Back in 2014, the Chromebook saw a giant increase in demand. Q3 of 2014 saw a 67% increase in the amount shipped compared to the previous quarter. It went on to do extremely well that year and has one of the biggest increase in market shares the computer world had ever seen. I will admit that I bought one that same year and I quickly found out they weren’t really as good as I had thought.
I had bought an Acer c720 after my old Dell laptop that I had owned since 2009 finally went out. I couldn’t really afford a decent laptop and since I was mostly going to use it to run Gaming Conviction, I figured I would just buy it. I didn’t really know much about Chromebooks in general, but Google is known for creating some amazing things in the technology world so I gave it a shot. Sadly, even still to this day, I feel as if they have more cons then pros.
Chromebooks use their own operating system known as ChromeOS. The best way to describe it is basically a stripped down version of Linux. Linux is always known to be great when it comes to the amount of viruses and bugs they receive as it is pretty much nonexistent. ChromeOS is the same way. After 2 years I have not had a single issue when it comes to internet security at all. That doesn’t mean that ChromeOS doesn’t have its limitations. One of the first things you will notice is that its storage is heavily based on the Cloud. The Acer c720 only has 16GB of internal storage and really wants you to use their Cloud service and Google Drive.
If you are into gaming, you will really hate Chromebooks. All Chromebooks will not allow .exe files on your computer. This means that anything involving .exe files will not work along with Java. Even some browser based games such as Runescape will not run on Chromebooks at all. You can play browser games such as NeoPets and it can run flash games. All others are not allowed. This also becomes a problem as you have access to the Google Store’s apps, however it doesn’t filter out what is compatible with Chromebook and what isn’t. One of the first things many Chromebook owners who want to game do is try and download Need for Speed World, but it isn’t allowed. While there are ways to somewhat get around it such as downloading Ubuntu, the specs of the Chromebook itself are usually not good enough to play much of anything even the most less demanding titles.
The biggest issue that I’ve experienced a lot more as of late is that Chrome crashes frequently. I often will listen to a song on YouTube while working on articles for the site only to experience all my tabs crash at the same time. Even when I only have WordPress and Gmail open with no addons running in the background it will still crash. I believe most of this is due to Chrome being very RAM intensive, but if Google had known about these issues for years why did they allow these laptops to only have 2GB of memory.
There are actually some positives to Chromebooks. First off they are usually very affordable. Most of them start at the $150 and Samsung makes their own that are around $200. Another excellent thing is the battery life. These batteries can last anywhere from 7-9 hours from full charged with a strong workload the laptop can handle. These are really just laptops that are designed to just be used to browse the internet, check e-mail, and for some office work. Be careful as it only uses Google Documents, so if your class or job requires you to use Microsoft products such as Excel, Word, or Powerpoint you will not be able to install them. Google Documents does allow you to format your saved work to be compatible with Microsoft Word, but only for reading and not editing. I know they are designed for casual use, but I still wouldn’t recommend one. If you’re just going to use it for casual use you’re better off just spending the extra $100 to get a barebones PC with Windows on it.
Chromebooks leave a bad taste in my mouth. So much so that I have decided to ironically type this using my Chromebook as one of the last things I will ever use it for before my new laptop arrives in the mail. They deserve to all be destroyed like Shaq Fu and buried far below the debts of the Gaming Graveyard.