How a Chromebook works, what it is, what are the differences with other computers and why it can replace any Windows PC
Switch to a Chromebook is that solution that allows you to spend little and still have a real computer capable of doing everythingas fast as the best Mac and much easier to use than a Windows PC.
In the guide that follows we will show you what they are main differences between a notebook and a Chromebookso you can intelligently choose the next laptop to buy for work or study.
READ ALSO -> Best low cost Laptops above the minimum requirements (maximum € 400)
What is a Chromebook
The Chromebook is based on the Chrome OS, a system based on the Linux kernel and designed by Google to provide a web-oriented experience that contrasts with the idea of a traditional laptop. Given the lightness of the system, Google can minimize the demand for hardware and, therefore, offer the Chromebook at a much lower price.
To explain well what the Chromebook is like it is necessary to present what is currently the best laptop of this type of computer for sale in Italy, namely the Lenovo IdeaPad 3 Chromebook.
This laptop comes with 8 GB of RAM, Intel Celeron N4500 processor, 8 GB of LPDDR4x-2933 RAM memory, 64 GB eMMC internal memory, 15.6 inch FullHD screen, USB ports, HDMI, Wi-Fi 6 , webcam and audio outputs.
This Chromebook can be accessed at an incredible speed (from pressing to the desktop in less than 3 seconds) and, after adding a Google account, we can immediately start working by connecting to the Internet and opening the desktop with a start menu where to launch the applications that are all based on the Chrome browser.
How a Chromebook Works
The Chromebook may appear to be an extended version of the Chrome browser, so the question arises: does it work well only if it is permanently connected to the Internet? The answer is Yes and No at the same time!
Even if all the main functions of the system work online (since Chromebooks are born as perennially connected systems) in reality they exist many applications designed for the Chromebook that work even offline when the computer is not connected to the internet.
So if you were worried about this, we immediately debunked the first myth: Chromebooks also work fine offline, but they work much better when connected to the Internet. In addition, many of the applications open in a separate window, without going through the browser: to do this we open the app menu, and look for the common apps present on all Chromebooks (such as the calculator or the File application to browse folders and files in memory on the disk).
Compatibility side we must state what we suspect right away as soon as we see Chrome OS as an operating system: since there is no Windows, there is no possibility to install the programs you have been used to for years such as Microsoft Office, Acrobat Reader or Photoshop.
However, when you open the Chrome web Store, the site where applications for Chrome are collected, you will discover that for each program there is an alternative very valid and effective: for example Microsoft Office can be successfully replaced by the Google Docs suitein many ways even more comfortable and effective to use.
You can therefore work safely to write documents, spreadsheets and presentations using Google Office applications or, if we really have to use Office systems, we remind you that Word, Excel and Powerpoint also work online, via a dedicated website. If you are worried about the connection, you can rest assured: the Google Office apps work even without an internet connection.
As for the other programs, speaking here of the most important ones, we have already seen in another article the Chrome app to replace PC programs.
Internal space on Chromebooks
The internal space of Chromebooks is limited: this space should only be used to keep the most important documents, since all the documents and files we download from the Internet or from chats can be synchronized in Google Drivein Google Photo or in other cloud spaces like Dropbox.
With Chromebooks we have to give then more emphasis on the cloud space and use it as the main memory of the notebook: only in this way will we avoid saturating the interior space. However, if you want to expand the disk space, you can always insert an additional memory card or connect an external hard disk.
To learn more, please read our guide on how to use Google Drive Offline to access document files without internet.
Use Android apps on Chromebooks
A recent Chrome OS update made it possible install Android apps from the Google Play Store on Chromebooksincluding games, with a notable enrichment of the experience.
Among the apps compatible with the Chromebook we also find Gmail, which works as a mail management program (even external to Gmail) and which also works without an Internet connection if you want to read received messages. In fact, everything that is done with the Mail app of Windows 10 and Windows 11 can be done on Chromebook with the Gmail app, very similar to that present on Android tablets.
With the arrival of Android apps, Chromebooks do not really lack anything on the applications side, since there are also numerous famous apps such as Microsoft Office, Photoshop, compressed file managers, image managers and many others already seen in our guide to best android apps.
To learn more, we can read our guide to Chromebook tricks to work online and offline.
Chromebook security and reliability
Another very important aspect when we focus on Chromebooks is the security. While it is true that a Mac is safer from viruses than a Windows PC, it is also true that no computer is more immune to malware than a Chromebook, since it is based on Linux as the basis for its operating system.
On Chromebooks, executable .exe and .msi files do not start, thus protecting us from most of the viruses that circulate on the net; Add to this that even viruses that spread via email or chat messages (ransomware or cryptominers) have little hope on Chromebooks, since they are totally immune.
Another safety aspect that should not be underestimated are the updates, which follow those of the Chrome browser and are very frequent, with almost no aging over the years. The Chromebook automatically downloads the latest security patches and updates without noticing anything, so without ever worrying about having to reboot suddenly or having to stop work (as is often the case on Windows).
The Chromebook has internal verification to check that the operating system and Linux kernel have not been tampered with. And even if there were some security problems, just do a quick system restore that cleans everything automatically, returning the system to its original state in a few minutes.
The internal memory encryption system ensures that nothing and nobody can read any of the data stored on the local disk, even with external recovery tools. And if some friend or colleague wants to use our computer we can always configure theguest accessso that no one can spy on what we have on the computer and, at the same time, guaranteeing this person that we ourselves will not know what they have been looking at on the internet, being the guest mode the equivalent of the private mode of the Chrome browser.
The Chromebook might be the ideal choice for those who want a computer that is immediately ready to use, fast and powerful without spending a fortune: the best Chromebooks they are on sale for less than € 300an unrivaled price for any Windows or Mac computer.
The Chromebook is the best computer for first-time users: no periodic virus scans to be done, no periodic maintenance to be done, no junk files to clean up, no system settings to fix and so on. In essence, it is proof that notebooks can be made within everyone’s reach: anyone who buys a Chromebook already knows they have a laptop in their hands that turns on, uses and turns off without having to waste time configuring or setting up.
If we are convinced of the goodness of this solution, we recommend that you read our guide to Best Chromebooks to Buy, Super Fast Google Laptops.
If we are not satisfied with Chrome OS you will be pleased to know that the option exists easily install Linux Ubuntu on Chromebookso as to use it as an alternative operating system.
In another article we saw the 10 reasons to buy a Chromebook PC to broaden the overview of everything that can be done with this particular computer.