ZDNet Great Debate results: There are good reasons to buy a Chromebook

ZDNet Great Debate results: There are good reasons to buy a Chromebook

Summary: I argued that there were good reasons for a Chromebook and the majority of readers agreed. While they may not be your only computer, they offer a low-cost refreshing user experience that gets better all the time.

ZDNet Great Debate results: There are good reasons to buy a Chromebook
(Image: Google)

It has been a long time since I participated in a ZDNet Great Debate so it was a pleasure to argue that there are good reasons to buy a Chromebook and take the win today.

The question was in my favor because I think we can all find some good reasons for the Chromebook, just as we can also find good reasons for a tablet or any other device that we might not necessarily purchase or recommend. I took the question to mean, "Can I honestly recommend someone purchase a Chromebook?"

As a professional engineer who runs many programs that only work on a Windows PC, I completely understand that Windows PCs are needed and will never go away. However, I find a Chromebook to be a rather refreshing and enjoyable experience and think they make excellent low-priced secondary computers for professionals.

When we are not working, many of us spend hours surfing the Internet, enjoying media, interacting with friends on social networks, and more. It's nice to get away from the work computer and have some fun.

There are also millions of people who spend the majority of their time in a web browser and for them Chromebooks are an excellent choice. There is no worry about security updates, outdated software, sluggishness as systems clog up, and other issues I spent many hours troubleshooting for family and friends.

My youngest daughter has a Samsung Chromebook as her PC and thinks it is a full computer since it meets all of her computing needs. In a year I have spent zero hours providing troubleshooting services and for those of you who do provide these services, likely most of the readers here at ZDNet, that is an awesome testament to Chrome OS and its user-friendly nature.

Chromebooks are not for everyone, but I think they are perfect for a significant number of people. We get a lot of naysayers in the comments when we talk about Chromebooks, but my recommendation is to give one a try and see how little time you spend in frustration managing Windows.

Additional ZDNet Chromebook coverage

Topics: Mobility, Google, Laptops, Google Apps

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  • I accept the author's premise

    that you want to get away from the work computer for fun. I agree entirely. However, the Chromebook is too much like the "work computer" form factor for my tastes. That, to me, is what tablets are for.

    Laptops you sit at the desk with, or on a couch near a power outlet.

    Tablets you hang anywhere with, no complex assembly required. No propping open a keyboard that spills onto the lap. Plus - games. Tablets have 'em (in a meaningful sense, not in a geek out "wow, its cool you recreated Asteroids in HTML5" sense.)
  • the only thing worse than votes before ZDNet debates begin

    are the self-congratulatory posts by the winning debater.
    • Much worse....

      ...is this ridiculous article by the loser trying to pull a sleight of hand claiming he won.

      What warped crazed universe do Microsoft's consultants/ad people come from?
      • response

        so you are saying by sending people to this link that Google chrome is some all seeing wannabe control methodology?
        then what is windows and Microsoft.
        you think because gates and micro wallet runs the show...i am afraid no more.
        why cant other companies come along and provide a better leaner service so what Google sells its bits on their system?
        Amazon uses the kindle to sell its books and music big deal.
        why F**K peoples heads up with this type of propaganda, telling people that microsoft is king and you can do anything on it?
        windows netbooks are twice the price than Chromebooks and twice as costly when things start to go wrong! why dish this kind of counter S**T to people who are insecure and don't know much?
        there are so many tablets out there now that don't do Windows are they all crap non conforming Windows non members.
        The article was good in that yes you run a big 15 inch Windows machine with a CD driver. for your mother-ship use.
        You run a chromebook when you are doing your James Bond stuff and you are out and about in hotels or on holiday.
        for F***K sake Mah get a life or one day you may find you have an infra red dot on your chest.
        James Harrington
  • There are Zero logical reasons to buy a Chromebook


    There is no rational explanation to buy a device that only runs a browser.
    • because

      you matter, i'm sure.
    • I can give you one

      Getting a really good netbook for a low price. That Acer C720 seems to have pretty great hardware in it. I plan to buy one soon. I don't plan on using Chrome OS, I'll replace it with the latest version of OpenSUSE or Mint.

      The biggest issues with Chromebooks are Chrome OS. I agree that it's a kind of pointless OS since it's so browser focused that it purposefully limits what can be done with it. Installing a good linux distro will instantly give you a very solid machine that should provide an experience that makes the cost of the machine worth it. The real debate should have been about the merits of Chrome OS itself. Android on the same hardware could arguably provide a better experience than Chrome OS ever could.

      On another note...

      I'm actually kind of seeing what Opera may be planning by basing their browser around Google's tech now. Opera books, a Chromebook with Opera as the base that won't be gimped like Chrome OS. It may happen.
    • That is certainly may be true for some......

      ....particularly the host of regular Microsoft shills (like yourself) who frequent Chromebook blogs. However 61% on visitors to this site said they had reasons to buy Chromebooks, and that is the bottom line.

      I think Microsoft may well have organised enough shills and trolls to dominate Chromebook blog posts as they do nowadays, but they didn't hire enough to sway the voting to more than the 39% they scored for the No camp. Ah well - some thing for the future I guess - there is about $500 million to spend on Windows PR.
    • I'm with Owl;Net

      The only reason to buy a Chromebook where a simple smartphone do more than that is just because you want to spend your money...
      • ?

        Smartphone come with full size keyboards now?
    • Reasons

      Well it's totally secure locally, very light, highly mobile, able to do for most people all a laptop, a tablet, even a smartphone can do - and do it very efficiently and at zero cost using broadband wifi connections - available in the UK anyway pretty well everywhere. It is usable without almost any training by all members of the family immediately on opening. The Chrome OS is being continually improved at zero inconvenience to the user. There are no ongoing costs except (for me) the incredibly cheap cost of using the super quality gmail phone.
      For a longtime user of cumbersome PCs and laptops its a revelation - oh and the battery allows me 7 hours use before recharging. Cheers!
  • ChromeOS is still born

    And has been since Dec 2010. Let it die. There are many many FREE web browsers out there.
  • There are good reasons to buy a Chromebook?

    Maybe one day someone here would posts some of those reasons.
    • You can't think of any good reason!

      I can :-P
    • they have

      in the last few weeks they've been posted over and over again. that you choose to ignore them is not our problem.
    • Plenty of good reasons to buy a Chromebook.

      Owl;Net and the others are simply wrong. It's not even debatable. There are some very good reasons to buy a Chromebook. I listed them in my comment on the original debate so I'm not going to repeat them here, but it comes down to this: to keep my back from further pain with heavy but cheap laptops, I was planning to buy a nice, light MacBook Air. I bought the Chromebook instead. I've never regretted the purchase for a second. Not one second.

      Under certain circumstances (and apparently those circumstances don't fit Owl;Net's personal requirements) the Chromebook is the best buy. Sure, you're tied into the Chrome environment, but if your primary use for a laptop is to write in Google docs (as is mine), then the Chromebook is a perfect choice:
      * Cheaper than a tablet
      * Excellent keyboard and trackpad
      * Light as hell
      * $250
      If you want to spend the additional $750 to do the same thing, then, by all means, knock yourself out. As for the "what if you want to do something else" argument, just forget it. In the first place, I don't want to do something else with the laptop, I write in Google Docs with it. That's what I bought it to do. And in the second place, you can use that argument to make any point ("What if you want to work in Ubuntu?" What if you want a black case?").

      William.Farrell, you asked for good reasons to buy a Chromebook. Whether you choose to acknowledge them is up to you.
  • re: they make excellent low-priced secondary computers for professionals

    Hardly a resounding endorsement don't you think?

    That non-endorsement is saying as long as someone has a real computer then somehow it is a good idea to spend hundreds of dollars on a secondary computer that only runs the Chrome web browser..

    A secondary device that doesn't really do all the fun things tablets offer or any of the multitude of things any other laptop offers that run Windows/Linux.

    Net gain.... nothing.

    Install Chrome browser on the real computer and net gain = saved hundreds of dollars to spend on a real secondary device that actually offers something useful.
    • Odd... I can do far more on my system than Windows can.

      And with less expense too. Multiple databases if I want. Multiple user environments (my choice is not the same as the other users, some people like Gnome 3 for some reason, I like LXDE. others like KDE...

      Windows? no choice.

      Browsers? lots of choice. Windows RT? no choice.

      Development languages? anything that isn't proprietary to Microsoft. From compiler development, database development, user interface development, web... Lots of choices. Native applications using web tech? no problem.

      Windows? Not so much.

      And I don't even have to put up with Microsoft licensing or anti-virus protection.
      • Sounds like your talking about

        A full installation of a Linux distro, did you miss the point that this discussion is about Chrome?
      • Licensing

        You do realize that every OS has licensing right - probably a stack of licenses? If it's the cost per license, well that's your own thing. I prefer to pay for things and have recourse than being left with "the you get what you pay for" remedy. And A/V is now par for the course for our OSX and Android devices. But, whatever, let the hate flow.