Chromebooks – Useful or Useless?

Dan Price 05-02-2014

My wife gave me a choice of gadgets for Christmas – a new MP3 player, or a Chromebook?


I have never seen the need to upgrade my ancient MP3 player, and the remaining lifespan of standalone MP3 players is now surely limited by the relentless march of smartphones, wearable tech, and cloud based music services. On the other hand, netbooks have been edged out of the market by the ever increasing capabilities of tablets and the competitive pricing of standard laptops – is the Chromebook not merely a watered-down version What Is a Chromebook? What is a Chromebook? What's a Chromebook good for? How does a Chromebook compare to a laptop? We answer these and more. Read More of these redundant models?


I have never been a big listener to music whilst ‘on-the-go’ (my iPod serves one purpose, in-car entertainment), so driven by the recent total malfunction of my trusted Samsung NC10 netbook, I was convinced to try a Chromebook.

There is a lot of misinformation regarding Chromebooks. A quick scan through popular tech blogs will reveal two opposite ends of a spectrum, with some authors doing review pieces in which they directly compare Chromebooks to the latest Windows 8.1 enabled high-spec laptop, and others pointing to the news that Amazon’s top two selling computers over the festive season were both Chromebooks as evidence that traditional computing is ending and stateless operating systems and cloud-based services are the new status quo.

The truth is somewhere in the middle. Google does not pretend Chromebooks are currently a replacement for Windows 8.1, and that is not the market at which they are aimed, yet I have been using a Chromebook for exactly one month and have been highly impressed. My primary machine remains a Samsung Windows 8.1 laptop, but since the arrival of my Chromebook I am yet to switch my tablet back on.


The oft-repeated fallacy that without Internet access the Chromebook is worthless is inherently untrue. The machine does excel in online environments, but Google Drive, Google Docs, Google Calendar, and Gmail can all be used when unconnected Take Gmail Offline With The Offline Google Mail App [Chrome] Offline Google Mail for Chrome allows you to use Gmail without an Internet connection. Read, search, and send emails – all offline. When you do connect to the Internet, Offline Google Mail synchronizes with your... Read More , and machines come with a small hard drive for locally saving data. Additionally, the OS has USB ports and comes with a built-in media player, meaning if you are using the device on a plane or other long journey it is equally as capable as a tablet or traditional OS.


The Chrome Internet browser The Better Browser With Great Features - Google Chrome Google Chrome presently is the most popular browser on the planet. It took Chrome less than 4 years to rise from barely 1% market share to where it is now. Globally, more than one out... Read More is lightning fast, and the integration between the Google’s Web apps is clean and efficient. The laptop feels responsive and apps open instantly, especially when compared with the sometimes-slow speeds experienced on Windows machines when dealing with large files or applications.

The stateless design of the OS also carries two major advantages. Firstly, it means machines are almost immune to viruses, and in the worst case they can be painlessly formatted and re-synced without loss of data. Secondly, OS updates are delivered seamlessly with minimal user involvement, the only onscreen notification you will receive is a small popup in the bottom right-hand corner prompting you to reboot your machine.



The whole Chrome OS is based on Linux, meaning for technologically skilled users the ability to put the machine into developer mode and install a Linux distribution as either a dual-boot or in a chroot environment via Crouton is a big selling point. Of course, those who do this can then install a Skype desktop client, OpenOffice, and myriad other offline-enabled Linux-friendly apps to give their device the functionality of a fully-fledged laptop for a fraction of the cost.

As competition increases and more developers release Chrome-based machines, you can expect to see hardware specifications quickly rise and an ever increasing number of quality apps available in the Chrome Webstore. Already, users can find excellent alternatives for Photoshop, a wide range of productivity tools, and the obligatory choice of games.

With highly affordable prices, boot speeds of under five seconds, extended battery life, and a highly intuitive gesture-enabled track pad the Chromebook is perfect for using as a secondary machine for power users, or a primary machine for users who simply do not require nor want the complexity and power of Windows and Apple products.


It is clear that a browser-only life Everything You Need To Know About Switching To A Chromebook Chromebooks run a slimmed-down operating system optimized for getting on the web with just the Chrome browser and Chrome apps. Can you switch to a Chromebook? Read More is not for everyone, but Chromebooks feel like the natural successor to netbooks and are undoubtedly here to stay. Whilst they may not yet have the functionality required to be the primary machine of the masses, they are quickly gaining market share and should not be dismissed as useless when they undoubtedly have a bright future ahead.

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  1. Insentery
    July 15, 2019 at 11:05 am

    I hate chromebooks, I could be playing a game right now, but instead I´m sitting here searching about how useless chromebooks are because I only have a chromebook and nothing else, and we can´t afford anything else, if I can´t run .exe files on a chromebook, then I´m totally out...

  2. Brian Charles Broviak
    February 14, 2018 at 5:30 pm

    How much did Google pay you to write these lies?

  3. Rich
    December 19, 2016 at 8:53 am

    Chromebooks in late 2016... Useless. Got mine at $100 and it looks decent enough, only, it doesn't do anything except browse the internet. That it does well. But trying to install any app, all I ever get is the app will be sent soon. It never comes. Worse, going back to where I selected the app to install, it says the app is installed. With no option to clear the mistake, what to do? So mine is a glorified paperweight. I also intended to run android apps on my Chromebook and while they say you can, there's no option, even in developer mode, to turn on android apps. I'm stuck with this thing so as long as I can I'll see if someday this thing ever amounts to anything but as far as I can tell, it's a total waste of money.

  4. Mick
    December 7, 2016 at 6:33 pm

    I'm very disappointed with my Acer 14 Chromebook. Doesn't work for any Android apps, doesn't play skygo or Bt Sport. The list goes on

  5. Italo Arrue
    January 26, 2015 at 5:26 pm

    If known how to use, chromebooks can be amazingly useful, you can become a much more efficient worker, even more than with the regular computer systems.

  6. jason
    June 7, 2014 at 10:52 pm

    chromebooks are F useless... example??? I just got a presentation video on FLV the shit could not even play this.

  7. Grcoeeg
    February 17, 2014 at 10:30 pm

    I am one of the 95% brower using only people, I have had a Chromebook for less than three months, and find myself using either of my two Windows laptops less and less. I think that in the long run that a Chromebook will do it all for me, as I do not know how to do anything with all the stuff that is in a Windows laptop, a Chromebook fits my personal needs, and there are a lot of people just like me.

  8. kojak
    February 7, 2014 at 11:25 pm

    I got the Acer Chromebook as a present to my self. I have a Win 7 Desktop upstairs and continue to use it. However, I am trying to wean myself away from MS. While Google Docs is no MS Office, it will do for my current needs. I find my Excel files translated well into Google Sheets, BUT, some of the Sheet functions are a little overwhelming. e.g., a simple task found on the Excel ribbon becomes an array formula in Sheets. There are plenty of folks in the Sheets community that have provided answers to most of my questions, but to go from a mouse click to writing an array function is daunting.
    As far as web surfing, it is indeed a pleasure. The mouse pad is really nice. I thought I would have to use my mini-mouse that I used with my old netbook, but the trackpad is responsive and the two finger touch to bring up a context menu is great.
    I really have no complaints about the machine. My only difficulty is leaving Excel for Sheets and One Note for Evernote. It can be done, but it is going to have to take more than a couple of months for me to become comfortable with those two other elements.

  9. Bill
    February 7, 2014 at 9:25 pm

    My house has 2 C710's that are used daily by my wife 46 and my daughter 8. I use a desktop PC and me and the wife did a test. we started the systems at the same time, my wife logged in, transferred funds to my account at our bank website, checked her email, fired up music (Pandora I think) and started some pet saga game BEFORE i was even ready to start opening a browser to check my emails. Yeah there are some advantages to a chromebook. As for "it does have Office" or "Adobe Photoshop" that is a copout 99% of us NEVER use Adobe and everything you can do with office I have done with Google docs.

  10. Doug
    February 7, 2014 at 8:11 pm

    I wish I could get a Chromebook. I have played with them at stores and so far love them. someday I'll get one and by then something new will come along

  11. Paul
    February 7, 2014 at 6:51 pm

    I'm very pleased with my HP14 Chromebook. Very portable, as fast as a tablet to get started, great for web browsing, good keyboard and for my web-based activities (most of what I do) it's great. Wouldn't work as a desktop or traditional laptop replacement, but that's not what it's aimed at... think about what you want your machine to do and for many people a Chromebook would be just fine.

  12. Birrell Walsh
    February 7, 2014 at 6:04 pm

    I bought an Acer c720 after long thought. I got the 32 GB version so I would have room for linux.

    The chromebook and chrome os are simple, reliable and more than adequate for 95% of what I do. It can be a pain to be away from wifi, but I rarely am. The chromebook boots quickly and it is wonderfully light. No remorse.

    Linux, now - this is my first experience trying linux for actual use. Crouton works well. The problem is that linux itself is an ikea of operating systems - you get a kit, and instructions in a difficult language. It took me ten days to get skype working. And - I did.

  13. starwilson
    February 7, 2014 at 5:57 pm

    I've taken both my MacBookPro (with Windows 7 and Mavericks), my Chromebook, and an iPad on two recent trips. I never turned the MBP on and only used the iPad to look up a few directions.

    Switched my husband over to a Chromebox 2 1/2 years ago and never looked back. Can't wait for LG's Chromebase!

    Is Chromebook a directly replacement for a Windows or Mac computer - no, but neither is an iPad. And half the people I deal with (retirees) buy a keyboard for their iPads. Hello? Chromebook :)

  14. Christine Fuentes
    February 7, 2014 at 5:41 pm

    I've had my Chromebook for more than a year and find it invaluable. The instantaneous bootup, the portability and the usefulness both in and out of the U.S. - priceless! Google Docs and Google Drive are both fine and I bring a flashdrive to access business files for work on the go. Of course it's no substitute for a laptop - nor is it intended to be. Frankly, I think more people would be happier with Chromebook than with their pricey, prestigious tablets.

  15. James B
    February 7, 2014 at 4:26 pm

    I completely agree with a Chromebook being a suitable replacement for a Windows 8 device of any kind - but thats not saying an awful lot ;)

  16. Tinkicker
    February 7, 2014 at 5:12 am

    Or the Son of a Gates' don't mind being tied into Microsoft? Google is no worse than M$ or Apple or Charmin or Pepsi or whatever the brand of the moment is. People like what they like. You do. I do. Big deal.

  17. dragonmouth
    February 6, 2014 at 8:59 pm

    The main problem with a Chromebook is being a slave to Google. You have to use Google apps for every task. I know, someone out there will volunteer that I can download this or that, but if I have to start downloading non-Google apps, I might as well stay with my current laptop.

    Don't get me wrong, I am not saying that Chromebooks stink. There is a segment of users for whom Chromebooks are perfect. They don't mind being tied into the Google Universe, just like the Fruitco Fanatics don't mind being limited to the Apple Universe.

    • Ed
      February 7, 2014 at 12:41 am

      If I'm not mistaken, you are not tied to just Google apps. You can use Skydrive and for Microsoft Office Web Apps, email, calendar, contacts and file storage.

  18. Tommle
    February 6, 2014 at 8:37 pm

    Amazing how many Google shills on here.

    • Tinkicker
      February 7, 2014 at 5:13 am

      What kind are you?

  19. Nick
    February 6, 2014 at 6:53 pm

    For Internet use and cloud computing app uses it is great and will continue to flourish. Especially if Microsoft continues to confuse their customers with too many options and high-priced software.

  20. Rick
    February 6, 2014 at 5:02 pm

    While I can’t honestly say I need one, I find myself intrigued by Chrome OS, and think at some point I will likely get a Chromebook, or perhaps better yet, one of the new Chromeboxes that I can use with my existing full size monitor, keyboard, and mouse as a desktop environment. In this situation, a large external drive for files seems a non-issue. The latter setup is especially logical since my mobile/portable needs seem to be pretty adequately met by my phone and Nexus 7 tablet. Maybe I am naive to think I will ever be able to completely ditch Windows for a Chrome OS/Android/Linux solution.

    But even if I were to dual boot into Linux, I am so far still running into hardware and software issues and concerns that I haven’t figured out how to cope with. Any thoughts and ideas on any of these would be welcome.

    1) I use my scanner, a Canon CanoScan LiDE 700F, a lot. But a Chromebook won’t interface with it, and as far as I can find, drivers aren’t available for it even in Linux. I know I can “scan” documents with my phone, but the quality is substandard, and that certainly isn’t good enough for scanning old photos from before I had a digital camera.

    2) Most of my photo editing and uploading can probably be handled by the built in Chromebook features or something like Pixlr, but I also use Paint.NET a fair amount. Anything equally good in Linux but not as complicated as Gimp?

    3) GPS and gpx management is a toughie. I occasionally use Garmin’s Basecamp and POI Loader to add maps and Points of Interest to my gps for hiking. More frequently, I use Expert GPS to upload and download gpx files to the gps, as well as to edit tracks and waypoints. There are a couple webapps for working with gpx files, but they have limited capability. Google Earth is also something I use a lot, but the Android version could possibly suffice, especially if it gets more functionality.

    4) Evernote is another biggie. I am heavily invested in using it. The webapp and Android apps are mostly sufficient, and quite good, but I am not really comfortable with my notes exiting only in the cloud with no local copy. Yes, I can pin some for offline use in Android, but not all of them because of mobile storage space limitations. There is no Linux package for Evernote, and I don’t know how well Nevernote works. Maybe someone else does?

    5) I use 7zip file encryption for protecting certain files stored in the cloud. I suppose this could be dealt with in Linux.

    6) I use Handbrake for converting videos to mp4. Is there anything comparable for Linux?

    7) uploading new music to Google Play? I read somewhere that may be added to the webapp soon, but so far far you still need the uploader installed on a pc.

    There are a few other minor things, but these are my biggest obstacles.

    • Daniel Price
      February 6, 2014 at 7:40 pm

      If your scanner has a USB port you scan onto a USB stick, then plug the USB stick into the Chromebook. Alternatively, some scanners allow you to scan to email, and my final suggestion would be to see if you can access the printers interface on your browser via an IP address and try and save a scan locally from there.

      What you have read re: Google Play is, sadly, true.

      For your other detailed queries, try posting in the MakeUseOf Answers forum, some specialists there will be better placed to help you than I am.

    • Rick S
      February 7, 2014 at 4:25 am

      Thanks Daniel. Unfortunately, my scanner, as much as I like it, does not have that kind of functionality. It only has one port which is to connect it to the computer via usb for both power and data transfer. It requires software on the pc to operate. Unless they decide to support Linux, I think I am stuck with Windows for this scanner. I may take your advice to post my questions on the forum though.

    • Joe G.
      February 8, 2014 at 5:26 pm

      @ Rick

      (1) Canon CanoScan LiDE 700F and Linux

      (2) Not sure since I've used GIMP for years

      (6) Possibly Avidemux but Hasndbrake is FFMPEG with a GUI built on top
      (I use the cammand line and FFMPEG)

    • Rick S
      February 8, 2014 at 7:41 pm

      Thanks for the scanner info Joe. I am still pretty much a beginner with Linux, and having trouble figuring out how to make this work. I have sane, but it still doesn't seem to detect my scanner. Is there something I need to do with the info on that backend page?

      As for GIMP, I am sure I can learn it and come to like it, given enough time using it.

      I did dabble with Avidemux a bit in Windows, but liked Handbrake better. I would be willing to try it again in Linux though, or start learning how to do more with command line and give FFMPEG a try.

      If I can solve the GPS and gpx issues, and music uploads to Google Music, I could possibly leave Windows behind for Chrome OS/Linux and Android entirely whenever it is time to replace my current machine. It's not necessarily that I dislike Windows. I generally like the interface much more than Mac, and also find it more tweakable and easy to dig into its innermost workings. And at least in my experience, there is much more good free software that does the things I need to do compared to Mac, but it does tend to require constant fiddling to keep it working well and fast.

    • jahid65
      February 10, 2014 at 7:57 am

      1 Pinta looks and may be works similar to
      2 Handbrake and 7zip have Linux version. AFAIK, Google earth is available for Linux

      3 Nevernote is rebooting as a qt application. There is another evernote client out there, but forget the name.

  21. Daniel E
    February 6, 2014 at 3:17 pm

    Anything you miss when you use a Chromebook, times you wish you had a “full” computer?

    • Daniel Price
      February 6, 2014 at 7:28 pm

      It depends on your intended usage. If you often use highly specific programs in your place of work, or for programming, editing, etc - then unless you install traditional Linux (and the programs are Linux compatible) you won't be able to run them. I still use my Windows laptop for 'heavy-duty' work, but still with the Chromebook on my lap in-front of the TV etc. In fact, I wrote this article on my Chromebook!

    • Daniel E
      February 7, 2014 at 2:22 am

      I should've made myself clearer :) In the course of your own use of the Chromebook, was there anything you couldn't do on it that you could've done on, e.g., a Linux, Mac, or Windows PC?

    • Guy M
      February 7, 2014 at 12:28 pm

      @Daniel E - Only momentarily. Then I find a Chromebook App or Chrome Extension that does what I want to do.

      Once, I couldn't find a way to download torrents the way that I would have liked. I waited a few months and then there was a new app to do that.

  22. Matthew H
    February 6, 2014 at 1:01 pm

    Funny, I'm currently in the market for a travel computer right now, and the Google Chromebook looks remarkably compelling.

    Out of curiosity, does the Chromebook support using a UK keyboard and a US dictionary simultaneously?

    • Daniel Price
      February 6, 2014 at 7:21 pm

      It does! You can use any dictionary you want by going File > Language in Google Docs.

  23. Guy M
    February 6, 2014 at 11:51 am

    Absolutely LOVE the Chromebook and I recommend it for anyone who is normally just a web-user.

    It's ability to deal with viruses and malware is unparalleled. I got dinged with the Ukash malware on it. All I had to do was turn the Chromebook off and then back on. Total time to being completely online again - 30 seconds.

    Overcoming the same thing on a Windows PC is at least an hour long ordeal, if you know exactly what to do.

    As for the offline storage, it's dirt cheap to overcome. If you don't mind violating the Chromebook warranty, you can upgrade the hard drive to a significant size for less than $100. Or use inexpensive low-profile flash drives to extend your offline storage.

    Expect Google to develop ChromeOS and Android into each other as a hybrid OS capable of just about anything.

    • dragonmouth
      February 6, 2014 at 9:13 pm

      "If you don’t mind violating the Chromebook warranty, you can upgrade the hard drive to a significant size for less than $100. Or use inexpensive low-profile flash drives to extend your offline storage."

      Isn't that trying turn the Chromebook into a laptop at a price that approaches that of a laptop? Buying an inexpensive laptop would accomplish the same and give you a computer with a bit more horsepower and ports. The only advanatge I see to a Chromebook is its weight. However, if you get an ultrabook on sale you also get the weight advantage of a Chromebook but with more storage.

    • Guy M
      February 7, 2014 at 12:25 pm

      @dragonmouth, sort of. The device is still running the ChromeOS, which is the real selling feature to me. If offline storage is an issue for someone, that's just one way to deal with it. You can get good storage natively in a Chromebook though.

      The Acer C710-2847 Chromebook has a 320GB HDD for about $200. Hard to get that with a netbook or ultrabook for that price. My Acer TravelMate has the same size hard drive and cost considerably more.

      Because I don't do any intensive computing at home, I can't see me buying anything but something with the ChromeOS for my recreational computing. Of course, that also takes into consideration that I'm not a gamer of any kind.

  24. Colin
    February 6, 2014 at 9:02 am

    I already have several programs/apps on my netbook that really need wi-fi to be useful.. and they annoy me when I am out of range for several hours.

    I also detest offline mail programs, because I can never remember "Did I reply to that email...and, more importantly, had I finished that document and attached it before I sent the email?".

    Even worse is if you write an email saying "This is awful! Am I the only one who sees that we need to do X first?", then someone calls you to say that had forgotten I needed them to do X first and they had gone out of their way to do X first, just for me....then GoogleMail goes online and sends that email while I am still talking to them. Mucho embarrassing.

    Ditto calendars - I don't like apps reading all my friends list, my usb card, my address book, knowing who and when I've called folk, etc. so I use feature rich calendars registering via email. That often means I need to save calendar data as csv and manually load it. If you use Google calendar offline then you are continually having to mess around with manually syncing or risk missing an appointment.

    Once reliable wi-fi is actually available where ever I go, and apps stop wanting to know what I had for lunch, *then* I'll buy a chromebook.

  25. johnb
    February 6, 2014 at 6:42 am

    2 words. buyers remorse.

  26. Shawn
    February 6, 2014 at 4:22 am

    I have the HP 14" and I love it. While it is not a Mac Air or High Spec Win8 it does pretty much everything I want it to do for college/email/etc... I may install full Linux in a dual boot scenario eventually so I can use it on military deployment as a full up system but I love how dead simple it is to use in it's natural state. The only thing I wish was larger is the hard drive space. But with thumb-drives being so cheap it is not a deal breaker.

  27. Eric
    February 6, 2014 at 1:26 am

    I have had my Chromebook for about a year and a half. I have in my lap after my wife gets home and we watch TV after supper. I love it. You have to be careful because just like an android phone, too many apps will cause it to lag. It is perfect when you travel and stay at hotels. It has been everything I expected and more. It is not made for work, like a PC is. If something ever happened to mine, I would want to replace it with another Chromebook. My hands are big and stiff from arthritis, so a tablet is hard to use. All in all, it's up to your taste and what you want to use. For me, it's great.

  28. Charles R
    February 6, 2014 at 12:39 am

    I feel like many of the people who are bashing Chromebooks either haven't experienced one, or don't really need one.
    I had the original cr-48 and found myself using my windows laptop less and less. I went about 2 years without a chromebook and then just recently bought an acer c720 (I waited a until it was released, because I needed the longer battery life.)
    With the increased influence of tasks people do online, it really isn't like the 80's or 90's when people used 'thin' clients. It's a totally different picture now. For the majority of average users, a Chromebook would be more than enough to get online, type up documents, and do some light picture editing; there's even a video editor that's compatible with Chrome OS, though I have yet to try it.
    The only thing I really used my windows laptop for anymore is word processing (colleges still hang onto the tried-and-true universal-like format of Microsoft Office), and media editing (such as Photoshop, video editing, or sound editing). Other than those 4 things, what does a full size laptop get you besides a higher price and larger screen (I admit, even I use my laptop sometimes, just for the bigger screen).
    Chromebooks have slowly-but-surely come a long way, and I suspect they'll go a long ways still. I have one college class where the professor is switching to google docs and google+ for assignments and group work. Also, more and more business are using Google software, which Chromebooks run superbly, online and off. And last, schools are also making that switch; no longer are they equipping every student with expensive iPads (with worthless onscreen keyboards), but cheaper, more secure chromebooks. And yes, I've had two tablets before, so I know onscreen keyboards are still a joke compared to a real one, even if it's a 90% full size keyboard found on most chromebooks.
    I can understand certain users finding Chromebooks worthless and returning them, but the increasing market share goes against all the naysayers.
    Just my $.02.

    • Charles R
      February 6, 2014 at 1:47 pm

      Also, spotify can be played in a web interface (, I know many people who no longer hoard their music collections locally, and this is one example software that wouldn't normally be considered "chrome os compatible" moving to a web-friendly interface.

    • dragonmouth
      February 6, 2014 at 8:39 pm

      Charles R,
      DId you ever think that people who bash Chromebooks do so BECAUSE they "experinced" one? Also, when one says that one does not need a Chromebook, it does not mean one is bashing it. All it means is that Chromebook is either too much, or not enough for one's needs. In my case, I prefer a desktop and a laptop.

  29. Brian
    February 5, 2014 at 11:36 pm

    Thanks for your analysis. I was curious about these. A Chromebook is not for me, but I could see a certain segment of computer users that they would serve well. I'm going to send this review to a friend who was considering purchasing one. How is the graphics? I had read previously that one of the pluses to the machine is a very nice functioning display when playing the media player. Any thoughts on the build overall and screen resolution/speaker sound?

    • Daniel Price
      February 6, 2014 at 7:20 pm

      The graphics vary depending on your model. I have the HP14 and the video playback is great for what I use it for (Internet / YouTube / Live Streaming). The machine is very light, but feels robust to use, the keyboard is solid. Sounds is good, without being amazing. Again though, this is all manufacturer dependent - I think as competition increases and Chromebooks get more of a foothold in the market, you'll see huge leaps in quality, design and specs.

  30. Nat
    February 5, 2014 at 11:19 pm

    Pace mitchbonde, but I find the web browsing window excellent and have never had any problems. Although my second job is a web developer, I have 2 chromebooks -- an ARM-based with a 3G connection and an Intel-based on which I plan to put Crouton -- so that I'll have linux. For coding, mostly I use my pc tower, but with sites like Koding and Cloud9, a lot of coding can be done on-line. I've never learned how to do image editing on-line because all my other computers (my mac, my linux box, my pc) have good image editing software. Although I use Drive spreadsheets and document editing stuff for home stuff, I do use LibreOffice on my computers for work-- I rarely have to go back and forth.

    I imagine the only people who are returning their chromebooks are people who thought it was something else...

  31. Robbert B.
    February 5, 2014 at 11:03 pm

    "Excellent alternatives for Photoshop..."
    Once you knew what Photoshop is capable of, you should know that you can't just get an alternative from the Chrome Web Store. If you just mean a simple photo editor, then don't compare it with Photoshop. Photoshop is too expensive to use it for just simple photo editing.

    Try to write a more objective review next time.

    • David
      February 6, 2014 at 2:03 pm

      I don't think that was necessarily indicative of bias. I feel like the author was a great deal more positive to chromebooks than I would be, but the vast majority of people think of photoshop as "that picture editor thingy," and would want it or an alternative to touch up their family photos. I've hardly delved into the truly serious uses of it (the most complicated thing I've done was make a stationary car look like it was moving) but I know what you mean: there are free alternatives to its basic functionality that could do the same thing, but none of those (except maybe GIMP) could actually replace it, and even GIMP is less user-friendly.

  32. mitchbonde
    February 5, 2014 at 9:16 pm

    Its a useless web browser. The main screen looks like Windows and tricks buyers. Many people who bought one is now returning it.

    • ColdEmbrace
      February 5, 2014 at 10:58 pm

      I disagree with you completely there is no gimmicks and the only reason to return one is because you didn't know what you were buying. Most non tech savvy people wouldn't dream of buying a chromebook they go with the Sales Reps advice.

      I love my Chromebook although it isn't my primary device that's purely because skype doesn't work and I can't convince people to switch to Hangouts. I feel that it does everything I need it to do with minimum hassle and for someone who needs to study or maybe runs a blog it is perfect.

    • Rab Howie
      February 5, 2014 at 11:42 pm

      I have to disagree.

      I've had my chromebook for just over 3 months now and love it. The only reason I use my desktop is to use skype for podcasts and game.
      I bought mine for Uni and for when I'm out working on my farm and can't access my desktop. By having a chromebook, I can connect it to my phone's internet connection and do what I need to do.

      People buy Chromebooks as they see them as cheap alternatives to laptops. It's at this point that the seller tells the buyer that this isn't like a regular laptop, but they go ahead and buy it and only later do they realise that it can't run Itunes or it can't run skype, even though they were told all this before they bought one (Well, this was the case when I bought one anyway, so I can't speak for all instances).

    • steve j.
      February 6, 2014 at 3:10 am

      If that's the case then every tablet is just a useless browser.

      February 9, 2014 at 3:42 am

      mitchbonde, I am sure you are not personally in a position to know that "man people are returning them." You sound like a Microsoft plant.