Starting under $300, the new crop of Chromebooks previewed by Intel and Google on Tuesday could be the perfect fit for laptop shoppers on a budget this year.
The two companies presented a number of designs from Acer, ASUS, Dell, and Lenovo at a joint press event on May 6. Standout features included touchscreens, convertible form factors, and long battery life. All incorporate WiFi and Bluetooth connectivity.
Chromebooks run Chrome OS, which is based on the popular Chrome browser from Google. Although it has a reputation of requiring a constant Internet connection, most Chrome OS apps can in fact function completely standalone.
Still, the emphasis is on cloud computing and cloud storage, so Chromebooks typically do not contain nearly as much processing power or local storage space as traditional Windows or Macintosh laptops.
As such, they cost less to produce and are targeted at users who already own other computers or do not require more expensive hardware and software.
Acer will expand its current Chromebook lineup with a version of its C720 model running a more powerful Intel Core i3 processor. The new configuration will go on sale for $349.99 “early in the back-to-school season”. Acer’s current lineup includes 12 configurations ranging from $199 to $329.99.
ASUS announced the C200 with an 11.6-inch screen and the C300 with a 13.3-inch screen. Both include a Celeron processor, 2GB memory, 16GB internal storage, and a 720p webcam. They begin shipping at the end of June with a starting price of $249.99.
Dell announced a Core i3 version of its education-focused Chromebook 11. At present, Dell offers two Chromebook 11 models with 16GB storage and 11.6-inch screens starting at $279.
Lenovo introduced the N20 and N20p, which both use a Celeron processor and up to 16GB internal storage with an 11.6-inch 1366×768 display. The N20 is a traditional laptop and will start at $279 in July. The N20p has a touchscreen that folds back 300 degrees into a “stand mode” and will start at $329 in August. Both include a high definition webcam and claim up to eight hours of battery life.
Also presented were a new HP Chromebox, a small desktop machine, and the LG Chromebase, an all-in-one machine with a 22-inch screen for $349.99.
Would you consider a Chromebook over a Windows or Mac laptop?