I’m a longtime Windows user, but ChromeOS has always piqued my interest as an alternative. Unlike macOS, which does pretty much the same thing as Windows, ChromeOS offers something completely different. It is lightweight, efficient and ships with the ability to run almost any Android app.
I recently bought the HP Chromebase All-in-One 22, and my . reviewed in review Period, I spent a lot of time playing around with ChromeOS. But in addition to the Chromebase, I also have an original Samsung Galaxy Chromebook, which I usually only go to for beta testing, such as Screencast.
Since I really liked Chromebase, I spent a few extra days post-review With my Chromebook as my main machine, my return to Windows is delayed. In that week, I certainly learned a lot about Chrome OS, and there were a lot of surprises along the way.
The first thing I was reminded of when spending some extra time in ChromeOS was efficiency. I’ve grown fond of Microsoft Edge on my Surface device, but I quickly noticed that Chrome works great as a web browser on a Chromebook. Edge and Chrome are both based on Chromium, so it was no surprise that ChromeOS tackled my workflow really well.
Even with Team’s Android version, as well as seven Chrome tabs and a Team Progressive Web App (PWA), ChromeOS chipped in nicely on my hardware (an Intel Core i5-10210U with 8GB of RAM) . RAM usage was also not pegged high, and neither did the CPU, according to the System Status app, COG. Years of working with Windows laptops have trained me to expect high usage from Chrome, but ChromeOS stunned me.
Another good thing? The apps I need to work with my Surface are available on ChromeOS. I also installed Microsoft Edge as a Linux app, which was a surprise.
For other apps, I used the PWA versions of Word and Excel. I also used the PWA version of Teams, as it has a desktop interface.
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I also like that the Android apps are integrated with ChromeOS. You get apps that can be completely resized, either in tablet form or phone form. Some apps even let you resize them in windowed mode. It reminds me of what’s been done with Android apps in Windows 11, but it’s great to see that it works seamlessly in Chrome OS without additional downloads. Xbox Cloud Gaming and . things like subway Surfers All runs very well on my Chromebook, with cloud gaming feeling the same way as it does on Windows.
This is because, on Windows, you need to have the Amazon App Store installed, and you don’t have access to the Google Play Store. ChromeOS certainly outperforms Android for this reason. It also plays well with Android phones. My Pixel 6 Pro’s open Chrome tabs, photos, and LTE networks were available for sharing on my Chromebook via Phone Hub. It reminds me a lot of Phone Link on Windows 11.
Other great things I noted about my Chromebook include battery life, the speed of booting and installing updates, and the overall ease of using settings and printers. My power-hungry Surface Laptop Studio barely delivers four hours of battery life, but my Chromebook lasted me a full day. Booting up my Chromebook, meanwhile, is almost instant, but on Windows devices, I have to wait around 30 seconds at some points.
Of course, it’s an apples-to-apples comparison in each device in these two operating systems, but on average, Chromebooks have always excelled in efficiency and battery life—and that’s still true today.
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App compatibility has always been a struggle with ChromeOS, especially if you are familiar with traditional operating systems like Windows 11. The biggest hiccups I found were around Microsoft Office apps, which are part of my daily workflow. For some reason, ChromeOS won’t let me download Android versions of Microsoft Office apps. Instead, I am redirected to use the PWA versions.
It’s probably a Microsoft thing, and not Google’s fault. Still, I couldn’t help but get frustrated with the range. I imagine it would be easier to use my Galaxy Chromebook as an Android tablet if I could just use the Android version of Office. It’s a shame, because PWAs for Office aren’t available for offline use.
Some other little things that annoy me include the lack of date and time and calendar in the system tray, no Caps Lock key, and the new launcher on the left side of the screen. I loved the old interface, as it only makes sense for touchscreen Chromebooks. A hub like the smaller Start Menu in ChromeOS Canary doesn’t seem as efficient.
And one more thing that sucks? Files Manager. I’ve complained about how Windows File Explorer looks, but ChromeOS File Manager is even worse. It doesn’t fully integrate with OneDrive, for example, and file previews are unsightly circular icons. There isn’t even a “Documents” folder, and everything is saved to Downloads by default. I really hope this changes in the future.
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Okay, so now it’s time to get past the ugly parts of switching to a Chromebook for a week. There’s one big, bad thing that held me back, and that’s the lack of a true video editor.
Now, I tried using Clipchamp as a video editor for ChromeOS, but it’s a largely web-based interface, and it wasn’t as efficient as a dedicated editor like Wondershare Filmora on Windows. Encoding times were slow, and a lot of things like cutting audio weren’t efficient for me. I actually had to go back to Windows to edit my weekly podcasts.
However all hope is not lost. Google confirmed that it is working to bring the LumaFusion video editor to ChromeOS. So, in a few more months, video editing may be possible on an advanced Chromebook.
This is no surprise. ChromeOS has advanced far beyond its early days, and even with the issues I’ve experienced, I’m more confident than ever that Google will continue to make the ChromeOS experience truly great. . As much as I enjoyed returning to the comfort and familiarity of Windows 11, I can’t say I haven’t wondered many times if I might someday convince myself to commit to ChromeOS in the long run. maybe someday.