Chromebooks are generally very limited hardware laptops with incredible battery lives. They run only one operating system-the system that is owned by Google-Chrome OS. This is a fairly revolutionary cloud based operating system where everything that the user does is done over or stored on the internet instead of the local computer.
The systems have solid state drives for speed, and low powered processors. Limited amounts of memory is likely too, but with how little the operating system demands of the hardware, the limited specs are just fine for giving good performance. With the very lightweight hardware requirements of the system the battery drain is also low, giving amazing battery life of up to 8 hours on a single full charge.
The biggest difference between these and normal laptops is that they don’t run software on the computer itself. A small bootstrap program pulls in everything else that is needed, including applications, over the internet. The Chrome system allows for the creation and editing of documents, for game playing and watching videos online as well as many of the other functions that you would expect of a laptop today.
Yet Chromebooks are without a doubt an incredibly limited computer system. They won’t work without an internet connection and in fact won’t even boot without one. This means that unless you have a SIM card in place and a 3G data plan, you can only use your laptop at home, or on a public WiFi network.
Depending on your data plan, a Chromebook can also be expensive to run. Not only does it require data transfer for watching videos and playing games, it needs it for document creation and literally everything else that you do on the computer. This means constant two way data exchange in order for you to use your laptop for anything at all.
So if you have a capped data plan then you will need to be careful how much you use your Chromebook to ensure that you don’t go over the data allowance. Exceeding the included amount of data can be very costly, as every GB of data tends to be significantly more expensive than those in your plan.
There are other lightweight operating systems that will run on laptops with limited hardware. Linux systems are not only light on requirements but are also normally free. They will run both on and offline, and have office programs that will allow you to create documents, as well as games, movie and music players. Yet they lack the support that paid operating systems often have, and are sometimes difficult for people to use.
The big benefits that come with buying a Chromebook come not only from the ease of use, but from the portability of the system. As long as you have access to an internet connection you can use it anywhere. More importantly, if you don’t have your own computer with you, you can use a friend’s Chromebook in order to log on. Because you have everything stored on the network, it will be no different than using your own.
If access anywhere is the most important thing for you, then a Chromebook may be the best new gadget released for you.