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Everyday Cheapskate: Chromebook Laptops Are Better Than Ever -- and Cheaper, Too!

Mary Hunt on

Only a few months ago, I told you about what was happening in the world of the Chromebook, a laptop that runs on the Chrome OS operating system and is designed to be used primarily while connected to the internet. I mentioned that Chromebooks had just outsold Apple's range of Macs (and for the first time in the U.S.).

Chromebooks have become so popular that manufacturers are competing like crazy to expand functionality while at the same time lowering the price. You know who wins that game, right? Consumers.

Prepare to be hit with a serious case of FUD -- fear, uncertainty and doubt -- if you go online or head to a store to purchase a Chromebook. That's because there are hundreds to choose from made by dozens of manufacturers. But not to worry. I don't expect you to slog through all of this. Remember, it's my job to do the hard work so you won't have to!

By way of review, a Chromebook laptop is ideal for someone who wants to surf the internet, communicate by email, stream movies and videos, and build a library of photos and music. While each of the computers I'm about to recommend has internal storage and ports to connect external hard drives, flash drives and memory cards, a Chromebook is generally designed to be connected to the internet. There are countless free Google apps for Chromebooks. Just remember that a Chromebook is not a Microsoft Windows computer. "Chromebooks vs. Windows Laptops: The Real Story" (as seen on chromebookvswindows.com) does a great job listing the differences and the reasons why a Chromebook is so much better in some situations (and so much cheaper). Chrome OS is secure, fast and super simple -- you know, the very opposite of Windows.

I am excited to tell you about two new Acer Chromebooks, either of which would make an absolutely stunning gift.

ACER CHROMEBOOK 15. Want to know why this made my very short list of recommended Chromebooks? The price! And the battery life. And the nice big screen, too. And its thinness and light weight (just 4.3 pounds). It has an Intel Celeron processor, an HD display, 2 GB memory and a 16 GB eMMC hard drive.

The 15.6-inch display is much larger than the 13.3-inch Chromebooks on the market. I've tested the heck out of the battery. It lasts for 10 to 12 hours for me, and that's on a single charge. It's hard to believe but true. This is such a sweet laptop -- the perfect choice for a student, a parent or a grandparent who is ready to get serious with storing photos and keeping in touch via email -- and maybe even tiptoe into Facebook and online shopping.

At this time and for the foreseeable future, the Acer Chromebook 15 is available at Wal-Mart for about $199. Wow.

ACER CHROMEBOOK 14. This Chromebook has 4 GB memory and a 32 GB hard drive. These differences make it faster and more efficient that the Acer Chromebook 15, which will make a big difference for a more experienced user. At up to 12 hours with a single charge, its battery life is impressive. Just about everyone who uses this Chromebook comments on the remarkable display, which is 14 inches with full HD IPS (1920x1080) and Intel HD graphics. It's just beautiful. Acer really outdid itself when it brought out this Chromebook! It costs about $292 on Amazon.

Got questions? You know where to find me!

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Mary invites questions, comments and tips at mary@everydaycheapskate.com, or c/o Everyday Cheapskate, 12340 Seal Beach Blvd., Suite B-416, Seal Beach, CA 90740. This column will answer questions of general interest, but letters cannot be answered individually. Mary Hunt is the founder of www.DebtProofLiving.com, a personal finance member website and the author of "Debt-Proof Living," released in 2014. To find out more about Mary and read her past columns, please visit the Creators Syndicate webpage at www.creators.com.

Copyright 2017 Creators Syndicate Inc.
 

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