The evolution of Chromebooks has seen them shift from being a device found predominantly in the classroom to a great companion also found within the home. With improved features, better designs, and affordable price points, Chromebooks have proven to be the perfect companion device that every household needs.
When they first hit the market a decade ago, an early focus on creating a cheap computing solution meant Chromebooks had compromises, but the situation has changed dramatically in the years since. Chromebooks have come a long way from the 11-inch clamshell designed for young children (although those models still exist). These days, it’s easy to find Chromebooks that have a really attractive design, full HD screens, better processors, and some even offer flexible 2-in-1 designs. And to top it off, they’re so much cheaper than most Windows laptops, and certainly MacBooks, and they’re safe, secure, and easy to use.
If you’re shopping for a companion device, or even a replacement for one of your devices, you should definitely consider a Chromebook. Modern Chromebooks have much more to offer than previous generations making them an ideal companion for a number of reasons.
An Alternative to Tablets (and Even Laptops)
Chromebooks are great alternatives to tablets, sharing many of the same benefits with some added perks. Like tablets, Chromebooks are lightweight and portable, reasonably affordable, have larger screens for consuming content on the go (compared to the size of mobile phone screens), have low power consumption, and their simplified functionality makes them super easy to use (ideal for older people and children). When it comes to watching Netflix and YouTube videos, Chromebooks have the added advantage of being able to stand on their own. The addition of a keyboard also makes messaging friends and family much quicker and easier.
Depending on your needs, Chromebooks can also be a great alternative to laptops. Chromebooks are much simpler devices and run on Chrome OS. They’re often significantly cheaper than a Windows laptop (and certainly cheaper than MacBooks) but as you’d expect, this means slightly less functionality in some areas. However, if you don’t need to run heavy or complex programmes, a Chromebook will serve you well in most cases. So many things – such as productivity apps for word processing, spreadsheets, and PowerPoints – can be used in a browser or a web app. Web apps are essentially websites that function like downloadable apps and Google has a web store full of them. If you can’t find a web app to meet your needs, modern Chromebooks also run Android apps which can be downloaded from the Google Play store. They also have the ability to run Linux, further broadening the possibilities of what you can do with a Chromebook.
A Great Media PC
If you’re shopping for a media streaming box or a media device for your household, you should include Chromebooks on your list of contenders. Paired with an HDMI cable, Chromebooks make a great media PC that’s affordable, compact, and easily kept out of the way when not in use. You get the freedom of the full web so you can stream movies and TV shows from Netflix, Amazon Prime, and other streaming services without shelling out the cost of a regular Windows PC.
If you’re not a fan of subscription-based streaming services, Chromebooks can also be used to stream media files from a media server such as Plex. This would allow you to access all of your media files such as movies, TV shows, music and via your Chromebook. To do this, you’ll need to have another device that you can use to set up and host your Plex Media Server. When that’s all set up, you can use your Chromebook to view your media files via the Plex Server on your web browser.
A Laptop Companion for Work or Study
Chromebooks are becoming an increasingly popular choice for people needing a lightweight, portable device for work and study. Whilst Chromebooks aren’t designed for tasks requiring large amounts of computing power such as video editing or 3D rendering, they are perfect for tasks involving note taking, communication, document creation, research, and many web-based activities. Even if you need the power of a full workstation laptop to get much of your work done, why take this heavy and power hungry device to meetings when something lighter and more streamlined for note taking and presentations could make a great companion to support your primary device?
Primary uses for work and study on the Chromebook will likely revolve around the use of productivity apps such as document and spreadsheet editors, or creating slideshows. On a Chromebook, you can utilise Office Online which runs in a web browser and offers nearly all the functionality of Microsoft 365. Better yet, because it’s powered by the cloud, you can access your documents from various devices and you’ll find that it sometimes gets updated with new features before they arrive on Microsoft 365.
Google and Parallels have released Parallels Desktop for Chromebook Enterprise – a paid user solution that will support running Windows apps on Chromebooks which will be perfect for users or organisations using enterprise Chromebooks. Another way a companion Chromebook could benefit your work and study life is its ability to be used as an external monitor.
Perfect for The Kids (Parental Control Options Included)
For the same reasons Chromebooks make a great alternative to tablets, they’re a superb choice for kids. They’ve long been appreciated for their kid-friendliness and simplicity and it’s a major reason why they’re so popular in the classroom. The Chromebook will not only keep the kids occupied and entertained, but they also offer a full computing experience (even for older kids) that enhances the way they can learn and study at home. To ensure child safety and your peace of mind, Chromebooks also provide the option to set up parental controls via its Family Link system. This lets you protect and monitor your kids’ online presence, and block and allow select websites.
Enhanced Casual Web Surfing
Mobile phones are the device most people use to casually check social media, browse the web, watch videos, and chat with friends. They’re not always the most functional option for some uses however, while laptops aren’t always the most convenient, Chromebooks are a great in between! They’re often smaller, lighter and more affordable than laptops, while having the convenience of a full-size screen (ideal for some web pages or watching videos) and a keyboard, which makes typing messages quicker and easier. And if you’re an Android user, many Chromebooks now have the ability to run Android apps with the ability to mirror what’s on your phone.
Modern Chromebooks have immensely stepped up their game. Ten years ago, it would have been tough to recommend a Chromebook as a household device. These days, there are so many instances where they’d be a perfect fit within the home. To find the perfect Chromebook for your household, click here to shop PB Tech’s full range.