The appeal of the Chromebook is simple: by shifting all the heavy computing to the cloud, Google found a way to allow manufacturers to provide cheaper hardware that still lets you get work done. For students and people who do light computing (Gmail, Netflix, Amazon, Google Docs, writing, general web surfing, etc.), a Chromebook may be the perfect fit.
Chromebooks are extremely portable and generally have good battery life. Chromebooks also boot up in mere seconds and require almost no setup (just sign in with your Google account to get started) and almost no maintenance. And no, you don’t have to be a “Google lover” to enjoy a Chromebook. Hey, I’m normally a Mac guy, but I don’t mind taking a Chromebook with me to the coffee shop for some typing or keeping one by the side of my bed when an idea strikes. And I would LOVE to get my hands on a Chromebook Pixel (see below).
To offset some shortcomings (low on-board storage, for example, since the idea is to push everything to the cloud rather than store it locally) you will often find lots of incentives offered by Google or the manufacturers themselves. Things like: 1TB free Google cloud storage (which is typically free for a year or two before they want you to start paying), Go-Go In-Air Passes for free Wi-Fi on certain flights and even free data from providers like T-Mobile.
Unlike many writers, I’ve left the Dell Chromebook 11 off this list for the simple reason that, for as little as $20 more, you can get an HD display. I’d recommend one of the devices listed below as a better alternative.
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Toshiba Chromebook 2
Often hailed by many reviewers as the best all-around Chromebook you can buy, the Toshiba Chromebook 2 has at least 1 clear advantage over almost every other competitor (especially in it’s price range): a full 1080p screen. The look tries to emulate the aluminum look of an Apple/Mac product, which does look nice, but is actually plastic. One thing I like about the Toshiba Chromebook 2 is the HDMI output for use with an external monitor (or even TV).
There’s plenty to like about the Acer Chromebook...