To buy a Chromebook, or a netbook? That is the question many are wondering about this month, as the much-awaited Chromebook grows ever closer to being released.
Windows 7 Starter Edition vs Chrome OS
Unlike netbooks which come with the much-maligned, crippled version of Windows Windows 7 “Starter Edition,” Chromebooks come with the minimalist Chrome operating system, which frees up more of the computer to be focused on the things you’re trying to accomplish. Beta testers of Google’s Chromebooks have stated that one of their favorite aspects of the machines is the lack of interruption and dsitraction from Windows 7 Starter Edition’s constant system notifications, balloons, required update installs, and requests for program permission. By nature, Chromebooks are free of these kind of distractions — allowing you to focus on your work (or play).
With none of the trappings and “red tape” of a traditional desktop operating system, Chrome OS focuses more power where you need it, rather than giving it to the system to carry out operations in the background. In addition, apps offload much of the processing work to cloud servers rather than forcing your computer to do all of it on its own. In plain terms, this drastically cuts the time it takes your computer to carry out operations, allowing you to get more things done in less time.
Chromebooks take just 8 seconds from the power button being pressed ON to being able to type in your browser’s address/search bar. Compare that to the notoriously slow boot times of netbooks. In addition, Chromebooks have truly instant resume — that is, when you close the Chromebook’s lid and later open it, there is no time at all before you are back exactly where you left off.
Software vs Apps
One common point people try to make against Chromebooks is that they can’t run specific standalone apps like Photoshop CS5 and standalone games like Grand Theft Auto IV and Mass Effect 3. However, netbooks can’t run this software satisfactorily either — their processors and overall specs are far too slow. Thus, it becomes a moot point when comparing netbooks and Chromebooks.
It is true that if you work for a company that has specific, demanding software requirements (such as AutoCAD) a Chromebook shouldn’t be the one and only computer in your household. However, if you just want to get on the internet, work with documents, watch movies and do light, casual gaming, a Chromebook will provide an overall better, faster experience than a netbook. In addition, Chrome apps exist to fulfill every need, such as Microsoft Office web apps and the popular Pixlr Editor, which replaces Photoshop for Chrome (and is completely free, unlike Photoshop).
The Chromebook has also been optimized to provide for a better viewing experience viewing Flash and streaming video on the web. Netbooks commonly stutter or freeze when trying to view intensive Flash and/or videos on the web.
Chrome OS lacks the security vulnerabilities of Windows 7 and OS X (Mac). Viruses and hackers can’t get a “foothold” in your computer, because the areas of the operating system that allow viruses and hackers to gain power over your computer do not exist in a Chromebook.
For more reasons to buy a Chromebook rather than a netbook, see Netbook Vs Chromebook.
Or see specific model reviews in our Chromebook Review section.