Chromebooks – Worth a Look?

My grandson has a Chromebook to use for his schoolwork, and both granddaughters use Google Classroom for their remote learning. All the kids have their own Google accounts through the school board.

I have a Google account as well, and I use the Google Chrome browser and Google Drive to store documents online. It made sense to have another Chromebook around for all of us to use. So I watched for an Amazon sale and picked one up. The one I chose one is a Lenovo Flex 5 – 13.3 inch screen.

I’m comfortable with both Windows and Linux, so I haven’t had a big issue adapting to ChromeOS. Most of what I do these days is in the browser anyway – surfing, streaming, YouTube, music, banking. Google Docs is fine for word processing and spreadsheets. And the Chromebook offers pretty good value:

  • The processors used in Chromebooks are usually pretty wimpy, but this one has a zippy Core i3 11th generation chip.
  • The display gives a full HD experience and is nice and bright. A touch screen is available if you want to swipe and tap.
  • The case is solid – aluminum on top and premium ABS plastic below. The hinges are really sturdy and if you want you can fold the whole keyboard back and use it as a chunky tablet.
  • Speaking of the keyboard, it gives a very nice touch and feel, with plenty of key travel. It’s even backlit.
  • Most Chromebooks have only 4 GB of memory but this one features 8 GB – so it’ll never slow down if I have too many tabs open in the browser.
  • Storage is a bit skimpy at 64 GB but since most documents are stored on Google Drive, that isn’t a big issue.
  • The wifi is the latest Generarion 6 and the laptop also has Bluetooth if you need a mouse or a game controller.

There is a bit of a learning curve – especially when it comes to keyboard shortcuts and certain missing keys you would find on a Windows laptop. But I’m getting there.

Battery life is amazing. You can work all day without being plugged in, and then recharge overnight and you are good to go. I’ve never had that experience with a conventional Windows or Linux laptop.

One nice thing is that if you are used to apps on an Android phone, you can download them and use them on the Chromebook. Just bring up the Google Play Store and thousands of apps are available in one place.

I would really recommend that any casual Internet user who wants something light and inexpensive consider a Chromebook. For the money you can get equivalent performance to a premium Windows laptop at half the price.

Of course if you want to play high end games, do video rendering or heavy Photoshop processing a Chromebook is not for you. Otherwise you could check one out with the Black Friday sales coming up.

You won’t regret it if your next laptop works through Google.

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