With the work-from-home and study-from-home culture being followed for the last two years, the use of consumer tech like laptops and smartphones have surged. Attending online lectures, working remotely from anywhere, and other perks have allowed us to enjoy life, build passive income and so many other things. However, due to this reason laptops and smartphones have become a bit more expensive than they were.
The best laptops under the budget of ₹35000-₹40000 are Windows laptops. Of course, if you have the money you would go for Mac OS too. In between this, there is nothing new about the whole ecosystem. Welcome Chrome OS! It is cheap, fast and lightweight and might best suit your needs if you are a casual user and use laptops to mostly attend online lectures, surf the internet and do basic functioning. By the time you are done reading this article, you will know everything you need to know about Chrome OS and Chromebook before investing in one.
What is Chrome OS, and is it free?
Chrome OS is a Linux-based Operating System developed and launched by Google in the year 2011. It is also a cloud-based operating system as the centerpiece of this OS is Chrome browser (Chrome browser is different from Chrome OS, in the sense the browser can be installed in any OS and used, but the Chrome OS used to come pre-installed in Chromebooks, and only now they are made available for other devices and are free).
Using Chrome OS, you can do all your work on the internet and save it in the cloud. You can use Google web-based apps for accomplishing your tasks. As there is no need for demanding software to be installed, and since pretty much everything can be done on the internet, Chromebooks have enormous speed and use very little battery.
Chrome OS is also different from Chromium OS. In fact, Chrome OS is derived from Chromium OS, which is open-source and free and used worldwide. If you have a low spec budget Windows laptop that is not fast enough for you or an old one that is very slow, installing Chrome OS and turning it into a Chromebook will make it considerably faster. There are many How to use Chrome OS tutorials and guides you can refer to for this process.
Wondering if the Chrome OS is right for you?
Chrome OS is definitely not a complete alternative to Windows and Mac OS and, therefore, not for everyone. You can decide if it’s right for you based on its features, pros and cons list given below:
Pros of Chrome OS
- Since Chrome OS is a Linux based operating system that is a solid OS, you can download and access some of the best open-source native Linux apps such as Firefox, Shortcut, Gimp, Audacity and many more.
- Chrome OS is best suited for browser-based work. If you are a student attending an online class who needs a bigger screen than a mobile phone and have homework that can be done using just the chrome browser, then a Chromebook will be your best friend. It also works excellent for professionals who use spreadsheets, word processing, Office 365 and Google Doc editor. They are lighter, smaller, cheaper and faster than the average laptops of Windows and Mac.
- Websites and apps load quickly in a Chromebook because you do not install programs, unlike Microsoft Windows. Chromebooks come with both high-end processors and basic processors. A Chromebook with a basic processor will still be faster than a higher-end Microsoft Windows PC at booting up (takes only 8 seconds) and performing specific tasks.
- Chromebook is undoubtedly one of the most secure computers. Comparing Windows, Mac, and Chromebook vulnerabilities concerning virus attacks and malware, Chrome OS has only 5% of Windows and Mac’s vulnerabilities. The chances of getting attacked with a virus by opening a website riddled with virus are significantly less because of safe-browsing and encryption.
- To give the Chromebook user a feature-rich experience, Google automatically updates Chrome OS every four weeks, taking away your worry about any system updates. In fact, the latest version of the Chrome OS was released in Feb 2022! With the most simple user interface of Google, anyone can learn to use a Chromebook efficiently.
- Parents can create supervision accounts to manage their child’s experience on a Chromebook.
- Chrome OS devices now support many Android apps from Google Play store. You can have a more engaging and immersive user experience of your favorite apps on Chromebook’s bigger screen without compromising quality, speed and security.
- Transferring files from your old PC to a new PC is a nightmare if you have a Microsoft account instead of a local account. Whereas in a Chromebook, everything will be in the cloud, and all you need is your login id and password to access your files once again. Even if you drop your laptop in a swimming pool, nothing will happen to your data because of cloud storage.
Cons of Chrome OS
- You need a fast internet connection to better use the Chromebook, which might not always be available, and most of the apps you need for work are internet-connected cloud-based apps. Because of the sparse local space in a Chromebook (most have 30 GB), the only way to watch a movie without consuming storage is to stream on YouTube or Netflix.
- A Chromebook is not suitable for creative professionals for editing videos and photos as the Chrome OS does not support Photoshop and other Adobe software. There are still browser-based editing options such as WeVideo, but they are not good enough.
- Chromebook is primarily not for intense high-profile PC Gamers because you cannot play Mac- and Windows-supported games on a Chromebook. But if you are into cloud gaming, you just need a fast internet connection and can play from services like Stadia and GeForce. You can play Android games, though.
- This may not concern the majority, but to print using a printer by setting it up with a Chromebook is a headache. Lack of compatibility with many printers makes it very difficult to print documents than it needs to be. You can print using Google Cloud Print. Also, there is no optical drive on a Chromebook.
- There is a shortage of apps and accessories for Chromebooks. The population using Windows and Mac OS is much higher than Chrome OS, so software companies prefer to create for those more, and that is why Windows machines have better compatibility than Chromebooks.
Chrome OS is a perfect alternative to our traditional OS like Windows and Mac. The idea is to provide users with a budget alternative and help everyone do their jobs without worrying about the budget. You can also save a few bucks and keep upgrading your Chromebooks, if you are loving the experience.