- Chromebooks are a great low cost type of laptop
- They run software from Google rather than Microsoft or Apple
- They use Google’s own apps and won’t run Windows or Apple software
They’re a great, low cost alternative to a traditional Windows laptop – but what is a Chromebook?
It looks and works in a very similar way to other laptops.
It runs software made by Google, best known for its search engine.
The Chromebook software, called Chrome OS, is based on Chrome, Google’s web browser.
We’ve also got a guide to the best Chromebook for a senior and a guide to setting up a Chromebook for a senior.
How much does a Chromebook cost?
Chromebooks start at less than $200 (about £160) and don’t get much above $500 (about £410) – with a few exceptions.
What software does a Chromebook run?
While it won’t run a lot of software, a Chromebook can do everything you need for basic computing.
It relies heavily on Google’s own apps, such as Gmail, Google Docs, and YouTube.
Unlike Mac OS and Windows 10, Chrome OS uses only web apps and won’t let you download applications. This means you can’t run Photoshop, Skype, iTunes or any other non-Chrome apps.
However, you can find alternatives in the Chrome Web Store, which is the Chromebook version of the App Store.
This includes online versions of software from Microsoft itself, so you can use Word, Excel, Outlook, Powerpoint and others. And Chrome’s native Google Docs and Sheets can handle Word and Excel files.
Google is also working to make Android apps developed for phones usable on the Chromebook. This is an ongoing project, but if you have a favourite phone game, its worth checking if its available yet.
What types of Chromebook are there?
There are four main types of Chromebook:
Laptop – a traditional design, much like any other laptop.
Tablet – an iPad like design with just a large touchscreen
Convertible – a laptop that can flip over to allow you to stand it up and use it like a tablet
Detachable – a laptop you can take apart, so it turns into a tablet
Do you have to be online to use a Chromebook?
Even though the Chromebook is based on Google’s web browser, you can still do many things when you don’t have an internet connection.
For instance, you can edit Google Docs offline and watch movies and shows on Google Play offline.