5 Crucial Things To Look At Before Buying A Chromebook

Made up your mind to buy a Chromebook? Here's how to choose the right one.

Samsung chromebook unsplash
Brooke Cragle /Unsplash

If you’re out in the market for a value-for-money machine, you may have looked at some of the options, including Chromebooks. You had at least one Chromebook on your list, Right? RIGHT? Jokes aside, if you did find Chromebooks extremely intriguing and of your type, you might find it challenging to choose the one with the right specs for your needs.

Luckily, you have us. Compared to Windows laptops, you shouldn’t really have trouble choosing the right Chromebook since there aren’t tons of them on the market. Here are the things you should remember before pulling your trigger on a Chromebook. Here’s our Chromebook buying guide.

Chromebook buying guide: What makes one a good buy?

Image: Google

Some of the things that you should look out for when buying a Chromebook are the processor, the amount of RAM, display quality, and the overall build quality. As for ensuring that you get the best bang for your buck Chromebook, there are a few other things you should keep in mind that we’ll discuss later.

5 things to consider when buying a Chromebook

Here are some things that play a crucial role in determining the experience you’d be able to get out of a Chromebook if you purchase one.

1. Display

chromebooks for browsing

Displays are one of the most overlooked components of any Gadget. Although manufacturers prioritize good displays over other specifications these days, you may still find some Chromebooks with lousy display quality.

How do you know if a display of a Chromebook is good? By carefully going through the specs sheet from the manufacturer. A Chromebook’s display should ideally be an IPS unit (In-plane Switching), not VA or TN. Besides that, if you’ll be using the machine for photo or video editing, check the color space covered by the display. Usually, it’s defined by 72% NTSC or 99% Adobe RGB. Manufacturers don’t usually include this on the specs sheet, so try searching for the reviews of the same on YouTube.

2. Processor

Intel Ice Lake - Chromebook buying guide

The brains of your Chromebook need to be strong for faster processing. Now, it’s easy to get fooled into buying a Chromebook with a slower processor when people say, “ChromeOS is light and doesn’t need more processing power.” While the former part of this statement still holds to this day, the latter isn’t. Besides, Chromebooks are powered by far less powerful processors than you’d expect.

The general rule of thumb when choosing a processor in Chromebooks is that it should be powered by at least a Core i3 processor or above Processor from Intel or a 3000 series Ryzen 3 or 5 from AMD. This will give you enough headroom to run Android and Linux apps and containers. Stay away from Celeron and Pentium. Even Intel has discontinued them. Also, a better processor equals better battery life.

3. Ease of use

Google cursive on any laptop
Source: 9to5Google

Like Windows machines, Chromebooks give you a lot of choices when choosing a form factor. If you need an everyday machine, a regular Chromebook will do the job. However, if you need something to take notes on or have preferences like a touch screen and fully-rotating display, there are many 2-in-1 Chromebooks in the market.

I wouldn’t recommend getting a 2-in-1 laptop since failing hinges are a common problem across SKUs. If you really need a device with note-taking abilities via a stylus, get a Chromebook tablet. Lenovo’s Chromebook Duet 5 and Duet 3 are some of the best ChromeOS Tablets on the market. However, if you use HDMI or multiple USB ports, get ready to invest in a good Type-C dock for the tablet.

4. More Gigabytes, Please!

how to install an ssd

The days when 4GB of RAM was considered to be more than enough on Chromebooks are long gone. The introduction of Android and Linux has drastically increased ChromeOS’s RAM consumption than 8GB of RAM is the least you should look for in a Chromebook.

Also, while most Chromebooks use SSDs these days, ensure that the one you’re aiming for preferably has an m.2 module instead of an eMMC. While eMMC storage is fine for budget Chromebooks, it’s usually soldered to the motherboard. Hence, you cannot upgrade your storage in the future. If you buy a Chromebook with an NVMe SSD, chances are, you could replace it in the future if your Chromebook runs out of storage space. Summing up, a Chromebook with 8GB RAM and 128GB NVMe storage is the least you should aim for.

5. Pricing

An excellent mid-range to high-end Chromebook will set you from around $300 to $700, and if you need the most bang for your buck Chromebook, it’s tough to choose the best option. Acer’s Spin lineup of Chromebooks is pretty popular and offers excellent value for money, notably the Acer Chromebook Spin 714 and the Spin 513. You can also consider one of its recent gaming Chromebooks, as they come with the best specs any Chromebook can offer.

Chromebooks are competent machines

Contrary to popular belief, Chromebooks are very capable machines compared to Windows. If you could get a greatly specced Chromebook, running Windows, Linux, and Android apps would be easier than ever. Not to mention, the eye candy and blazing-fast UI will make your experience more pleasing. If you’re still divided between Windows and ChromeOS, here’s why you should choose the latter over Windows.

What are your thoughts on ChromeOS? Are you getting or planning to get a Chromebook in the future? Let us know in the comments section below.

Abubakar Mohammed

Abubakar Mohammed

Abubakar is a Linux and Tech Writer. Hailing from a Computer Science background, the start of his love for Tech dates back to 2011, when he was gifted a Dell Inspiron 5100. When he's not covering Tech, you'll find him binge-watching anime and Tech content on YouTube or hunting heads in competitive FPS games. You can also find his work on Android Police and How-To Geek.
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