5 reasons why Chromebooks are the perfect laptop for most people


The HP Dragonfly Pro Chromebook nearly shut.

June Wan/ZDNET

The Chromebook was first introduced on July 11, 2011. What was originally scoffed at as nothing more than a laptop with a web browser has evolved into something much greater to the point where these user-friendly laptops can be employed for both personal and business reasons. And given that most of the work we all do now happens within a browser, it’s a perfect marriage of simplicity and usability.

Also: The best Chromebooks right now

The thing is, a lot of Windows and macOS users still shrug off Chromebooks as little more than a toy for consumers who don’t realize what they’re missing with an operating system that limits what they can do.

Little do they know. 

Also: How to enable Linux on your Chromebook (and why you should)

I’ve been a tech journalist for 30 years and a tech aficionado for even longer. I’ve tried every OS and hardware platform from the ones you’ve heard of to many you haven’t. I added Chromebooks into the mix when the first device was released, so I’ve experienced Chrome OS in all of its iterations. Here’s why why Chromebooks are the perfect laptops, based on my experience.

1. Chromebooks are cheap

The first reason cannot be disputed by anyone. And given how the economy has had a rather crushing effect on so many budgets across the globe, finding an inexpensive piece of hardware can be a real plus for anyone looking to remain productive. That’s not to say every Chromebook is cheap. I once paid a premium for a Chromebook Pixel and that laptop is still one of the favorites I’ve ever owned (the display and keyboard were best in class at the time). 

And, of course, there’s also the new HP Dragonfly, which starts at around $1,039. 

Also: The best Chromebooks for students

However, you can purchase a very respectable Chromebook for around $261 (such as the ASUS Chromebook Flip C433 2 in 1 with an Intel Core m3-8100Y, 8 GB of RAM, and 64GB of eMMC storage). Or an even cheaper Acer Chromebook R 13 with 4GB of RAM and 64GB eMMC storage for $199.

Yes, you can buy a cheap Windows laptop, but hardware with similar specs you’ll find on a sub-$400 laptop, powered by the Microsoft operating system, will not perform nearly as well as the Chromebook at the same price point. And given that the cheapest Apple laptop is the MacBook Air, starting at $999, there’s simply no comparison for price.

2. Chromebooks are user-proof

No other laptop operating system on the planet can claim to be as user-proof as ChromeOS. Some would argue that it’s simply because there’s very little you can do with a Chromebook, but that’s patently false, especially given you can run both Android and Linux apps. But no matter how much an operating system claims to be user-friendly, none of them can justifiably state that they are as easy to use as ChromeOS. 

Also: How to install Android apps on your Chromebook

The ease of use found in ChromeOS is light years ahead of the competition. Period. No matter your experience level, you can sit down with a Chromebook and immediately put it to use. Even OS upgrades are something even your grandmother can take care of.

I’ve known users (hello, family, are you listening?) who suffered no end of problems using either Windows or macOS but the second they land on ChromeOS, the problems melt away. Nothing speaks higher of how user-proof ChromeOS is than that. 

Also: How I revived three ancient computers with ChromeOS Flex

I’ve watched users continually break Windows and macOS laptops (and come to me for help). The number of times I’ve had a Chromebook user do the same thing is…nil. Sure, I’ve had a couple of instances where someone came to me to say, “How do I get this thing connected to a printer?” but that’s about it.

3. Chromebooks are fast

Take two laptops with basically the same hardware configuration and load one with Windows 11 and one with ChromeOS and see which one performs better. In every single instance, you’ll find ChromeOS to be exponentially faster. 

Also: How to connect your Chromebook to a shared network folder

And it’s not just about how apps open (even Android and Linux apps, which can be installed on ChromeOS), but also how fast the machines boot. ChromeOS boots in a fraction of the time it takes any other operating system to boot.

If you want a fast laptop at a reasonable price, then go for a Chromebook.

4. Chromebooks are reliable

In the 10 years since I’ve been using Chromebooks, I’ve only had one device with problems and that was the original Pixelbook (which suffered from both Bluetooth and networking issues). Beyond that, I’ve never had a problem with a Chromebook. It just doesn’t happen. Yes, a part of that is because ChromeOS is “mostly” a web browser masquerading as an OS, but even with Linux and Android app support enabled, I’ve still never suffered from a problem. 

Also: Why you should be using secure DNS on your Chromebook

Even using the unstable ChromeOS channel, I’ve found the operating system to be exponentially more reliable than that of Windows. And anyone that would argue the point clearly hasn’t used ChromeOS enough.

5. Chromebooks can be easily restored

Speaking of reliability, should you wind up having a problem with ChromeOS misbehaving, you can simply do a powerwash (a factory reset), log back into your Google account, and you’ll find everything there, minus whatever problem you were experiencing.

No other operating system can compete with ChromeOS’s ability to factory reset and return you to a pristine working state without having lost your data, bookmarks, apps, and more. This is another “hands down” situation where the competition simply cannot compete. I’ve never once worried about doing anything with a Chromebook, simply because I know I can do a quick power wash and be back working in minutes. 

Bottom line

Chromebooks may not be the ideal solution for everyone (try doing serious video editing or audio recording on a Chromebook and you’ll very quickly be frustrated) but for the average user, a Chromebook is one of the cheapest, best options on the market. If you find most of your work and entertainment is done within a web browser, you owe it to yourself to switch to a Chromebook. Your life will be simpler and you’ll be more efficient and effective.

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