In the increasingly connected society, we all find ourselves needing to stay connected. We often can make do with our cell phones, but we still sometimes need a larger screen and a keyboard. We might need to review a contract, our kids might need to type up a report, or our moms might just want a larger screen to see her Facebook pictures better.
And prices on lower-end computers have decreased significantly, and quality has improved. There is one major reason behind this: the viability of Chrome OS and Chromebooks. Chrome OS is a lightweight OS, designed by Google, based around the web browser, based on the premise that most of the things people do are online and most people have access to the web when they’re on their computers.
The most popular Chromebook, which can often be found below $200, is the Samsung Series 3, often known as the Chromebook. Out for a couple years, it’s 2GBs of RAM belies it’s shocking speed, accomplished through a 16GB solid state hard drive. This little wonder became the virtual definition of what a Chromebook should be. Complete with a silver finish, black Apple-like keyboard, and a lightweight screen, the Chromebook is smaller, lighter, and more powerful than almost all of the previous generation’s netbooks, but costs less and is much more attractive.
Another popular Chromebook under $200 is the Acer C720. The C720 opts for a more futuristic black finish over the obvious copycat looks of the Series 3. Acer’s second generation Chromebook features many of the same features as the Samsung model, and features a battery life of over 7.5 hours, as much as two hours higher than the Series 3. Both models, as well as all Chromebook models have greatly improved their offline support, with apps and programs, including office software which will work and save documents offline.
If your not so adventurous, Google’s success even has lowered prices for people who want a Windows computer, and Microsoft has had to compete with Chromebooks in price as Google has stolen market share away from Redmond, and a Windows laptop which should be under $200 in time for Christmas shopping season is the Acer Aspire ES1. This device, in classic Windows fashion, can connect to older printers, unlike Chromebooks, which require wireless networked printers. It also runs Full MS Office, and takes advantage of Microsoft’s long history of peripheral drivers to connect with even most obscure accessories available. If you need a computer for more traditional work, the the ES1 may be for you.
The era of the low end laptop is here to stay. Google will bring more Chromebooks to market, and as it improves, it’s presence will increase in the public’s mind, just as Android, another Google product, did five years ago. Microsoft will not ignore this, will compete for the lower end market, and continue to press its own advantages. All this means better prices and quality for the consumer. For under $200, you can get a laptop that will get the job don