You’ve likely heard of Chromebooks, but how do you know if one would fit well with your lifestyle and computer usage habits? This article will help you to better understand the pros and cons of Chromebook ownership so you can figure out if Chromebooks are for you.

Chromebooks run on Google’s Chrome operating system. They’re designed to be used primarily while connected to the internet, as most of their applications and documents are streamed from the cloud. That means they don’t have a whole lot of storage, but you can also get them for under $200 at Walmart. They also don’t do a lot of heavy processing, but that does mean that their battery life is extremely competitive.

chromebook2Let’s talk about apps for a minute; Chromebooks are made to work with Google’s apps. That means you should really only buy one if you’re ok with Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Drive, etc. Chromebooks are great choices for people who have already integrated these Google systems into their internet habits.

If you hate Google’s lay outs you might not be a Chromebook person. Popular non-Google software apps like Adobe Photoshop and even the Microsoft Office Suite aren’t going to work on your Chromebook, though any cloud-based app version of those programs will. There are also a lot of apps that perform the same functions but are compatible with the Chrome OS, which you may want to have a look at.

Although Chromebooks are made primarily for online use (and without a WiFi connection will not run many off their apps), there are over 200 offline Chrome apps that can work find without internet connectivity, including Gmail, Pocket and Google Drive.

If you’re all about voice control, you’ll be happy to know that the “OK, Google” launcher works on Chromebooks and the voice assistance on the machines is in general very highly rated.

The battery life of your typical Chromebook is pretty exceptional- the average is just under 1o hours, but standouts like the Dell Chromebook 13 has an astounding battery runtime of 13 hours and 25 minutes.

There’s also a variety of screen sizes that potential buyers can choose from; the HP Chromebook 11 G4 is only 11.6″ across, while the Toshiba Chromebook 2 CB35 is 13.3″. Those who want a more full-sized laptop feel can opt into the Acer Chromebook 15, which boasts a 15″ diagonal and is the largest Chromebook available.

chromebook3But what about RAM??? The typical Chromebook has about 2 GB of RAM, but there are some models outfitted with 4 GB. The extra 2 GB are greatly appreciated by heavy multitaskers, but they should be ready to shell out about $250 more than the typical Chromebook buyer. CPU in Chromebooks is all across the board and varies in price accordingly.

All Chromebooks comes with at least a 16 GB on board storage capacity, which is likely to be about all you need since the computers aren’t made to download large applications or store a lot of media. If your Chromebook comes with an SD card reader, you’ll have the option of installing up to about 64 GB of data. Otherwise you can keep most of your important files on an external hard drive, just make sure to back it up!

Can you listen to stored music on a Chomebook? Absolutely. Just play saved music and videos on your Chromebook by using its built-in player. Click the launcher after you’ve signed in and select files, then double click a file to open it in the media player.

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