“Chromebooks are slow”, “without Internet they are useless”, “there are no my applications on it”. If clichés are tough, those revolving around Chromebooks are now good for scrap. Machines running Chrome OS can now easily compete with other laptops in every way.
For a long time, Chromebooks have dragged themselves the reputation of being low-performance entry-level computers with a very limited ecosystem: ” the machine just good to run ChromeIn short. If that was perhaps true 3 or 4 years ago, Google has done a lot of work on its operating system as well as all the features that surround it in recent months.
With the compatibility of Android applications available on the Google Play Store and the arrival of powerful machines designed by major brands, Chromebooks offer a new way of working and playing on a computer, with powerful and versatile models. It is therefore high time to wring our necks out of the preconceptions that still surround these machines that run on Chrome OS.
What is a Chromebook?
A Chromebook is a laptop computer running Chrome OS, an operating system designed by Google. If Google is responsible for the software aspect, it is the major manufacturers of portable computers such as Asus, Acer or HP which are responsible for the material aspect (design, components). However, they are required to follow particularly strict specifications for Chrome OS to function optimally.
What are the special features of Chromebooks? These are computers that start up in seconds and automatically update in the background to maintain performance over time. They have an enduring battery, have an antivirus already integrated (and free) and are compatible with thousands of Android applications. The Google suite, perfectly integrated with Chromebooks, offers them a considerable advantage in particular for office tasks.
Basically, they include the most famous Google applications (Gmail, YouTube, Google Docs, Chrome, etc.) and it is possible to install any Android application through the Google Play Store. You can also install Netflix, Office 365, Lightroom or VLC. Versatile and efficient devices therefore.
A priori # 1: “Chromebooks are slow”
When Chromebooks were launched in the late 2000s, they were primarily education oriented. They have therefore suffered a reputation for laptops designed to run simple applications and by extension they have been stuck a label of low power computers.
Especially since Chrome OS was designed to be light and thus be able to run optimally both on entry-level processor / RAM combos as well as on much more premium configurations. Indeed, you don’t need to have the latest generation of processor and a colossal amount of RAM to enjoy a Chromebook that works perfectly well.
In 2020, the situation has nothing to do with it. Not only are Chromebooks no longer machines intended only for schools, but in addition manufacturers have boosted the technical sheet of their machines. For example, the Acer Spin CP713 or Asus C436FA have a 10th generation Intel Core i3 processor, 8 GB of RAM and Full HD or even QHD screens. Data sheets that do not have to be ashamed of those of other laptops installed on traditional OS.
Such configurations associated with Chrome OS now make it possible to accomplish heavy office tasks, such as image retouching or editing heavy spreadsheets. The most demanding 3D games from the Google Play Store, like Asphalt 9 : Legends , will also run without the slightest slowing down on such a configuration.
A priori # 2: “Office 365, VLC, Discord are not compatible with Chromebooks”
Chrome OS has long suffered from not offering enough third-party applications (those not made by Google). In the early 2010s, few developers took the time to design applications specifically for this operating system.
But in 2016, Google found the ultimate solution: to make Android apps compatible with Chrome OS! This resulted in the arrival of the Google Play Store app store on Chrome OS. Concretely, this makes it possible to take advantage of almost the entire catalog of Android applications. Netflix, Spotify, Office 365, Discord, VLC and the vast majority of Android apps can now run on Chrome OS. Applications that can be used with keyboard and mouse.
Likewise, Chrome OS no longer offers only Google’s office suite. The arrival of Microsoft Office or the Adobe Suite on the Google Play Store allows you to work on software like Photoshop or PowerPoint from your Chromebook. Finally, Chromebooks now integrate Google Assistant, offering control of the device with voice.
A priori # 3: “There is no room on a Chromebook”
Google designed Chrome OS to work in synergy with Google Drive: files and data are stored in the cloud while only applications take up space on storage space. It’s a philosophy that still holds true for 2020 Chromebooks.
But the use of cloudto store its data was not as democratized as it is today, which explains the a priori on storage space. The supposed lack of space due to 32GB SSDs on entry-level models is a false flaw that hardly exists on current Chromebooks anymore. The majority of models today offer 64 GB, 128 GB, and even up to 512 GB for the most premium.
The real interest of a Chromebook does not lie in its physical storage capacities. In fact, the vast majority of documents are synchronized with Google Drive, therefore stored in thecloud. This not only frees up space on the SSD to store more applications, but also allows you to access documents from any terminal connected to the Internet, such as an Android or iOS smartphone.
Especially since for the purchase of any Chromebook, 100 GB of storage is offered on Google Drive, Gmail and Google Photos by activating the one-year trial offer for Google One.
A priori # 4: “Impossible to use a Chromebook without Internet!” “
Since Chrome OS is built around the Google Chrome web browser, one is tempted to think that the lack of an internet connection makes a Chromebook obsolete. This is a completely false a priori. In fact, on Chromebooks, the Google office suite works offline, allowing you to work without interruption, even in the event of a network cut or problem on your Internet line.
In other words, you can definitely take notes in an auditorium without WiFi, work on the train on a spreadsheet or edit photos without any Internet connection. Some applications can also work without Internet, such as Spotify, provided you have a subscription to Spotify Premium, as well as Netflix. Chrome OS is an OS that is connected but not dependent on the Internet.
A priori # 5: “You can’t play on a Chromebook! “
So okay, you’ll never run Cyberpunk 2077 on the graphics chip of a Chromebook. And you won’t be able to install Steam on it to play your game library, that’s a fact. If traditional PC games do not run natively on Chromebooks, they do have access to the vast majority of Play Store hits: Hearthstone, Candy Crush and even Among Us run smoothly on Chromebooks.
And if you absolutely want to play 3D games ( Metro Exodus, Assassin’s Creed Odyssey) , the game in the cloud is today a very viable solution. Services like Stadia, Nvidia GeForce Now or Shadow now run very easily on Chromebook. Just install their dedicated app from the Play Store.
Which Chromebook to choose?
If Chromebooks have long been popular with students because of their affordable price, they are available in many versions to meet the expectations of the greatest number.
The Asus C423NA, the most balanced Chromebook of 2020
Undeniably, the Asus C423NA remains in 2020 one of the most balanced Chromebooks on the market. It must be said that it combines a compact design with good performance without sacrificing the diagonal of the screen and inflating the price. Its weight of 1.34 kg and its 16 mm thickness make the Chromebook Asus C423NA an easily transportable computer. Under the hood slips an Intel Pentium N4200 processor, 8 GB of RAM and 64 GB of SSD storage. A configuration more than sufficient to handle the vast majority of daily and office tasks without weakening. Its 14-inch HD definition screen offers good viewing comfort and delivers beautiful images. Finally, its autonomy is around ten hours, enough to take a day’s work without having to bother with the charger.
The Asus C423NA, in its Intel Pentium N4200 configuration, 8 GB of RAM and 64 GB of storage, is available from Amazon at the price of 329 euros.
Le Acer CP713, un Chromebook premium
With the Chromebook Acer CP713, Acer proves that a Chromebook doesn’t mean lagging performance. With a 10th generation Intel Core i3 processor paired with 8GB of RAM and a 128GB SSD, the Acer CP713 isn’t showing the slightest sign of slowing down in greedy activities like image editing or creation of a code. Especially since its autonomy of 10 hours is the promise of long uninterrupted work sessions. Better still, its 13.5-inch touch screen with a definition of 2256 x 1504 pixels opens to 360 °, thus transforming the Acer CP713 into a tablet, for greater mobility. On the compatibility side, the Acer CP713 supports the Bluetooth 5.0 and WiFi 6 standards, allowing you to quickly pair your connected devices such as wireless headphones or your smartphone, and to enjoy optimal connection speed.
A true daily work companion, the Acer CP713 Chromebook remains one of the best value for money of the moment with an affordable price. Thus, Darty offers the Acer C713 priced at 799.99 euros.
The HP X360 pack, the best ally for students
Although there is a 12-inch version, the HP X360 Chromebook also comes with a 14-inch 360 ° swivel touchscreen that will be our favor. An ideal format for surfing the web in peace orbinge-watcherhis favorite series without hurting his eyes. Such a diagonal has little impact on the size and weight of the machine since with its 1.7 kg and 179 mm thickness, the HP X360 will slip easily into a bag. This Chromebook is powered by an Intel i3 processor, supported by 8 GB of RAM and 64 GB of internal memory. A perfect technical sheet, both for note taking and for more entertaining use such as streaming content or even gaming.
The other strength of the HP X360 is that it slips into a pack at Boulanger alongside a Google Nest Mini and a reversible cover. Better, Boulanger applies a reduction of 150 euros on this box since goes to 599 euros instead of 749 euros.