Why You May Want to Buy a Chromebook

Google could power your next computer

Key Takeaways

  • Chromebook shipments grew notably year over year from 2019 to 2021.
  • Experts say the simplicity, security, and overall functionality that Chromebooks offer for the cost is one primary reason for this growth.
  • If you’re in the market for a new laptop and don’t want to spend a small fortune, a Chromebook could be a great option to look into.
An Acer Chrombook open in the back of an SUV.

Andrew Neel / Unsplash

Experts say accessibility, affordability, and ease-of-use are primary factors that make Chromebooks so appealing.

According to a report from Canalys, Chrome OS-based computers have seen a huge uptick in shipment growth over the past year, with Q1 sales jumping 275% year over year.

Experts say the overall cost of Chromebooks and the features they offer are key factors in the growth, and more than enough reason for users to look into Google’s laptop solution when picking out their next laptop.

"A Chromebook offers all the functionality that a casual user could want from a laptop—be it surfing the web or working with documents—and at a much lower price point than most Windows 10 laptops," Anja Lill, the founder of My Laptop Home, told Lifewire in an email. 

Simple, Secure, Long-lasting

While Chromebooks might not have access to the expansive list of applications available for Windows or Mac machines—like Photoshop or other editing software—for the most part, these computers can do just about anything an everyday user needs to do.

Sure, Chromebooks essentially run everything in a browser, but that’s fine because most of what people do on computers these days is done online in a browser anyway. Things like paying bills, browsing social media, and even submitting schoolwork—or work for your business—can be done from a Chromebook, so long as you have an online connection. 

"It is very hard for someone to brick a Chromebook, infect it with a virus, or otherwise do harm to the underlying OS."

You also don’t have to worry about installing a new browser to get better performance, as Chrome already comes installed on every Chromebook. Application support also has come a long way since the early days of Chrome OS, and the Google Play store continues to deliver new, useful apps, even on older Chromebooks.

This brings up another important note: Chromebooks have a long shelf-life. Many cheaper laptops can slow down after just a few months of use, as OS updates and other apps start to bog things down.

In contrast, even cheaper Chromebooks can provide a snappy, responsive experience without slowing down. This can lead to more years of use for your money, which you want to consider when picking up new gadgets and computers.

Chromebooks are so appealing because of their simplicity and cost that even Microsoft was working on a special Windows 10 version to compete against Google’s lightweight OS. Unfortunately, Windows 10X is dead in the water, at least for the moment, but Microsoft could bring it back later.

Finding a Niche

One area in which Chromebooks have been especially popular has been in the education and business sectors. Not only are the devices more affordable, in most cases, but they also are less likely to run into issues with viruses and other nasty online content that could put a system at risk.

"It is very hard for someone to brick a Chromebook, infect it with a virus, or otherwise do harm to the underlying OS," Shawn Farner, a tech expert and writer at Gizjo, told Lifewire in an email. 

Someone using a Samsung Crombook with an S-Pen.

Brook Cagle / Unsplash

"Just browsing the web alone, no one is going to do that. Compare that to a Windows laptop on the other end, where admins have to put a bunch of policies into place to make sure no one is downloading things they aren't supposed to, etc., and you can see why Chromebooks are attractive."

Many Chromebooks now offer Linux support, which opens new doors for users to access apps and content they may need.

With so many users relying on the internet to complete their work and studies over the past year, it shouldn’t be that much of a surprise to see Chromebook shipments starting to rise. As Google continues to update the OS, bringing in more support for apps and other content, we could see the primary niche for Chrome-OS devices growing more and more.

While a lot of your more-affordable Chromebooks offer fairly simple specs, those who prefer higher-end devices also will find plenty of devices to choose from. Overall, though, if you’re looking to purchase a new computer, and you want something simple, secure, and easy to use, a Chromebook could be one of the most cost-effective options out there.

Was this page helpful?