Why You Should Buy a $249 Chromebook from Google

Why You Should Buy a $249 Chromebook from GoogleWhen the $249 Chromebook from Samsung was announced, I was immediately curious. Finally, it appeared that the unique notebook fitted with an OS that ran little more than a browser was priced fairly for what the user receives. At $249, the new Chromebook certainly hits that sweet spot for consumers where a purchase might be made on impulse rather than careful consideration.

Let’s start this analysis by getting the obvious points out of the way. The new Chromebook is running a dual-core ARM processor. Top performance shouldn’t be expected from any budget PC, let alone one that costs less than $300. The real appeal of the device comes to folks that want a nice portable Internet experience without having to lug around their primary PC. It’s a secondary device, and not something that Google is neither promoting nor expecting people to use as such. It might be a primary for a child or senior that just wants to use the Chromebook to check Gmail and do very basic Web browsing, but it is heavily promoted as more of a toss-around secondary option.

When Chris Pirillo picked up his Samsung Chromebook, it appeared as though it performed quite well, especially given the small price. He noted some of his pros and cons in a recent Google+ post.

Chris Pirillo’s Pros:

  • Price (dude, it’s $250)
  • Great Internet machine
  • Great keyboard
  • Power cable on the back
  • Feels light
  • Ample amount of apps (including Netflix)
  • 1080p on YouTube seemed fine
  • Offline Sync for Drive
  • Easy setup!
  • Easy updates
  • Perfect n00b / Internet computer
  • Clean design
  • Like a plastic MacBook Air
  • Guest mode!
  • Good usability
  • Remap function (CTRL/ALT) keyboard controls!

Chris Pirillo’s Cons:

  • Low contrast
  • Okay performance
  • Okay speakers
  • Barely “fine” webcam
  • Plastic construction (feels cheap)

My personal list of pros and cons falls in line with these, though I would add just a few usage scenarios that might make the Chromebook a much more appealing choice for users.

100 GB Google Storage Free for Two Years

When you buy a Chromebook, Google gives you 100 GB of free online storage for two years. If you factor in the price of this cloud storage option into the purchase price of your Chromebook, it ends up being practically free. Google Drive is a primary storage medium for business documents for a large number of professionals, and it’s almost essential for any cloud-based computing experience. You need to be able to store your files in the cloud, if only to prevent hardware failure or loss from separating you from your data.

12 Free Sessions of Gogo Inflight Internet Service

Purchasing a Chromebook also gives you a dozen free sessions of Gogo Inflight Internet Service. If you’re a frequent flier and having a connection to the Web in the air is important to you, this perk could save you some money. At a rate of about $15 per session, this deal would save you roughly $180. That’s not a bad deal considering the hardware isn’t much pricier than that. Throw in the online storage and Google is practically paying you to get a Chromebook.

Keeps Your Primary PC Safe

Being on the road with your laptop is a dangerous game. Someone could knock into you while you’re walking down the street, causing your laptop bag to fall and potentially damage your hardware. The very act of walking with a laptop jostles it and could cause issues over time. Having a cheaper laptop you can throw in your bag and head out the door with means not having to worry so much about your primary hardware. At $249, it’s practically disposable. The Chromebook itself is well made, and that more than I can say for many high-end laptops out there that would bend or break at the slightest drop.

Not to mention, who really wants to share their PC with the entire family? Kids can do all sorts of damage as they explore around your files and hit the delete button randomly. Unless you lock your system down (which not everyone really wants to do) then you’re opening yourself up to a number of problems. Why not just give your kids a Chromebook with parental controls set that they can take around the house with them? It beats having to replace your laptop after they decided to use it as a footstool.

What would your reasons be for picking up a Chromebook? Is $249 a decent price point for you?

Image: Google

Article Written by

Ryan Matthew Pierson has worked as a broadcaster, writer, and producer for media outlets ranging from local radio stations to internationally syndicated programs. His experience includes every aspect of media production. He has over a decade of experience in terrestrial radio, Internet multimedia, and commercial video production.

  • Aylin Gunes

    This is a good view point. After watching Chris’ video I was dissuaded from buying one because I noticed he kept saying well what do you want for $250. I realized it wasn’t for me b/c I enjoy video streaming on abc go or hbo go etc.

    • albucian

      And? What prevents you from doing that on a chromebook?

  • http://www.facebook.com/dclark313 David Clark

    Would like to see a comparison of the Chromebook vs. Windows RT (with keyboard).

    • https://plus.google.com/112301869379652563135/posts Ryan Matthew Pierson

      From my limited experience with both of them, I’d say Windows RT gives you more flexibility while Chromebook gives you peppier response and a better browser. You can’t install Chrome on Windows RT.

  • http://twitter.com/KarimAlkhayer Karim Alkhayer

    Thanks Ryan for compiling this article; I would like to share a few thoughts here:

    Technology allows having such commodity lap toys at reasonable prices; but what about usability?

    Primary HW? I would alternatively pick a cheaper/older laptop (with full OS, and even with a small capacity disk) as a “disposable computer” over this kind of equipment – the world isn’t “yet” ready for such architecture where you’d carry around one device (which hypothetically would seamlessly connect to your mobile, of other brand).

    Usability for kids, what do they do? Games, more games, maybe some educational apps (not all of them are Chrome compatible), eBooks, docs, photos and spreadsheets… are they ever willing to let others use the device? I know kids who won’t let anyone touch their cars or dolls!

    Pricing cannot be the prime factor for picking up such gizmo.
    Yes, it’s a gizmo, and okay, it’s affordable… but one would consider price tag across
    several options – what are the Chrome book rivals? Is it a Windows 8 RT, an
    iOS?

    In 1992, a grocery store in Rome-Italy; “1 kg of potatoes
    for 1,000 Italian Lira, 3 kg for 3,000”, pricing strategy is very important and
    one of the key factors for efficient sale’ strategy. But is it enough to make
    customers blind to other, better alternatives?

    Tech companies keep rolling out those “cloud based” devices, there is no coherence on what is the common model on how customers are dealing with all this stuff, forget about smart phones & tablets (they’re dominant technologies). What I want to stress out is that tolerable experiences should not be “re-marketed”. When this idiocy and madness are going to stop? When people are going to realize that personal computing isn’t only around social media and cheap hardware … Or, is it?

  • Curtis Coburn

    For it’s price, and targeted audience, I think it’s a steal. I know my grandma would love this computer because it’s easy to use, easy to set up, and it does all she needs, which is search the internet.
    But for me, someone who is getting into Android/iOS development, need a computer that can run the software needed for it.

  • srichard

    If your only real requirement is accessing the internet for email, social media, searches and entertainment then, barring any horrible marketing strategy, this product should sell really well. I know I’ll be getting one for my wife who uses her fairly beat-up laptop for exactly the things I listed. For $250 that’s a no-brainer.

  • http://twitter.com/dihart73 Dirk Hartwich

    You know what the Chromebook sounds like to me? It sounds like a terminal computer (and a pretty ugly one while at that) that is simply an access point to Googles servers. So you get 100 GB of free storage from Google “in the cloud”, how nice of them. Basically those files then don’t belong to you anymore and they can be accessed from a third party (if you ever appear to be a person of interest?). Of course you need to register with Google first and accept their terms of use. And what happens if Google decides you have violated their terms? What happens when they terminate your account? Well, that of course just theory and of course it maybe sounds a bit paranoid but, even if this doesn’t concern you at all think about it; the functions are clearly limited and I get the impression, that Google is trying to revive the Netbook, which might be a good idea but… is it something you really need? If you get a decent laptop with Windows or whatever OS you can also use the Google services but you are not limited to them.
    Well, as always people need to make their own decision. I for one will definitely not consider buying one as for the many limitations, and after all 250 $ are still 250 $.

    • albucian

      Why do you suggest that chromebooks are limited to google services?

    • Bradford Stokes

      Look it’s a self appointed Google Policy expert. On another note, he doesn’t understand that 99% of people only surf the web, check email, check social networks, watch videos and may do some small typing for 99.9999% of the time. Thats all that average people need. I run my business with chromebook because all my applications from order tracking to order entry are web based. I am completly mobile outside of payroll. The chromebook is only as limited as the people using it. For $250 you get a light, small, thin laptop that will suit the majority nearly all the time. (without the worry of Window reboots, viruses, etc)

  • http://paulsalzman.com psimac

    I own the previous generation Chromebook and have spent some quality time using it (it was my only laptop for 3 months). My overall impression is that the OS (read: living in the browser) makes this an incredibly crippled product. I found myself reaching for the iPad almost every time I needed to do anything beyond looking at a Web site or writing an email. An iPad is infinitely more useful and performs much better for nearly every task. Flash on the iPad is nonexistent, but on Chromebook it barely works–stutters and eats the battery. I rather just see HTML5 alternatives on iPad. Speaking of battery–a few hours tops on Chromebook, where I see 10+ hours on iPad.
    All in all, if you’re someone that lives in Google Drive (Docs) and most of your mobile life is Web surfing and email, the Chromebook is a great alternative to a cheap laptop. Less care and feeding, fast for basic tasks and easy to use. However, if you want to do something more (like watch a movie or switch between applications quickly), an iPad (or equivalent with a keyboard is a better value. Or, if you don’t mind a bit of learning, get a used x86 machine, install an SSD and put Ubuntu on it–for $300 you can have a real laptop with all the benefits and speed of a modern computer.
    But then again, if you live in Google’s world, and have more than one account, it’s excruciating to use. Switching between accounts is slow and irritating. If I multi-login to Google under one account, I end up having to logout to do some tasks. Really annoying.
    In my opinion, the Chromebook is a niche device at best and doesn’t do what most users want. Too many roadblocks and too little performance.

    • albucian

      You can watch movies on chromebooks and switch between apps very very fast…..

    • Bradford Stokes

      None of the above is accurate on the new series Chromebook. I get 6+ hours on the chromebook. I never get stutter for watching flash videos unless I hook it to my TV via HDMI or every now and again when watching 1080. 720 plays fine and 1080 plays without stutter about 98% of the time. you can easily and very quickly switch between apps and I can do it as quick or quicker then my ipad, kindle or android tablet. Switching between Google accounts is as quick as tapping the power button to bring up the log in screen and typing your password. My wife and I do it constantly. With the Ubuntu comment, well I am a big linux users and I am familiar with all the distros. The learning cure is steep for most and you will spend more money on hardware to get comparable performance and it won’t be comarable performance. Plus, most likely it will be twice as big and 3X heavier. The new series chromebook will suit you better then buying a used laptop and installing linux. Chromebook OS is stable and you can do everything you need to do. I actually run my business with it. I only use my windows PC at my work desk for Payroll and accounting. The only thing you can do better with a tablet is read books, magazine or play games. For your everyday use, the Chromebook is the answer for most. It’s a shame that people give reviews like the one above that are filled with false statements.

  • http://twitter.com/toddzbox Stephen Todd

    I spend most evenings with my Acer Jolicloud (“Chromium Playbook”) and it travels everywhere with me. I have a 7.5 hours extended life battery. I watch streaming videos on mobile broadband and can run many Windows apps. Love it.

  • becky

    Im looking into purchasing one of these for my 11 year old son… would you happen to know if there are any built-in parental controls, if not can I add Net Nanny to this device? Please advise.
    Thanks
    B.