What is a Chromebook? Here we explain it to you

Despite the launch of MacBooks with the powerful Apple M1 Pro processor and the general public release of Windows 11 by Microsoft, Chromebooks are more alive than ever. In short, there is no comparison between one and the other, so you must know what a Chromebook isHere we explain it in detail.

    • What is a Chromebook?
    • Chromebooks work offline
    • Performance of a Chromebook
    • Gaming
    • Chromebook limitations

You will be interested:

  • The best Chromebooks for students
  • MacBook Pro M1 Pro vs. MacBook Pro M1
  • Microsoft officially introduces Windows 11

What is a Chromebook?

While MacBooks are laptops that run Apple’s proprietary operating system, MacOS, Chromebooks are laptops that run Google’s Chrome OS.

The big difference here is that Apple is the only MacBook maker, while some manufacturers, including Google, produce Chromebooks that you’ll find in various sizes and styles, including 2-in-1 convertible designs.

That wide range also means you’ll find Chromebooks at various price points, though most are designed to be affordable alternatives to MacBooks and Windows laptops.

Operating system

Chrome OS is essentially the Chrome browser redesigned to serve as an operating system. It includes OS-specific features like a file manager, application launcher, taskbar, etc.

It also focuses on Google services like Gmail, YouTube, Maps, and Docs, similar to Android. By default, Chrome OS relies heavily on the web apps that open in a Chrome tab rather than the apps you download and install.

This web-based dependency translates into low overhead, allowing for super-fast startup and snappy performance, even on most low-end hardware.

For now, you can also install web-based Chrome apps from the Chrome Web Store , which is essentially functional web-based code bundled into a single package that installs, looks like, and works like mobile apps. Many require an internet connection, while others can work offline.

However, because Chrome apps were rarely used, Google discontinued them on MacOS, Linux, and Windows in June 2020. Google will then pull the plug on Chrome apps for Chromebooks in June 2022 .

Replacing Chrome apps is possible with Android apps installed from the Google Play Store. Now you can get the best of both worlds: the speed of a lightweight operating system and access to your Android app library. Unfortunately, this means that you will consume more local storage than when using lighter web applications.

Now, you also have access to Linux. While still considered a beta feature, you can still install traditional Linux-based desktop software like Steam and GIMP. Again, you will consume more local storage than when using lighter web applications.

storage and display

Local storage is generally limited, but with 100GB online and the option to expand if desired, it’s plenty for most tasks and laptop usage styles. Some Chromebooks come with more storage space, which will obviously cost you more.

The benefit of saving almost anything on the web is that you have access to everything from another computer. Plus, if your Chromebook bites the dust, you won’t have to worry about losing all your apps, documents, and settings.

Finally, screen sizes tend to be more comparable to their Windows counterparts, from miniature 12-inch Chromebooks like the Pixel Slate to 15-inch models like the Lenovo Yoga C630. There are no bigger ones, but Chromebooks work well with external monitors for those who need large screens.

Resolutions can be high. The Pixel Slate screen has a resolution of 3,000 x 2,000 pixels and it looks amazing. There’s even a Lenovo-made 4K Chromebook that we particularly like, and Samsung has one that comes with a 4K AMOLED display and 10th-gen Intel Comet Lake processors.

Not all Chromebooks have high-resolution screens, but there’s no reason to think a Chromebook screen won’t look as good as Windows laptops.

Chromebooks work offline

Most Chromebooks connect to the internet via Wi-Fi, although some higher-priced models offer cellular connectivity. However, if you can’t find a signal there are solutions for many routine tasks; don’t let the heavy reliance on Chrome fool you.

For example, you can compose, read emails with Gmail , work on documents with Google Drive , download and play games offline. Apps will automatically save your work and sync with online services when your Chromebook reconnects.

Performance of a Chromebook

Chromebook specs often seem weak compared to their Windows laptop counterparts, but that’s because they don’t need to be super powerful. ChromeOS was never intended to run desktop software or Android apps.

Because of this approach, ChromeOS is light enough that you don’t need the same processing power as a Windows laptop.

What’s more, lower-end components generally require less power to operate, which helps extend the Chromebook’s battery life significantly—another big original selling point.

How to access Microsoft Office on a Chromebook

You can access your Microsoft 365 apps such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, OneDrive, and Outlook from the web.

Web applications allow you to:

  • Create, edit and collaborate on documents and files. 
  • Send and receive emails. 
  • Maintain an online calendar. 

How to run Office apps on a Chromebook

To access Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, and OneDrive, do the following: 

  1. Open the browser on your Chromebook and go to www.office.com . 
  2. For quick access, create a shortcut or bookmark the URL in your browser. 
  3. Sign in with your personal Microsoft account or any account associated with your Microsoft 365 subscription. See “Get started” on www.office.com for more information about signing in and using the Office web apps.

How to use a Chromebook: tips for beginners

I can’t deny it… I have a Chromebook and I love it!! The truth is that I have had a total of 3 Chromebooks and they are great because they are at a very good price, they are light and they allow you to do what you want from Chrome . Basically, for an average of €200-250 you can have an interesting computer to do what you do 95% of the time (then I use a Mac for work), but if you want to give a Chromebook a try today I’ll tell you about some tips for beginners you should know.

How to use a Chromebook: tips for beginners

The Chromebook is basically Chrome and a few little tweaks for you to handle files or change the wallpaper – that’s the Chromebook experience, but you’ll find the following useful:

  • To use it is to open Chrome and start browsing . The first contact with your Chromebook is basically to sign in with your account and go into Chrome to do what you want.
  • How can I install applications? You can install the extensions in Chrome. Although now it also gives the possibility to use Android applications on the Chromebook , so it is undoubtedly better than ever. Not all Chromebooks are supported, the latest ones are. It is a top feature, but you can also install extensions that do everything, you will be surprised.
  • Very basic options . Don’t waste time looking for complex options, this is not Windows (it is the antithesis). You’ll basically find a clock, Wi-Fi status, a battery indicator … and little else. You will also see the lock button so you can switch accounts, the option to turn off the PC and also the configuration , which is minimal. And of course, the folder with the files (basically downloads).

Knowing these 3 things, you can now use a Chromebook without dying trying . It’s a lot for beginners, but I also tell you that using this PC is the easiest thing in the world 🙂 If you want a PC just to browse, use Chrome and some basic tool (which is available as an extension or app for Android), it’s a good buy.