Is it worth buy­ing a Chrome­book?

Australian T3 - - HORIZON - KEITH P, BOX HILL

AIf you’re a reg­u­lar T3 reader, you’ll know all about the tight­ness of the purse strings at Guru Tow­ers; in­vest­ing in some­thing for which GaGu al­ready has three al­ter­nate func­tion­ing ex­am­ples is strictly for­bid­den. But Guru has, some­how, suc­cess­fully ar­gued for a Chrome­book to join the lap­top ranks, pos­si­bly be­cause semi-de­cent ex­am­ples like the Acer Chrome­book 14 are avail­able for less than $500 – there are op­tions that are cheaper (don’t bother) and pricier (like the hor­ren­dously over­priced US$999 Google Pix­el­book – again, don’t bother, and it’s prob­a­bly not com­ing to Aus­tralia any­way).

Chrome­books are not, how­ever much Google might like to sell them as much, proper lap­tops. They’re sit-on-your-bum and browse the in­ter­net ma­chines, with heavy lim­i­ta­tions on the num­ber of tabs you can rea­son­ably have grind­ing away thanks to the low-cost chipsets that power them. They’re work­ing ma­chines, with off- and on-line ac­cess to the func­tional if un­spec­tac­u­lar Google Drive range of of­fice soft­ware.

As of re­cently, they’re also pretty much phones: the ma­jor­ity of Chrome­books have ac­cess to the Google Play store, and can run An­droid apps, ex­tend­ing their func­tion­al­ity, at least as far as a com­puter with­out much of the req­ui­site hand­set hard­ware that’s pre­tend­ing to be a typ­i­cal An­droid hand­set can be func­tional. Roll out your beard, and you might even be able to con­vince a Chrome­book to run some form of nerd-OS Linux.

Okay, the key is that they’re cheap. There’s not much to shout about in terms of sys­tem specs and screens are usu­ally rub­bish. But bat­tery life is gen­er­ally strong for these low-pow­ered ma­chines, so if you just want a ma­chine for light work and light brows­ing, a Chrome­book is a great light op­tion.

ABOVE For­get ebikes, it’s all about elec­tric skate­boards now.

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