What Do You Think Of The Chromebook? [We Ask You]

We Ask You   What Do You Think Of The Chromebook? [We Ask You]Google recently unveiled the Chromebook Pixel, a high-end machine priced at $1,299. That’s a lot of money for a Chromebook, a form factor which has previously been marketed as being for those on a budget. Previous models of the Chromebook were all priced much lower, with these always-online computers designed to undercut Windows laptops.

Whether anyone actually buys a Chromebook Pixel or not remains to be seen, but its existence has at least managed to gain Google some headlines. The wall-to-wall advertising doesn’t seem to have worked for the Chromebook so far, but perhaps things are about to change for Google and its attempt at competing with Microsoft and Apple.

This Week’s Question…

We want to know, What Do You Think Of The Chromebook? In case you weren’t aware we’re currently giving away a Samsung Series 3 Chromebook (the giveaway ends on March 8, 2013). Danny reviewed this device and gave it a big thumbs up, but what do you think of this particular device, the Chromebook concept as a whole, and Chrome OS?

For those unaware of what a Chromebook is, it’s a type of personal computer which operates almost wholly online and in the cloud. Rather than rely on a hefty operating system such as Windows or OS X, Chromebook users sign in to their Google account and do pretty much everything within the confines of the Chrome Web browser. There is a file system and some offline apps, but 99% of your time is (has to be) spent on the Web.

google chromebook models   What Do You Think Of The Chromebook? [We Ask You]

The Linux-based Chrome OS has improved massively since its inception, but it’s still unlikely to be to everyone’s tastes. There are Chromebook devices from Google itself, Samsung, and Acer already on the market, with HP and Lenovo soon joining the party.

We simply want to know what you think of the Chromebook, Chrome OS, and the Chromebook devices currently on offer (including the astounding-but-overpriced Chromebook Pixel). Do you think there’s a future in cloud-based hardware? Would you ever consider buying a Chromebook yourself? If not, what’s the one thing putting you off?

Drawing Conclusions

All comments will be digested to form conclusions in a follow-up post next week where we will detail what You Told Us. One reader will be chosen for the coveted Comment Of The Week, getting their name up in lights, the respect of other readers, and 150 MakeUseOf points to use for MakeUseOf Rewards. What more motivation than that do you need to respond?

We Ask You is a weekly column dedicated to finding out the opinions of MakeUseOf readers. The questions asked are usually open-ended and likely to necessitate a discussion. Some are opinion-based, while others see you sharing tips and advice, or advocating tools and apps to fellow MakeUseOf Readers. This column is nothing without you, as MakeUseOf is nothing without you.

Image Credit: Google

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If you have any questions related to what's mentioned in the article or need help with any computer issue, ask it on MakeUseOf Answers—We and our community will be more than happy to help.

78 Comments -

6 votes

ReadandShare

On the one hand, just about all my desktop and tablet apps have their counterparts in the browser world. And these browser apps are continually improving their ‘offline’ capabilities.

I like the convenience and accessibility of browser apps — along with the idea of an OS and apps that don’t need manual updating.

Having said all this, the biggest turnoff to me is not the concept of Chromebook — but the company behind all this — Google — a company that depends on “target advertising” for a whopping portion of its revenues. No thanks.

0 votes

Dave Parrack

So you like the idea but not the originator of the idea? Google certainly has its reasons for creating the Chromebook… it forces people to switch to its services pretty much wholesale.

0 votes

Lisa Santika Onggrid

I’m agree with the concept, but Google’s new Chromebook (Pixel) is astounding. I can’t see myself spending so much money on a Chromebook.

0 votes

Dave Parrack

Yeah, I don’t think you’re alone on that score. Of course Google may have released the Pixel as a proof of concept rather than something they epect to sell.

0 votes

muhammad akmal abdul razak

I guess Google are trying to become like apple, example Mac Book Pro.

Second guess is they want to dominate the computer industry.

I have 2 reason they can do this smoothly, first is google chrome second is linux. The reason why I guess this 2 reason are that google chrome have many apps, so most people use google chrome just for apps to do work easily and mostly it is free. Another reason is linux because it have no virus, user friendly and fast.

1 votes

Christian West

I understand the appeal of this device, but where I live mostly puts a damper on using someone that always has to be online. I use my laptop mostly when traveling and, as most of my travel is in Australia (and free wifi connections are only widespread in major cities), not being able to use 90% of the components of my computer when I’m in a little motel with no wifi is a real turn-off for me.
If I was to use this only at home through, different story. I could see the point of using a cloud-based computer from home where I have a regular internet connection. And I am a fan of things like Google Drive because I can then access documents from all over without the need to ensure I’ve got everything on a USB.

0 votes

Rob

Took the words right out of my mouth Christian – this is exactly why I too wouldn’t be able to use a Chromebook to its fullest extent.

0 votes

Dave Parrack

That is certainly a problem, especially in more rural areas. What do you use when travelling at the moment?

1 votes

Hasitha Prabath

Chrome OS not for me, because :-
1.Everyday I work with MS.Office suite,Adobe softwares(Photoshop,Illustrator) & many other x86 softwares(those aren’t available in chomeOS).
2.my internet speed is 1-2 mbps.
3.there’s a monthly data cap of 20gb.
4.my internet connection is fixed one.(If i want to use chromebook outside home,I need to buy a separate HSPA connection).

I think chromebook is a niche product, Today smartphones & tablets are very cheap(nexus7=$200,acer iconia b1=$170,upcoming hp tablet=$160,nokia lumia 620=$250 & cheap galaxy phones available for $100-$150). So a laptop(with core i processor) + touch smartphone combo or a laptop + tablet combo is a killer productivity combination in my opinion. you can buy both for under $650, then what the point of wasting money on a $1200 metal chasis? even $199 chromebooks are useless to me. chromeos isn’t a OS, it’s kinda Web App or Coud Software to me. Sorry google, this thing sucks(at least now).

0 votes

Dave Parrack

The $200 Chromebook must rate as a viable option though, no? I agree that when weighed up against everything else the Pixel makes little sense.

1 votes

Brian Mok

It’s something that I really want to like, but the price is just too high.

0 votes

Dave Parrack

That’s the Pixel, but what about the cheaper Chromebooks?

0 votes

Brian Mok

As for the cheaper Chromebooks, they would work nicely for me. However, keeping an Internet connection may become a problem for me.

0 votes

Dave Parrack

That would be a problem. Only a choice few apps work offline so the Internet is pretty much a must.

1 votes

Junil Maharjan

the only words that come to my mind is “TOO EXPENSIVE”

0 votes

Dave Parrack

For the Pixel, perhaps. What is your view on the $199 Acer Chromebook or $249 Samsung Chromebook?

1 votes

Junil Maharjan

looks great and might work great but its not for me. It requires internet more most of the task and where i live, the internet is not that fast to run a device like that.

0 votes

Lisa Santika Onggrid

Same here. Mine is enough for normal browsing and casual downloads, but most webapps would be unbearably slow, especially ones with real-time update.

0 votes

Dr Ramraj

A nice product of google . It will be of great use to office personals(i think so) and least use to home users . The chrome book reflects the future computing precisely . It offers a cloud based approach to daily computing , which is well attractive enough to buy this . All of your contents will be online , no worrying about loss of data , no need of routine backup . That means no headache . But it is seeriously limited to those who have uninterrupted network connection and also it must be fast enough to have a smooth experiance . This applies to those who reside in major cities . People like me with a slower connection in a rural area , will find no greater use of the product .
A golden rule is always there regarding market consumption which states that “whenever a new commodity is introduced , chances are less likely that most of the people don’t need that”
So regarding chrome , in addition to the general rule stated above , there are many appealing features that are compelling . It will become a great success definitely .
I will be buying a chromebook in near future.

0 votes

Dave Parrack

You’re planning on buying one even though you’re in a rural area?

0 votes

Dr Ramraj

Yes , i have craze for using new things ahead of others

0 votes

Dr Ramraj

And i have a doubt . you must explain the differences between chrome browser and chrome os . What is the advantage of having a dedicated device to chrome .

0 votes

Dave Parrack

If you find yourself opening your Web browser as soon as you turn your computer on then Chrome OS is a good option. Imagine bypassing Windows or OS X and all the related garbage.

0 votes

Dr Ramraj

got it

1 votes

Oscar T

Great for use at home when you need a fast access to web, as got fast booting and almost instant access, and also as spare computer to let others browse internet.

1 votes

Nevzat Akkaya

I really like the idea and would like to have one.
I’m using Google’s services and apps heavily, so Chromebook would be a perfect match for me.

0 votes

Dave Parrack

I would say if you’re already locked in to using Google’s services then you’d be able to picture yourself switching to a Chromebook more easily.

0 votes

Manuel Guillermo López Buenfil

I do not like the concept. It is supposed to be a computer designed to have “only” a browser, but that just happens to be the most resource-intensive program for most people. If your computer is going to properly support a browser, then it is very well suited to handle any other common program.
Then there is the issue of available programs. Even if it is designed to run “on the cloud”, not everything can be done there. If you ever find yourself needing to do something without internet access, well, too bad. Even if it is uncommon to be in a place with no internet, it can and does happen.
This could be attractive if it were used as a very cheap, very portable machine. But a laptop priced just like any other and with a very limited software selection just won’t make it.
The problem is, they tried to create a computer to do “only” the most demanding task an everyday computer does.

0 votes

Dave Parrack

There are a selection of offline apps available but most do require an Internet connection.

Is a Web browser really the most resource-intensive thing a laptop can do? I’d argue that isn’t the case, otherwise smartphones and tablets would struggle.

6 votes

Jason Gwin

It’s a product that wouldn’t work everywhere I want it to work. Namely, outside of my home. It would mostly be for school and such, but the WiFi there isn’t stable enough to use reliably for a Cloud service PC. I’d much rather have either a Win based Ultrabook or a MacBook Air to take with me.

0 votes

Scott Macmillan

Way too expensive!!

0 votes

Duane Adam

I wish they sell it here, in Malaysia. Would love to give this a try.

0 votes

Richard

I was a part of the Pilot program with Google. I still have and use the Cr-48 prototype Chromebook. It is an great computer. Of course I realize my dinosaur would not compare to the advancements made since. But yes I would buy another even at this price.

0 votes

Dave Parrack

How’s the prototype holding up? Do you get the Chrome OS updates?

0 votes

Sean Concannon

I have been using a Samsung Series 5 550 Chromebook for 4 months as a second computer, primarily for when I leave my MacBook Pro at work. It’s a capable replacement. I can do nearly everything on the Chromebook that I do on the Mac, but I have had to learn a few new tricks. The nicest thing about this machine? It starts up very, very quickly. It’s also quite useful offline- you can edit docs and read and respond to email while offline, and there is plenty of software you can use inside of the browser offline.

I don’t know how ready I am to spend $1300 on a Chromebook, but if I lost this one, I’d buy a new $249 Chromebook immediately.

0 votes

Dave Parrack

Do you mind sharing what tricks you’ve had to learn?

$1300 is a hell of a lot of money… $249 does seem a fairer price for what you’re getting.

0 votes

Sean Concannon

I have to resize and compress quite a few images for websites that I maintain content for, so finding and learning how to use online resources for that was a challenge. Pxlr.com and jpegmini.com have been good resources for that.

I use a notepad quite a bit, just to keep track of what I’m working on. I found the Scratchpad on ChromeOS kind of limited, and I had some trouble with it syncing up with Drive. I discovered that with an update the OS turned off my sync preferences for that, so I’m back on track.

I’ve moved most of my word processing and spreadsheet work to Google Drive, so that my files will be available to me on the Chromebook. I’m finding that I can do everything I need to do, but I have to remember to pin files to the Chromebook before, say, a long flight where I’ll want to work on that stuff.

Come to think of it, that’s not a whole lot. In my day to day work, I really can do just about everything on the Chromebook. The Pixel is a big investment, but the cheaper ones are just an incredible deal.

0 votes

Dave Parrack

I knew of Pxlr but JpegMini is new to me, so thank you :)

What percentage of stuff can you do on your Chromebook? I think the problem holding the form factor back is that there’s always going to be those select few tasks you need a PC or Mac for… sadly.

0 votes

Tracy @ Ascending Butterfly

This device would allow me to make blog updates in real time at events so much faster, Blogger’s editor works faster when I’m in Chrome, I can literally get posts done in half the time it would take me otherwise. Also allowing me to live tweet and make facebook status updates during events that I am attending as a blogger. This would definitely be my perfect travel companion for those super long flights I have to take!

0 votes

Dave Parrack

It could, and the built-in keyboard is always going to be a million times better than even the best keyboard case for a tablet.

5 votes

Chris Hoffman

The $249 Chromebook makes a lot of sense, but Google has priced themselves out of the market with the Chromebook Pixel. I don’t know what they’re thinking, but the Nexus Q definitely comes to mind.

0 votes

Dave Parrack

The Pixel is a strange one. To this point the Chromebook has been marketed as an affordable device for all… the Pixel is far from that.

0 votes

Shafiq Khan

I really don’t see the point of the pixel. A high-end machine running a primiative O.S? I didn’t know ChromeOS was optimsed for touch either!

Granted, the Acer and Samsung do that their place in the market and is ideal or anyone just to check email, social media, videos, basic doc editing etc and have a competive edge in terms of cost.

Not sure what Google have been smoking but the’re but their not going to sell many of these. Perhaps thats not their intention. Maybe they just want to demonstrate the capabilities of ChromeOS on both sides in terms of Lower/High Spec systems :-/

0 votes

Dave Parrack

Apparently Chrome OS works surprisingly well with the touchscreen. You understand the notion of the Chromebook but not what Google is thinking with the Pixel? I don’t think you’re alone there.

0 votes

ewan

$1299 for a chrome book is way overprice no one will buy this.

0 votes

Victor Ong

What about the other chromebooks?

0 votes

muhammad akmal abdul razak

For me Chrome OS should be backup plan to do work, because it is using open source to do work. So it should be easy and fast. Second it has thousands of apps in store to try out that suitable for working and play.
As part of the chrome os is linux, it does not need to install many drivers for computer.
Therefore, we do not have to worry about the driver. Chrome is fast & lightweight searching internet. It is way better than IE that is always crash while searching.

0 votes

Dave Parrack

The perfect secondary computer then?

0 votes

muhammad akmal abdul razak

Yup

1 votes

Nikos Tafralidis

An OS witch is basically oriented to on-line use ,makes sence in a way . Considering the amount of tasks that we are doing with our Browsers. So a clean ,portable and cheap OS sounds just right ? No i don’t think so because i believe that Chrome OS can’t find its place in the current or Future market . First of all the cutting edge of COS (internet-web intergration) is already offered in a way in all current OS , Win8, MacOS ,ios, and Android. And they have already their user base and Software plurality . My point is that COS would not succeed for these reasons:
1.) The PC market is vastly dominated by Windows , and no one seems capable to overturn this thing. And most of the users don’t like changes
2) In the Bussiness market , Companies have spend many money in the current Sofware – Hardware infrastructure , and i don’t see a way that Google can persuade them to change their current investmant
3) In mobile Computing , we have three very capable OS’s one of them is Google’s product
4)Seems that the road to the Future of OS , as it seems from the other two major companies (MS and Apple) is the unification of OSs ,mobile and desktop . Microsoft made a bold jumb already and offered Win8 , and Apple slowly but Steady is going there (We Will never see MacOs XI , the next big evolution would be a MaciOs).Apple has the luxury to do things slowly as the leading company , but Google hasn’t this luxury . Google has already a very succefull Os (Android) , in my opinion the companie must concentrate its uttermost attention there , and bring Android to notebooks an Desktops. An OS that many people are familiar with it , and Developers know its quirks.
5. People like things simple , just that . No more major decisions in their heads

0 votes

Dave Parrack

You could well be right. I think Chrome OS has its place right now, but in the future it may be crowded out.

0 votes

Kshitij

I like the chromebook. The display is good (specs) but compatibility issues maybe a downside but if i could Linux on it that may get rid of that. A nice device it is after all.

0 votes

Tom Sobieski

I think they’re great for people who just need a way to get on line. They’re inexpensive ( for the most part) and Google has anything you might want to enable you to do anything.
That is if you don’t mind Uncle Google looking over your shoulder at everything you do.

0 votes

Dave Parrack

There is always the Guest mode for those who don’t want to pass every tasty morsel of data on to Google. Still, I take your point :)

0 votes

reinkefj

I purchased both a chromebox and a chromebook based on my initial assessment of the potential. I’ve also bought technology on the promise.

Burned!

Without high speed inet access and extra storage, it’s really a cripple imho.

At the below $200 price point, it MAY make some sense for a child’s, Luddites’, or senior citizen’s machine. The fact that you can never ever really screw it up, makes it perfect for Senior Executives as well. No virus worries. Every reboot is a new clean image.

But, it falls short in that it’s the ULTIMATE in thin clients. The corallary is that it needs reall FAT hosts.

THe availablility of such hosts like Google Docs or WordPress Blog is hard to work around.

It’s an ideal client for Google Blogger. And is both snappy and brain dead simple.

In short, in the absence of such resources, it’s a loser, imho.

I’ve metally put these on my spring cleaning list to get rid of.

To pay, over 1500$ for one, is INSANE!

0 votes

Dave Parrack

Which model of Chromebook did you buy? Do you find you just never use it?

0 votes

reinkefj

The second gen CHROMEBOX and a CHROMEBOOK. (Cheap!) I can use them (soft of). A lot of snaps when I interact with the wordpress blog. It’s just not worth the effort. It has great promise, but still needs a lot of work and fat web sites to support the various tasks. For example, TEXTER on MACBOOK is extremely valuable; there’s no good comparable extension.

0 votes

Dimitris Dafalias

With this price,i was expecting Windows.I’d be happy,if the cost were around $1000.On the other hand,Chrome OS make it fast as a lightning,but if it was me having this lovely thing,the first thing to do,is to install Ubuntu!!

5 votes

Ron Lister

Do you think the big WiFi project that google is working o, might be to provide free WiFi for the Chromebook. Just a thought that crossed my mind. If they can get a nice big coverage area could be a nice feature to add to chromebook.

0 votes

Dave Parrack

Ooh, now there’s an intriguing thought. Wall-to-wall Wi-Fi and a set of services capable of replacing 99% of all programs could make Chromebook a much sweeter option.

0 votes

Ivan Tomasovic

Just too much!

0 votes

Jeff Billman

Maybe they will catch on someday when there is a reliable, fast, always on networking infrastructure.

0 votes

Charles Baish

It appear to be good, but only hands on use will let you know for sure.

0 votes

Dave Parrack

That’s a problem too, as Google just doesn’t have the retail presence that Microsoft and Apple do.

0 votes

martin webb

how sturdy will it be in everyday use?

0 votes

Dave Parrack

The Pixel is very sturdy, to the point that Apple fans are impressed. The cheaper Chromebooks aren’t as well built.

5 votes

Victor Ong

I think that the chromebook is a great piece of equipment. Many people would have qualms about the fact that you need constant internet connectivity, that it’s not as powerful as a laptop, and that it’s not as functional as a full-fledged laptop. However, a closer look at the function of the chromebook will show that these limitations are not limitations at all.

Firstly, the constant internet connectivity problem. While critics will say that this is a HUGE issue, it really isn’t that much of a big deal. Internet connections are absolutely everywhere these days! Coffee shops, most modern restaurants, airports, and even shopping centers now have free wifi for one to use.
Additionally, many apps have offline capabilities. Obviously you won’t have access to google search while offline, but if you need to edit a document, you could do that offline. Remember that the chromebook is generally a productivity machine, so editing documents offline is good enough most of the time. There are even some games which can be played offline.
If your really need constant internet connectivity, there’s always the option to buy a metered plan, though this can be expensive. Using a phone’s data connection is also possible, though it may draw extra charges from the cellular company.

The next issue is that of power. People say that the chromebook isn’t powerful enough. But the question is this: Powerful enough for what? The chromebook’s operating system is so slimmed down that it could be run extremely efficiently on an intel atom. Windows, on the other hand, runs incredibly sluggishly on the same processor. The chromebook is tailored to be fast when on the web, and nothing else. The atom processor is still powerful enough to buffer HD video smoothly, and so the processing power of the chromebook is not a limitation at all if one uses it as it is meant to be used (for productivity). Besides, the new chromebook pixel has an i5 processor. Hopefully that’s powerful enough to satisfy critics, though it does come at a hefty price.
The OS issues come into play here as well. The OS is not limited as some people might say, but the OS is actually fully functional. Although you cannot install traditional programs onto the chromebook, there are many, many things that one can do online, including photo editing, email, and listening to music (e.g. Google Music). In fact, the OS actually makes everything FASTER, as there the operating system is CONSIDERABLE more streamlined compared to Windows. In fact, it boots much faster than windows because it simple SKIPS the BIOS, making startup that much faster.

Overall, if you need a machine for work, then this is the perfect machine. It has offline capabilities, it’s powerful, and it extremely portable (one of the main features of the chromebook). Unless you REALLY need legacy PC apps, then the chromebook is the perfect work machine.

0 votes

Dave Parrack

I’m guessing you have one? If so, which model? I agree with most of what you said, and once you’re on the Web there’s little that the Chromebook can’t do. The Pixel is an extremely hard sell though.

0 votes

Victor Ong

Honestly, I don’t have a chromebook. I don’t really NEED it per se, though it would be a great replacement for my aging netbook. I read articles and do digging and put together facts based on on what I read.

Yep, chromebook is a great machine. Even offline the chromebook can do plenty of things. You can even play Angry Birds online and offline!

0 votes

Dave Parrack

If there’s one thing that could sell Chromebook to the masses it’s Angry Birds ;)

1 votes

Nick Thorp

Lovely, looking and good spec but I can’t decide where the future lies Apple, Chrome or Windows 8. Laptop, Tablet, Phablet or Netbook…..anyone else getting more confused

5 votes

Robert

I recently got a Samsung $249 Chrome book from Best Buy. It has been about a little over a month and I’ve had it on three business trips and use it for personal farting around in the living room while my wife is on her iPad.

I love it.

My job requires MS Office and when I’m at my desktop I use MS Project but the company also uses Project Insight (online web service).

I use SkyDrive and the associate online office tools (all free) for MS Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. When I can get away with I use the Google tools (I like them)

I’m used to using Freemind for brainstorming but find that MindMappr and Examtime are good free substitutes.

The Chromebook can be used offline by enabling Google ‘Offline’ but I find a better and better performing solution for me is keeping the working files I need for traveling synched to a thumbdrive (something I did even when traveling with a Windows7 Laptop.

Bottom line for me: the thing is light as feather, fast, the battery lasts for 8 hours (I know they say less) but I have been at conferences and unplugged the chromebook when I left the hotel, worked on it all day, online mostly, tethered through my iPhone, never plugged in the AC adapter, and still had plenty of juice left when I got back to the hotel room.

And again – it is $249. I bought it mostly out of curiosity and now I am a rabid fan. And I’ve learned to love Google Play.

Would love to try the pixel but $1,300 is well beyond my ‘curiosity’ point. But the $249 Chrome book has become my “go to” tool – for work, and for mindless internet surfing.

I guess I do have one complaint – I can’t find a decent no cost online FreeCell game. The only thing it lacks.

0 votes

Tom Bogan

Look at what kind of laptop my studio could use with that money. If I lose signal, I can still do other things, like edit photos.

0 votes

dragonmouth

Chromebook/ChromeOS is nothing more than a variation on the Microsoft theme of online rental software. ChromeBooks are very thin clients running all their apps from a Central Google server. The only reason this is getting any discussion is that Google is perceived as the Good Guy opposing to Redmond’s Evil Empire. In either case there is the potential for a monopoly.

No, I do not own a ChromeBook nor do I want to. I do not see any difference between being locked into the Windows universe or the Google universe. A lock in is a lock in.

0 votes

Dave Parrack

You make a good point. There’s no doubt that Chromebooks lock you in to Google’s ecosystem. If you don’t like Google then it’s a non-starter.

0 votes

Noman Fayez

make a new giveaway of this …..

0 votes

Dave Parrack

The other one is still going!

0 votes

Lisa Santika Onggrid

I’ll never get myself a Chromebook, because internet access isn’t stable here. It’d just be a waste. I’m clearly not its intended userbase, but to be neutral, I can understand people who buys the product except for Pixel. Don’t you think it sorts of defeating the purpose of buying a netbook? You don’t need cary spec’d machine, just one which can connect to the internet and do it well. With the amount of cash Google wants people to fork out for Pixel, we can buy better machines for better price for value balance.