Chromebooks Sure Are Cheap — Are They Right for My Business?

Let’s take a reality check: should you use Chromebooks in your business? Great question. 

The simple answer for the majority is no. But let’s break this down more.

Chromebooks, in simple terms, are Chrome (the internet browser) based computers. Chromebooks are essentially disposable, and are usually on the low end in screen size and build quality. On its surface, the $199-$299 price point is tempting when a fully decked out business-grade laptop can run for thousands of dollars. However, a Windows 10 Pro laptop and a Chromebook are on opposite ends of the spectrum. 

Do Chromebooks have utility for the majority of businesses? We do not believe so. However, the caveat is that it truly depends on the nature of your work. Here are some issues that may arise if you use a Chromebook for business functions: 

  1. Centralized around G Suite/Gmail accounts. The majority of all businesses we run into and serve use Microsoft products, including Office 365. If you’re a business using G Suite, Chromebooks may have a place for specific limited functions. However, if you’re like most businesses, Chromebooks are extremely limited in functionality, and you’ll have to create G Suite or Gmail accounts to even log in to them. 
  2. Lack of compatibility. Ever get documents back with questions or suggestions made with Microsoft’s Track Changes system? While Google Docs has its own comparable “Suggestions” system that works well, expect that mixing the two formats will be anything but seamless. If you are heavily reliant on Microsoft products, you may want to look elsewhere for a laptop.
  3. Problems with image editing (if this applies to your business). While there are countless excellent photo editing apps, none truly compare to Photoshop when it comes to multilayer graphical work and you can’t get that for a Chromebook. While this may not apply to your specific business functions, it’s worth considering before purchasing a Chromebook for business use.
  4. Lack of specialty desktop utilities. If you have specific desktop utilities you need for your business–utilities that do not have a functional web-or Android-based equivalent–you will not be able to utilize a Chromebook for your work. Think software that lives on your computer’s desktop versus utilities you use online or in a “cloud-based” function.
  5. Technical difficulties with offline work. If a significant part of your business’ work is done offline, DO NOT buy a Chromebook. Chromebooks are most functional for work completed using an internet connection, as the applications and often your data are in the Cloud, rather than on your laptop.

While the Chromebook is undoubtedly versatile for specific limited web browser based functions, therein lies the primary business use problem. If your business requires particular processes or software to operate, a Chromebook is unlikely to be a solution for your business. On the other hand, Chromebooks are fine for some school or personal use (children, etc.). But if it’s up to us at PK Tech, we advise that you stay away from Chromebooks for business use–you’ll thank us later.

Curious about the best computer solutions for your specific business? PK Tech can consult on appropriate solutions based on function and price point. Get in touch with us today.