Are today's laptop prices starting to worry you? If you have a laptop that's about ready to hum its last and need a replacement, there are inexpensive and dependable computers out there…if you know where to look. We're specifically talking about Chromebooks, those lightweight laptops that run Chrome OS and come with much cheaper specs than the average mobile machine. Even the best Chromebooks are limited in some ways: Because they can only run Chrome and have very limited storage, most of their work needs to be based in the cloud, on the web, or on more simple apps. However, if you don't need to run any demanding programs or save up a lot of data, they can be a very effective solution to your laptop vs. wallet problem. Here are several of our top picks for the best Chromebooks and why they shine.
Toshiba Chromebook 2 - $400
It's common to expect not-so-impressive specs on a Chromebook, so when one of these computers actually has impressive features, it's worth talking about. This Toshiba Chromebook 2 has a particularly great HD, 1080p screen: At around 13 inches it isn't huge, but it is bright and beautiful, and makes this Chromebook an entertainment device in its own right. The other features include 4GB of RAM, a Core i3 processor, and only 16GB of storage, so remember to take it easy and stream your entertainment instead of downloading it.
A few eagle-eyed Google support page visitors spotted a mysteriously unknown device dubbed Chromecast. It has since been removed from the site, as if it never existed. Luckily, someone took a screenshot for posterity. There are no concrete details of what it actually is. However, there is some speculation of it being an HDMI dongle streaming device for TVs, while websites like Droid Life say it might be a Apple AirPlay-like feature to sling content from a Cromebook to the TV. Hopefully, the mystery will be solved at today's Google event. In the meantime, let the speculation continue.
Read More | Droid Life
Yesterday, Google announced the availability of the Chromebook line at Google I/O 2011. You can see our news on the Samsung Series 5 Chromebook and Acer Chromebook from yesterday, but I was also featured on our local news here in Seattle to talk about the steps Google is taking to move the OS into the cloud. We've embedded that clip above. Enjoy!
We've got another Chromebook to cover today, as the Acer Chromebook was announced this morning at Google I/O 2011, in addition to the Samsung Series 5 model. This one is smaller, with an 11.6-inch display, Intel Atom N570 processor, 16 GB SSD, two USB ports, HDMI, and a battery that lasts for 6.5 hours. Google promises an 8-second boot time on these as well. The Acer model seems to be the budget line, as these are going to sell for $349 for the Wi-Fi model (if you want worldwide 3G, those cost a bit more.) Look for these on June 15th at Amazon and Best Buy.
Read More | Acer Chromebook
Google has finally set the path for the introduction of Chrome OS devices to go on sale to the general public, as they announced plans this morning at Google I/O 2011 for the introduction of Chromebooks. First up is the Samsung Series 5, which packs in a dual-core 1.66 GHz Intel Atom N570 processor, 16 GB SSD, 8.5 hour battery, 12.1-inch display, and 802.11n Wi-Fi. Other nicities include things like an HD webcam, clickable trackpad, two USB ports, and optional 3G. The Series 5 weighs in at 3.26 pounds, and you'll be able to get one from Amazon or Best Buy starting June 15th. If you are fine with just Wi-Fi, those will run for $429, but if you want worldwide 3G (which includes 100 MB of Verizon data per month for free,) that will cost $499.
Read More | Samsung Series 5