Google is bringing the Chromebook to India. These Intel Celeron based laptops will be available in Croma and Reliance stores starting next week or you can pre-order them now from the Flipkart website. The 11.6″ Acer Chromebook is available on Flipkart for 23k while the 14″ HP Chromebook can be had for 27k.
Google Chromebooks, except for the Pixel with touchscreen, are inexpensive and thus are the best-selling laptops on Amazon.com.
That said, you’ll have to pay a nice premium to get your hands on one of these Chromebooks in India. The Acer 720 retails at $240 on Amazon while the price in India is $370 or 50% more. HP’s 14″ Chromebook is $300 in US but will be available here for $435.
I have been using the Chromebook for several months now and while it is a decent machine for browsing the web – sleek, lightweight, feels solid – the battery life and performance isn’t great especially when streaming web videos. The laptop doesn’t look “cheap” but it does feel underpowered. The new Chromebook models hopefully have improved in this area.
Google Chromebook ships with the Google Chrome browser and you do not have an option to install any other software on the machine. No Photoshop, no Microsoft Excel and no iTunes. You can however install any of your favorite Chrome extensions on the Chromebook and thus get to do a whole lot more than just browse the web.
Chromebooks are cloud-based and you are expected to use Google Drive to store all your files. In fact, when you buy a Chromebook, you get 100 GB of additional Google Storage for 2 years that would otherwise cost you $120. You can also attach your Flash drives to the available USB ports for files that are not on Google Drive.
You cannot play your DVDs and the Chromebook may also not be compatible with your existing printer and other hardware.
So should you spend $370 on a web-only Chromebook? If you are always connected to the Internet and need a second laptop mostly for writing emails and web-surfing, probably yes but for everyone else, there are more options in the 20k-30k range that offer better value for money. Or you may even consider a previous generation iPad in that price range.