web browser pops up and that’s it. Anyone can figure that out. There’s no overload of information happening. There’s not a million tiles to click on and sort through. Everything you’ll ever need and nothing that you don’t need is right there. Simplicity is key when you’re trying to learn the basics.

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This isn’t really something exclusive to Chrome OS, but it’s a fair point nonetheless. Updates are important. Security breakages and flaws in software are all too common. Having updates to the operating system that you rely on day to day is important. Google does a solid job keeping the Chrome platform up to date.

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Chrome OS is virus-free. Accidentally going to a website with a lot of deceptive programs will have no effect on you. There is no need to worry about the constant barrage of viruses and malware exploits that are found on Windows and Mac.

Obviously, no operating system is 100% safe, that much is clear.  Some viruses and malware exist solely on websites and don’t require downloading at all. Still, you have a far greater chance of avoiding these types of things on a Chromebook than on a Windows PC.

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If there’s one thing that Chromebooks have going for them, it’s the fact that they’re so inexpensive. Google subsidizes the prices of Chromebooks, effectively making it possible to sell a laptop for $199 dollars that should be priced at $250 dollars, etc. Considering most other computers are much more expensive, this is a plus.

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Google engineered Chrome OS to be incredibly light and portable. Since there’s a heavy focus on lightness, most Chrome devices have an incredible battery life. There’s a good chance that your Chrome device will be able to function with at least seven hours of battery life. That’s impressive knowing that most Chromebooks are only a couple hundred dollars. Most Windows PCs have about the same or less battery life and cost a lot more.

Every year the numbers come out, and they show that more and more people are buying Chromebooks. It seems as though consumers are starting to see that the upside of these devices far outweighs the downside. Nobody knows how much damage Google’s computers will do to the market for sure, but suffice it to say things can only go up from here.

6 comments

  1. Also, you don’t have to give up your current pc when using a chromebook. Keep the other machine for doing those tasks only it can do and use the chromebook for all your web stuff like email and surfing. This way you get the benefit of safer web access and reduce the malware exposure to the other machine. This also means you may not have to upgrade that other machine if it’s only being kept to run legacy apps. This was how I started and I find I use my chromebook about 95% of the time but still have my macs and pcs available if/when needed.

    In addition I find the chromebook ideal for travel where I usually only need email and web surfing. It holds no personal data and the machine can be cheap so theft only steals inexpensive hardware and not your data. Get a new cheap chromebook and 5 minutes later you’re back in business.

  2. I’m curious about running Linux with Crouton. I see lots of sugar-coating and would love to see an article here discussing the pros and especially, the cons of this kind of setup. I really need to understand the cons in order to make an informed decision.

    Also, curious about firewalls and running a VPN on Chromebook (no Linux). I can’t stand the thought of connecting to any Wifi signal (public, work, etc) without an encrypted VPN connection and a good firewall (MITM attacks, etc).

    • Juan:
      Te Pros:
      1) Being able to run Linux applications. If you are a developer this is a must.
      2) No need to dual boot, it’s just chrooting into another enviroment.

      The Cons:
      1) You have to put your machine in Developer Mode, which makes ChromeOS vulnerable (though you can encrypt the chroot environment)
      2) It’s not the optimal way of running linux; I mean by chrooting.

      • I run all kinds of VPN’s with my clients or just to explore the web anonymously. Super easy to setup!

  3. Another nice thing about Chromebooks is there’s a Remote Desktop app that allows you to get to your desktop machine and run those programs that require Windows. I’ve used it and it works.

    I do remember when Microsoft had there “Scroogled” campaign going a few years ago, trying to convince people that you got “Scroogled” when you bought an inexpensive Chromebook that “had to be connected to the Internet to work”. The ad campaign quietly faded away and now the low-end Windows tablets, phones and laptops (along with Win10 desktop) make you connect to the internet to work properly. Has Windows 10 been “Chrome-Plated”?

  4. I seldom see mention of one of my favorite Chrome OS characteristics. The time that it takes to go from power on to ready for login is about 7 seconds. That’s what I call instant on. After logging in, ready for entry is even faster. Because of the comparatively long time that a Windows PC takes to fully start, I really avoid restarting one until that’s all that will keep it from slowing to crawl, so at least once per day.

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