Why Chromebooks Might Still Be Your Best Laptop Option

Jack Wallen has supported Chromebooks for years and believes they are more relevant than ever. I found out why.

Image: Jack Wallen

Let me start by saying this: Windows 11 will not support your aging hardware. Machines equipped with 6th Generation Intel Skylake and earlier processors and non-Zen AMD processors will not meet Windows 11 requirements. According to Microsoft, these processors do not meet “the principles of safety and reliability and the minimum system requirements for Windows 11 “. At the same time, Microsoft announced that Windows 11 will require 8th generation Intel Coffee Lake or Zen 2 processors.

So where is the love for 7th generation processors?

To say the least, there has been a whirlwind of confusion around what Windows 11 will and will not support. Suffice it to say, if your computer is around five years old, you will need to purchase a new machine if you want to run Windows 11.

This means that now is the perfect time to consider a Chromebook as your mobile device of choice.

Why? You have always used Windows. While I would much prefer to convince you to switch to Linux, I know the reality is that most people have specific requirements for their operating system. While I’m pretty confident that Linux can meet these needs, I’m also even more confident that Chrome OS is more than capable of meeting and exceeding the demands of the average user.

Let me explain.

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According to Canalys data, in the first quarter of 2020, 3.198 million Chromebooks were shipped. The first quarter of 2021 saw a staggering 11.979 million units shipped. That’s a staggering 275% growth in just one year. Now let’s take a look at a very surprising global market share statistic. According to Statistics counter, the global operating systems market share looks like this:

  • Android – 41.42%

  • Windows – 30.86%

  • iOS – 16.1%

  • macOS – 6.65%

  • Linux 1.01%

Understand that this is the global market share, which is very different from, say, the US market, which looks like this:

  • iOS – 29.72%

  • Windows – 29.15%

  • Android – 21.28%

  • macOS – 13.25%

  • Chrome OS – 3.66%

  • Linux – 1.13%

If we look at these numbers individually, we might conclude that Chrome OS just doesn’t compete. If, however, we look at this as a whole, we see that the landscape is very different from what it once was. In the global and US markets, a mobile operating system tops the charts. In other words, motive rules the earth. Even though Chrome OS barely registers, let’s consider what I said earlier: when Windows 11, much of the current hardware won’t be supported.

This means that users have several options:

  • Keep using Windows 10 until it reaches end of life.

  • Buy a new computer that supports Windows 11

  • Migrate to another cheaper option (like a Chromebook)

This last point is crucial. The world has just emerged from the shadows of a pandemic, which means (for many) the money is tight. After coming out of this nightmare, no one wants to spend money on a new computer just because an operating system upgrade is imminent.

It’s more than just a cost

Of course, the cost of entry can’t be the only reason to adopt a Chromebook. After all, Windows 10 is supported until October 14, 2025. Now is the time. There is certainly more to it.

If you tried out a Chromebook early in its existence, you may have concluded that you need more than just a browser, and a laptop that requires constant connection is a deciding factor. For that I have two immediate answers:

  1. Chrome OS is now much more than a “just browser”. You can run Android apps, Linux apps, and enjoy additional features that even make it easier to interact with your Android devices.

  2. Internet connectivity is everywhere. If you live or work in a location without an internet connection, you probably aren’t using a computer in the first place. Additionally, Chrome OS can work offline.

I have two Chromebooks: a 2015 Pixel (which has reached end of life) and a 2019 Pixelbook. I still use both (I can’t ditch the Pixel screen and keyboard) to good effect. I run both Android and Linux apps on each which improves the usability for me. With these Chromebooks I can do just about anything, the big exception being video editing.

Let’s talk about cost. Take a look at ASUS and its premium laptops for Windows and Chrome OS.

The ASUS ProArt StudioBook Pro 17 with an Intel Xeon E-2276M (which is not the full version of this machine) sells for almost $ 10,000. This machine will support Windows 11. At the other end of the spectrum, the ASUS Chromebook Flip CM5, equipped with an AMD Ryzen 3 3250C, costs just under $ 500.

Now, most people aren’t going to drop $ 10,000 on a Windows laptop. The average user would probably be reluctant to pay $ 500 for a Chromebook, but they would certainly be more willing to give up that amount before spending a few months on the mortgage for a laptop.

What if you consider buying laptops for the same price. Suppose you have $ 500 to spend on a laptop (including taxes and / or shipping). You can buy this top-of-the-line ASUS Chromebook that will perform like a champ for years to come. Or, you can buy a low-end Windows laptop that may or may not accept the new Windows 11 upgrade and will likely be on the slow performance side.

Which one do you choose?

If you’re smart, you go with the Chromebook knowing that you’ll have a hassle-free experience that will run blazingly fast and avoid the malware and other nasties that plague Windows.

I get it: Chromebooks aren’t for everyone. However, they are the perfect laptop for the average user who spends the overwhelming majority of their time in a web browser. So many people thought Chrome OS was just a toy when it hit the market, but that clearly turned out to be wrong. Google created something that people actually needed, even when they had no idea the need was there. Considering the fluidity with which Chrome OS integrates with Google’s cloud tools, this is really a given to many.

Chromebooks are a smart choice for today’s users. They are inexpensive, foolproof, performant, and outlast the competition much longer. If you’re in the market for a new laptop, you’d be remiss if you didn’t take a look at these mobile wonders first.

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