Folks, we need to talk about Chromebooks. With Prime Day right around the corner, it's time. Really.
Look, we get it. It took some of us forever to warm up to the idea of a Chromebook, too. With Windows and macOS laptops dominating the market, it may seem like there's very little to gain by going with a Chromebook since the Chrome OS is hardly as robust as a Apple MacBook Air or a Microsoft Surface Go - but you'd be wrong.
With so much of today's most popular software moving to the cloud, there are fewer and fewer reasons for many people to invest heavily in a laptop that is more powerful than they really need.
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For many, having that LED-lit Apple logo on the lid matters even if all they're doing is streaming movies and blogging through Wordpress. But that's a very expensive proposition for a lot of people who genuinely don't need to invest that kind of money.
The biggest stumbling block for Chromebooks with most people is their unfamiliarity with the system, and if you've used one in the past and found that it uninspiring, you aren't alone.
But this isn't your older sibling's Chrome OS. It's come a long way in the last decade, so if you've had a lackluster experience with a Chromebook in the past (as we admittedly have), then it's time to give it another look. It's become much, much more than just a fancy machine that connects to Google Docs.
Chrome OS has come a long way, making Chromebooks more robust than ever
In the early days, Chromebooks were really just a fancy way to access Google's suite of cloud apps and little else. But with its integrated Chrome browser and the acceleration of services moving from your local hard drive to the cloud, Chromebooks can do just about any everyday task that you'd use a legacy system for, and in many ways, it can do it better.
Because Chrome OS is built to be light and efficient, web-based apps that might suffer from legacy OS overhead work surprisingly well on Chrome OS with little if any loss of performance - even though Chromebooks typically use lower end hardware than Windows or macOS laptops do.
And since nearly all web apps are system agnostic - they don't care which OS you are running, they will still operate the same way regardless - you won't have to sacrifice anything in the way of software compatibility for most of the apps that you probably use every single day.
What's more, with the rapidly expanding Google Play store - which is already the largest app marketplace in the world - the number of downloadable, offline apps you can use grows by the hour.
For us computer science tech heads, there's even more to love with the introduction of a downloadable virtual Linux kernel and command line interface. While that kind of thing is pretty niche, for us command line commandos - you know who you are - that's a big deal.
You can even get some decent gaming on a Chromebook through Google Play. You're not going to be able to play Doom Eternal or anything, but that's what gaming laptops are for. You want something to keep you entertained on a flight or a long road trip? Chromebooks have you covered.
- Chromebooks vs laptops: which are the best for students?
- Google adds Linux app support to Chrome OS
- Here are our best deal predictions for Black Friday
Chromebooks have always been a fantastic bargain - they'll be an even better one on Prime Day
The biggest selling point of a Chromebook has always been exactly that - price. Even the most high-end Chromebooks with serious laptop-class hardware are drastically cheaper than their Windows and macOS counterparts, so you can expect some excellent Chromebooks to see even further price cuts on Prime Day.
Manufacturers are not only going to be looking to move the previous year's inventory to make room for the latest refreshes, they're going to be eager to see wider adoption of a platform that they have invested some considerable resources in.
Manufacturers like Asus, Acer, and Lenovo all make excellent Chromebooks that they want to get into the hands of consumers and hopefully get them hooked on the platform, so we could see some pretty aggressive pricing on Prime Day - making it the perfect time to finally get yourself a Chromebook and see what all the fuss is about.
A Chromebook is the perfect gift to help keep in touch with family
Another major feature of Chrome OS is its relative simplicity. While Windows and macOS are robust enough to handle major software suites like Adobe Creative Cloud and similar, this can be somewhat overwhelming for those that may not be as tech-savvy.
Anyone who's been trying to help friends or family manage a Zoom call knows exactly what that means. Fortunately, Chromebooks are almost tailor-made for this type of user. If your parents or grandparents can work a smartphone, they can operate a Chromebook and they'll probably find it comfortably familiar as well.
Just about everyone knows how to get online through a browser or download a game through the Google Play store by now thanks to its highly intuitive interface - even if mom and dad are used to an iPhone, they'll get around the Play Store in no time.
With holidays in the time of Covid being what they are, a Chromebook just might be the perfect way to bring the family together while keeping everyone safe. With Prime Day expected to bring out some fantastic Chromebook deals, buying two or three of them for close family not only makes sense on a personal level, you won't even have to break the bank to do it. What better reason to buy a Chromebook do you need than that?
These are the best early Prime Day deals available now
Amazon Echo Dot 4th generation - two pack:
$99.98 $79.98 at Amazon
Save $20 on the brand new Amazon Echo Dot 4th generation when you buy two at Amazon right now. That's a fantastic offer considering these devices aren't even out on the market yet. Use promo code DOT2PACK for these savings.
Apple AirPods 2019 with standard charging case:
$159 $129 at Amazon
Save $30 on the AirPods with standard charging case this weekend at Amazon - that's less than a dollar off their all time low price. However, if you're already set up for Qi you might prefer the wireless charging version, now down to $159 from $199 in these early Amazon Prime Day AirPods deals.
Nintendo Switch: $299 at Amazon
The Nintendo Switch is back in stock, but this is going to move quickly. We've seen stock holding a little steadier over the last few weeks, but this is still going to be a race to checkout if stock holds out for the main event, so we'd get in there as soon as possible. You'll also find the Animal Crossing edition available for this price as well.
TechRadar is scouring every retailer and rounding up all the top deals over the Black Friday period, and we’ve put all the best Black Friday deals and Cyber Monday deals in easy-to-navigate articles to help you find the bargains you’re looking for.
- Here are the best cheap laptop deals in October 2020
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John (He/Him) is the Components Editor here at TechRadar and he is also a programmer, gamer, activist, and Brooklyn College alum currently living in Brooklyn, NY.
Named by the CTA as a CES 2020 Media Trailblazer for his science and technology reporting, John specializes in all areas of computer science, including industry news, hardware reviews, PC gaming, as well as general science writing and the social impact of the tech industry.
You can find him online on Threads @johnloeffler.
Currently playing: Baldur's Gate 3 (just like everyone else).