Don’t get sucked into the high-spec trap when buying a Chromebook

I love Chromebooks I really do but over the last couple of months I’ve been battling with myself over where we appear to be heading.

As a technology lover I’m one of the worst for chasing the best specs. I’ve been guilty of this, which was obvious when I heard about the Samsung Galaxy Chromebook. Naming it the king of Chromebooks.

I started to question this though when we started to hear about the issues surrounding the battery of the Samsung Galaxy Chromebook.

This made me write an article about whether expensive Chromebook devices are worth the money. In this article, I questioned whether buying expensive Chromebooks was worth it. It’s not just the Galaxy either, as I also put the Asus C436 in the over expensive category.

PROBLEM WITH SAMSUNG GALAXY CHROMEBOOK

I don’t mind spending money on expensive tech but only if I need it. I started to see with the release of the Samsung Galaxy and Asus C436 that there is a danger of simply getting ripped off.

Sure, the Galaxy at least offers an amazingly cool new look for the Chromebook. You also get a fantastically amazing AMOLED display. So I can see the tech used warranted the price tag.

The problem is this instantly created a problem with the battery life. Only for Google and Samsung to confirm they are looking for an update to the software. Any update would mean a reduction in using the tech inside, so you’ve immediately got to ask the question what is the point of paying for tech you can’t use.

ASUS C436 HIGH SPEC CHROMEBOOK IS A WASTE OF MONEY

The Asus C436 Chromebook is even harder to understand. The display is Full HD 1,920 by 1,080, which is fine for a Chromebook but is nothing to go crazy about, so what’s with the high price tag?

Well, the only thing I could see to warrant the high price tag is the Intel i7 processor. At the moment I cannot see any reason why you’d need an i7 on a Chromebook, so it’s the classic trick of tech companies competing with each other by offering more tech than you need.

This is what we’ve seen with Android phones. Manufacturers competing with each other by offering 8GB or even 12GB of RAM. It’s totally laughable because you’ll never need 12GB of RAM on a phone, but people pay for it.

In a way, I’m not too bothered about it because it shows the Chromebook has hit the mainstream, which is something I’m really happy about. However, I’m never going to recommend something that you’ll never need. This is what caused me to have a reality check. Not to get caught in the high spec trap.

A BIG THANK YOU TO LENOVO

This is why I’m really happy Lenovo has entered the world of Chromebook. This was just the right time for Lenovo to come along to shake things up a little. The moment manufacturers start to offer over-priced products with specs you’ll never use. Is the time the market is big enough for a price-cutting competitor to come along.

You’ll always have manufacturers who get lazy by thinking just give them more RAM and a powerful processor. Why? So they can add a couple of hundred to the price tag. If you want to get sucked into that world, then go for it.

However, if you’re more sensible with your money, you’ll be happy to see Lenovo come along and offer everything you need at a much cheaper price.

Not only have they offered us great budget Chromebook devices such as the Lenovo C340 Chromebook. They’ve also had the foresight to enter the Chrome OS tablet market after Google failed with the Pixel launch.

This is the type of manufacturer we needed for the Chromebook. The great thing for Lenovo is it looks like the Lenovo Ideapad Duet 2-in-1 will be a success.

This is also good news for anyone who loved the idea of Chrome OS tablets but had very little to choose from when it comes to hardware. Yes, you’ve got the higher-spec Pixel Slate, which is a great tablet, but it’s good to see a budget option is now available.

LENOVO CHROMEBOOK FLEX 5

We’re now seeing the launch of the Lenovo Chromebook Flex 5. If this isn’t a Chromebook to show other manufacturers they need to go back to the drawing board, then I don’t know what is.

It offers great specs but nothing too over the top. All the specs offered are just what you need from a Chromebook. Not only that, but it’s competitively priced.

LINUX APPS ARE NOT A REASON FOR NEEDING HIGH SPECS

I’ve seen many people warrant buying a high spec Chromebook because of Linux apps. However, I’m struggling to understand why this means you need an i7 processor.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Linux apps are far away from offering anything for the majority of users where you’ll need an i7 processor. I’m also less convinced that we’ll ever see Steam games run well on Linux.

Join the Chromebook Community

I hope I’m proven wrong because it would be great. However, I’m unsure how they’ll get over the issue of Chromebook devices currently having no graphics card. Steam games need a graphics card to run well not just a powerful processor.

Even if Chromebook devices did come with a Graphics card in the future. I think Steam would have a challenge on their hands trying to get Linux working in a self-contained sandbox to use the full processing power the hardware provided. We’ll have to wait and see, but I’m not convinced at the moment.

CONCLUSION

I’m really happy to see Lenovo start to compete against other Chromebook manufacturers. They’ve made me wake up and realise I was getting sucked into high-spec means best trap.

For a Chromebook with an i7 processor to be worth it. I’d need an operating system and software that will take advantage of such power. At the moment it’s simply not needed. Linux apps or not, you don’t need such processing power on a Chromebook.

So that leaves us with Chrome OS and Android. Both of these work fine whether you’re using an M3 or i3 processor. Sure, if you want a little more then go for an i5 if you cannot help yourself. Just try and make sure you don’t end up buying more spec than you’ll need. You’ll simply be throwing your money down the drain.

11 Comments
  1. I agree. I think. I’m new to the whole Chromebook thing…just bought an Asus C434, well a few months ago, and I like it but what’s up with the OS being so stuttery (I guess is the word)?

    I mean I love the whole quick start ups & updates but it’s just not buttery smooth at all. With the hard square edges on all the windows & strange UI at times, the whole experience just seems snaggy and sharp, if that makes sense.

    I can’t figure out what the hell they’re thinking about with the UI. All the changes in swipes and gestures when going back & forth between tablet & laptop modes. The “shelf” thing & how it functions along with the app drawer I guess it’s called, just seems rough around the edges.

    The OS seems to have more issues lagging and stuttering in tablet mode too. Nothing horrible, I’d say it reminds me of Windows. I use a Pixel 3aXL all day and it’s so flawless & smooth… maybe I’m expecting the Chromebook to be the same. Idk, I guess I just expected more from the ChromeOS + m3 & 8jeebs of ram.

    • I have been using a lowly Lenovo N21 for over 4 years since I got tired of my annoying , high (end) strung Dell. For the average Joe it can do everything that I need and rather quickly and efficiently. I would never go back to a PC or Mac. I’ll likely get a Lenovo to ease my wife’s continued impatience with her Dell too. Vive le Chromebook. B.

    • i7 are completely justified with the ability to load any Linux binaries. That along with parallels coming soon and Android apps are enough to give any laptop a workout. Suggesting it’s not is foolish. I think the author missed a big opportunity here though – chromeOS is currently broken for these high spec machines because the moment you launch the Linux VM, SMT (hyperthreading) turns off. What’s more concerning is that the dev team marked this defect as WAI (working as intended). I immediately returned my i7 Chromebook when I learned this. Google simply isn’t serious about performance on chromeOS. So sadly, I have to agree with the author – there’s no reason to

      • Steam games are already running well on Linux… That shows you haven’t researched that part of your article.

  2. I’m a software developer that uses Chromebooks.

    You’re wrong.

    There is no fundamental difference in how a ChromeOS consumes power vs Linux or a Mac OS. It’s a computer FIRST and foremost.

    They all benefit from better componentry.

    They authors over-generalation and treating it like a baby mobile OS is grotesquely assuming.

    • It’s hardly different from Android OS. Why anyone would pay more than $500 for a Chromebook is beyond me. Even with the new features in the ecosystem, Chromebooks were advertised as the cheap alternative. Having thousand dollar “cheap alternative” that can’t do half the tasks is pointless and pandering to the luxury addicts. I’d be hard-pressed to buy a windows laptop without a discrete gpu at $1000. But to return to Chromebooks- what am i paying for that isn’t in my Galaxy Tab S6? Or in my high-end phone? There’s no reasonable incentive for paying even half the price unless the aim is premium durability. I’d like for you to give justification for them to have these configurations and to cost even half this price, rather than just giving your credentials – because you’ve said nothing that disproves his argument.

  3. You may want to do a little better reseatch on the topic your writing about next time…

  4. The article’s assumption shows the author ha fallen victim to what he lanents.
    For most Chromebook apps and most user an M3 is already Overkill. Celerons or even Mediateks are adequate.

  5. Ugh. The whole reason to get a Chromebook is to convert the damn thing to a full Linux box! Linux apps on Chrome OS is surely no reason to look at specs, sure. But having Ubuntu run instead of Chrome OS is EXACTLY the reason to get a Chromebook with epic specs. Games like League of Legends, Diablo III, Grand Theft Auto 5… RUN ON LINUX thanks to WINE and other software conversion ‘translators’. Having it run on an OS that uses less resources than Windows is ALWAYS ideal. This is also where ARM vs Intel vs AMD comes into play. Whoever wrote this article needs to smoke some more weed and dig a little deeper.

    • If you’re converting it to Linux, why not just buy a Linux os machine to begin with. Lenovo offers the option of windows or Ubuntu shipped with some thinkpads. If you’re looking at Chromebooks that expensive just for conversion to Linux, you might as well get a thinkpad.

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