Thinking of switching Win8 or OS X for Chrome? Here’s your top options…
Chromebooks are increasingly seen as a cheap and easy-to-use alternative to a Windows 8-running laptop, so it’s no wonder lots of manufacturers are adding them to their range of hardware.
Running Google’s Chrome operating system, none of them work every well offline, but that’s the point: they’re designed for internet use, so you never have to worry about upgrades, while there’s less potential for malware to infect your PC.
They’re the very definition of lean machines, but Google has made 100GB of Google Drive storage available for each device to make up for the low amount of solid-state storage these laptops have.
Here’s five of our favourite Chromebook devices.
HP Chromebook 11
HP’s Chromebook 11 is a lovely device. It’s solidly built, and with 4G capability it frees you from the confines of home/coffee shop Wi-Fi, making it a much more portable machine than many competitors.
Additionally, this Chromebook has one of the best screen displays to be found, with a 1,366×768 resolution.
The image is complemented by some decent internal speakers, which are very good for this price range without laying any claim on BOSE or Zennheiser.
Dell Chromebook 11
This Dell laptop is great value, boasting two USB 3.0 ports and staggering battery life, stretching to 12 hours. The rubber coating on the surface of this device means your hands get improved grip on the keyboard’s palm rests, too.
The downsides to this is there’s a fairly limited selection of apps, and while the sound is fantastic, the screen has a pretty low contrast, meaning you do get a blue tinge on most pictures, and blacks become greys.
The C720P has more to offer than most Chromebooks, starting with a 32GB solid state hard drive, double the usual 16GB. It also contains a latest-generation Intel processor and is somewhat future-proof, with a touchscreen display that means it’s better suited to Chrome App Store apps than most Chromebooks.
Toshiba has opted for a fuller 13-inch display than the 11-inch standard fare. Those extra couple of inches are used well, too, with a colourful and sizeable screen giving a great display ideal for streaming films on, while its speakers pack a punch many laptops would kill for.
At 3.3 pounds it’s not too heavy, while it has a nice silver metallic-looking (but plastic)casing front and back.
Samsung Chromebook 2
This Chromebook from Samsung is less for the workplace than it is for the home. Its 13.3-inch screen carries a 1080p display that gives everything a sharper look, making it an attractive device for movies and gaming – but only as long as you’re doing one thing at a time.
The Chromebook 2 uses Samsung’s own Exynos processor, and you can tell: it’s no faster than a tablet, meaning if you overwork the device even a little (say, surfing the web while having a video running), it will punish you with slow performance.