The best Chromebook
The best Chromebook for most for us is the Chromebook 13 from Acer. It comes in a high quality aluminum finish housing and has useful connectors like USB Type-C and card reader. The screen is brighter than the competitors and it is higher with 3K. The keyboard is suitable for frequent writers with its write feedback, as well as being illuminated. Depending on your wishes and budget, you can purchase the 13.5 incher with a Pentium, but also with a (more expensive) Core i5. There is also a variant with touch screen.
Chromebooks have evolved in recent years from a ridiculous niche to a self-confident device class. If you are looking for a low-cost notebook for easy productivity, entertainment and surfing on the Internet, you do not necessarily have to get stuck with the Windows operating system. A Chromebook is often the cheaper, safer and better alternative for everyday life.
Most are already more in the cloud than they think. They use Outlook online, store files, documents, and spreadsheets in Google Docs and use the online version of a control software. Then the step to the Chromebook is not far away.
Whether you’re satisfied with a Chromebook, however, depends very much on your computing needs. If you’re a creative content maker using the best software, such as Adobe or Autodesk, Chromebooks are a bad choice. If you’re a gamer who wants to play the full variety of games, Chromebooks are just as unattractive.
Chromebooks are ideal for anyone who works mostly online
But if you are looking for a machine that you want to work predominantly online with that always works, and you do not want to worry about security software and the latest drivers, then Chromebooks are a great choice. The likelihood that an inexperienced user will render the computer unusable also tends to zero. That’s why Chromebooks are ideal for both computer beginners and the elderly.
Short overview: Our recommendations
Acer Chromebook 13 CB713-1W-P1EB
bought by 8 readers
The Acer Chromebook 13 CB713 has a classy, sturdy aluminum case and a powerful Intel Core i5 processor. The seven-hour battery life is impressive, and the display can optionally be purchased with a touch screen. The USB Type-C connector allows you to connect DisplayPort, HDMI, DVI and VGA monitors with the appropriate adapters. The comparatively bright screen with the 3K resolution of 2,256 x 1,504 pixels offers much pleasure.
In addition, the Chromebook 13 has a screen in 4: 3 format. This is very convenient for writing emails or editing text. The other Chromebooks have widescreen displays that are more suitable for movies and TV shows than for productive work.
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The Medion Chromebook S2015 comes into question, if it depends on every euro and for a low price so many disadvantages. Only just 190 euros this 11.6 incher costs.
The device is comparatively weak in performance (Qualcomm, ARM chip), but has a running time of just under 8 hours. The screen is not very bright, but anti-reflective. A matte display – that’s not even our test winner of Acer or the Lapbook Air 14.1.
We do not want to conceal the disadvantages: The Medion looks in its plastic look with the round corners like a toy, the keyboard is rickety and the display is of inferior quality than its competitors.
|test winner||Price-performance tip|
|model||Acer Chromebook 13 CB713-1W-P1EB||Medion S2015||Acer Chromebook 11 CB5-132T-C4LB||HP Chromebook 14 G5 (3VK05EA # ABD)||Dell Chromebook 13 UK (7310-9132)|
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|Show technical data|
|screen||13.5 inches / IPS (touch optional)||11.6 inches / TN||11.6 inches / IPS Touch Convertible||14 inches / IPS touch||13.3 inches / IPS|
|CPU (cores / threads / clock)||Intel Pentium Gold 4415U
(2/4 / 2.30 GHz)
|Qualcomm Rockchip RK3288 Quad Core Cortex A17 Processor
|Intel Celeron N3160
(4/4 / 1.60 GHz)
|Intel Celeron N3350
(2/2 / 1.10 GHz)
|Intel Core i3-5005U
(2/4 / 2.00 GHz)
|random access memory||8 GB, soldered, not expandable||2 GB, soldered, not expandable||4 GB||8 GB, soldered, not expandable||4 GB|
|Storage||64 GB Flash (eMMC)||16 GB Flash (eMMC)||32 GB Flash (eMMC)||32 GB Flash (eMMC)||16 GB M.2 SATA (2242)|
|connections||2x USB-C 3.0 with DisplayPort, 1x USB-A 3.0, microSD||2x USB-A 2.0, HDMI, SD reader, Kensington||1x USB-A 3.0, 1x USB-A 2.0, HDMI, SD||2x USB-C 3.0, 2x USB-A 3.0, microSD||1x USB-A 3.0, 1x USB-A 2.0, HDMI, microSD|
|Battery life according to the manufacturer||10 h||k. A.||10 h||10 h||k. A.|
|Battery life in the test||7 h||7:45 h||6.5 h||7,5 h||8.5 h|
|Wireless||WLAN-ac, Bluetooth 4.2||WLAN-ac, Bluetooth 4.2||WLAN-ac, Bluetooth 4.0||WLAN-ac, Bluetooth 4.2||WLAN-ac, Bluetooth 4.0|
|Dimensions||309 x 246 x 16.9 mm||293 x 210 x 23 mm||294 x 204 x 19.2 mm||337 x 226 x 18 mm||323.4 x 225.8 x 18.4 mm|
|model||NX.H0SEG.001||MD61196||NX.G54EG.007||3VK05EA # ABD||7310-9132 UK version|
Why a Chromebook?
Chromebooks are laptops or touch-screen convertible PCs equipped with the Google Chrome OS, a Linux distribution operating system. Technically, Chromebooks are the same as any Windows laptop on the market, so they have the same processors, graphics cards, chipsets and memory packs.
Since Chromebooks tend to be offered in the lower price range, the hardware just belongs to this entry-level class. Typically Intel’s Celeron, Pentium or Core i3 processors are currently installed. Core i5 or better are the exception on a few premium Chromebooks.
Edit presentations – right in the Chrome browser.
What can Chromebooks do??
Unlike a classic notebook application programs run mostly as an application in the Chrome browser. Data and settings are usually not stored locally, but stored in the Google Cloud and made available online.
Specifically, you can sign in to any Chromebook with your Google account and you’ll have your files, browser bookmarks, and passwords at your fingertips. The device is thus quickly exchangeable and you will not suffer any loss of data if you ever lose it.
With a Chromebook, you can also work offline
The flip side of the coin: you usually need an internet connection. But who emails & Documents on Google has (Gmail & Google Drive) can also work offline with the Chromebook. All you have to do is install the Google Docs Offline Chrome extension.
What are the advantages of Chromebooks over Windows??
A big advantage of Chromebooks is that there are no viruses. Long-time Chromebook users hear that they never have a problem with that.
Updates to the Chrome OS OS install inconspicuously in the background, then appear as a clock in the system tray. The next time you reboot, the Chromebook automatically updates without the reboot taking just one second longer.
Chromebooks also power up very quickly, even when the device is completely turned off. The reason – Chrome OS is primarily a browser. There are not dozens of locally running background programs, which would have to be loaded into the main memory during a restart. As Windows computers grow slower and slower over the years, with so many background programs, drivers, and crammed registry files, even after years, a Chromebook goes up the same speed as the first day.
Friends and strangers can log in as guests and can not access your personal Google account or your data.
Google Docs – your central file storage in the cloud.
The newer Chromebooks support Android apps, which can then be used on the device. However, this also depends on whether the app supports the big screen and the non-smartphone input devices. Various Android apps for Smarthome solutions did not run on our test Chromebooks (“Your hardware is not supported”).
Chromebooks are frugal, do not require powerful processors, and can handle a minimum of local storage. Such hardware is cheap, especially since you also save the license for Microsoft Windows.
Because everything is stored in the cloud, system backups are unnecessary. Nevertheless, we recommend storing important files locally or on an alternate cloud server. This secures the, albeit unlikely, case that even a Google server could crash.
What are the disadvantages of Chromebooks??
Chromebooks only work if you can sign in through your personal Google Account, which syncs your data and settings. So you need an internet connection – at least for the registration. If you’re already signed in, you can also work locally on your Google Docs and Sheets.
Can I open Office documents??
Since you can not install Windows programs on Chromebooks, many fear that they will be unable to open and edit their databases with countless Microsoft Office documents.
In this regard, we can give the all-clear. Chrome OS can edit Office files. In addition, there are now numerous online tools that can be used with Word, Excel or PowerPoint in the web browser. Other files, such as Photoshop image files, can also be edited using a Photoshop version for the browser.
Chrome OS can edit Office files
This is now true for most mainstream file formats. The software vendors have responded to Chrome OS and offer appropriate online solutions. First and foremost, this is Microsoft’s Office 365. The entire Office 365 subscription is designed to eliminate the need for local installations.
Office 365 – work in Word, right next to it is a Skype chat.
Are there computer games for Chromebooks?
All types of browser games are fully playable on Chromebooks. You can find these games easily via Google on the Internet. The games are not installed, but executed directly on the respective website (flash-based). Since they are executed on the respective servers – that is, in the cloud – they occupy little or no space on the local storage.
Qualitatively, these games are far from what you know about Windows or console games today. This is due, on the one hand, to the weak hardware of Chromebooks, but above all to the weak web interface over which all data of the game must be sent.
Android apps from the PlayStore are also executable, as long as they are compatible with the PC hardware. For Android, there are thousands of games that you can run on a current Chromebook on Chrome OS.
You can not start Windows games. On the one hand Windows programs are not installable at all and on the other hand the hardware would be much too weak in most cases or the internal memory would not be sufficient for the installation.
Work productively with the Chromebook
Chromebooks are more powerful today than they were in the beginning. This applies less to the hardware but more to the software environment. Chrome OS is mature, with almost a whole universe of online tools that let you edit office files, watch movies, or write emails. Google itself offers Google Docs (word processing) and Google Sheets (spreadsheets).
Edit spreadsheets, directly in the Chrome browser.
Chromebooks can do a serious job, you just need to know where to take the apps that provide this functionality. The power of Chromebooks includes surfing, mailing, chatting, office work such as creating documents, spreadsheets and presentations, as well as moderate image editing. With regard to audio and video production, Chrome OS is rather inappropriate, the system is geared more to consumption than to sophisticated creative tools and production.
The fact that there are some offline apps available in the Web Store is a relief. This benefits everyone who does not have a permanent Internet connection, such as when traveling by train or plane. Android apps are supported by most current Chromebooks. If so, you can load apps from the Play Store.
Print with the Chromebook
Printing with a Chromebook can be a small hurdle, especially if you’re using legacy USB or network printers. Normally, you simply use Google’s Cloud Print, but the printer must be cloud-ready or at least connected to a network.
It’s easier with HP printers. Use the HP Print App for Chrome, which enables printing over the Internet or even via USB, to get your print jobs started.
From ChromeOS Version 56 Google supports the recognition of USB printers. Printer recognition works via the Common Unix Printing System (CUPS). However, Google prefers to bind its users to its own cloud printing service. Therefore, printer discovery is not automated and must be enabled first.
Enter chrome: // flags in the browser, this opens the hidden settings. Scroll down and turn on the Native CUPS Chrome OS switch. After rebooting, the Chromebook will find the printer via USB. This feature should work with USB printers from all manufacturers.
Media streaming and playback
Chromebooks are primarily used for media consumption. They perform well in this regard, especially if they also bring a full HD screen. The Celeron, Pentium, or Intel Core processors deliver 1080p playback and stream FHD content without hiccups. At 4K, older Celeron models could already throw in the towel. Because good off-line video playback software is scarce – and space is scarce anyway – Chromebooks are better at streaming media than offline playback.
For those who want to put their movies on the built-in memory, USB drive or SD card, there are apps like VLC. Of course, Chromebooks are also compatible with the Google Chromecast. We just need to click a button in the Chrome browser to start a Chromecast. Media content is immediately displayed on a connected TV or screen. Chromecast requires either a Chromecast USB cable or a Miracast dongle.
Who wants to output image content in 4K on an external monitor or TV, should pay attention to USB Type-C ports with DisplayPort support (60 Hz) and at least on a current Celeron, Pentium or Core processor. We do not recommend the HP Chromebook 14 G5 with the old Celeron in this regard. 4K movie playback is possible because most movies run at 24 frames per second, but it can often jerk and load times can lead to frustration due to the weak CPU.
The HDMI port, if any, is typically HDMI 1.4 compliant. This excludes 4K resolutions at 60 Hz. There are no native apps for Netflix or Hulu. Users must use the website or the corresponding Android apps, if supported. The same applies to music streaming services such as Spotify, Pandora, Groove Music etc. YouTube and Google Play Music are also only run on the respective websites.
Test winner: Acer Chromebook 13 CB713
Acer’s Chromebook 13 CB713 has convinced us across the board. We’ve evaluated the Chromebooks solely for their workmanship, screen, ports, input devices, and their technical components. Chrome OS was left out of the evaluation, because that’s completely the same for every model.
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