The big advantage of the Chromebook over Windows, Macs

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 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 (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.


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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

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  • I agree 100%

    .... but best get the popcorn out, the Windoze fanbois are locking and loading ...
    • Windows fanbois love chromebooks

      Chromebooks are like the ugly cheapskate "wingman". They make Ultrabooks look great.
      Sean Foley
      • Ofc.

        When loaded with Ubuntu ;)
        • They're all better than Chrome OS

          Ubuntu, really a bunch of Linux/gnu versions, Windows, OSX. Even android would be better than chrome OS on a laptop. Personally I'd rather have an android laptop than a chrome one.
          • have you actually tried one.

            Most of the people that dis chromeOS have not actually tried it. Its more than you think and tons of people love them. Myself included.
          • I have tried them.

            Without using a remote desktop service they're basically unusable for me. That is, without installing Ubuntu or something on them.
          • I remember when Toyota first started selling cars in the US

            The same kind of things that are said about Chromebooks were said about those small, under powered cars then.

            "Toyota Motor Corp. (7203) set a target of selling an unprecedented 10 million vehicles in 2014 after leading General Motors Co. (GM) and Volkswagen AG (VOW) in global auto deliveries for a second straight year."

          • So? When Toyota started selling cars in the US, they were ...

            ... bare-bones. Like Honda. They ended up displacing the VW at the bottom, and like VW today, they are middle class automobiles. The are not BMW or Mercedes. Over even Cadillac.
            M Wagner
          • Different brands for high end.

            Toyota has the Lexus brand for the high end, the same as VW which has the Bentley and Audi brands for the high end.

            High end cars don't need to be reliable or fuel efficient, they just need to be flashy - which is why Toyota's mainstream models don't fit in that sector.
          • chromebooks great for the simple

            I agree the only reason i purchased a chromebook is simply all i use is chrome on my huge laptopis chrome and word. I love it because thats all i use and it does it better than my PC or Mac (Macbook like 08). The keyboard on my cheap chromebook is bearable, touch pad is terrible (ASUS 720). But the OS is fast I click it delivers. If I was a power PC user or Mac user i could probably get great performance out of my PC or a Mac (need to buy a new one) but for dumb PC and Mac users like me its perfect. Also I should add that a majority probably 80% of mac and PC users have the same or less education than me about there OS.
          • Well a Cloud OS is only

            as fast as the connection it has. Just like a Windows or Mac machine. I know there are things you locally but its designed for online work. I do use mine mostly for email.
          • may i

            suggest a Samsung? Really responsive touchpad, great screen.
          • There is no reason

            There is no reason to use them for something of which they were not designed to do. For many people, it does everything they want and need to do, for some it will do most of what they need to do ( as in second or third device owned ) and then there is you -- the few which find no use for a Chrome OS device. It is like anything else. Do not try to sell the farmer a sportscar for the ranch, that Porsche will simply not pull stumps.

            Chrome OS is a brilliantly simple idea -- it just works. It is NOT Windows ( thank goodness for that ) it is no OS X, and not even Ubuntu. It is fast, simple, clean, easy, and just does what it is suppose to do. I find it useful as a second computer. The business, or heavier lifting is done using OS X -- which again, just works. No more screwing around with updates which do not install correctly, waiting and waiting around -- Windows is long gone for me. If Win9 is proven to work well, and not waste my time, and Microsoft gets its act together again - will try it.... maybe.
          • why disturb a perfectly good conceit

            with actual experience?

            What are you, some sort of empiricist?
          • Yup.

            I agree with you 100%. Wipe the cheap disk, remove it. Replace it with a decent sized SSD and install your favorite OS.
          • Leave it like it is

            Better try it first. I thought that was a go until I actually used it. I thought wa wa wa big OS wa wa this or that and put a Linux on it until I used it.
          • Wait a Sec

            But wouldn't that laptop (I also like this idea) be running Chrome?
      • Meanwhile, back on the Windows farm...

        After Blue Screen of Death reports, Microsoft says to uninstall recent patch
        Company quietly revises a security bulletin and opens an investigation.

        On Friday, Microsoft recommended uninstalling a recent security update following reports that it caused Blue Screens of Death.

        ComputerWorld reports that the patch—MS 14-045—was first announced on August 12 before it received further attention on Friday. The patch intended to fix three issues including one in the Windows kernel. But soon after it was initially released, a Microsoft support forum thread sprung up with tales of "Stop 0x50 errors," aka blue screens....
    • yep

      get ready for the "more" boys
    • I doubt that. You just post to troll, as it seems you feel the need

      to go out of your way just to craft all your posts so as to be able to somehow call out or criticize others as "Windoze fanbois"

      You're a fool if you actually believe nobody can see you for what you are.

      You Google fanbois are a sad lot, no doubt about that, as you've shown us that every time you post.

      There is help for people like you, you just have to seek it out...