Is buying a Chromebook in Pakistan worth it?

By Shaoor Munir on
September 7, 2016
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When it comes to buying laptops, most people think there are only two options – Windows or MacBooks. While Apple machines are immensely expensive, Windows laptops come in all sorts of price points, ranging from as high as 150k to as low as 50k. But when it comes to buying on a budget, Chromebooks have been gaining a lot of popularity with students and light to moderate computer users all around the world. So much so that Chromebooks have even outsold Apple Macs in recent quarters.

The story is altogether different in Pakistan though. Despite their overseas success, Pakistani consumers are still reluctant to accept Chromebooks as an alternative to cheap Windows laptops. Let us go through some reasons why Chromebooks are not a right fit for a Pakistani user.

1. It basically runs a glorified web browser

Google has tried really hard to make us think that their Chrome OS is a full-fledged operating system. But no matter how much they try, they cannot hide the fact that it is mainly Google Chrome browser wrapped in an application launcher and taskbar. Which means a Chromebook can only run applications designed for a browser. These applications are limited in features and run far poorer than any native application available on other operating systems.

Although Google has started adding Android application support for existing and new Chromebooks, the actual list of devices which are capable is still few and far between. In addition to scarce devices, most android apps are not designed to run on a laptop. This makes for a substandard user experience for Chromebook users.

2. Chromebooks require constant network connection

You know what is the biggest disadvantage of designing your operating system around web technologies? The user experience starts cracking as soon as it moves out of the range of a network connection.

The state of internet connection is pretty worse in Pakistan. No matter which service provider, internet is bound to disconnect on extreme weather days. Because of the lack of quality infrastructure. So, if you are not in range of a constant Wi-Fi connection, you will end up losing access to basic functionalities of a Chromebook.

3. Where are all the applications…Ugh

Chromebook is built on the premise that as long you have a good browser, and a few good productivity apps written for it, you don’t need anything else. While this might be true for many users, there may come a time when you’d need some application which does not have any viable web counterpart available. You are in for a disappointment my friend!

4. Forget about storage options

As I did mention in the start, Chromebooks are meant to be used with a constant internet connection for basic computer work, on that premise, the makers have kept the storage space very low. With a base unit of 16GB of flash storage, you can forget about storing anything in a Chromebook. So if you are a user who likes to carry around a lot of movies and songs, look elsewhere or buy an external hard drive.

So…. should I buy a Chromebook or not?

Well, that’s a tricky question to answer. If internet connection, storage space and variety of applications is not a pressing issue, I am sure, you will be able to appreciate the simplicity and speed of Chromebook.

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