The days when 4GB RAM was more than sufficient are long gone
Chromebooks are capable machines, and the best Chromebooks can be used for browsing, watching videos, and editing documents. You can also use Android and desktop apps via Linux. With its lightweight ChromeOS operating system, Chromebooks are power-efficient and don't need powerful processors and more RAM.
Capture your screen in a flash
Taking a screenshot is a feature on nearly every device with a screen, but the method varies across them, even on similar products like Android phones. We show you how to take screenshots on Android, iPhone, iPad, Mac, Microsoft Windows, Chromebook, Linux, Galaxy Watch, and WatchOS. We also show you how to record your screen on some of these devices and operating systems.
Chromebooks mostly live online, but it's good to back up your data every now and then
Chromebooks are excellent computers if your usage is mostly web browsing and other online applications. They've become vastly popular among students and folks that need a computer for basic use, or a secondary computer. Of course, when you have a computer, you want your data to be secure, and Chromebooks are pretty good at that, but it's always good to back up your Chromebook regardless.
RGB lighting here we come!
Hot off the heels of Stadia's death, Google is still somehow interested in gaming, and so there's a fresh initiative for Chromebooks centered around, you guessed it, gaming. Specifically, cloud gaming, with Nvidia at the forefront as the closest partner in the endeavor. Basically, Chromebooks are great for working in the cloud, and now that cloud gaming is so popular this year with multiple streaming-centric devices coming from the likes of Logitech and Razer, it's no surprise to see laptop manufacturers such as , , and also jumping on the bandwagon with fresh Chromebooks made specifically for cloud gaming, including the telltale sign of a proper gaming laptop, RGB keyboards.
120Hz displays, anti-ghosting keyboards, and Wi-Fi 6 are the big points here
Google may not be in the cloud gaming arena (or, should we say, stadium) anymore, but the ChromeOS department has been preparing to go all out with a campaign for people who'd otherwise be Windows or console buyers to plug their controllers into a Chromebook. We've got three fresh ones to talk about today with all of them providing the best aspects one would expect from a ChromeOS device while also pushing some key gamer-focused tenets.
Put down your pen and pick up your stylus
Google Cursive is an app for taking handwritten notes with your Chromebook. The app launched in August 2021 with the HP Chromebook x2 11 and comes pre-installed on the top Google Chromebooks with touchscreen support. The app is a solid alternative to Microsoft OneNote and many of the best note-taking apps if you're looking for simple features and a minimalist design. Here's how you can access Google Cursive and use it to create, edit, and organize your notes.
Giving you a small heads-up whenever your webcam or mic is used
Android 12 introduced so-called privacy indicators to Google's mobile platform. These show up in the form of little green dots in the corner of your display, indicating that an app is accessing your microphone or camera. About a year after the stable Android 12 launch, this useful indicator could come to ChromeOS next, adding the privacy feature to all of the best Chromebooks out there.
Opening up to more players in the ChromeOS beta channel
After years of rumors, Google announced that it was bringing popular gaming platform Steam to Chromebooks in Alpha in 2022. There were a lot of strings attached, though, which made it an ordeal to run the program for anyone who wants to use their capable Chromebooks for actual work, too. This could be about to change, as Google is preparing to move Steam support to the beta version of ChromeOS, which makes it much more accessible to a lot more gamers.
Kind of like AirDrop, but Google
Nearby Share makes it easy for you to send photos, files, links, contacts, and more via Wi-Fi or mobile data to other Android devices. Once enabled, you can share files with a few taps. If you've just picked up one of the best Chromebooks, it's the best way to send data between your new laptop and Android phone. Once you've set it up, you can share files in seconds.
Who knows if your chat client will make it a paid feature in the future?
Video conferencing is a big deal, period. Never mind the ongoing ordeal that we're still living, video conferencing would have gone big one way or another. So much so, a number of chat clients including Google Meet have integrated cloud-powered background blurring effects for the many of us that are stuck in our messy, unpresentable bedrooms. For Chromebook owners, though, you might be getting more blur for your buck soon with OS-level capabilities.
ChromeOS 105 is alpha testing keyboard inputs on a few games
The Google Play Store has a vast selection of games you can enjoy on almost every Android device, provided this device offers a touchscreen interface. Unless you have one of the best Chromebooks that comes with a touchscreen, you can bid adieu to any chance of enjoying the majority of mobile games to their fullest, all because they weren’t designed for keyboard and mouse inputs, to begin with. Thankfully, things are changing. Google is introducing an early test where keyboard inputs on your Chromebook emulate actual touch input in a handful of Android games.
The easiest way to keep your Chromebook up-to-date
Keeping your Chromebook up-to-date so that it has the latest features and best security safeguards is essential. Finding what version your device is on and if it has an update can be frustrating, but Chromebooks make it easy. All Chromebooks across manufacturers, including the , get updated in the same way, so you always know where to look.
It's possible to install ChromeOS Flex on a Chromebook. But is it worth it?
ChromeOS Flex is here, and its set to turn any old Mac or PC into a Chromebook. There's just been one burning question: Can you use ChromeOS Flex to bring old Chromebooks back to life? The short answer is yes. The longer answer is yes, but it might not work, and Google won't provide any support. Let's dig in.
You won’t be affected if you’re using the PWA from the Play Store
Thanks to the ease of use and lower-than-laptop prices we associate with all those great Chromebooks out there, the pandemic led to a spurt in the demand for these devices as students and professionals transitioned to remote work worldwide. Video conferencing tools like Zoom helped bridge the distances. The service even had a dedicated Google Chrome browser extension and a Chrome app optimized for Chromebooks. Sadly, though, Zoom doesn’t want to maintain the latter anymore.
It's far from a perfect solution, but it's something
Any of the best Chromebooks will serve as an incredible tool for almost anything you need a computer for these days, especially when you know all the Chromebook tips and tricks. No matter what kind of Chromebook you have, it mostly plays out its strengths when you stick with Google's ecosystem of services. Google Drive is the only service that deeply integrates with the pre-installed Files app, so those using OneDrive may feel a little left out.
Code suggests ChromeOS has ‘glanceable’ widgets in the works, but visuals haven’t surfaced yet
Google offers a widget called At a Glance which offers all kinds of essential information right on your home screen ranging from commute time to weather data. Recently, Google has stepped up efforts to make the widget more useful for Pixel users through frequent Feature Drops with the inclusion of air quality alerts and Nest Doorbell video feeds. A similar “glanceable” widget tailored for larger screens could be in the works for devices running ChromeOS.
Access your favorite apps and websites on your Chromebook in seconds
Everyone has websites and apps they use almost every time they open their computer. To make accessing these websites and apps easier, Chromebooks allow you to pin them to the shelf. The shelf on a Chromebook is equivalent to the taskbar on a Windows device.
Check out how each component of your Chromebook is doing
Chromebooks are great devices for most people, and showcase what Chromebooks can bring to the table. Even though Chromebooks work great most of the time, sometimes something goes wrong. Often, it's difficult to figure out where to start to find the root of the problem. Luckily, ChromeOS has added the Diagnostics app to help you diagnose your problem.
An offline Chromebook can still use many of its cloud-based apps
When Chromebooks were first released in 2011, disconnecting from the internet rendered them practically useless. Their reliance on Google's cloud-based apps meant that an offline Chromebook couldn't even function as a word processor. Thankfully, Chrome OS has made major progress since its early days. Now, an offline Chromebook can use many of its cloud-based apps, with each app syncing its data as soon as you reconnect to the internet.
Chromebook shipments, in particular, dropped dramatically, with a 51% YoY reduction
Google is finally starting to show some love for tablets and other large-screen devices. After neglecting tablets for years, Android 12L invested in tablet-focused UI changes for maybe the first time since Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. And with it, Google also signaled that tablets were an essential pillar of Android's long-term strategy, and committed to supporting them better — we've even got a Pixel tablet to look forward to. Hopefully that kind of renewed interest breathes a little life into the form factor: the latest tablet shipment numbers are in and they show that Android tablets are (still) struggling.