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Topic # 236075 16-May-2018 20:03
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Our two laptops are sh!tting themselves; one is about nine years old, so no surprises or complaints there; the other, an HP Spectre 360, is randomly but frequently freezing (especially when not plugged in), so needs to be fixed, but in the interim we need a second device - but the kicker is it needs to be affordable (my wife's about to be made redundant...).

 

So I started thinking whether a decent Chromebook may be a viable option, given we'll (hopefully!) still have a decent laptop in the Spectre. We need the second device only for stuff like general web, email, Office (I understand many Chromebooks will support Office 365), Netflix - so nothing that systems-intensive. 

 

My first question I'd appreciate some feedback on is - if my budget is under $1k (and it'll need to be!), will I get better value for money from a mid-range Chromebook or a basic Windows laptop?

 

I'm guessing the former, and as long as it lets me do what we want (as above), I'm happy with this, given they are often fairly robust devices, and I see there are some that come with decent resolution (1080); looks like those at this price point usually come with 32GB, which should be fine, but 64 would be nice...

 

My second question is the usual - what laptop should I buy?! But, seriously, are there any particular models of Chromebooks (assuming this is the way to go) that would be recommended in this price point?

 

And third, are there any significant limitations to selecting a Chromebook over a conventional Windows-based laptop?

 

Thanks in advance.


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gzt

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  Reply # 2017278 17-May-2018 06:45
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are there any significant limitations to selecting a Chromebook over a conventional Windows-based laptop?

Nine years qualifies as laptop hypermilage ; ).

Google currently provide 6.5 years guaranteed updates for new Chromebooks. Windows 10 provides 10 years. Presumably the OEM is responsible for drivers in the Chromebook case same as for windows. Not sure of the Google/OEM agreement there.

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  Reply # 2017302 17-May-2018 08:22
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No idea but I think I'd start by looking on a price comparison website with a few of your parameters entered.

 

Was just having a look myself, you might get something reasonable but depends on what features you consider important of course.





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  Reply # 2017334 17-May-2018 08:57
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the first question that pops into my mind is, what are the main function you will be using the device for, this will have a significant influence on recommendations.





Mike
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The views stated in my posts are my personal views and not that of any other organisation.

 

 Mac user, Windows curser, Chrome OS desired.

 

The great divide is the lies from both sides.

 

 


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  Reply # 2017402 17-May-2018 09:33
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Regarding Chromebooks. This reply was typed out on one, it is my only laptop. You can run Android apps on most of them now along with any webapp. Personally, I really like the Chromebook as it is rock solid stable, fast (and I mean fast) and also secure. I can do almost anything on my Chromebook as I can do on the Linux PC I have (I don't use Windows at all).

 

I honestly can't stand Windows 10 anymore (or Windows as a whole). I think you'll find a Chromebook as a great secondary device as it can do everything in your post. As for the Chromebook I recommend well that is a hard one but I suggest looking at Amazon for the Samsung Chromebook Pro which is the one I have - glorious high resolution touchscreen with a stylus and can convert into a tablet. The Samsung Chromebook Plus is also very good however has an Arm processor vs an Intel - still a great laptop.







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  Reply # 2017409 17-May-2018 09:43
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Thanks for the replies.

The uses it will be put to are in the first post: standard internet usage including VoD via Netflix, Lightbox, TVNZ etc; Office 365; and not much else.

I spent a decent amount of time looking through the options via PriceSpy and reading reviews of various models; it looks like there are very few options for a Windows laptop under $1k that comes with a SSD and a 1080 screen.

On the other hand, there are some decently spec’d Chromebooks, and one in particular interests me - Asus C302CA https://pricespy.co.nz/product.php?p=4046160 - from $815. Gets really good reviews, and seems to perform really well.

Would I find a better-performing Windows laptop for around this budget?
Is it worth spending about $150 more to get the version with 8GB vs 4GB (seems to be the only difference, eg no increase in SSD size)
And, given our intended use, would I be missing much by going the way of a Chromebook vs Windows laptop?

The only thing that I’ve noted as a loss is the kids won’t be able to play Minecraft, but that doesn’t seem a big issue as they already have it on their iPads.

UHD

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  Reply # 2017412 17-May-2018 09:47
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Can you install traditionally mobile only apps on to Chromebooks? I am thinking apps like Snapchat, Kik, etc...




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  Reply # 2017414 17-May-2018 09:49
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michaelmurfy:

Regarding Chromebooks. This reply was typed out on one, it is my only laptop. You can run Android apps on most of them now along with any webapp. Personally, I really like the Chromebook as it is rock solid stable, fast (and I mean fast) and also secure. I can do almost anything on my Chromebook as I can do on the Linux PC I have (I don't use Windows at all).


I honestly can't stand Windows 10 anymore (or Windows as a whole). I think you'll find a Chromebook as a great secondary device as it can do everything in your post. As for the Chromebook I recommend well that is a hard one but I suggest looking at Amazon for the Samsung Chromebook Pro which is the one I have - glorious high resolution touchscreen with a stylus and can convert into a tablet. The Samsung Chromebook Plus is also very good however has an Arm processor vs an Intel - still a great laptop.



Thanks @michaelmurfy, a really useful (and encouraging) reply. I’m also over Windows 10, especially since it’s that which seems to be causing the problems with both our current laptops.

I had found good reviews of the Samsungs but equally found a lack of NZ retailers! Will check out Amazon.

What are your thoughts on the Asus I linked to above, and also whether it’s worth that substantial increase in price for the additional RAM?

No other model available in NZ has caught my eye, but any other recommendations would be most welcome!

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  Reply # 2017433 17-May-2018 10:16
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I have been doing some investigating of Chromebooks for disabled and elderly use. One thing I have discovered compared to overseas eg the US the NZ offering are pretty poor especially in the big retail chains. PB tech offer a better range but beware many are only x768.  Amazon has a good range and many are sent to NZ.

 

If you want to do some reading and look at some reviews this site has some good material. https://chromeunboxed.com/news/ 

 

From what I have deduced from my current project  your needs could be met by a Chromebook but I would strongly suggest a x 1080 should be you minimum screen requirement. 

 

ASUS has some good models especially the Flip and that is reviewed on the site above. It is a shame that Samsung decided a few years back to abandon us as they offer some very nice machines rivalled in my opinion only by the Pixel Chromebook. Many of the Samsung and especially the Pixel will be well out of your price range. As for the HP, Acer, Lenovo offerings here I could not recommend any of them. I have not managed to lay my hands on a Dell example so I cannot comment on their machines.

 

 





Mike
Retired IT Manager. 
The views stated in my posts are my personal views and not that of any other organisation.

 

 Mac user, Windows curser, Chrome OS desired.

 

The great divide is the lies from both sides.

 

 


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  Reply # 2017461 17-May-2018 10:26
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  Reply # 2017465 17-May-2018 10:31
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Not really relevant if you're not a dev, but I noticed the other day that postman app in chrome says chrome apps are being deprecated. I've never really tried a chromebook but what's the deal on them if chrome apps are being deprecated? I see they have a native linux version of postman (along with windows\mac) now, can you install that on a chromebook? 

 

 

 

 

 

EDIT: hmmm, answering myself, looks like maybe not yet but could soon be time to try a chromebook....

 

 

 

https://www.blog.google/products/chromebooks/linux-on-chromebooks/

 

 

 

 




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  Reply # 2017475 17-May-2018 10:51
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kobiak:

I would consider http://www.dell.com/en-nz/shop/2-in-1-laptops/inspiron-13-5000-2-in-1/spd/inspiron-13-5368-2-in-1-laptop/z511261nz for $850 is just too good.



Thanks for the link. I hadn’t checked out Dell as I’d assumed their cheaper models would still be low-res, but I see this is a 1080 screen.

A real tricky dilema for me: the Asus Chromebook and this Dell laptop are similar enough in price to make the decision tricky. It’s a step into the unknown to go with Chromebook as I’ve not used them beyond a quick play at NL. On one hand I like the idea of moving away from the nightmare that it Windows, but on the other there’s still a risk I’ll lose something key by the move. That said, it’s a second device and we’ll still have a decent Windows laptop (provided I can fix the random shutdowns!).

Thoughts on the relative merits?

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  Reply # 2017478 17-May-2018 10:54
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I have been through a similar exercise with an elderly relative who wanted to replace her laptop for VOD, email, web browsing and word processing. We found that in eight years the best price for an equivalent laptop had increased from $500 to $800. Most of the CPUs had swapped peak performance for much lower power usage.

 

We looked at tablets, notebooks and laptops and found that while list prices favoured Chromebooks and Android tablets the additional cost of peripherals (which could be keyboards/covers, USB hubs, cabled network connections, etc) and sale prices made Windows notebooks/laptops much more competitive.

 

The key features for us were:

 

  • FullHD display should be the minimum for VOD.
  • SSD. It can partially compensate for a slow processor. Many cheap Windows laptops had HDD and some had optical drives which would have been useful for her.
  • Enough USB connectors. The number is important to avoid buying an external USB hub or bluetooth peripheral. She prefered to use her existing USB keyboard and mouse.

 

 

In the end, the determining factor for her was iTunes (for her iPod) which is not available on ChromeOS and Android. So we had to stick with Windows.

 

We bought a $250 low-spec, but with FullHD display, Windows notebook from Warehouse Stationery and added a 32GB microSD card ($17 reduced from $58) as a data drive. The main limitations are the tiny 32GB SSD and the slow CPU but I also suspect the battery may not be very good. As the next best Windows option was $600 she was motivated to cope with these limitations. So far she has only had good things to say about it.

 

 

 

P.S. I would never have considered such a limited notebook except that the display looks so good. I'm going to get one for myself for presentations because it is more easily replaced than one of our Surface Pros or laptops.




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  Reply # 2017492 17-May-2018 11:09
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MikeB4:

I have been doing some investigating of Chromebooks for disabled and elderly use. One thing I have discovered compared to overseas eg the US the NZ offering are pretty poor especially in the big retail chains. PB tech offer a better range but beware many are only x768.  Amazon has a good range and many are sent to NZ.


If you want to do some reading and look at some reviews this site has some good material. https://chromeunboxed.com/news/ 


From what I have deduced from my current project  your needs could be met by a Chromebook but I would strongly suggest a x 1080 should be you minimum screen requirement. 


ASUS has some good models especially the Flip and that is reviewed on the site above. It is a shame that Samsung decided a few years back to abandon us as they offer some very nice machines rivalled in my opinion only by the Pixel Chromebook. Many of the Samsung and especially the Pixel will be well out of your price range. As for the HP, Acer, Lenovo offerings here I could not recommend any of them. I have not managed to lay my hands on a Dell example so I cannot comment on their machines.


 



Thanks, @MikeB4, for your thoughts.

Yep, I’ve limited my search to only 1080 or higher (old laptop 768; never again!) and for a SSD (in terms of a conventional laptop, which narrows the choice at this price point!). I note the small drives on the Chromebooks (32 seems standard even at the midrange), but assume I can get by with this (not ideal as it’ll limit my use of OneDrive to sync all files across all devices - is using an SD card for OneDrive syncing possible, and if so recommended?).

I’ll check out that site too; the Asus currently at the top of my preference is a Flip model, and is clearly a higher grade device than all the cheaper ones I’ve come across - those are more akin to a slightly fancier version of what I’ll need to buy my son for intermediate next year.

In my search thus far I’ve only come across the Samsung Plus range on Amazon, not the Pro. Some of the Plus range do ship to NZ, so this could be an option, but I’m not sure if they’d be better than the Asus. I also do worry about a lack of warranty purchasing from o/s, and I’m sure it’ll worry my wife even more!

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  Reply # 2017603 17-May-2018 12:39
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Something else to consider with a CB - the insanely fast boot-up time and the lack of virii (is that the plural of virus?) along with excellent battery performance.

 

 

 

My kidds both had Chromebooks for school (but of course peer pressure came to bear and they both used birthday money/savings to get windows laptops that underperform compared to the CBs). My kids are frustrated daily by the Windows laptops, but they can sleep in the beds they made.

 

 

 

I have one of the kids' old Chromebooks now - a low-cost Acer model - it's great for what you need, but the screen is terrible - awesome for casting though, as the screen then becomes irrelevant.

 

Ad I am so wholly invested in the Apple ecosystem, I don't use it much as I use an iPad Pro with Apple keyboard and Apple pencil, which works well for me but would be over your budget by a bit.

 

 

 

 

 

 





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  Reply # 2017633 17-May-2018 13:35
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Cheers, @Handsomedan - some good points...

Your post raised an interesting alternative, in that once my wife had a new job I intended to look at upgrading my current iPad (Air first gen). I’d been thinking of a 64GB iPad Pro 10.5, but one option would be to buy a single device in replacement of the laptop and iPad, eg an iPad Pro 12.9 plus keyboard, which would still be cheaper than the total cost of the Asus Chromebook and smaller Pro.

Do you feel the Pro can function as a replacement to a conventional laptop for everyday tasks? One thing is getting used to that type of keyboard. Plus the reduction of useable devices for the family. Also. A lot of money for a glorified tablet! Too many options...

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