If you believe Microsoft’s Scroogled campaign, then Chromebooks are useless pieces of plastic garbage that only let you use Google Search and that’s it.
If you have a brain and have used a Chromebook for more than 2 seconds, then you know that’s not really the case.
Somewhere between the Scroogled extreme and the “Chromebook does everything” extreme lies the truth. Today, I’m going to help you find that truth by explaining five important limitations of the Google Chromebook.
After reading this list, I’ll let you decide for yourself whether or not the Chromebook is for you. And no, neither Google nor Microsoft is paying me for this, although that would be awesome if they did.
5) You can only run Google Chrome apps
Open up Chrome and look at the “Apps” link at the far left corner of your browser screen. You should see a small list of default Chrome apps, including Google Docs, Google Drive, and YouTube.
These are examples of the kinds of apps you can expect to use on your Google Chromebook. There’s a whole store full of these apps, but the store is missing some key things. You won’t find Microsoft Word, for example, on the Chrome Store and you probably never will.
Think of all the PC software you use on your computer. Some people use a lot of software, while other people only really use their internet browsers. If you’re the kind of person who uses a lot of different programs in an average day, then the Chromebook is probably not for you.
4) It doesn’t work well when not connected to the internet
True to the Scroogled campaign, the Chromebook isn’t great when you’re not connected to the internet. The entire laptop is based around the magical Cloud. If you can’t connect to the Cloud, then you can still use the laptop, but you just can’t use it very well.
Chromebooks are fast, but that speed comes at the expense of a constant reliance on the internet. When that internet goes away, your Chromebook doesn’t have a lot of data on its internal storage to keep your apps running. Yes, your Chromebook works, but expect limited functionality.
3) There are no third-party antivirus programs
Chrome is one of the most secure browsers available today. It likes to warn users whenever they’re about to enter a dangerous website and it asks you to confirm before downloading dangerous file formats – like .exe or .rar files.
However, some people demand higher levels of protection. Unfortunately, these people are going to be disappointed by the antivirus options on Chromebooks: there are none. That hasn’t been an issue yet because no major viruses have been produced for the Chromebook. However, we don’t expect this immunity period to last for long.
2) Some links don’t work
If a website doesn’t support Chrome, then you won’t be able to access that website on your Chromebook. Although Chrome tends to be the world’s most popular internet browser, there are still many websites which do not support Chrome.
The desktop version of Chrome often renders these websites. However, on Chrome OS, you’ll almost definitely encounter websites that just do not load. That’s incredibly frustrating and it will surely be a deal breaker for some people.
1) Limited gaming options
One of the major advantages of buying a PC over, say, a Mac is being able to enjoy a wide range of PC games. Unfortunately, Chromebook does not have much in the way of PC gaming. You can enjoy some flash titles designed exclusively for Chromebooks, but that’s it. There are no Steam or Origin Chrome apps, so you won’t be playing Battlefield 4 or Civilization V anytime soon.
Chromebooks are affordable internet devices. If you’re not connected to the internet, they’re not great – but they’re not completely useless either. If you’re looking for a cheap laptop that you aren’t going to use for work, then the Chromebook and Chrome OS is a decent option – especially since you can pick up a Chromebook for a few hundred books.