A Chromebook, powered by ChromeOS—Google’s specialized operating system—is quite different from the conventional Windows or MacOS laptops. While they share the same physical appearance, laptops are much more powerful and perform better than Chromebooks. Chromebooks often feature fragile hardware attributable to cloud-based services instead of locally installed software.
This translates to lower-powered processors, diminished RAM, and reduced local storage compared to laptops. Notably, select high-end Chromebooks outperform typical laptop specifications. The distinction boils down to the operating system’s access to software and services, with laptops favoring locally installed applications and Chromebooks relying on web-based applications.
Chromebooks can perform common laptop functions with ease. Tasks like browsing, social media, video streaming, video chat, productivity apps, and basic editing of videos or photos are well within its capabilities. However, for niche tasks, laptops have a better edge over Chromebooks. Ideal for students, office workers, and those operating predominantly online, Chromebooks are best suited for users who don’t need resource-heavy apps.
While Chromebooks ideally require internet connectivity for their full functionality, select tasks are achievable offline. Given their reliance on cloud-based services, lacking a connection may impede access to vital files and software. It’s crucial to note that Chromebooks require consistent internet access, as their optimal performance relies on an active connection.
Additionally, using a Chromebook necessitates a Google account, as it facilitates the synchronization of all settings and application data with your Google account.
Lenovo Flex 5i Chromebooks (13″)
For those seeking an economical Chromebook, the options are abundant. The Lenovo Flex 5i Chromebook despite its unassuming design and budget-friendly price, surprises with its impressive versatility. The 13-inch 2-in-1 Chromebook outperforms the most budget-friendly systems.
In terms of specifications and features, the Lenovo Chromebook Flex 5 13ITL5 shares similarities with the most basic model found on Lenovo’s own web store but upgrades the processor to an Intel Pentium Gold dual-core, with two cores, four threads, and a maximum clock speed of 3.5GHz.
The CPU is an Intel Pentium Gold 7505 clocked at 2GHz, complemented by 4GB of DDR4 memory. Graphics are handled by Intel UHD. The device has a 13.3-inch 1080p IPS touchscreen, offers 32GB of eMMC storage, and features a 720p webcam. Connectivity includes 2x USB-C with DisplayPort, 1x USB-A, and a 3.5mm audio jack. It supports Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5 but lacks biometric features. The battery capacity is 51 watt-hours, and the device measures 0.67 x 8.43 x 12.2 inches, weighing in at 2.97 pounds.
Moving on to design and build quality, the Lenovo Chromebook Flex 5 has appealing aesthetics. Thanks to the metal display lid and textured plastic on the lower half, it’s a bit sturdy. The display lid, especially, is impressively rigid for a budget laptop. Given its 2-in-1 design, you can rotate the display 360 degrees to convert the laptop into a tablet.
The speakers are positioned upward along each side of the keyboard and are far better than many budget laptops with clear sound with a hint of bass. In contrast, the webcam and microphone leave room for improvement. One drawback of many 2-in-1 Chromebooks, including the Flex 5, is the placement of power and volume buttons on the right side.
Acer Chromebook Spin 714 (2023)
Acer’s latest Chromebook Spin 714 sets a high standard with 13th Gen Intel Core CPUs, a refined 2K webcam, and its enduringly adaptable build. While it’s on the pricier side(between $500 to $700), it’s a choice that involves very few compromises. Featuring a 14-inch touchscreen with FHD+ resolution, it has a durable and versatile convertible design.
Building upon the success of the Spin 713, the new Spin 714 model maintains a familiar blueprint while introducing amazing enhancements. It comes with improved speakers and upgraded internals, affording it commendable speed and Wi-Fi 6E capabilities. However, it falls short in terms of display quality and battery longevity compared to its predecessor.
This model features a 12th-generation Intel Core i5-1235U CPU, 8GB of LPDDR4 RAM, and a 256GB SSD. In terms of design, the Spin 714 maintains a consistent aesthetic with its predecessors. Measuring 12.3 x 8.8 x 0.7 inches and weighing just over 3 pounds. One of the changes in the Spin 714 is the display, which has a 1920 x 1200 resolution IPS panel and a 16:10 aspect ratio.
The speakers have been equally improved and are currently located above the keyboard for more consistent audio output. The keyboard, touchpad, and included stylus contribute to making the Chromebook special. Battery life is commendable, with the 3-cell battery providing over 10 hours of usage.
HP Dragonfly Pro Chromebook
HP Dragonfly Pro Chromebook is a high-powered Intel laptop designed for the modern era of hybrid work and leisure. This Chromebook is one of the most ambitious models to date. It comes in dimensions of 12.4 x 8.7 x 0.7 inches and weighs 3.33 pounds. The 14-inch LCD display impressively offers 1,200 nits brightness.
Under the hood, it runs on a 12th Gen Intel Core i5-1235U processor, with 256GB storage and 16GB RAM (LPDDR5). The battery promises up to 11.5 hours of usage. Additionally, it features an 8MP user-facing camera, and connectivity options include 4x Thunderbolt 4 USB-C ports, Wi-Fi 6E, Bluetooth 5.3, with 5G support slated for the summer. The Dragonfly Pro Chromebook is available in Ceramic White and Sparkling Black.
Also, this model introduces several standout features. Firstly, it showcases an RGB keyboard with a haptic trackpad, providing a unique typing experience. The backlighting options, including Rainbow and wallpaper mode, offer a personalized touch. The laptop also boasts a remarkable 14-inch touchscreen display with up to 1,200 nits brightness, ideal for outdoor usage. The 8MP user-facing camera, co-engineered with Google, offers impressive video quality.
Despite these strengths, areas for improvement include battery life, fan noise, and weight. Enhancements in these aspects, along with the addition of an HDMI port or USB-A, could elevate the Dragonfly Pro Chromebook’s rating. Regardless of the drawbacks its stunning display and overall performance make it a compelling option.
Asus Chromebook CM34 Flip
The Asus Chromebook CM34 Flip is a recent release, featuring AMD’s Ryzen 7000 mobile CPUs for excellent performance and long battery life. With a convertible build and a 14-inch touch display with FHD+ resolution, it offers a versatile computing experience. Despite lacking Thunderbolt due to the AMD platform, it remains a strong contender.
The CM34 Flip impresses with its AMD hardware, touch-enabled display with slim bezels, 360-degree hinge, and remarkable battery life. Equipped with an AMD Ryzen 3 7320C CPU, AMD Radeon graphics, 16GB RAM, and a 128GB PCIe SSD, this laptop is tailored for everyday use.
The keyboard, with 1.4mm travel, is commendable, offering a backlit full-sized layout. The touchpad is a standout, registering taps and swipes flawlessly. The 16:10 aspect ratio display with ultra-slim bezels provides ample screen space, although it’s highly reflective outdoors. The Harman Kardon-certified speakers deliver clear, punchy sound and the 1080p webcam enhances video calls, a boon for remote work.
In terms of connectivity, the Flip offers a diverse range of ports, eliminating the need for adapters. Performance-wise, it’s powered by AMD’s Chromebook-specific CPU, handling multitasking adeptly, though it’s not the most potent option. The battery life of the CM34 Flip is an astounding 19 hours on a single charge.
FAQs About Chromebooks
Tasks like browsing, social media, video streaming, video chat, productivity apps, and basic editing of videos or photos are well within its capabilities
While they share the same physical appearance, laptops are much more powerful and perform better than Chromebooks. Chromebooks often feature fragile hardware attributable to cloud-based services instead of locally installed software.
Ideal for students, office workers, and those operating predominantly online, Chromebooks are best suited for users who don’t need resource-heavy apps.