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ChromeOS: Worth it in 2017?

My girlfriend is having issues with her Windows machine which is now about 5 years old. It seems like the days of working smoothly are counted. Being a good boyfriend as I try to be, I looked for another machine and stumbled on these Chromebooks. Reading into it, it became clear that these machines could be a possibility to replace her old machine.

Cost

The most obvious reason to consider a Chromebook is the price. Most of them offer good performance and with a little bit of extra cash it adds a nice design as well. I was able to find a few interesting options for about 300 to 500 dollars. For this price it offers a decent amount of memory, an Intel Celeron or m3 processor, a nice IPS display with full HD resolution or higher and an aluminium body.

I was pleasantly surprised. Because when the Chromebooks first were introduced, they did cost about the same as their Windows version.

Build Quality

Chromebooks offer great build quality given their pricepoint. For an aluminium body you have to pay easily 800 dollars or more for the Windows or Apple alternative. On top of that you get a nice IPS display with HD or even higher with a nice contrast and enough brightness for most places. Keyboards can be a bit of a letdown due to the small key travellings. However, I think you can get used to this feeling over time.

Usage

Price and build quality wise it certainly lives up to its pricepoint. But what does it matter when your expectations don’t match the purpose of the machine?

Well Chromebooks at the moment have a very limited purpose. Browse the web, using streaming services and maybe doing some office work in the cloud. That is basically it. Now for average Joe, I think this is in most times enough. Like my girlfriend mainly does this on her laptop. The advantage is that the OS mainly consists of a browser and some extenstions. The results in a clear, easy-to-use operating system without having a change of virusses ruining your experience.

The limiting factor of ChromeOS is the fact that not many developers are interested in investing time into Chrome extensions, which results in limited possibilies. However, since the beginning of 2017 Google is pushing the Google Play Store to ChromeOS. This allows people to use the same store as they use on their Android phones and use these apps also on their Chromebooks. Some apps need to adjust to this new feature, but it shows a lot of promise, as possibilities are endless with all these apps that are already available for Android.

Which one to choose

Currently I’m looking into the Acer Chromebook 14 and the Asus Flip 2. Both of them have aluminium bodies. But the display of the Asus Flip 2 has a higher resolution and the build quality seems a bit better. However this comes at a higher price. But these two chromebooks seem to have the best value to me. It just depends on how much the girlfriend wants to spend on taking the leap.

https://www.acer.com/ac/en/US/content/series/acerchromebook14
https://www.asus.com/us/Notebooks/ASUS-Chromebook-Flip-C302CA/

To me it seems like a legit choice to buy a chromebook when you know your usage of a computer is limited to browsing the web and make usage of streaming services. With the arrival of the Google Play Store it might even be more attractive to take the leap.