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What is a Chromebook? | CBS 42

Chromebook features and capabilities

How many times have you turned on your computer, only to be greeted with a screen loudly announcing that an update needs to be installed first? This can seriously dampen your day even before that second cup of coffee.

With a Chromebook, early morning software updates are a thing of the past. But that’s just one aspect that makes the laptop running Google’s software unique. For anyone who needs to be constantly connected to the internet and craves productivity, a Chromebook could be the ultimate tool.

A Chromebook is more than a laptop

The operating system

Like Microsoft’s Windows and Apple’s macOS, Chrome OS is a unique operating system that offers features that others don’t. It’s designed for simplicity, security, and speed, so you can jump straight into your workday without having to sift through updates or complicated menus. That’s because Chrome OS makes all of Google’s software available from the start.

Apps like Gmail, Docs, Slides, and Sheets are built-in, and you also have access to the Chrome Web Store to download more. But the best part is that when you sign into your Google account on a Chromebook, your Google Drive files and Chrome browser settings are automatically synced.

Think of a Chromebook as a device that runs exclusively on Google’s operating system and uses Google’s apps. It would have been more accurate if it had been called GoogleBook.

Do more with an active internet connection

A Chromebook works best when connected to the internet at all times. Access your Google apps with one click and don’t have to worry about software updates. It all happens in the background, so you don’t even notice anything is updating.

But it also works great when you don’t have a Wi-Fi connection. All your recent documents, spreadsheets, presentations and emails are available with offline access. However, there is a caveat. You must pre-download content and enable offline access before you lose connection.

And just like the Windows Start button, Chromebooks have an Everything button. Just click on it to find the app, service or file you’re looking for.

It is safer

A stumbling block for many users is deciding which antivirus and online protection to use. There are some free apps, but these could be dangerous in the long run. A Chromebook offers a simple solution as it has built-in virus protection.

But even if you manage to get a few inconveniences onto your device, the Chrome OS keeps apps separate on your Chromebook. Through what Google calls sandboxing, this means that even if part of the hard drive gets infected, the rest is protected.

There is also a process to verify that there is no malware on the system when a Chromebook boots up. The verified boot sequence ensures that all files and apps are supposed to be present on the Chromebook and that nothing malicious has slipped through the cracks.

The devices

Chromebook is a buzzword

When someone mentions a Chromebook, they usually mean a laptop. But even by Google’s definition, a Chromebook can be a laptop, a detachable, or a tablet. The common denominator is that they all run on Google’s Chrome OS.

Although you can buy numerous gadgets with Chrome OS already installed, you don’t need to buy a Chromebook specifically. It can be loaded onto any device, laptop or tablet as long as it meets the hardware specifications. Essentially, you can create your own Chromebook.

Chrome OS Flex

If you have an older tablet or laptop that’s struggling with everyday Windows tasks, consider switching to Chrome OS Flex. It is free to download and use.

However, not all older computers and tablets are supported. It has most Chrome OS features, but lacks things like verified boot and automatic firmware updates. And Chrome OS Flex does not support Android apps or Google Play.

What to buy for a Chromebook

Samsung Galaxy Chromebook 2

Samsung Galaxy Chromebook 2

This 13.3-inch laptop has 8 gigabytes of storage, uses an Intel Core i3 CPU and has a QLED display with a maximum resolution of 1920×1080 pixels.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

HP Chromebook x360 14a 2-in-1 Laptop

HP Chromebook x360 14a 2-in-1 Laptop

Need a laptop and tablet in one? Then this HP device is the perfect device as the display can be completely folded down. It features a 14-inch touchscreen display, 4GB of RAM and 64GB of internal storage.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Google Pixel Book Go

Google Pixel Book Go

Built around the Chrome OS system, Google’s laptop gives you 12 hours of battery life, has 8GB of storage and a 13.3-inch display. It weighs less than 2 pounds and is only half an inch thick.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Lenovo Chromebook S330 laptop

Lenovo Chromebook S330 laptop

This 14-inch Chromebook has 64GB of internal storage, 4GB of RAM and weighs just 3 pounds. It features a 720p webcam, built-in speakers, and multiple USB ports.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Acer Chromebook Spin 311 convertible laptop

Acer Chromebook Spin 311 convertible laptop

If you flip the screen of this laptop, it turns into an 11.6 inch tablet. It has 32GB of storage and 4GB of RAM, and the battery lasts up to 10 hours.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Lenovo Chromebook Flex 3 11 inch laptop

Lenovo Chromebook Flex 3 11 inch laptop

This Chromebook has 64GB of internal storage, 4GB of memory, and a PowerVR GX6250 GPU. Like the other convertibles, you can use it as a tablet by flipping the 11-inch touchscreen. It has multiple USB ports and a headphone jack.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

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Charlie Fripp writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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