The Chromebook pros and cons that matter

Thinking about ditching your laptop for a Chromebook? Before you make the jump, there are Chromebook pros and cons you should review. It’s important to note that, ultimately, the pros and cons of Chromebook are dependent on what purpose your Chromebook will serve. There are personal versus work functions that will play a leading role in what’s best for you.

When Chromebook was first introduced, few people expected that the Google Chromebook operating system would become so robust that you could potentially use it as your primary work laptop. Over the last few years, Google’s focus on Chromebook improvements coupled with the abundance of available apps makes the Chromebook almost as function-packed as a PC or Mac laptop. The important word here is ‘almost’, as the backbone of any Chromebook pros and cons review is what the Google Chromebook operating system enables the popular laptop to do or not do – which differs from its Microsoft and Apple counterparts. On that point, let’s dive into the major pros and cons of Chromebook…

The Chromebook pros and cons to consider before
ditching your laptop

The pros

1. Chromebooks are cheap.
Most models are well under $300, which has led to Chromebooks being very popular in the education sector.

2. They are powered by the Google Chromebook operating system.
Note that this point is also a biggie in the cons section of this pros and cons of Chromebook list for different reasons. Designed for use while connected to the internet, the Google Chromebook operating system brings together everything we love about Chrome and Google. In every way, it exhibits an intuitive, contemporary experience.

3. Chromebooks have built-in virus protection and automated security updates.
This is definitely a universally-appreciated feature to think about when weighing Chromebook pros and cons. Virus protection software can be pricey and those pesky reminders about operating system updates always seem to happen at the most inconvenient times. That’s why this pro is a points booster for Chromebook in the Chromebook pros and cons review. The Google Chromebook operating system takes care of all virus protection and system updates – automatically. Aaah.

4. Powerful applications abound with Chromebook.
There are literally hundreds of thousands of apps written for the Google Chromebook operating system, including Google Docs, which works like Microsoft Word. Google Docs enables you to create and edit files with MS Office-esque tools. Google Docs can be exported to Word and other formats. You can also open and edit Word docs. Chromebook developed real muscle in the Chromebook pros and cons matchup when Google announced that all apps that work on Android devices also work on the Chromebook.

5. Chromebook comes with Google Drive online storage all set to go.
Here’s another big pro in the Chromebook pros and cons list. Google Drive is one of the top cloud file management programs. Local drive storage space is either non-existent or extremely limited on Chromebook hardware, as the Chromebook is built to use Google Drive as its file storage solution. Right out of the box, Chromebook will have Google Drive ready to store your files, which is convenient. You can save Gmail attachments to your Google Drive in one click. Access, edit and share files from your Chromebook, your mobile device, any PC or Mac with the application installed or any device with the web version.

When it comes time to find a particular file stored in Google Drive, simply enter a keyword in the search engine. Google Drive will scan all filenames and file contents to locate your file. Sometimes, finding a file can be a time-consuming process. That’s where we come in. Cloudfind works with all of the leading cloud file management solutions to turbo-charge the search process. You can find and share files faster so you can get on with your work. Cloudfind is powered by a highly-intelligent algorithm with user-defined keywords, automated filters and dynamic folders.

6. Lightweight with exceptionally long battery life.
Chromebook manufacturers haven’t wasted any time rolling out features that make Chromebooks even more attractive. Their lightweight designs are always mentioned in Chromebook pros and cons conversations. Without the robustness and extra programs that accompany PCs and Macs, Chromebook batteries keep them alive for longer than the average laptop. Some models are said to last up to 13.5 hours.  

The cons
Chromebook definitely boosts several sexy selling points, but there are some realities tied to the Chromebook pros and cons review…

1. Some really common programs won’t work on a Chromebook.
The Google Chromebook operating system was designed for use with web-based apps. You can’t use the full versions of some of the most common programs like Microsoft Office. For many people, the functionality of those limited versions may be sufficient. But definitely not for others. For example, if you’re a number cruncher who spends most of every day working in Excel, the basic version will definitely not be enough for your needs and using Chromebook as your primary work laptop won’t work out. The Chromebook pros and cons consideration should end there.

2. They really don’t work offline.
In many online Chromebook pros and cons conversations, Chromebook fans mention that Google has tried to address this major layer in the how the Google Chromebook operating system works. The fact is that Chromebooks are designed to work when you’re connected to the internet. When you’re not connected to the internet, such as when you’re travelling, your productivity with your Chromebook is going to take a hit. Sure, Chromebook will allow you to use Gmail and a few other programs when you’re offline, but emails and updates will be held until you’re connected to the internet.

Google is quick to tout in the pros and cons of Chromebook conversation that you can use Office Offline, which is a free app that enables use of a limited-functionality version of Word, Excel and PowerPoint. Also, the handy Pocket app enables you to store website content for viewing when you’re not connected to the internet. But the reality is that most programs won’t be available when you’re offline – at least not in the same way we enjoy with a full-blown PC or Mac laptop. For those considering a Chromebook as their primary work laptop, that is definitely an important point to think about in your Chromebook pros and cons review.

3. Some special programs can never be used on your Chromebook.
Use any special programs for in-depth graphic design, video editing or accounting work? You won’t be able to use their full program versions with your Chromebook. The Google Chromebook operating system was created for programs streaming from the internet, not robust programs that require installation on the local drive. These really powerful apps simply don’t fit the strategic vision for Chromebooks and they are not in line with how Google expects most people will use Chromebooks.

Chromebook pros and cons conclusion

So, what’s the overall takeaway? In our conversations about the pros and cons of Chromebook, some people conclude that the Chromebook is an excellent option for personal/home use and as a supplemental laptop for work when you’re on the go and have minimal program needs. But it really all hinges on what your particular needs are with this laptop of a different breed. For further discussion into the topic of laptop vs chromebook, check out our more detailed breakdown here.

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