Entertainment, Health and Lifestyle

Chromebook: Inexpensive and Awesome

For years, as my faithful readers will recall, I have written about the inexpensive laptop computer series that continues to sweep the tech world called Chromebooks. I’m still on board in a big way.

These small laptops that run on Google’s Chrome operating system are great budget-friendly devices that can meet the needs of many people, especially those who don’t need all of the bells and whistles that come standard on computers with much higher price tags.

As the popularity of Chromebooks spread, multiple manufacturers like Samsung, HP, Acer, Asus, Toshiba and Dell jumped on board with machines ranging in price from as low as $135 for the brilliant display of the Samsung Chromebook to nearly $2,000 for Dell’s Latitude 7000 7410 Chromebook.

That pricing pretty much blows me away because I still remember paying $2,400 for my first fax machine. Ouch!

Chromebooks own the market share of sub $400 laptops. Chrome OS doesn’t take up a lot of resources, which means you get auto-updating and a fast-running machine for a decent price. These Chromebook laptops perform all the essentials, ranging from surfing the Internet, instant messaging, social media and checking email to word processing and slideshow creation with Google Docs.

While I’ve become a huge fan of my Chromebook, it is not for every computer need. I still keep my MacBook Pro working at full capacity for heavy image or video editing and running high-end software. If you are doing these tasks, a full-fledged laptop may suit you better.

When I tell my friends about the Chromebook, I describe it as a cross between a laptop and a tablet. It’s small enough to fit into my handbag, but powerful enough to handle all my needs when I’m traveling or otherwise away from my regular work routine and I have access to the internet.

I was introduced to these machines by our in-office tech wizard, Max, who noticed that the majority of my work was being done directly in my internet browser (Google Chrome). Chromebooks are able to maintain their low price but still remain high-quality by focusing on what most people need in a laptop. These compact laptops don’t come filled up with junk that slows down the typical laptop computer.

If you’re worried because you’ve read that a Chromebook is not usable unless connected to the internet, you can relax. That argument is no longer valid as many of Chromebook’s most useful extensions work offline. And in this day in age, how often are we on a computer not connected to the net?

If you’re starting to think about gifts for the “other gift-giving season,” which starts with Valentine’s Day and runs through Mothers’ and Fathers’ Day and graduations, make a note. A Chromebook just might be the perfect idea for yourself or a loved one — one you can start saving toward now.

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Mary Hunt

Mary invites you to visit her at EverydayCheapskate.com, where this column is archived complete with links and resources for all recommended products and services. Mary invites questions and comments at https://www.everydaycheapskate.com/contact/, "Ask Mary." Tips can be submitted at tips.everydaycheapskate.com/ . This column will answer questions of general interest, but letters cannot be answered individually. Mary Hunt is the founder of EverydayCheapskate.com, a frugal living blog, and the author of the book "Debt-Proof Living."

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