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How Much Chromebook Do You Need?


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The new HP Dragonfly Pro Chromebook introduced at CES this year looks amazing - all metal chassis, 12th Gen i5, 16 GB RAM, 256 GB nvme, 4K IPS super bright screen, great keyboard and trackpad, RGB backlit keys. It promises to be expensive, and it is a Chromebook. Do you really need that much?

My experiments with a much cheaper system would say no - unless you are some sort of developer or video processor. Even then you'd be tied into the Google ecosystem.

What I think goes into a nice Chromebook would be the following:

  • Core i3 CPU - the cheaper Celerons, Pentiums and MediaTek CPUs seem a little wimpy and I wouldn't like t have a system that reminds me of the old school netbooks.
  • 8GB RAM - this is more than enough for websurfing and office tasks - you can have several tabs open and still watch video or listen to music. 4GB is a little skimpy in my view.
  • 64GB storage. You are going to store most of your stuff in the cloud, and you can always add a mini SD card if you really need it.
  • 1080p IPS screen - this is plenty of HD for video.
  • Backlit screen - very nice to have.
  • Good keyboard - nice feel.

You should be able to get all that at a reasonable price. I wouldn't cheap out, but I wouldn't blow my brains out on a super expensive laptop either. Better to go for a gently used Thinkpad and install Linux on it.



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  • 1 month later...

I am enjoying my Lenovo Chromebook. Although it's not exactly a general purpose computer, it comes in handy as a Web based appliance. I can unpug the power cord and park it in front of the TV to look up stuff like the cast of an old movie. I have only installed a couple of Android apps and I haven't implemented Linux.

Although its hardware is relatively low end for (say) a Windows PC it is very fast and powerful - like an i5 or Ryzen5 machine. It has a 1080P touchscreen and a nice backlit keyboard. It has Bluetooth and wifi6 capability. The battery life is exceptional and it recharges fast. It has the same sort of interface as a Mac ot Windows 11 or GNOME with a dock so it's easy to use. Updates are almost instantaneous and automatic. I think it would be an excellent choice for a senior citizen who just wants to surf the web and get email. Also the grandkids love it as they use Google Educational Suite at school.

It's very compact and lightweight and can go anywhere in the house where I have wifi. I vastly prefer it to a tablet since it has a fine keyboard.

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  • 4 months later...

After a few months I continue to enjoy my Chromebook as a family room appliance. I still haven't implemented sandbox Linux on it as I have a bunch of other machines around here where I can use Linux on the rails. I haven't bothered with many other Android apps so I do not see why Chrome OS Flex wouldn't be a good option for other users on an old laptop. Most Android apps run in phone mode which is a waste of screen space.

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A few weeks ago, we were without power for 10 hours. I didn't have to worry because my chromebook has a 10 hour battery and I also have several portable battery packs to at least keep it operational through the USB C charging port, should the battery get really low. I used my phone as a hotspot. I downloaded the local tv station's news app and we were able to watch the news that we couldn't see on the tv.


I'm able to resize the windows in the apps so they don't run in phone mode.

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