The stripped-down, budget-friendly Chromebook can save you money. But is it enough to meet all your needs? While outliers like the Google PixelBook can set you back more than a thousand dollars. Most Chromebooks can be had for less than $500, which is owing to their growing appeal. If money is your primary rationale for jumping onto the Chromebook bandwagon, consider that you can pick up a Windows 10 laptop (with more capabilities) for a similar price. These Chrome-centric machines have stepped up to offer surprisingly rich capabilities, however. But before you take the Chromebook plunge, here are some things that might make you reconsider.
1. They Don’t Work with iPods or iPhones
Chromebooks don’t come with an iPod or iPhone connector. They do have software called Google Music, but it requires you to upload all your songs onto the internet before playing them, which is highly inconvenient.
But the Chromebook can run Android apps. This one’s even more problematic if you have an iPod or iPhone because you can only download and install Android apps from the Google Chrome Web Store. Unless an Android app is on Chrome Web Store, you won’t be able to use it with your Chromebook. This is a recurring theme you’ll see as we go down the list.
2. The Chromebook’s Operating System is Very Limited
Chromebooks only have access to the Chrome Web Store and Google docs. Windows and Mac operating systems can install programs from various websites like Amazon, eBay, etc. A lack of ability to download software for work or school because you’re using a Chromebook is exceptionally inconvenient and unproductive.
Also, the Chromebook doesn’t have any offline web pages like a regular computer, which is the whole point of using Google docs. To access these documents, you need to be connected online. That’s no good if your internet connection goes down or there’s a power outage. A need for constant connection to the internet is yet another theme about the Chromebook that might make you want to reconsider.
3. They’re Not as Durable as Laptops
Since most Chromebooks are mostly made of plastic to keep costs low. They’re not always as strong as Windows laptops (the higher end of which are often made of metal). Also, while most Chromebook models have drop protection, the ones that do usually cost a lot more. If you’re going to purchase a Chromebook, try to get one with as much protection as possible, so if it falls or drops, it doesn’t break.
And speaking of dropping a Chromebook, you may accidentally drop it. Doing so could ruin everything you saved locally, including all your information and documents. But that may not be that much of a concern since Chromebooks don’t have a lot of space for storage.
4. They Have Very Few Apps
The Chromebook doesn’t have access to many apps. While it’s been catching up in recent years, there are still many more applications for Windows and Mac operating systems than the Chrome OS.
Also, before you can download an app on a Chromebook, you need to be online, which limits the portability advantage of owning a laptop. And, if you don’t have an active internet connection, you won’t be able to play your music or videos through Google Music or watch Netflix. This is hugely problematic because if you’re on a plane, you won’t be able to use these otherwise useful apps.
5. The Chromebook is Not Very Fast
If you’re a gamer or someone who likes to download movies and music, this system is not for you. Chromebooks are not known for their speed. Although they do come with a type of flash memory, it’s not the same as true SSD. Downloading anything on them takes a lot longer than it does on Windows or Mac machines.
Not that there’s that much space on a Chromebook to store downloads locally. Chromebooks with eMMC hard drives come with a 32 to 64GB capacity, max. You might also experience quite a bit of lag when opening multiple tabs simultaneously or switching between programs.
6. Software Incompatibilities Are Rampant
Another reason why Chromebooks are bad is because the Chrome OS isn’t compatible with a lot of other software like Windows-native programs. If your school or job uses software not available in the Chrome Web Store. Using a Chromebook can become very problematic, rendering many tasks difficult to accomplish.
For example, graphics design software like Photoshop usually aren’t compatible with Chromebooks, making such projects virtually impossible.
Microsoft Office is a commonly used piece of software that’s not compatible with Google’s native office suite. This means you won’t be able to complete assignments given to you from say your employer are professor through Microsoft Office.
In addition, if you’re majoring in computer science or electrical engineering, you’re going to have some issues with your coursework. A lot of programs needed for these careers are only compatible with Windows. If a professor or employer tells you to use specific software, likely, the Chromebook will not be able to run it.
7. Chromebooks Can’t Play DVDs or Blu-Ray Discs
Chromebooks can’t play DVDs or Blu-ray discs, and they probably never will. That means you won’t be able to watch movies at home unless you consider streaming them online through your Netflix app.
This can be an inconvenience if you’re used to watching DVDs while relaxing on the couch. It may also be inconvenient if you want to watch movies on a larger screen.
But while Chromebooks don’t come with a built-in DVD player. You can buy one separately and attach it to the machine.
Otherwise, if you want to watch movies, you may have to go back to your phone or tablet. You can find apps that will let you play movies on your phone. But it won’t be as convenient as if the Chromebook had a built-in DVD.
Because they don’t have an optical drive and rely solely on the internet. You also can’t download or play DVDs on them. This is a significant problem if you need to access videos offline and your current situation doesn’t allow you to do so through an internet connection. And if you’re someone who likes to watch movies on a long flight, a Chromebook doesn’t allow you the kind of flexibility to do so as a regular laptop.
There are plenty of laptops from budget to deluxe models available in all sorts of shapes and sizes that cost as much as a Chromebook. But if all you do can pretty much be handled online. And you don’t need that much in the way of software support. And you definitely don’t want to spend thousands for a portable computer. A Chromebook is often a good choice. You won’t get the same Windows experience. But a Chromebook’s web-centric operation is perfect for light use. If you’re comfortable with the Chrome environment and using Chrome-centric apps, check out some reviews to see which model might be right for you.