In the Market for a Holiday Chromebook? Here's What to Know

by Ostatic Staff - Dec. 17, 2014

Are you in the market for a Chromebook this holiday season? A lot of holiday shoppers are, as Google's Chrome OS has moved from a slightly questionable cloud-centric platform to one that can be taken seriously. As a matter of fact, Chromebooks were among the top sellers among low-cost laptops last holiday season.

Consumer Reports is out with a new evalutation of the best low-cost laptops and gives the nod to some Chromebooks. Meanwhile, some applications you may have thought you'd never use on Chrome OS are going to be available. Here are details.

The $175 Acer CB3-111-C8UB Chromebook is rated as a Consumer Reports Best Buy. It's very light and Acer claims it gets over 10 hours of battery life, although you'll get less if you stream video and audio extensively. Certainly, the price is right for the Acer, and Acer has experience producing Chromebooks, too.

The the Acer C720-3871 is actually Consumer Reports favorite Chromebook, though, and it sells for $350, although you can get it cheaper online. It has state-of-the-art processing power and a bit more muscle than the lower end Acer.

Meanwhile, Photoshop--an applications you may have thought would never run on cloud-focused Chrome OS--is going to be available for Chromebooks. Google and Adobe have announced that Adobe's entire Creative Cloud software suite, including Photoshop, will soon be available for Chromebooks. And, Google and Adobe are showing their Streaming Photoshop project, and making it available in the educational market. 

How will the streaming version work? It is designed to run straight from the cloud to a Chromebook. It updates itself and will be fully integrated with Google Drive, so there will be no need to download and re-upload files. You just save your art directly from Photoshop to the cloud. For IT administrators, it will ease some headaches. For example, installation won't be required.

If you haven't looked into Chromebooks, or if you previously wrote them off due to the immaturity of Chrome OS, look again. Many holiday gift receivers would be happy to get a Chromebook, and they are much more flexible now than before. And, Google is even offering incentives with Chromebooks, including, in many cases, free storage in the cloud and other perks.