When Chromebooks first appeared in the summer of 2011, it appeared like Google had created a computing system with out being solely positive who it was aimed toward. Nevertheless since then, whereas not yet having quite taken over the world, Chromebooks have steadily elevated in reputation, and matured from one thing which was experimental into a mainstream system.
Let’s minimize to the chase here – Chromebooks are very reasonably priced computers, and present fashions now have sufficient energy to compete with a standard Home windows laptop computer for many duties. Since Google has allowed manufacturers to use the Chrome OS operating system without spending a dime, this value saving is usually passed on to the client within the type of lower priced machines (Microsoft has additionally started doing something comparable with their “Windows 8.1 with Bing” licenses and lock display advertisements in Home windows 10).
Another progressive function pioneered by Google is hassle-free updates and upkeep.
In contrast to different desktop and laptop techniques, after you have a Chromebook, you’ll by no means should pay for or fear about software updates, as all the things is designed around the concept of working with the least quantity of housekeeping.
You don’t even need to use antivirus software program, since safety is taken care of by automated updates.
This strategy additionally makes Chromebooks very appealing for faculties and different institutions where IT help can take up lots of time and money. A fast boot time of 5-10 seconds and instant-on resume are also common options.
We’ve damaged down the model specs. alphabetically by yr, beginning with probably the most just lately released (or introduced) fashions. Until you’re in search of refurbished versions or on a restricted finances, it is sensible to take a look at the most recent models since they typically have improved CPU velocity and power effectivity.
Ensure that to verify the notes under for hints & recommendations on the best way to interpret the totally different features listed. Battery life numbers are producer estimates and are often reflective of run occasions underneath typical to mild utilization.
We’ve additionally listed some product codes related to certain fashions – these often characterize slightly totally different memory/disk/processor configurations which might be obtainable for that mannequin.
Word that Google mentions for some models, that “user profiles perform a one-time file-system migration in order to support Android on these older devices” – nevertheless this shouldn’t be essential for shopper mannequin Chromebooks which aren’t Enterprise/Schooling administrated.
We’ve listed current and planned suitable Chromebooks with a green Android icon – where a Chromebook isn’t on the official Google listing, however appears more likely to be included, we’ve used an icon with a question mark.
You possibly can toggle the icon show on/off with the “Android” button beneath each chart.
Notice: All Geekbench scores from 2016 onwards have now been modified to make use of Geekbench 4.
Smaller screens are more cellular, but display sizes of 12″ or decrease might be troublesome to work with for extended durations, particularly for those who’re used to a bigger display.
13.three″ or 14″ screens are sometimes extra productive for any sort of content creation or design work, or simply a greater choice when you have hassle seeing or utilizing small screens.
IPS sort displays supply the highest quality general, with wider viewing angles and brilliant screens. These are the type of displays utilized by iPads and most Android units.
Nevertheless, there’s also variation in display quality, distinction and brightness of non-IPS versions.
FullHD screens have a vertical decision of 1080 pixels or larger, compared to the standard decision of 768 pixels.
This may give higher clarity and definition to textual content and multimedia content, though a side-effect with earlier versions of ChromeOS was that a number of the desktop elements similar to textual content and icons appeared visually smaller. This was changed in a current update, as a way to now choose decrease resolutions similar to 1536×864 (or simply press Ctrl-Shift-minus or plus).
Notice that these are “virtual” resolutions – the display all the time stays at the highest pixel decision itself, however the desktop text and UI elements are scaled to seem at the lower resolution, so they’ll appear visually greater, however nonetheless utilizing all the 1080p pixels.
Even when set to decrease digital resolutions, some content comparable to full-screen movies might be played back at the highest potential decision.
Chromebooks with stylus help have grow to be extra common since newer designs akin to pill, 2-in-1 and detachable units have been introduced from 2017 onward.
Stylus help might be used for word taking, art, or instructional app purposes. Observe that the place we have now a stylus model indicated (by pressing the “Stylus” button under every chart), it means that there’s a stylus choice out there for a few of these models – not that the exact mannequin linked is assured to have stylus digitizer help inbuilt to the show, or come with a stylus included.
Don’t touchscreens already help a stylus?
Yes – any touchscreen model can work with a cheap capacitive contact stylus, nevertheless the new stylus choices on current Chromebook are greater performance “Wacom” AES or EMR type pens, which are sometimes extra correct and in some instances can react to the touch strain or pen tilt angle for example, and have higher palm rejection.
This tends to provide a extra pure writing or drawing expertise, though performance might differ in line with mannequin.
The overall computing capability of your Chromebook will depend on the CPU sort and velocity.
Totally different CPUs can have totally different computing capacity even when operating on the similar GHz velocity, so benchmark scores akin to Octane are used to offer an general worth for CPU performance.
Quicker CPUs are useful when operating demanding purposes, or net/Chrome apps with loads of multimedia content corresponding to video games. A quicker CPU with extra cores may even usually enhance general system responsiveness.
Historically, CPUs made by Intel have been sometimes better for greater performance at the expense of battery life, whereas ARM-based chips provided extended battery life at the expense of performance, nevertheless the hole between the two is closing now as the most recent Intel CPUs are rather more power environment friendly.
2018 replace: The older variations of the Celeron “N” collection chips proceed to be the weakest within the lineup, nevertheless for primary use they continue to be enough. The favored N3350/3450 Apollo Lake collection supplies an inexpensive increase over the slower N3050/3060 Braswell fashions, while the Celeron 3855U (Skylake) and Core CPUs fill out the higher finish.
It’s value mentioning that should you simply need a Chromebook for typical use comparable to searching, using apps and watching videos, it’s not likely necessary to go for the very best specced CPU. It’s additionally value taking a look at estimated battery life as there’s typically a trade-off between performance and run time, although that is a lot improved for current models.
Octane is the preferred benchmark used for measuring Chromebook performance. It’s a browser-based check created by Google, which suggests it might run on any platform or CPU sort. You’ll be able to attempt it yourself here.
The scores we have now listed are compiled from quite a few sources and have been rounded to the nearest 100. Word that a distinction of some hundred factors between Octane scores shouldn’t be actually vital, since performance will are likely to regularly improve over time as newer releases of the Chromium browser include performance improvements, which leads to larger scores.
We’ve only used Octane 2.zero scores in compiling the charts, and tried to determine affordable values because of members of the Chromebook group on /r/ChromeOS, and on Google+ at Chromebooks and Chromebook Users.
For information about upcoming Chromebook models, Chrome Unboxed is a useful resource.
Where it hasn’t been attainable to acquire a direct rating for a selected model, the rating has been estimated through the use of comparable models with the identical CPU specs. These entries are marked with a pink asterisk * after them. Octane is a benchmark that principally displays the only core performance of a CPU, although there is a small contribution to the score from multi-core exams.
Octane discontinuation and Speedometer
In April 2017, Google announced that it was “retiring” Octane and would not be supporting it. This led to many individuals in search of various benchmarks similar to Speedometer as a alternative.
It’s value considering the explanation why Google introduced Octane had been deprecated – part of their reasoning is that the suite of Octane checks didn’t adequately measure performance of loading trendy Net frameworks for example.
So despite its flaws, it’s still worthwhile measuring the Octane score on new Chromebooks, especially since there is a giant pool of present scores to match to.
What appears to be a much bigger problem with the prevailing Octane outcomes is that they are closely biased in the direction of single-core performance. There at the moment are various Intel chips the place there’s a really comparable four core version with a slightly lower Octane rating in comparison with the 2 core model, for instance, Celeron N3060 and N3160, or N3350 and N3450.
In these instances, it won’t be an excellent concept to guage performance by Octane score solely – switching to Passmark or Geekbench multi core exhibits a considerable bounce in performance for the 4 core models (N3160, N3450) in comparison with the two core variations.
For easy net searching or light-weight use, it in all probability gained’t make an enormous distinction, but for anyone wanting to use their Chromebook extra intensively, it’s virtually definitely value contemplating the general much bigger compute capacity of the 4 core variations in change for only a small drop in single core performance.
Geekbench three/4 and PassMark are various common function benchmarks. The scores are listed on the idea of CPU mannequin. Geekbench is out there in variations which check a single core, or all cores.
Although Geekbench is advertised as a cross-platform benchmark, some individuals have observed that it appears to barely overestimate ARM performance resulting from quirks in a number of the checks used. Because of this, it’s in all probability higher to think about Geekbench scores within their very own processor family – i.e. comparing ARM with different ARM fashions, and Intel with other Intel fashions. Replace: Geekbench 4 is considered better in relation to cross-platform comparisons.
Notice: Geekbench three is used for benchmarks as much as 2015, Geekbench 4 is used from 2016 and onwards. (Since these are two totally different benchmarks, they cannot be immediately compared with each other)
PassMark is a multi-core, x86 solely benchmark.
Most Chromebook graphics processors are built-in with the CPU chip so as to save costs and enhance energy effectivity. Newer CPU/GPU chipsets will sometimes have extra highly effective built-in graphics processing, which suggests better performance for games and purposes using 3d graphics.
The Tegra K1 chip used in some newer ARM fashions options robust GPU performance and could also be roughly just like the Intel HD 4000 graphics present in some Core i3 fashions.
The storage values check with SSD or eMMC storage until in any other case indicated. “320 HDD” refers to a 320GB traditional disk drive.
SSD drives are quick and lightweight, however older fashions have quite restricted amounts of space for storing. This isn’t much of a priority though for the principally online usage of Chromebooks. Observe that the working system installation will deplete round 6GB of area, so for a 16GB mannequin, there can be around 10GB out there for storage.
Keep in mind that you would be able to also add additional space for storing with USB flash drives, SD playing cards, or, in some fashions, upgrading the interior disk (see “Upgrade your Chromebook storage or RAM” part under for details on which fashions might be DIY upgraded).
Reminiscence card help – All Chromebooks fashions listed here have an SD card reader slot apart from the 2013 model HP Chromebook 11 (it does, nevertheless have two USB ports).
The 2014 HP Chromebook 11 has a traditional SD card slot, and the 2014 HP Chromebook 14 has a smaller sized micro-SD slot. The 2014 Samsung Chromebook 2 also makes use of a micro-SD slot.
Online storage utilizing Google Drive – All Google accounts get 15GB free storage without restrictions or time limit. Moreover, every Chromebook comes with a free 100GB supply for 2 years. After this time, your information will nonetheless be out there, but you gained’t have the ability to store further information without signing as much as one of the storage plans (the essential plan costs / month).
The Google Pixel Chromebook comes with a free 1TB for 3 years supply as an alternative.
See right here for extra details about all the Google Drive provides, and easy methods to redeem them.
Most “generic” units will work when plugged in to a USB port, reminiscent of keyboards & mice (each wired and wi-fi), exterior onerous drives, and even knowledge CD/DVD drives (however in read-only mode).
The extra specialised the system is, the much less doubtless it’s to work. Printers gained’t often work immediately, but see the “Printing” part under. Help for transferring information to and from Android phones over a USB connection was just lately added. For Chromebooks with Bluetooth help, it’s also possible to use Bluetooth keyboards and mice. Some Chromebook models supply HDMI or VGA video output.
Need a wired Ethernet port? This cheap USB Ethernet adapter ought to do the trick, and it works proper out of the box.
All Chromebooks include a built-in webcam, stereo audio system and earphone/mic sockets (either separate or mixed into one socket).
Nevertheless, though it’s completely attainable to use YouTube, Spotify, Netflix, Chromecast and different streaming music/video providers (together with Flash websites), it isn’t presently attainable to use Skype on a Chromebook with out some modifications. It can be put in when utilizing Crouton (see Using Linux on Chromebooks section under.)
New for 2017 onwards: With Android apps obtainable on Chromebooks (see section under), the Android version of Skype is absolutely useful on supported Chromebooks!
As of mid-2016, Skype has additionally added extra help for voice calls to their net version – attempt it here: net.skype.com
It’s additionally attainable (though slightly clunky) to make use of Skype and other apps by way of a distant desktop or VNC connection, particulars are here.
Alternatively, you need to use something like Google Hangouts as a Skype alternative instantly on a Chromebook. In fact, you possibly can’t make video calls to Skype customers from Google Hangouts or vice versa, although Hangouts is built-in into the Gmail chat/contacts sidebar, and as a default app in newer variations of Android smartphones and tablets, so it is fairly widespread.
You possibly can play HD movies on Chromebooks (at the very least on any models from 2012 onwards), either from the Net or local information. Use the built-in information app to simply double click on the video file, and it’ll open within the ChromeOS media player.
All the in style file codecs corresponding to .avi, .mkv, .mp4, .mp3 and so forth are supported (together with DivX, Xvid ..), though chances are you’ll sometimes find that a number of the less widespread video (or audio) codecs are unsupported. If this does happen, uploading the video to your Google Drive will often make it viewable again. Help for lossless audio FLAC file format playback was added in late 2013.
iTunes – iTunes shouldn’t be immediately supported, nevertheless there is a workaround which includes uploading your iTunes library on your PC or Mac to Google Play. Once uploaded, they can be listened to in Google Play on your Chromebook (at present, only when online). The Music Manager software also can routinely upload any new additions to your iTunes library.
Chromebooks usually are not often very noisy computers, and all the ARM based mostly fashions and a lot of the newer Intel models are environment friendly at utilizing energy and won’t get extremely popular or noisy in normal use.
In case you are involved about warmth or noise, choose an ARM model or one of many “N” prefix Celeron fashions (e.g. N3350, N3450), that are sometimes designed to be used in fanless methods.
All Chromebooks come with WiFi adapters (802.11 a/b/g/n). Current 2014 fashions have 802.11ac wifi help, which is an evolution of the 802.11n WiFi normal to help quicker speeds in proximity to a suitable wi-fi router. Nevertheless, your native Internet connection velocity continues to be more likely to be a limiting issue, until you could have a 100Mbps or quicker broadband package deal.
Some Chromebook fashions supply a built-in 3G/4G LTE (WWAN) modem, often as an optionally available additional. These might or might not include knowledge plans from cellular networks, although there are often restrictions on the info allowance.
It is best to be capable of use your personal data-enabled SIM in fashions with WWAN help, and subsequently select your personal sort of knowledge plan (or maybe use an present one). Nevertheless, be wary of Chromebooks branded with a selected cellular/cellular provider plan if you want to use your personal community SIM – these models might probably be locked to that particular service.
Huawei USB cellular dongles are supported, though another brands are also reported to work.
If in case you have a Smartphone with a WiFi hotspot mode, you need to use this to get Internet entry (tethering) on any Chromebook while on the go. This can be a cheap various to using a separate SIM-enabled Chromebook.
The Google Chrome Net Retailer incorporates a big assortment of principally free apps, video games, productivity instruments and more which might be installed in your Chromebook. You’ll be able to verify these out in your browser first in case you’re utilizing Google Chrome.
Some apps help the complete features of touchscreen Chromebooks – this can be helpful for certain video games, nevertheless there doesn’t look like a simple solution to verify for touchscreen help with out truly making an attempt the app or recreation.
New: Google Play retailer help (see under) will mean that many more touch-compatible apps will quickly turn out to be obtainable.
Android app help on Chromebooks has grow to be much more secure and polished since first launched in 2016. Most new Chromebooks will help Android apps and the Google Play store out of the field, nevertheless it’s value checking the compatibility listing to see if a selected mannequin has present help (“Stable Channel”) or just “Planned” help.
Touchscreen help is emulated by trackpad/mouse actions on fashions with no touchscreen. The Reddit ChromeOS subreddit is a useful supply of further info on Android help on ChromeOS.
Although still remaining true to the thought of an (virtually) always related world, Chromebooks have tailored to turn into extra useful even when there’s no internet around. Take a look at the Chrome Net Retailer’s Offline Apps assortment for an concept of what’s out there (you may as well filter search leads to the Chrome store to point out offline-capable apps).
In addition to having separate listings for offline apps within the net retailer, the core ChromeOS has also improved its personal offline capabilities because the first Chromebooks got here out. Local document modifying is handled by activating the offline mode in Google Drive. It will then let you edit your information each online and offline, and handles syncing between the 2. See right here for directions on easy methods to allow this.
Google also have a page listing what you are able to do offline, though it’s value stating that this can be a continuous work in progress, and whereas some apps reminiscent of Gmail offline will work principally ok, they will not be as fully-featured compared to the web versions.
Aside from the standard Google consumer accounts, it’s also possible to setup “Supervised Users” where entry to particular web sites may be both whitelisted or blacklisted, and SafeSearch controls managed. Instructions for including a supervised consumer could be discovered right here. As soon as a consumer is added, the settings could be managed on the Supervised Users dashboard.
One main disadvantage with this strategy as it presently stands is that these users can’t access or use any Chrome apps (Problem tracking link).
An alternate parental control answer is to simply configure something like the free OpenDNS Household Defend DNS settings. This may be setup on a Chromebook by altering the customized identify servers to these offered by OpenDNS. This web page has a step-by-step example of adjusting these settings (however be sure to use the DNS settings offered by OpenDNS as an alternative). Word that you could be need to use the OpenDNS settings on each Ethernet (wired) and Wi-fi connection settings.
For faculties and workplaces, Google have a separate, licensed management console programme. There’s additionally Google Play for Schooling which is presently obtainable for Okay12 faculties in the US.
Google Docs will help you create, edit and open MS Phrase documents. It’s installed by default on ChromeOS, and works in offline mode (by way of Google Drive).
You possibly can attempt it out here by installing from the Chrome Store (or when you’re utilizing GMail, you might have seen it already when clicking on a document attachment and choosing the “Open in Google Docs” choice).
You can too edit Excel and Powerpoint information on Chromebooks (and think about PDFs) – see here for more particulars.
Microsoft even have Workplace Online – this lets you edit Office docs in an internet browser. It’s built-in with Microsoft’s OneDrive on-line storage as an alternative of Google Drive, and doesn’t work offline.
Replace for 2016/2017: With Google Play turning into out there on Chromebooks, the Android versions of Microsoft Workplace at the moment are reported to be working appropriately.
The official line on printing on Chromebook is to use a Google Cloud Print suitable printer. These are sometimes newer models with wi-fi capability which join on to the internet by way of a WiFi router.
There’s an inventory of Cloud Print suitable printer fashions here.
When you have an older mannequin printer, you might be stuck when it comes to printing instantly from a Chromebook – try to join a printer by way of USB cable in ChromeOS and it gained’t be recognised.
Nevertheless, in the event you’re prepared to tinker with it, it’s potential to get some immediately related printers working by way of Crouton. The small print are here.
Some manufacturers have features for online/distant printing corresponding to HP ePrint. These can also work (despite the fact that they could not point out Cloud Print), but examine the primary hyperlink above simply to ensure.
Though not the meant function of these machines, any Chromebook with an Intel or AMD CPU can even run quite a lot of Windows software by way of the WINE emulator. This opens up a huge quantity of further software comparable to Office/Productiveness apps, graphics/image modifying apps, games and extra. You will want to make use of one of the Chromebook Linux setups to be able to use WINE (see Using Linux on Chromebooks section under).
Home windows emulation will solely work nicely with Chromebooks utilizing Intel/AMD CPUs – not ARM. Also, not all Windows purposes work appropriately with WINE, but so much do. You possibly can see a number of the greatest ones right here, (consists of a whole lot of games), or should you’re serious about utilizing a selected Home windows package deal, you possibly can verify the compatiblity degree right here. Inside the WINE compatibility grading system, something rated Platinum, Gold or Silver ought to work fairly properly.
Chromebooks are an excellent choice for anyone in search of a transportable, low-priced laptop computer that also runs Linux. The working system that comes with Chromebooks, ChromeOS, runs on prime of Linux, but since all the things is designed around the Chrome net browser, you don’t usually have entry to the underlying commonplace Linux OS features similar to installing additional apps, using totally different windowing methods and altering superior settings.
Observe: An x86 based mostly (Intel or AMD) Chromebook will usually have a better degree of Linux app compatibility and range compared to an ARM based mostly Chromebook (Nevertheless between comparable specced models, and ARM CPU might have a slight advantage when operating Android apps on a Chromebook).
A number of the hottest options for Linux on Chromebook are Crouton, Crostini and GalliumOS –
Most Chromebooks include a 16GB or 32GB inner SSD drive and 2GB or 4GB or RAM, which is ok for almost all of customers of Chrome OS. Nevertheless for extra demanding customers (should you hold a ton of browser tabs open directly, you’ll in all probability respect greater than 2GB of RAM), you possibly can upgrade some fashions your self.
2018 Replace: 2GB RAM could be very unusual in newer Chromebooks and shouldn’t be thought-about apart from very mild utilization. New Chromebooks should not have DIY upgradeable RAM and very few permit storage upgrades, so until you’re getting an older model, it’s better to assume that you simply gained’t have the ability to upgrade it your self.
We’ve listed details here the place there have been studies of successful upgrades. In some instances, there isn’t a clear info, particularly for the most recent fashions. Notice that in many instances, such modifications might invalidate your guarantee, and there is no absolute assure that alternative RAM or SSD drives will probably be suitable.
Where the storage upgrade is listed as “Unlikely”, it’s in all probability because it’s an eMMC module as an alternative of SSD drive, and integrated into the motherboard with out different enlargement options.
Before upgrading your Chromebook, be sure that to create a restoration picture on USB or SD card by following the instructions here. You possibly can then restore ChromeOS on to a new SSD by merely inserting the recovery picture USB or SD card at the immediate after powering up.
Tell us in the comments under.
Additionally, be happy to share your Chromebook experiences or any ideas or suggestions you may need for others.