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Black Friday 11 Inch Laptop Deals Buying Guide
BLACK FRIDAY 11 INCH LAPTOP BUYING GUIDE
Its no secret that Chromebooks have gotten a lot of negative press for being somewhat more limited than their Windows and Mac powered cousins. But with the functionality of the platform expanding every day, just how useful can a Black Friday Chromebook be? But here are five reasons why Black Friday Chromebooks are more powerful than you think.
- So, what is Crouton? It is a way of running full Linux side by side with Chrome OS. You will need to be in developer mode, which involves completely wiping your Chromebook, and puts the infamous scary boot screen on display every time you turn your device on. You will also want to be familiar with a few terminal commands as these will be required to get it all set up. But once you have got through all of this, your Chromebook will now be a fully functional Linux based laptop. And if you want to switch back to Chrome OS, you can do that with just a quick key combination.
- The app ecosystem on Chrome OS. Originally a huge number of Chrome applications were simple links to webpages which didnt serve much of a useful purpose, these days there are many powerful apps that work offline. Chrome OS becomes markedly less useful once it is taken away from a network connection, but the same could be said about many modern operating systems. If you need a basic stand-in for a light room for editing photos on the go, Polarr is an excellent option, with a decent number of controls. Need a replacement for Office? Well, you can either go with Googles Drive suite or use Microsofts Office Web apps. The vast majority of apps on the Chrome Web Store are available for Windows and Mac systems, meaning that you can give them a test drive, if you feel so inclined.
- Built-in, physical keyboards. It is no surprise that a physical keyboard is a great aid in almost any kind of work, and having one thrown in can be a huge value-add compared to something like a tablet. Many Bluetooth keyboards are plagued with issues such as short battery life, connection problems and an overall poor typing experience, not to mention the fact that some can cost a decent fraction of the price of just buying a Chromebook. Of the four or five Chromebooks Ive used many have had keyboards that are nearly on par with those found on much more expensive laptops, meaning that if you want a great typing experience on the cheap, then a Chromebook is great option. But to fully realise the potential of any device you are going to need great software. And, while Chrome has a decent selection of native apps, sometimes youre going to want a little more than what is available in the store.
- Android Apps. There are already some Android Apps available on the Chrome store, but it is hugely limited compared to say, the Google Play Store. Fortunately, there is a solution available that can bring almost any Android App to the platform with little effort: ARC Welder. This is intended to be used as a development tool, so there are some limitations like being able to have one custom app installed at once. But most apps will work surprisingly well with it. Simply open ARC Welder, drop in your APK of choice, select some preferences, and wait for it to install. I found this particularly useful for apps such as Instagram, where the web page is considerably worse and less functional than the apps available for mobile devices. So yes, if theres that one Android App that you really want on your Chrome device then you should be able to get that up and running.
- Remote desk topping. The ability to use a remote desktop is nothing new, but it can help you to overcome some of the limitations of Chrome OS. Many people use a Chromebook as a secondary computer, so having easy access to their other machine wherever they are can make life a lot simpler. Fortunately, Google make this easy, through the Chrome Remote Desktop App. Simply install this on any machine you want to connect to, then select that computer from the Chromebook and you should be good to go. Yes, theres some latency, and the framerate isnt that high, but its considerably easier to setup and use than any remote desk topping client Ive ever used before, and can prove very handy in some situations.
The truth of the matter is that Chromebooks still wont be for everybody. But with the rate at which theyre advancing and the ability to do more and more through a web browser, I wouldnt be surprised to see many people seriously consider buying one in the near future.