Cheap Alternative to a Laptop

During the pandemic, a lot of people found out that they were able to work from home, without any real changes to the way they work. This has given people a taste for a great work/life balance, and therefore more and more people are working from home. Some are even branching out to start their own businesses, and so need a cheap device to get started. So this begs the question, is there a cheap alternative to a laptop?

As a general rule Chromebooks are a cheaper alternative to laptops due to their lightweight approach to building the operating system, therefore can utilize lower-priced hardware inside, thus reducing the cost.

This being said, there are cheaper laptops out there with compatible prices with a Chromebook, so why have I decided to pick Chromebooks in particular, and what is a Chromebook? Read on to find out more.

What Is A Chromebook?

If you were to search Chromebook in the dictionary, as I just have, you will receive nothing in return, but on Google, you will be inundated with a myriad of responses showing you the latest Chromebooks to purchase.

Google created the Chromebook, and with their vast knowledge, they realized that almost everyone using a computer or laptop is connected to the internet. They, therefore, decided to keep all of their software in ‘The Cloud’ (more on that later), and also provide it for free.

This is a massive advantage for people on a tight budget, as they no longer have to purchase an office software suite on top of their laptop, as long as you have a Google account (which is easy to set up) you have access to free office software.

You can also open, edit, download, and convert many Microsoft® Office files, such as Word, PowerPoint, or Excel, so you have no problems with interoperability. You can read more about this in the Chromebook help section.

What is The Cloud?

Big corporations and people in the know talk about the cloud as if the entire world knows about it, but not everyone knows what it actually is, and when they try to find out they are bamboozled by technical speak.

Not this type of cloud, but wouldn’t that be super cool. The cloud is just a term used for services that are accessed over the internet.

On a very basic level, the cloud can be described as a big powerful computer, that is owned by one of the big corporations, Google in this example. This computer is called a server and sits in a room in a large building that is owned by Google, the large building is known as a data center, and this is basically the cloud.

To explain things further, you save all the files from your computer or cell phone that you want to be safe in the cloud. These files can be anything, from homework assignments to precious digital baby photos. The cloud offers this safety net as the files are not directly saved on your computer or some backup device that you own.

Let me paint you a picture, you are a grandparent and you are constantly taking photos of your grandchildren with your cell phone. What would happen if you were to lose your cell phone? You would lose everything. Ah-ha you say, I always back up my photos on my laptop or computer, but what if you dropped your laptop or your computer crashed and fails to turn on again.

Enter the cloud, you can set up your cell phone or computer (or both, if you are super cautious like me) to automatically back up all of your precious files and photos to be saved there. This means that you can access them from any device as long as you log in using your account details, and with Google, you get a whopping 15GB of data storage for free (which is a lot of photos).

Here is a picture of some equipment in a data center. The servers are fitted into these racks, and the racks are fitted next to each other in straight lines leaving a corridor to enable you to walk down there, and also open the rack doors.

Inside A Data Center

Extra Software

I mentioned earlier about the Chromebook having a free office software suite, which is fantastic for people on a budget, but what I didn’t mention is that it also has built-in anti-virus protection.

For many laptops, it is heavily advised to purchase anti-virus software to prevent nasty criminals from accessing your device over the internet. These anti-virus suites can cost anything up to $90 on an annual subscription for an individual device, that’s a lot of money, and if you want to protect the whole families devices, you are looking at around $100 or more, every single year. You haven’t even started up your new laptop and it’s already costing you more than you wanted to pay.

With the Chromebook however, anti-virus is built-in, you don’t need to mess about purchasing it and then getting it installed, and yes it’s absolutely free.

There is also a myriad of free software available for the Chromebook, some that are run over the internet and some that can be installed directly onto it. Take a look at this article, it shows you 35 great apps that you can install or run on a Chromebook.

Why I Chose a Chromebook

When you purchase a cheap laptop, either brand new, or pre-loved, it is usually a bad experience. I have purchased a few in my time, and I have always regretted my decision. They are usually very slow to load software or to boot up, and I’ve even had one that used to overheat after only one hour’s use. I had to shut it down and leave it alone for 2 hours before I could use it again, not the best purchase I’ve made, I must admit.

As Chromebooks basically run everything over the internet there is no bulky software dragging down the speed of it. That being said, the Chromebook is not suitable for everyone. Some folk need to run heavy video rendering software that couldn’t possibly run over the internet, and so need a laptop or computer to perform these tasks.

However, if you are someone that surfs the internet, and writes emails, documents, or spreadsheets then it is ideal for you. My wife has had her Chromebook for over 12 years now, and it still runs very fast. I have asked her several times if she would like to upgrade, but she won’t. She loves it, and I suppose she is right, why change something if you are perfectly happy with it.

So in a nutshell, the Chromebook is fast, lightweight, and affordable, with so many different types on offer, and if it suits your needs, you will be very happy with it for many years to come.