The big advantage of the Chromebook over Windows, Macs

Summary:When you talk Chromebook, you usually hear it doesn't have a real OS compared to Macs or Windows PCs. That's true, and for many that's the big advantage of Chrome OS.

acer-720p-chromebook-side-view-v2
Acer C720p Chromebook Image: James Kendrick/ZDNet

Talk mobile and you'll stir up a hornet's nest. There are many options and those who are enthusiastic about each of them, and they will let you know that their solution is "best." That's probably true for them, but we each have our own needs and preferences so there is no one best solution for everyone.

I get the "mine is better than yours" attitude all the time, especially when I discuss the Chromebook. There are a lot of folks who believe that the lightweight Chrome OS is not as good as OS X or Windows. They need, or perhaps merely want, a full OS that can handle everything. Others want to have a big, honking OS around just in case they need it.

I understand that, I use both Windows and Macs, too. But every time I head out for the day with my Chromebook in tow I am impressed with how well it works for me.

I work, you might even say I live, in the Chrome browser all day. It doesn't matter what OS is running behind the web pages, it's Chrome front and center.

This is why the Chromebook works so well for me. The lack of a "real" OS as the engine behind the Chrome browser is actually a good thing for me. My Chromebook runs Chrome faster, smoother, and without hiccups, better than my fast Macs and Windows PCs. I can still do lots of "PC" activities in Chrome; with web apps it's much more than a browser. But the pure browser experience is excellent on a Chromebook.

asus-transformer-book-t100-front-2-600x492
Asus Transformer Book T100 Image: James Kendrick/ZDNet

Chrome OS is designed to run the Chrome browser better than anything else. The hardware in the Chromebook is optimized to do that one thing. While Google has added extensions to Chrome OS, like a file manager, its primary goal of running Chrome well is evident.

I like my Macs and Windows PCs, but when it comes to doing my work, the Chromebook is better. The lack of overhead that comes with Windows and OS X is a very good thing. You might say those "full" OS's are mostly dead weight.

Yes, many need the power and versatility of Windows or OS X. I get that. But there are a whole lot of folks like me who don't need that much horsepower. We are in the web browser most of the time and that means Chrome OS is the better option.

That’s why Chromebook sales are booming. It’s still small enough to be a niche market, but that’s changing. I hear from folks regularly who realize how good Chromebooks are once they try them. And many are doing just that.

On CNET

Back-to-School Tech Gift Guide

Whether you're shopping for a student or are looking to update your own tech lineup, our back-to-school guide will show you something worth your time and money.

I am convinced the lightweight nature of Chrome OS is a big reason why schools are grabbing Chromebooks . They can do everything the students need to do with little fuss. There are no driver issues and no software glitches to deal with. Hit the power button, sign in, and be productive in seconds. That is what computing should be like all the time. No overhead required.

Additional Chromebook coverage: 

Topics: Mobility, Apple, Google, Laptops, Windows 8

About

James Kendrick has been using mobile devices since they weighed 30 pounds, and has been sharing his insights on mobile technology for almost that long. Prior to joining ZDNet, James was the Founding Editor of jkOnTheRun, a CNET Top 100 Tech Blog that was acquired by GigaOM in 2008 and is now part of that prestigious tech network. James' w... Full Bio

zdnet_core.socialButton.googleLabel Contact Disclosure

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Related Stories

The best of ZDNet, delivered

You have been successfully signed up. To sign up for more newsletters or to manage your account, visit the Newsletter Subscription Center.
Subscription failed.