The Chromebook is a new generation of laptop powered by Google technolgy. Security and software updates and done automatically, the laptops boot up in seconds and they're really cheap to buy.
The Google-powered computers have been a hit with the public - with sales predicted to rise 79% this year compared to last.
Read on to find out more about Chromebooks with our everything you need to know guide. But first, a few of the main benefits in brief:
With a Chromebook you'll have:
- A laptop that's light, thin, affordable and built for life online - web apps, online streaming services, cloud storage
- A computer that boots up in seconds, and remains fast and secure thanks to automatic software and security updates
- Apps for word processing (Docs), spreadsheets (Sheets) and presentations (Slides)
- The ability to view and co-edit documents at the same time as a colleague working on another Chromebook
- The ability to open, edit and share Microsoft Office documents
- 100GB free online storage on Google Drive - and varying amounts of internal storage on the actual machine
- Apps for Netflix and Google Play - stream and download movies and music
- The opportunity to have video chats with friends via Google Hangouts
- Sync your Android phone with your Chromebook - take a pic on the phone and it'll be accessible from your laptop
What is a Chromebook?
The Chromebook is a laptop built around Google's suite of online services and its Google Chrome OS. It's designed primarily for life online. There are web apps for word processing, spreadsheets and email, free online storage for saving work, and Google Play and Netflix apps for straming movies and music.
It's different to a Windows or Apple laptop. You cannot run programs like Microsoft Office or Adobe Photoshop on a Chromebook, as they have less powerful processors and limited internal storage.
This means they're far cheaper to buy.
However, the breadth of Google's online services - and the addition of decent amounts of internal storage on latest models - mean Chromebooks are a great option for everyday computing.
5 things you need to know about Chromebooks
1. Music, movies and chat services are built-in
How much of what you do on your computer is done online? From chatting to pals via Facebook and video messaging services to streaming music and movies online. From following the day's news headlines to picking up work emails after hours. Chromebooks have built-in apps for Netflix and Google Play for watching movies and binging on TV shows, and Pandora and Google Play Music for listening to tunes.
When it comes to chatting to friends and family - either messenger style or a video call - you have apps for IMO and Google Talk.
2. They come with free cloud storage
More recent Chromebooks offer decent amounts of internal storage, but the idea is most of your documents will be saved online at Google's cloud storage service - Google Drive. Each Chromebook comes with 100GB free cloud storage, and you can purchase more as and when you need it.
This gives you plenty of space to save all your documents, be it notes from cooking, your CV or holiday photos. Google Drive puts all your important things in the same place, and because it's in the cloud you can access from anywhere - not just your Chromebook.
3. Apps for word processing, spreadsheets and presentations are built-in
Chromebooks have apps for world processing (Docs) spreadsheets (Sheets) and presentations (Slides) built in - so it's easy to get some real work done.
With Docs, Sheets and Slides rady to go straight out of the box tyou can be productive without buying additional software.
You can also open and edit Word, Excel or PowerPoint files from Microsoft Office - though remember, you cannmot actually run a version of Office on a Chromebook.
As well as working in the cloud, you can also access and edit documents using these apps while offline. The same also goes for your email, via Gmail offline, and calendar. This means even when offline you can still get stuff done.
3. You can co-edit documents from differnt computers at same time
Who wants to stay behind in the office or at college to work late on a project? With a Chromebook you can all work on the same presentation from your own homes. Take the document in question and hit the Share and Save button, type in the email addresses of those you want to send it to
ook: a laptop which keeps getting better
One of the most annoying things about buying a new laptop is keeping it up to date. With a Chromebook this is no longer an issue; it updates itself automatically with latest software and security, keeping you bang on-trend with the latest tech without spending a penny.
With regular laptops security updates are down to us - and how many times have you clicked 'ignore' or 'remind me in four months' when it pops up? The Chromebook takes the initiative and does this without even asking you, making it among the securest options around.
Chromebook - online in 10 seconds
Sometimes a regular laptop can take around 30 seconds to boot up, with the process slowing further as they get cluttered with programs - think of what you can do in that time? Play the guitar solo to Sweet Child O' Mine, make a cup of tea, or just rest your eyes.
With a Chromebook you get those lost minutes back; press the 'on' button and you'll be online in 10 seconds.
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