The case of expensive Chromebooks

Yesterday I noticed that the Samsung Galaxy 2020 Chromebook was available for $ 699, a reduction of $ 300. I suggested that there was a key question for you to ask yourself before deciding between it and the current model, the Galaxy Chromebook 2, which has a $ 699 configuration.

As I often do when I talk about Chromebooks that cost this much, I get comments that push back the hefty price tag.

The Arguments Against Expensive Chromebooks

Yesterday was no exception, but I’m not trying to point out the only comment on expensive Chromebooks. There are always people who think that $ 699, maybe even $ 599, is just too much to pay for one. And it’s good. I respect their opinions. I don’t know their particular use cases or their IT needs.

But there’s often a consensus that Chromebooks in this price range and beyond are just too much.

Why? Many reasons are advanced, the most often cited below:

  • I can get the same or better hardware at this price with a Windows laptop.
  • Chromebooks are supposed to be cheap.
  • You can do a lot more with a Windows or macOS laptop

Let me address these general views separately.

Hardware for the price between Chromebooks and Windows

Yes, if you look around you can easily find a comparably priced Windows laptop with better specs than a Chromebook. They’re over there; I do not dispute this. But you can give up some hardware abilities to get better ones in other areas.

More importantly, those two questions are: do you need a faster processor, more memory, and more storage for what you’re doing? And are you relying on Windows apps? If so, go for it! But my observation would be that you weren’t looking for a Chromebook anyway.

Criticism is like telling someone who buys a 4 × 4 that they can get a lot more car for the same price.

The point is, specifications shouldn’t be the deciding factor in purchasing a laptop. What you need to do and how you plan to use it. In other words: if you buy a Windows laptop with better specs than a similarly priced Chromebook, but you’re going to be living in the browser all day, what do you really gain?

You might get improved performance, although this is not guaranteed. Chrome OS might not be the fastest operating system in comparison, but it generally performs well on less heavy hardware.

And if you’re in the Chromebook market and a bigger investment gives you a better experience based on a lighter device, better build quality or materials, and maybe a better screen, why is that a bad one? thing?

Google Pixelbook

I have personally purchased at least three Chromebooks that cost over $ 1,000. They were worth every penny because they “do” all the things a cheaper Chromebook can offer, but it’s a better experience.

Whether it’s faster performance, higher resolution screen, more storage, whatever the case is, it’s worth the extra money for me. If it wasn’t, I would have bought a cheaper model and be done with it.

You could say the same for macOS and Windows machines. Across all price ranges, they all generally “do” the same things, limited only by system resources and software requirements.

Otherwise, you’ll have to buy an “Office-compatible” laptop instead of choosing a Windows machine to run Office, for example.

Yes, there are exceptions to this; the game comes to mind, for example. Overall, however, devices that support one software ecosystem typically support the entire ecosystem.

Another example: What can a MacBook Pro do that a cheaper MacBook can’t? There are several things. This could be the number of supported external monitors, for example. But the applications and use cases? Pretty much the same.

So why are people paying more for a Pro model? Because they want a better experience, whether it’s faster video rendering or overall vividness. It may be a specific port of the non-Pro model. In most typical use cases? These do the same.

The same goes for choosing between a $ 499 Chromebook and one that costs closer to a large one.

Windows 10 on a Chromebook with Parallels

Maybe you are a business user who has a few Windows apps preventing you from using a Chromebook. You can use Parallels Desktop for Chrome Enterprise in this case. But you’re going to have to spend more money on this Chromebook. The system requirements for a $ 499 Chromebook won’t be enough.

“Chromebooks Are Supposed To Be Inexpensive”

In a word: No.

In other words: The reason the first Chromebooks from 10 years ago were cheap was because, as a proof of concept, they were built on existing netbook hardware. Netbooks have been cheap. But Chromebooks have evolved since then, although some haven’t seen it.

Chromebook CR-48

Could today’s inexpensive netbook run Android apps? Not good. Could they manage a full Linux distribution in a VM in a container? Heck no. Unfortunately, some have delved into the “Chromebooks = Netbooks” equation when it comes to price. This is simply not true.

The mantra “Google said they were supposed to be cheap” is also not the mantra that must die already. I explained that this was not the case when the first Chrome OS demo was over 10 years ago.

Chromebooks: speed, simplicity and security

You can hear it in Sundar Pichai’s own words in this demo as he describes the “three S” of Chrome OS: speed, simplicity, and security. These three S’s are still the pillars of Chrome OS and internal Chromebooks at Google. At least they were when I worked there in 2017. I haven’t heard of any other new or replaced pillars.

For the same price, you can do more with macOS or Windows

I will not dispute this. If you prefer or need to use specific desktop apps, you shouldn’t buy a Chromebook.

But here’s the problem: If it does, you’re not going to be buying a Chromebook anyway. Or at least you shouldn’t be unless you want to brace yourself for disappointment. Don’t blame the tool because you bought the wrong one.

Visual Code Live Server

Keep in mind that Chrome OS and Chromebooks continue to have new features that may meet your needs. I know I keep beating a dead horse saying I’m in college computer science with a Chromebook. But this is the best example I can find for what I do.

The addition of Linux support made this possible. If I was a full-time YouTuber or CAD user, I would surely look for an alternative platform that better meets my needs.

Since I’m relying on Linux, I could just use a Linux laptop for my lessons and whatever browser I like for typical Chromebook use. But Linux doesn’t respond to these three S’s, which I have come to appreciate.

The speed on Linux is pretty good. Security is excellent. Simplicity? Yeah, not so much. I could do it for sure; I have a linux laptop to test some things. However, I appreciate the simplicity of my Chromebook which handles the same tasks.

And if I were a full-time developer, I wouldn’t have any problem paying $ 999 or more for a Chromebook that meets my needs. I know some developers are reading this site. When I put forward a new Chromebook, even a high-end model, they want more. “Give me 32 GB of RAM so I can do my job faster,” they tell me.

This is of course a specific niche and does not represent the vast majority of Chromebook users. However, they are showing a demand for devices which are the best tools for their trade. And they know they will be spending a lot of money on them.

Choose the platform that meets your needs and move on

Look, I understand. Not everyone sees the value of a Chromebook that costs $ 699 or more. For what I’m doing, I haven’t seen the need to spend several thousand dollars on a Mac Pro. Some people see this value and there is nothing wrong with it.

Yet for some reason – mainly misperceptions and a lack of prioritization when making purchasing decisions – the pricing logic applied to Chromebooks seems to be skewed.

Again, you should be getting the right tools for your tasks. If you need any bells or whistles with this tool and can afford it, go for it. But already enough with generalizations that expensive Chromebooks shouldn’t exist. They do this for good reasons that apply to the people who buy them. And I don’t expect that to change.

About Jon Moses

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