5 reasons to love the next generation of Google Chromebooks



Chromebooks are cheap, fast, lightweight laptops that love the internet – and now Google has teamed up with Intel to unveil the next generation of the devices

Chromebooks are cheap, fast, lightweight laptops that love the internet - and now Google has teamed up with Intel to unveil the next generation of the devices.

Laptops from Acer, Lenovo, Asus and others were shown off at a press event in San Francisco held jointly by the two tech giants.

But do the new features make a Chromebook a viable option for your next laptop?

Here we pick out five things we love about the new line, and the future direction of the Chromebook.

What is a Chromebook?

Lenovo N20p Chromebook Closed Lid

 

A Chromebook is a slim, cheap laptop built for the web and cloud. Google Apps such as Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides are built in - as well as Google Calendar and Google Drive cloud storage.

This means you can write documents, create spreadsheets, browse the web, save work and plan your day. Microsoft Office files can be imported into Google Drive and formatted for editing in the Google Apps. You cannot install Microsoft Office, or Skype, iTunes or Photoshop on a Chromebook though. 

A Chromebook automatically updates itself with latest security and software, boots in a few seconds, and can also be used offline for certain things.

1) They will have longer battery life

A major selling point of the Chromebook has always been its long battery life.

However, a number of new Chromebooks will be built around Intel's new Bay Trail processor - delivering more than 11 hours of battery life on one charge. This means they'll be event better for working on the go. 

Laura Brown, tech writer and PR, told us how a Chromebook had helped her work on the go. 

She explained: "I've been working off one for six months and find its flexibility hugely empowering as I can just sling it in my bag and work at a client's premises."

She said the "battery life is already a thing of wonder on the Chromebook" but added that with even longer battery life people can avoid lugging around adapters. 

Check out the Acer Bay Trail Chromebook. Asus, Acer, Toshiba, and Lenovo also have Bay Trail Chromebooks in the pipeline.

 

2) They will be faster and thinner

Laptops including either Intel's Bay Trail or Core i3 processor will be both lighter and thinner than predecessors. The processors run at lower temperatures so laptops using them don't need fans.

This allows them to have thinner designs. With no fans they're also quieter too.

Google says in a blog post that the i3 processor "packs the additional performance to help you get things done faster".

Acer's C720 boasts a Core i3 Haswell processor, while the Acer Bay Trail Chromebook boasts the Bay Trail processor.

Laura Brown said: "The Chromebook is pretty fast anyway, it takes just a few seconds to load up as you're not running much off the machine itself and relying on the cloud. A faster processor suggests applications should open instantly." 

3) Some have touchscreens

Lenovo N20p Chromebook 

Tablets and smartphones introduced touchscreen computing to the masses. Then Microsoft went one stage further by redesigning its Windows operating system for touchscreens.

Now we have a number of new Google Chromebooks also optimised for touch. Check out the Acer C720 and the Lenovo Chromebook N20 and indulge in some tablet-style swipe and tap computing. 

4) You can now watch TV shows and work offline

Use your laptop or tablet for watching TV shows and movies? You'll soon be able to do so even when offline. Google announced that people using a Chromebook will be able to watch content bought from the Google Play store when they're not online. 

This offline playback support for Google Play comes after it was made possible to edit documents offline through the Chrome OS - and see those same changes once back online.

 

5) One has a fold-back screen perfect for watching TV shows

As well as helping you watch movies offline, efforts have been made to make the overall Chromebook viewing experience smoother.

Take Lenovo's N20p, which features a 360-degree hinge that allows you to swivel the screen around until the laptop is in a tent shape. It can then be stood on a table while you watch a movie.

Google said in its blog: "Lenovo's N20p Chromebook and Thinkpad YOGA 11e Chromebook offer options for touchscreen and hinge designs that enable tablet or tented-angle usage, so they're just as easy to use at your desk or coffee table, on your lap or at school."