Russ Harvey Consulting - Computer and Internet Services

Chromebook

Budget computers for web-based apps

Chromium OS | Performance Issues | Security | Learning More

Chromebook® is a registered trademark of Google.

A Chromebook laptop.

Chromebooks run Chrome OS, a Linux-based operating system designed by Google

Chromebooks offer a less expensive computing experience and may be suitable for users working primarily on web-based apps. The CDW review provides details for the 10 pros and 10 cons listed below:

No matter your intended use, you need to be made aware of the pros and cons of Chromebooks before you make your purchase.

The 10 Pros of Chromebooks

  1. Battery Life
  2. Security
  3. Durable
  4. Easy Setup
  5. Simple
  6. Fast Bootup
  7. Lightweight
  8. Cloud data
  9. Inexpensive
  10. Android and Linux Compatibility

The 10 Cons of Chromebooks

  1. Local Storage
  2. Display
  3. Multimedia Editing
  4. CPU
  5. RAM
  6. Software Compatibility
  7. Gaming
  8. Limited Offline Uses
  9. No Optical Drive
  10. Printing
CDW 2022

Chromebooks are a cloud-based operating system but some apps can work offline, syncing when reconnected to the Internet.

Initially designed to rely heavily on web applications for tasks using the Google Chrome browser, Chromebooks have since expanded to be able to run Android and full-fledged Linux apps since 2017 and 2018, respectively.

 

Chromebooks can work offline; applications like Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Keep, and Google Drive synchronize data when reconnecting to the Internet. Google Play video content is available offline using the Google Play Movies & TV extension with the Chrome browser.
Wikipedia

While most of your data is stored on Google Docs, there is a SSD hard drive like in most modern Chromebooks.

Return to top

Chromium OS

Chromium OS

Chromium OS is an open source version of Google's Chrome OS.

Chromium OS is an open-source project that aims to build an operating system that provides a fast, simple, and more secure computing experience for people who spend most of their time on the web.
The Chromium Projects

Google released the Chromium OS open source project in 2009.

Return to top

Performance Issues

ChromeBooks are generally running on much less powerful hardware than their Windows equivalents. This is possible because so much of the computing is done remotely, in the Cloud via the Chrome browser and operating system.

By traditional measures, a Chromebook is not powerful. But, a Chromebook is not a traditional laptop. Most of what most people do either IS done online, or CAN be done online. Web browsing, email, word processing, spreadsheets, photo and video editing…all can (or must) be done online.

 

If you can do all of your work from a Web browser and use Google services most of the time, then the Chromebook would suffice for your needs and probably be better than a standard laptop, since it is designed expressly for the tasks that it does.
Quora Forum

This evaluation of a ChromeBook supplied by an American school district lists some significant shortcomings:

But what I quickly discovered is that the Chrome's sound output, camera quality, and screen are inferior to our Windows-based home PCs.

 

Our kids have been using Chromebooks in school for years and pretty much hate them because they're just, well, cheap. Poor keyboards, tiny retina burning displays, ads, ads, ads and oh yeah, ads! — AskWoody

I'm sure there have been upgrades and options for better ChromeBooks. Just be clear on what you're getting if you purchase one.

Return to top

Security

Chromebook is promoted as safer than Windows because the applications are being run “sandboxed” in the cloud.

Unlike traditional operating systems, Chrome OS doesn't trust the applications you run. Each app is contained within a security sandbox making it harder for malware and viruses to infect your computer.
Google

That would be great if Chrome didn't have zero-day vulnerabilities (unlike the Chrome browser) and the cloud wasn't being hacked all the time.

Yes, it is harder in a sandbox, but what if the server is hacked? Remember, the cloud provides 24/7 access from anywhere in the world and is almost never shut down.

Privacy Issues

ChromeBooks have considerable privacy issues (Google never forgets) but will run Android apps, which may appeal to those with Android devices.

Return to top

Support & Updates

Chromebook is supported for 6.5 years in the Auto Update Expiration (AUE) program. As with other operating systems like Windows, that is from the date of release, not your purchase date.

Chromebook requires connection to the Internet, so there is no option of going off-line. You'll need to replace your Chromebook when support expires.

Safe Disposal

The SSD hard drive must be securely erased before you sell or dispose of a Chromebook computer.

Return to top

Learning More

You can learn more about Chromebooks by visiting these sites:

Related Resources

On this site:

Found this resource useful?
Buy Me A Coffee

 

Return to top
RussHarvey.bc.ca/resources/chromebook.html
Updated: December 20, 2023