Chromebook in 2022. Is it worth buying?

Chromebooks did not conquer the Polish market. On the one hand, it does not surprise me at all, but I am surprised by the reluctance and / or ignorance of users. Should that change? Is it worth getting interested in a Chromebook today?

Soon after presenting, Chromebooks were the most interesting technological product for me. It was something completely new and fresh, but perfectly suited to the prevailing realities. The Internet was gaining in importance and popularity, which is why in 2011 Google showed its vision of a laptop for the common user. In their opinion, we needed nothing more than a web browser, so the first versions of Chrome OS did not even have a desktop, but in recent years a lot has changed and today the system looks completely different. My first contact with a Chromebook dates back to 2013 and the initial (lasting several years) enthusiasm has waned.

Other laptops caught up with Chromebooks

This was due to several factors: progress in the category of ordinary laptops (battery life), slow implementation of key novelties (Android applications) on selected Chromebook models and the unavailability of these computers in Poland. The situation seems even more difficult for these devices today, because ultrabooks and MacBooks with the M1 work for about / more than 10 hours without a charger, and the Polish distribution of Chromebooks is almost non-existent. The biggest step forward was made in terms of software, because there were a lot of fixes in Chrome OS, many interface elements were reorganized and cooperation with an Android phone was expanded.

A pleasant return to Chromebook and Chrome OS

After spending a few weeks with the Chromebook 314 from Acer, I was convinced of this idea again, but with completely different intentions I am now reaching for this computer. Previously, their most important advantage was the long battery life. When traveling, at conferences and other events, it was crucial for me to be able to use my laptop in the field all day and sometimes even longer. Charging it like a smartphone for the day’s work was liberating, and sometimes even a weekend trip meant no need to take the charger. That line has already blurred, so the Chromebook has to compete differently with its competitors. So the main feature will be the price, and spending PLN 1500 on a laptop you can have certain requirements today. We will not experience a great screen or a killer performance, but if there is such a device All right then we will be satisfied enough.

Android applications on Chrome OS

The specification of the Acer Chromebook 314 does not knock you on your knees, but it is a computer ready for everyday tasks. Classic office work and a bit of entertainment are good for him, because even a dozen cards with open pages and a few applications did not slow him down significantly. There are moments of a bit of breathlessness when we demand more from it, and the real benchmark is the operation of Android applications that can be downloaded from Google Play. You can devote a separate article to them, so let me know if you would be interested in it, but I can say briefly that it is very easy to divide them into two groups – very useful and completely pointless. The first of them includes multimedia apps (VOD, music streaming, audiobooks), which are often not available on PCs. Until the second most of the messengers, because the web versions work more efficiently and create fewer problems. Sometimes resizing a window is not possible, which makes it difficult to use such an application, but such are the charms of running programs outside of their natural environment.

More efficient and better equipped (here I mention Acer Chromebook 714) do not limit us so much in terms of the number of active applications or open tabs, and the way the computer is finished can be on a completely different level. The Chromebook 314 is a low-end laptop, so the ubiquitous plastic (how light it is!) And medium-sounding speakers should come as no surprise, but there is an alternative. Unfortunately, these more expensive models are much more difficult to get in Poland, and shopping outside the country is still a challenge. Even if we manage to make a transaction in a foreign store, it is not known whether the manufacturer in Poland will respect the warranty (probably not).

The Internet is making up for Chromebooks

It’s a pity, because without spending too much you can buy a really nice laptop, which immediately became a piece of equipment that I almost always take with me, despite having an iPad. The thing is that as a laptop, the iPad still does not work as well as it could and working in a traditional web browser, with a full-fledged file management system and on a device with a classic design, is much more convenient for me. Nowadays, you can even play it, because we have services such as Google Stadia or NVIDIA GeForce Now. We rely on a fast connection then, but we will play almost anything we want, regardless of the hardware specifications. I have not forgotten that so far hybrid Chromebooks and Chrometabs (a tablet with Chrome OS) have also been created, but I do not think that these are devices worth attention. A Chromebook works best as just a laptop.

Chrome OS looks and performs better

For many people it will be completely sufficient equipment. We are talking about less advanced and less demanding users. Older people also belong to this group. The biggest advantage is that it’s hard to mess anything up, and Chrome OS is very simple to use. After your Chromebook is lost or crashed, you can log into your Google account again and everything will be back in place, as long as you turn on full profile data sync first, of course.

Where to buy a Chromebook?

Looking at the Chromebook market in Poland, everyone willing to have such a computer will not have an easy life. The stores have models imported from other markets, but these are not usually the latest Chromebooks. Brokerage also raises the price, so buying one (anyway) limited laptop becomes profitable medium. So there are three options: decide on one of the models in official distribution, buy yourself (during your stay) abroad or hunt for bargains on OLX / Allegro, where you can find Chromebooks brought by private individuals.

Acer currently offers the 314 model in two variants: with the Intel Celeron N4020 processor and the ARM MediaTek M8183 chip. The latter could provide a longer battery life thanks to its energy efficiency, but the performance of this model is not worth the compromise in my opinion. A Chromebook 314 with an Intel processor will not run noticeably shorter without a charger, but Acer’s attempt is commendable, because ultimately ARM systems in Chromebooks can mean longer working time on a single charge, better compatibility with mobile applications, as well as lower device prices.

Chromebooks in Poland? Time for changes!

Chromebooks rule the US education market, and are still a curiosity among consumers (globally). There is no shortage of enthusiasts of these devices who recommend and equip their friends and relatives with them, but the difficult availability and inflated prices effectively scare potential Chromebook users also in Poland. I will be happy to return to the Chromebook and I am ready to face the challenges described above when choosing and buying such a device, but I am well aware of the fact that hardly anyone has the time and willingness to do so. Chromebooks should stand on shelves in stores, and Google and its partners should educate users about them. Otherwise, in 2011, 2021 and 2031, the market situation will be the same, and it shouldn’t be.

Source: AntyWeb by

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