One of the members of our awesome Patreon community shared an article with us this morning and it has inspired us to fire up a new segment about the general use cases for Chrome OS. I’ll be honest, when I first skimmed over the article, I freely assumed that the post must have been two or three years old. The title, “5 Pros And Cons Of Using A Chromebook,” isn’t a bad title but the content of the article is filled with some very dated misconceptions about Chromebooks. This led me to the realization that, despite the explosive growth of Chrome OS over the past 18 months, general users still know very little about how much the operating system has matured or what it is capable of doing.
I’ll link the original article at the end of this post but for now, I want to address three of the five “cons” that this author has branded Chromebooks with quite incorrectly. I do understand that general consumers could easily misconstrue what can be done with a Chromebook and that is simply due to a lack of marketing and educated retailers that actually give buyers the tools they need to use the products they purchase. Tech writers, however, should take a bit more initiative before writing a post that clearly reflects a lack of research or knowledge about a given subject. I say that because I have made this mistake in the past. It is all too easy to find common perceptions about a product or platform and then, in turn, publish content around those items that are really just misconceptions. Anyway, let’s cover these three bullet points and hopefully, we will help further the cause of Chrome OS while providing useful and accurate information for the general public.
Minimal local storage
This first misconception is somewhat understandable if you look at Chrome OS from a historical view. In the early days of Chromebooks, most devices had either 16GB or 32GB of storage. This is especially true when you look at smaller, budget-minded EDU devices. These Chromebooks were intended to be a portal for students to utilize tools like Google Classroom. Android apps on Chrome OS weren’t a thing and storage space really wasn’t a big deal. Now, that doesn’t mean that you won’t find Chromebooks with minimal storage but more and more, the options have expanded exponentially.
This is especially true when you’re looking at consumer-focused models. These Chromebooks have gained the nomenclature of Plus and Premium from Google. This includes what we consider flagship and mid-range Chromebooks and can range in price anywhere from $300 to $1200. When you look at the models that consumers are going out and buying, the starting point for most storage options is 64GB. A number of Chromebooks in the $400-$500 range come with 128GB and it is very fast NVMe storage not the cheaper eMMC that used to be the go-to for Chromebooks. Even Lenovo’s $299 detachable Chromebook Duet tablet offers up 128GB and you can pick it up for only $249 most days.
As I said, I get that many have the impression that Chromebooks don’t have decent amounts of storage but since the dawn of Android apps on Chrome OS, that’s simply no longer the case. Even if you do find your device need a little extra storage space, many devices feature SD card slots and of course, your Google Drive storage is built right into the Files App.
No advanced gaming capabilities
This common misconception is even more forgivable given the tumultuous state of Google’s streaming game service and the fact that there just aren’t very many Chrome OS tablets on the market with which to play premium Android games. While Google still seems to be figuring out which direction it will go with the platform, the fact remains that Stadia offers a wide variety of AAA games that play flawlessly on even low-powered Chrome devices. Google’s servers do all the work and while your Chromebook plays the part of the portal to deliver the gaming experience. All you need is a decently sized laptop with a good display and an average internet connection to enjoy titles like PUBG, PGA 2K21, or Destiny 2.
On the Android side off things, there’s still some work to be done but devices like the Lenovo Chromebook Duet are perfectly capable of handling the casual mobile games that most consumers play around the house. With MediaTek and Qualcomm bringing more powerful SoCs to Chrome OS, the Android gaming experience is only going to get better.
Chromebooks need to use Google Cloud Printing to print
This was the one that really made my eye twitch. When this article was written, yes, Cloud Print was still a thing but it was literally just a couple of months from being sunsetted. To prepare for the demise of Cloud Print on December 31, 2021, Google stepped up its game and has done some serious work to get Chrome OS ready for the transition. We’ve talked about this at length on many occasions. You can run down to your local Walmart or Best Buy and purchase any consumer-focused all-in-one network printer you like from HP, Epson, and others and chances are very good that your Chromebook can print to it. All you have to do is set it up on your network as you were going to anyway.
Chrome OS is getting so friendly with printers that I actually haven’t encountered a device in the past year that my Chromebook couldn’t print to natively. That’s not to say you don’t have an older printer around that won’t work with Chrome OS but bloggers are doing Chrome OS a disservice by using the old “I can’t print” crutch when critiquing a Chromebook. Even now, you can flip on a flag in the Stable channel of Chrome OS and use your all-in-one to scan with a feature that should be widely available in just a few months.
That about wraps this one up. We’ll continue this series next week in the hopes of dispelling more myths about Chrome OS. Hopefully, more and more consumers begin to understand that Chromebooks are not only capable but they’re the perfect fit for a wide variety of users. You can find the inspiration for this article in the original post here. See you next week.