Advantages and Disadvantages ChromeOS and Chromebooks

ChromeOS and Chromebooks: Advantages and Disadvantages

ChromeOS is a 32-bit and 64-bit operating system developed by Google that was first introduced in 2011. It is based on the Linux kernel and it is a reimagining and repurposing of the Google Chrome web browser. This operating system primarily supports web applications. This means that it functions as a portal for accessing the internet and facilitating the connections and interactions between users and applications or data stored in the cloud.

Devices based on the ChromeOS are called Chromebooks. These computers work as web clients that also feature a mixture of notable thin client and thick client characteristics. Hence, based on these characteristics, Chromebooks are lightweight and energy-efficient computers optimized for interfacing with server-based or cloud-based computing environments.

The introduction of ChromeOS and Chromebooks is part of the attempt of Google to popularize cloud computing. Nonetheless, although ChromeOS has several notable selling propositions and advantages, it also has several drawbacks or disadvantages that make it less appealing than more established desktop operating systems such as Windows from Microsoft, macOS from Apple, and various Linux distributions such as Debian, Linux Mint, and Ubuntu.

Pros of ChromeOS: Reasons Why You Should Buy and Use a Chromebook

1. Fast and Smooth Operations

One of the primary advantages of ChromeOS over mainstream desktop operating systems such as Windows and macOS is that it is lightweight. It requires minimal hardware specifications to run. This operating system is both effective and efficient when it comes to utilizing hardware resources or when used for general-purpose computing.

Manufacturers of Chromebooks also optimize ChromeOS for selected hardware components. These devices use solid-state drives for internal storage for faster overall performance and use power-efficient processors to balance between performance and power consumption. Some are also based on RISC and ARM instruction set architectures.

2. Straightforward User Experience

The user interface of Chrome OS is simple and clean. It is even simpler and cleaner than macOS and more straightforward than Windows. Remember that this operating system is simply a web client. It is technically a web browser that runs on a Chromebook. The overall graphical user interface is also similar to the Android operating system.

Setting up a ChromeOS is straightforward as well. Users need to power on their Chromebooks and log in using their Google account to get started. There is minimal maintenance requirement. Google updates the operating system automatically and regularly. Apps are also updated through a centralized application management system.

3. Strong Integration With Android

Another notable advantage of ChromeOS is that more recent models or editions of Chromebooks from various manufacturers since 2016 now support Android applications. This means that most apps that run on an Android operating system and Android devices can now natively run on this desktop OS and supported Chromebook devices.

The compatibility of Android apps also means that the entire app ecosystem for ChromeOS has greatly expanded. Users can select, download, and use apps from both the Chrome Web Store and the Google Play Store. Most Android apps that work offline will also work in this operating system even without internet access.

4. Designed for Average Productivity

Google has an interesting argument for ChromeOS. It believes that most computer users spend most of their time in front of their devices accessing the internet. This operating system is built with web browsing and cloud computing in mind. It is also aligned with the cloud-based apps and services of Google which include the Google Workspace.

ChromeOS is also not just a web browser. It runs several productivity apps from Google. These include Docs, Sheets, Slides, and Drive. These are the counterpart to the Microsoft Office. It also runs Google-branded communication apps such as Gmail and Google Meet. There is also a wide selection of useful applications from third parties.

5. Affordable and Portable Computer

Affordability and portability are two of the main selling points of ChromeOS and Chromebooks. The minimal hardware requirements of ChromeOS drive down the price of Chromebooks. Note that most of these devices are cheaper than Windows netbooks or entry-level Mac computers. Retail price is around USD 300.00 to USD 400.00.

The inexpensive price points of Chromebooks and their mobility make them ideal for entry-level users such as children and students. The availability of several productivity apps available via the Chrome Web Store or Google Play Store also makes them suitable workstations for professionals and even organizations with budget restrictions.

Cons of ChromeOS: Reasons Why You Should Not Buy and Use a Chromebook

1. Not Ideal for Advanced or Heavy Users

One of the primary drawbacks or disadvantages of ChromeOS and Chromebooks is their limited computing capabilities. Chromebooks are not capable of running resource-intensive tasks or apps such as full-featured photo editing and video editing software programs. Windows and Mac computers are still suited for these needs and use cases.

A Chromebook is also not a gaming device, and ChromeOS is not designed for hardcore gamers. The Chrome Web Store and Google Play Store still have a large number of mobile game titles but are not on par with game titles available for Windows and mainstream video game consoles such as the PlayStation, Xbox, and Nintendo Switch line of consoles.

2. Dependent on Fast and Reliable Internet

There are apps for ChromeOS that are developed to run offline. It is still important to underscore the fact that the main selling point of this operating system is cloud computing. ChromeOS and Chromebooks are optimized to run less resource-intensive apps and act as a thin client and a specific web client for accessing online-enabled apps.

Most Chromebooks also do not have large storage capacities. This is the reason why most of the entertainment features of ChromeOS depend on online video and music streaming services such as YouTube, Netflix, or Spotify. Remember that office productivity applications from Google are also web-based and internet-dependent.

3. Unnecessary If Users Own Other Devices

Another disadvantage of ChromeOS and a drawback of purchasing and owning a Chromebook is redundancy. It would not be cost-effective if a user already owns another device running another operating system. Examples include an iPadOS device or an Android tablet. Both iPadOS and Android have large and competitive app ecosystems.

Both ChromeOS and Chromebook are also useless if a user already owns a Windows or Mac computer. The Chrome web browser can also run ChromeOS apps. Windows also supports Android apps. Microsoft Surface and MacBook Air have the form factor advantages of Chromebooks but with better computing capabilities.

Rundown: Pros and Cons of ChromeOS and Chromebooks

The main advantages of ChromeOS and Chromebooks center on the fact that they provide an affordable platform for general-purpose computing. The availability of apps from the Chrome Web Store and Google Play Store has increased the appeal and utility of both the operating system and the corresponding device. However, considering alternatives and substitutes, both the OS and the device are redundant. There is a huge selection of Android tablets at various price points. The iPad from Apple also remains the best line of tablets in the market. Windows and macOS remain the ideal desktop OS for personal and workstation computing. ChromeOS and Chromebooks have notable limitations such as limited storage space and limited computing or processing capabilities.